TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, June 11, 2015

WSJ: Tech Companies Woo Investors With Unconventional Financial Metrics, Inflating Their Valuations

Wall Street Journal, Tech Startups Woo Investors With Unconventional Financial Metrics — But Do Numbers Add Up? Critics Say the Practice Is Inflating Some Companies’ Valuations:

Hortonworks Inc. Chief Executive Rob Bearden forecast in March 2014 that the software firm would have a “strong $100 million run rate” by year-end. But the number looked a lot smaller after Hortonworks went public and then reported financial results: just $46 million in revenue last year.

It turns out that Mr. Bearden wasn’t talking about revenue, though he didn’t say so at the time. The Santa Clara, Calif., company now says the $100 million target was for “billings,” a gauge of future business that isn’t part of generally accepted accounting principles. Mr. Bearden declines to comment.

As young technology companies jostle for investors who will pour money into the firms as they try to make it big and strike it rich, some companies are using unconventional financial terms.

Instead of revenue, these privately held firms tout “bookings,” “annual recurring revenue” or other numbers that often far exceed actual revenue.

WSJ

The practice is perfectly legal and doesn’t violate securities rules because the companies haven’t sold shares in an initial public offering. Public companies can use “non-GAAP” financial terms but must explain them and disclose how they differ from measurements that follow strict accounting rules. ...

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June 11, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The New 1L: First-Year Lawyering With Clients

1LThe New 1L: First-Year Lawyering with Clients (Eduardo R.C. Capulong (Montana), Michael A. Millemann (Maryland), Sara Rankin (Seattle) & Nantiya Ruan (Denver), eds. Carolina Academic Press 2015):

In The New 1L, leading teachers in the field describe how, in the first year of legal education, they teach students to act, as well as think, like lawyers. In their courses, clients are central not extraneous. Working under a lawyer’s supervision, students interview clients, conduct factual investigations, draft pleadings, and write memoranda and briefs. The authors argue that, in isolation, theory and practice are incomplete, and first-year educators must integrate the two. They discuss the benefits and challenges of this new 1L approach, and also provide a range of successful models for any teacher who wants to adopt this pedagogy to a first-year course.  What they say is particularly relevant today, when many are criticizing law schools for their over-reliance on the Langdellian teaching method and failure to produce practice-ready graduates.

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June 11, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mintz & Venkatachalam:The Low-Tax Backlash

Jack Mintz (Calgary) & Ven Venkatachalam (Calgary), The Problem with the Low-Tax Backlash: Rethinking Corporate Tax Policies to Adjust for Uneven Reputational Risks:

When a major corporation is found to be paying little or no taxes, public backlash and media furor over the issue may ensue. Some governments may well be just fine with it, while others like U.S. may take steps to ensure companies pay more tax. Sometimes, companies being in a non-taxpaying position properly reflects appropriate tax policy. That explanation, however, does not sell lattés, which is why in 2012, after the British public grew outraged over the discovery that Starbucks was paying no corporate taxes in the U.K., the coffee retailer actually volunteered to just write a cheque to the government. The reputational damage to Starbucks’ brand, the company calculated, was not worth the money it was saving in avoiding taxes, even if it was doing so perfectly legally.The fear of this kind of reputational damage can foil the very taxation policies that governments design specifically as a means to tax corporations fairly, efficiently and competitively. It may be good tax policy to allow corporations various deductions, or the ability to carry forward or carry back losses, but it can be politically vexatious. U.S. President Barack Obama demonstrated that explicitly when he suggested certain American companies using so-called tax inversions to relocate their headquarters to low-tax jurisdictions, were failing in their “economic patriotism.”Yet more multinationals than ever are legally and quite appropriately using tax strategies to minimize their taxes in various jurisdictions to the point where they are paying little to no corporate tax. For some corporations, the risk of public backlash is greater than it is for others: Starbucks and Facebook, being consumer-facing companies with a great deal of brand goodwill, have a lot more at risk than do Pfizer and Oracle. This risk makes the playing field for taxation less level, jeopardizing the fundamental tax principle of horizontal equity — that those of similar means should pay similar taxes. If Starbucks feels pressured to pay extra taxes, then the tax system is not functioning optimally.This emerging reputational risk is a new dimension governments are going to have to take into account when designing tax policy. Understanding that there is more to consider than the financial implications of a tax policy should and will have an effect on the way policies are designed. One important approach that governments should take is to avoid the practice of targeted tax incentives, such as tax holidays or accelerated depreciation. The reputational risk will see some companies willing to take the government up on tax breaks, but others may prefer to pass. Better to focus on more general corporate tax reductions, which will be less distortive and unfair to those companies at greater risk of reputational damage.

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June 11, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

CRS: Reform of U.S. International Taxation

CRS LogoCongressional Research Service:  Reform of U.S. International Taxation: Alternatives, by Jane G. Gravelle:

A striking feature of the modern U.S. economy is its growing openness—its increased integration with the rest of the world. The attention of tax policy makers has recently been focused on the growing participation of U.S. firms in the international economy and the increased pressure that engagement places on the U.S. system for taxing overseas business. Is the current U.S. system for taxing U.S. international business the appropriate one for the modern era of globalized business operations, or should its basic structure be reformed?

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June 11, 2015 in Congressional News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why I'm Glad I Gave Up My Dream Of Going To Law School

LegallyThe Week:  Why I'm Glad I Gave Up My Dream of Going to Law School, by Stephanie Talmadge:

For years, I was dead-set on going to law school. And not just any law school — Harvard. But midway through college, I was forced to confront this plan I had for myself. I asked myself why I really wanted it, and how much I was willing to sacrifice for it.

I realized I wasn't willing to sacrifice much, and that my dream may have been a convenient aspiration — one that ultimately hindered my pursuing less conventional career paths that would have better suited me.

Why did I want to be a lawyer in the first place? I'm not particularly proud of this, but I blame Legally Blonde. Elle Woods was spunky, smart, and accomplished, and when I was 10 years old, I wanted to be just like her. ...

Finally, something in me snapped. Part of it was finally confronting the terrifying reality of taking out massive six-figure loans to finance law school. But more than that, it was the anecdotes from my jaded ex-lawyer professors, who described what daily life as a lawyer would actually be like. They described miserable 60-hour work weeks in huge firms where no one cares about you. They warned us that being a lawyer isn't all sweeping Atticus Finch speeches. There are countless thankless, painstaking tasks, grueling research, and all kinds of things that sounded pretty terrible to me when I actually stopped to think about them.

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June 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Why Is Obamacare Constitutional While DOMA Was Not?

John R. Dorocak (California State University, San Bernardino), Why is Obamacare Constitutional While DOMA Was Not? How Libertarian Is the Constitution?, 14 Conn. Pub. Int. L.J. 1 (2014):

Despite the Supreme Court's holding in NFIB, that the individual mandate of Obamacare was constitutional as a tax, Obamacare's tax may be unconstitutional under the Direct Tax Clause, the Uniformity Clause, and the Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The conclusion, that Obamacare's tax and individual mandate are unconstitutional even as a tax, may seem far afield from the unconstitutionality of Obamacare as violating liberty rights, the focus of this article. However, the Obamacare legislation may now appear unconstitutional under various constitutional analyses, including as a denial of liberty rights, as a tax, as an exercise of the Commerce Clause, and as an exercise beyond the enumerated powers. Such a conclusion indicates that the various constitutional analyses are in harmony, or that the Constitution is holistic. And, more specifically, a conclusion, that the Obamacare legislation is unconstitutional under a liberty rights analysis as advanced by Justice Kennedy in Windsor and Lawrence, which suggests that the the Constitution is not only holistic but libertarian.

June 11, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hastert Faces Uphill Legal Battle

HastertFollowing up on Sunday's post, NY Times: The Tax Consequences Of Dennis Hastert's Payments To Alleged Child Abuse Victim:  NBC News, Dennis Hastert Could Face Uphill Legal Battle for Allegedly Lying About Hush Money:

Dennis Hastert spoke in a whisper in a packed federal courthouse Tuesday — his first public appearance since authorities charged him last month with illegally evading banking rules and lying about it to the FBI.

But the former House speaker from Illinois — now embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal tied to his days as a high school wrestling coach — will have to come in loud and clear to bat away the allegations.

That's because Hastert is in the middle of a legal minefield with charges that are held up not only by an apparent paper trail, but by the 73-year-old former congressman's own mouth, legal experts told NBC News.

"The paper trail is not his biggest problem," said Paul Caron, a professor at Pepperdine University School of Law. "The biggest problem is that he ran his mouth when first questioned by the FBI (last year), which opened himself up to these charges."

"Had he just shut up when questioned, the government would have a much more difficult time proving the (evading) charge," Caron added. "And the lying charge would disappear." ...

"I think the government may see the (bank withdrawal) structuring charge as a way to punish Hastert for the crime that can no longer be prosecuted," said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University.

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June 11, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 763

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial, Return of the Speech Police:

You won’t read much about it in the Beltway press corps, but a behind-the-scenes effort is under way to lobby the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department to stifle free political speech the way the Internal Revenue Service did in 2012. Don’t be surprised if the subpoenas hit Republican candidates at crucial political moments. ...

Criticism of the FEC is part of the left’s strategy to turn the commission into its agent to intimidate conservative groups and limit their political speech. The letter writing campaigns use the same accusations about “dark money” that the groups used to lobby the IRS in the 2012 election cycle.

In September 2011, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center wrote to then IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner requesting an IRS probe into whether “certain organizations are ineligible for tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4).” Around the same time, the IRS created its process that targeted conservative groups. The same outfits are back at it, filling the FEC’s docket with complaints that target Republicans or GOP-leaning organizations 75% or more of the time.

If these liberal outfits don’t like Super PACs, they should look in the mirror. Super PACs are the inevitable reaction to campaign-finance limits on candidates. Instead of unleashing another round of political targeting, this time corrupting the Justice Department, true liberals should deregulate politics.

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June 11, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vatican Signs On To FATCA To Help U.S. Track Down Tax Evaders

FATCA PopeWashington Post, Vatican and the U.S. Sign Historic Agreement to Go After Tax Evaders:

The United States on Wednesday signed an agreement with the Vatican to trace American taxpayers hiding assets within the walls of the city-state, the latest step in the Holy See’s push for greater financial transparency.

The U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth F. Hackett, signed the intergovernmental agreement with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, bringing to an end two years of negotiations.

The deal sees the Vatican become the latest of approximately 62 countries to sign on to the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a 2010 law that allows financial information to be directly reported to authorities in the U.S.

It applies only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, not organizations, and aims to identify people who are not annually declaring all of their foreign assets to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

The information the Holy See is due to hand over under the law should have already been sent to the IRS by individuals, some of whom have already been warned of the new agreement.

U.S. officials would not say how many American individuals hold money at the Vatican, but the number is believed to be rather small, perhaps in the dozens, according to the Vatican Insider.

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June 10, 2015 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Republicans Chop IRS Budget Again, Setting Up Clash With Obama

IRS Logo 2Bloomberg, Republicans Chop IRS Budget Again, Setting Up Clash With Obama:

U.S. House Republicans are proposing a 7.7 percent cut to the IRS budget, setting the boundaries for a budget standoff over the next few months.

With a $10.1 billion budget for the Internal Revenue Service, Republicans rejected President Barack Obama’s call for an 18 percent increase that would allow the beleaguered agency to end a hiring freeze and answer more phone calls from taxpayers.

The parties are now $2.8 billion apart on IRS funding -- a rounding error for the federal budget but an enormous gulf on a politically sensitive topic. ...

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June 10, 2015 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Chronicle Of Higher Education: The Fight Over Charleston Law School

Charleston LogoChronicle of Higher Education, Terminations, Accusations, Threats: The Fight Over a Law School’s Planned Sale Gets Muddier:

These are trying times for the nation’s law schools, but few have experienced the kind of drama that Charleston School of Law has, just in the past five weeks.

On May 6 the for-profit school’s owners threatened to pull the plug on new admissions after faculty members, students, and alumni angrily protested their plan to sell the school to the InfiLaw System, a Florida-based consortium that owns three other law schools.

A few weeks later the owners reversed course, but only after terminating seven tenured faculty members who had publicly opposed the plan and buying out several others.

The American Bar Association, which had been taking a wait-and-see stance on the proposed sale, sent a fact finder to the Charleston, S.C., campus this month to determine whether the school had violated any of the ABA’s accreditation standards.

And despite assurances to critics that a sale to InfiLaw wasn’t in the works, Charleston hired a new interim president who happens to serve on the InfiLaw board.

Critics of a sale say that InfiLaw’s three schools — Arizona Summit Law School, Charlotte School of Law, and Florida Coastal School of Law — have lower standards than the Charleston school’s and that a sale would diminish the value of a Charleston law degree.

Watching all of this unfold has been "incredibly painful," says the school’s founding dean, I. Richard Gershon, who has been law dean at the University of Mississippi since 2010. "We thought we were building something that would last beyond our lifetimes," he says.

The pressures on Charleston School of Law aren’t unique. Nationwide, law schools are reeling from five straight years of declining applications that have forced many to accept fewer students, lay off faculty members, and search for new revenue sources.

CHE

But Charleston is one of the few that have come perilously close to closing. ...

Last week the school announced that Joseph D. Harbaugh, a former dean at Nova Southeastern University and the University of Richmond, had been named interim president. He serves on the national policy board of the InfiLaw System, which leads some faculty members and student leaders to believe that the owners haven’t given up on the idea of eventually making a sale.

June 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

The State Tax Implications Of Paying Student Athletes

NCAAKathryn Kisska-Schulze (North Carolina A&T) & Adam Epstein (Central Michigan), "Show Me the Money!"—Analyzing the Potential State Tax Implications of Paying Student-athletes, 14 Va. Sports & Ent. L.J. 13 (2014):

On March 26, 2014, the Chicago district (Region 13) of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Northwestern University football players qualify as employees and can unionize and bargain collectively, a decision which contravenes the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) core principle of amateurism. Shortly after, Northwestern University filed an appeal with the NLRB in Washington, D.C. to quash the prior Region 13 decision. This case has added fuel to the longstanding debate over whether student-athletes should be paid. Amidst arguments both for and against supporting the pay-for-play model from a purely compensatory stance, there has been minimal focus on the realistic implications of paying student-athletes from an income tax perspective.

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June 10, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Applications Fall 5%; Al Brophy: We've Hit The Bottom

Wall Street Journal, Law School Applications Keep Falling:

As the cost of law school rises and the number of entry-level legal jobs stagnates, the number of law-school applicants continues to fall.

According to the latest numbers from the Law School Admission Council, 50,269 people submitted applications to nationally accredited law schools as of last week, down 2.5% from the same time last year. Those would-be lawyers applied to an average of more than six schools per person, and the total volume of applications was down 4.6% from 2014. At this point in the year, LSAC says it usually has around 95% of the year’s data collected.

LSAC 2

Law schools have adjusted by scaling back entry-level class sizes, boosting financial aid or cutting tuition price, and trimming staff ranks.

Al Brophy (North Carolina) believes that applications have hit the bottom and stabilized after years of declines, with enrollments projected at 36,000 for the incoming class. As a result, he predicts that "things are unlikely to get worse" and that no more than a dozen law schools will close:

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June 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Smith: Challenges To Tax Regulations — The APA And The Anti-Injunction Act

Patrick J. Smith (Ivins, Phillips & Barker, Washington, D.C.), Challenges to Tax Regulations: The APA and the Anti-Injunction Act, 147 Tax Notes 915 (May 25, 2015):

In this report, Smith focuses on post-Mayo tax regulation challenges under the direct review provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). He examines how those cases overcame the procedural hurdle traditionally presented by the Anti-Injunction Act and argues that in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Direct Marketing Association, the Anti-Injunction Act will likely pose much less of an obstacle to future direct APA challenges to tax regulations. 

June 10, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Tech Law School Denied Provisional ABA Accreditation

Indiana Tech (2014)Indiana Tech Press Release:

Indiana Tech Law School has received notification from the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association that the Council has not granted provisional accreditation approval to Indiana Tech Law School. Representatives of Indiana Tech Law School appeared at the Council during its meeting on June 5, 2015.

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June 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TIGTA: IRS Can’t Verify Qualifications For Obamacare Subsidies

TIGTAThe Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration yesterday released Affordable Care Act: Assessment of Internal Revenue Service Preparation for Processing Premium Tax Credit Claims (2015-43-043):

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created a refundable tax credit, referred to as the Premium Tax Credit (PTC), to assist individuals with the cost of their health insurance premiums. Individuals may elect to receive the PTC in advance as partial payment for their monthly premiums (referred to as the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC)) or receive the PTC as a lump sum credit on their annual Federal income tax return. Beginning in January 2015, individuals are required to reconcile the APTC and can claim additional PTC on their annual tax return beginning with Tax Year 2014. ...

The overall objective of this review was to assess the status of the IRS’s preparations for verifying the accuracy of PTC claims during the 2015 Filing Season. ...

In response to the delays in receiving required Exchange Periodic Data submissions, the IRS developed contingency plans in an effort to improve its ability to ensure the accuracy of PTC claims.  However, without the required enrollment data from the Exchanges, the IRS will be unable to ensure that all taxpayers claiming the PTC bought insurance through an Exchange as required.

June 10, 2015 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

George Mason Offers $2,000 Honorarium For Law Profs To Attend Economics Of Public Pension Reform Workshop

GMThe George Mason Law & Economics Center is offering a $2,000 honorarium (plus free tuition, hotel, and meals) for law professors to attend its Workshop for Law Professors on the Economics of Public Pension Reform in Palo Alto, CA on September 17 - 20:

The goal of the Workshop for Law Professors on the Economics of Public Pension Reform is to introduce law professors to the looming financial and structural crises facing state pensions systems across the nation in order to improve their research and teaching.  With several dozen states adopting modest to major reforms, the economic impact on plan beneficiaries will be substantial and at least twenty-five jurisdictions are facing lawsuits due to the reforms adopted.

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June 10, 2015 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 762

IRS Logo 2USA Today op-ed:  The IRS Can Still Silence Political Dissent, by Allison R. Hayward:

Two years ago, Lois Lerner of the IRS revealed that it unfairly targeted and delayed Tea Party applications for tax exemption. While the IRS has apologized and promised reform, the agency has not fixed the vague rules that allowed this scandal to happen. As we enter the 2016 election cycle, political activists remain in danger of selective IRS audits, penalties and approvals.

As troubling as this is, we have seen this before. The tax regulation of non-profit advocacy groups has not had a happy history. One pattern repeats: Congress passes a tax law, often to score short-term political points. The IRS then interprets the law aggressively, often against groups with controversial views. Federal courts may soften that blow case by case. Eventually, Congress passes another law and this cycle starts again. ...

We need to learn several lessons from this history. First, the IRS, while effective at collecting taxes, is a poor agency to task with regulating advocacy organizations, especially those, such as the advocacy groups covered under 501(c)(4), that cannot offer donors a tax deduction. At most, only trivial amounts of revenue are at stake from the activity. Whether a certain message, or viewpoint, or advertisement, or tone is proper should not be a concern of the revenuer.

Second, Congress must resist the temptation to even political scores through tax legislation. Not only is it poor governance, it rarely works.

Finally, the courts should remain vigilant in protecting groups from IRS overreach and congressional mischief. Courts should feel free to identify and excise laws, even tax laws, that abridge political freedom.

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June 10, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

NY Times: Obama’s Corporate Tax Blunder — BEPS Is A Loser (In Jobs, Revenue) For The United States

BEPSNew York Times op-ed:  Obama’s Corporate Tax Blunder, by Michael Mandel (Progressive Policy Institute):

You probably haven’t heard of the BEPS project — but you soon will. Short for Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, the BEPS Project is the focus of a rapidly moving effort by the Group of 20 countries to create a new set of international tax principles designed to better capture tax revenue from multinational companies like Apple, Google and Starbucks.

The Obama administration signed on to the BEPS Project in the expectation that it would strengthen the American tax base and enable Washington to hold on to more corporate tax revenues. But as the project heads for its end-of-year deadline and the basic shape of the BEPS principles becomes clear, nobody in Washington is paying attention to a simple fact: The United States lost, and lost big.

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June 9, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Why The Mortgage Interest Deduction Should Disappear, But Won't

MortgageMoney and Banking, Why the Mortgage Interest  Tax Deduction Should Disappear, But Won't:

In the run-up to the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, Planet Money asked five economists from across the political spectrum for proposals that they would like to see in the platform of the candidates. The diverse group agreed, first and foremost, on the wisdom of eliminating the tax deductibility of mortgage interest. 

The vast majority of economists probably agree. We certainly do. But it won’t happen, because politicians with aspirations for reelection find it toxic.

What inspires us to discuss this now? An important anniversary in our profession’s understanding of economic policy. Forty years ago, in his celebrated book Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, Arthur Okun explained how many policy choices involve a tradeoff between the distribution of income and the size of the economy. That is, the more redistributional a policy, the more of a drag it is on growth.

While much of tax policy works this way, the tax deductibility of mortgage interest does not: it both raises inequality and reduces economic efficiency.

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June 9, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Concordia Law School Awarded Provisional ABA Accreditation; Its 11 Graduates Can Take July Bar Exam

ConcordiaNational Law Journal, Concordia Law Secures Provisional ABA Accreditation:

Concordia University School of Law’s inaugural graduating class will be eligible to sit for the July bar examination in Idaho after all.

The American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted over the weekend to provisionally accredit the Boise law school—clearing the way for its 11 expected graduates to take the exam. Graduates of schools not accredited by the ABA are ineligible to take the test.

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June 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Borden: Rethinking The Tax-Revenue Effect Of REIT Taxation

Florida Tax ReviewBradley Borden (Brooklyn), Rethinking the Tax-Revenue Effect of REIT Taxation, 17 Fla. Tax Rev. 527 (2015):

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) have recently made headlines in major media outlets and have caught the attention of lawmakers and analysts because they erode the corporate tax base. REITs are not subject to the entity-level tax that typically applies to corporations. To avoid being taxed on real-estate income, some corporations spin off real estate into REITs. After a REIT spinoff, such corporations rent the real estate from the REIT and continue to use it in their operations. Thus, a mere change in corporate form removes taxable income from the corporation (i.e., erodes the corporate tax base) and eliminates the entity-level tax on income from the spun-off real estate. This erosion of the corporate tax base concerns lawmakers (who have proposed prohibiting tax-free REIT spinoffs), some economists, and the media. Another concern is that the IRS has extended REIT classification to entities that hold non-traditional real estate, such as telecommunications infrastructure, billboards, oil and gas pipeline systems, timber, casinos, prisons, and data centers.

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June 9, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Roig: The Case For Retaining Law Faculty Tenure

Jorge R. Roig (Charleston), The First Thing We Do, 47 J. Marshall L. Rev. 1275 (2014):

There is currently a concerted effort to dumb down America. In the midst of this, the American Bar Association’s Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar recently agreed to propose that tenure for law professors be eliminated as a requirement for accreditation of law schools. This article analyzes the arguments for and against tenure in legal academia, and concludes that the main proposed justifications for eliminating tenure are highly questionable, at best. A lawyer is more than a legal technocrat. Lawyers are policy makers and public defenders. They are prosecutors and activists. And the development of a critical and independent mind is no more important in any area of human action than in the law. There is a concerted effort to turn law schools into automaton production lines. Practice-ready, skills-oriented legal education (quite meritorious in itself) has become code for the manufacture of attorneys capable only of following their corporate clients’ instructions to the tee. The goal of this concerted effort is not a truly practice-ready and skilled attorney. The endgame is a mindless legal machine. That is not what a legal education is about. The survival of critical thought is at stake. This is not just about law professors. This is but one salvo in a much larger war against independent minds.

June 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Obama Administration Opens Door For More Student-Debt Forgiveness, Including Law School Loans

Student LoansWall Street Journal, Obama Administration Opens Door for More Student-Debt Forgiveness:

The Obama administration said it would forgive federal student loans owed by Americans who can show they were lured to colleges by fraudulent recruiting, a move that potentially could involve billions of dollars and is one of the most aggressive measures yet to ease student debt.

The move, announced Monday, is designed first of all to help former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc., a big for-profit chain that collapsed into bankruptcy reorganization this spring. Federal officials accused the company in 2014 of lying to prospective students about its graduates’ job success. ...

The forgiveness push, though, would reach far beyond Corinthian and even the for-profit school sector. Officials said that under the emerging plan, the government will consider forgiving any loans made directly by the government—those held by the majority of the 43 million Americans with student debt—so long as the borrower can document a school persuaded him or her to take out the loan under conditions that would violate state laws.

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June 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Hellwig: The United States Tax Court – An Historical Analysis

HellwigPress Release, W&L Law’s Brant Hellwig Publishes Book on U.S. Tax Court:

Washington and Lee law professor and incoming dean Brant Hellwig recently completed a manuscript detailing the historical evolution and jurisdiction of the United States Tax Court.

The text, titled The United States Tax Court – An Historical Analysis, is an expanded second edition of the seminal Tax Court history published by Professor Harold Dubroff in the late 1970s. Dubroff’s edition was written shortly after Congress established the Tax Court as a court of record under Article I of the Constitution.  The Tax Court commissioned Hellwig to update Dubroff’s work in light of the considerable expansion in the Tax Court’s statutory jurisdiction in recent years.

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June 9, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Approves Paid Externships, 10% LSAT-Free Classes For Notice And Comment

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, Proposal to Allow Academic Credit for Paid Externships Moves Forward in ABA:

A proposed change to law school accreditation standards eliminating the current ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships has been approved for notice and comment by the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Under the proposal, a law school could decide for itself whether a student should receive academic credit for a paid externship or field placement—but only if the school can demonstrate that it has maintained enough control over the student experience to ensure that the requirements of the standards are being met.

The council, which met Friday and Saturday in Minneapolis, also approved for notice and comment two alternative proposed changes to the current rule allowing most law schools to fill up to 10 percent of their entering class with students who haven’t taken the Law School Admission Test. One of the proposals would do away with the rule altogether. The other would make it applicable to all schools.

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June 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Federal Taxation Of Non-resident Aliens' Wagering Gains From Slot Machines

Denis M. McDevitt, Michael D. McDevitt (Hancock & Dana, Omaha), & Drew M. BouchardMr. Park Goes to D.C.: Federal Taxation of Non-resident Aliens' Wagering Gains from Slot Machines and the Per Session Rule, 48 Creighton L. Rev. 65 (2014):

Nonresident alien individuals who visit the United States and play slot machines in a state where slots are legal have always been subject to tax at a thirty percent rate, unless exempted by treaty, on *66 their U.S. source wagering gains as defined by I.R.C. § 871(a)(1)(A). This tax is enforced by a withholding system that requires casinos to withhold thirty percent of each slot jackpot of $1,200 or more and remit those funds to the United States government. The definition of wagering gains was first addressed in Barba v. United States. The Barba case instituted the per-bet rule that defined wagering gains to be equal to gross winnings taxable under I.R.C. § 871(a). Under the per-bet rule, all wagers and wagering losses were never considered in calculating the amount of tax due. The per-bet rule ignored the fact that gambling is by nature a series of individual bets and had the practical result that no foreign slot player could ever recover any of the taxes withheld by the casino on their jackpots. Between 1983 and 2011, no taxpayer ever questioned the per-bet rule and it was not until the case of Sang Park v. Commissioner, a case recently decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, that a court revisited the issue of defining wagering gains for purposes of I.R.C. § 871(a).

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June 9, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 761

IRS Logo 2Judicial Watch Press Release, Federal Court Issues Ruling Compelling IRS to Provide Answers on Lerner IRS Emails:

Judicial Watch announced that Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted a Judicial Watch request to issue an order requiring the IRS to provide answers by June 12, 2015, on the status of the Lois Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost.  Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing on June 2, 2015, demanding answers about Lois Lerner’s emails, which had been recovered from backup tapes.  Judge Sullivan issued the court order on June 4, 2015.

Judicial Watch has argued that the IRS misled the court and Judicial Watch by withholding the truth about the existence and content of the backup tapes.  In response to Judicial Watch’s litigation and pressure from Congress, some of Lerner’s emails had been recovered by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) despite testimony from the IRS Commissioner and representations to Judge Sullivan that Lerner’s emails had been irretrievably lost and destroyed. ...

“The Obama IRS obstructed and lied to a federal judge and Judicial Watch in an effort to hide the truth about Lois Lerner’s emails,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The IRS, including its top political appointees IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and General Counsel William J. Wilkins, has much to answer for over its contempt of court and of Congress.  And the Department of Justice officials enabling this cover-up in court need to be held accountable, as well.  The IRS is out of control and Judicial Watch is happy that Judge Sullivan has taken this key step to remind the agency that it is accountable to the rule of law and the American people.”

 

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June 9, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Morse: Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks

Safe HarborSusan C. Morse (Texas), Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks, 49 UC Davis L. Rev. ___ (2016):

In law, a safe harbor describes behavior that will not be penalized, and leaves other facts that fall outside the safe harbor to be judged case-by-case. A sure shipwreck, as I call it, is the mirror image. It describes behavior that violates the law as a matter of rule, and leaves other conduct to be judged by a standard. Prior literature analyzes rules and standards at length. But it has largely missed safe harbors and sure shipwrecks, even though these hybrids are everywhere in statutory, regulatory and case law.

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June 8, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: As FIFA Scandal Grows, Focus Turns To Auditor KPMG

FifakpmgNew York Times, As FIFA Scandal Grows, Focus Turns to Its Auditors:

Despite longstanding suspicion of corruption, world soccer’s governing body has received a clean bill of financial health for 16 consecutive years from KPMG, one of the world’s top auditing, accounting and consulting firms.

No one has challenged the accuracy of the annual reports of the body, FIFA, which are prepared according to international accounting standards by KPMG’s office in Zurich, where FIFA is based. But that only heightens the puzzling disconnect between the different pictures that are emerging of FIFA as an organization: riddled with bribes and kickbacks in the view of prosecutors, yet spotless according to the outsider most privy to its internal financial dealings.

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June 8, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

WSJ: The New Rules Of Offshore Accounts

WSJWall Street Journal:  The New Rules of Offshore Accounts, by Laura Saunders:

Crucial deadlines are approaching for millions of U.S. taxpayers who live abroad or have offshore financial ties.

For expatriates, the annual income-tax filing deadline is normally June 15, instead of April 15. In addition, all U.S. taxpayers with offshore accounts totaling more than $10,000 in 2014—regardless of where they live—have until June 30 to file FinCen Form 114, known as Fbar, a report giving details of the accounts.

Despite the prospect of stiff penalties for nonfiling that can claim 50% or more of an offshore-account balance, many people who probably should be filing the necessary forms aren’t doing so. The U.S. State Department recently raised its estimate of the number of U.S. citizens living abroad to 8.7 million from 7.6 million, not including military personnel—yet fewer than one million people a year file forms that are often required for routine foreign accounts. ...

Taxpayers confronting these issues often face tough decisions, such as how or whether to come clean about past missteps and comply with especially onerous rules in the future. Some of them are even considering whether to retain their U.S. citizenship.

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June 8, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joint Tax Committee Releases IRS Disclosures of Tax Return Information, 2014

Joint Tax CommitteeThe Joint Committee on Taxation has released Disclosure Report for Public Inspection Pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 6103(p)(3)(C) for Calendar Year 2014 (JCX-89-15):

Section 6103(p)(3)(C) provides that the Secretary of the Treasury shall, within 90 days after the close of each calendar year, furnish to the Joint Committee on Taxation for disclosure to the public a report which provides, with respect to each Federal agency and certain other entities, the number of: (1) requests for disclosure of returns and return information (as such terms are defined in § 6103(b)); (2) instances in which returns and return information were disclosed pursuant to such requests or otherwise; and (3) taxpayers whose returns, or return information with respect to whom, were disclosed pursuant to such requests. In addition, the report must describe the general purposes for which such requests were made.

Pursuant to § 6103(p)(3)(C), the IRS prepared a disclosure report for public inspection covering calendar year 2014. ... This document sets forth the report of the IRS, verbatim.

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June 8, 2015 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans

Student LoansNew York Times Sunday Review:  Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans, by Lee Siegel:

Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.

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June 8, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Fleischer: How A Carried Interest Tax Could Raise $180 Billion

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times Deal Book:  How a Carried Interest Tax Could Raise $180 Billion, by Victor Fleischer (San Diego):

When Hillary Rodham Clinton opened her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in Iowa, the first substantive issue she raised was a safe one: carried interest. “There’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here,” she said.

President Obama also raised the issue at a recent forum on inequality, calling fund managers our society’s “lottery winners.” Taxing carried interest at a low rate is, for many of us, a simple issue of fairness. The richest among us should not pay tax at a low rate on labor income.

Private equity moguls and other defenders of the status quo object to the characterization of carried interest as labor income. But they also argue that there just isn’t that much money at stake.

Taxing carried interest at ordinary income rates would raise about $18 billion over 10 years, according to a Treasury estimate of President Obama’s recent budget proposal. The Joint Committee on Taxation, which scores congressional legislation, has made similar estimates in the past.

One or two billion dollars a year is more than most of us can find in between the seat cushions. It would roughly double what Congress gives the I.R.S. to spend on information technology. Still, the number is small enough that it makes raising the issue seem petty and vindictive. Referring to carried interest has become a badge of solidarity, a touchstone for measuring class allegiances.

We should not overlook the substance of the issue. By my calculations, the government’s estimate is low by an order of magnitude. Taxing carried interest at ordinary rates would generate about $180 billion in revenue over 10 years. ...

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June 8, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Death Of Len Terr

TerrLeonard B. Terr, a tax partner at Baker & McKenzie (Washington, D.C.), died last Tuesday at the age of 69.  Here part of the obituary in the Washington Post:

Len is survived by his wonderful family of which he was tremendously proud: his wife, Linda, his children, Jessica, Jeremy, Amanda and Ashley, and his two beautiful grandsons, Evan and Nate.

Len was born in Atlantic City, NJ, and grew up in Philadelphia where he graduated from LaSalle College in 1967. He went on to obtain his A.M. and Ph.D. from Brown University in 1968 and 1971 respectively. Before taking up law, he was an instructor in English at Brown University, and an assistant professor of English at Wayne State University and Elmira College. ... His poetry was published in numerous literary publications. Len consistently reflected in his daily life this diverse and deep background in the arts, and shared it with friends and colleagues through his charming wit and eloquence.

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June 8, 2015 in Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Crespi: The 'Tax Bomb' Facing Lawyers Who Enroll In Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans

IBRGregory Scott Crespi (SMU), Should We Defuse the "Tax Bomb" Facing Lawyers Who are Enrolled in Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans?:

Starting in the early-2030's each year thousands of mid-career lawyers who have previously incurred large student loan debts, and who unfortunately have been able to earn only relatively modest annual incomes in the 20 or 25 years following their law school graduation, will be subject to large cancellation of indebtedness-based federal and sometimes also state income tax obligations. These tax bills will often be in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $100,000 and in some instances even larger. Many of these lawyers will likely have failed to adequately provide for this large tax obligation and will find that it will impair or even devastate their retirement plans.

The phrase “tax bomb” is an apt one to describe this large tax obligation that will be imposed on income that is attributed to but not actually received by a relatively small group of taxpayers. It will result because a large portion of the student loan debts that have been incurred by many law school graduates will eventually be forgiven under one or another variant of the increasingly popular federal Income-Based Repayment Plan, and those forgiven debts will then be treated under the Internal Revenue Code as taxable income.

This article explains how this tax bomb was created and how the various statutes and regulations that define its scope and size have evolved over time, and how much but not all of its impact will be substantially reduced by the Department of Education’s proposed new Revised Pay as You Earn rules that will be in force as of December of 2015.

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June 8, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (14)

The IRS Scandal, Day 760

IRS Logo 2Forbes, IRS' Lois Lerner Got Pension, $129K Bonus, New Call For Criminal Charges, by Robert W. Wood:

 Many Republicans are still upset that Lois Lerner of the IRS got a pass from the Obama Justice Department. As the IRS scandal hit day 750, 24 Republicans sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who recently replaced Eric Holder as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. It seems unlikely that the new AG will upset the apple cart. Still, the 24 House members want the new AG to criminally prosecute Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center–if not the top–if the agency’s targeting scandal. ...

Ms. Lerner will probably not face any further action. Yet while she presided over alleged discrimination against conservative nonprofits, Ms. Lois Lerner received $129,000 in bonuses. Some people have asked but for what.

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June 8, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 7, 2015

NY Times: The Tax Consequences Of Dennis Hastert's Payments To Alleged Child Abuse Victim

HastertNew York Times:  When It’s a Crime to Withdraw Money From Your Bank, by Josh Barro:

Dennis Hastert has not been indicted on a charge of sexual abuse, nor has he been indicted on a charge of paying money he was not legally allowed to pay. The indictment of Mr. Hastert, a former House speaker, released last week, lays out two counts: taking money out of the bank the wrong way, and then lying to the F.B.I. about what he did with the money. ...

Paul Caron, a tax law professor at Pepperdine University, noted that the person who was paid money by Mr. Hastert may have owed income tax on the payments, whether they constituted a settlement, extortion or something else. Yes, even proceeds from extortion are taxable income; there was a Supreme Court case about the matter in 1952.

New York Times:  If Hastert Was Extorted, He Could Deduct Some Losses From His Taxes, by Josh Barro:

When I was researching my article about Dennis Hastert’s indictment on charges that he improperly withdrew large sums of money from a bank, one question I had was whether any tax was owed on the payments Mr. Hastert was said to have made.

For tax purposes, were the payments gifts? Fees? A settlement? Hush money? Any of these options would have tax implications — implications that could provide additional justification for the prosecution, since one of the key motivations of anti-money laundering laws is to prevent people from evading taxation by making large payments in cash.

Tax experts I spoke with agreed that the payments would constitute a settlement or extortion. In either case, the responsibility for reporting the payments would lie not with Mr. Hastert but with the payments’ recipient, identified in the indictment as “Individual A.”

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June 7, 2015 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [287 Downloads]  Taxation of E-Commerce, by Orkhan Abdulkarimli (Baku State)
  2. [206 Downloads]  Tax Compliance as a Wicked System, by J. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department)
  3. [166 Downloads]  Reducing Inequality With A Retrospective Tax On Capital, by James Kwak (Connecticut)
  4. [144 Downloads]  Citizenship Taxation, by Ruth Mason (Virginia)
  5. [123 Downloads]  What Does Voluntary Tax Compliance Mean?: A Government Perspective, by J. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department)

June 7, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Go To Law School (Unless You Really, Really Want To Be A Lawyer)

Vox7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Go to Law School (Unless You Really, Really Want to be a Lawyer), by Amanda Taub:

I went to [Georgetown] law school. I loved all three years of it. Since then, I've had an interesting and fulfilling career: I practiced both human rights law and commercial law, clerked in federal court, taught law courses as an adjunct, and now spend my days writing about fascinating policy issues, many of which are law-related.

Perhaps that is why people expect me to reply with an enthusiastic "Yes, definitely!" when they ask me if they should go to law school.

And why they are surprised when, instead, my response is "Probably not — unless you're really sure you want to be a lawyer."

That's because over the years, I have realized that the people asking me that question aren't really asking for my advice about their careers in the law. Rather, their real question is almost always something else: will law school be a solution to my fears about the future?

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June 7, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 759

IRS Logo 2Fox News op-ed:  More IRS Outrage: Agency Used 'Hundreds of Lawyers' to Hide Information from Congress, by Jay Sekulow:

It’s been a very bad week for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – which translates into a very bad week for the American people. ...

Now, we learn that as Congress began its investigation into the unlawful scheme targeting conservative and Tea Party groups the IRS used “hundreds of attorneys” to hide critical information from Congress.

According to new bombshell testimony, the IRS set up a previously unknown “special project team” comprised of “hundreds of attorneys,” including the IRS Chief Counsel (one of only two politically appointed positions at the IRS).

The “special project” this team was given?  Concealing information from Congress.

The IRS’s director of privacy, governmental liaison, and disclosure division, Mary Howard, testified that soon after the IRS targeting scandal was revealed, the IRS “amassed hundreds of attorneys to go through the documents [requested by Congress] and redact them.” She told Congress that once the “special project team” was created and operational, she never saw requests for information.

Her testimony is clear: As soon as the IRS targeting scandal broke, the IRS set up a special team of hundreds of attorneys, including President Obama’s political head of the Chief Counsel’s office, to keep requests for publicly available information away from the person who would normally review those documents and turn them over to Congress and the public.  That “special” team then overly redacted, delayed, and determined which documents it wanted Congress to see.

After setting up a special “group” to target and delay applications by Tea Party groups for tax-exempt status, the IRS set up a new “special project team” to delay and redact information from Congress about that targeting.  Talk about a cover-up.

When asked about these revelations and the ongoing investigation by Congress into the IRS and former top IRS official Lois Lerner’s involvement, Howard testified, “I think that Lois Lerner was the tip of the iceberg.”

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June 7, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Independent Commission For The Reform of International Corporate Taxation Calls For New Measures To Combat Global Tax Dodging

ICRICTThe Independent Commission For The Reform of International Corporate Taxation, a coalition of ten charities and human rights groups and Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, has rejected the OECD's proposed measures to combat global tax dodging by multinational firms and instead called for a global minimum tax and eventually international formulary apportionment.

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June 6, 2015 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawsuit: Infilaw Pays Low Performing Law Grads $5k To Defer Bar Exam To Pump Up School's Pass Rate

Arizona Summit Logo (2015)National Law Journal, Lawsuit: Infilaw Paying Law Grads To Put Off Bar Exam:

A former assistant director of financial aid at Arizona Summit Law School has sued the school, alleging it unlawfully fired her in 2013 after she refused to submit false state tax documents and complained of misleading information about student success.

Paula Lorona, who was also a part-time student at the Phoenix school and graduated in January, claimed that that Arizona Summit and the two other for-profit law schools owned by Infilaw Corp.—Florida Coastal School of Law and Charlotte School of Law—in May 2014 began paying poorly performing students $5,000 to delay taking the bar exam, to prop up declining bar-passage rates.

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June 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The IRS Scandal, Day 758

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal:  The Clinton ‘Charity’ Begins at Home, by Kimberley A. Strassel:

The scandal of the century at the IRS was that agency’s secret targeting of conservative nonprofits. Perhaps a close second is the scandal of what the IRS hasn’t been investigating: the Clinton Foundation.

The media’s focus is on Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, and whether she took official actions to benefit her family’s global charity. But the mistake is starting from the premise that the Clinton Foundation is a “charity.” What’s clear by now is that this family enterprise was set up as a global shakedown operation, designed to finance and nurture the Clintons’ continued political ambitions. It’s a Hillary super PAC that throws in the occasional good deed.

That much is made obvious by looking at the foundation’s employment rolls. Most charities are staffed by folks who have spent a lifetime in nonprofits, writing grants or doing overseas field work. The Clinton Foundation is staffed by political operatives. It has been basically a parking lot for Clinton campaign workers—a comfy place to draw a big check as they geared up for Hillary’s presidential run. ...

This is typically Clinton, which means it is typically on the edge of legal. The foundation operates as a nonprofit, raising hundreds of millions as a “charity.” We know from foundation tax filings that it spends an extraordinary portion of its funds on travel and staff. How many donors are unaware that their money is going to keep Clinton friends in full employment? How many are aware and give precisely for that reason—to help elect a new president, one who will gratefully remember their help?

Lucky for the Clintons, nobody looks. As a charity (and unlike a super PAC), the foundation is subject to almost no oversight. The IRS in the past has stripped charities of their tax-exempt status when they are shown to be operating for a purpose other than benevolence. The agency has shown no real interest in the Clinton Foundation. Go figure.

Clinton allies are insisting to all who listen that the foundation exists to do good. It does. It exists to do very good things for Hillary and Bill and all their longtime allies. And in that, it has succeeded beautifully.

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June 6, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Congratulations, New Pepperdine Lawyers

I had the pleasure tonight of attending the swearing in ceremony tonight for the 15 Pepperdine graduates who passed the February California bar exam.  It was great to catch up with my former student John Kristofferson and his father, Kris Kristofferson:

IMG_1364

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June 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Stark Delivers Keynote Address Today On Tax Policy In The Super Zips At L.A. Bar Association

Stark (2014)Kirk Stark (UCLA) delivers the keynote address on Tax Policy in the Super Zips at the Los Angeles County Bar Association Dana Latham Award Luncheon today:

As the distribution of income and wealth has grown more skewed, households have increasingly sorted into income homogenous neighborhoods. The rise of income segregation entails increased fiscal segregation as well, as the operation of federal tax law becomes more differentiated across space. This paper concerns one dimension of the tax law’s disparate geographical impact—i.e., the operation of the federal income tax in the nation’s wealthiest communities, or “Super ZIPs.” Using IRS zip code level data for tax year 2012, the paper examines several key federal income tax characteristics for these zip codes (e.g., AGI, income composition, itemized deductions), comparing these figures to the same data for the nation as a whole as well as select neighboring zip codes on the opposite end of the income distribution. The resulting analysis reveals a stark perspective on income segregation in the United States through the lens of the federal tax system.

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June 5, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Tax Roundup

Weekly Legal Education Roundup