TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, February 6, 2017

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Tax Implications Of Super Bowl LI

Super BowlForbes, Super Bowl Bet That's A Sure Thing:

It's also almost tax time, and we should all remember who gets a piece of every bet: the IRS. The IRS gets a piece, whether sports betting, rolling the dice, playing cards, or betting on the ponies. All gambling winnings are taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. And the IRS doesn't allow you to automatically reduce your winnings by your losses either. Here are 7 tips for casual gamblers.

Sports Illustrated, The Super Bowl May Be in 'Tax-Free' Houston, But Most of its Players' Pay Will Still be Taxed:

As Super Bowl LI nears, much has been made of Texas being a state without an income tax. The common refrain is that Super Bowl LI is a tax-free Super Bowl.

Not so fast. Taxes have a way of extending far and wide, and that is true for Super Bowl LI.

Continue reading

February 5, 2017 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

As Law Prof, Gorsuch Banned Laptops, Garnered Respect

Colorado 3

National Law Journal, As Law Prof, Gorsuch Banned Laptops, Garnered Respect:

While pundits across the country parse Neil Gorsuch's record of jurisprudence from his decade on the federal bench, professors and students at the University of Colorado Law School are praising the man they say is decent, fair and highly intelligent — even if they don't agree with his political viewpoints.

Gorsuch, nominated by President Donald Trump to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, has taught as a visiting professor at the Boulder, Colorado, law school since 2008, two years after he was named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Denver. (He lives just outside of Boulder — for now). He has taught legal ethics and professionalism, antitrust law and federal courts, typically handling one course a semester.

Continue reading

February 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ:  Taming IRS Imperialism

FATCAWall Street Journal editorial, Taming IRS Imperialism: A Foreign Leader Asks President Trump If He Will Keep a Promise:

In the tiny Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the leader of the opposition coalition in parliament, recently did something no other world leader has done: She read the U.S. Republican Party platform.

There she discovered that the GOP had called for repeal of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, which is best understood as a license for IRS imperialism. The Treasury Department has used the law to demand that foreign countries change their own laws so their financial institutions report information on their American account holders. Upon discovering the Republican call for Fatca’s repeal, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar wrote Donald Trump in January asking if he will keep this promise.

Continue reading

February 5, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Bittersweet Sunday At Pepperdine

Today is a bittersweet day.  On the one hand, Pepperdine Law School is losing one of its most important and gifted administrators.  On the other hand, the campus church I attend is gaining an inspiring and powerful leader. Al Sturgeon is leaving his post as Dean of Graduate Programs to become Pastor of University Church of Christ.  

Regular readers of this blog have gotten to know Al a bit through some of his posts, including:

Continue reading

February 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [1,833 Downloads]  Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Kimberly Clausing (Reed College)
  2. [547 Downloads]  A Guide to the GOP Tax Plan — The Way to a Better Way, by David Weisbach (Chicago)
  3. [256 Downloads]  Destination-Based Cash-Flow Taxation: A Critical Appraisal, by Wei Cui (British Columbia)
  4. [205 Downloads]  Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation, by Edward Morse (Creighton)
  5. [201 Downloads]  Accounting for Behavioral Considerations in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing , by Lily Batchelder (NYU)

February 5, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

ABA Rejects President-Elect's Proposal To Strip All Non-Accreditation Activities From Section Of Legal Education

ABA Logo (2016)Following up on Wednesday's post, ABA President-Elect Seeks To Strip All Non-Accreditation Activities From Section Of Legal Education:  National Law Journal, Changes to ABA Legal Ed Power Structure Blunted:

The American Bar Association has pumped the brakes on a proposal that would weaken the wing of the organization that oversees law schools.

The ABA's Board of Governors on Friday approved the creation of a Commission on the Future of Legal Education, but it did not sign off on the extensive slate of responsibilities that the commission would have under the original proposal from ABA president-elect Hilarie Bass.

Continue reading

February 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Court Upholds President Trump's Authority To Fire Judges

Tax Court (2017)Battat v. Commissioner, 148 T.C. No. 2 (Feb. 2, 2017):

Ps filed a motion to disqualify all Tax Court Judges and to declare unconstitutional I.R.C. sec. 7443(f), which authorizes the President to remove Tax Court Judges “after notice and opportunity for public hearing, for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office, but for no other cause.”

In the Tax Reform Act of 1969 (1969 Act), Pub. L. No. 91-172, sec. 951, 83 Stat. at 730, Congress deleted from I.R.C. sec. 7441 the designation of the Tax Court as an independent agency within the executive branch. In 1971 we said that under the 1969 Act the Tax Court is no longer within the executive branch. Burns, Stix Friedman & Co. v. Commissioner, 57 T.C. 392 (1971). Ps also adopt the view that the Tax Court is not within the executive branch and contend that, as a result, the President’s limited removal authority violates separation of powers principles. In Kuretski v. Commissioner, 755 F.3d 929 (D.C. Cir. 2014), the Court of Appeals held that the Tax Court is within the executive branch. The following year Congress amended I.R.C. sec. 7441 because of concerns about statements made by the Court of Appeals in Kuretski.

