Friday, September 8, 2017
Following up on my previous posts:
- Aaron Taylor (St. Louis), For Diversity: Lets Talk Less About Pipelines and More About Why Blacks Are Not Admitted
- Robert Steinbuch (Arkansas-Little Rock), The LSAT's 'Noteworthy' Correlation To Bar Passage
- Aaron Taylor (St. Louis), A Little Bit Of Data Can Be A Lot Dangerous When It Comes To LSATs And Bar Passage
Robert Steinbuch (Arkansas-Little Rock), Questionable Arguments About Serious Statistics:
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Daniel Hemel (Chicago) presents Easy on the SALT: In Defense of the Deduction for State and Local Taxes at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti, Diane Ring, and Shu Yi Oei:
William Byrnes (Texas A&M), Michael Hatfield (University of Washington), Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloomington), and Adam Thimmesch (Nebraska) participated in a panel on Tax Compliance and Tax Privacy: A U.S. Perspective at the 35th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime yesterday at the University of Cambridge:
Bloomberg Businessweek, How Top U.S. Law Firms Get Away With Paying Women Less:
California Bar Trustees Vote 6-5 To Give Supreme Court Three Bar Exam Cut Score Options: Keep It 144, Lower To 141.4 Or 139
Now, I have no doubt that readers of this blog are totally compliant in their taxes. And if any happen to be delinquent in their taxes, I have no doubt they are not in the category of delinquent taxpayers who face collection from private collection agencies. But I also suspect many readers have received questions about the program from clients, friends, family members, workplace colleagues, neighbors, and others.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
The National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen has a blog post here that is well worth your time to read. It's about the Service's automated levy program called FPLP (Federal Levy Payment Program).
One way the Service tries to collect unpaid taxes is by looking for people who owe the delinquent taxpayer money and snagging those payments. That's called a levy. FPLP is a computer program designed to snags payments owed by the federal government to delinquent taxpayers. Now, some people consider it an irony that one hand of the federal government actually sends payments to many delinquent taxpayers who owe the federal government money. Notably, however, FPLP hits what are commonly viewed as "safety net" payments from Social Security and Federal Retirement programs. So other people consider it an irony that one hand of the federal government would partially undo the safety net payments made by the other hand.
I am honored to be included on the list of Accounting Today's 100 Most Influential People in Tax and Accounting for the twelfth consecutive year:
I am honored to be on the Top 100 list with such high-powered people in the tax and accounting worlds, including:
- Karen Abramson (CEO, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting)
- Joe Baron (Managing Director, Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting)
- Wayne Berson (CEO, BDO)
- Kevin Brady (Chair, U.S. House Ways & Means Committee)
- James Doty (Chair, PCAOB)
- Lynne Doughtie (Chair & CEO, KPMG)
- Kimberly Ellison-Taylor (Incoming Chair, AICPA)
- Cathy Engelbert (CEO, Deloitte)
- George Farrah (Executive Director, Tax & Accounting, Bloomberg BNA)
- J. Russell George (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)
National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations For Positive Change:
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Who Will Win The Battle For The Soul Of Legal Education: University Grandees Or Hessians Craft Guild?
Andrew Hanson (Marquette) & Ike Brannon (Cato Institute), Corporate Income Taxes and Labor: An Investigation of Empirical Evidence:
I reached out to the deans at the three Houston law schools (University of Houston Law Center, South Texas College of Law Houston, and Thurgood Marshall Law School) to see how the law school community can best support their students, staff, and faculty in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Deans Baynes and Guter responded with links to websites set up by their schools for this purpose:
- University of Houston Law Center, Hurricane Harvey Fund For Students And Staff
- South Texas College of Law Houston, Hurricane Harvey Fund For Students
- South Texas College of Law Houston, Hurricane Harver Fund For Staff And Faculty
Here are the full responses I received:
From Len Baynes (Dean, University of Houston Law Center):
The Service has put up a very useful and comprehensive webpage titled "Help for Victims of Hurricane Harvey." The page contains excellent information about all the different actions the Service takes in response to a natural disaster and has links to all kinds of useful sites.
The Texas State Comptroller has a similarly useful webpage that describes the state and local tax relief (such as exemption from hotel taxes).
The IRS Scandal, Day 1580: Conservative Group Hoping For 'Perp Walks' After Breakthrough In IRS Lawsuit
- This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts
- Golden Gate Seeks To Hire A Faculty Director Of Its Tax & Estate Planning LL.M. Programs
- WSJ: What Tops The Agenda For A New Space Colony? A Debate Over Taxes
- Death Of Lesley McAllister
- The Top Five New Tax Papers
- Pepperdine's New LL.M. In Entertainment, Media, And Sports Law
- A Personal Tribute To Judge Posner And The Life Of The Mind
- The Evilness Of Section 6511
- A Little Bit Of Data Can Be A Lot Dangerous When It Comes To LSATs And Bar Passage
Monday, September 4, 2017
Back in September 2004, when I was still the general counsel of a corporation, I had begun to dip my toes into legal academia some twenty-five years after graduating from law school. I eventually told some of that story in How Not to "Retire and Teach" (and its sequel six years later). I didn't include it in the essays, but I have occasionally told friends this heretofore unpublished story involving Judge Posner.
The great change between 1979 and 2004 was, of course, the rise of interdisciplinarity in legal scholarship. It didn't take me long to figure out that law-and-economics and Judge Posner's contribution were the models par excellence of the shift in emphasis from doctrine to theory. My first re-introductions to the theoretical perspective came from books like The Problematic of Moral and Legal Theory and The Problems of Jurisprudence. I didn't necessarily agree with them; my experience was too many other factors intervened to make microeconomics meaningful in the extension from transactions to subjective decision making. Indeed, from the beginning, I was more interested in what was going on in the head of the utilitarian "rational frog" (Judge Posner's wonderful coinage in Economic Analysis of Law) whose decision-making could be plotted on a curve. Clearly, I thought moral theory was less problematic.
Last week, in Borenstein v. Commmissioner, 149 T.C. No. 10 (Aug. 30, 2017), the Tax Court was asked to apply Section 6511 contrary to its very, very intricate terms. The Court declined to do so. That meant that a taxpayer lost out on a $30k+ refund. Ms. B. had paid about $112k in taxes by the due date of her 2012 return (April 15, 2013), but she did not file the return. While she did get the 6 month extension she still failed to file a return by October 15, 2013. The months went by — 22 of them— before the Service was kind enough in June 2015 to send her an NOD but was unkind in slamming her with an asserted $1.2m deficiency. You know that drill. Ms. B. then quick-like-a-bunny filed a return that September, showing a $79k liability. The Service said "oh, ok, that's good" and accepted her return as accurate. So she now only needed to get her refund, right? Wrong. See below the fold for why.
Following up on last month's post, The LSAT's 'Noteworthy' Correlation To Bar Passage: The National Jurist op-ed: A Little Bit of Data Can Be a Lot Dangerous, by Aaron Taylor (St. Louis; Executive Director, AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence):
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Lesley McAllister, an environmental law professor at San Diego (2005-13) and UC-Davis (2013-), died on August 30 at the age of 47 after a four year battle against cancer. She leaves behind her husband Andrew and two young children, Erin and Nathan. A Celebration of Lesley's Life is being held today at 4:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis. In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions in Lesley's honor may be made to Camp Kesem, a camp that helps children whose parents have cancer.
I got to know Leslie during my many summers at USD, and we often were neighbors in a suite of faculty offices. I prevailed on her to take over our network's Environmental Law Prof Blog, which she did with her customary élan.
There is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper and a new paper debuting on the list at #5:
- [501 Downloads] The Front Door Opens Wide for the Backdoor Roth IRA, by Philip Manns (Liberty) & Timothy Todd (Liberty)
- [495 Downloads] Federal Tax Procedure (2017 Practitioner Ed.), by John Townsend (Houston)
- [238 Downloads] BEPS and European Union Law, by Sjoerd Douma (Leiden)
- [226 Downloads] Is Efficiency Biased?, by Zachary Liscow (Yale)
- [157 Downloads] When Did Tax Avoidance Become Respectable?, by Steven Bank (UCLA)
A nice write up of Pepperdine's new LL.M. program in Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law in Lawyer & Statesman, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law: Becoming an Expert:
Saturday, September 2, 2017
- The IRS Is Mining Taxpayer Data On Social Media In Violation Of Federal Privacy Law
- Law Prof Who Sued Dean For Assault Loses Round 2
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1576: Will Justice Come For IRS Lawbreakers At Last?
- Florida Increases Median LSAT And GPA Of Entering Class, Fueling Rise Toward The Top 35
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1572: Why Did It Go Away?
- The Top 100 Law Schools, Based On 5-, 10-, And 15-Year Rolling Average U.S. News Rankings
- How Stephen Ross' $33 Million Gift To The University Of Michigan Ended Up In Tax Court
- Former Charlotte Law Prof's Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims School Bilked $285 Million From Taxpayers
- California Mulls Taxing Robots
- California Bar Law School Council Recommends Lowering Cut Score to 135-139; Bar Examiners Recommend Keeping It At 144
Wall Street Journal, What Tops the Agenda for a New Space Colony? A Debate Over Taxes:
Friday, September 1, 2017
- The Atlantic, The Case for a Millionaire Tax
- The Atlantic, Trump's Fill-in-the-Blanks Tax Reform Plan
- Bloomberg, GOP's Pro-Family Tax Reform Might Have a Catch
- Bloomberg, Trump’s Tax Pitch Will Be Populist, But Bill May Benefit Elites
- Bloomberg BNA, Conservative Groups Seen as Crucial Allies on Tax Reform
- Bloomberg View (Tyler Cowen), How a Good Tax Reform Goes Bad
- Above the Law, A Law School's Quest to Scale the Rankings
- Martha M. Ertman (Maryland), Developing Professional Skills: Secured Transactions (Introduction)
- Ian Holloway (Calgary) & Steven Friedland (Elon), The Double Life of Law Schools
- Lori D. Johnson, Jeanne Frazier Price, & Eric H. Franklin (all UNLV), Research Instruction and Resources in the Transactional Skills Classroom: Approaches to Incorporating Research Instruction into Transactional Skills Courses
California Bar Law School Council Recommends Lowering Cut Score to 135-139; Bar Examiners Recommend Keeping It At 144
A California Bar survey revealed that 80% of attorneys surveyed (34,295) and 2% of applicants (4,188) support leaving the cut score at 144:
On Thursday, the Committee of Bar Examiners voted 13-1 to recommend leaving the cut score at 144.
The California Bar's Board of Trustees will meet on September 6 and 7 to make its recommendation to the California Supreme Court.
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Charlotte Observer, Sorry, Charlotte. You Don’t Need a Law School, Officials Say.:
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Thursday, August 31, 2017
For my Southern California friends: I have the great honor of speaking this Sunday (Sept. 3) at Pepperdine University's campus church service held in Elkins Auditorium starting at 10:15 am. The title of my talk is From Moses to Hamilton: A Dean’s Journey. For a teaser, see C.S. Lewis & Lin-Manuel Miranda: How I Found My Faith In Mere Christianity And Deepened It In Hamilton:
Washington Post, Fact-checking President Trump’s Speech on His Tax Plan: