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Friday, May 2, 2014

Taite: The Two-Trust Tango in Trombetta

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Phyllis C. Taite (Florida A&M), Trombetta: The Two-Trust Tango, 143 Tax Notes 503 (Apr. 28, 2014):

Taite discusses [Estate of Trombetta v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2013-234 (Oct. 21, 2013)], in which the Tax Court held that the value of properties transferred to the annuity trust and residence trusts were properly includable in the gross estate of the decedent as retained interests. The court also held that the estate was entitled to deduct the full unpaid amount of a promissory note for mortgage indebtedness because the decedent was personally liable on the debt. Finally, the Tax Court concluded the estate was not entitled to a charitable deduction based on a postmortem trust reformation. 

May 2, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Deans Are Either Stuck Defending a Collapsing Status Quo or Serious About Design-Centric Reform

ABA Journal Legal Rebels:  Law School Leaders Are Dividing Into Two Camps: Stuck v. Serious, by Paul Lippe (Founder & CEO, Legal OnRamp):

Legal RebelsAs law schools continue to struggle with an extraordinary decline in applications, their leaders—deans—seem to be dividing themselves into two camps: the stuck and the serious.

The stuck camp is exemplified by the New York Times op-ed by University of California at Irvine Dean Erwin Chemerinsky two weeks ago. ”This crisis mentality is not only unfounded, but is also creating pressure for reforms that would make legal education worse, not better.” The stuck can’t see their way to a better place, so they defend the status quo. ... The financial underpinning of law schools has been full-freight, unqualified federal student loans, which are in rapid decline and subject to tighter repayment standards—as Bill Henderson said to me the other day: “Things are better today for law schools than they will ever be in the future." ...

Fortunately for all of us, the serious camp is now ascendant, the intrinsic value of the rule of law is enormously high, and most deans are grappling with reality, trying to preserve the best of law school while enabling appropriate change. Three of the most serious deans—Phil Weiser from Colorado, Dan Rodriguez from Northwestern and Trish White from Miami—were key players at the Future of Law School Innovation conference at Colorado Law last week and see various videos linked.

The heart of the conference was two presentations by George Kembel, the head of the Institute of Design at Stanford ... Kembel describes a six-step approach to “design-centric thinking” for complex problem-solving: empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototype, test, iterate. ... The big reveal from Kembel came in his second talk.  First, when he disagreed with the moderator’s emphasis on “how law schools should prepare students to get jobs” by saying: “We think schools should prepare students to create their own jobs,” and second, when he disclosed that he himself was born prematurely, and so had a natural empathy for the “incubator problem.” ...

Although she wasn’t at the conference, probably the single most “design-centric” move in law in the last decade was Harvard Dean Martha Minow’s putting Jonathan Zittrain in charge of Harvard’s library. “The faculty is the heart of our law school” is common talk, but the library has been the heart of the university for 800 years. If you connect law’s biggest library with its best technologist, something design-ish is bound to happen.

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

Weekly Tax Roundup

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

May 2, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Kirsch & Schneider Debate Citizenship-Based Taxation v. Residence-Based Taxation Today in Toronto

ACAThe American Citizens Abroad Global Foundation hosts its inaugural symposium in Toronto on Citizenship-Based Taxation vs. Residence-Based Taxation featuring a debate between Michael S. Kirsch (Notre Law School) (arguing for citizenship-based taxation) and Bernard Schneider (Queen Mary University of London School of Law) (arguing for residence-based taxation). The debate will be followed by practical observations on the impact of current law on Americans resident abroad, presented by tax experts, investment advisors, businessmen and citizens abroad.

May 2, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fordham Hosts Roundtable Discussion Today on Changes in the Tax Law

Fordham LogoFordham hosts a roundtable discussion today on Changes in the Tax Law: How Are Effects Measured, and Who is Affected? at noon EST (webcast here):

  • Rosanne Altshuler (Professor and Chair of the Economics Department, Rutgers)
  • Alan J. Auerbach (Robert D. Burch Professor of Economics and Law, UC-Berkeley)
  • Hank Gutman (Principal, KPMG)
  • David J. Shakow (Gabelli Fellow, Fordham; Professor of Law Emeritus, Pennsylvania)
  • Eric J. Toder (Co-Director, Tax Policy Center)

May 2, 2014 in Conferences, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Six California Law Schools Offer Fast Track to Community College Students

California Community College Students to Get Leg Up on Way to Top Law Schools Under First of its Kind Pathway Program:  Twenty-Four Community Colleges and Six Law Schools Sign Agreement to Smooth Way to Law Degree:

California State BarThe California Community Colleges and the State Bar of California today announced a new initiative that will provide students at 24 community colleges a smoother pathway to six of California’s top law schools.  The project, sponsored by the State Bar ’s Council on Access and Fairness, will establish agreements with two dozen community colleges and six law schools and their respective undergraduate institutions [USC, UC-Davis, UC-Irvine, Loyola-L.A., Santa Clara, San Francisco].  Students in the program w ill receive assurances that credits in prescribed courses will transfer, early exposure to the law school experience, individual advisement and mentoring from law school advisors, financial aid counseling, LSAT preparation and waived application fees for admission to the participating law schools.

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

The IRS Scandal, Day 358

IRS Logo 2Power Line:  Bill Henck: Inside the IRS, Part 2:

William Henck has worked inside the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. We posted his personal account, including his testimony to a retaliatory audit conducted by the IRS against him, this past February in “Inside the IRS.” This post follows up on the matters discussed in that post. 

IRS executives are confident in their lack of accountability because the decision makers in Washington will not hold them accountable. Ordinary people understand that misconduct and corruption in the national tax collection agency is a critical problem. They also understand the difference between right and wrong. Ordinary people, however, are not running things.

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May 2, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Andy Morriss Named Inaugural Dean at Texas A&M Law School

Andy MorrissNew Texas A&M Law School Dean Named, University Commits $25 Million To School In AUF Funds:

A nationally prominent legal scholar known for his work in a variety of regulatory issues, as well as for his teaching background, Andrew Morriss, Ph.D., J.D., is the new dean of the Texas A&M University School of Law, effective July 1. ...

Prof. Morriss, who holds a Ph.D. degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in addition to his J.D. earned at The University of Texas at Austin, is currently the D. Paul Jones, Jr. & Charlene A. Jones Chairholder of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. He is an acknowledged leader regarding regulatory issues involving environmental, energy and offshore financial centers. ...

“Carol and I are thrilled to get to be part of the team at Texas A&M,” Morriss said. “This is a unique opportunity in American legal education, combining the excellent faculty, staff and students at the law school with one of America’s premier research universities.” His wife, Dr. Carol Akers, is a graduate of Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. ...

Chancellor Sharp received authority to provide $5 million from the Available University Fund (AUF) for the law school now and up to $20 million over the next five years on a dollar-for-dollar basis regarding funds raised in the private sector. The AUF represents proceeds from the Permanent University Fund to enhance excellence in teaching, research and related initiatives. Fundraising and donor engagement activities are already under way. ...

In joining in the recommendation to the board, interim President Hussey noted:  “Prof. Morriss has not only distinguished himself in his field of scholarship, but comes to us with unique perspective as a faculty member who was integrally involved in enhancing two previous schools of law. Serving at the University of Illinois as it advanced from the Top 100 to No. 23 and at the University of Alabama, which advanced from Top 80 to No. 23.”

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May 1, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Bill Clinton: 'I Thank God Every Day That Hillary and I Live in NY and Pay the Highest Aggregate Tax Rate in America'

New York Times, Bill Clinton Defends His Economic Legacy:

Former President Bill Clinton, who has grown increasingly frustrated that his economic policies are viewed as out-of-step with the current focus on income inequality, on Wednesday delivered his most muscular defense of his economic legacy.

The speech reflected a strategic effort by Mr. Clinton and his advisers to reclaim the populist ground now occupied by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and other ascendant left-leaning Democrats, and, potentially, to lay out an economic message that could propel his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the White House in 2016.

“My commitment was to restore broad-based prosperity to the economy and to give Americans a chance,” Mr. Clinton told students at Georgetown University, his alma mater, as Mrs. Clinton looked on from the front row. For nearly two hours, the former president defended the impact of policies like welfare overhaul and the earned-income tax credit, and displayed a series of charts detailing the number of people his policies lifted out of poverty. ...

As president, Mr. Clinton presided over one of the healthiest economies in recent memory, but he also forged a new model of a pro-business, pragmatic Democrat who championed public-private partnerships and open markets. His language as president was more focused on lifting the middle class than castigating the wealthy. That should not be confused with a lack of concern for the poor, Mr. Clinton says now. ...

On Wednesday, Mr. Clinton said he thanked God every day that “Hillary and I and some of our friends in this audience who live in New York probably pay the highest aggregate tax rates in America.”

May 1, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Google Stops Scanning Faculty and Student Email for Advertising Key Words

Inside Higher Ed, Privacy or Pretense?:

Gmail (2014)Google, pressured by privacy advocates and looming legal challenges, on Wednesday announced it will no longer scan student and faculty emails for advertising keywords, seeking to end a seven-year-long conflict that some university technology officers have said violates federal law.

Google makes its living on the information it can learn about its users, which can then be served back to them in the form of targeted ads. In Google Apps for Education, which includes the email service Gmail and its suite of productivity software, ads are turned off by default -- but Google automatically scanned students’ emails anyway.

With the changes that went live on Wednesday, the option to turn ads back on has been removed, and the automatic ad scanning has been switched off.

May 1, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

John Colombo Named Interim Dean at Illinois

Tax Prof John D. Colombo has been named Interim Dean at Illinois:

JcolomboBruce Smith, the twelfth dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, announced today that he is stepping down from the deanship of the state’s flagship public law school, effective June 1, 2014, after more than five years of service. He will remain on the Illinois law faculty as a tenured professor and Guy Raymond Jones Faculty Scholar. Professor John Colombo, the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law and a 1981 graduate of the college, will serve as the college’s interim dean while a national search is conducted for a permanent successor.   ...

“Bruce Smith was called upon to steer the College of Law through some pretty rough seas,” noted Professor Matthew Finkin, Albert J. Harno and Edward W. Cleary Chair in Law and Center for Advanced Studies Professor. “He steadfastly navigated the college into calmer waters with brighter prospects ahead. He enjoys our deep appreciation for all that he has accomplished.” 

“Dean Smith has worked tirelessly to guide the College of Law through many challenges and opportunities,” stated Margareth Etienne, the college’s Nancy Snowden Research Scholar in Law. “Recent gains in student admissions, job placement, and fundraising demonstrate that he has firmly placed the College on a positive trajectory. Interim Dean Colombo, who worked closely with Dean Smith as his Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, is an excellent choice to lead the law school toward continued success.”

May 1, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Field: The Real Problem with Carried Interests

Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings), The Real Problem with Carried Interests, 63 Hastings L.J. 405 (2013):

The recent proposals to reform the tax treatment of private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund managers are misguided. Policymakers and commentators often take industry-focused, results-oriented approaches to the “carried interest” debate, thereby obscuring the real source of the policy objection to carried interests. Instead of starting with a result that is objectionable and trying to find a way to change the law to avoid the objectionable result, this Article begins with the law and facts relevant to carried interests and systematically unpacks the tax rules that combine to produce the current tax treatment of carried interests. As a consequence, this Article provides structure to the voluminous discourse about carried interests, identifies the key features of the tax law that are most likely to cause hostility toward carried interests, and analyzes how to design reform proposals that are most responsive to each objection. More generally, this Article redirects attention away from the narrow carried interest issue and toward the more fundamental aspects of the tax system that need reform.

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May 1, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number of Taxpayers Who Renounced U.S. Citizenship Continues to Skyrocket

International Tax Blog:  2014 First Quarter Published Expatriates -- Second Highest Ever:

Today the Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency (“expatriated”) during the first quarter of 2014.

The number of published expatriates for the quarter was 1,001. This is the second highest quarterly number of published expatriates ever and is only surpassed by the second quarter of 2013. ... Last year there was a record setting 2,999 published expatriates.  With just over 1,000 expatriates in the first quarter, 2014 may very well set another record.