Continue reading

February 4, 2017 in New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

Charlotte Law School Enrollment Shrinks 62% Since Fall Semester; 2L Hit With Honor Code Violation For Criticizing Administration

Charlotte Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below): WFAE.org, Charlotte School Of Law Enrollment Shrinks; Student Receives Violation Over Email To Administrators:

Charlotte School of Law students are wrapping up their second week back to classes after the Department of Education yanked all federal loans to the school. The school has refused to close and that decision means students can't have their debt forgiven. WFAE's Lisa Worf joins All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey now:

Continue reading

February 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1367:  White House Mum On Fate Of IRS Boss Koskinen

IRS Logo 2Newsmax, White House Mum on Fate of IRS Boss Koskinen:

The fate of controversial Internal Revenue Commissioner John Koskinen at the hands of President Donald Trump remained uncertain as of Thursday.

At the regular briefing for reporters at the White House, Newsmax reminded Press Secretary Sean Spicer numerous House Republicans recently met with Vice President Mike Pence and urged him to tell the President to sack the controversial IRS boss.

"Had Pence brought their intentions to the president and, if so, what was the fate of Koskinen?" we asked.

"I have nothing to update you on," replied the president's top spokesman.

Continue reading

February 4, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup: Mary Tyler Moore And The IRS

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) reminisces about a 1970 episode of The Mary Tyler Moor Show involving an IRS audit.

The bewitching glamor of the 1970s IRS.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a Saturday night childhood staple in the days of three TV channels. Through the miracle of Amazon, I revisited my 10-year-old viewing habits by downloading an episode from Season 1, 1040 or Fight, in which the heroine gets examined by the IRS.

The fictional tax world of 1970 is a fabulous place. For example, the IRS does evening house calls, scheduling the exam in Mary’s bachelorette pad at 8:03 p.m. The IRS agent shows up right on time with his calculator.

MTM1

Continue reading

February 3, 2017 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Erin Scharff (ASU) reviews reviews a new essay by Sas Ansari (Osgoode Hall) and Lorne Sossin (Osgoode Hall), Legitimate Expectations in Canada:  Soft Law and Tax Administration

Scharff (2017)How exactly do non-experts understand tax law, and what is the role of the tax administrator in disseminating information about the law to (non-expert) taxpayers?  These are two critically important questions for tax administration.  While tax lawyers pride themselves on their mastery of the complex, often highly technical language of the Internal Revenue Code, lawyers are typically the last line of defense when it comes to income tax compliance.  Most taxpayers won’t even consult an accountant for tax advice. 

Recent work has brought renewed attention to these questions. For example, Shu-Yi Oei and Diane Ring have explored how Uber and Lyft drivers navigate tax questions, and Josh Blank and Leigh Osofsky have criticized the ways IRS taxpayer publications describe tax law.  

Continue reading

February 3, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Students At 51 Law Schools Are At Extreme Or Very High Risk Of Failing The Bar Exam

LST Title

Law School Transparency, State of Legal Education: 2017 Update:

In October 2015, Law School Transparency published an investigation into falling enrollment and admissions standards at dozens of law schools. We concluded that a minority of schools made unethical admissions decisions in response to budgetary pressure. ...

The LSAT helps predict what's to come on the bar exam. While individual results vary, students with very low LSAT scores do worse on average on the bar exam than students with middling or high LSAT scores. ...

In 2015, we examined 197 ABA-approved law schools primarily using data from 2010 and 2014. At the time, there were 26 "extreme risk" and 19 "very high" risk schools based on 25th percentile 1L LSAT scores, up from four in each category in 2010. Students in the bottom quartile at these schools face a substantial chance of not completing school or passing the bar. Two years later, with seven additional law schools measured, there are four fewer extreme risk schools (22), but ten more very high risk schools (29). One in four law schools had gone too far in 2016, enrolling large numbers of students likely to fail.  [Students at 51 law schools are at minimal risk of failing the bar exam'.] 

LST 4

Continue reading

February 3, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Georgetown Hosts Conference Today On Tax Competition

GUThe Georgetown Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL) and International Tax Policy Forum (ITPF) host a conference today on Tax Competition (program):

Unlike the United States―which currently has the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the developed world―other countries have been lowering corporate tax rates and increasing reliance on consumption taxes. Recently, various multilateral and unilateral efforts to limit income tax competition have reshaped the international tax landscape. In response to these developments, the United States is now considering major tax reforms to restore American competitiveness, such as the destination-based cash flow tax proposed in the House Republican Blueprint.

