TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, August 25, 2016

University Of Cincinnati Board Votes 5-4 To Reject Plan To Move Law School Downtown

Tha Banks 2Cincinnati Enquirer, UC Kills Plan to Move Law School Downtown:

The University of Cincinnati on Wednesday scrapped plans to move its law school to the Downtown riverfront, deciding to keep it on the main campus.

In a split vote during a special meeting, UC's board of trustees turned back an effort by top business leaders to build a new law school at The Banks. Business leaders were allowed to be part of the board's 2½-hour private session to make a last-ditch presentation, but it wasn't enough to convince Chairman Rob Richardson Jr., faculty and student leaders who believe the law school should remain on the Uptown campus. ...

Continue reading

August 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clinton, Trump, Taxes, And Silicon Valley

Silicon ValleyBloomberg: Trump’s Offshore Tax-Cut Pitch Falls Flat in Silicon Valley, by Lynnley Browning:

Republican Donald Trump is proposing a big tax cut for companies like Apple Inc., which would see its tax rate slashed on about $200 billion of profit it keeps offshore. Yet Apple’s boss is co-hosting a fundraiser on Wednesday for Trump’s Democratic opponent for the White House.

Continue reading

August 25, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ:  The Joy Of Working At 4:00 A.M.

4 amWall Street Journal, Why 4 A.M. Is the Most Productive Hour:

Most people who wake up at 4 a.m. do it because they have to—farmers, flight attendants, currency traders and postal workers. Others rise before dawn because they want to.

Continue reading

August 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1204

IRS Logo 2New York Post editorial, A Liberal Legal Icon Condemns the IRS’ Abuses:

One of the leading liberal lights of American law now says the “IRS is engaged in unconstitutional discrimination against conservative groups and must be halted.”

To be clear, Harvard prof Laurence Tribe is a convert: Early in the week, he sent out a tweet dismissing the idea of an IRS scandal as long-debunked.

But, as the Cato Institute’s Walter Olson noted at Overlawyered, for once social media actually shed light on a dispute: Others asked Tribe to read this month’s DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the IRS in the case — and he did.

That unanimous decision, reinstating lawsuits against the IRS for its targeting of righty groups, noted that there’s “little factual dispute” about the targeting and the “unequal treatment” of conservatives. More, it’s “plain . . . the IRS cannot defend its discriminatory conduct on the merits.”

Tribe read that, plus a key Inspector General report, and tweeted, “I confess error [with regard to] IRS ideological targeting. The IG report and the [DC Circuit] decision seems right to me. Inexcusable abuse.”

If a liberal icon can see the serious abuse, there’s hope for the House drive to impeach IRS chief John Koskinen for his scorched-earth defense of the cancer in his agency.

Continue reading

August 25, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hemel And Maynard Push Boundaries Of Equity In Ohio State Tax Workshops

HMStephanie Hoffer (Ohio State), Hemel and Maynard Push Boundaries of Equity in Recent Workshops:

As part of its summer workshop series, Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law invites junior scholars to present works-in-progress.  This summer, we had the pleasure of hosting both Daniel Hemel, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and Goldburn Maynard, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.  Both junior tax scholars are challenging the ways in which tax policy makers think about equity in the context of distributive justice.

Continue reading

August 24, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Treasury Department White Paper:  The European Commission And Transfer Pricing

Treasury Department (2016)U.S. Department of the Treasury White Paper, The European Commission's Recent State Aid Investigations of Transfer Pricing Rulings (Aug. 24, 2016):

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (“U.S. Treasury Department”) shares the European Commission’s (“Commission”) concern with tax avoidance by multinational firms. The international community, including the European Union (“EU”) and its Member States, has long recognized the need to address this issue multilaterally. For more than two decades, the U.S. Treasury Department has worked closely as part of the international community to achieve a collective solution to this global problem.

Beginning in June 2014, the Commission announced that certain transfer pricing rulings given by Member States to particular taxpayers may have violated the EU’s restriction on State aid. These investigations, if continued, have considerable implications for the United States— for the U.S. government directly and for U.S. companies—in the form of potential lost tax revenue and increased barriers to cross-border investment. Critically, these investigations also undermine the multilateral progress made towards reducing tax avoidance.

In light of these consequences, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew sent a letter on February 11, 2016, to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker describing the U.S. Treasury Department’s principal concerns with the Commission’s recent State aid investigations. This White Paper provides additional detail regarding Secretary Lew’s concerns, focusing primarily on the following issues:

Continue reading

August 24, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congressional Staffer Charged With Failure To File Tax Returns On $170,000 Salary For Five Years

DOJ Logo (2016)Department of Justice Press Release, Congressional Staffer Charged with Failure to File Tax Returns for Five Years:

A congressional staffer was charged yesterday with five counts of willfully failing to file a tax return, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to the criminal information and affidavit, Isaac Lanier Avant of Arlington, Virginia, is a staff member employed by the U.S. House of Representatives since approximately 2002. For tax years 2009 through 2013, Avant earned annual wages of over $170,000, but did not timely file a personal income tax return for any of those years. In May 2005, Avant filed a form with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes. Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.

Continue reading

August 24, 2016 in Congressional News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sturgeon:  Doing Law School (And Life) In Lane 8

Lane 8Starting to Look Up:  Life in the Outside Lane, by Al Sturgeon (Pepperdine):

Anyone with track and field experience knows that the 400 meters is a brutal, gut-wrenching, death sprint, and those same people know that the absolute worst draw is the outside lane, that lonely place where the only sounds one hears after the starter’s gunfire are screaming lungs and the invisible footsteps of your competitors—invisible until that terrible moment when they enter your peripheral vision stage left and you realize all is lost.

Which is why South African Wayde Van Niekirk’s world record in the Rio Olympics is so remarkable: his shocking destruction of the seventeen-year-old record occurred in lane eight.  Afterward, ESPN.com quoted the new world-record holder as saying, “I was running blind all the way . . . and it gave me motivation to keep on pushing.”

Continue reading

August 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Should Larry Tribe Be Disbarred For His Trump Tweet?

Tribe

Simple Justice, Disbar Laurence Tribe:

Tribe’s twit is an outrage and affront to legal ethics. He does not deserve to be part of a profession that exists to serve and protect clients. Disbar Laurence Tribe.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Laurence Tribe Tweet About Trump Sparks Controversy:

Prof. Tribe has responded in an email to Law Blog:

Continue reading

August 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Clinton’s Punitive ‘Exit Tax’: 'Banana Republic Economics'

Wall Street Journal editorial, Clinton’s Punitive ‘Exit Tax’:

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are having a tax debate of sorts, with the Democrat wheeling out the familiar class-warfare artillery. Mr. Trump hasn’t replied on the specifics, but the irony is that his reform would solve the problem that Mrs. Clinton claims to be angry about—namely, the wave of American companies fleeing for foreign tax climes.

Continue reading

August 24, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Back To (Law) School: The Full Report

BackBack To (Law) School: The Full Report:

About 114,000 attorney-hopefuls are headed to law school this month. Law.com has it covered, with details about new courses and educators, and a look back at the school where it all began. In addition, one first-year student explains why he’s entering law school, fully aware of the tough job market. We’ve also queried big-name attorneys about their experiences in law school to prove that, yes, there is life on the other side. Take a look.

Continue reading

August 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1203

IRS Logo 2CDN, Trump Wants to ‘True the Vote’:

[S]tanding up for electoral integrity can get you noticed—in a bad way.

“My life before I spoke out for good government stands in stark contrast to the life I now lead,” says Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the anti-voter fraud organization True the Vote.

In her 2014 testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, she said:

“Shortly after filing IRS forms to establish 501 (c)(3) and 501 (c)(4), an assortment of federal entities including law enforcement agencies and a Congressman from Maryland [Democrat], Elijah Cummings came knocking at my door … my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.”

Representative Cummings vehemently denied Engelbrecht’s charge, but subpoenaed emails from former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner showed that he and his staff did ask Lerner to give True the Vote extra special attention.

Lerner, like Clinton, never faced charges for mishandling sensitive information. Although ethics charges were filed against Cummings for “weaponizing government” on behalf of his party, nothing ever came of them.

Continue reading

August 24, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Marty McMahon Named Director Of Florida Graduate Tax Program; Florida To Hire Three New Tax Faculty

McMahonUniversity of Florida Levin College of Law Names Martin J. McMahon as Director of the Graduate Tax Program:

The University of Florida Levin College of Law has announced that Martin J. McMahon, the James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar in Taxation has been appointed to succeed Michael K. Friel as Director of the Graduate Tax Program. Professor Friel stepped down as Director of the Director of the Graduate Tax Program when he retired at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year after serving as the Director for more than 25 years. Emeritus Professor Friel will continue to teach in the Graduate Tax Program as an adjunct professor, as have Lawrence Lokken, Emeritus Hugh Culverhouse Eminent Scholar in Taxation and Emeritus Professors David Hudson and Patricia Dilley. Professor McMahon has been a member of the faculty of the UF Graduate Tax Program since 1997.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (3)

Clinton Proposes Small Business Standard Tax Deduction

Hillary Logo (2016)Factsheet, Hillary Clinton Will Make Life Easier for Small Business at Every Step of the Way:

Work to create a new standard deduction for small businesses—like the one available to individual filers. This proposal will vastly simplify filing for small businesses and entrepreneurs—whether they’re running a business out of their own home, managing a shop on Main Street, or selling online through platforms like Etsy and eBay. Rather than having to track and file forms documenting their overhead costs—potentially including transportation, computer and phone use, maintaining an office, and more—a small business would be offered the option of taking a single, simple deduction. Hillary will ask her Treasury Department to bring together small business owners and leading experts to design this new standard deduction, including its limits and parameters, which existing expenses could voluntarily be replaced, and measures to prevent gaming and abuse—all to advance the goal of making it far easier for small businesses to file their taxes. This proposal would be focused on true small businesses, with restrictions preventing larger businesses or high-income taxpayers from claiming it. Small businesses could still opt to track and deduct their expenses individually, just like individual filers.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republican Congressional Tax Writers Oppose Proposed Debt-Equity Regs

NY Times:   Report Accuses Mexico’s President Of Plagiarism In Law School Thesis

PlagiarismNew York Times, Report Accuses Mexico’s President of Plagiarism in Law School Thesis:

Already reeling from corruption scandals and a declining security situation, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico was accused on Sunday of plagiarizing nearly a third of his law school thesis, according to a report by an investigative journalist. ...

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge In Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena To See If Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Implants For Mother Of Hit Man's Children

Adelson (Charlie)Following up on Saturday's post, Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder:

ABA Journal, Judge in Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena for Breast Implant Payment Records:

A judge in Florida has approved a subpoena for medical records showing who paid for breast enhancement surgery for a woman whose name has surfaced as a possible witness in the murder-for-hire case against two men accused of killing Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

Forward, Does ‘Dr. Boobner’ Surgery Prove Missing Link in Dan Markel Murder Mystery?:

Prosecutors investigating the mysterious murder of Florida law professor Dan Markel believe a woman’s breast augmentation surgery — performed by a surgeon who markets himself as “Dr. Boobner” — provides a crucial tie between the man accused of killing him and his ex-wife’s family.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

IRS Launches Sharing Economy Website For Airbnb Hosts, Uber Drivers

AUIRS, Sharing Economy Tax Center:

If you use one of the many online platforms available to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides, or to connect and provide a number of other goods or services, you’re involved in what is sometimes called the sharing economy.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Minnesota (-33%), Oregon (-43%) Law Schools Welcome Much Smaller 1L Classes Compared to 2011

The IRS Scandal, Day 1202

IRS Logo 2Roll Call, Freedom Caucus' Jordan Eyes Another Push to Oust IRS Chief:

Rep. Jim Jordan and other conservatives are reviving efforts to press the House to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen as the embattled agency head tries to woo Democrats and undecided Republicans.

The Ohio Republican, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said in an interview that he and other allies were weighing the use of procedural tactics similar to the July bid by Louisiana GOP Rep. John Fleming to bring up an impeachment resolution as a privileged measure bypassing committee consideration. The measure calls for formal impeachment of Koskinen for misstatements and a failure to cooperate with a House investigation of the IRS' handling of tax-exempt status requests from conservative groups.

Congress didn't act on the measure before it left for a seven-week recess. And because the House did not take it up within two legislative days, Fleming would have to offer another one after Labor Day.

"We may have to bring that up again. We'll see," Jordan said. He said members of the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives would keep the pressure on Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and others in leadership to take action when Congress returns after Labor Day.

"We are committed to holding John Koskinen and the IRS accountable for what took place there. So, we can do that in a formal way, which is through hearings … and vote it out of the Judiciary Committee and move that direction, or we can look at going to the floor," Jordan said.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, August 22, 2016

What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends On Which Taxman Asks

Amazon logoBloomberg: What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends on Which Taxman Asks, by Gaspard Sebag & David Kocieniewski:

Jeff Bezos’s relentless focus on user experience has helped him make Amazon the most valuable e-commerce company in the world. But regulators in Europe and the U.S. say that the value Amazon places on the technology behind that experience varies radically depending on which side of the Atlantic it’s on—and which appraisal will lower its tax bill.

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Women Ascend In Deanships As Law Schools Undergo Dramatic Change

ABA 2

ABA Perspectives: A Magazine For and About Women Lawyers, Vol. 24, No. 4, Summer 2016, at 8:

In September, [Lewis & Clark Dean Jennifer] Johnson will host the first Gathering of Women Law School Deans, a day-long event to facilitate conversations on topics of mutual interest. The challenges are especially acute now as the world of legal education undergoes a seismic shift. ...

[W]omen law deans and their male counterparts are restructuring, innovating, and charting essential decisions that will affect the future of legal education. "The qualities of a good dean are a willingness to consult broadly on the issues that you face, while not bothering the faculty on matters they don't want to be bothered with," says [former Georgetown Dean Judith] Areen, adding, "it takes judgment."

Rising Number of  Women Law Deans
As of July 31, 2016, 61 women—a solid 30 percent—hold the position of law dean in ABA-approved law schools, and the number is likely to increase by the start of the next academic year. Since 2006, the number of women law deans has doubled, and it has more than quadrupled since 1997 when only 14 women held the title of law dean. ... The percentage of women law deans still lags behind that of full-time women professors, who account for 41 percent of faculty, ... and even further behind that of women law students, who constituted 49.3 percent of the 1Ls in 2014-15.

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ:  Republicans Take New Tack On Taxing Companies’ Overseas Profits

Wall Street Journal, Republicans Take New Tack on Taxing Companies’ Overseas Profits:

President Ronald Reagan once chided government’s approach to the economy as following this mantra: “If it moves, tax it.”

Today’s Republicans are following Mr. Reagan’s ideas by trying the exact opposite approach. The tax plans from House Republicans and presidential candidate Donald Trump stop aiming at the moving target of U.S. companies’ foreign profits. Their plans would alter existing rules so thoroughly that companies would get little advantage from cross-border tax maneuvers they perfected over decades and move the U.S. toward taxing immobile parts of the economy.

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

13 Signs You’ve Gone To The Wrong Law School

Bitter Lawyer, 13 Signs You’ve Gone to the Wrong Law School:

[M]ost law schools are buzzing with new activity, with first-year students in the middle of orientation or about to head off to start their studies. But what if it’s all a big mistake? What if you’ve gone to the wrong law school? Here are thirteen important things to look for to determine if you’ve made the wrong decision. ...

2.  There is a tip jar at the front of each classroom. Professors manage to mention it at least twice during each lecture.
3.  The new career services director—the fourth one at the school in the last five months—is younger than you. You are 23. ...
8.  For internet access, law school administrators give out the Wifi password to the Holiday Inn’s wireless network next door. ...

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Law Prof Humility: Self-Promotion v. Self-Adulation

C.S. LewisLawProfBlawg, Humble Is The Path Of The Law Professor:

I remember back when I started in academia.  Then, giants roamed the earth.  Professors who were very humble, yet who had done great things.  They had argued before the Supreme Court, they had published in high-ranking journals, they had MADE law, published casebooks, and a whole host of other things.  The Supreme Court cited them. You never knew any of this unless you opened their CV, and often times, even some of those things remained hidden.  They were very keen on learning about you, touting the successes of their students, and they went out of their way to help you, with only one condition: Pay it forward.  They still roam the earth, but I fear they are becoming extinct.

Some might say these giants didn’t know how to market themselves, but I think the opposite is true.  They marketed themselves humbly.  They advocated for ideas, and any glory came from the ideas, not the person.  They advocated for others, and through helping others earned their reputation as giants.