Expat 2

Update:  Wall Street Journal, Number of Americans Renouncing Citizenship on Record Pace

May 1, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Forced Sale of the L.A. Clippers Could Cost Donald Sterling $100-$200 Million in Taxes

Forbes, How Clipper's Sterling Could (Maybe) Avoid a Tax Bill Today:

Could Sterling look to treating the sale as an involuntary conversion under Section 1033 of the tax code?  Basically the code section allows in cases where property is compulsorily or involuntarily converted  – the owner can have nonrecognition of gain if he/she purchases replacement property (assuming of equal value).  The owner has basically two years after the close of the tax year in which the gain was made to buy replacement property.

Translation – Sterling could seek to claim that his property (ownership of the Clippers) was compulsorily or involuntarily converted (being forced to sell it by the NBA) under Section 1033.  NOTE:  the argument that Sterling had to sell because of his own actions – not the NBA’s – is a fair one and could be a possible IRS line of attack.

Sterling could then seek over the next two years to purchase like property – another sports team(s) of equal value.  While Sterling is banned from the NBA there are many other sports teams out there (think European soccer teams) that he might look to purchase.   Sterling’s argument would be that the Clippers are a professional sports team and he has bought another sports team – that he is not limited to just purchasing an NBA team.

The tax benefit for Sterling – transferred basis to the new sports team and deferral of capital gains taxes (ie will have to pay tax when he sells the soccer team down the road (or at death) – assuming no sharp pencils on estate tax planning).  Bottom line – no tax bill today.

May 1, 2014 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (12)

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May 1, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

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May 1, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chemerinsky & Menkel-Meadow Ignore Bloat in Legal Education

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer:  NYT Op-Ed Authors Ignore Bloat in Legal Education, by Matt Leichter:

Like the last law school dean who ventured to discuss legal education on The New York Times' opinion pages, Lawrence Mitchell in 2012, University of California, Irvine School of Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky has not been well received by many who read the piece he authored with UC Irvine professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Don't Skimp on Legal Training.

Most of the negative response to the piece, though, has focused on the authors' misinterpretation of employment data in a way that trivializes the jobs crisis that law graduates currently face. What's been missing so far is an evaluation of the actual argument advanced by Chemerinsky and Menkel-Meadow, if only in the last third of their article: that relaxing undergraduate prerequisites or reducing law school class time to two years will result in insufficient training in diverse subjects at a time that new lawyers need it most. I will deal with each of these points in turn. ...

[T]he best empirical evidence shows that contrary to the authors' pleas—and despite the variety of courses and clinics students are exposed to, thanks to there being so many more law professors—law school graduates' incomes have not only failed to increase but have obviously declined with the Great Recession.


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May 1, 2014 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (6)

The IRS Scandal, Day 357

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Above the Law 2014 Rankings of the Top 50 Law Schools

ATLAbove the Law has released its 2014 Rankings of the Top 50 Law Schools. Here are the Top 25, along with each school's U.S. News ranking:


US News

Law School



















































Notre Dame












Boston College



New Mexico



North Carolina








Employment score (30%)
We are staying out of all of the hairsplitting about the definitions of “J.D. Advantage” versus “J.D. Preferred,” or whether employment data should be captured at 9 or 10 months after graduation. Much of the debate around law school employment data strikes us as so much fiddling around the edges of a larger problem. Thus for the employment score, we only counted full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage (excluding solos and school-funded positions).

Quality jobs score (30%)
This measures the schools’ success at placing students on career paths that best enable them to pay off their student debts. We’ve combined placement with the country’s largest and best-paying law firms (using the National Law Journal’s “NLJ 250”) and the percentage of graduates embarking on federal judicial clerkships. These clerkships typically lead to a broader and enhanced range of employment opportunities.

SCOTUS clerk & Federal judgeship scores (7.5% each)
Though obviously applicable to very different stages of legal careers, these two categories represent the pinnacles of the profession. For the purposes of these rankings, we simply looked at a school's graduates as a percentage of (1) all U.S. Supreme Court clerks (since 2009) and (2) currently sitting Article III judges. Both scores are adjusted for the size of the school.

Education cost (15%)
Solid data on individual law student educational debt is hard to come by. Published averages exist, but the crucial number, the amount of non-dischargeable government funded or guaranteed educational loan debt, is not available. So as a proxy for indebtedness, we’ve scored schools based on total cost. For those schools placing a majority of their graduates into the local job market, we’ve adjusted the score for the cost of living in that market.

Alumni rating (10%)
This is the only non-public component of our rankings. Our ATL Insider Survey asks students and alumni to rate their schools in terms of academics, financial aid advising, career services advising, social life, and clinical training. For the purposes of the ATL Top 50, we only counted the alumni ratings, as that was more in keeping with our “outcomes only” approach. 

Four of the five California law schools ranked in the Top 50 by both Above the Law and U.S. News rank lower in the ATL ranking due to its heavy (60%) reliance on placement data and California's comparatively weak legal employment market.


US News

Law School
















Like U.S. News, ATL has not heeded the call by California law school deans to use state-adjusted employment measures.

Update:  Brian Leiter (Chicago), ATL's Approach to Ranking Law Schools: Decide What the Result Should be, Then Adjust the Criteria Accordingly

April 30, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

EBay Bucks Trend, Repatriates $9 Billion to U.S. at $3 Billion Tax Cost

Wall Street Journal, EBay to Take $3 Billion Tax Charge Online Marketplace to Bring Overseas Cash Back to U.S.:

EBay (2014)EBay is taking the unusual step of bringing most of its foreign-held cash back to the U.S.—and with it a $3 billion tax bill. ... "We are an acquisitive company and we need to ensure we have the resources available to capitalize on targets that become available," said Bob Swan, the San Jose, Calif., company's chief financial officer. "To be clear, we are not announcing any large U.S.-based acquisition."

EBay said it would bring as much as $9 billion that it had previously designated as permanently invested overseas back to the U.S., meaning it will pay tax on the difference between the U.S. and foreign tax rates. The move appears to be one of the largest repatriations in recent years.