This conference brings together experts from a variety of backgrounds to share their views on international tax competition and U.S. tax policy. A series of panels will consider the global trend towards consumption taxation, how recent efforts to curtail income tax avoidance interact with tax competition, and the economic effects of international tax competition. The closing panel will consider how the United States should respond.

Panel #1:  BEPS and Tax Competition

  • James R. Hines (Michigan) (moderator)
  • Lilian V. Faulhaber (Georgetown)
  • Michael Smart (Toronto)

Continue reading

February 3, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBM Gives Watson A New Challenge: Your Tax Return

IBMHRNew York Times, IBM Gives Watson a New Challenge: Your Tax Return:

In its first steps toward commercialization, IBM’s Watson took on grand, science-laden challenges like helping doctors diagnose cancer. But that is changing as IBM strives to build its artificial intelligence technology into a multibillion-dollar business.

Continue reading

February 3, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Vows To ‘Destroy’ Law Banning Political Endorsements By Tax-Exempt Churches: One of His 'Least Objectionable Policies'?

IRS ChurchNew York Times, Trump Vows to ‘Destroy’ Law Banning Political Endorsements by Churches:

President Trump vowed on Thursday to overturn a law restricting political speech by tax-exempt churches, a potentially huge victory for the religious right and a gesture to evangelicals, a voting bloc he attracted to his campaign by promising to free up their pulpits.

Mr. Trump said his administration would “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status.

Continue reading

February 3, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thomas Presents Taxing The Gig Economy Today At Duke

Thomas (2017)Kathleen Delaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents Taxing the Gig Economy at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Due to advances in technology like mobile applications and online platforms, millions of American workers now earn income through “gig” work, which allows them the flexibility to set their own hours and choose which jobs to take. To the surprise of many gig workers, the tax law considers them to be “business owners,” which subjects them to onerous recordkeeping and filing requirements, along with the obligation to pay quarterly estimated taxes. This Article proposes two reforms that would drastically reduce tax compliance burdens for this new generation of small business owners, while simultaneously enhancing the government’s ability to collect tax revenue.

First, Congress should create a “non-employee withholding” regime that would allow online platform companies such as Uber to withhold taxes for their workers without being classified as employers. Second, the Article proposes a “standard business deduction” for gig workers equal to 80 percent of their gross receipts, which would eliminate the need to track and report business expenses.

Continue reading

February 2, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kysar Presents Automatic Legislation Today At Indiana

KysarRebecca Kysar (Brooklyn) presents Automatic Legislation at Indiana-Bloomington today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

To compensate for the status quo bias in the legislative process, lawmakers have developed devices that, under certain conditions, provide easier paths to policy refreshment. Procedural mechanisms, like the reconciliation process, may eliminate barriers to legislating (“veto bridges”). Laws may prompt Congress to act through sunset dates or penalties like sequestration or other undesirable policy outcomes (“prompting legislation”). Or the legislative product itself may automatically update without further action by Congress (“automatic legislation”). It is this last, underutilized category, I contend, that best overcomes policy stasis while also avoiding the pathologies presented by the other two. Specifically, automatic legislation is preferable along several different axes: interaction with the administrative state, entrenchment effects, political economic and democratic concerns, and the budget process.

Continue reading

February 2, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deans Of 20 Of California's 21 ABA-Accredited Law Schools Ask State Supreme Court To Lower Bar Exam Pass Score

California (2016)The Recorder, California Law School Deans Want Bar Exam Pass Score Lowered:

The deans of 20 California law schools on Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to temporarily lower the bar exam’s minimum passing score to let the State Bar study whether the number is unjustifiably high. [Only UC-Davis Dean Kevin Johnson did not sign the letter.]

The request comes after the pass rate for the summer 2016 test plummeted to 43 percent, the lowest figure for a July sitting in 32 years. First-time test-takers among American Bar Association-accredited schools in California did better—62 percent passed—but still lagged significantly behind their counterparts in other states, including New York, Texas and Ohio.

The deans blame California’s “atypically high” passing score, or cut score, of 144 for the multistate bar exam portion of the test. Only Delaware requires a higher score [145] on its exam. And yet those who took the California exam scored almost three points higher on the multistate bar exam than the national average.

Continue reading

February 2, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Attorney In IRS Office Of Professional Responsibility (Columbia J.D., NYU Tax LL.M., Georgetown Adjunct Tax Prof) Busted For Dealing Crystal Meth

Will Donald Trump Solve The Law School Crisis?

TrumpNational Law Journal, On the Bright Side, Lawyers Are Suddenly Popular:

If there’s any silver lining to the first 11 days of the Trump administration, it’s this: lawyers are suddenly beloved—at least by the masses who oppose the president’s policies.

It’s impossible to be a member of the bar and not know Shakespeare’s quote from Henry VI: “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.” Or the endless jokes: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying? His lips move. Why did God invent lawyers? So that real estate agents would have someone to look down on. What's the difference between a jellyfish and a lawyer? One's a spineless, poisonous blob. The other is a form of sea life.

But in recent days, my Twitter and Facebook feeds have been full of a new-found appreciation for attorneys. They’re emerging as the heroes of the Trump resistance. ...

Continue reading

February 2, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law School Deans Ask ABA Board Of Governors To Table Discussion Of Changes To Section On Legal Education

AALS (2017)Following up on yesterday's post, ABA President-Elect Seeks To Strip All Non-Accreditation Activities From Section Of Legal Education:  

Letter From AALS Deans Steering Committee to ABA Board of Governors (Feb. 1, 2017):

As a group of law deans charged with considering the national impact of topics affecting law schools, we write to encourage the Board of Governors to table discussion of the "Request to Create Commission on the Future of Legal Education; Request to Separate Non-Accreditation Activities from the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar."

Continue reading

February 2, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

After 58% Enrollment Decline And 46% Faculty Reduction Through Voluntary Buyouts, Seton Hall Law School Adjusts To 'New Normal'

Seton Hall LogoNJ.com, As Law School Applications Fall Nationwide, Seton Hall Law Faces 'New Normal':

Kathleen Boozang, a veteran professor at Seton Hall School of Law in Newark, took over as dean of New Jersey's only private law school in 2015 just as the institution was making changes to compensate for declining applications.

Seton Hall Law still had more applications than available seats. But, school officials decided to shrink the incoming class size so the institution could keep up its standards and admit the same quality of students as before.

After 18 months on the job, Boozang told NJ Advance Media that Seton Hall Law is bouncing back with new programs and a renewed mission.

The entire law school field has been struggling. Seton Hall Law's applications dropped from 3,666 in 2009 to 1,609 last year. How is the school doing?

We're doing well. But, you're exactly right. Applications have declined nationally 40 to 45 percent since 2008 and I think a little bit more than that in the New York metropolitan area.

Continue reading

February 2, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1365:  55 GOP Members Of Congress Ask Trump To Fire Koskinen

IRS Logo 2Letter to President Trump (Jan. 30, 2017):

Dear President Trump,

The consideration of the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in the House in late 2016 was a clear indication that Congress and the American people have no confidence in Commissioner Koskinen or his ability to discharge his duties.

The IRS, through its targeting of citizens for their political beliefs, has forfeited the trust of a free people. The IRS has admitted to improperly targeting conservative groups, delaying applications for tax-exempt status from 2010-2012, with at least 75 groups selected for extra scrutiny. Moreover, in August 2016, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the IRS had yet to demonstrate that officials have definitively ceased targeting conservative groups. The ruling came at the heels of evidence that two targeted conservative groups continued to have delayed applications for tax-exempt status pending at the IRS.

Congressional investigations, hearings, and actions have shown that Commissioner Koskinen misled Congress, obstructed investigations into the IRS, and failed to comply with Congressional subpoenas. Commissioner Koskinen's willful deception and obstructionism has only further eroded any remaining confidence.

Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7803, you have the authority to remove Commissioner Koskinen. We encourage you to dismiss him in the most expedient manner practicable. Such an action would restore the credibility of our Federal tax authority and the faith the American people have in their Constitutional rights to free speech and association.

Continue reading

February 2, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Oregon Seeks To Hire A Tax Visitor

Oregon (2017)The University of Oregon School of Law is seeking to hire a tax visitor for one or two semesters for the 2017-18 academic year.  Courses that are likely to be needed are Federal Income Taxation, Business Entity Taxation, and Tax Policy.  Oregon is open to considering applicants at all ranks, including VAPs, tenure-track faculty, and tenured faculty.

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (1)

How Donald Trump Can Keep His Campaign Promises, Grow The Economy, Cut Tax Rates, Repatriate Offshore Earnings, Reduce Income Inequality, Keep Jobs In The U.S., And Reduce The Deficit

David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York), How Donald Trump Can Keep His Campaign Promises, Grow the Economy, Cut Tax Rates, Repatriate Offshore Earnings, Reduce Income Inequality, Keep Jobs in the United States, and Reduce the Deficit:

This paper discusses President Trump's tax proposals and the House Republicans' Blueprint, and makes a number of suggestions that would allow President Trump to keep all of his tax policy campaign promises and some others.

