TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, August 15, 2016

Law School Tax Clinic Wins Big Case For Students Seeking To Deduct MBA Expenses

MBATCWall Street Journal: Good News for M.B.A. Students: Tuition Is Now More Deductible, by Laura Saunders:

A specialized court’s decision should embolden more students enrolled in M.B.A. programs across the country to deduct their tuition—especially if they are getting an executive M.B.A.

In the case [Kopaigora v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2016-35 (Aug. 2, 2016)], ... [Alex Kopaigora] was employed at a hotel in Los Angeles and commuted to Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, for its executive M.B.A. program. Mr. Kopaigora and his wife, Elizabeth, deducted $18,879 for tuition, commuting and other expenses on their 2011 tax return that the IRS disallowed, in part because he was unemployed for several months of the year. But the judge disagreed with the IRS, saving the Kopaigoras $2,111 in taxes—and providing more ammunition to M.B.A. students who want to deduct education expenses in the future.

“This case is a big win for all M.B.A. students,” says Robert Willens, a tax expert who teaches at Columbia University’s business school and has advised hundreds of M.B.A. students on the ins and outs of deducting tuition. ...

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August 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Arizona State Law School Opens New $129 Million Building Today In Downtown Phoenix

Mason:  Citizenship Taxation

Ruth Mason (Virginia), Citizenship Taxation, 89 S. Cal. L. Rev. 169 (2016):

The United States is the only country that taxes its citizens’ worldwide income, even when those citizens live indefinitely abroad. This Article critically evaluates the traditional equity, efficiency, and administrability arguments for taxing nonresident citizens. It also raises new arguments against citizenship taxation, including that it puts the United States at a disadvantage when competing with other countries for highly skilled migrant.

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August 15, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

William Caudill Named Chair of ABA Tax Section

ABA Tax Section Logo (2012)ABA Tax Section Press Release:

William H. Caudill, a partner in the Houston, TX, office of Norton Rose Fulbright, has been selected to chair the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation, the nation’s largest organization of tax lawyers. Mr. Caudill will serve a one-year term, to be succeeded by Karen L. Hawkins, of Yachats, OR, who will serve as chair-elect.

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August 15, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Welcome, Pepperdine Law School Class Of 2019

Launch Week 4

Welcome to the members of the Pepperdine Law School Class of 2019 who begin their legal education today in a week-long introduction to law school and professional formation.  Law students today face a very difficult challenge, with tuition at record highs and the legal profession in turmoil.  Yet you are part of a very strong class — kudos to Dean Shannon Phillips and her team for putting together such a gifted class in such tough circumstances.  Although this is only my fourth year at Pepperdine, I have experienced first hand what a very special place this is.  As you have already seen, you will be spending the next three years in a spectacularly beautiful campus and city.  You will begin to experience this week the faculty and staff's faith-fueled commitment to you and to your success that manifests itself in various ways, large and small, in daily life here.  You will hear a lot of advice and goal-setting this week in the wonderful program put together by Dean Danny DeWalt and his team.  My wish is that you will love your time at Peppperdine and that you will leave here in three years with a deep sense of your professional and personal calling in law and in life. I look forward to seeing many of you in my tax classes in your second and third year.

August 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Twelve Tables Press And Carolina Academic Press Announce Publishing Alliance

12CAPPress Release,  Twelve Tables Press and Carolina Academic Press Announce Publishing Alliance

Twelve Tables Press today announced a publishing alliance with Carolina Academic Press. The new joint venture will provide all back-office fulfillment, editorial, sales, and marketing support to enable Twelve Tables Press to focus on its vision to chronicle the individuals behind the landmark decisions, capture the craft, scholarship and often sheer will needed to change and redefine American Law, jurisprudence and society..

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August 15, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

American Absurd

American 2The bad news:  the Internet was down on my six hour New York to Los Angeles flight yesterday.  The good news:  it gave me the chance to read Colorado Law Prof Pierre Schlag's new novel (American Absurd: A Work of Fiction) and article (The Law Review Article), brought to my attention by Jeff Lipshaw of our The Legal Whiteboard:

Mr. David Madden lives in L.A. He's an ordinary man. Every day, he gets up and drives to work. Only he never gets there. Instead, he drives from here to there, from Westwood to Santa Monica, Santa Monica to Venice . . . and so on. It seems he's always just going from point A to point B. Of course, driving from point A to point B--that's pretty much what people do in L.A.

But then one day a mishap occurs, a breakdown of sorts, on Santa Monica Boulevard. Soon the media takes notice, and overnight Mr. Madden is transformed into a pioneering cultural figure as his "A-to-B thing" goes viral and becomes the defining issue of our time. Questions are asked, solutions offered, and blame assigned as therapists, academics, police, and lawyers all get involved. Safe to say, no one escapes unscathed in this caustic, irreverent, and hilarious social satire.

Jeff writes:

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August 15, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1194

IRS Logo 2Daily Caller, IRS Bench Slapped Over Targeting Practices:

D.C. Circuit Scolds IRS For Unfair Targeting Practices
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the IRS systematically targeted conservative groups for additional scrutiny by delaying their applications for tax-exempt status and submitting the groups to invasive probes, like forfeiting internet usernames and passwords or reviewing the political and charitable activities of family members. The three-judge panel characterized the agency’s arguments in its defense as “puzzling,” rejecting their claim that the agency could not process the tax-exempt applications of groups party to the litigation. Since the D.C. Circuit was not convinced IRS targeting had ceased, it reversed a lower court ruling denying the conservative groups an injunction and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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August 15, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 14, 2016

UNT-Dallas Wants to Make Law School Less Elitist — And That Could Be Its Downfall

UNT 2Following up on yesterday's post, ABA Must Give Dallas Law School Time To Achieve Audacious, Vital Mission: (1) De-emphasize LSAT To Increase Diversity, (2) Focus Faculty On Teaching Rather Than Research, (3) Charge Low $15k Tuition: Dallas Morning News, UNT-Dallas Wants to Make Law School Less Elitist — And That Could Be Its Downfall:

Officials at the UNT-Dallas College of Law tried something different. They welcomed a diverse group of students, many with grit but not the grades or test scores to get into top law schools. They kept tuition low to avoid six-figure debt.