Rather than repatriate foreign earnings and pay the tax, many more companies are borrowing for domestic purposes. Apple on Tuesday said it would sell $12 billion in bonds, just a year after agreeing to a $17 billion bond sale.

"Firms as strong as eBay could go the Apple route and just use foreign cash to service their debt," said Edward Kleinbard, a professor at University of Southern California's Law School and a former chief of staff for Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation. "It's surprising that a company would incur current costs when they could just issue debt."

April 30, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wells & Lowell: Tax Base Erosion and Section 482

Bret Wells (Houston) & Cym Lowell (McDermott Will & Emery, Houston),  Tax Base Erosion: Reformation of Section 482's Arm’s Length Standard, 15 Fla. Tax Rev. 737 (2014):

Florida Tax ReviewThe United States has repeatedly attempted to stop tax base erosion for almost the entire post-World War I era, and yet the same problems exist today. The need for fundamental tax reform is front-page material in the major newspapers with the US transfer pricing rules and US multinationals portrayed as public enemy #1. This year, the OECD issued a report entitled “Addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting” and last month it issued a “Action Plan” for how it plans to proceed to address base erosion and profit-shifting. In a competing fashion, several important developing countries have initiated their own pact to develop cooperative strategies on these issues outside of the framework of the OECD and UN. It is fair to say that a solution to the base erosion and profit-shifting practices of multinational corporations is the “holy grail” of international tax policy.

This article proposes a solution to the base erosion and profit-shifting phenomenon in what many believe is an unlikely place: within the arm’s length standard itself.

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April 30, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should Faculty Know Their Colleagues' Salaries?

Business Insider, Here's Why Whole Foods Lets Employees Look Up Each Other's Salaries:

Whole FoodsHave you ever wondered how much money your boss makes? If you worked at Whole Foods, you could look it up and find out.

Leaders of the supermarket chain believe in keeping employees as informed as possible, even when it comes to pay. Under the company's open policy, staff can easily look up anyone's salary or bonus from the previous year — all the way up to the CEO level.

The unusual Whole Foods policy is designed to both encourage conversations about salary among staff members and to promote competition within the company, according to The Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Customers, a new book by entrepreneurs Leerom Segal, Aaron Goldstein, Jay Goldman, and Rahaf Harfoush on innovative management practices. Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey introduced the policy in 1986, just six years after he co-founded the company. In the book, he explains that his initial goal was to help employees understand why some people were paid more than others. If workers understood what types of performance and achievement earned certain people more money, he figured, perhaps they would be more motivated and successful, too.

(Hat Tip: Greg McNeal.)

April 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Estate Planning Is a Game

The Virtual Law Practice is launching a RocketHub crowdfund campaign to raise funds to build out the estate planning game, Estate Quest:

(Hat Tip: ABA Journal.)

April 30, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through April 1, 2014) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):



All-Time Downloads


Recent Downloads


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


D. Dharmpala (Illinois) 



D. Dharmpala (Illinois)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



James Hines (Michigan)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Richard Kaplan (Illinois)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Bridget Crawford (Pace)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


James Hines (Michigan)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Omri Marian (Florida)



David Walker (BU)


Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Vic Flesicher (San Diego)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Dick Harvey (Villanova)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chiago)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Carter Bishop (Suffolk)



Herwig Schlunk (Vand.)


Susan Morse (Texas)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


David Weisbach (Chicago)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


David Gamage (UCBerkeley)



Ed McCaffery (USC)


Chris Sanchirico (Penn)



Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)


Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)


Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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April 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fleischer: How Tax Laws Distort the Pfizer Deal

Pfizer 2Following up on yesterday's post, Pfizer's Acquisition of AstraZeneca May Spur Rush of Tax-Avoidance Inversions: New York Times DealBook, How Tax Laws Distort the Pfizer Deal, by Victor Fleischer (San Diego):

It’s tempting to look at the Pfizer deal simply as a loss for taxpayers in the United States. But it’s worse than that. A Coasean perspective is useful because it focuses attention on how taxes distort “real” (nonfinancial) management decisions, like how to organize a firm, whether to buy or make major aspects of production, where to locate assets and production functions inside the firm, and how and where to reinvest profits. Because reinvested profits are taxed more lightly than distributed profits, taxes may often have the effect of causing firms to grow larger than is economically efficient.

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April 30, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Winchester: Carried Interest for the Common Man

TaxSymposiumHeaderRichard Winchester (Thomas Jefferson), Carried Interest for the Common Man, 142 Tax Notes 1250 (Mar. 17, 2014) (Symposium on Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis):

This article describes how a self employed individual can minimize federal tax on his earnings when he operates his business through a formal business entity. The article also assess the merits of a proposal to address the situation.

April 30, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Beyond Elitism: Legal Education for the Public Good

George Critchlow (Gonzaga), Beyond Elitism: Legal Education for the Public Good, 45 U. Tol. L. Rev. ___ (2014):

The possibilities for legal education reform are endless once an institution has unshackled itself from elitist traditions, copycat curricula and cultures, and the belief that law schools exist primarily to serve the needs of affluent clients, students who want to be rich, and faculty who want protection from markets and the demands of practice. This article describes the confluence of historical and recent forces that make this a good time to reflect and act on the relationship between legal education and the availability of legal services to the ordinary public. We have an opportunity to reassess the assumptions and costs associated with years of copying an elitist model of legal education – a model that has neglected to train lawyers and other legal services providers to meet society’s substantial unmet legal needs. The article sketches out what a truly innovative, affordable, and public interest-minded law school might look like. It argues for a new definition of education excellence based on the ability of law schools to serve the interests of both students and the underserved public.

New School for Legal Services (NSLS):

Target enrollment for the new school is a total of 360 students, comprised of 300 J.D. students; 20 Legal Technician students, 20 Paralegal students, and 20 Masters students. The annual revenue for law school is $5,400,000. Twelve percent of this ($648,000) is paid to the main university to support the law school’s overhead leaving $4,752,000 for the educational program.

