TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, February 13, 2017

Polsky Presents Elite Tax Professionals Behaving Badly Today At UC-Irvine

Polsky (2015)Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Elite Tax Professionals Behaving Badly: The Sad and Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

For at least the past 15 years, many private equity fund managers have used a technique—known as a management fee waiver—to try to claim what is effectively their weekly paycheck as a capital gain. Recently, the Treasury and IRS explained that, at least in the government’s view, the vast majority of fee waivers do not actually provide the claimed tax result. Recent reports of significant audit activity relating to fee waivers suggest that the fee waiver saga may finally be coming to an end, but not before billions of tax revenues that are beyond the statute of limitations have been lost forever.

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February 13, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Marriage Penalty Relief After Obergefell

Mitchell Engler (Cardozo) & Edward Stein (Cardozo), Not Too Separate or Unequal: Marriage Penalty Relief after Obergefell, 91 Wash. L. Rev. ___ (2016):

Joint tax returns have generated controversy for many years. Married couples with the same joint income pay the same tax under our current system regardless of the earnings distribution between the spouses. This approach primarily rests on the idea that married couples share resources and operate as a single economic unit. Critics typically challenge this assumption and lament how marriage might significantly change a couple’s taxes. Depending on their earnings breakdown, a couple’s taxes could be reduced (a marital bonus for uneven earners) or increased (a marital penalty for even earners). These possibilities exist because the joint brackets are typically larger – but not twice as large – as the unmarried brackets.

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February 13, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Call For Tax Papers:  First Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum

Richmond (2017)Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum: Call for Papers:

The University of Richmond School of Law invites submissions for the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum. This workshop will be held on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia.

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February 13, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mini-Symposium:  The Future Of Tax Administration And Enforcement

Christopher J. Walker (Ohio State), Surly Subgroup Mini-Symposium on The Future of Tax Administration and Enforcement, Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (Feb. 11, 2017):

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February 13, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxJazz: The Tax Literacy Project

Tax JazzMarjorie Kornhasuer (Tulane), TaxJazz: The Tax Literacy Project:

TaxJazz provides individuals with non-partisan, non-technical, accessible tax information to help people participate in discussions about tax policy and problems facing the nation. TaxJazz already addresses basic tax questions, such as: Why do we have taxes? Are there any legal constraints on taxation? What can be taxed? How do we decide what is a fair tax? It plans to add material on particular tax issues and provisions.

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February 13, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

ACTEC Law Journal Exclusive Review

ACTECThe American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Law Journal will be conducting exclusive reviews over the next few weeks. Any contribution submitted to the ACTEC Law Journal between February 13, 2017 and February 28, 2017 will be evaluated for publication purposes within four (4) business days of submission.  By submitting an article or essay, the author agrees to immediately accept a publication offer with the ACTEC Law Journal should one be extended. 

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February 13, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 12, 2017

After Declines Of 40% In Enrollment And 10 Points In 25th LSAT Percentile, Does Hofstra's 100% Application Surge Signal Better Times Ahead For Law Schools?

Law School Transparency, Hofstra Key Facts:

Hofstra

David Lat (Above the Law), Are Law School Applications Bottoming Out? One School Sees A Remarkable Rise:

I reached out for comment to Judge Gail Prudenti, former Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts of New York State, who took over as Hofstra’s interim dean after the departure of Dean Eric Lane. I asked Judge Prudenti: are reports of major growth in applications at Hofstra Law accurate? And if so, how did Hofstra get applications to increase so bigly?

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February 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Debate: Should Congress Heed Trump's Call To Repeal The Johnson Amendment's Prohibition On Politicking By Churches?

IRS ChurchFollowing up on my previous post, Trump Vows To ‘Destroy’ Law Banning Political Endorsements By Tax-Exempt Churches: One of His 'Least Objectionable Policies'?:  U.S. News & World Report Debate Club, Is Repealing the Johnson Amendment a Good Idea?:

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February 12, 2017 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School Naming Rights Settlement Falls Apart, As University Of Houston, South Texas Head To Mediation

Houston South TexasFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  

Houston Chronicle, Law School Naming Feud Heads to Mediation:

A preliminary deal over naming rights between Houston's battling law schools formally fell apart Wednesday, with lawyers asking a federal judge to send them into mediation.

The dissolution of the talks comes as Houston Community College joins the trademark fray over the question of who has the right to use "Houston" in educational materials.

Talks stalled between the University of Houston System and the newly renamed South Texas College of Law Houston before final details could be hammered out to resolve a federal trademark lawsuit filed by UH.

The university contended that the private law school had encroached on the school's trademarked University of Houston Law Center by initially changing its name to Houston College of Law. After a federal judge warned the private school that it was likely to lose the lawsuit, the school changed to the latest name — a move that UH indicated was acceptable. ...

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February 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [2,001 Downloads]  Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Kimberly Clausing (Reed College)
  2. [619 Downloads]  A Guide to the GOP Tax Plan — The Way to a Better Way, by David Weisbach (Chicago)
  3. [292 Downloads]  Accounting for Behavioral Considerations in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing , by Lily Batchelder (NYU)
  4. [279 Downloads]  Destination-Based Cash-Flow Taxation: A Critical Appraisal, by Wei Cui (British Columbia)
  5. [235 Downloads]  How Donald Trump can Keep His Campaign Promises, Grow the Economy, Cut Tax Rates, Repatriate Offshore Earnings, Reduce Income Inequality, Keep Jobs in the United States, and Reduce the Deficit, by David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York)

February 12, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Law School Dean’s Bible Study: Celebrating 37 Years

GoffPepperdine Law School Surf Report, Dean’s Bible Study: Celebrating 37 Years:

The Dean’s Bible Study began some 37 years ago, a humble beginning to what is now a cherished and celebrated staple at Pepperdine Law. It first began meeting in the 1980s and has been in continuous existence for most of the life of the law school. Every Wednesday evening, rain, shine, or looming exams, students flood over to the residence of Professor and Director of Global Programs Jim Gash and his wife Joline. Gash spoke about the student organized and student led gathering:

“My wife and I are privileged to provide the venue and some snacks. Each week, we sing a few songs, pray together, and get to hear from a student, professor, administrator, or other guest about a topic related to the speaker’s journey of faith. One goal with this gathering is to provide a sense of community for those looking to integrate their faith into their law school studies and career.

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February 12, 2017 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Merritt:  Law School Rankings Drive Inequitable Merit Scholarship Awards

Merit ScholarshipBloomberg Law op-ed: Law School Rankings Still Drive Scholarship Awards, by Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State):

It’s an open secret in legal education: Law schools substantially discount tuition for selected students. Classmates sitting side by side pay very different amounts for the same seminars and lectures. Some pay full tuition; some pay a reduced amount; a lucky few pay nothing at all.

The Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), a highly regarded research team, has just focused a spotlight on this practice. The researchers pull no punches: They title their report Law School Scholarship Policies: Engines of Inequity. Aaron Taylor, the group’s director, notes that law schools’ scholarship policies have created a system “in which the most disadvantaged students subsidize the attendance of their peers.” This “reverse Robin Hood” pattern arises from two factors.

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February 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Rochester B-School Prof Sentenced To Prison For Hiding Assets In Swiss Accounts, Evading Taxes

FBARFollowing up on my previous post, University Of Rochester B-School Professor Pays $100 Million FBAR Penalty Over Swiss Accounts:  U.S. Department of Justice Press Release, Former University Business Professor Sentenced to Prison for Hiding Over $220 Million in Offshore Banks; Evaded More Than $18 Million in Federal and State Taxes Over 15 Years:

A now retired business school professor, who amassed a $220 million fortune in secret foreign accounts, was sentenced to seven months in prison today for conspiring to defraud the United States and to submit a false expatriation statement to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia. He also has been assessed and paid a $100 million civil penalty for his concealment of these accounts.

“For 15 years, Dan Horsky stashed assets and hid income offshore in secret bank accounts,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg. “That scheme came to an abrupt end when IRS special agents came knocking on his door. The days of hiding behind shell corporations and foreign bank secrecy laws are over. Now is the time for accountholders to come in, accept responsibility, and help ensure that the lawyers, financial advisers and other professionals who actively facilitated offshore evasion also are held accountable.”

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February 11, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

College Endowment Returns Sink To Their Lowest Level Since The Financial Crisis

Washington Post, College Endowment Returns Sink to Their Lowest Level Since the Financial Crisis:

University endowments posted the lowest investment returns since the 2008 financial crisis, yet schools upped their spending in fiscal 2016, according to a survey released Tuesday by CommonFund and the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Endowments have been on shaky ground coming out of the recession. Average annual returns have volleyed since plummeting 18.7 percent in 2009. In the 12 months ending June 30, endowments at 805 colleges and universities recorded a negative 1.9 percent return, compared to 2.4 percent growth the prior fiscal year, according to the survey.

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February 11, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Syracuse Law Dean, Raised By Adoptive White Parents, Had To Learn To Be Black; He Foresaw Legal Ed Crisis 'Long Before Other Deans Knew What Hit Them'

BoiseFollowing up on my previous post, Syracuse Dean (And Tax Prof) Craig Boise: 'The Only Harley-Riding, Piano-Playing, Calf-Roping Law Dean In The Country':

Syracuse Post-Standard, SU Law School Dean Craig Boise: Ex-Cop, Classical Pianist Who Had to Learn to be Black:

Craig Boise was a rookie Kansas City police officer in 1986, working in the predominantly black inner city.

He learned how to be black. He had to talk differently. The food and music were new. He was introduced to a new way of shaking hands — grabbing the thumbs, hands at an angle, then kind of snapping each other's fingers as you pull away. He started peppering his conversations with "brother" and "sister."

The fact that Boise actually was black didn't help. Up till then, he didn't know it. At birth, he was adopted by white parents who thought he was Native American. ...

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February 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) discusses how the EITC can be used to purchase drugs:

KristanEarned income credit helps poor man pay for his pharmaceuticals.

IRS 1, Grandma 0. A poor unemployed father was having difficulty financing his medication. But as a President once said, “when somebody hurts, Government has got to move.” Through the magic of the earned income tax credit, this poor man filed his tax return, moving the IRS to send a check that was used to pay for his medication.was

Unfortunately, the medication was recreational. 

The man was unemployed and living at his mother’s with his wife and kids. Grandma was working as a nurse’s aide to support the whole bunch. Judge Holmes takes up the story (as I normally do, I abbreviate the taxpayer’s name, here as “S.”):

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February 10, 2017 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new article by Chris Sanchirico (Penn), Business Investment in the Tax Reform Blueprint

Glogower (2016)Since its release last June, the business tax provisions of the GOP House’s tax reform plan (“the reform plan”) have garnered intense interest, and improbably trending hashtags.  Much of the focus has centered on the border adjustment, which taxes imports but exempts exports, and its implications for the dollar and trade agreements.  (For example, Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan/UC-Irvine) and Kimberly Clausing (Reed)).  Sanchirico’s new work, in contrast, examines two other related provisions in the reform plan: immediate expensing for business investments, and disallowance of a deduction for a business’ net interest expenses.

The conventional wisdom, as reflected in the reform plan, is that businesses would prefer the reform package of expensing plus interest non-deductibility to current law, which generally allows accelerated depreciation and interest deductions. Sanchirico’s work challenges this assumption, as well as the related arguments that the reform package will incentivize investment and encourage more efficient investment and financing decisions. 

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February 10, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Brunson & Herzig:  Treasury Department Should Create Blacklist Of What Constitutes Prohibited Discrimination By Religious Organizations

Samuel D. Brunson (Loyola-Chicago) & David Herzig (Valparaiso), A Diachronic Approach to Bob Jones: Religious Tax Exemptions after Obergefell, 92 Ind. L.J. ___ (2016):

In Bob Jones v. U.S., the Supreme Court held that an entity may lose its tax exemption if it violates a fundamental public policy, even where religious beliefs demand that violation. In that case, the Court held that racial discrimination violated fundamental public policy. Could the determination to exclude same-sex individuals from marriage or attending a college also be considered a violation of fundamental public policy? There is uncertainty in the answer. In the recent Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized same-sex marriage, the Court asserted that LGBT individuals are entitled to “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” Constitutional law scholars, such as Lawrence Tribe, are advocating that faith groups might lose their status, citing that this decision is the dawning of a new era of constitutional doctrine in which fundamental public policy will have a more broad application.

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February 10, 2017 in IRS News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Winners Of The 16th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge

LST 2ABA Tax Section, Winners in J.D. and LL.M. Divisions of Law Student Tax Challenge Chosen:

J.D. Division
1st Place:  Tyler Johnson & Anna Peckjian (Northwestern)
2nd Place:  Joshua Jacobson & George Gray (Florida)
3rd Place:  Nicholas Bjornson & Brian Lynn (Kansas)
Best Written Submission:  Joshua Jacobson & George Gray (Florida)

LL.M. Division

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February 10, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Yin:  Congress Already Has The Power To Obtain And Release Trump’s Tax Returns

Trump Tax ReturnsWashington Post op-ed: Congress Has the Power to Obtain and Release Trump’s Tax Returns, by George K. Yin (Virginia):

Though our new president may not realize it, Congress has the power to obtain his tax returns and reveal them to the public without his consent, including returns under audit. As just urged by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), legislators seeking information on President Trump’s possible conflicts of interest should immediately exercise this authority rather than wait for the passage of new veto-proof legislation — a highly uncertain prospect — that would have the same effect.

The ability of Congress to disclose confidential tax information was added to the law almost 100 years ago. Since the Civil War, when it began requiring taxpayers to submit private information to the government to comply with the tax laws, Congress has struggled to balance the privacy interests of taxpayers with the public’s right to know. Eventually, Congress decided that tax information should remain confidential except in two situations. First, it authorized the president to determine whether any tax information could be disclosed. And, in 1924, it gave the same power to certain congressional committees [George K. Yin, Protecting Taxpayers From Congressional Lawbreaking].

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February 10, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

North Dakota Law School Eliminates Its Only Clinic In Face Of Possible 15% Budget Cut; Faculty, Staff Offer Voluntary Pay Cuts To Stem 11% Tuition Increase

UND 3Grand Forks Herald, UND School of Law Looks at Tuition Increase, Puts Pro Bono Clinic on Hiatus:

The UND School of Law will put its student law clinic on hiatus for at least two years and is beginning to discuss tuition increases because of higher education budget cuts proposed by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

In a meeting with about 80 law students Thursday afternoon, UND School of Law Dean Kathryn Rand told students the program would need to begin making hard cuts. Those cuts will include no longer operating the law clinic, which provides pro bono legal service primarily in immigration and employment law fields. The clinic allows law students to get some of the hands-on credits they need to earn their juris doctorates.

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February 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Walker Presents The Practice And Tax Consequences Of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Today At Duke

Walker (2016)David Walker (Boston University) presents The Practice and Tax Consequences of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Although nonqualified deferred compensation plans lack explicit tax preferences afforded qualified plans, it is well understood that nonqualified deferred compensation results in a joint tax advantage when employers earn a higher after-tax return on deferred sums than employees could achieve on their own. Several commentators have proposed tax reform aimed at leveling the playing field between cash and nonqualified deferred compensation, but reform is not easily achieved. This Article examines the stakes.

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February 9, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana University Law Profs Targeted By White Supremacist Group

Indiana (2016)ABA Journal, Indiana University Law Profs Are Among Those Targeted by White Supremacist Group:

Professors at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law were among academics targeted by a white supremacist group on that campus and as many as 30 universities across the country.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 20 Moot Court Programs (2010-2016)

Best Schools for Mott Court, National Jurist (Winter 2017):

Every year, the [University of Houston Law Center's Blakely Advocacy Institute] identifies the top schools using a scoring method that assesses the quality of the competition a school participated in, the size of the competitions, and the school's performance in those competitions. The institute then invites the top 16 from the prior year to participate in what it calls "the best of the best" — the Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship. Last year, Georgetown University Law Center won the competition.

National Jurist 2

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February 9, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Names Mindy Herzfeld Professor Of Tax Practice And International Tax Program Director

FMDean Laura Rosenbury has announced that Mindy Herzfeld (right) will join the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law as a Professor of Tax Practice and Director of the LL.M. in International Tax Program:

Since 2014, Professor Herzfeld has been a Contributing Editor for Tax Analysts, authoring weekly columns on international tax policy developments and cross-border transactions in Tax Notes International. Prior to that, Professor Herzfeld worked as an international tax advisor for Deloitte Tax LLP, based in its Washington D.C. and New York offices. She began her career at Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York City and has also worked as tax counsel at Ford Motor Company. Professor Herzfeld received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. She has published over 100 articles in Tax Notes International and Tax Notes, many of which have been cited in law review articles by the leading international tax scholars, in Congressional Research Service Reports and in Treasury Department studies.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSSSE:  Law School Merit Scholarship Policies — Engines Of Inequity

LSSSE Logo

Law School Survey of Student Engagement, Law School Scholarship Policies: Engines of Inequity
Frank H. Wu (Former Dean, UC-Hastings), Foreword:

Figure 1The scholarship policies described in this Report ought to be exposed for what they are: sales gimmicks in the form of tuition discounts. Despite their name, “merit scholarships” are neither based on actual merit nor true scholarships. Law schools could reduce the price of attendance across-the-board for the benefit of students, with the same aggregate budgetary effect on institutions. But they have not done so. The reason is that consumers respond to sales; they want deals. Law students are no different; their enrollment decisions often depend on which school offers the biggest “merit scholarship.” 

As this Report highlights convincingly, these selective tuition breaks flow most generously to privileged students. These trends betray our shared ideals of ensuring access to higher education – the engine of the American Dream.

Everyone is on the side of merit. There are no advocates for mediocrity. But socalled merit scholarships are less about students’ merit than they are about our own sense of elitism. The formulas for allocating the scholarships usually blend LSAT and UGPA. Responsible decisionmakers, including those who design standardized tests, warn that these instruments are merely predictors of performance. They should not be confused with merit itself.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Number Of Americans Renouncing Their U.S. Citizenship Hit All-Time High In 2016 (Up 26% From 2015)

International Tax Blog, 2016 Fourth Quarter Published Expatriates — New Annual Record:

Today the Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency (“expatriated”) during the fourth quarter of 2016. The number of published expatriates for the quarter was 2,365, bringing the total number of published expatriates in 2016 to 5,411.  The total for the year breaks last year’s record number of 4,279 published expatriates.  The number of expatriates for 2016 is a 26% increase over 2015 and a 58% increase over 2014 (2,999).

Expats

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February 9, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

ABA's Rejection Of Stricter Bar-Pass Rule Draws Support, Criticism

ABA Logo (2016)National Law Journal, ABA's Rejection of Stricter Bar-Pass Rule Draws Support, Criticism:

The American Bar Association's rejection Monday of a stricter bar pass standard for law schools is a win for diversity in the legal profession, or it's a missed opportunity to protect vulnerable law students.

It depends on whom you ask.

The legal academy reacted swiftly to news that the ABA's House of Delegates voted down a controversial, long-debated proposal to give law schools two years to ensure at least 75 percent of recent graduates pass the bar exam, instead of the current five years. The proposal also would have eliminated a provision under which law schools can retain their accreditation as long as their bar pass rates are no lower than 15 percent of the statewide average in their particular jurisdiction.

Many law deans applauded the proposal's failure, citing a need for further study on the rule's impact at a time of falling bar pass rates. But consumer advocates said it will further enable law schools to admit unqualified students.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Alumni Demand Resignation of Charlotte Law School Dean, President

Charlotte Observer, Fed up Charlotte School of Law Alumni Target Top Leaders:

The alumni of Charlotte School of Law has become the latest group to call for a change of leadership to save the foundering uptown school.

In a letter sent Tuesday morning, the graduates have demanded that President Chidi Ogene and Dean Jay Conison immediately resign.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Liscow Presents Innovation And Climate Law Today At Toronto

Liscow (2017)Zachary Liscow (Yale) presents Innovation and Climate Law (with Quentin Karpilow (Yale)) at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

A common view in environmental law is that the government should not pick certain technologies over others. Rather, in the context of climate policy, this view suggests that the government should impose a carbon tax and let that induce innovation in private sector through the patent system. We offer a qualified defense of the government “picking winners”: directly encouraging innovation in cleantech over dirtytech and even within cleantech. Our argument is largely based on recent research in economics showing “path dependence” in the development of energy technology, suggesting that a big push in cleantech innovation can lead to a permanent reorientation of the energy sector and lead to more emissions reductions at lower cost.

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February 8, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Impact Of The Possible Repeal Of The Charitable Deduction On Law School Deans

Law Deans on Legal Education Blog: How Would Nuking the Charitable Tax Deduction Affect Higher Ed (and Law Deaning)?, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

According to Forbes (Ashlea Ebeling, This May Be The Last Year You Get A Charitable Tax Deduction), via Dean Dad, the tax deduction for charitable contributions may be history.  This could be devastating for higher education. ... 

The Forbes article suggests that charitable giving would plummet absent the deduction. What would this mean for the typical law school dean? Ten years ago, fundraising was the coin of the decanal realm. Today, fundraising is still important, but developing donors is a long-term commitment (it can take 3-5 years to establish the kind of relationship/trust that results in major gifts, and even then bequests may not "mature" for decades). Fundraising is critical to a school's long-term future; many struggling schools are surviving thanks to endowments created by decanal fundraising decades ago. However, short-term enrollment crises pose existential threats at many law schools, and immediate existential threats always trump long-term investments, so my guess is that fundraising already is getting less decanal attention than it did several years ago. Moreover, donors give to opportunities, not need, so fundraising is almost never a solution to current budget challenges.

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February 8, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

McLaughlin:  Conservation Easements And The Valuation Conundrum

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah), Conservation Easements and the Valuation Conundrum, 19 Fla. Tax Rev. 225 (2016):

For more than fifty years, taxpayers have been able to claim a federal charitable income tax deduction under Internal Revenue Code § 170(h) for the donation of a conservation easement or a façade easement. For just as long, the deduction has been subject to abuse, including valuation abuse. Dismayed by the expenditure of significant judicial and administrative resources to combat abuse in the easement donation context, the Treasury Department recently proposed reforms, including reforms to address valuation abuse. The reforms were proposed in somewhat of an analytical vacuum, however, because there has been no comprehensive analysis of the easement valuation case law. This article fills that void.

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February 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  ‘A Conservative Climate Solution’ — Republican Group Calls For Carbon Tax

New York Times, ‘A Conservative Climate Solution’: Republican Group Calls for Carbon Tax:

A group of Republican elder statesmen is calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change.

The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is “a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles. ...

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February 8, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times:  The Crisis At Charlotte Law School

Charlotte Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below): New York Times, For-Profit Law School Faces Crisis After Losing Federal Loans:

[Charlotte Law School], with hundreds of students, remains in business, even without the lifeline of federal student aid. It is counting on the Education Department under the Trump administration to reopen the loan spigot that the agency turned off last month after the American Bar Association, the law school accreditor, found that the school did not satisfy its admissions and curriculum standards. ...

Charlotte Law’s struggles and its dispute with the government highlight the questions being raised over for-profit law schools and the sky-high amounts that students are borrowing for their education. Law school debt alone, when counting interest, has risen to about $175,000 per student, said J. Jerome Hartzell, a lawyer in Raleigh, N.C., who has studied the debt issue.

