TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, March 27, 2017

Burman Presents Is U.S. Corporate Income Double-Taxed? Today At NYU

Burman (2016)Leonard E. Burman (Tax Policy Center) presents Is U.S. Corporate Income Double-Taxed? (with Kimberly Clausing (Reed College)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

Every public finance student learns that corporations are subject to two levels of taxation—at the company level through the corporate income tax and the individual level through taxation of dividends and capital gains. Though observers frequently lament this double taxation of equity-financed corporate investment, double taxation is not important per se; the issue is the overall level of tax. (Most investors would prefer two 10 percent taxes to a single 30 percent tax.) Still, the overall effective tax rate depends on both corporate and individual income taxes.

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March 27, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Buchanan Presents Social Security Is Fair To All Generations Today At UC-Irvine

BuchananNeil Buchanan (George Washington) presents Social Security is Fair to All Generations: Demystifying the Trust Fund, Solvency, and the Promise to Younger Americans at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

The birth of the Baby Boom generation created a profound policy challenge for the Social Security system: Should the system continue to be run as a pay-as-you-go system, or should the large new cohort of workers be forced to save for their own future retirements? Although the outward structure of the Social Security system was not changed, the Baby Boomers were, in fact, required to save for their own retirements. They did so by paying higher taxes than would otherwise have been necessary, thus contributing to total national saving in a way that allowed the economy to grow more quickly than it would have otherwise. In turn, Boomers bequeathed to their children the economic wherewithal to support their parents in retirement, even while the post-Boomers will enjoy higher living standards during both their working lives and in their retirements. It is possible, however, that this supposed generational sacrifice was illusory, that the Baby Boomers were otherwise impoverishing their children and grandchildren, even as they paid extra money into the Social Security system each year.

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March 27, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Schenk Delivers Pugh Lecture Today At San Diego On Horizontal Equity Redux

Schenk (2017)Deborah Schenk (NYU) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on Horizontal Equity Redux:

For many decades, tax policy scholars have defined “equity” in terms of “horizontal equity” and “vertical equity.” In recent years the concept of horizontal equity has come under attack on two grounds: first, that it has no content independent of vertical equity, and second, that its classic definition preferences pretax income without any justification. Yet, the concept has remarkable staying power. All major law casebooks reference horizontal equity, as do many scholarly articles. This lecture explores why that is so and offers both an explanation and a justification for its continued use as a principle of tax policy.

March 27, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oh:  Are Progressive Tax Rates Progressive Policy?

Jason Oh (UCLA), Are Progressive Tax Rates Progressive Policy?, 92 NYU L. Rev. ___ (2017):

Why do income tax systems across the world consistently feature progressive marginal rates? The existing literature tells a political story focusing on the top of the rate schedule and the preferences of the poor and middle class. According to this standard view, higher rates at the top result from the poor and middle class using the political process to “soak the rich.” However, this explanation is inconsistent with research showing that public policy is generally more responsive to the preferences of the rich. Explaining marginal rate progressivity as a universal (and exceptional) triumph of the poor and middle class rings hollow.

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March 27, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

UC-Hastings Dean:  The California Bar Exam Flunks Too Many Law School Graduates

California Bar ExamLos Angeles Times op-ed: The California Bar Exam Flunks Too Many Law School Graduates, by David L. Faigman (Dean, UC-Hastings):

Graduates who fail face [the bar exam] losing jobs already started, not getting jobs that were promised, debt, embarrassment and more debt. Simply taking the exam again costs more than $700, and add to that the cost of further bar review classes, living expenses in the meantime and income lost. All told, thousands more dollars may be piled onto law school debt that is increasingly well above $100,000. ...

Given the stakes for the individual law graduate, as well as the state’s obligation to ensure that those given a license to practice law are qualified, one would think the state bar, which administers the test, would have sound reasons for how it sets the line — the “cut score” — between passing and failing. If you thought that about California, you would be mistaken.

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March 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Christians:  BEPS And The New International Tax Order

Allison Christians (McGill), BEPS and the New International Tax Order, 2017 BYU L. Rev. ___:

Nations across the world are currently engaged in a coordinated international effort, ostensibly to curb excessive tax avoidance by the world’s biggest multinational companies. This Article contends, however, that the most likely impact will be to entrench a monopoly held by a small number of rich countries over the policymaking processes that created the tax avoidance problem to begin with. To examine this contention and probe possible solutions to it, the Article examines the legal and institutional components of the coordination project, referred to as Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), by situating them historically and analyzing their multi-functionality as both norm diffusion and institutional reinforcement mechanisms.

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March 27, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 26, 2017

SUNY-Buffalo Law School Dean Finalist Charged With Embezzling $7 Million

SUNY 2Buffalo News, Candidate for Dean of UB Law School Charged in Embezzlement Scheme:

A finalist to become the next dean of the University at Buffalo Law School was indicted this week on federal fraud charges related to the alleged embezzlement of millions of dollars from investors in a company he helped run.

The U.S. Attorney's Office District of Minnesota charged Edward S. Adams, 64, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, with eight counts of mail fraud and six counts of wire fraud.

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March 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

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. The #1 paper is now #103 in all-time downloads among 12,615 tax papers:

  1. [1,664 Downloads]  The Known Unknowns of the Business Tax Reforms Proposed in the House Republican Blueprint, by Michael J. Graetz (Columbia)
  2. [563 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)
  3. [439 Downloads]  Accounting for Behavioral Considerations in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing, by Lily L. Batchelder (NYU)
  4. [368 Downloads]  Predicting Stock Market Prices with Physical Laws, by Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)
  5. [258 Downloads]  House Plan's Bad Math: Over-Estimates of Revenue from a Border Adjustment, by David Kamin (NYU) & Brad Setser (Council on Foreign Relations)

March 26, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Princeton Seminary Revokes Award To Tim Keller Because Of His Traditional Theological Views

Princeton KellerWall Street Journal, A Seminary Snubs a Presbyterian Pastor: Princeton Rescinds an Honor to Tim Keller Over His Traditional Theological Views:

Princeton Theological Seminary announced earlier this month that it would award the Rev. Tim Keller its Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness. The seminary lauded Mr. Keller for his commitment to spreading Christianity in cities, his bestselling books on religion, and his work helping to launch hundreds of churches. But thanks to some of his conservative views, Mr. Keller’s warm welcome didn’t last long.

In 1989 Mr. Keller founded Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which is part of the Presbyterian Church in America. The church now has a weekly attendance of around 5,000, and it is particularly popular among young professionals. It also maintains orthodox positions: opposing the ordination of women and practicing LGBT individuals while supporting traditional marriage. This made theologically progressive students, alumni and faculty furious over the decision to honor Mr. Keller. They wrote letters, signed petitions and planned demonstrations to pressure the seminary to rescind the award.

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March 26, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1417:  Satan, Tea Parties, and the IRS

IRS Logo 2Sam Brunson (Loyola-Chicago), Satan, Tea Parties, and the IRS:

Did you hear that the IRS granted a Satanic cult tax-exempt status in ten days?!? Meanwhile, Tea Party groups’ exemption applications languished for months or even years?!?

I know, it sounds pure conspiracy theory: the IRS loves Satan and hates conservatives. But it’s true! Or, at least, kind of! But it needs to be contextualized, because comparing the exemption application of Reason Alliance, Ltd. (the putative Satanic cult) and Tea Party groups is inapposite.

First things first, though: the framing of this “controversy” is purely a product of the Outrage Industrial Complex, as represented by Fox News and Judicial Watch. And I’m sure the invocation of “Satanic cult” is going to get them clicks and shares. But Satanic cult? The Reason Alliance is the tax-exempt offshoot of The Satanic Temple, which strikes me as basically a relatively-clever piece of performance art meant to object to religions enjoying tax-exempt status, and which otherwise functions as a much funnier, and more self-aware, version of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Because The Satanic Temple objects to religions’ exemption from taxation, it has chosen not to pursue tax-exempt status itself. Apparently, though, in the interest of facilitating donations from individuals whose charitable giving is more elastic, it created the Reason Alliance to permit deductible charitable giving.

But the substance of the outrage here isn’t Satan; rather, it’s that Satan could essentially bypass the line (of Tea Party groups, probably) in getting his exemption from tax. ...

But did Satan bypass the line? In a word, no. ...  The Reason Alliance filed a Form 1023-EZ. ... [T]he Reason Alliance merely chose a faster route to exemption.

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March 26, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Muller:  Average Inflation-Adjusted Student Debt Declined At 71% Of Law Schools Over Past Three Years

2018 U.S. News LawFollowing up on last week's post, 2018 U.S News Law School Rankings: Average Student Debt:  Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Most Law Schools Have Become More Affordable in the Last Three Years:

It seems like a crazy headline, but it turns out that the decline in supply of prospective law students has yielded the expected decline in cost at most law schools over the last three years.

A few years ago, I noted that 30 law schools had become more affordable over a three-year period. I thought I'd see what might have changed since then. ...

I calculated 3.0% inflation between 2013 (the class whose debt load is included in the 2015 rankings) and 2016 (the class whose debt load is included in the 2018 rankings) and adjusted the 2013 figures accordingly. The debt figures listed on the site are an average for those who incurred debt; to arrive at a more accurate picture of the debt load of the class as a whole, I then factored in the percentage of students who graduated without any debt to reach an overall average.

Among the 163 schools, 115 saw a decline in overall debt loads; just 48 saw an inflation-adjusted increase.

Thirteen law schools had a 25% or more decline in inflation-adjusted student debt between 2013 and 2016:

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March 25, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Amazon Beats IRS In $1.5 Billion Tax Court Case

Amazon logoSeattle Times, Amazon Wins $1.5 Billion Tax Battle With IRS:

Amazon.com scored a big victory Thursday against the IRS in a case that the company says could have cost it about $1.5 billion [Amazon.com v. Commissioner, 148 T.C. No. 8 (Mar. 23, 2017)].

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March 25, 2017 in IRS News, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

A Day In The Life Of Deanell Tacha

A day in the life of Pepperdine Dean Deanell Tacha:

Thursday morning:  testify before Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C.:
Tacha 1

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March 25, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hickman Presents Restoring The Lost Anti-Injunction Act At British Columbia

Hickman (2017)Kristin Hickman (Minnesota) presented Restoring the Lost Anti-Injunction Act, 103 Va. L. Rev. __ (2017) (with Gerald Kerska (J.D. 2017, Minnesota)), yesterday at University of British Columbia Allard School of Law as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series:

Should Treasury regulations be eligible for pre-enforcement review? The D.C. Circuit’s recent decision in Florida Bankers Association puts its interpretation of the Anti-Injunction Act at odds with both general administrative law norms in favor of pre-enforcement review of final agency action and also the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the nearly identical Tax Injunction Act in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl. In fact, cases interpreting the Anti-Injunction Act more generally are fragmented and inconsistent.

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March 25, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1416:  The Root Problem Is The Law, Not The IRS

Hackney (2017)Philip Hackney (LSU) delivered the Norman A. Sugarman Memorial Lecture in Nonprofit Law at Case Western yesterday on Improving IRS Charity Oversight: Responsible Congressional Delegation, Responsive IRS Rulemaking:

Whether you think it fair or unfair, there is a large segment of American society who believes the IRS targeted conservative groups trying to obtain tax-exempt status from at least 2011-2013, leading to explosive accusations on the professional integrity and political bias of the agency.

In this lecture, Professor Hackney, James E. & Betty M. Phillips Associate Professor of Law, LSU Law Center, will clarify how this charge is unfair or at the least deeply misguided, explaining that root problem is not the alleged political litmus test by the IRS in considering tax exempt status in the charitable sector, but rather the law — both in its construction and implementation.

Congress has provided vague legal standards for the IRS to implement in the tax exempt arena, resulting in costly enforcement attempts that have undermined the public’s confidence that the laws are being enforced in a fair and impartial manner. To solve this issue, Congress should enact standards in this arena, but that the Treasury Department and the IRS ought to implement rules.

This lecture will consider the political, legal, and technical challenges to adopting such a rule-based regime for charity oversight.

See Philip Hackney, Charitable Organization Oversight: Rules v. Standards, 13 Pitt. Tax Rev. 83 (2015).

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March 25, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) discusses a recent Tax Court case denying a couple's claimed $18,000 charitable deduction for used clothing donated to their church.

KristanDeducting that gold mine in your closet.

Thrift shop values. Tax pros might expect Goodwill and Salvation Army to be the largest industrial enterprises in the nation, going by the values clients provide for used clothing they give away. The Tax Court gave us a lesson last week on the sort of tax value you can squeeze out of last year’s wardrobe.

A Colorado couple must have really cleared out the closets and attic in 2013, as they claimed a charitable donation of $18,000 for donation of used clothing to a church. Unfortunately, the court record is light on just what those clothes were:

Other than generalized references to various clothing designers and the quality of the items petitioners claimed to have donated, no details as to the number of specific items donated or the value of any specific item have been provided. Petitioners did not present any written substantiation for the charitable contribution deduction, nor could petitioner recall how the value of the donations was calculated.

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March 24, 2017 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Daniel Hemel (Chicago) reviews a new paper by Wei Cui (University of British Columbia), Taxation Without Information: The Institutional Foundations of Modern Tax Collection.