But that plan will succeed only if students graduate, pass the bar exam and find jobs.  A key group with the ABA doubts UNT-Dallas can pull it off, and has recommended that the school not be accredited.

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August 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

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. [414 Downloads]  Dark Pools, High-Frequency Trading, and the Financial Transaction Tax: A Solution or Complication?, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  2. [290 Downloads]  Fiduciary Financial Advice to Retirement Savers: Don't Overlook the Prudent Investor Rule , by Max M. Schanzenbach (Northwestern) & Robert H. Sitkoff (Harvard)
  3. [284 Downloads]  The True Economic Effects of Corporate Inversions, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  4. [237 Downloads]  The U.S. Response to OECD-BEPS and the EU State Aid Cases, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  5. [206 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)

August 14, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bainbridge:  The Parable Of The Talents

ParableStephen M. Bainbridge (UCLA), The Parable of the Talents:

On its surface, Jesus’ Parable of the Talents is a simple story with four key plot elements: (1) A master is leaving on a long trip and entrusts substantial assets to three servants to manage during his absence. (2) Two of the servants invested the assets profitably, earning substantial returns, but a third servant — frightened of his master’s reputation as a hard taskmaster — put the money away for safekeeping and failed even to earn interest on it. (3) The master returns and demands an accounting from the servants. (4) The two servants who invested wisely were rewarded, but the servant who failed to do so is punished.

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August 14, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1193

IRS Logo 2USA Today, Conservatives Want to Force House Vote to Impeach IRS Chief:

When Congress returns next month from its seven-week recess, conservative rebels in the House vow to force a vote on whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, effectively making an end-run around reluctant House leaders to achieve their goal.

Republicans allege that Koskinen obstructed an investigation into whether the IRS improperly scrutinized conservative Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status, although they do not agree on whether the IRS chief should be impeached. Democrats have denounced impeachment efforts against Koskinen as a politically motivated "travesty" that defames an honorable public servant who has done nothing wrong.

"John Koskinen needs to go, and we are committed to that," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Although House leaders usually set the agenda, Jordan and other Freedom Caucus members are using a procedural tactic called a "privileged resolution" to force an impeachment vote. They can force the vote two days after they file the resolution.

A resolution filed by caucus members before the congressional recess has expired, but Jordan said they are poised to file it again when Congress reconvenes. Lawmakers are set to return on Sept. 6. ...

Jordan said the caucus has been buoyed by an Aug. 5 decision by a federal appeals court that said the IRS has not proven that it has ended discriminatory practices against conservative groups. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reinstated a lawsuit against the agency. "The court just said that the IRS may not have cleaned up its act at all," Jordan said.

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August 14, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Clinton, Trump Tax Return News

ABA Must Give Dallas Law School Time To Achieve Audacious, Vital Mission: (1) De-emphasize LSAT To Increase Diversity, (2) Focus Faculty On Teaching Rather Than Research, (3) Charge Low $15k Tuition

UNT 2Following up on Wednesday's post, New Dallas Law School In Peril After ABA Denial Of Provisional Accreditation:  Dallas Morning News editorial, The ABA Must Give UNT Dallas Law School Time to Achieve its Audacious, But Absolutely Vital, Mission:

It's a time for candor at the UNT Dallas College of Law, and a time for courage.

As the new law school prepares to welcome its third class later this month, anxiety is running high. Earlier this week, the school disclosed that a committee of ABA evaluators has recommended against accreditation for the school.

Without eventual accreditation, the school cannot survive. Students set to become its first graduates next May could find themselves barred from even taking the bar exams in Texas or most any other state.

We write today, however, to urge the students, their faculty, and the school's many backers to not despair. Courage and hope, and a bit of patience, are in order.

The school has a strong case to make to the ABA, and it has time to make it. A decision on accreditation will not be made until October. Even a negative decision is not permanent, and can be revisited.

But the main reason to not lose hope is because the school is on track to deliver on what everyone involved always knew was a tremendously ambitious — and equally vital — mission.

Dallas, to say nothing of Texas, desperately needs this new law school because it needs the kind of lawyers it has promised to produce.

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August 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1192

IRS Logo 2Daily Signal, Accountability for IRS? What’s Next After New Court Decision:

The IRS has not stopped targeting conservative groups seeking nonprofit status, a federal appeals court has ruled in deciding to reinstate a lawsuit against the agency.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a decision by a lower court that threw out the lawsuit because the Internal Revenue Service had promised voluntarily to end discriminatory practices.

The IRS insisted “there is no reasonable expectation” that discrimination will reoccur, the ruling noted, because the tax agency has “suspended until further notice” tactics it used to target the applications of tea party and other conservative groups for nonprofit status.

That reassurance was unsatisfactory to the appeals court because it appeared temporary. “There is a difference between the controversy having gone away and simply being in a restive stage,” Senior Judge David B. Sentelle, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, wrote in a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel. As a result, Sentelle wrote in the opinion released Friday, citing case law, the IRS “is free to return to [its] old ways—thereby subjecting the plaintiff to the same harm, but, at the same time, avoiding judicial review.”

Conservatives greeted the decision as proof that the tax agency isn’t serious about cleaning up its act. “They only stopped the targeting while people were paying attention. They had no intention of stopping the illegal conduct altogether,” lawyer John Eastman told The Daily Signal. ...

While the federal appeals court declined to hold individuals inside the IRS personally responsible for damages, it did agree with Eastman’s argument that political discrimination inside the agency was an ongoing problem. Any suggestion that the IRS no longer targets conservative groups, Sentelle wrote, “is absurd” in light of the fact that “two of the appellant-plaintiff’s applications remain pending.” ...

Conservatives celebrated the decision, which remanded the lawsuit to a lower court for trial and makes possible further discovery, a pretrial procedure that allows plaintiffs to search for additional pertinent information. ... In his interview with The Daily Signal, Eastman, former dean of Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California, predicted the discovery will unearth new facts about the IRS that are “going to be even more explosive than anything we’ve seen so far.”

Plaintiffs would look for evidence of collusion among government agencies, Eastman explained. It would be illegal, for example, if the IRS shared information about conservative nonprofits with the FBI for additional review.

That’s within the realm of possibility, Eastman said, considering the experience of Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote. After her organization, which aims to curb voter fraud, applied for nonprofit status in 2010, Engelbrecht told The Daily Signal, she came under investigation by three government agencies all at once. As first reported by National Review in 2013, the IRS requested she turn over every social media post she’d ever written, lists of political organizations she has addressed, and information on any family members interested in running for public office.

Engelbrecht and her family’s business became the target of probes by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as the FBI. If any evidence of collusion exists among these agencies, Eastman told The Daily Signal, government employees involved could face “serious, five-years-in-prison types of felonies.”

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August 13, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Black Lives Matter Tax Reform Plan

BLM

The Movement for Black Lives Platform: Economic Justice:

What is the problem?

  • There is a desperate need to replace  the current practice of collecting revenue in regressive ways with a more just system for collecting taxes.
  • Across the United States, there are major political obstacles to raising any kind of revenue.
  • As with most faults in our economic and political systems, regressive taxation has hit Black people, low-income people, and people of color the hardest.
  • Many municipalities have resorted to privatization and new taxes and fees in order to save money and generate more revenue. As a result, residents are being forced to pay more for services like trash collection, sewage, public property maintenance, parking meters, and to pay new taxes on a variety of everyday goods.
  • A recent study conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that when one combines all the state and local income, property, sales and excise taxes that Americans pay, the nationwide average of effective state and local tax rates are 10.9 percent for the poorest fifth of taxpayers, and 5.4 percent for the wealthiest 1 percent.
  • In the ten states with the most regressive tax structures, the poorest fifth pay up to seven times as much in taxes and fees as the wealthiest residents, as a percentage of their income.
  • While states sometimes shift the cost of some services onto poorer residents, at other times they simply cut services all together. Many municipalities have had to increase public school class sizes, shorten school days, close vital city offices, and eliminate a huge number of public sector jobs.
  • As the wealthiest Americans and most powerful corporations continue to evade their fair share of taxes, many programs and initiatives that could contribute to racial and economic justice go underfunded or unfunded.

What does this solution do?

  • Taxing income:
  • Raise marginal tax rates for high earners, specifically the top percentile (for equity and revenue generation reasons —they pay more than 40 percent of federal income tax revenue, yet their average rate has been reduced to around 20 percent) and begin by gradually raising the top marginal rate first to 50 percent and then up to 80 percent.
  • Remove income caps on payroll taxes that fund social security and unemployment insurance.
  • Raise corporate income taxes, especially on large corporations and end tax deferral for foreign income of multinational corporations.
  • Taxing wealth:
  • Increase taxes on capital to the point where they are higher than taxes on labor, as wealth inequality is greater than income inequality. Specifically:
  • Increase capital gains tax
  • Create anti-speculation tax on property transfers
  • Increase estate tax
  • Have states shift to an income-sensitized property tax that focuses on homes above a certain threshold and second homes
  • Impose a wealth tax (on tangible and financial assets)

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August 12, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

Law Prof's Last Lecture: Unsolicited Advice For Future And Current Lawyers

Last LectureJohn Lande (Missouri), My Last Lecture: More Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers, 2015 J. Disp. Resol. 317:

I was invited to write this essay on the occasion of my retirement, following in the footsteps of my former colleague, Steve Easton, who wrote a wonderful article, My Last Lecture: Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers. My essay supplements Steve’s article with additional advice about law school and legal practice. This article is suitable for students in many different courses, orientations, and professional development programs.

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

13th International And European Tax Moot Court Competition

KI13th International and European Tax Moot Court Competition 2016-2017:

KU Leuven (Brussels) and IBFD will organize in academic year 2016-2017 the 13th edition of the International and European Tax Moot Court Competition. ... 

Students will work intensively on a case drafted by IBFD researchers specifically for purposes of this competition. They will draft memoranda and present their case to a panel of renowned judges selected from academia and private practice. The Academic Chairman of the IBFD, Professor Pasquale Pistone, will serve as Arbitrator.

The 13th edition contains two parts. A first, written, phase runs from October till December 2016. The second, oral, phase will be held in Leuven from 26 March till 1 April 2016. There is no pre-selection based on the written phase, hence, all participating teams will defend their case during the oral pleadings.

The 2016-2017 Competition is open to sixteen universities. Universities are invited to send in their application by the specific deadline depending on the start of the academic year:

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ave Maria's Admissions Policies Violate ABA Standards, Law School Required To Take Immediate Remedial Action

Ave Maria LogoABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, Council Decision:  Public Notice of Specific Remedial Action—Ave Maria School of Law (Aug. 2016):

Background

At its June 3-4, 2016 meeting, the Council conducted a hearing pursuant to Rules of Procedure 2, 3, 16-18, 21(c), 22, 24, and 25 with respect to the compliance of the Ave Maria School of Law (the “Law School”) with ABA Standard 501(a) and 501(b). This proceeding followed a hearing by and recommendation of the Accreditation Committee (the “Committee”), which hearing resulted from interim monitoring of the Law School, a process which began in the Spring of 2013, pursuant to ABA Rule of Procedure 6.

Following the hearing and based on the record, the Council affirmed the Committee’s conclusions that the Law School is not in compliance with Standard 501(a) ["A law school shall maintain sound admission policies and practices consistent with the Standards, its mission, and the objectives of its program of legal education"] and 501(b) ["A law school shall not admit an applicant who does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar."]. The Council has directed the Law School to take the following specific remedial actions, including, but not limited to, this public notice.

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Aug. 15 Deadline For AALS Annual Meeting Call For Papers:  Sex, Death, And Taxes

AALSCall for PapersAALS Trusts & Estates Section Program, 2007 AALS Annual Meeting (Jan. 3-7, 2017):

Sex, Death, and Taxes: The Unruly Nature of the Laws of Trusts and Estates

Trusts & Estates is a far-reaching and broad-based discipline of law that impacts private citizens’ decisions about sex, death, and taxes.  This legal discipline is based on speculation about donors and their intentions that, by their very nature, create unintended consequences because the laws exist largely unseen until they come into play.  Moreover, ascertaining these preferences prove difficult because individuals are entrenched with idiosyncratic preconceptions about death, family, property rights, personal legacies, paternalism, altruism, investment strategies, taxes, and many other effective interests.  In addition, the field sits at the crossroads of other legal disciplines such as family law, property law, elder law, and tax law. 

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jayne Caron (M.D. 2020, NYU)

My beloved, brilliant, and beautiful daughter Jayne launched her medical career today:

Jayne 1

Jayne is named after my sister, who died shortly after birth. My late mother, a secretary at a nursing school, absolutely loved the medical profession.  Shortly before my mother died in 1992, my pregnant wife and I told her we were going to name our daughter Jayne.  My mother would be bursting with pride and gratitude today, as Jayne's parents and brother are.  For more on my journey with my amazing daughter, see:

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August 12, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1191

IRS Logo 2Investor's Business Daily editorial, Will Predatory IRS Finally Be Brought To Justice?:

The Law: Two months ago, it looked as if the IRS scandal over targeting conservative groups had reached a legal dead end. But an appeals court, in a stunning reversal, revived it this week. Will justice finally be done?

We hope so.

The Washington, D.C., Circuit Court, overturning a June lower-court decision, let the suit go forward because, as LSU law professor Philip Hackney noted in the Surly Subgroup blog, "it found that the IRS had not voluntarily ceased its unlawful actions."

In other words, the IRS is still doing what it was accused of in the first place and was supposed to halt.

In particular, the court reinstated two specific complaints made by True The Vote and other Tea Party groups that claimed the IRS had acted in a biased way toward conservative organizations that applied for tax-exempt status.

The two complaints were that the IRS had violated the group's First Amendment rights, and that it had also violated the Administrative Procedures Act — both serious complaints that could land people in jail.

Senior Judge David B. Sentelle was particularly scathing in writing the unanimous decision by a three-judge panel, calling the IRS' contention that it was no longer violating the conservative groups' rights "absurd." ...

The egregious use of a powerful arm of the federal government for explicitly political purposes should never be tolerated. It's the stuff of petty dictatorships, more suitable to a government run by Turkey's Erdogan or Venezuela's Maduro than to a great republic such as the U.S.

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August 12, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tax Court Denies Deduction For Professor's DirecTV, Internet & Cell Phone As Part Of His 'Lifelong Burden Of Developing Knowledge'

Tax Court Logo 2Tanzi v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-148 (Aug. 9, 2016):

During the first half of 2011 the Tanzis were employed by Seminole State College. Dr. Tanzi taught math and communications classes as an adjunct professor, and Mrs. Tanzi was employed as a campus librarian.  

Dr. Tanzi is highly educated—he holds a doctorate in communication. As he explained at trial, individuals holding such terminal degrees bear a lifelong burden of “developing knowledge, finding knowledge, exploring, [and] essentially selfeducating”. Dr. Tanzi therefore insists that all expenses paid in adding to his “general knowledge” should be deductible as unreimbursed employee business expenses. ...

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August 11, 2016 in Legal Education, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

McArdle:  ABA Should Shut Down 'Avaricious' Law Schools That Make 'Morally Abhorrent' Decision To Admit Students With Little Chance Of Paying Off Their Loans, Despite Adverse Effects On Diversity

Bloomberg View:  Crack Down on Law Schools That Don’t Pass the Bar, by Megan McArdle:

The American Bar Association is considering a plan that would endanger the accreditation of any law school where fewer than three-quarters of the students pass the bar within two years.

That is setting up a battle within the organization, pitting critics of two very different problems against each other. Those who are worried about the glut of law graduates who can’t get jobs want to crack down on law schools that have shored up their finances by admitting students who may not be able to pass the bar exam. But those who are worried about a lack of diversity in the profession fear that any crackdown on accreditation could disproportionately hurt schools that strive to bring more minorities into the field. ...

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August 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Barton Responds To Simkovic And Diamond:  IRS And Census Data Not That Far Apart Upon Closer Inspection

BartonFollowing up on my previous posts (here and here):  TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Barton Responds to Professors Simkovic and Diamond: IRS and Census Data Not that Far Apart Upon Closer Inspection, by Benjamin Barton (Tennessee):

On July 25th Professor Stephen Diamond criticized my use of IRS income statistics to discuss the earnings of solo practitioners on his blog.  I responded to Professor Diamond in the comments.  On July 26, 2016 Professor Michael Simkovic published a number of critiques here.  Two days later Professor Simkovic followed up with a second post asking me a series of questions and challenging me to respond to both of his posts.  Here I accept Professor Simkovic’s invitation.

Below I explain more about the IRS data and how I use it, but I will not bury the lede.  The data that Professors Simkovic and Diamond use to criticize my work, ACS data for lawyers who are in the category of “self-employed, not incorporated,” is not appropriate data for defining the earnings of solo practitioners.  That Census category likely includes two very different types of self-employed lawyers – solo practitioners (the lowest paid lawyers in private practice) and law firm partners (the highest paid lawyers in private practice).  The Census Department does not make it easy to figure out exactly which lawyers are counted in the category of “self-employed, not incorporated,” but combining this definition with this one and looking at the ACS form itself it seems pretty clear that partners in law firms are included in this category.[i]

Because the ACS data includes an indeterminate number of partners and solos, the average earnings in that category ($165-200,000) are a misleading proxy for the earnings of American solo practitioners.  If there was a data category of “professional baseball players” that included minor league (low paid) and major league (highly paid) baseball players, and there was no way to tell how many of each were in the sample, you could not use the average earnings of “all professional baseball players” as a proxy for minor league salaries, since some members of the sample earn much, much more than other members of the sample.

The ACS data is inappropriate, but is the IRS data better?  I use the IRS data in my book, Glass Half Full – The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession (Oxford 2015) and in later work to talk about several trends in the market for legal services.  Here is an updated version of a chart I first created for the book:

Barton Chart (081116)

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August 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Ending The Pass-Through Tax Loophole For Big Business

CAPCenter for American Progress, Ending the Pass-Through Tax Loophole for Big Business:

In 2012, more than 100,000 big U.S. businesses managed to shelter billions of dollars of income in a single tax haven and pay no corporate income tax on it.

This tax haven is not Panama, Switzerland, or the Cayman Islands. In fact, it cannot even be found on a map—rather, it exists in the pages of the U.S. tax code. These businesses—with revenue of more than $10 million each—managed to pay no U.S. corporate income tax by pretending to be small businesses and thus saved their wealthy owners billions of dollars.

Most people think of big businesses as traditional corporations, which are organized under Subchapter C of the tax code and are supposed to pay the corporate income tax on their profits. But today many big businesses are organized as partnerships or S corporations, which are business forms that were originally designed for simpler or smaller businesses. The vast majority of partnerships and S corporations do not pay the corporate income tax. Instead, all of their income is passed through to their individual owners, who pay taxes on their individual income tax returns, thus avoiding the corporate income tax altogether.

The share of income going to businesses that use the pass-through form of organization—and therefore pay no corporate income tax—has exploded over the last 30 years, growing from less than 25 percent of net business income in 1980 to more than half in 2012. In fact, the United States is unique in this regard: No other country comes close to having such a large portion of business income that is not subject to the corporate income tax.

Small Business Tax Rate

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August 11, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (4)

Death Of Bernie Aidinoff

AidinoffM. Bernard Aidinoff (Sullivan & Cromell, New York) died on August 8 at the age of 87.  From the New York Times obituary (guest book):

He graduated from the University of Michigan (Phi Beta Kappa) and the Harvard Law School (Magna Cum Laude) where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. A first lieutenant in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, he then became a law clerk to Judge Learned Hand. Bernie joined the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell in 1956.

An internationally respected tax expert, he loved the practice of law and took great pleasure in mentoring younger lawyers, before mentoring was a term. As chairman of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation, he testified multiple times before the Senate Finance Committee advocating for a progressive tax code. Bernie also served as chairman of the American Law Institute Tax Program Committee, as editor-in-chief of The Tax Lawyer, as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and on the Commissioner's Advisory Committee of the Internal Revenue Service.

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August 11, 2016 in Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kamin:  Taxing Capital—Paths To A Fairer And Broader U.S. Tax System

Washington Center for Equitable Growth logoDavid Kamin (NYU), Taxing Capital: Paths to a Fairer and Broader U.S. Tax System:

Taxing capital is a key way to maintain and increase the progressivity in the U.S. tax system and raise the revenue needed to support government activities and investments that in turn will help ensure strong and sustainable economic growth. Why turn to capital as a source of government revenue? Taxing capital is a highly progressive form of taxation that research suggests does not seriously affect the rate of savings among high-income Americans—an important consideration in terms of encouraging future economic growth—and is a key part of optimal taxation in the United States.

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August 11, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Views Of The Academy: Legal Education And The Legal Profession In Transition

BooksBarbara Glesner Fines (UMKC), Three Views of the Academy: Legal Education and the Legal Profession in Transition, 51 Tulsa L. Rev. 487 (2016) (reviewing James E. Moliterno, The American Legal Profession in Crisis: Resistance and Responses to Change (Oxford University Press 2013), Deborah L. Rhode, Lawyers as Leaders (Oxford University Press 2013) & Robin L. West, Teaching Law: Justice, Politics, and the Demands of Professionalism (Cambridge University Press 2013)):

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August 11, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1190

IRS Logo 2American Center for Law and Justice, President Obama’s IRS Scandal: Seven Years & Counting:

As we continue to bring you analysis this week of our recent win in the IRS case, we are reminded of how much this issue has developed since it was first discovered.

To be clear – the Obama Administration’s IRS targeting of Tea Party and other grassroots conservative groups is one of the longest running scandals in President Obama’s nearly eight-year administration – and it is still ongoing. After nearly seven years this December, one of our clients has still not received a determination on their submitted tax-exempt application.

In full disclosure, a proper and thorough timeline of this scandal would take thousands of pages to fully discuss everything that has occurred to date. For example, one law professor, in particular, has kept a daily blog for years now following the scandal and he just published “The IRS Scandal, Day 1188” earlier this week.

While we cannot cover every development of this scandal, the following timeline provides a clear and concise review of the major developments along the way:

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August 11, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Inside OCI:  The Scoop On This Year's Law School On-Campus Interviews

InterviewNational Law Journal, Inside OCI: The Scoop on This Year's Law School On-Campus Interviews:

On-campus interviews are underway at law schools across the country, as students and partners engage in the summer-associate hiring equivalent of speed-dating. We’re covering the annual ritual with on-scene reaction from students coming out of the interviews and war stories from partners who’ve been in the hiring trenches for years. As the competition among firms tightens for top talent amid smaller class sizes, we’ve got news about recruitment trends. We’ve covered the law school angle, too, with a story about the impact that newly increased associate salaries are having on student expectations and the hiring process.

Competition Between Law Firms Conducting On Campus Interviews Heats Up
When Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo’s director of legal recruiting Shannon Davis gave a presentation to the firm’s lawyers who were preparing to interview law school students this summer, she started with a slide that had some ominous facts.

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August 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement Underscores Tension Between Consumer Protection, Diversity Concerns

ABA Logo (2016)ABA, Bar Passage Proposal Underscores Tension Between Consumer Protection and Diversity Concerns:

A proposal by the ABA’s law school accrediting body to simplify the bar passage standard was roundly criticized at an Aug. 6 hearing for threatening the diversity of the legal profession, although most of the dozen critics acknowledged the difficulty of balancing consumer protection of students with the goal of bringing more minorities into the legal profession.

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August 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium

Access Group2016 Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium (Nov. 16-17, Chicago):

Hugely successful in 2015, its inaugural year, the Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium offers law school deans, administrators, faculty and researchers from across the nation the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions on the most critical issues facing legal education today. Join your colleagues for this one-of-a-kind event that examines access, affordability and the value of legal education and the promising practices and innovative strategies to address these issues.

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August 10, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

MIT, NYU, Yale Sued By Faculty, Staff Over Excessive 403(b) Retirement Account Fees

MNYNew York Times, M.I.T., N.Y.U. and Yale Are Sued Over Retirement Plan Fees:

Three prominent universities were sued on Tuesday, accused of allowing their employees to be charged excessive fees on their retirement savings.

The universities — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Yale — each have retirement plans holding more than $3 billion in assets and are being individually sued by a number of their employees in cases seeking class-action status.

The lawyer representing the three groups of plaintiffs, Jerome J. Schlichter, is a pioneer in retirement plan litigation. Over the last decade, he has filed more than 20 lawsuits on behalf of workers in 401(k) retirement plans and has been widely credited with lowering plan fees across corporate America.

With the suits filed in federal courts on Tuesday, the focus has turned to a lesser-known corner of the retirement savings market, 403(b) plans, which are named for a section of the tax code. The accounts are similar to 401(k) plans, but are offered by public schools and nonprofit institutions like universities and hospitals.

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August 10, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

New Dallas Law School In Peril After ABA Denial Of Provisional Accreditation

UNT 2Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Dallas Public Law School in Peril After Accreditation Setback:

Dallas’ first public law school opened its doors in 2014 with the goal of catering to would-be lawyers who may not have the money or the academic credentials to earn a degree elsewhere. But that mission could be thwarted by the school’s struggle to get accredited. A committee of the American Bar Association, which regulates law schools, has recommended against granting the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law provisional accreditation.

The ABA committee said it lacked confidence that the school is enrolling enough students capable of completing J.D. degree requirements and passing the bar exam. ...

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August 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Posner & Weyl:  Using Self-Assessed Property Taxes And Forced Sales To Increase Efficiency

Eric A. Posner (Chicago ) & Glen Weyl (Yale), Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land:

The existing system of private property interferes with allocative efficiency by giving owners the power to hold out for excessive prices. We propose a remedy in the form of a tax on property, based on the value self-assessed by its owner at intervals, along with a requirement that the owner sell the property to any third party willing to pay a price equal to the self-assessed value. The tax rate would reflect a tradeoff between gains from allocative efficiency and losses to investment efficiency, and would increase in line with expected developments in information technology.

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August 10, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Law Prof:  Law School Deans Are 'Running A Bait And Switch Operation'

Financial Review op-ed: Law Schools Sell Graduates Down the River, by Frank Carrigan (Macquarie Law School):

If the quip about "make crime pay, become a lawyer" is true, Australia is set for a massive crimewave. Towering overproduction is a reality in the Australian legal education market. But it seems that only when the bust hits will those who should have read the signs instigate a shakeout of the sector.

The cloistered company of Australian law deans has long closed its eyes to this. The leaders of the 41 law schools have enrolled students much faster than the overall growth of their respective universities. ... Law student numbers are out of hand. Nearly 15,000 finish their degree each year, and enter a market where there are only 66,000 solicitors. These graduate numbers far transcend the growth in the legal market. ...

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August 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1189

IRS Logo 2The Surly Subgroup:  DC Circuit Seems to have Decided IRS Violated Constitution Before Trial in True the Vote Appeal, by Philip Hackney (LSU):

In 2014, a District Court dismissed (based on 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(1) motions) the complaint of a number of conservative organizations who alleged that the IRS “targeted” them by subjecting them to greater scrutiny in their applications for tax exemption. The lead organization, True the Vote, sought 501(c)(3) charitable organization status; the others primarily sought 501(c)(4) social welfare organization status. The world became aware of this targeting controversy in May 2013 when Lois Lerner, the head of the Exempt Organizations division of the IRS apologized to the Tea Party and other conservative groups for how the IRS treated their applications. To this day Taxprof Blog continues the IRS Scandal post over three years later dedicated at least in part to this controversy.

The primary complaints were the second and fifth claims:  (2) the IRS violated the organizations First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, and (5) the IRS violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The District Court concluded that because the IRS had granted exempt status to these organizations, the complaints were moot. True the Vote appealed this dismissal to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last week the Circuit Court breathed new life into claims 2 and 5. Though the Court found that some of the complaints were moot (including Bivens complaints against IRS employees and a claim of violation of 6103 disclosure rules), it allowed claims 2 and 5 forward because it found that the IRS had not voluntarily ceased its unlawful actions.

In reading the opinion, I find astonishing that the Circuit Court appears to have already concluded, without trial, that the IRS acted unconstitutionally. I recognize that for a 12(b)(1) motion the court is to assume the complaint true, but the court appears to have done much more than make assumptions. I focus on this issue.

Frankly a trial testing this situation seems to me the right thing for two reasons. First, many people in our country genuinely believe the IRS behaved unconstitutionally (as is evidenced by the continuing coverage given in places like Taxprof Blog). Second, the IRS failed numerous organizations in how it processed this group of applications that touched on First Amendment issues. These two factors suggest to me that the organizations involved deserve a real hearing and not just a pre-trial dismissal.

What worries me is that the DC Circuit Court judges appear to have already judged the case; I find that as problematic as what the DC Circuit Court judges find problematic in the IRS actions at issue. Remember, the issue before the appeals court is a 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the IRS had approved the applications for tax exemption and there was no case to be decided by the court. Thus, no one has presented evidence or law in a trial on the substantive issues before the court. The court is to take the allegations as true for purposes of the motion but should give those claims close scrutiny. The DC Circuit though seems to do much more than assume the complaint is true.

The court starts its opinion stating: “Instead of processing these applications in the normal course of IRS business, as would have been the case with other taxpayers, the IRS selected out these applicants for more rigorous review on the basis of their names, which were in each instance indicative of a conservative or anti-Administration orientation.” Later in the opinion it continues: “It being plain to the Inspector General, the district court, and this court that the IRS cannot defend its discriminatory conduct on the merits, the governing issue is now whether the controversy is moot.” There is a lot of nonsense in those statements.

Because I don’t believe that the IRS failed by using names to screen applicants nor in picking out the conservative groups’ applications for closer scrutiny (as I discussed in an article called Should the IRS Never ‘Target’ Taxpayers), and I don’t believe any credible evidence has been put forward establishing that IRS employees acted with any intent to harm conservative causes, I feel like I am living in bizarro world to read a US appeals court opinion that states without a trial fairly establishing the law and facts that the these actions violated the constitution. I will take a look at separate parts of the statements to explain what I mean. ...

Perhaps the court’s opinion is nothing but dicta except for the holding that the case is not moot. But it is not at all clear that this is the way this opinion will be used. It is fine if the DC Circuit Court wants to see this case go forward, but it should let this case go forward without judging the case before it hears any evidence or law in a trial. The IRS, just like the conservative organizations, deserves to be treated with respect and fairness.

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August 10, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

NYU Tax Law Review Publishes New Issue

NYU Law (2014)The Tax Law Review has published a new issue (Vol. 69, No. 1 (Fall 2015)):

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August 9, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trump Tax Plan 2.0

Trump Tax Plan

Donald Trump yesterday unveiled dramatic changes in his original tax plan, embracing the plan announced by House Speaker Paul Ryan in June (critiqued here).

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August 9, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Baker Reviews Building On Best Practices to Transform Legal Education

Best PracticesJeffrey R. Baker (Pepperdine), Book Review, 65 J. Legal Educ. 988 (2016) (reviewing Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville (University of Washington), Lisa Radtke Bliss (Georgia State), Carolyn Wilkes Kaas (Quinnipiac) & Antoinette Sedillo López (New Mexico), eds., 2015):

Building on Best Practices is a worthy addition to the canon of literature on reforming legal education. Before the Great Recession, without today’s pressing economic incentives, law schools made uneven strides to incorporate lessons from MacCrate, Best Practices, and Carnegie. Today, compounding economic crises and escalating accreditation requirements make reform urgent, necessary, and inevitable.

To demonstrate that law schools can still add value to careers and society, legal educators must grapple with structural changes that affect every aspect of teaching, learning and researching. Building on Best Practices provides diverse expertise and useful guidance on approaching these challenges and on improving and expanding the enterprise of legal education.

August 9, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chason:  Taxing Losers

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Eric D. Chason (William & Mary), Taxing Losers, 18 Fla. Tax Rev. 541 (2016):

The U.S. tax system (like most in the world) benefits capital gains in two ways. Investors can defer paying tax until they “realize” any gain (typically by sale) rather than when the gain simply occurs via rising prices. And, individual investors pay a lower, preferred rate on their long-term capital gains as compared to their other ordinary income (like compensation or business profits).

Investors face a burden, though, with respect to their capital losses. Rather than allowing for unlimited capital loss deductions, the Internal Revenue Code largely forces investors to match their capital losses against their capital gains. Limits on capital losses could be justified in several ways. The most prominent justification holds that should not be able to “cherry pick” loss elements out of an overall winning portfolio. This Article seeks to clarify the nature of the cherry-picking argument. It drops “cherry picking” in favor of the somewhat more descriptive “loss harvesting” used in wealth management literature. We will imagine a world in which Congress does not force taxpayers to match losses against gains. In this world, taxpayers could harvest isolated losses whenever they arise and enjoy the benefits of loss deductions — even if the taxpayer has an overall winning portfolio. Using insights from option theory, we can estimate the cost of aggressive loss harvesting.