“It would require an income of over $122,000 to be able to afford just the interest on a student loan of that size,” Mr. Hartzell said. “Most North Carolina lawyers don’t earn that much.”

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February 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Oxford Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

OxfordUniversity of Oxford, Associate Professorship of Taxation Law:

The University proposes to appoint an Associate Professor of Taxation Law. The MSc Taxation is a Law Faculty degree that is organised and taught jointly with the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, based in the Saïd Business School (the Tax Centre). The appointed person will teach tax law at graduate level, especially on the part-time MSc in Taxation, and also at undergraduate level, they will engage in research at the highest level and supervise graduate students in the field of Taxation Law and in such other areas of research as may be appropriate. The postholder will have excellent opportunities to engage with the interdisciplinary tax research and policy work at the Tax Centre. The person appointed will be offered a non-tutorial fellowship at Harris Manchester College.

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February 8, 2017 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

For-Profit Online University

View video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.

February 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kaye:  Tax Transparency— A Tale Of Two Countries

Tracy A. Kaye (Seton Hall), Tax Transparency: A Tale of Two Countries, 39 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1153 (2016):

On April 4, 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists announced their access to the “Panama Papers,” 11.5 million documents comprising forty years of emails, bank accounts and client records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. This latest public disclosure reveals the offshore accounts of individuals and corporations from over 200 countries and demonstrates that the movement toward global transparency is inevitable. The Panama Papers are also a powerful reminder that transparency matters greatly in the war on tax evasion.

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February 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Batchelder Presents Accounting For Behavioral Biases In Business Tax Reform Today At Georgetown

BatchelderLily Batchelder (NYU) presents Accounting for Behavioral Biases in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

One of the fundamental questions in business tax reform is whether to allow firms to immediately expense investments or require economic cost recovery. The conventional view is that expensing would generate stronger growth effects holding revenues constant. This view is rooted in traditional models of corporate finance that assume firms look at the net present value of expected tax payments when incorporating taxes into investment decisions. But this traditional view ignores the possibility that firms focus on more salient measures of taxes as well. If so, they may respond less to expensing than this theory suggests because expensing does not lower their financial accounting tax liability and, all else equal, requires a higher statutory rate.

This paper considers whether firms undervalue expensing due to a focus on these non-economic tax metrics and, if so, what this implies about business tax reform if the goal is to increase US investment. It develops a framework for what cost recovery rules are optimal, and then uses new and existing data to parameterize this framework, holding constant long-run revenues and the relative tax treatment of debt and equity. 

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February 7, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Like Obama, Gorsuch Supports Two-Year Law School, But Scalia Dissents

Gorsuch 2National Law Journal, Gorsuch Supports Two-Year Law School, but Scalia Dissents:

Judge Neil Gorsuch and President Barack Obama agree at least on one thing: A third-year of law school should be optional.

Gorsuch, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and is President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, questioned the need for three years of law school in a September 2015 paper he presented at the United Kingdom-United States Legal Exchange in London. Gorsuch noted that “President Obama, himself a Harvard-trained lawyer has promoted this concept” of an optional third year. ...

One of Gorsuch's legal heroes—the late Justice Antonin Scalia—vigorously objected to the notion of two-year law school, as did Scalia’s best friend on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. ...

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Tax Section Names 2017 Nolan Fellows

ABA Tax Section (2017)The ABA Tax Section announced the recipients of its 2017 Nolan Fellowships at its midyear meeting in Orlando:

  • Elizabeth K. Blickley (Washington, D.C.)
  • Matthew Cooper (Ernst & Young, Washington, D.C.)
  • Nikki J. Hasselbarth (Venable, Baltimore)
  • Vanessa C. Lafleur (Louisiana Department of Revenue, Baton Rouge)
  • Rafi W. Mottahedeh (Jenner & Block, Chicago)
  • Susanna W. Ratner (SeniorLAW Center, Philadelphia)

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February 7, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Crisis Of Race In Higher Education

RaceWilliam F. Tate IV (Dean, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences & Vice Provost, Graduate Education, Washington University), Nancy Staudt (Dean, Law School, Washington University) & Ashley Macrander (Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Affairs, Washington University), The Crisis of Race in Higher Education: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue (2016):

The compendium of writings in this edited volume sheds light on the event Race & Ethnicity — 2015: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue at Washington University in St. Louis and the work current students, faculty, and staff are doing to improve inclusivity on campus and in St. Louis.