HemelWei Cui’s new paper, Taxation Without Information: The Institutional Foundations of Modern Tax Collection, challenges the now-conventional wisdom that effective tax collection depends upon third party reporting. Cui suggests that effective tax collection in fact depends upon the existence of business firms for whom compliance with the law—tax as well as non-tax—is the norm. Cui argues that this insight should lead us to rethink our assumptions not only about modern tax collection, but also about modern business firms: “we should stop thinking of business firms as ‘fiscal intermediaries,’” Cui writes, and instead “conceive of firms as sites of social cooperation under the rule of law” (p. 3).

Cui’s paper is ambitious, important, and—I think—largely right. He has persuaded me that third party reporting is not nearly as integral to tax collection as I previously believed. If there is a weak point in his argument, it is this: the evidence he produces in support of his “social cooperation” theory is equally consistent with the claim that business firms facilitate legal compliance precisely because they fail to engender close cooperation among their members.

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March 24, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Ousted Cincinnati Law School Dean Is Exploring Her Legal Options

UC BardFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Cincinnati Enquirer, UC Law School Dean Out For Now, Exploring Legal Options:

The dean of University of Cincinnati's College of Law, Jennifer Bard, was placed on administrative leave Wednesday. Interim provost Peter Landgren made the announcement in an email Wednesday to the law school community. ...

Bard, who joined UC as dean in July 2015, said in a statement she was "surprised at the precipitous action the University took so soon after this matter became public and revealed the deep divisions within the Law School Community and tensions over the use of the school's resources."

Under Bard's leadership, applications grew, more students passed the bar, the school’s national reputation improved, the Board of Trustees approved a new building and fundraising increased, according to Bard.

Bard said she was recruited to reduce a "significant financial deficit" and "establish sound financial controls," which she has made significant progress in doing.

She said Landgren's action raises serious questions about UC's failure to support the financial goals for which she was hired and the due process to which she is entitled. Bard's legal counsel is currently evaluating her legal options, the statement said.

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March 24, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tulane Hosts 7th Annual Tax Roundtable

Tulane (2015)7th Annual Tulane Tax Roundtable:

Lily Batchelder (NYU)
Accounting for Behavioral Considerations in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing
Discussant:  Steve Sheffrin (Tulane)

Daniel Hemel (Chicago)
The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation
Discussant:  Lily Faulhaber (Georgetown)

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March 24, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Minnesota Law Professor Charged In Multi-Million Dollar Corporate Fraud Scheme

AdamsEdward Adams, Howard E. Buhse Professor of Finance and Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, has been indicted for stealing $4.4 million from investors and paying $2.5 million to his own law firm.

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March 24, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1415:  ‘Media Attention’ And IRS Abuse

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal op-ed: ‘Media Attention’ and IRS Abuse: A Simple Rule Fix Could End Partisan Targeting Tomorrow, by John J. (President & CEO, Cause of Action Institute):

The Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Americans for their political views may have ended with the Obama administration — or even with its exposure in 2013. But it could easily recur. Even now, an internal IRS rule singles out applicants for nonprofit status who might be tied to anything newsworthy.

The genesis of the targeting scandal was Section 7.29.3 of the Internal Revenue Manual. As noted in a report my organization is issuing Wednesday, this manual dictates how IRS employees handle everything from customer service to criminal investigations. This particular section tells them to flag for further review any application for tax-exempt status that might “attract media or Congressional attention.”

That’s a broad, vague and subjective command that career IRS employees are nevertheless required to follow. Emails between IRS personnel make clear that low-level employees were guided by this rule throughout the targeting scandal. They repeatedly cited “media attention” on the Tea Party as the reason to single out and delay applications from conservative groups.

This rule means that IRS enforcement reflects the ideological biases of the media. Aside from a small number of groups related to the Occupy Wall Street movement and the defunct advocacy group Acorn, libertarian and free-market groups were almost exclusively targeted.

These provisions of the IRS manual have nothing to do with the merits of a nonprofit application and everything to do with keeping the agency from looking bad. It is inappropriate for a group’s tax-exempt status to be deep-sixed because of negative publicity. In the targeting scandal, this approach allowed partisan concerns to overtake the application process, resulting in the unfair treatment of political viewpoints at odds with the Obama administration.

Equal justice under the law demands that the IRS abandon the “newsworthy” criterion. To date, however, the agency has promised only to stop making lists of targeted groups “until further notice.” Even if the halt were permanent, it wouldn’t be enough. IRS officials are still required to follow the manual and pull high-profile applications for enhanced scrutiny.

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March 24, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Robinson Presents State Income Tax Law In The Shadow Of The Internal Revenue Code Today At Indiana

Robinson (2017)Mildred Robinson (Virginia) presents Irreconcilable Differences?: State Income Tax Law in the Shadow of the Internal Revenue Code at Indiana-Bloomington today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

[T]his paper will proceed in four parts. Part I provides a brief history of states’ experience with taxing incomes beginning prior to the enactment of the 16th amendment to the United States constitution and ending with the present. I will touch upon early individual state efforts to tax personal incomes. A salient part of this discussion will highlight the political factors likely to have contributed to states’ decisions to conform to (and not piggy-back onto) the federal internal revenue code. This part will also highlight the ways in which state codes began to depart from the federal code with emphasis on those differences contributing even early on to the regressive effect captured by data currently analyzed by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

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March 23, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Want To Buy A Law School (or Three) On The Cheap? InfiLaw May Have A Deal For You.

ACFABA Journal, Can InfiLaw Schools Be Had on the Cheap, and Would They Be Worth It?:

Sterling Partners may be unloading all three of its for-profit InfiLaw System schools, say some consultants after the announcement that Charlotte School of Law, which is currently on probation for being out of compliance with ABA accreditation standards, plans to affiliate with a nonprofit college in the Northeast. ...

Earlier this month, Arizona Summit Law School announced it will sign an affiliation agreement with Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college in Florida. And in January, Scott DeVito, dean of Florida Coastal School of Law, told Jacksonville.com that the school hoped to join a nonprofit university. At this point, Florida Coastal is in conversations with “select universities,” DeVito told the ABA Journal Thursday, but no agreement has been reached.

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March 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Anthony Kronman, The Sage of Yale Law School: 'A Born-Again Pagan'

PaganThe New Yorker, The Sage of Yale Law:

Anthony Kronman, age seventy-one, may be the world’s most fulfilled man. A professor at Yale Law School for thirty-eight years, he has a happy marriage and four children. He swims a mile every day and is an expert fisherman with rod and spear. He lives in an impeccably decorated house worthy of Architectural Digest. He has written six books, about law, legal ethics, and education, and, last year, published his seventh, an eleven-hundred-page exploration of his personal theology, called Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan [Yale University Press 2016]. By integrating the ideas of many of the world’s great thinkers—Aristotle, Aquinas, Augustine, Spinoza, and others—he has found “a third way, beyond atheism and religion, to the God of the modern world.” He suspects that he might have found the meaning of life.

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March 23, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rossi:  Carbon Taxation By Regulation

Jim Rossi (Vanderbilt), Carbon Taxation by Regulation, 102 Minn. L. Rev. ___ (2018):

This Article argues that, even though a carbon tax remains politically elusive, “carbon taxation by regulation” has begun to flourish as a way of financing carbon reduction. For more than a century, energy rate setting has been used to promote public good and redistributive goals, akin to general financial taxation. Various non-tax subsidies in customer energy rates have enormous untapped potential for promoting low-carbon sources of energy, while also balancing broader economic and social welfare goals.

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March 23, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Provost Removes Cincinnati Law School Dean Less Than Two Years Into Her Five-Year Term

UC BardFollowing up on my previous posts:

From: Landgren, Peter (landgrpe)
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:24 PM
Subject: College of Law Leadership

Dear College of Law Community,

After much deliberation and after many conversations with the dean and many of you who are part of the College of Law community, I have met with Dean Jennifer Bard today and taken steps to place her on administrative leave effective immediately.

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March 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

NPR:  Joe Bankman, Tax Hero

BankmanNPR Planet Money, Tax Hero:

Imagine if you had to pay your credit card bill the way you pay your taxes.

Each month, Visa would send you a blank form. The form would instruct you to gather all your receipts, write down every purchase you had made, and calculate the total amount you owed Visa.

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March 23, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Most Beautiful College In Every State

Travel+Leisure, The Most Beautiful College in Every State:

When selecting the most enchanting school in every state, we considered the setting and scenery; the design of the buildings ... ; and the upkeep of the campus grounds. And we took plenty of other details into account, too, including knowledge from campus visits, in-depth virtual tours, first-person references and word of mouth, extensive general research, and hours upon hours of examining campuses from images shot at just about every imaginable angle.

Sure, picking the most beautiful college in every state of the union isn’t an exact science. And some states have so many absurdly gorgeous schools that the final decision almost felt like a toss-up. But for travelers seeking an all-around positive experience — whether you're on a college tour with the kids or looking for a place to wander on a balmy afternoon — these scholarly institutes all get top marks for good looks.

Pepperdine

Pepperdine University in California

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March 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gamage & Shanske:  Why A State-Level Carbon Tax Can Include Border Adjustments

David Gamage (Indiana) and Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), Why a State-Level Carbon Tax Can Include Border Adjustments, 83 State Tax Notes 583 (Feb. 13, 2017):

This essay argues that U.S. state governments can permissibly levy state-level carbon taxes with border tax adjustments.

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March 23, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ring Presents Leak-Driven Law Today At Boston College

Ring (2017)Diane Ring (Boston College) presents Leak-Driven Law, 65 UCLA L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2018) (with Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane; moving to Boston College)) at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

Over the past decade, a number of well-publicized data leaks have revealed the secret offshore holdings of high-net-worth individuals and multinational taxpayers, leading to a sea change in cross-border tax enforcement. Spurred by leaked data, tax authorities have prosecuted offshore tax cheats, attempted to recoup lost revenues, enacted new laws, and signed international agreements that promote “sunshine” and exchange of financial information between countries.

The conventional wisdom is that data leaks enable tax authorities to detect and punish offshore tax evasion more effectively, and that leaks are therefore socially beneficial from an economic welfare perspective. This Article argues, however, that the conventional wisdom is too simplistic.

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March 22, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shanske Presents Equitable Apportionment And The State Corporate Income Tax Today At Duke

Shanske (2017)Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) presents Equitable Apportionment and the State Corporate Income Tax: Past, Present and Possible Future at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

What a tough break for formulary apportionment. We are at a moment when there is apparently a real interest in reforming the federal corporate income tax in a way that, at least in theory, would broaden the base of the tax and encourage exporters. Shifting to the use of formulary apportionment with a single sales factor (SSF) could theoretically achieve these goals and there is at least one well-developed reform proposal to that end on the table. Moreover, over 40 states impose a corporate income tax and they have used formulas for a very long time, and so there is a track record and case law to work with. But this is not — yet — formulary apportionment’s moment.

This is the moment for the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax (DBCFT), which relies on border tax adjustments (BTAs).

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March 22, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yariv Brauner Named To Hugh Culverhouse Eminent Scholar Chair At Florida

BraunerYariv Brauner has been named to the Hugh Culverhouse Eminent Scholar chair at Florida:

Professor Brauner has been a member of the UF Law faculty, teaching in the Graduate Tax Program, since 2006. Prior to joining UF, he taught at the Arizona State University College of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, and New York University School of Law, from which he received both an LL.M. in International Taxation and an S.J.D. degree.

A prolific scholar focusing principally on international taxation, Professor Brauner is the author of more than 60 books and articles and has presented papers at over a hundred conferences and law schools around the world.

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March 22, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Avi-Yonah Posts Two Tax Papers on SSRN

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Haiyan Xu (Michigan), A Global Treaty Override? The New OECD Multilateral Tax Instrument and Its Limits:

The new OECD Multilateral Instrument to amend tax treaties (MLI) is an important innovation in international law. Hitherto, international economic law was built primarily on bilateral treaties (e.g., tax treaties and BITs) or multilateral treaties (the WTO agreements). The problem is that in some areas, like tax and investment, multilateral treaties proved hard to negotiate, but only a multilateral treaty can be amended simultaneously by all its signatories.

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March 22, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cincinnati Dean Says 'Small Cabal' Of Tenured Faculty Is Seeking Her Ouster Because Of Her Attempt To Balance Law School's Budget

UC BardFollowing up on Monday's post, Cincinnati Law School Dean Under Fire From Faculty: Ouster, Vote Of No Confidence Discussed As Provost Unveils 6-Month Plan To 'Restore Mutual Trust And Respect' And Dean Lawyers Up:  Cincinnati Business Courier, UC Law Dean Responds to Call For Her Ouster:

The University of Cincinnati's College of Law dean said calls for her ouster from a "small but vocal cabal" of faculty result from steps she has taken to tackle the college's deficit.

Jennifer Bard said that in a statement in response to a March 19 Business Courier story about a group of faculty planning to take a vote of no confidence in the dean based on documents provided by the university through a public records request. The documents show that a group of at least nine law professors discussed holding a vote of no confidence in Bard as early as Nov. 22, 2016. Interim provost Peter Landgren responded by sending law school faculty a six-month plan to "restore mutual trust and respect." ...

Bard said in her statement that she was hired in 2015 "with the express written expectation that my principal responsibility was to develop and implement a plan to eliminate the very considerable financial deficit at the College of Law." ...

Bard said she has made significant progress in cutting the deficit but that rankled a small group of faculty.

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March 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Schmalbeck, Soled & Thomas:  The Case For A Carryover Tax Basis Regime

Richard Schmalbeck (Duke), Jay A. Soled (Rutgers) & Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), Advocating A Carryover Tax Basis Regime (At Least for Now), 92 Notre Dame L. Rev. ___ (2017):

For close to a century, an important (but unfortunate) feature of the Internal Revenue Code has been a rule that the tax basis of any asset is made equal to its fair market value at death. Notwithstanding the substantial revenue losses associated with this rule, Congress has retained it for reasons of administrative convenience.

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March 22, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

NY Times:  Sorry, A Robot Is Not About To Replace Your Lawyer

Robot Lawyer 2Following up on my previous posts:

New York Times, Sorry, a Robot Is Not About to Replace Your Lawyer:

Impressive advances in artificial intelligence technology tailored for legal work have led some lawyers to worry that their profession may be Silicon Valley’s next victim.

But recent research and even the people working on the software meant to automate legal work say the adoption of A.I. in law firms will be a slow, task-by-task process. In other words, like it or not, a robot is not about to replace your lawyer. At least, not anytime soon.

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March 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Byrnes & Munro:  Background And Current Status Of FATCA

LexisWilliam Byrnes (Texas A&M) & Robert J. Munro (Texas A&M), Background and Current Status of FATCA, in LexisNexis Guide to FATCA & CRS Compliance (5th ed., 2017):

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, referred to as FATCA, does not operate in a global tax vacuum. It is nearly impossible to comprehend fully its impact unless its highly technical procedural provisions are viewed in context. This introductory chapter will provide certain background information necessary to understand FATCA, its offspring like the OECD's CRS, and the impact of these initiatives.

FATCA's ostensible purpose was to act as an additional tax revenue source to offset additional spending in the HIRE Act of 2010. FATCA was passed on the unsubstantiated basis that “each year, the United States loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenue due to offshore tax abuses.” However, the total amount of the offset revenue from FATCA was only projected to $8.714 billion for the ten year period of 2010 to 2020. This chapter explores the revenue raised until 2017 and the offsetting compliance costs.

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March 22, 2017 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hemel Presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation Today At Georgetown

HemelDaniel Hemel (Chicago) presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg.

This essay considers the distributional consequences of the Supreme Court’s federalism jurisprudence over the past quarter century, focusing specifically on the anticommandeering, anti-coercion, and state sovereign immunity doctrines. The first of these doctrines prevents Congress from compelling the states to administer federal programs; the second prevents Congress from achieving the same result through offers that for practical purposes the states cannot refuse; the third prohibits Congress from abrogating state sovereign immunity outside a limited class of cases. These doctrines vest the states with valuable entitlements and allow the states to sell those entitlements back to Congress for a price. In this respect, the doctrines have an intergovernmental distributional effect, shifting wealth from the federal government to the states.

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March 21, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will Law Schools Experience A Late 'Trump Bump' This Admissions Cycle?

TrumpFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): National Law Journal, The 'Trump Bump' for Law Schools Is (Kind of) a Thing:

Is the Trump administration's early turmoil a gift to legal education?

Pundits have speculated that Washington's recent turbulence will spur a surge in law school applicants, given the armies of lawyers—hailed by many as defenders of democracy—that assembled at airports around the country in the wake of President Donald Trump's so-called Muslim ban.

Despite the hype, most law schools have yet to see a significant Trump bump, though some report that recent political events are foremost in the minds of many of this year's applicants. Admissions officials at law schools who have seen an increase in applications say it's difficult to attribute that rise to any one factor, but they allow that Trump is one of the many variables contributing to greater interest in the law, from both his supporters and those who oppose his policies.

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March 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Bird-Pollan:  Utilitarianism And Wealth Transfer Taxation

Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky), Utilitarianism and Wealth Transfer Taxation, 69 Ark. L. Rev. 695 (2016):

This article is the third in a series examining the continued relevance and philosophical legitimacy of the United States wealth transfer tax system from within a particular philosophical perspective [Death, Taxes, and Property (Rights): Nozick, Libertarianism, and the Estate Tax, 66 Maine L. Rev. 1 (2013); Unseating Privilege: Rawls, Equality of Opportunity, and Wealth Transfer Taxation, 59 Wayne L. Rev. 713 (2014);]. The article examines the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill and his philosophical progeny and distinguishes the philosophical approach of utilitarianism from contemporary welfare economics, primarily on the basis of the concept of “utility” in each approach.

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March 21, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dean Of 'Beleaguered' Charlotte Law School Steps Down; Interim Dean Named

Charlotte Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below): Charlotte Observer, Top Charlotte School of Law Leader Steps Down:

With his school’s future hanging in the balance, the dean of the beleaguered Charlotte School of Law is stepping down.

Jay Conison has led the uptown, for-profit school for almost four years. Charlotte Law announced his departure with a four-paragraph statement Monday afternoon. Conison will remain on the faculty, the statement said. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Scott Broyles, a former federal prosecutor who joined the Charlotte faculty in 2006.

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March 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Best And Worst States For Business: 90% Of The Top 10 Voted For Trump; 80% Of The Bottom 10 Voted For Clinton

Robert W. McGee (Fayetteville State University), The First McGee Annual Report on the Best and Worst States for Business:

This study is the first annual McGee Report on the best and worst states for business. The fifty states are ranked based on the extent to which they facilitate business creation and expansion. This study incorporated the data collected from five other studies, which included the examination of hundreds of variables. Utah was found to be the most business friendly state; California was least business friendly. States that voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election tended to be more business friendly than states that voted Democratic.

Top 10

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March 21, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (30)

Georgetown Hosts Conference Today On Understanding The House GOP Healthcare Reform Bill

OneillThe Georgetown O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law hosts a conference today on “Repeal and Replace” the Affordable Care Act: Understanding the House GOP Healthcare Reform Bill:

This forum will explain the key features of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the House Republican’s bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the effects of the AHCA on the tax system, the insured (and uninsured) populations, and the national budget. Experts in health law and policy, tax law and policy, social insurance programs, and budget policy will discuss the details of the bill, how it differs from the ACA, the intricacies of Congressional rules and the procedures that are driving the bill’s structure, and the overall state of health care policy in the United States. 

Panel 1:  Taxes and Transfers:

  • Lily Batchelder (NYU), Deficit, Distributional, Coverage, & Premium Effects of the AHCA 
  • John R. Brooks (Georgetown), Tax Credits and Redistribution Under the ACA and the AHCA 
  • Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown), Taxes and Transfers Under the ACA

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March 21, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kleinbard Presents The Economic And Social Consequences Of Tax Reform At Loyola

Kleinbard (2015)Edward Kleinbard (USC) presented The Economic and Social Consequences of Tax Reform last night at Loyola Marymount University College of Business Administration's Center for Accounting Ethics, Governance, and the Public Interest's Distinguished Speaker Series (flyer):

Wide-ranging tax reform is a tax priority for Congressional Republican leaders and President Trump. Professor Kleinbard will discuss the implications of proposed tax changes for the economy, social programs, and inequality.

March 21, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  Chief Justice Roberts Considers The Case Of Tom Sawyer

Tom SawyerNew York Times: Chief Justice Roberts Considers the Case of Tom Sawyer, by Adam Liptak:

Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain’s fictional rapscallion, turned up on Wednesday night in the ballroom of a fancy Washington hotel. No stranger to adventures and indignities, he was there to endure something new and distinctively American: a lawsuit.

A lighthearted Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. presided over the case, brought by several boys, played by actors, who had come to regret whitewashing Aunt Polly’s fence. Tom’s guile in persuading them to do his work, they said, amounted to fraudulent misrepresentation.

The boys, though of limited means, had somehow managed to hire Paul D. Clement, a legal superstar, to represent them. But Mr. Clement faced an uphill fight.

“Your clients are not blameless in this affair,” Chief Justice Roberts said. “They don’t come here with clean hands. Their purpose in approaching Mr. Sawyer was to taunt him.”

Mr. Clement, who appears frequently before the chief justice in actual Supreme Court arguments, said he worried that his clients — Ben Rogers, Johnny Miller and Billy Fisher — could not get a fair hearing given Tom’s celebrity.

“We don’t play favorites for famous people,” Mr. Clement said. “The law is supposed to treat the Tom Sawyers of the world and the Ben Rogerses of the world the same.”

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March 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hemel Presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation Today At NYU

HemelDaniel Hemel (Chicago) presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

This essay considers the distributional consequences of the Supreme Court’s federalism jurisprudence over the past quarter century, focusing specifically on the anticommandeering, anti-coercion, and state sovereign immunity doctrines. The first of these doctrines prevents Congress from compelling the states to administer federal programs; the second prevents Congress from achieving the same result through offers that for practical purposes the states cannot refuse; the third prohibits Congress from abrogating state sovereign immunity outside a limited class of cases. These doctrines vest the states with valuable entitlements and allow the states to sell those entitlements back to Congress for a price. In this respect, the doctrines have an intergovernmental distributional effect, shifting wealth from the federal government to the states.

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March 20, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)