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Is Third Highest In World Among 173 Countries, Behind Only Chad, United Arab Emirates

Tax Foundation logoTax Foundation, Corporate Income Tax Rates around the World, 2015:

It is well known that the United States has the highest corporate income tax rate among the 34 industrialized nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, it is less well known how the United States stacks up against countries throughout the entire world. Expanding the sample of countries and tax jurisdictions to 173, the U.S.’s corporate tax rate of 39 percent is the third highest in the world, tied with Puerto Rico and lower only than the United Arab Emirates and Chad, which have rates of 55 and 40 percent, respectively. The U.S. tax rate is 16 percentage points higher than the worldwide average of 22.8 percent and a little more than 9 percentage points higher than the worldwide GDP-weighted average of 29.8 percent. As with the average tax rate among industrialized nations, the average worldwide tax rate has been declining in the past ten years, pushing the United States farther from the norm. This worldwide decline in corporate tax rates can been seen in all regions of the world.

Table 1

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1201: Larry Tribe Says 'IRS Is Engaged In Unconstitutional Discrimination Against Conservative Groups And Must Be Halted'—'Inexcusable Abuse'

IRS Logo 2Overlawrered: Tweet of the Day: Laurence Tribe on IRS Ideological Targeting, by Walter Olson:

Yesterday Harvard law professor Larry Tribe sent out a tweet brusquely dismissing the IRS targeting episode as a debunked non-scandal. I and others promptly took issue with him, and pointed him toward the August 5 D.C. Circuit opinion laying out the scandal’s genuineness. (I also referenced my Ricochet article summarizing the decision and citing the Inspector General report from Treasury.)

Within an hour or two Prof. Tribe sent this tweet very graciously conceding error, along with several similar.

Tribe

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (11)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Prestige And Rankings Can Help Law Schools Avoid The Same Fate As The 12% Of Dental Schools That Closed In 1986-1997

DentalFollowing up on my previous posts:

Eric A. Chiappinelli (Texas Tech), Like Pulling Teeth: How Dental Education's Crisis Shows the Way Forward for Law Schools:

Nearly all observers of the current law school crisis treat legal education as a unique discipline. In their view, legal education as a whole, and individual law schools, have nothing to learn from outsiders that would be useful in reacting to, or thriving in the face of, the radical changes in legal education that have resulted from the collapse of the admissions market.

I take an entirely different approach. I believe legal education is not sui generis. In fact, another profession faced a similar crisis. Its schools’ admissions market collapsed because of a fundamental change in the profession itself. Twelve percent of those schools were closed. That profession was dentistry, and the lessons from its crisis are the way forward for legal education and for law schools.

Continue reading

August 21, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clinton, Trump Tax Plan News

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [439 Downloads]  Dark Pools, High-Frequency Trading, and the Financial Transaction Tax: A Solution or Complication?, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  2. [315 Downloads]  The True Economic Effects of Corporate Inversions, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  3. [246 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)
  4. [228 Downloads]  The Trojan Horse of Corporate Integration, by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC)
  5. [218 Downloads]  Executive Pay: What Worked? , by Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple)

August 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

What 'Hamilton' Teaches Lawyers About Telling Our Story

HamiltonABA Journal: What 'Hamilton' Teaches Lawyers About Framing a Story, by Philip N. Meyer (Vermont):

Hamilton is a smash. We all know the story by now. Lin-Manuel Miranda recasts Ron Chernow’s life of Alexander Hamilton as a rap musical tipping the white elitist world of the founders upside down, reinventing the story with a freakishly compelling score and a superb cast of beautiful and talented multi-ethnic actors and actresses. We embrace Miranda’s adaptation because, despite the “tragic” ending, the story is basically an affirmative story wedded to a reimagined version of American history fitting our own time—a narrative that speaks to our best vision of ourselves. Miranda’s Hamilton is the outsider’s assimilationist story, a genius-immigrant’s heroic self-reinvention—as someone with the artistic ability to employ and transform words into the currency of ideas and ideals rising on the meritocratic intellectual and social landscape of the new America. Hamilton’s ascendency, like his hubristic downfall, occurs at the precise historical moment when the country was freeing itself and reinventing itself too.

Miranda’s own genius, and what lawyers can most learn from him, is in his fearless adaptations.

Continue reading

August 21, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Days 1101-1200

August 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1200

IRS Logo 2Canada Free Press, Judicial Watch: IRS Buried Conservative Groups’ Tax-Exempt Applications:

Judicial Watch released more FBI documents demonstrating that the Obama administration deliberately slow-rolled the tax-exempt status applications filed by Tea Party and conservative groups, Truth Revolt reports.

From the start of 2010 and “lasting through the Obama reelection campaign in 2012, the IRS orchestrated a deliberate policy of burying conservative groups’ tax exemption applications in bureaucratic delays,” the watchdog group said.

Group 7822 was a place where applications were sent to gather dust.

Whenever Cincinnati IRS employees took in applications from right-leaning groups,  they were “automatically denied approval and assigned to a special ‘Group 7822’ for an extended ‘inventory’ process while waiting for decisions from IRS headquarters in Washington, DC.”

IRS employees were instructed to delay conservative and Tea Party applications until after President Obama was safely reelected in November 2012. “The strategy relied upon the IRS’ multi-tier “bucketing” system that determined from the time an application was received whether it would be quickly approved or indefinitely delayed,” the Judicial Watch report states.

Continue reading

August 21, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder

Adelson (Charlie)Tallahassee Democrat, State Seeks Breast Enhancement Records in Markel Case:

Prosecutors are seeking medical records that show Dan Markel’s former brother-in-law paid half the cost of breast enhancement surgery for the girlfriend of one of the law professor’s accused killers.

In a Leon County court hearing Friday, Circuit Judge James Hankinson approved the subpoena for the medical records of Katherine Magbanua.

Magbanua is the suspected link between Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, who have been charged with first-degree murder in Markel’s shooting, and the family of the 41-year-old professor’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson.

Continue reading

August 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pass-Through Income And The Top 1%

ABA Drops Probe Of Alleged Discrimination By BYU Law School Against LGTB, Ex-Mormon Students

BYU (2016)Following up on my previous posts:

ABA Journal, BYU Law School Says ABA Probe Is Closed; Group Had Alleged Religious Discrimination:

The ABA has dropped its probe of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, according to the school and a group that complained about alleged religious discrimination by the school.

Continue reading

August 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1199

IRS Logo 2Salt Lake City Tribune, Chaffetz Wants to Topple America’s Top Taxman, But Are His Motives Pure?:

The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial recently that scolded Rep. Jason Chaffetz for trying to punish the IRS through the budgeting process because Commissioner John Koskinen won't resign.

The editorial noted that the Utah Republican, by suggesting budget-cutting threats to force Koskinen's hand, could hurt thousands of IRS employees and, by extension, the American people by diminishing the agency's efforts to collect unpaid taxes.

It also called Chaffetz's tactics a form of blackmail to force the commissioner's resignation. Chaffetz asserts that Koskinen should step down because he lied to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which the Utahn heads, about the agency's targeting of conservative groups for audits.

The panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, has called Chaffetz's allegations against Koskinen false. And the Utahn's call for impeachment proceedingsagainst the IRS boss — a procedure almost unheard of for an agency head — seems to be going nowhere.

So Chaffetz is urging Koskinen to bow out for the good of the people and the agency. But I suspect a more sinister motive is at play.

The four-term Utah congressman wants to add to his trophy case, much like the hunters who pay guides thousands of dollars to help them gun down exotic animals so they than can mount heads on their walls.

Continue reading

August 20, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, August 19, 2016

NY Times, WSJ: Race Is On For Valuation Discounts In Family Limited Partnerships Before Effective Date Of New Regulation

DiscountsFollowing up on my previous post, Treasury Issues Proposed Regs To Limit Valuation Discounts For Fractional Interests

New York Times:  Treasury Wants to End Tax Deal for Some Family-Owned Businesses, by Paul Sullivan:

The Treasury Department has moved a step closer to tightening the way family limited partnerships are valued for tax purposes. And the prospect that the tax code could be changed by the end of this year has tax planners pushing their clients to consider stepping up estate and business planning, or risk paying more taxes.

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 1-Year Masters Of Law: Valuable Degree For Working Professionals Or Revenue Lifeline For Law Schools?

Bloomberg: The Juris Masters Program: Natural Evolution or Stop-Gap for Struggling Law Schools?, by Blake Edwards (J.D. 2011, Pepperdine):

It’s not a secret anymore: an increasingly popular way for law schools to boost revenues amid falling JD application numbers is to get students in the door for a masters program.

But while the master of laws degree, or LLM, has long been popular for tax experts or foreign students, a more recent innovation — a single-year, non-JD degree frequently known as a “juris master” or “master’s of jurisprudence” is stirring up a controversy.

Law school leaders say these one-year programs, often aimed at mid-career professionals in red-tape heavy industries like finance and healthcare, are of value in an increasingly complex world. Critics say the schools have just invented a new overpriced degree. ...

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Call For Participants In Tax Discussion Group: Summer 2017 SEALS Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)From Alyssa DiRusso (Cumberland);

I am in the process of proposing a discussion group for SEALS 2017 to discuss assessment and pedagogy in tax courses. Because this will be a discussion group and not a “panel,” participants are still permitted to join a panel presentation as well. Please let me know if you are tentatively interested in being part of the discussion group for purposes of the proposal. You do not need to be a member of SEALS to participate, so long as at least half of the group consists of members. The annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools will be held at The Boca Resort in Boca Raton, Florida, from July 30-August 6. Here is the draft of the discussion group proposal:

Discussion Group: Pedagogy and Assessments in Tax Courses

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Conferences, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number Of Prospective Law Profs Drops 7% From 2015 (42% From 2010)

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), Number of FAR Forms in First Distribution Over Time — 2016:

The first distribution of the FAR AALS forms came out this week. Here are the number of FAR forms in the first distribution for each year since 2009.

FAR

Interesting reader comment about prospective tax profs:

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Seto:  Thinking In More Nuanced Ways About Income And Wealth Inequality

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Theodore Seto (Loyola-L.A.), Thinking in More Nuanced Ways About Income and Wealth Inequality (Jotwell) (reviewing Bariş Kaymak (Université de Montréal) & Markus Poschke (McGill University), The Evolution of Wealth Inequality over Half a Century: The Role of Taxes, Transfers and Technology, 77 J. Monetary Econ. 1 (2016)):

In his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty did us the great service of bringing the problems of wealth and income inequality to the fore. In the process, however, he also may have performed a bit of a disservice – making those problems seem simple, a mere function of the inequality r > g, where r is the rate of return to capital and g is the rate of economic growth. The solution, he suggested, was equally simple: a tax on wealth.

Bariş Kaymak and Markus Poschke, in The Evolution of Wealth Inequality over Half a Century: The Role of Taxes, Transfers and Technology, offer a more complex picture. They construct a general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy over the past half-century, incorporating (1) reduced income taxes on top earners (from a 45% effective rate for the top 1% in 1960 to a 33% effective rate in 2004, and from a 71% effective rate for the top 0.1% in 1960 to a 34% effective rate in 2004), (2) expansion of government transfers from 4.1% to 11.9% of GDP over the same period, and (3) higher pre-tax wage inequalities, which they attribute to technological change. (For these purposes, effective rate is defined as income taxes paid as a percentage of taxable income.) The question they ask and attempt to answer is: To what extent were the observed increases in wealth and income inequality over that period attributable to each of these changes or trends? ...

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Academic Clickbait Works: Articles With 'Phrasing Arousal' Titles Receive Higher Altmetrics Scholarly Impact Scores

AltmetricsFollowing up on my previous post on Using Altmetrics to Measure the Impact of Faculty Scholarship (more here)

Gwilym Lockwood (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics), Academic Clickbait: Articles With Positively-Framed Titles, Interesting Phrasing, and No Wordplay Get More Attention Online:

This article is about whether the factors which drive online sharing of non-scholarly content also apply to academic journal titles. It uses Altmetric scores as a measure of online attention to articles from Frontiers in Psychology published in 2013 and 2014. Article titles with result-oriented positive framing and more interesting phrasing receive higher Altmetric scores, i.e., get more online attention. Article titles with wordplay and longer article titles receive lower Altmetric scores. This suggests that the same factors that affect how widely non-scholarly content is shared extend to academia, which has implications for how academics can make their work more likely to have more impact.

Phys.org, Academic Journal Articles With 'Clickbait-y' Characteristics Are Shared More Widely:

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pro Publica:  IRS Loophole Rewards Excessive Water Use In Drought-Stricken West

Pro PublicaPro Publica, Gimme a Break! IRS Tax Loophole Can Reward Excessive Water Use in Drought-stricken West:

ProPublica’s reporting on the water crisis in the American West has highlighted any number of confounding contradictions worsening the problem: Farmers are encouraged to waste water so as to protect their legal rights to its dwindling supply in the years ahead; Las Vegas sought to impose restrictions on water use while placing no checks on its explosive population growth; the federal government has encouraged farmers to improve efficiency in watering crops, but continues to subsidize the growing of thirsty crops such as cotton in desert states like Arizona.

Today, we offer another installment in the contradictions amid a crisis.

In parts of the western U.S., wracked by historic drought, you can get a tax break for using an abundance of water.

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

UNT-Dallas:  A Brave Little Law School Or A School For Scoundrels?

UNT 2Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Dallas Observer, DCL Is Either a Brave Little Law School That Could or a School for Scoundrels:

Let’s back off 10 feet and look at both the nose and the tail of this rat now gnawing at the city’s new downtown law school. The University of North Texas Dallas College of Law (DCL), about to begin its third year of operation, is threatened with non-accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). In the world of law schools, that would be the death penalty.

It's simple. It's bad. The Texas Board of Law Examiners will not allow a candidate to take the bar exam in Texas, a requirement for becoming a licensed lawyer, unless the candidate has completed the required coursework at an ABA-accredited law school.

The forward end of the problem is captured in the headline of a recent Dallas Morning News editorial urging the ABA to relent and insisting that the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law must be freed to pursue its “audacious, but absolutely vital, mission.”

And that is? Both the News and the dean of the 2-year-old institution tend to talk around the point with a lot of fussy euphemism, but clearly from its very start the school’s special mission has been to produce more law graduates of color and from modest origins than are turned out by the established law schools.

It’s hard to argue with that goal in Texas, where Bar Association members are 81 percent “Caucasian,” according to the ABA, while non-Hispanic whites make up only 43 percent of the population of the state. ...

But, wait. What about the tail-end of the problem? The ugly end. DCL is about to enroll its first class of third-year students, raising total enrollment to about 360. That’s 360 hard-working students who have been scraping up about $15,000 a year in tuition and costs, many if not most of them working at jobs and many with families, toiling in the earnest hope of becoming lawyers and making better lives for themselves and their loved ones.

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1198

IRS Logo 2Washington Times, IRS Vows Action on Tea Party Applications Long Held Up by Targeting:

Under pressure from the federal courts, the IRS did an abrupt about-face this week and said it will finally begin processing some of the tea party applications it has blocked for years — but the agency still refuses to say what the new process will be.

The Texas Patriots Tea Party, which first applied for tax-exempt status more than four years ago and has been blocked ever since, received a notice from the Justice Department on Tuesday saying it is finally going to see some action.

But the department’s attorney, Joseph A. Sergi, said he didn’t have any more details to provide, leaving it unclear whether the agency will move quickly, what sorts of standards it will impose and whether it will require another round of questions for the groups to answer.

“The IRS has decided that it will process the applications of plaintiffs whose applications remain outstanding, including the application for We the People of Texas (Texas Patriots Tea Party). We will be in further contact regarding the application process once we have heard from the IRS,” Mr. Sergi said in a brief note to the tea party group’s attorney.

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

NY Times:  Hillary Clinton Twists The Knife In Donald Trump’s Tax Proposals

Hillary Trump (2016)New York Times, Hillary Clinton Twists the Knife in Donald Trump’s Tax Proposals:

Hillary Clinton leaned into her plans to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans on Wednesday, denouncing Donald J. Trump’s tax proposals as a boondoggle for billionaires.

“We’re going to tax the wealthy who have made all of the income gains in the last 15 years,” Mrs. Clinton told a crowd in Cleveland. “The superwealthy, corporations, Wall Street,” she declared emphatically, “they’re going to have to invest in education, in skills training, in infrastructure.”

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)