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August 9, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SEALS 2016 Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference concludes today in Amelia Island, FL.  Among today's highlights:

Tax Policy Discussion Group
This discussion group is broadly concerned with issues of taxation. Discussants address individual income tax, corporate income tax, state and local tax, estate and gift tax, tax expenditure policy, international tax, and entitlements. While these disparate themes might seem only loosely related, a common thread of the difficulties of balancing equity, simplicity, incentives, and transparency runs through all of them. These scholars will grapple with the central tax topics of the day and address the looming concerns that must be dealt with by all levels of government.

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August 9, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  States Vie To Shield The Wealth Of The 1%

1%New York Times, States Vie to Shield the Wealth of the 1 Percent:

Steven J. Oshins, a Nevada lawyer who specializes in estate planning, has never met the wealthy software entrepreneur Dan Kloiber, but he is nonetheless intensely interested in Mr. Kloiber’s contentious divorce.

“I have had a Google news alert on that for a couple years,” Mr. Oshins said as he discussed the case from his office in a squat pink complex about a 20-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip. What animates Mr. Oshins is not the juicy marital feud, but the legal arcana governing a trust in Delaware where the Kloiber family parked assets worth hundreds of million of dollars, sheltered from estate taxes.

Mr. Oshins, with a gleeful grin spreading across his face, relished the thought of the no-longer-beloved Mrs. Kloiber busting through the trust and exposing a potential chink in the formidable trust protection armor promised by Delaware — which just happens to fiercely compete with Nevada for the lucrative business of shielding assets owned by the superrich.

Although most out-of-town visitors are drawn to the city’s roulette wheels and slot machines, Mr. Oshins and a battalion of tax lawyers, accountants, advisers, trust administrators and bankers cater to an elite clientele that insists on a much more reliable way to build a fortune.

With their backing, Nevada has stoked an aggressive rivalry among a smattering of states to babysit the wealth of the nation’s top 1 percent, pressing public officials to pass laws, streamline regulations, lower fees and replace D.M.V.-level service with concierge treatment.

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August 9, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Approves Academic Credit For Paid Externships Despite Faculty Opposition

ABA Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  National Law Journal, ABA Approves Pay for Law Students’ For-Credit Externships:

After more than two years of debate, the American Bar Association has lifted its ban on law students receiving both pay and academic credit for externships.

The organization’s House of Delegates on Monday signed off on a package of changes to its law school accreditation standards that eliminates the longstanding ban on law students getting paid and earning academic credit for externships—programs in which aspiring lawyers gain experience by working in government entities, non-profit organizations, or law firms or companies while in school. ...

It’s too soon for law students to celebrate any potential financial boost from the new policy, however. The ABA is letting individual law schools decide whether or not to allow both pay and academic credit, and externships coordinators and clinic professors are wary of the unintended consequences of adding compensation into the externship mix. Some schools plan to maintain the pay ban, at least initially. ...

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August 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1188

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial, The Dissembling IRS: Documents Show the Agency Misled About its Political Targeting:

The IRS has spent three years trying to slow-roll discovery in lawsuits about the way it slow-rolled the applications of conservative nonprofits. The latest episode is on display in federal court in Washington, D.C., in the lawsuit brought by the pro-Israel group Z Street.

Readers may recall that in 2009 Z Street filed for 501(c)(3) status and had its application caught in the net of IRS targeting for groups that opposed Administration policy. When Z Street called the IRS to check on the hold up, an agent confirmed that its application had been sent for special screening for groups connected with Israel.

Z Street sued the IRS in 2010 for viewpoint discrimination, arguing that the agency’s behavior violates the First Amendment. The IRS tried to claim immunity but lost in federal court, clearing the way for discovery that produces evidence and internal documents. Now taxpayers are getting their first glimpse of how the IRS misled about the reasons for its decision to target Z Street. ...

Discovery has also revealed documents that show the IRS made early attempts to shield and obfuscate its special Israel policy. In a November 29, 2010 email, IRS deputy commissioner Steven Miller asked IRS employee Sarah Ingram about “an article on a letter we apparently sent to an org on Israel settlements. What can you tell me.” Ms. Ingram replied that she “Just told Ruth to pull me out when you have a minute. Not doing email on this.”

There are other emails on the subject that have been produced in discovery but redacted to the point that they are unreadable. The IRS is blocking them on grounds that the documents are protected by so-called deliberative process privilege. But that privilege was created to safeguard internal government deliberations not to prevent the public from getting information about government wrongdoing.

The IRS wants to stonewall evidence production until the clock runs out on the Obama Administration on January 20. Let’s hope the courts keep the pressure on the agency so Z Street can see how and why it was mistreated for partisan purposes.

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August 9, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Kleinbard:  The Real Reason Trump Won't Release His Tax Returns

Trump (2016)The Hill: Trump’s Pushback on Tax Return Release Reveal True Ambitions, by Edward Kleinbard (USC):

With his nomination secure, Donald Trump has made it clear that he will not release his tax returns. Democrats have responded with outrage, and even bounties for their publication, while Trump supporters scramble to explain why this time is different, and the returns should remain confidential. Trump’s refusal already is costing him in the polls, and the issue will only grow as the election approaches.

So why has Mr. Trump staked out this politically unpalatable position? The answer lies not in any sordid details that Trump’s tax returns might reveal, but rather in what the refusal itself says about the man and his ambitions.

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August 8, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)