The NSLS faculty and personnel costs consist of:

  • Ten full-time tenure or tenure track professors who are expected to divide their time between teaching and scholarly activity. They are paid an average of $100,000 a year plus benefits that average $25,000 each. The Virtual Library Director is counted among these ten faculty. (Total cost: $1,250,000); 
  • Eight full-time professors on renewable five-year contracts who are not expected to engage in traditional scholarship. Five of these are former practicing lawyers who teach primarily in the classroom and online. Three are former practitioners who teach skills in simulated settings. They are paid an average salary of $100,000 per year plus benefits that average $25,000 each. (Total cost: $1,000,000);
  • Three full-time professors who are experienced lawyers, who have faculty status and renewable contracts, and who are placed in local for-profit and non-profit legal services offices with responsibility for training students how to practice law in the context of representing real clients. These faculty members have no faculty committee or other administrative responsibilities. They are paid an average of $100,000 annually plus $25,000 in benefits. (total cost: $375,000);
  • Ten adjunct professors who teach two classes each year for a total of $10,000/yr. (Total cost $100,000);
  • Total faculty personnel expenses: $2,725,000
  • Total full-time faculty/student ratio: 17/1
  • The Dean’s budget, including the Dean’s salary, travel, and discretionary expenses is $400,000.

April 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 356

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gamage Presents A Framework for Analyzing the Optimal Choice of Tax Instruments Today at NYU

Gamage (2014)David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) presents A Framework for Analyzing the Optimal Choice of Tax Instruments, 68 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2014), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Auerbach:

What mix of policy instruments should governments employ to raise revenues or to promote distribution? The dominant answer to this question in the tax theory and public finance literatures is that (with limited exceptions) governments should rely exclusively on a progressive consumption tax. Thus, among other implications, the dominant view is that governments should not tax capital income or wealth, and that legal rules should not be designed to promote distribution.

In contrast, this Article argues that governments should make use of a number of tax and non-tax policy instruments to raise revenues and to promote distribution. Furthermore, this Article argues that governments may have much greater capacity to raise revenues and to promote distribution at lower efficiency costs than is generally recognized. Whereas the existing theoretical literature focuses on a small number of distortionary costs that result from taxation (in particular, on labor-to-leisure and saving-to-spending distortions), this Article analyzes the implications of taxpayers engaging in a diverse variety of tax-gaming responses. To the extent that taxpayers respond to different tax instruments through different forms of tax gaming, this Article demonstrates that governments can raise revenues and promote distribution more efficiently by employing a variety of different policy instruments.

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April 29, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pfizer's Acquisition of AstraZeneca May Spur Rush of Tax-Avoidance Inversions (and Congressional Action)

Bloomberg:  U.S. Treasury Seen Loser in Tax-Avoiding Pfizer Deal, by Jesse Drucker & Zachary R. Mider:

Pfizer 2If Pfizer is successful in its $98.7 billion takeover of London-based AstraZeneca, there is one big potential loser: the U.S. Treasury.

Under the proposed deal’s structure, the combined company would be owned by a new U.K. parent. That doesn’t mean any of New York-based Pfizer’s executives would need to move abroad: Chief Executive Officer Ian Read has said the drugmaker would be run from the U.S. It does mean, however, that Pfizer is joining a wave of U.S. companies using mergers as ways to slash income tax bills by shifting their head office overseas -- often on paper only.

“This is basically an opportunity to go outside the U.S. and still sell in the U.S. and strip the tax base,” said H. David Rosenbloom, an attorney at Caplin & Drysdale in Washington and director of the international tax program at New York University’s school of law. “If we ever had a legislature in the United States, we could do something about this, but I don’t expect to live that long.”

U.S. law seeks to stop companies from avoiding income taxes by simply ditching their home residence. Those rules only prevent companies from getting the tax benefit of an overseas merger if their existing shareholders still own 80 percent or more of the company’s stock after the deal.

In Pfizer’s case, shareholders likely would own less than that proportion of the new combined company.

By switching its parent company from the U.S. to the U.K., Pfizer could take advantage of a number of tax benefits. The U.K. corporate tax rate is 21 percent -- next year dropping to 20 percent -- compared with 35 percent in the U.S. In addition, the U.K. only taxes profits that companies say are earned within the country.

So earnings attributed to subsidiaries in tax havens aren’t then taxed when they are brought home. And the newest benefit: the U.K. is phasing in a 10 percent tax rate on profits attributed to U.K. patents, a big source of income for any drugmaker. ...

Last year, Pfizer reported an effective tax rate of 27 percent.

The U.S. Congress tried to impose a moratorium on such corporate moves overseas -- called inversions -- in 2002. Two years later, it passed legislation designed to limit that practice.

Nevertheless, since 2012, at least 15 large companies have either moved or announced plans to move offshore, including Chiquita Brands International Inc., the Charlotte, North Carolina-based banana importer, and New York-based Omnicom Group Inc., the largest U.S. advertising firm.

(Hat Tip: Bruce Bartlett)

April 29, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Bridge to Practice Series™

Sponsored by West Academic

Michael Vitiello  (McGeorge):

BridgeFinding bad news about legal education is easy. And some of the bad news is deeply troubling. No one in legal education can be insensitive to the slowly recovering employment market and to concerns about student debt. But some of the gloom and doom about law schools is just wrong.

In 2011, David Segal wrote a series of articles that appeared on the front page of the New York Times. His articles did not say anything new about legal education. But the appearance of his views on the front page of the Times made Segal’s voice important.

Some of Segal’s criticisms are legitimate. But one aspect of his critique was galling. In one article, after observing that young lawyers have spent over $150,000 for their legal educations, Segal commented, “What that they did not get, for all that time and money, was much practical training.” Segal also contended that the law school curriculum has changed little since the days of Dean Langdell. Segal’s portrayal of legal education was stereotypical and one dimensional.

When I graduated from law school 40 years ago, the statement about limited practical training was true. Even then, law schools were putting in place legal clinics and volunteer programs to give students on-hands experience. To continue to insist that little has changed in the past three decades demonstrates a lack of awareness of what goes on in law schools around the country.