Buffett

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Case Against Income Tax Exemption For Nonprofits

Michael Fricke (Illinois), The Case Against Income Tax Exemption for Nonprofits, 89 St. John's L. Rev. 1129 (2016):

[T]he time has come to end income tax exemption for nonprofit organizations. The arguments for exempting nonprofits are—and have always been—shaky, at best,12 and there are better methods for achieving our societal goals. Expanding the definition of a business expense and eliminating the income tax exemption for nonprofits would incentivize charitable organizations to use their funds currently instead of propping up their endowments at the expense of their programs.

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Call For Tax Papers: Stanford/Yale/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum

Stanford Yale HarvardStanford/Yale/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum: Request For Submissions:

Stanford, Yale, and Harvard Law Schools announce the 18th session of the Junior Faculty Forum to be held at Stanford Law School on June 6-7, 2017 and seek submissions for its meeting.

The Forum's objective is to encourage the work of scholars recently appointed to a tenure-track position by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship and the nature of the scholarly exchange. Meetings are held each spring, rotating at Yale, Stanford, and Harvard. Twelve to twenty scholars (with one to seven years in teaching) will be chosen on a blind basis from among those submitting papers to present. One or more senior scholars, not necessarily from Yale, Stanford, or Harvard, will comment on each paper. The audience will include the participating junior faculty, faculty from the host institutions, and invited guests. The goal is discourse both on the merits of particular papers and on appropriate methodologies for doing work in that genre. We hope that comment and discussion will communicate what counts as good work among successful senior scholars and will also challenge and improve the standards that now obtain. The Forum also hopes to increase the sense of community among American legal scholars generally, particularly among new and veteran professors.

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA President-Elect Seeks To Strip All Non-Accreditation Activities From Section Of Legal Education

ABA Logo (2016)ABA President-elect Hilarie Bass has submitted this 4-page memorandum requesting that the ABA Board of Governors create a new "Commission on the Future of Legal Education" to assume all of the non-accreditation activities of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.  The accreditation activities would remain the responsibility of a renamed "ABA Section on Accreditation."  The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has submitted this 4-page memorandum detailing its "concerns" regarding President-elect Bass's proposal.

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Reading The Tax Tea Leaves On Judge Gorsuch

GorsuchTax Foundation, Potential Supreme Court Nominees on State Taxes and Interstate Commerce:

Judge Gorsuch appears to share Justice Scalia’s criticism of the Dormant Commerce Clause. He acknowledges Supreme Court precedent on the Dormant Commerce Clause but refuses to expand its breadth.

Bloomberg BNA, Trump Picks Scalia-Like Neil Gorsuch for High Court Seat:

An appointment of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court could benefit taxpayers through a narrower reading of the tax code and further limit the IRS’s rulemaking leeway when the agency is already defending anti-corporate inversion and transfer pricing rules that were arguably not authorized by the tax code.

“No question about it, Gorsuch is a take-the-language-of-the-statute-seriously kind of guy regardless of the policy,” Steve Johnson, a tax law professor at Florida State University College of Law, told Bloomberg BNA. “Gorsuch isn’t big on legislative history or policy intent, and he tends to find statutes more clear than others might,” he added.

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

SubscribeWe offer three ways to have TaxProf Blog content automatically delivered to your computer, tablet, or smart phone:

RSS Feeds:  You can subscribe to one of three different feeds to receive TaxProf Blog posts via your RSS reader:

Email:  You can subscribe to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email through one of three approaches:

  • FeedBlitz:  Enter your email address here to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email, delivered to you either daily, every 12 hours, every 8 hours, every 4 hours, or hourly (at your option).
  • TaxProf Blog Tax Email Service:  Email me to be added to my twice daily (during the week) and once daily (on the weekend) emails to the TaxProf Discussion Group with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on tax topics.
  • TaxProf Blog Legal Education Email Service:  Email me to be added to my email distribution list with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on legal education topics.

February 1, 2017 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joint Tax Committee Releases Tax Expenditure Estimates For 2016-2020

Joint Tax Committee (2016)

Joint Committee on Taxation, Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2016-2020 (JCX-3-17):

Tax expenditure analysis can help both policymakers and the public to understand the actual size of government, the uses to which government resources are put, and the tax and economic policy consequences that follow from the implicit or explicit choices made in fashioning legislation. This report on tax expenditures for fiscal years 2016-2020 is prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (“Joint Committee staff”) for the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. The report also is submitted to the House and Senate Committees on the Budget.

As in the case of earlier reports, the estimates of tax expenditures in this report were prepared in consultation with the staff of the Office of Tax Analysis in the Department of the Treasury (“the Treasury”). The Treasury published its estimates of tax expenditures for fiscal years 2015-2025 in the Administration's budgetary statement of February 9, 2016. The lists of tax expenditures in this Joint Committee staff report and the Administration's budgetary statement overlap considerably; the differences are discussed in Part I of this report under the heading “Comparisons with Treasury.”

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 in Congressional News, Gov't Reports, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Using College Completion Data To Assess The Law School Pipeline

Access GroupTiffane Cochran & India Heckstall (Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis), From the Bachelor's to the Bar: Using College Completion Data to Assess the Law School Pipeline:

The story of declining law school applications is well known among the legal education community. Over 100,000 individuals applied to law school for admission in fall 2004, but demand for legal education has since declined — only 54,000 applicants sought admission in fall 2015. The Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis® examined college completion data to determine whether undergraduate interest in fields most popular among law school applicants has also waned in recent years. In particular, this research brief summarizes bachelor’s degree completion in the top 10 law school feeder majors over the last 10 years, and compares degree production in these fields to those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Support TaxProf Blog By Shopping On Amazon

Amazon-associatesTaxProf Blog participates in the amazon.com affiliate program. You can help support TaxProf Blog at no cost to you by making purchases through Amazon links on the blog and through the "Shop Amazon" tab on the header at the top of the blog:

Header

and the search box in the right column of the blog:

Amazon Search

February 1, 2017 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Shaheen Presents Treaty Aspects Of The McDonald's State Aid Investigation Today At Georgetown

Shaheen (2017)Fadi Shaheen (Rutgers) presents Treaty Aspects of the McDonald's State Aid Investigation at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

On December 3, 2015, The European Commission decided to initiate an official investigation into whether Luxemburg has selectively granted McDonald’s advantageous tax treatment in breach of EU state aid rules. The Commission’s decision is based on its conclusion that Luxembourg’s treaty-based exemption of the income attributable to the U.S. branch of a McDonald’s Luxembourgian subsidiary is contrary to the Luxembourg-U.S. treaty because that income was not taxable in the United States. This paper demonstrates that while the Commission’s conclusion and recourse to conflicts of qualification principles are correct, both the Commission’s reasoning on the one hand and Luxembourg’s and McDonald’s position on the other hand misapply the treaty.

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NYU Tax Law Review Symposium:  Tax And Entrepreneurship

NYU TaxSymposium, Tax and Entrepreneurship, 69 Tax L. Rev. 311-457 (2016):

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mazur:  Taxing Social Impact Bonds

SIBOrly Mazur (SMU), Taxing Social Impact Bonds, 20 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2017):

An exciting new way to fund social services has recently emerged. This new financing mechanism, called a social impact bond (SIB), has the potential to help us tackle some of our nation’s most challenging social problems. Broadly speaking, a SIB is a type of “pay for success” contract where private investors provide the upfront capital to finance a social program, but only recoup their investment and realize returns if the program is successful. Like any new financing instrument, SIBs create numerous regulatory challenges that have not yet been addressed. One unresolved issue is the tax implications of a SIB investment. This Article argues that the current law allows for multiple possible characterizations of the SIB arrangement for tax purposes.

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

2017 ABA Tax Section Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award

HallPress Release,  Wells Hall Receives 2017 ABA Section of Taxation Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award:

The American Bar Association Section of Taxation presented its annual Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award to C. Wells Hall III of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, during the Section’s Plenary Luncheon on January 21, 2017. ...

Wells served as Section Vice-Chair, Pro Bono and Outreach, from 2013 to 2016. During his tenure in that position, Wells championed programs to increase pro bono participation among Section membership and to increase access to tax assistance for low-income and underserved populations.

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, 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 January 1, 2017) 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

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

62,680

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

10,604

2

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

35,095

Lily Batchelder (NYU)

6851

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

32,563

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

5016

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

29,385

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

4069

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

27,407

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

2585

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

23,323

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2539

7

James Hines (Michigan)

22,532

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2464

8

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

21,773

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

2372

9

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

21,585

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

2234

10

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

21,566

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

2205

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

19,646

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

2155

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

19,520

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1854

13

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

18,414

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1823

14

Brad Borden (Broklyn)

17,779

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1808

15

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

17,705

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1775

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

17,549

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1636

17

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

17,178

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1626

18

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

17,095

Brian Galle (Georgetown)

1517

19

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

16,921

Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)

1507

20

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

16,609

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1490

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

16,482

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1484

22

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

16,324

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1471

23

David Walker (Boston Univ.)

15,460

Michael Graetz (Columbia)

1469

24

Steven Bank (UCLA)

14,367

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1450

25

Ed McCaffery (USC)

13,510

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1442

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.

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

David Hubbert Named Acting Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department Of Justice Tax Division

DOJ (2017)David A. Hubbert has been named Acting Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division:

Mr. Hubbert was named Acting Assistant Attorney General in January 2017. He was appointed Tax Division’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) for Civil Trial Matters in September 2012. As DAAG, Mr. Hubbert oversees the litigation functions and other operations of the six regional Civil Trial Sections, the Court of Federal Claims Section, and the Office of Civil Litigation for the Division.

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NYU International Tax Program 20th Anniversary

NYUCelebrating Twenty Years of the International Tax Program of the New York University School of Law (562 pages):

Introduction, by H. David Rosenbloom (Faculty Director, International Tax Program), pp. 1-8:

This Volume marks the 20th year of the International Tax Program at New York University School of Law. The first academic year of the one-year Master of Laws program commonly referred to as the ITP was 1996-97. I succeeded the late Paul McDaniel for the academic year 2002-03, and have had the immense privilege and pleasure of serving as Director of the ITP for the following thirteen years. It is with pride and a sense of accomplishment that I introduce this Volume and provide a few observations about the Program.

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1363:  The Final Chapter On The End Of My Daily Coverage

IRS Logo 2Peter J. Reilly (Forbes), IRS Scandal Daily Coverage The Final Chapter:

Last week, Paul Caron, the TaxProf, dean of the tax blogosphere, called an end to daily coverage of "The IRS Scandal" on Day 1352.  This was 552 days beyond the point that I had opined that the series had "jumped the shark". To be clear, I was not suggesting that the Prof stop covering the scandal, just that there be an occasional day here and there on which there was nothing to report.  So it just took another 552 posts for that to happen.  It is worth noting that there were more Happy Days episodes after Fonzie jumped the shark than before, so maybe it was not such a bad call on my part.

Regardless, in order to make case for shark jumping I went through the series in two posts which are here and here.  For the sake of completeness I thought it would be nice to go through the rest of the series to see how it is that the Prof managed to keep it going for over a year after my shark jumping call.  Over a year ago, on Day 943, Professor Caron indicated that he was running out of material and it might be ending soon.  Things changed on Day 984.  He had thought that it might end at 1,000, but the certification of a class action lawsuit - NorCal Tea Party Patriots v IRS  promised significant material for some time to come.

Just as a reminder.  Day 1, May 10, 2013, is where the TaxProf count starts with the headline - IRS Admits to Targeting Conservative Groups in 2012 Election. ...

Day 1024 is in a class all by itself as we learn that Donald Trump has been audited so many times perhaps because he is such a strong Christian. ...

Scattered among the days are full scale commentary pieces about the scandal.  I'm not going to give you a lot of links, but instead am putting out the three pieces that lay out the two extreme positions and a more intermediate one.  On Day 1008 in recognition of the scandal millennium (by TaxProf day count) Jennifer Kabbany wrote in the National Review one of the best summaries of the scandal true believer creed. ...

The series also contains reference to the counter narrative.  On Day 1144, we hear from Ralph Nader. ...

A more nuanced view, one that I find interesting although not persuasive, is put out by Joe Kristan. He believes what happens was a form of self-weaponization on the part of the IRS.

The self-weaponization of the bureaucracy against its political opponents is hugely depressing. The government workforce is overwhelmingly on the side of the political party that favors an ever-larger state. There are plenty of Lois Lerners in the IRS and throughout the Leviathan. The Tea Party scandal, and the complete lack of accountability for its perpetrators, gives no reason to hope those who don’t share that worldview can expect a fair shake. That’s especially true when the sitting president (referring to President Obama) shows no interest in discouraging such behavior

This view is buttressed by an entry on Day 965 with reports about federal employees giving more political donations to Democrats than Republicans.  ...

Most of the commenters on the coverage tended to support the anti-IRS narrative.  When I showed up, there would often be a brickbat thrown.  My favorite was from somebody who goes by Porkypine:

Peter J. Reilly's writings on this matter in Forbes have tended to be IRS/Administration apologias, under a thin cloak of reasonableness. Too thin to cover the way he hovers between disingenuousness and mendacity in these efforts, however.

There was one though who joined me in scandal skepticism. That is Publius Novus whose last supportive comment was:

I am a Reilly Agnostic. I too would like to see what's under the rocks. Specifically, I would like to hear testimony from LLerner after an immunity grant. And if the Republicons were honest about pursuing this mess, they would grant immunity. Why not Mr. Chaffetz?

It is interesting to note that Paul Caron himself called for Lerner immunity in a piece on USA Today which was featured way back on Day 369.  I have not had any luck in figuring out who Publius Novus actually is,  Paul Caron has told me that he doesn't know.  Joe Kristan suggested Judge Crater, a joke that was too obscure for me to get.  Well, he or she should not have any trouble finding me.

And those comments are probably an indication of one of the best things about the TaxProf's chronicle.  It took the people who follow it out of their bubbles.  It will be interesting to see whether the crusade picks up again.  I can see in the coming weeks as the practicality of the Obamacare replacement or the wall building becomes challenging, that representatives of the Trump administration and the Republican congressional majority will start pining for the days when the buck did not stop with them. Then they will recall that Lois Lerner was probably the best enemy that they ever had and the scandal will get another lease on life.

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Gergen Presents How To Tax Global Capital Today At NYU

Gergen (2017)Mark Gergen (UC-Berkeley) presents How to Tax Global Capital, 69 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2016), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

In an earlier paper I proposed a new approach to taxing capital owned by U.S. households and nonprofits. The heart of the new approach is a flat annual tax on the market value of publicly traded securities with a rate of around .8 percent (80 basis points) that is remitted by the issuer. A security issuer gets a credit for publicly traded securities it holds so that wealth that is represented by a string of publicly traded securities is taxed once. For example, a mutual fund remits the tax based on the market or redemption value of interests in the fund and gets a credit based on the market value of publicly traded securities it holds.

Income producing capital that is not subject to the securities tax, such as an interest in a closely held business or in a private equity fund, is covered by a complementary tax with the same rate as the securities tax.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Oei Presents The Law of the Leak Today At Washington & Lee

OeiShu-Yi Oei (Tulane; moving to Boston College) presents The Law of the Leak (with Diane Ring (Boston College)) at Washington & Lee today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series hosted by Michelle Drumbl:

Over the past decade, a number of well-publicized data leaks concerning the secret offshore holdings of high-net-worth individuals and multinational taxpayers have reverberated through tax circles worldwide, leading to a sea change in cross-border tax enforcement. Spurred by leaked data, tax authorities have prosecuted offshore tax cheats, attempted to recoup lost revenues, enacted new laws, and signed international agreements that promote “sunshine” and exchange of financial information between countries.

The conventional wisdom is that data leaks enable tax authorities to detect and punish offshore tax evasion more effectively, and that leaks are therefore socially beneficial from an economic welfare perspective. This Article argues, however, that the conventional wisdom is too simplistic.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hackney Presents Labor Unions And Tax Exemption Today At UC-Irvine

HackneyPhilip Hackney (LSU) presents Subsidizing the Heavenly Chorus: Labor Unions and Tax Exemption at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

Labor interests are historically politically weak in our U.S. democracy. Laborers who desire to form an organization to advance their political interests face classic collective action problems. This presents a significant challenge for a modern democratic state that depends upon organized interests to represent the political voice of its citizens. This Article examines the impact of our federal income tax system on labor interests. It focuses upon the provision of tax exemption to labor unions and the deduction of labor union dues. I adopt a model that presumes in a democracy we should aim for one person one political voice. By political voice I mean more than the concept of one person one vote; it refers to the ability of citizens to participate in setting the political agenda and to vote on any final decision.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

California’s New Bar Exam Format And ABA’s Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement Will Adversely Impact Diversity, Women, And Access To The Legal Profession

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  California’s New Bar Exam Format in Conjunction with ABA’s Proposed Bar Pass Standard Will Adversely Impact Diversity, Women and Access to the Profession, by Dennis P. Saccuzzo & Nancy E. Johnson:

Considerable concern is being expressed concerning the effects on diversity and access to the profession due to proposed changes in ABA accreditation standards and changes in the format and scoring of the bar, such as those in California. According to Lawrence P. Nolan, President of the State Bar of Michigan, for example, ABA’s proposed amendments to the current accreditation standards will “adversely impact efforts to diversify the profession.”

Indeed, 90 law school Deans have asked the Council of the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar to slow down and think about its proposal to tighten accreditation requirements on bar pass rates. Again, the effects on diversity and access to the profession are among the main concerns. Access not only includes women and minorities, but also non-traditional students such as those who have no family members who ever graduated from college. An important justification for lower tier law schools is that they increase access to the profession.

Now that the California State Bar has decided to change the format of the bar exam, it would seem prudent to ask if the changes will have any effect on access to the profession.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Helicopter Law Professors Are Hurting Their Students

Helicopter 2Emily Grant (Washburn), Helicopter Professors:

Helicopter professors, like their parenting counterparts, hover over students, guiding them precisely, and swooping in to rescue them from any hint of failure or challenge. Just as helicopter parenting can be harmful to children, helicopter professoring poses similar threats to students, not the least of which is creating disengaged students dependent on professors for all aspects of their learning and development.

The instinct to be a helicopter professor is understandable in light of several social and cultural circumstances of today’s legal education. First, law students today are largely Millennials who were helicoptered parented and educated in a system that often focused solely on test results. Second, law professors are at times overly focused are garnering positive student evaluation scores, which may be easier to do with a little extra spoon feeding. Professors too may themselves be helicopter parents in their non-work hours, a behavioral pattern that too easily can infiltrate the classroom. Finally, law schools today are seeing a rise in students that have a consumerist attitude and in some cases lower academic credentials; those types of students expect and perhaps need additional assistance. But satisfying that need, combined with the focus on quantifying assessment practices and on improving teaching techniques, may easily cross the line into helicopter behavior.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)