Race & Ethnicity — 2015: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue:

On Feb. 5-6, 2015, the university came together to explore critical issues facing our community. Here, you can experience what transpired that day—a day that marked the beginning of a dialogue and work that must continue. We invite you to be part of this ongoing process.

Over the course of 25 hours, the subjects of race and ethnicity were explored through the lens of the five themes summarized below. Watch the videos, be inspired and continue the conversation.

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February 7, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Theft Loss Deductions, Restitution, And Public Policy

Steven Friedell (Rutgers), Confidence Schemes: Theft Loss Deductions, Restitution, and Public Policy, 90 St. John's L. Rev. 25 (2016):

May courts legitimately impose their public policy views to override statutory commands? This article focuses on some of these problems in the field of federal income tax. Part I of the article focuses on theft losses suffered by confidence-scheme victims who thought they would profit from counterfeiting or other illegal activity. Courts usually disallow these deductions so as to discourage illegal activity. This article criticizes this rationale and offers a better one. It suggests that a tax deduction would be contrary to state policy in those situations where states in effect penalize victims by denying them restitution from the thieves. Part II discusses the cases that have denied deductions for fines and civil penalties and explores how these apply to the denial of restitution.

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February 7, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA 'Overwhelmingly' Rejects 75% Bar Passage Requirement

ABA Logo (2016)Following up on yesterday's post, ABA To Vote Today On 75% Bar Passage Requirement:  ABA Journal, ABA House Rejects Proposal to Tighten Bar Pass Standards for Law Schools:

The ABA House of Delegates on Tuesday voted against a proposal to tighten bar passage rate standards for accredited law schools. ...

A storm of criticism has surrounded Standard 316’s proposed revision, which would have required that to meet accreditation standards, 75 percent of a law schools’ graduates must pass a bar exam within a two-year period. ...

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Katherine Magbanua's Murder Trial In Killing Of Dan Markel Is Delayed As Two Inmates Say Alleged Hit Man Sigfredo Garcia Implicated Charlie And Donna Adelson

MagnaubaTallahassee Democrat, Informants' Interviews Force Markel Trial Delay:

Interviews with inmates who spent time with Sigfredo Garcia in the Leon County Jail may corroborate what one of his co-defendants and investigators have said all along about the death of Dan Markel — that Garcia was allegedly recruited by the law professor’s in-laws in a murder for hire plot.

The interviews, with two inmates at the Leon County Jail, reveal that while housed in L Pod, 34-year-old Garcia opened up about the Markel investigation and how he ended up driving to Tallahassee from Miami to allegedly shoot the Florida State legal scholar. ...

Police have asserted that Markel’s former in-laws, chiefly his ex-wife Wendi Adelson’s brother and mother, Charlie and Donna Adelson, were involved in planning and paying to have the legal scholar killed. ... The Adelsons remain suspects in the murder-for-hire plot, said Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman. They have denied any involvement and have not been charged. ...

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

How To Count Citations (If You Must)

EinsteinMotty Perry (Warwick) & Philip J. Rent (Chicago), How To Count Citations If You Must:

Citation indices are regularly used to inform critical decisions about promotion, tenure, and the allocation of billions of research dollars. Nevertheless, most indices (e.g., the h-index) are motivated by intuition and rules of thumb, resulting in undesirable conclusions. In contrast, five natural properties lead us to a unique new index, the Euclidean index, that avoids several shortcomings of the h-index and its successors. The Euclidean index is simply the Euclidean length of an individual’s citation list.

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charlotte Law Students Skewer Administration; Terminated Faculty Lawyer Up