Start with changes in skills based courses like legal writing and moot court. Within the past 25 years, many schools have converted their programs from one or two unit pass-fail courses often taught by upper level students to far more demanding programs. Most schools hire tenure track or long term contract professionals. Many law schools offer rigorous writing programs and train students in oral advocacy skills. That has been the pattern at McGeorge. The directors of our Global Lawyering program have created a nationally recognized writing program. The program spans the first two years and offers students with a wide range of practical skills. For example, during their 2 L year, students argue multiple motions in a “district court” after they have submitted memoranda to the court. Their earlier memoranda culminate in a full appellate brief, submitted and argued individually to an appellate court. Each student argues before a three judge panel. The realistic litigation problem introduces students to international law as well. For example, students may have to argue whether domestic or foreign law applies because the problem presents a conflict of law question.

Skills education goes well beyond clinics, legal writing, trial advocacy, and externship programs. Many professors have integrated skills training into more traditional courses. I offer my own example as someone who came into the academy after three years of experience, mostly as a judicial clerk. Many years ago, I realized the necessity of integrating simulation exercises into my Civil Procedure course. Concepts like personal jurisdiction and summary judgment challenge the best students; students have trouble grasping concepts that lack any intuitive feel. For many years, I pieced together simulation exercises; but I did not provide systematic exposure.

That all changed when my acquisitions editor at West Academic Publishing accepted my proposal to publish a series of simulation books. The books in the Bridge to Practice Series™ are designed to supplement traditional casebooks across the curriculum. Priced reasonably, the paperbacks run between 100 and 200 pages. Each contains a series of simulations with a teacher’s manual detailing how the professor can integrate the simulations into their “podium” courses.

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April 29, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Schumacher: Sentencing in Tax Cases After Booker

Scott A. Schumacher (Washington), Sentencing in Tax Cases after Booker: Striking the Right Balance, 58 Vill. L. Rev. ___ (2014):

It has been nearly ten years since the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in United States v. Booker, in which the Court invalidated the mandatory application of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. In the cases that followed, the Court addressed subsidiary issues regarding the application of the Guidelines and the scope of appellate review. However, despite — or perhaps because of — these opinions, there is little consensus regarding the status and extent of appellate review, as well as the discretion afforded sentencing courts. More troubling, what consensus there is seems to permit judges to impose any sentence they wish, as long as the appropriate sentencing procedures are followed. As a result, we are in danger of returning to “the shameful lack of parity, which the Guidelines sought to remedy.”

The Sentencing Reform Act and the Sentencing Guidelines were designed to reduce disparity in sentencing and to reign in what one commentator described as a “lawless system.” However, the Guidelines as ultimately conceived drastically limited the sentencing judge’s ability to impose a sentence that was appropriate for the conduct and culpability of the defendant, creating a different kind of sentencing disparity. The current, post-Booker system provides more guidance than the pre-Guidelines system, but permits sentencing judges to disregard the Guidelines and develop their own sentencing policy. As a result, rather than having a system that allows for sentences to be tailored to individual defendants, the current system allows sentences to be imposed based on the penal philosophy of individual judges. This will inevitably lead to unwarranted sentencing disparity.

This article traces the recent history of criminal sentencing and, relying on the influential works of John Rawls and H.L.A. Hart on theories of punishment, argues for a better system that allows for both guidance to sentencing judges and appropriately individualized sentencing. My recommendation, although equally applicable to any federal sentence, will be examined through the lens of tax sentencing.

April 29, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leiter's Research University Rankings

Brian Leiter (Chicago), Top Research Universities in the US, 2014:

T]his is an aggregation of reputational surveys done by U.S. News on graduate programs, which tend to give decent, if imperfect, information (based on my conversations with scholars in various fields). The fields included here are from the Social Sciences & Humanities (Economics, English, History, Political Science, Psychology & Sociology, plus Philosophy from the 2011 PGR), the Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Math, Physics, Statistics), Law, and Medicine. Universities received 4 points for each program in the top five; 3 points for each additional program in the top ten; 2 points for each additional program in the top 15; 1 point for each additional program in the top 25; and .5 points for each additional programa in the top 35. ... After each school name is the total number of points, the number of fields in which the school had a "top 25" program (maximum is 16), the number of fields in which the school had a top 35 program (if different), and the number of "top five" programs.

  1. Stanford (63 total, top 25/16 fields, 15 top five programs)
  2. Harvard (59 total, top 25/16 fields, 13 top five programs)
  3. UC-Berkeley (56 total, top 25/15 fields, 12 top five programs)
  4. Princeton (45 total, top 25/13 fields, 8 top five programs)
  5. Yale (43.5 total, top 25/15 fields, top 35/16, 4 top five programs)
  6. Columbia (43 total, top 25/16 fields, 3 top five programs)
  7. Michigan (43 total, top 25/16 fields, 4 top five programs)
  8. Chicago (40.5 total, top 25/15 fields, top 35/16, 5 top five programs)
  9. MIT (37.5 total, top 25/10 fields, top 35/11, 7 top five programs)
  10. UCLA (34.5 total, top 25/15 fields, top 35/16, 1 top five program)

The full list is here.

April 29, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Brown: Lessons From Barack and Michelle Obama’s Tax Returns

TaxSymposiumHeaderDorothy A. Brown (Emory), Lessons From Barack and Michelle Obama’s Tax Returns, 142 Tax Notes 1109 (Mar. 10, 2014) (Symposium on Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis):

President and Mrs. Obama have made their tax returns publicly available going back to tax year 2000. While every year with the release of a new tax return, analysis turns to a particular year’s tax return, this study analyzes their tax returns for the years 2000-2004. The study shows that when you compare the Obamas’ tax return data with published Internal Revenue Service statistics, that for every year but one, the Obamas’ paid higher taxes than their financial peers – perhaps one more piece of evidence that we are not post-racial yet.

April 29, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

WSJ: MLPs and Hedge Funds Are Too Complicated to Be Audited

Following up on my previous posts:

Wall Street Journal:  Investments That Elude IRS Scrutiny: Master Limited Partnerships and Hedge Funds Are Often Too Complicated to Be Audited, by Laura Saunders:

Is your investment too complicated to be audited?

It could be, say experts, if it is a partnership stake in a large private-equity firm, hedge fund or master limited partnership. Examples include publicly traded partnerships such as Blackstone Group and KKR, oil and gas MLPs such as Magellan Midstream Partners or Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, and many privately held large partnerships as well.

The IRS reviewed the books and records of only 0.8% of large partnerships with 100 or more direct investors and $100 million or more in assets in fiscal 2012, according to recent findings from the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency. By contrast, the IRS audited 27.1% of corporations with $100 million or more in assets in the same year.

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April 29, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Herzig: Marriage Pluralism: Taxing Marriage after Windsor

David Herzig (Valparaiso), Marriage Pluralism: Taxing Marriage after Windsor:

The purpose of the tax law is to collect as much revenue in as neutral manner as possible. When the current Code was enacted in 1913 and it was determined that the appropriate taxable unit was the family, a series of patchwork solutions were required to bridge the gap in between the civil and community property law regimes. Those solutions were not based on any fundamental principle of taxation, but, rather, dealing with the binary approach to marriage at that time. As the number of pluralistic approaches to family arrangements increased, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) did not continue to examine the implications of those relationships. It was not until after U.S. v. Windsor, when the Court decided that the federal definition of marriage in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) was unconstitutional, that Treasury was faced with addressing, at the minimum, the state law differential in what it means to be married. As a formal matter, words like “marriage” or “spouse” do appear to require Treasury to investigate the law of a particular state. Treasury had to determine which state’s definition of marriage applies for federal tax purposes: the state where the couple married (state of ceremony) or the state where the couple resides (state of domicile). As a result of the state level distinctions, Treasury issued Revenue Rule 2013-17, in which Treasury (and thus the IRS) stated that, for federal tax purposes, same-sex couples legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages will be treated as married regardless of whether the state of domicile recognizes that marriage.

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April 29, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Prebble: Legal Writing and Tax

John Prebble (Victoria University of Wellington), Organisation and Composition of Legal Prose:

This paper provides guidance on legal writing. There is advice on sentences and punctuation, words and spelling, style, and references. A series of writing examples are used to outline common mistakes and errors. Most examples relate to tax law, but the paper applies to legal writing in general.

April 29, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 355

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hickman Delivers Chair Investiture Lecture Today at Minnesota on Administering the Tax System We Have

Hickman 2014 2Kristin E. Hickman (Minnesota) delivers a lecture today on Administering the Tax System We Have, 64 Duke L.J. ___ (2014), as part of her investiture as the Harlan Albert Rogers Professor of Law at Minnesota:

Traditional perceptions of tax exceptionalism from administrative law doctrines and requirements have been predicated at least in part on the importance of the tax code’s revenue raising function. Yet, Congress increasingly relies on the IRS to administer government programs that have little to do with raising revenue and much more to do with distributing government benefits to the economically disadvantaged, subsidizing approved activities, and regulating outright certain economic sectors like nonprofits, pensions, and now health care. As the attentions of the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service shift away from raising revenue and toward these other matters, the revenue-based justification for tax exceptionalism from general administrative law norms fades. To demonstrate the shift, the Article incorporates empirical analysis of Treasury and IRS regulatory activity over time.

April 28, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mazur: Taxing the Cloud

Orly Mazur (SMU), Taxing the Cloud (Recipient, 2013 David F. Bradford Memorial Prize for Best Paper in Taxation):

Transacting business in the “cloud” has quickly gained popularity worldwide as the new method of providing information technology resources. Instead of purchasing or downloading software, we can now use the Internet to access software and other fundamental computing resources located on remote computer networks operated by third parties. These transactions offer companies lower operating costs, increased scalability and improved reliability, but also give rise to a host of international tax issues. Despite the rapid growth and prevalent use of cloud computing, U.S. taxation of international cloud computing transactions has yet to receive significant scholarly attention. This Article seeks to fill that void by analyzing the U.S. tax implications of operating in the cloud from a doctrinal and policy perspective. Such an analysis shows that the technological advances associated with the cloud put pressure on traditional U.S. federal income tax principles, which creates uncertainty, compliance burdens and liability risks for companies and a potential loss of revenue for the government. Applying the current law to cloud computing transactions also results in tax consequences that run counter to sound tax policy and may result in double taxation or complete non-taxation of cloud income. In light of these problems, federal attention is warranted to clarify how U.S. federal income tax principles apply to businesses operating in the cloud. Thus, this Article proposes that Treasury issue guidance that clearly addresses the U.S. tax implications of international cloud computing services and suggests that, ultimately, the United States must collaborate with other countries to achieve international consensus on these issues. Together these changes will ensure that the United States appropriately taxes the cloud and does so in a manner that minimizes double taxation and promotes efficiency, equity and administrative simplicity.

April 28, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NLJ: At Law Schools, Need for Reform is Obvious, the Means Less So

National Law Journal:  At Law Schools, Need for Reform is Obvious, the Means Less So, by Karen Sloan:

Future 2Colorado Law’s Silicon Flatirons Center, which focuses on technology and entrepreneurship in the law, convened a daylong conference on April 17 [The Future of Law School Innovation] aimed at helping identify how law schools can successfully innovate.

The widely held view is that innovation in legal education is hampered by aversion to change both within the legal profession as a whole and by entrenched faculties. But declining enrollment and related pressures have given schools no choice but to embrace change.

Colorado professor Scott Peppet observed that legal educators become obsessed with the causes of the problems they face—and less so about finding solutions.

But some law schools and professors deserve credit for innovation, said Bill Henderson, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law–Bloomington. For instance, he said, Washington and Lee University School of Law in 2008 eliminated the traditional third-year curriculum and adopted a practice-oriented program.

But reform efforts and success are two different things, Henderson said. “It’s one thing to have a theory and get some good press clippings,” he said. “It’s another thing to get it to work. The biggest hurdle, I think, is students. It’s hard to get this stuff to work [with students].”

Rather than trying to convince an entire faculty to embrace major change, Henderson suggested schools allow a few highly motivated professors to engage in small-scale experimentation. “You have to start small and not say, ‘We’re going to change legal education,’ ” Henderson said. “Let’s start with a few classes.” ...

