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Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekly Tax Roundup

 Weekly Roundup

May 16, 2014 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

May 16, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

May 16, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Christians: Avoidance, Evasion, and Taxpayer Morality

Allison Christians (McGill), Avoidance, Evasion, and Taxpayer Morality, 44 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y ___ (2014):

WashUIn popular discourse, tax evasion by wealthy individuals is conflated with tax avoidance by multinational corporations to tell a single story about tax dodging and its negative impact on society. But conflating avoidance and evasion muddies the tax policy waters in important ways by turning legal obligations into moral ones. This Essay, prepared in connection with the Washington University School of Law colloquium on Conceptualizing a New Institutional Framework for International Taxation, makes the case for caution in using morality as a stop-gap measure to avoid drawing a regulated line between tax evasion and tax avoidance, while still meting out punishment within the undefined space between these two poles. It acknowledges the political gains derived from the rhetoric of morality but argues that the alternate view — that taxpayer behavior must ultimately be managed by law rather than social sanction — has the best chance of driving tax policy toward greater coherence in the long run because it makes the best case for more transparency in both lawmaking and the consequences of legislative decisions.

May 16, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

IRS Seeks Grant Applications for Funding for Low Income Taxpayer Clinics

IRS Logo 2The IRS announced yesterday (IR-2014-63) that it is accepting grant applications for Low Income Taxpayer Clinics for the 2015 grant cycle (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2015). Applications will be accepted through June 20, 2014. The LITC program awards matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to qualifying organizations to develop, expand, or maintain a low income taxpayer clinic. 

The IRS welcomes all applications and will ensure that each application receives full consideration. The IRS is particularly interested in receiving applications from organizations that will operate in areas that are currently underserved.

Currently underserved areas are as follows:

Identified Underserved Areas

States and Territories

Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Puerto Rico

Metropolitan Areas

Los Angeles, Calif., including the following counties:

Los Angeles, Kern, Riverside, Ventura

Sacramento, Calif., including the following counties:

El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus

Northern Virginia, including the following counties:

Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, Prince William

May 16, 2014 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Firms in Transition

Altman Weil, Law Firms in Transition:

Large majorities of law firm leaders responding to the survey agree that greater price competition, practice efficiency, commoditization of legal work, competition from nontraditional service providers, and non-hourly billing are all permanent changes in the legal landscape. For the most part, these are changes that have been imposed upon them from without – from more demanding clients and more competitive newcomers who are challenging the rules of legal service delivery.

Each year since 2011 when we first asked the question, more than 90% of firm leaders have said they believe there is a permanent market shift requiring greater efficiency in the delivery of legal services.

When asked if growth in lawyer headcount was a requirement for continued success, just 49% of firm leaders said yes, down 6% from 2013. Numbers for net change in 2013 lawyer headcount seem to support this finding for the most part. Median responses from all survey participants showed a 2% increase in non-equity partners, a 1% increase in partner-track associates, and no net change for equity partners, non-partner track associates and other full-time lawyers.

Two-thirds of law firm leaders think the pace of change in the profession is still increasing. Another 30% believe it will remain at its current pace (which is not inconsiderable).

An ongoing drag on firm leaders’ ability to lead change is found in their partners who are often unaware of the ways in which the profession is changing or who simply don’t want to do things differently. Leaders rate their partners overall awareness of and adaptability to change at a median of ‘6’ on a 0 to 10 scale in both of these areas.

AW

(Hat Tip:  Wall Street Journal Law Blog.)

May 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

TIGTA: 47% of Alimony Deductions Claimed Don't Match Alimony Income Reported to IRS

TIGTA The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration yesterday Significant Discrepancies Exist Between Alimony Deductions Claimed by Payers and Income Reported by Recipients (2014-40-022):

Individuals who pay alimony can deduct the amount paid from income on their tax return to reduce the amount of tax an individual must pay. Conversely, individuals who receive alimony must claim the amount received as income on their tax return. TIGTA initiated this audit to evaluate the alimony reporting gap and to assess controls the IRS has in place to promote reporting compliance.

Processes have not been developed to address the majority of discrepancies between alimony deductions claimed and income reported. TIGTA’s analysis of the 567,887 Tax Year 2010 returns with an alimony deduction claim identified 266,190 (47 percent) tax returns in which it appears that individuals claimed alimony deductions for which income was not reported on a corresponding recipient’s tax return or the amount of alimony income reported did not agree with the amount of the deduction taken. There is a discrepancy of more than $2.3 billion in deductions claimed without corresponding income reported.

May 16, 2014 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 372

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May 16, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blank Presents Reconsidering Corporate Tax Privacy Today at Oxford

BlankJoshua D. Blank (NYU) presents Reconsidering Corporate Tax Privacy, 11 N.Y.U. J. L. & Bus. ___ (2014), at a conference today in London on Tax Risk Management: New Approaches to Tax Compliance organized by Michael Devereux, Judith Freedman, and John Vella and hosted by the Oxford Centre for Business Taxation:

For over a century, politicians, government officials and scholars in the United States have debated whether corporate tax returns, which are currently subject to broad tax privacy rules, should be made publicly accessible. Throughout this age-old debate, participants have speculated about how corporate managers and the IRS might behave differently if they knew that the public could observe corporations’ tax returns and how investors and the general public would respond if they had access to this information. There is, however, another, unexplored perspective: how could seeing other corporations’ tax returns affect how corporate managers engage in tax planning and tax return preparation for their own corporations?

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May 15, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Is the Value of an NYU Tax LLM? $1 Billion?

Sports Illustrated, Best Sports Deal Ever? How the Silnas Outsmarted the NBA:

SpiritsThere was no official death notice. The documents are sealed, there will be no autopsy. This will have to pass as the obituary. But after lingering on its deathbed, the great golden goose of the sports world was finally killed off last month. The cause of death: a complex and confidential settlement agreement. The chief survivors, brothers Ozzie and Daniel Silna, surely mourn, but they must take solace knowing that their $1 million investment in a sports team that went out of business nearly 40 years ago turned into more than $1 billion.

In 1974 the Silnas, East Coast garment magnates, bought an ABA franchise and moved it to St. Louis. The Spirits were a lovably dysfunctional collective that lasted only two seasons. ...

At the end of the 1975-76 campaign, ... [t] here were only seven teams left, and in the off-season four joined the NBA -- the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets and San Antonio Spurs. The Virginia Squires simply folded. The owner of the Kentucky Colonels, John Y. Brown, accepted a $3.3 million payout to close up shop. (By decade's end Brown had become the Bluegrass State's governor.)

That left the Spirits. The franchise was unwanted by the NBA, but the aggrieved Silnas were unwilling to take a lump-sum payment to go away. With the help of their lawyer, Donald Schupak [Tax LL.M. 1970, NYU], the brothers cut a deal: The four ABA teams decamping to the NBA would make a one-time payment to the Silnas of $2.23 million, and they would pay the brothers one-seventh of their national broadcast revenues in perpetuity.

All first-year law students worth their highlighters know the danger of contracts without termination periods. The NBA's outside counsel -- including a young lawyer, David Stern -- saw this and tried to indemnify the league from disputes that might arise from the contract.

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May 15, 2014 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

American Generosity, State by State

FiveThirtyEight:  American Generosity, State by State:

[W]e have two different measures of generosity for each state. The philanthropy study shows the total amount donated in each state in 2008 (which we can use to calculate per capita donations), while the Gallup poll shows the percentage of people who say they have given money. This comparison doesn’t show that those in certain states are lying — it merely highlights the difference between how many people say they have given to charity and a rough estimate of how much people are actually digging into their pockets. Do they correlate?

At the top of the most-charitable list, survey responses and giving match up. As a state, Utah gave $2.4 billion in 2012; that doesn’t seem like much compared with other places (Tennessee gave $2.7 billion), but Utah’s annual donations per capita ($827) were the highest in the country.

538

May 15, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Abusing Donor Intent: The Robertson Family's Epic Lawsuit Against Princeton University

Philanthropy News Digest, Abusing Donor Intent: The Robertson Family's Epic Lawsuit Against Princeton University:

AbusingIt's no surprise that wealthy donors and foundations seek out organizations and institutions that share their own passions and interests. But what do donors really expect from a nonprofit grantee in the long run? In the performance-measured, accountability-driven world of twenty-first century philanthropy, grantee reporting is de rigueur. For most nonprofits chasing after scarce dollars (and hoping for future gifts), the willingness and ability to demonstrate that they've aligned themselves with a donor's intent goes without saying. But what happens when a donor, after many years of happy engagement with an organization or institution, begins to believe that the original intent of the gift is no longer being honored? Our intuition tells us that, at some level, gifts/grants/donations involve a leap of faith, and that when the trust between donor and recipient is compromised, the recipient is unlikely to receive additional future gifts from that donor. A donor or foundation might even go public with its disappointment in order to discourage others from making gifts to the recipient. But rarely does a foundation or donor who has become disenchanted with a recipient ask for their money back. Which raises the question: Should they be able to? And does a statute of limitations ever apply in such a situation?

Those are two of the questions Doug White, a well-known expert in the fields of philanthropy and nonprofit management, tackles in Abusing Donor Intent: The Robertson Family's Epic Lawsuit Against Princeton University. Just as White earlier explored a rogues' gallery of swindlers and incompetent trustees in Charity on Trial, here he invites the reader to look behind the curtain of privilege and wealth, this time to learn just how bad things can get when a donor and beneficiary no longer see eye-to-eye. Informed by the slow burn of a decades-old frustration, not to mention the disposition of hundreds of millions of dollars and the reputation of one of America's oldest and most respected universities, Abusing Donor Intent is equal parts thriller and cautionary tale.

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May 15, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Soled & Gans: Drawing the Line Between Permissible and Impermissible Tax-Savings Clauses

Jay A. Soled (Rutgers) & Mitchell Gans (Hofstra), The Public Policy Doctrine: Drawing the Line Between Permissible and Impermissible Tax-Savings Clauses, 80 Tenn. L. Rev. 655 (2013):

Over a half-century ago, the Fourth Circuit in Commissioner v. Procter fashioned out of whole cloth what has become known as the public policy doctrine. This doctrine declares void certain tax-savings clauses--those clauses that taxpayers strategically use to negate the risk of additional taxes, interest, and penalties--that simultaneously undermine the ability of the IRS to enforce the tax laws and thwart the judiciary's ability to render justice. As taxpayers have tested the boundaries of the public policy doctrine via their continued use of select tax-savings clauses, the public policy doctrine has evolved. In this analysis, we first explore taxpayers' use of such tax-savings clauses. Next, we review the courts' responses to taxpayers' actions and critique these responses. Finally, we lay the groundwork for the institution of important reform measures in this area of the law. We acknowledge that, in some instances, taxpayers have legitimate reasons to use tax-savings clauses. In many instances, however, reliance upon such clauses poses either a serious public policy threat whereby the very administration of the tax system is at stake or a less serious, but nevertheless important, policy concern whereby taxpayers can readily circumvent their bona fide tax obligations. A line therefore needs to be drawn between permissible and impermissible tax-savings clauses; this line must strike the appropriate balance between the taxpayers' quest for certainty and the IRS's mission to secure tax compliance.

May 15, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fleischer: Why Hedge Funds Don’t Worry About Carried Interest Tax Rules

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times DealBook:  Why Hedge Funds Don’t Worry About Carried Interest Tax Rules, by Victor Fleischer (San Diego):

Hedge fund managers don’t use the carried interest tax loophole. They need something more exotic. ...

Until recently, many fund managers would defer a portion of their fees in a Cayman Islands corporation, which would act as the equivalent of a titanic tax-deferred retirement account. Congress closed that loophole in 2009, although some investments parked offshore will not be deemed repatriated (and will not be taxed) until 2017.

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May 15, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charleston Law School Faculty Oppose Sale to InfiLaw

Charleston LogoFollowing up on my prior posts (links below):  Charleston Post and Courier, Public Hearing Friday on License for InfiLaw to Run Charleston School of Law:

Many Charleston School of Law faculty members are making a last-ditch effort to stop the sale of the school to InfiLaw System. 

Two groups of faculty members last week sent letters to the state Commission on Higher Education, encouraging members not to grant the for-profit InfiLaw a license to operate the law school.

The commission earlier this month was expected to vote on whether to grant InfiLaw a license to operate the private Charleston school. But its Academic Affairs and Licensing Committee deferred the matter, and then scheduled two public hearings to get more input before it makes a final decision. One of those hearings will be held Friday morning. ...

Charleston School of Law faculty members Randall Bridwell and Gerald Finkel already have spoken out publicly against the sale, a move they think would harm the Charleston school. Last week, eight other faculty members joined Bridwell and Finkel in sending a letter to the commission, encouraging members not to support a license for InfiLaw.

In the letter, faculty members said under InfiLaw, the school's sense of community would be replaced with "a culture of intimidation and fear." They also said InfiLaw schools had lower standards than those of the Charleston school. "We do not wish to see the Charleston School of Law mirror the admissions practices, attrition rates, transfer rates, or educational programs at the InfiLaw consortium schools," the letter stated.

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May 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Small Business Tax Index 2014

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Small Business Tax Index 2014: Best to Worst State Tax Systems for Entrepreneurship and Small Business:

Small BusinessThe Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s “Small Business Tax Index 2014” ranks the states from best to worst in terms of the costs of their tax systems on entrepreneurship and small business. This year’s edition of the Index pulls together 21 different tax measures, and combines those into one tax score that allows the 50 states to be compared and ranked.

The 21 measures are: 1) state’s top personal income tax rate, 2) state’s top individual capital gains tax rate, 3) state’s top tax rate on dividends and interest, 4) state’s top corporate income tax rate, 5) state’s top corporate capital gains tax rate, 6) any added income tax on S-Corporations, 7) whether or not the state imposes an alternative minimum tax on individuals, 8) whether or not the state imposes an alternative minimum tax on corporations, 9) whether or not the state’s personal income tax brackets are indexed for inflation, 10) the progressivity of the state’s personal income tax brackets, 11), the progressivity of the state’s corporate income tax brackets, 12) property taxes, 13) consumption-based taxes (i.e., sales, gross receipts and excise taxes), 14) whether or not the state imposes a death tax, 15) unemployment taxes, 16) whether or not the state has a tax limitation mechanism, 17) whether or not the state imposes an Internet access tax, 18) remote seller taxes, 19) gas tax, 20) diesel tax, and 21) wireless taxes.

Here are the Top 10 and Bottom 10 states:

1. Nevada
2. South Dakota
3. Texas
4. Wyoming
5. Washington
6. Florida
7. Alabama
8. Ohio
9. Colorado
10. Alaska
...
41. Connecticut
42. Oregon
43. Vermont
44. Maine
45. New York
46. Iowa
47. Hawaii
48. New Jersey
49. Minnesota
50. California

Taxable Talk, Once Again, Bring Me the Usual Suspects: 2014 Small Business Tax Index

May 15, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

'You Can Do Anything With a Law Degree'

Slate:  “You Can Do Anything With a Law Degree”:  That’s What Everyone Says. Turns Out Everyone’s Wrong, by Jim Saska (J.D., Georgetown):

When I was considering going to law school, I asked my dad for some advice. What if I don’t like being an attorney? What if I don’t end up like The West Wing’s Sam Seaborn, jumping between a lucrative private practice and rewarding government work? “Don’t worry,” said my usually sagacious father, “you can do anything with a law degree.”

My dad isn’t an attorney. But now I am, and let me assure you: My dad didn’t know what he was talking about.

Everyone who has ever considered law school has heard some variant of “you can do anything with a law degree.” Of course, this statement isn’t technically true. You can’t practice medicine with it, for example, unless you also have a medical degree (which, to the delight of Sallie Mae, some J.D.s also have). But the more general sentiment, that a law degree will afford you a wide range of opportunities, is also total BS.

Getting a J.D. means you can call yourself a lawyer. That’s it. Besides the approval of Jewish mothers (who prefer doctors anyway) and a drinking problem, it won’t give you anything else. And it sure as hell won’t help you get a nonlegal job. ...

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May 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

The IRS Scandal, Day 371

Judicial Watch, New Documents Show IRS HQ Control of Tea Party Targeting:

Judicial Watch today released a new batch of IRS documents revealing that its handling of Tea Party applications was directed out of the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC.  The documents also show extensive pressure on the IRS by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to shut down conservative-leaning tax-exempt organizations. The IRS’ emails by Lois Lerner detail her misleading explanations to investigators about the targeting of Tea Party organizations. ...

“These new documents show that officials in the IRS headquarters were responsible for the illegal delays of Tea Party applications,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is disturbing to see Lois Lerner mislead the IRS’ internal investigators about her office’s Tea Party targeting. These documents also confirm the unprecedented pressure from congressional Democrats to go after President Obama’s political opponents. The IRS scandal has now ensnared Congress.”

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May 15, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blank Presents Collateral Compliance Today at Oxford

BlankJoshua D. Blank (NYU) presents Collateral Compliance, 162 U. Pa. L. Rev. 719 (2014), at the University of Oxford Faculty of Law today as part of its Centre for Business Taxation Research Seminar hosted by Judith Freedman:

As most of us are aware, the failure to comply with the tax law can lead to tax penalties, which almost always take the form of monetary sanctions. But tax noncompliance has other consequences as well. Collateral sanctions for tax noncompliance — which apply on top of traditional tax penalties and revoke or deny government-provided benefits — increasingly apply to individuals who have failed to obey the tax law. They range from denial of hunting permits to suspension of driver’s licenses to revocation of passports. Further, as the recent Supreme Court case Kawashima v. Holder demonstrates, some individuals who are subject to tax penalties for committing tax offenses involving “fraud or deceit” may even face deportation from the United States.

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May 14, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Female CFOs Are Less Tax Aggressive Than Male CFOs

Bill Francis (RPI), Iftekhar Hasan (Fordham), Qiang Wu (RPI) & Meng Yan (Fordham), Are Female CFOs Less Tax Aggressive? Evidence from Tax Aggressiveness:

CFOThis paper investigates the effect of CFO gender on corporate tax aggressiveness. Focusing on firms that experience a male-to-female CFO transition, the paper compares those firms’ degree of tax aggressiveness during the pre- and post-transition periods. Using the probability of tax sheltering, the predicted unrecognized tax benefits, and the permanent book-tax differences to measure tax aggressiveness, we find that female CFOs are associated with less tax aggressiveness as compared to their male counterparts. The main findings are supported by additional tests based on propensity score matching, difference-in-difference tests, and tests with a female-to-male CFO transition sample. Overall, our study establishes CFO gender as an important determinant of tax aggressiveness.

May 14, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gianni: The OECD, Computer Servers, and Permanent Establishments

Monica Gianni (Florida), The OECD'S Flawed and Dated Approach to Computer Servers Creating Permanent Establishments, 17 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. L. ___ (2014):

OECD Logo 2As the digital economy changes the way that we do business, tax laws have been challenged to adapt appropriately to this nontraditional business method. International tax rules were developed in a different technological era. To accommodate electronic commerce, existing tax rules either have to be applied to electronic-commerce transactions, or new rules have to be developed. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) has taken the lead in studying and recommending appropriate international taxation rules for electronic commerce.

This Article focuses on the original central tax issue that the OECD considered—jurisdiction to tax income from electronic commerce based on the presence of a server in a jurisdiction. In pre-electronic commerce days, a sale normally could not be consummated without an enterprise having some physical presence at the locale of the customer. Income taxation rights of a country are currently premised on this model, such that an enterprise is not taxed in a country unless it has a sufficient physical presence within a country for that country to exert taxing rights over the income generated by the presence. Since the early days of electronic commerce, it has been argued that tax nexus based on geographical fixedness might no longer be applicable or relevant.

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May 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should I Go to Grad School?

Inside Higher Ed, 'Should I Go to Grad School?':

ShouldYes. Probably not. It depends. If you’re looking for a definitive answer to the question “Should I go to grad school?” a new book by that name might not be for you. And if you’re considering going to grad school to eventually get rich, the book definitely isn’t for you (it says as much in the introduction).

But if you are considering or ever have considered (for yourself or an advisee) attending graduate school – especially in the humanities – as a kind of a calling, then Should I Go to Grad School? 41 Answers to an Impossible Question is worth a read.

The book of essays on the eponymous conundrum, out this week from Bloomsbury, is likely to attract some criticism, given its lack of focus on the high-stakes financial issues surrounding the choice to pursue an advanced degree in the humanities (including the always controversial master of fine arts). But it also offers a deep, textured take on the spiritual question of attending graduate school – one that has taken a back seat, of late, to more practical (and arguably more important) discussions about student debt and the poor academic job market.

May 14, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Haneman: A Timely Proposal to Eliminate the Student Loan Interest Deduction

Victoria J. Haneman (Concordia), A Timely Proposal to Eliminate the Student Loan Interest Deduction, 14 Nev. L.J. 156 (2013):

Although increasing access to higher education has been a priority of the federal government for more than half a century, the government has largely shifted the way in which it offers assistance over the last two decades from grants to loans. In the aftermath of the dot-com and mortgage debt bubbles, skyrocketing student loan debt levels and default rates are creating public anxiety over the possibility of a student loan debt bubble. This article examines the tax deduction for student loan interest against the backdrop of these recent developments.

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May 14, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Duke Symposium: Taking Administrative Law to Tax

Duke Law (2014)Symposium, Taking Administrative Law to Tax, 63 Duke L.J. 1625-1920 (2014):

May 14, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

State Taxes May Compel Johnny Manziel to Avoid Ohio Residency

Sports Illustrated, State Taxes May Compel Johnny Manziel to Avoid Ohio Residency:

ManzeilJohnny Manziel may be a Cleveland Brown, but don't expect him to become an Ohioan. Manziel, a Texas resident, was selected 22nd overall in the NFL draft. He is slotted to earn $4,738,000 this year. As a Brown, a portion of Manziel's NFL income will be subject to Ohio's 5.392 percent income tax plus local income taxes. Assuming he remains a Texas resident, Manziel will pay the Buckeye State and local authorities approximately $278,000 this year. Had he been drafted instead by the Texans, Cowboys, Jaguars, Dolphins, Buccaneers or Titans, Manziel would have mostly avoided state income taxes, as those teams play in states without income taxes. All NFL players pay federal income taxes and so-called "jock taxes," which are state and municipal taxes levied on athletes for playing games in different venues.

Manziel can still avoid Ohio's income tax on most of his endorsement earnings simply by making sure that he remains a Texas resident. He's thus likely to keep his Texas residency and not avail himself of Ohio tax law unless it's absolutely necessary. A local trading card show or endorsement for a Cleveland car dealer would trigger Ohio tax law, but national endorsement deals would not. Expect Manziel to avoid spending 182 days in Ohio, as doing so would risk him being classified as a "full-year nonresident" under Ohio law and having higher taxes. Although Manziel dropped in the draft, he remains one of its most marketable players. He recently signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike that will reportedly pay him at least $20 million.

(Hat Tip: Bill Turnier.)

May 14, 2014 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Barnhizer: Law School Enrollments and Adaptive Strategies

David Barnhizer (Cleveland State), Law School Enrollments and Adaptive Strategies:

There is no “national” or “global” law school enrollment crisis but a serious enrollment decline being experienced by a large number of law schools that requires adaptive strategies. Those strategies are not general but need to be designed and applied within a realistic understanding of the specific competitive marketplaces within which individual law schools are operating. In some cases not all obstacles can be overcome or problems fixed within a relevant timeframe. It is likely that some law schools will be forced to close their doors. And it is difficult to argue against that outcome in a number of instances. As with any set of competitive industries there are winners and losers predicated on factors such as product quality, prestige, consumer demand for the products being sold, location, cost versus benefit anticipated from the expenditure, and convenience. These factors apply to the competitive conditions of US law schools. Simply put, there are two primary considerations in play as to the success or failure of US law schools. One is applicant perception of the law schools to which they choose to apply in terms of whether those law schools represent the a “product” they want to “buy” based on quality, cost and career benefits. The other is the employers’ perception of their benefit from hiring a producer law school’s “product” in the form of a law school graduate.

In saying that there is no national law school enrollment crisis I offer data on the 2012 and 2013 enrollments at 23 nationally ranked “elite” law schools said to be in the top thirty or so of US law schools. Rather than declining we see that overall those 23 law schools experienced an increase of 79 law students. Several of the “elite” law schools experienced a limited negative enrollment while a few had substantial positive gains but it is clear that these law schools are not in trouble. Law schools that are experiencing significant impacts in the form of declining enrollments are the ones facing substantial pressures. Part of the data presented here indicates that by far the largest part of the decline in enrollments are taking place in law schools in the lowest end of the US News & World Report rankings—those listed as “Ranking Not Published” or RNP.

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May 14, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Jotwell Call for Papers: Legal Scholarship We Like, and Why it Matters

JotwellJotwell, the Journal of Things We Like (Lots), has issed a call for papers for a conference on Legal Scholarship We Like, and Why it Matters at the University of Miami School of Law on November 7-8, 2014:

To celebrate Jotwell’s 5th Birthday, we invite you to join us for conversations about what makes legal scholarship great and why it matters.

In the United States, the role of scholarship is under assault in contemporary conversations about law schools; meanwhile in many other countries legal scholars are routinely pressed to value their work according to metrics or with reference to fixed conceptions of the role of legal scholarship. We hope this conference will serve as an answer to those challenges, both in content and by example.

We invite pithy abstracts of proposed contributions, relating to one or more of the conference themes. Each of these themes provides an occasion for the discussion (and, as appropriate, defense) of the scholarly enterprise in the modern law school–not for taking the importance of scholarship for granted, but showing, with specificity, as we hope Jotwell itself does, what good work looks like and why it matters.

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May 14, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 370

IRS Logo 2Power Line:  The IRS Scandal for Dummies:

Nixon’s efforts to misuse the IRS were futile. They went nowhere. Nixon and his henchmen desired the IRS to “screw” their political opponents, but their efforts were a pathetic failure.

Nixon henchman Jack Caulfield astutely complained that the IRS was a “monstrous bureaucracy…dominated and controlled by Democrats.” As we have come to see, Caulfield was on to something. By contrast with Nixon’s failures to misuse the IRS, the IRS has very effectively “screwed” Obama’s political opponents, and we have yet to learn what the president knew and when he knew it.

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May 14, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

WSJ: Tax Is the Hottest Legal Practice Area

Wall Street Journal, Looking Up: Law Firms Show Signs of Growth in M&A, Corporate, Real Estate:

After years of relatively sluggish demand for legal services, there just might be a light at the end of the post-recession tunnel. An analysis of 2014 law firm financials thus far shows—wait for it—growth in demand for transactional practices, many of which were hit hard during the financial downturn.

"Through the first quarter we’ve seen strength in M&A, corporate work, real estate, tax,” said Mark Medice, Senior Director and head of Peer Monitor, a division of  Thomson Reuters that tracks performance among about 150 large law firms. ... [D]emand for corporate work was up 5% in Q1 compared to the same time in 2013, and has risen three of the past four quarters. Growth in demand for tax work rose by 6.7%, while real estate was up 3.7%--its fourth consecutive up quarter.

May 13, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tensions Rise at Albany Law School Amidst Faculty Buyouts

Albany logoFollowing up on my prior posts (links below):  Albany Times Union, Law School Chief Chides Faculty; Buyouts Reached; Trustees, Professors at Odds Over Finances at Albany Law School:

An undisclosed number of professors at Albany Law School are willing to leave in exchange for buyouts as school leaders deal with an increasingly restive faculty that may soon be facing possible pay cuts or unpaid leave.

The school targeted eight teaching positions for buyouts earlier this year to cut expenses, but on Monday a school spokesman was unable to say how many professors had sought the voluntary offer, how many had accepted it or any other details surrounding it. ...

In a confidential April 15 memo to the faculty, [Daniel P. Nolan, chairman of the school's board of trustees,] rebuked them for waging a "smear campaign" against Dean Penelope Andrews as part of "mudslinging" and "vitriolic attacks" that were bringing "dishonor" to the law school. ... Nolan said the trustees would no longer consider anonymous emails from individuals passed through the faculty committee as official communications from the faculty. All future emails from faculty would have to go directly to himself, wrote Nolan, or the "appropriate committee chair on behalf of the board." He said the trustees and Andrews would continue to confront "significant financial challenges ... We have many ideas from the faculty that were put forward over the last year, including furloughs, salary reductions and other means." ...

[M]any professors think the school is financially stronger than it admits, and that Andrews and Nolan are painting a grimmer picture of finances in the short term to justify moves to push out faculty and dismantle a long-standing system of tenure, in which longtime faculty can be terminated only for incompetence — or as a consequence of institutional fiscal distress.

Some of the faculty memos submitted to Nolan and the trustees were obtained by the Times Union.

In one, the unnamed author wrote that "faculty morale is at an all-time low ... Our primary concern is that shared governance (whereby the faculty must have substantial, meaningful engagement and decision-making concerning law school governance), a requirement of American Bar Association accreditation, has not been observed or respected here over the past 18 months. The recent buyout offers, although certainly more welcome than the board's planned involuntary 'head count reductions,' have done very little to address these deep concerns." ...

Last fall, after Andrews raised the idea of layoffs that might be done regardless of tenure, and instead based on criteria created by the dean, a majority of professors in November joined the American Association of University Professors, a Washington, D.C., group that represents academics. ...

Earlier this year, about 25 faculty members filed a complaint on the shared governance concerns with the ABA, which is responsible for accrediting law schools, and some professors have asked the Association of American Law Schools to mediate issues between the administration and faculty. The Association of American Law Schools "is not mediating between the faculty and the school," said AALS spokeswoman Kara Tershel.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

May 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

EY 2014 Tax Risk and Controversy Survey

Ernst & Young, Bridging the Divide: Highlights From the 2014 Tax Risk and Controversy Survey:

EYOur survey of 830 tax and finance executives in 25 jurisdictions, completed in January 2014, indicates that the tensions described in our previous reports pale compared with the tax risks that companies are experiencing and anticipating. Eighty-one percent of all companies surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that tax risk and tax controversy will become more important for their companies in the next two years.

The results of this survey offer a glimpse of the hazards that must be overcome in order to safely navigate the next steps of the journey. It is clear that many companies may wish to consider enhancing their preparations and their tools in order to bridge the divide between current and future risk management frameworks.

Our survey reveals four major sources of tax risk:

  1. Reputation Risk
  2. BEPS and Legislative Risk
  3. Enforcement Risk
  4. Operational Risk

May 13, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stein & Turner: Capping the Amount Allowable in Tax-Preferenced Retirement Plans

Florida Tax ReviewNorman P. Stein (Drexel) & John A. Turner (Pension Policy Center, Washington, D.C), Equity in the Distribution of Tax Preferences for Pensions: Capping the Amount Allowable in Tax-Preferenced Retirement Plans, 15 Fla. Tax Rev. 87 (2014):

This paper proposes setting a cap on the amount an individual can hold in tax-preferenced defined contribution plans and IRAs of $5 million, indexed for inflation. This simple proposal would improve the equity of the distribution of tax preferences in the pension system. The discussion has not fully detailed how the proposal might be implemented, but has instead focused on the concept and the broad outlines of the proposal. The proposal is in keeping with the intent of Congress and the tax and pension policy communities to limit the maximum tax preference an individual can receive on a pension plan. It is similar in concept to a limitation in pension law in the United Kingdom. The proposal would be relatively easy to enforce. The proposal would result in an increase in taxes paid by some wealthy people, without an increase in marginal tax rates.

Continue reading

May 13, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TIGTA: IRS Again Fails to Comply With Statutory Mandated Reduction in Improper Payments -- 26% EITC Fraud Costs $16 Billion/Year

TIGTA The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration today released The Internal Revenue Service Fiscal Year 2013 Improper Payment Reporting Continues to Not Comply With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (2014-40-027):

The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA) of 2010 strengthened agency reporting requirements and redefined “significant improper payments” in Federal programs. The Office of Management and Budget has declared the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Program a high-risk program that is subject to reporting in the Department of the Treasury Agency Financial Report. The IRS estimates that 22 to 26 percent of EITC payments were issued improperly in Fiscal Year 2013. The dollar value of these improper payments was estimated to be between $13.3 billion and $15.6 billion.

The IRS continues to not provide all required IPERA information to the Department of the Treasury for inclusion in the Department of the Treasury Agency Financial Report Fiscal Year 2013. For the third consecutive year, the IRS did not publish annual reduction targets or report an improper payment rate of less than 10 percent for the EITC. IRS management has indicated that the IRS and the Department of the Treasury are in continued discussions with the Office of Management and Budget to obtain its approval to develop supplemental measures that are appropriate to gauge the impact of EITC compliance and outreach efforts in lieu of developing error reduction targets. Finally, although risk assessments were performed for each of the programs that the Department of the Treasury required the IRS to assess, the risk assessment process still may not provide a valid assessment of improper payments in tax administration. As such, the EITC remains the only revenue program fund to be considered at high risk for improper payments.

TIGTA

TIGTA 2

May 13, 2014 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Prof Blog Traffic Rankings

Below are the updated quarterly traffic rankings by page views of the Top 50 blogs edited by law professors for the April 1, 2013 - March 31, 2014 period, as well as the percentage change in traffic from the prior 12-month period.  As I previously announced, in response to several requests and in light of the continued degrading of Site Meter, I am now including the more accurate, stable Google Analytics data in these quarterly traffic rankings (marked with an asterisk).

Rank

Blog

Page Views

Change

1

InstaPundit*

137,555,358

n/a

2

Legal Insurrection*

16,085,516

+9.1%

3

Althouse

15,273,957

-23.2%

4

TaxProf Blog*

12,506,717

+264.4%

5

Volokh Conspiracy*

10,123,791

-14.6%

6

Leiter Reports: Philosophy

5,561,484

-2.9%

7

Patently-O*

5,029,535

+41.2%

8

Hugh Hewitt

3,705,278

-46.1%

9

PrawfsBlawg

1,922,508

-3.0%

10

Lawfare*

1,802,330

+62.2%

11

The Incidental Economist*

1,801,825

+42.8%

12

Faculty Lounge

1,360,941

+2.0%

13

Sentencing Law & Policy

1,313,160

+3.0%

14

Leiter's Law School Reports

1,263,600

+21.7%

15

Liberty Law Blog*

1,216,776

n/a

16

Harvard Law Corp Gov

1,203,270

+2.3%

17

Wills, Tr. & Est. Prof Blog

1,136,359

+95.9%

18

Opinio Juris*

1,037,921

+0.2%

19

College Insurrection*

906,565

n/a

20

Concurring Opinions

866,333

-15.5%

21

Election Law Blog

676,737

-29.3%

22

Conglomerate

670,196

+79.2%

23

Balkinization

660,636

-26.2%

24

Constitutional Law Prof Blog

644,411

+32.1%

25

Antitrust & Comp. Policy Blog

613,959

+140.6%

26

ImmigrationProf Blog

598,682

+114.5%

27

Legal Skills

520,415

+195.5%

28

Turtle Talk

510,706

-2.4%

29

Workplace Prof Blog

487,897

+92.7%

30

Jack Bog's Blog

431,131

-87.0%

31

Legal Whiteboard

385,620

+140.7%

32

Mirror of Justice

341,466

-19.3%

33

ContractsProf Blog

334,954

+147.0%

34

EvidenceProf Blog

331,112

+177.0%

35

Legal Profession Blog

326,853

+73.3%

36

White Collar Crime Prof Blog

310,738

+64.1%

37

Religion Clause

286,713

-9.4%

38

Josh Blackman’s Blog*

284,237

+35.0%

39

CrimProf Blog

267,150

+95.6%

40

M&A Prof Blog

244,734

+61.9%

41

Legal Ethics Forum

232,219

+27.5%

42

Legal History Blog

224,869

-32.6%

43

Nonprofit Law Prof Blog

221,270

+210.8%

44

Dorf on Law*

219,109

+24.4%

45

Legal Writing Prof Blog

209,274

+40.0%

46

PropertyProf Blog

206,912

+80.4%

47

Witnesseth*

201,598

n/a

48

Civil Procedure Prof Blog

182,579

+110.2%

49

Law School Academic Support

182,477

+151.6%

50

Adjunct Law Prof Blog

163,729

+82.0%

  • The rankings include all blogs edited by law professors -- both law-related and non law-related.
  • The rankings include all blogs that have publicly available Site Meters or that have emailed me a screenshot of their Google Analytics data (or granted me read-only access to their data).
  • Please email me the names of any Law Prof Blogs with traffic for the April 1, 2013 - March 31, 2014 period that would qualify for inclusion on the list (163,730 page views). If necessary, I will re-publish the list to include all qualifying blogs.
  • Several popular Law Prof Blogs do not have publicly available Site Meters and have not sent me Google Analytics data and thus are not included on the list:  e.g., California Appellate Report, Credit Slips, The Deal Professor, Feminist Law Professors, Legal Theory, Point of Law, ProfessorBainbridge.com.
  • These rankings cover only those blogs edited by law professors. Other law-related blogs edited by practitioners, librarians, non-law school academics, and journalists are not included on this list:  e.g., Above the Law, How Appealing, Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
  • Members of my Law Professor Blogs Network comprise 6 of the Top 25 blogs and 22 of the Top 50 blogs.

May 13, 2014 in Blog Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Emory Seeks to Hire a Tax Prof

Emory LogoEmory University School of Law seeks to hire an entry-level or lateral tax professor.  Course needs include corporate tax, partnership tax, and international tax.  For more information or to apply for the position, contact Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (and Tax Prof) Dorothy Brown.

May 13, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Louisville Names Five-Year Interim Dean

DuncanUniversity of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law faculty member Susan Duncan, who has been Interim Dean since July 1, 2012 after the end of Jim Chen's five year term as Dean, has been reapponited Interim Dean for an additional three year term:

[The Provost] said the decision not to appoint a longer-term interim dean at the law school was for several reasons. First, she said, administration is pleased with the job Duncan, who is a candidate for the dean’s position, has done over the last two years. Also, [the Povost] said, the university “didn’t get the pool of candidates that we’d expect to get.” “It’s a tough time to recruit for deans of law schools,” she said, adding that enrollments at many schools are down and universities are hesitant to commit additional resources to law schools with fewer students. ...  [S]he is pleased to have Duncan in place in the meantime. “Susan is doing a terrific job,” ... noting that she has tripled annual fund-raising levels and better engaged the legal community than her predecessors.

Dan Filler (Drexel) and the comments speculate about this very odd development in What's Up At Louisville Law? Interim Dean Extension Begs Other Questions.

May 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Professors Grading

Grading

Submit a photo here.  My favorite (Mother's Day edition):

Photo

May 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 369

IRS Logo 2USA Today op-ed:  The Media Ignore IRS Scandal, by Paul L. Caron:

Today's news media are largely ignoring the IRS scandal, and it is impossible to have confidence in the current investigations by the FBI, Justice Department, and House committee. I am not suggesting that the current scandal in the end will rise to the level of Watergate. But the allegations are serious, and fair-minded Americans of both parties should agree that a thorough investigation needs to be undertaken to either debunk them or confirm them.

Step one should be to give Lois Lerner full immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony. And then let the chips fall where they may.

Rasmussen Reports:  57% Favor Further Investigation of the IRS:

Half of voters still believe the IRS broke the law when it targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups, and even more think the matter needs to be looked into further.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think the Obama administration’s handling of the IRS matter merits further investigation. Just half as many (28%) say the case should be closed. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Continue reading

May 13, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why Universities Should Bail Out Their Law Schools

Boston Globe op-ed:  Bail Out Law Schools – But With Strings Attached, by Paula Monopoli (Maryland):

BailoutWhen I joined the legal academy more than 20 years ago, American law schools were the cash cows of higher education. Revenue flowed from law schools to central administrations, and campuses were happy to let law schools oversee themselves. New programs sprang up by the dozens. Lots of new hires each year became the norm, and expensive symposia the order of the day. It never occurred to us that the party would end.

Then it did. In just the last few years we’ve become the Classics Department — too many faculty and too few students. The sharp downturn in law school applications and enrollments — down almost one-third since 2010 — has resulted in a corresponding decrease in the tuition revenues that make up the bulk of law school budgets. Law schools that are part of larger universities have been forced to go hat in hand to the central campus, asking to be relieved of their obligation to contribute financially to university operations.

Law faculties, accustomed to the long-cherished autonomy that came with being a revenue-positive unit of the university, chafe at the new oversight that’s come with asking to be subsidized instead. They cling to an administrative and programmatic infrastructure that is simply no longer financially viable at a time when Moody’s Investor Service characterizes the financial outlook for legal education as “negative.” So why should our universities keep us? ... To demonstrate our value and to prove that we fit into the core mission of the university, we need to move toward them in ways that we have historically resisted.

First, we need to embrace more rigor in legal scholarship. ... Second, we should rethink the training of legal academics. The vast majority of the legal professoriate has the same training and degree as the practicing bar. Nothing more than a JD is required to teach at an American law school. That three-year curriculum doesn’t include any training in traditional academic research skills like empirical methods. While a full-blown PhD may not be necessary, some additional training in standard research tools like statistical analysis would add intellectual rigor. Finally, we need to assume the burden borne by our colleagues in other fields and support our own research through outside sources. ...

[W]ith crisis comes opportunity. The jury is still out as to whether law schools will be able rise to this challenge, but to survive and thrive we’ll undoubtedly need the financial assistance of our broader universities. It’s time to show that we add value — other than cash — to those institutions, too.

For a contrary view, see Boston Globe op-ed: US Legal Bubble Can’t Pop Soon Enough, by Jeff Jacoby:

The legal profession, like so many others, has been permanently disrupted by the Internet and globalization in ways few could have anticipated 10 or 15 years ago. Online legal guidance is widely accessible. Commercial services like LegalZoom make it easy to create documents without paying attorneys’ fees. Search engines for legal professionals reduce the need for paralegals and junior lawyers. Maurice Allen, a senior partner at Ropes & Gray, is blunt: “There are too many lawyers and too many law firms,” he said in a published interview last week. That means less work for new law school grads, and therefore less reason to go to law school. And who, except perhaps for law school admissions deans, would be sorry to see America’s lawyer bubble finally burst? ...

From environmental rules so inflexible that fixing a bridge can take years to licensing rules so onerous that kids’ lemonade stands get shut down, all of us are paying for those “hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts,” that Warren Burger warned of long ago. Students by the thousands are shunning law school? That’s the best trend I’ve seen in ages.

May 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Young Criminal Justice Lawyers in Massachusetts Are 'The Working Poor,' Shackled by Six-Figure Student Loans and Meager Salaries

Massachusetts Bar Association, Doing Right by Those Who Labor for Justice: Fair and Equitable Compensation for Attorneys Serving the Commonwealth in its Criminal Courts:

Assistant district attorneys, assistant attorneys general, public defenders, and bar advocates (lawyers appointed to defend indigents) are grossly underpaid. ... The present salaries paid to attorneys working in our criminal justice system are so inadequate that they cannot meet the financial obligations attendant to everyday, normal living. The unvarnished truth is the compensation is so poor that it drives these lawyers away from the criminal justice system or into the ranks of the working poor. ... [T]he lowest paid person in a Massachusetts courtroom is a newly minted assistant district attorney. Working up from the bottom, the next lowest paid employee in the courthouse is the custodian. And the third lowest paid person in the courtroom is the public defender. The comparative compensation of courtroom personnel speaks volumes about the stark lack of fairness:

Mass

The Commission fully appreciates that public service is a noble undertaking that entails long hours, hard work, and personal sacrifice. All prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers willingly signed on to that proposition when they selected their profession. Obviously, they have not pursued their careers to get rich. They do expect, and reasonably so, that their chosen career would compensate them sufficiently, such that they could pay off college and law school loans, afford to live away from their parents’ homes, get married, buy a house, and raise a family. The present salaries paid to attorneys working in our criminal justice system are so inadequate that they cannot meet the financial obligations attendant to everyday, normal living.

Below the fold, two young lawyers in the Massachusetts criminal justice system describe their difficult financial situations.

Continue reading

May 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

NLJ: Legal Education's Diversity Deficit

National Law Journal:  Legal Education's Diversity Deficit: National Minority Enrollment Has Made Only Modest Gains in the Last Decade:

NLJ

Law schools and the legal profession have long recognized the importance of boosting diversity within their ranks and lately have been turning to so-called pipeline programs to identify and inspire potential minority law students. In the special report, we feature three highly effective programs that target students at different stops along the pipeline: high school, college and law school.

May 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Dismal Job Prospects for the College Class of 2014

Slate, How Bad Is the Job Market for the College Class of 2014?:

Today’s crop of new B.A.s are staring at roughly 8.5 percent unemployment, 16.8 percent underemployment. Close to half of those who land work won’t immediately find a job that requires their degree, and for those stuck in that situation, there are fewer “good” jobs to go around. Welcome to adulthood, class of 2014.

EPI

(Hat Tip: Glenn Reynolds.)

May 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

It Makes Economic Sense to Attend Only 48 Law Schools at Full Sticker Price

Kelsey Webber (J.D. 2014, Georgetown), Which Law Schools Make Rational Economic Sense to Attend?:

The debate on whether or not it makes rational economic sense to attend law school has grown as the cost of law school tuition continues to rise and the job market for starting lawyers has declined. Legal academics, journalists, bloggers and even law school professors seem split on whether going to law school in the current economic climate is a rational economic decision.

Previous studies have focused on the economic value of a law degree, or whether it is economically rational to attend law school in general. I improve upon previous studies by giving students an exact cutoff point of which law schools make rational economic sense to attend. To make this determination, I use data from the class of 2012 to estimate the cost of attending each law school and the average salary that students from each law school made one year after graduation.

I estimate that if a student pays full sticker price to attend law school, then based on data from the class of 2012 there are only 48 law schools the student could attend and expect to have a positive economic return within 10 years. If a student receives a partial scholarship, there are 80 law schools the student could attend and expect to have a positive economic return within 10 years. If a student receives a full scholarship, there are 139 law schools the student could attend and expect to have a positive economic return within 10 years.

Update:  PrawsBlawg:  Is Yours One of the 45 Law Schools to Which it is Worth Going: A Look at the Broken Market for Legal Education, by Jennifer Bard (Texas Tech)

May 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (23)

Law School Rankings: U.S. News v. SSRN

US News SSRNIn Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance, 81 Ind. L.J. 83 (2006), Bernie Black (Northwestern) and I compared the ranking of law schools using U.S. News and SSRN downloads.  I have updated the chart on pages 98-102, showing the ranking of law schools under U.S. News (overall and peer reputation) and SSRN (recent and all-time downloads) of the Top 50 law schools (according to the U.S. News overall ranking):

School

US News Overall

US News Peer

SSRN Recent

SSRN All-Time

Yale

1

1

2

2

Harvard

2

1

1

1

Stanford

3

3

5

6

Columbia

4

4

6

4

Chicago

4

4

7

3

NYU

6

6

4

5

Pennsylvania

7

9

12

9

Virginia

8

9

17

19

UC-Berkeley

9

6

9

12

Michigan

10

6

15

18

Duke

10

11

18

15

Northwestern

12

12

10

10

Cornell

13

12

29

25

Georgetown

13

12

8

8

Texas

15

15

20

23

UCLA

16

16

13

11

Vanderbilt

16

17

14

14

Washington U.

18

18

22

27

Emory

19

22

38

41

Minnesota

20

19

16

17

USC

20

19

28

22

G. Washington

20

22

3

2

Alabama

23

35

66

72

William & Mary

24

28

83

74

U. Washington

24

35

27

66

Notre Dame

26

22

40

37

Boston Univ.

27

26

32

24

Iowa

27

28

35

39

Indiana

29

28

42

36

Georgia

29

35

73

61

North Carolina

31

19

37

45

Wisconsin

31

26

55

68

Ohio State

31

28

71

40

Wake Forest

31

35

106

87

Arizona State

31

43

46

48

UC-Davis

36

22

34

34

Boston College

36

28

76

51

Fordham

36

28

21

20

BYU

36

46

77

85

Arizona

40

35

43

32

Illinois

40

35

11

13

SMU

42

53

104

106

Wash. & Lee

43

28

68

64

Colorado

43

43

56

47

Florida State

45

46

36

44

Tulane

46

43

128

125

Maryland

46

46

41

43

George Mason

46

53

19

16

Florida

49

35

49

52

Utah

49

49

58

55

On page 124 of the article, we listed the most "undervalued" and "overvalued" law schools, based on the spread between their U.S. News peer reputation and SSRN all-time downloads. Here are the updated figures:

Schools Undervalued by US News

Schools Overvalued by US News

School

US News

SSRN

Spread

School

US News

SSRN

Spread

George Mason

53

16

-37

Tulane

43

125

+82

Illinois

35

13

-22

SMU

53

106

+53

G. Washington

22

2

-20

Wake Forest

35

87

+52

Fordham

28

20

-8

William & Mary

28

74

+46

UCLA

16

11

-5

Wisconsin

26

68

+42

Georgetown

12

8

-4

BYU

46

85

+39

Vanderbilt

17

14

-3

Alabama

35

72

+37

Arizona

35

32

-3

Wash. & Lee

28

64

+36

Maryland

46

43

-3

U. Washington

35

66

+31

Northwestern

12

10

-2

North Carolina

19

45

+26

Minnesota

19

17

-2

Georgia

35

61

+26

Boston Univ.

26

24

-2

Boston College

28

51

+23

Florida State

46

44

-2

Emory

22

41

+19

Chicago

4

3

-1

Florida

35

52

+17

NYU

6

5

-1

Notre Dame

22

37

+15

 

 

 

 

Cornell

12

25

+13

 

 

 

 

Michigan

6

18

+12

 

 

 

 

UC-Davis

22

34

+12

 

 

 

 

Ohio State

28

40

+12

 

 

 

 

Iowa

28

39

+11

Interestingly, Florida State, George Washington, and George Mason are on the undervalued lists for both 2006 and 2014.  BYU, Georgia, Notre Dame, Tulane, University of Washington, and Wisconsin are on the overvalued lists for both years.

May 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Legal Education Roundup

May 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sullivan Reviews Shaviro's Fixing U.S. International Taxation

FixingMartin A. Sullivan (Tax Analysts) Book Review, 74 Tax Notes Int'l 492 (May 12, 2014) (reviewing Daniel N. Shaviro (NYU), Fixing U.S. International Taxation (Oxford University Press, 2014)):

When it comes to international taxation, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., and professor Daniel N. Shaviro of New York University Law School have a lot in common. In the age-old debate between the two poles of worldwide and territorial taxation, they want compromise. They want to achieve a balance between promoting competitiveness and preventing excessive profit shifting to tax havens.

A pro-business conservative, Camp would have preferred his plan to lean more in the direction of multinational competitiveness. But in his three-year quest for tax reform, the chair has learned by doing, and what he has learned from the revenue estimators at the Joint Committee on Taxation is that moving to an exemption system is too expensive without tough measures to discourage profit shifting. Shaviro's path to compromise is based on his own reasoning after extensive review of the legal and economic scholarship on international tax.

The main way Camp and Shaviro seek to achieve a balanced approach is by setting the average effective rate on foreign-source income of U.S. multinationals somewhere below the statutory corporate rate and somewhere above zero. Although this conclusion would hardly be startling to a newcomer to the study of international tax -- and is the practical result under current law for many taxpayers because of deferral -- the traditional debate on international tax does not easily lend itself to compromise. ...

Continue reading

May 12, 2014 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 368

IRS Logo 2New York Post editorial:  Our Newly Efficient IRS:

Many of the press accounts we read suggest there is no scandal here unless the targeting of Americans for their conservative political beliefs can be tied back to President Obama or the White House.

We beg to differ. Wouldn’t it be even more frightening if a federal agency as powerful as the IRS on its own decided to use its vast powers to squelch others on the basis of politics and ideology?

Continue reading

May 12, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ivy League Overload

Ivy League (2014)The Week, Student Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Schools Picks Yale:

Kwasi Enin had a difficult choice to make: The high school senior was accepted to all eight of the Ivies, in addition to several other colleges, and with graduation right around the corner, it was time to make a decision. After weighing the pros and cons of each university (and, wisely, waiting to hear about financial aid packages), he's made his selection: Enin is headed to Yale.

Inside Higher Ed, A One-Man Completion Agenda:

Completing a journey spanning more than half a century, Peyton (Perry) Potetick today received his master’s degree in education from Harvard University, making him the first person to earn a degree from each of the eight Ivy League schools:

B.A. Princeton
M.B.A. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
J.D. Yale
M.A. (Journalism) Columbia
M.A. (Liberal Studies) Dartmouth
M.F.A. Cornell
M.A. (American Studies) Brown
M.A. (Education) Harvard

May 11, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

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