Panelists also zeroed in on what they called an outsized emphasis on faculty scholarship. Many law schools expect professors to spend 40 percent of their time on scholarship, 40 percent on teaching and 20 percent on public service. That leaves less time to develop innovating teaching methods, especially for the younger, untenured professors—those most likely to embrace innovation and change.

April 28, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Shaviro, Sullivan Speak on Tax Reform at NYU Today

NYU Banner

Book Discussison (12:30 - 1:50 p.m.):  Daniel Shaviro (NYU), Fixing U.S. International Taxation (Oxford University Press, 2014):

FixingInternational tax rules, which determine how countries tax cross-border investment, are increasingly important with the rise of globalization, but the modern U.S. rules, even more than those in most other countries, are widely recognized as dysfunctional. The existing debate over how to reform the U.S. tax rules is stuck in a sterile dialectic, in which ostensibly the only permissible choices are worldwide or residence-based taxation of U.S. companies with the allowance of foreign tax credits, versus outright exemption of the companies’ foreign source income. In Fixing U.S. International Taxation, Daniel N. Shaviro explains why neither of these solutions addresses the fundamental problem at hand, and he proposes a new reformulation of the existing framework from first principles. He shows that existing international tax policy frameworks are misguided insofar as they treat “double taxation” and “double non-taxation” as the key issues, conflate the distinct questions of what tax rate to impose on foreign source income and how to treat foreign taxes, and use simplistic single-bullet global welfare norms in lieu of a comprehensive analysis. Drawing on tools that are familiar from public economics and trade policy, but that have been under-utilized in the international tax realm, Shaviro offers a better analysis that not only reshapes our understanding of the underlying issues, but might point the way to substantially improving the prevailing rules, both in the U.S. and around the world.”

  • Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  • Itai Grinberg (Georegtown)
  • Martin Sullivan (Tax Analysts)

Public Lecture (6:00 - 7:30 p.m.):  Martin Sullivan (Tax Analysts), Tax Reform 2017: Incremental or Fundamental?:

Sullivan (2014)Martin Sullivan is the chief economist of Tax Analysts (publisher of Tax Notes) and is a leading expert on federal tax reform. He is a contributing editor for Tax Analysts’ daily and weekly publications. Sullivan has written over 500 economic analyses for Tax Analysts and is the author of two books on tax reform, including the recent Corporate Tax Reform: Taxing Profits in the 21st Century. He is also a regular contributor to Tax Analysts’ blog and He has testified before Congress on numerous occasions. Previously, Sullivan taught economics at Rutgers University and served as a staff economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and later at the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. Sullivan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received a PhD in economics from Northwestern University. 

April 28, 2014 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

6th Circuit Rejects Discrimination Claim by Miami University Prof Over Refusal to Solicit Outside Reviews From Faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

HBCUInside Higher Ed, Who Gets to Decide?:

A divided federal appeals court [last] month upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against Miami University that charged racial discrimination against a black faculty member in the tenure process [Thrash v. Miami University, No. 13-3489 (6th Cir. Mar. 10, 2014)].

A key argument in the lawsuit was that a chair showed racial bias by rejecting potential candidates for the external review who were at historically black colleges. But the majority in the case, noting that a majority of those on the external panel were black, rejected that argument and accepted the possibility of other, legitimate reasons for rejecting those candidates.

April 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

4th Annual SoCal Tax Prof Dinner

My wife and I hosted the 4th Annual Southern California Tax Prof Dinner last night and had a wonderful evening filled with great food (especially the Lazerows' tangerine chocolate cake), drink, and conversation.

SoCal 1

Bobby Dexter

Victoria Haneman

Tom Bost
Paul Caron
Khrista Johnson


San Diego
Jordan Barry
Bert Lazerow

Thomas Jefferson Richard Winchester

Jason Oh

Ed Kleinbard

We began the day saying farewell to two of our favorite new Southern California friends:  Tax Prof Nancy Staudt and Lee Epstein are leaving USC for Washington University -- Nancy as Dean and Howard & Caroline Cayne Professor of Law and Lee as Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor.

Lee and Nancy 1

April 28, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Choose a School for Tax Law

preLaw Magazine (Spring 2014):  How to Choose a School for Tax Law:

Tax LawIf there's one law specialty with staying power, this is it.

"Tax law affects every aspect of our lives, from deeply personal decisions, like marriage, child care, education and housing, to esoteric topics, like cross-border deals and complex financial transactions," said Victor Fleischer, a professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Heather Field, an expert in tax law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, believes the field has enduring strengths.  "As I tell my students, as long as our federal, state and local governments continue to operate, they will need money," she said.  As long as our governments need money, there will be taxes.  And as long as there are taxes, taxpayers will want to pay as little as possible, and governments will want to collect as much as possible, which means that both taxpayers and governments will need tax lawyers."

preLaw lists the law schools with:

  • Tax Certificate Programs (14 law schools)
  • Tax Centers (8 law schools)
  • Tax Clinics (27 law schools)
  • Tax Externships (42 law schools)

April 28, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ring: The Influence of Experts

Diane Ring (Boston College), The InfluencJotwelle of Experts (Jotwell) (reviewing Mai’a K. Davis Cross, Rethinking Epistemic Communities Twenty Years Later, 39 Rev. Int’l Studies 137 (2013)):

Why do certain ideas gain traction in policy debates? Regardless of one’s field of study, this question cannot be ignored. The challenge is where to look for answers. The 2013 article by political scientist Mai’a Davis Cross, Rethinking Epistemic Communities Twenty Years Later, is one new and relevant resource in this quest. For more than a decade international tax scholars have drawn on the work of international relations (IR) theory and scholarship. In part, this attention by the tax community was out of necessity. Although it was apparent that international tax policy was subject to and the product of the same basic forces animating the classic subjects of IR study (e.g., military, trade, and environmental policy) tax policy formation traditionally has received scant attention from this branch of political science research. Yet the ideas being developed in IR theory would prove important to a serious and sophisticated understanding of “international tax relations.” Thus, international tax scholars began looking across the divide of research fields to consider the value added from the IR theory work of political scientists such as Cross. ...

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April 28, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 354

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup