TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, March 17, 2017

Jewish UC-Hastings Law Student Is Victim Of Hate Crime: Burning Of Mezuzah On Frame Of Dorm Door

Hastings 4NBC Bay Area, UC Hastings Law Student Targeted by Vandals in Possible Hate Crime:

A Bay Area law student was the target of vandals last week, and police are investigating it as a possible hate crime.

In what is being called an act of anti-Semitism at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, someone burned the mezuzah that was hanging on the door frame outside of a dorm unit inside what is known as The Tower, police said.

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March 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1408: Why Won't The Media Cover It?

IRS Logo 2

The Hill op-ed: Why Won't the Media Cover IRS Scandals?, by Jenny Beth Martin (President & Co-Founder, Tea Party Patriots):

Sometimes the most insidious attack on our individual liberty arises not from the government’s wholesale trampling on those rights, but instead from a widespread chilling effect, in which individuals “self-police” or regulate their behavior out of fear of the government’s retaliation.

The years-long IRS scandal surrounding its abuse of power when it engaged in a systematic targeting of conservatives is a powerful example of the government’s ability to initiate a chilling effect on free speech.

It has been nearly four years since the IRS admitted in May of 2013 to singling out and targeting conservative groups, especially tea party groups, for additional scrutiny, onerous paperwork, and even audits. The IRS’s abusive targeting, which lasted for years, was entirely motivated by political animus and caused untold — incalculable, even — devastation to conservatives and to conservative groups. ...

After meeting with, and speaking with, hundreds of local tea party organization members in 2013, I was convinced of three key points: 1) the IRS’s targeting scandal had had a profound impact on organizations’ abilities to attract new members, fundraise, and engage on important policy battles; 2) the chilling effect of the federal government’s actions was real, devastating, and impossible to calculate; and 3) the American public needed to know the full extent of the targeting scandal so we could ensure it would never happen again.

When news of the targeting became public, the media was completely disinterested. And, now, four years later, it seems, not much has changed with the media’s interest levels.

Just this past week, the IRS revealed that it had found nearly 7,000 documents potentially related to the targeting of tea party groups. Yes, the agency that has stone-walled Congress for four years, lost computers and hard drives and tens of thousands of emails, just discovered 6,924 documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Judicial Watch.

Mainstream media outlets have barely reported on this latest revelation at all. And why should they? It’s only the latest chapter in a tome the media has made clear it has no intention of sharing with the American public. ...

Two hallmarks of a free society are that individuals do not have to live in fear that their political views or activities will cause them to be subjected to abuse by the federal taxing agency, and that the press holds government accountable when it becomes abusive to its citizens. It seems, in both areas, we have a lot more work to do.

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March 17, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tax Prof Wedding: Tessa Davis

WeddingContinuing a joyous TaxProf tradition (see individual wedding links below):  Tax Prof Tessa Davis (South Carolina) and Jon Huggett were married on March 11:

We held the wedding at a beautiful old home by a pond just outside of Columbia, South Carolina. As my position at South Carolina was what brought us here from New Orleans (where we met) it was really meaningful to get married in our new home city. A number of Jon's friends from New Orleans stood up with him, as did his brother. My side consisted of five bridesmaids and two bridesmen, all friends from childhood or college. The day, though a bit chillier than expected, was perfect. We had about 100 guests made up of family and friends from the many places we've lived. The ceremony was wonderfully true to us and officiated beautifully by my brother (a law prof at UC-Irvine). There was a even a Code head joke! We couldn't have hoped for a better celebration!

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March 16, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Weddings, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joint Tax Committee:  Overview Of The Federal Tax System

Joint Committee on Taxation, Overview Of The Federal Tax System As In Effect For 2017 (JCX-17-17) (March 15, 2017):

This document ... provides a summary of the present-law Federal tax system as in effect for 2017. The current Federal tax system has four main elements: (1) an income tax on individuals and corporations (which consists of both a “regular” income tax and an alternative minimum tax);  (2) payroll taxes on wages (and corresponding taxes on self-employment income) to finance certain social insurance programs; (3) estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes, and (4) excise taxes on selected goods and services. This document provides a broad overview of each of these elements.

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March 16, 2017 in Congressional News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Positive Legal Education: Flourishing Law Students And Thriving Law Schools

Debra S. Austin (Denver), Positive Legal Education: Flourishing Law Students and Thriving Law Schools:

There is a wellbeing crisis in the legal field and legal education may be the catalyst. Law students are the most dissatisfied, demoralized, and depressed of graduate student populations. The Socratic method is infamous for inducing anxiety in law students and law school grades are often determined by a single final exam at the end of a grueling semester. Law students cite competition, grades, and workload as major stressors, and if legal educators ignore their harmful impact, it will likely suppress learning and fuel illness.

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March 16, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (7)

Kleinbard:  Trump's Reckless Spending And Tax Cuts

CNN op-ed:  Trump's Reckless Spending and Tax Cuts, by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC):

President Trump's budget outline combines a surge in military spending with massive tax cuts, purportedly in the name of stimulating our stagnant economy. This strategy follows closely the fiscal agenda of Ronald Reagan — modern history's most fiscally irresponsible President.

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March 16, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller:  Law Professors Are Tough Graders (Of Other Law Schools)

2018 U.S. News Law 2Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Do Law Professors Generally Think Most Other Law Schools Are Pretty Awful?:

The U.S. News & World Report ("USNWR") law school rankings include a number of illuminating bits of information and some weaknesses, as I displayed yesterday. But a cursory look at Paul Caron's display of the peer reputation scores displays, perhaps, a startling truth: law professors generally think most other law schools are pretty awful. (I qualify that with "other" because I think most law professors generally think their own schools are probably pretty good.) ...

One might expect to see a fairly ordinary distribution between 5 and 1, perhaps a bell curve with a bulk of schools in the range of 3 in the middle. But it turns out law professors think little of other schools.

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March 16, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Making Tax Evasion Great: The $100 Billion Giveaway

Democracy Logo (2018)Democracy: A Journal of Ideas: Making Tax Evasion Great: The $100 Billion Giveaway, by Robert Gordon & David Kamin (NYU):

The President may talk about “law and order,” but apparently he excludes tax law.

President Trump’s Office of Management and Budget has proposed a 14.1 percent cut in funding for the Internal Revenue Service. If made permanent, we conservatively estimate that this cut will cost the Treasury $60 billion, just from direct revenue loss due to reduced enforcement (and netting out the reduced spending on IRS enforcement). This new cut follows a more than 20 percent real reduction in resources for IRS enforcement since 2010. Undoing that reduction could save the federal government an additional $30 to $40 billion. All together, the President’s failing to restore these previous cuts and then cutting even more allows handouts to tax evaders costing the Treasury about $100 billion over ten years.

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March 16, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

March Madness Law School Bracket

Here is the March Madness Law School Bracket, with outcomes determined by the 2018 U.S. News Law School Rankings (using academic peer reputation and student quality as tiebreakers). The Final Four are Michigan (8), Virginia (8), Northwestern (10), and UCLA (15), with Virginia beating Michigan in the championship game, based on student quality.

Law School Bracket

March 16, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1407: NY Post Editorial, Fire The IRS Chief Already, Mr. President

IRS Logo 2

New York Post Editorial, Fire the IRS Chief Already, Mr. President:

Why is IRS Commissioner John Koskinen still in office? A growing number of Capitol Hill Republicans want to know — and they have good reason to be troubled.

When he took over in 2013, Koskinen was supposed to “fix” the IRS — and in particular get to the bottom of the scandal in which the agency deliberately held up approvals for 75 conservative and Tea Party groups that had applied for legitimate tax exemptions.

Instead, what Congress and the public got from him was obstruction, open defiance and a refusal to discipline anyone at the agency. Indeed, he seemed most concerned with running interference to shield the Obama administration from any embarrassment.

Nor was he alone: The Obama Justice Department refused to bring criminal charges against anyone at the IRS. To date, no one has been held accountable for what even liberal legal icon Laurence Tribe has called “inexcusable abuse.” ...

It’s clear there’ll be no IRS reforms while Koskinen is in office. He’s the No. 1 candidate in Washington for President Trump’s signature line: “You’re fired.”

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March 16, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Law School Rankings By Student Quality (LSAT And UGPA)

2018 U.S. News Law 2Christopher J. Ryan Jr. (Vanderbilt) & Brian L. Frye (Kentucky), A De Gustibus Approach to Ranking Law Schools:

The U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Schools Rankings” define the market for legal education. Law schools compete to improve their standing in the rankings and fear any decline. But the U.S. News rankings incite contention, because they rely on factors that are poor proxies for quality like peer reputation and expenditures per student. While many alternative law school rankings exist, none have challenged the market dominance of the U.S. News rankings. Presumably the U.S. News rankings benefit from a first-mover advantage, other rankings fail to provide a clearly superior alternative, or some combination of the two.

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March 15, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Smart Presents Why The Dividend Tax Credit? Today At Toronto

Smart 2Michael Smart (Toronto) presents Why the Dividend Tax Credit? at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

In this paper, I discuss the tax treatment of personal dividend income in Canada. Incorporating the changing parameters of the dividend gross-up-and-credit system since 1972, including provincial credits, I estimate the effective tax rate on eligible and ordinary dividend income of taxable investors, and compare it to that applying to other income sources. The effective tax rate on dividend income has decreased substantially and, since the 2006 enhancement of the dividend tax credit, dividend taxes in Canada have been fully integrated or overintegrated for taxable investors. Based on a new methodology, I estimate the fiscal cost of the system to federal and provincial governments. The cost of the DTC has increased markedly since the 2006 reform and is large. About 70 per cent of the tax benefit accrues to taxpayers in the top 10 per cent of the income distribution and, for shareholders in this group, the impact on overall progressivity of the tax system is substantial.

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March 15, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Strips Tax-Exempt Status From Richard Spencer's White Nationalist Nonprofit

NPI 3Following up on my previous post, Alt-Right Group Has Not Filed Form 990s Due To IRS Error, Allowing Group's Finances To Escape Scrutiny:  Los Angeles Times, IRS Strips Tax-Exempt Status from Richard Spencer's White Nationalist Nonprofit:

The nonprofit run by one of America’s most prominent white nationalists, Richard Spencer, has lost its tax-exempt status for failing to file tax returns with the federal government, according to Internal Revenue Service records.

An inquiry by The Times also raised questions about whether Spencer had properly filed paperwork allowing the National Policy Institute to raise funds in Virginia, its primary place of business, and whether Spencer, a Donald Trump supporter, had flouted federal rules that forbid nonprofits from supporting or opposing political candidates.

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March 15, 2017 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

How Federal Tax Law Rewards Segregation

Michelle D. Layser (Georgetown), How Federal Tax Law Rewards Segregation, 93 Ind. L.J. ___ (2018):

Residual, de facto segregation is among the most enduring barriers to equal opportunity in America. Nearly five decades after the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Blacks and Latinos still tend to live in neighborhoods where the majority of residents are people of color. Such racial segregation is often accompanied by economic segregation. Meanwhile, sociologists, housing law scholars, and poverty law experts have stressed the importance of residential location to the impact of poverty and the potential for upward economic mobility. But an unlikely source of federal housing law—the tax code—may interfere with efforts to promote more integrated communities.

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March 15, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

2018 U.S. News Tax Rankings

2018 U.S. News LawHere are the new 2018 U.S. News Tax Rankings, along with last year's rankings:

2018

Rank

 Tax

Program

2017

Rank

1

NYU

1

2

Georgetown

2

3

Florida

3

4

Northwestern

4

5

Virginia.

6

6

Loyola-L.A.

5

7

UCLA

9

8

Boston University

8

8

Harvard

7

10

Columbia

9

11

San Diego

12

12

Miami

12

12

Texas

15

14

Michigan

9

15

USC

12

16

Duke

18

16

Pennsylvania

18

18

Yale

20

19

Chicago

22

20

Boston College

17

20

Villanova

24

20

U. Washington

16

23

Indiana

20

23

Stanford

24

25

Denver

n/r

26

Washington U.

n/r

The biggest upward moves:

  • +4:  Villanova (#20)
  • +3   Texas (#12), Chicago (#19)
  • +2:  UCLA (#7), Duke (#16), Pennsylvania (#16), Yale (#18)
  • Denver (#25) and U. Washington (#26) were unranked last year

The biggest downward moves:

  • -5:  Michigan (#14)
  • -4:  U. Washington (#20)
  • -3:  USC (#12), Boston College (#20), Indiana (#23)
  • Florida State (#23 last year) is unranked this year

Here are the rankings of the graduate tax programs, along with last year's rankings.

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March 15, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Donald Trump's 2005 Tax Return (Form 1040)

Trump 2005 Tax Return (Clip)

Trump

Adam Chodorow (Arizona State), The Sliver of Trump’s Tax Return That MSNBC Obtained Tells Us Almost Nothing About His Finances. Demand More.:

On Tuesday evening, MSNBC began to tout what seemed to be a major scoop: It had a Trump tax return. The investigative journalist David Cay Johnston had received documents in the mail, and Rachel Maddow would tell all at the appointed hour. A previous leak during the campaign, to the New York Times, suggested that Trump had taken a $1 billion tax loss in the 1990s under circumstances that suggested aggressive tax planning at the best and flat-out cheating at the worst. However, we didn’t have the full returns to figure out what had actually happened.

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March 15, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (17)

Florida Law School Rankings War Intensifies: UF Marches Toward Top 35, FSU Says It Is Best Law School In State And Aims For Top 4 National Public Law School (With Michigan, UC-Berkeley & Virginia)

UFFSUFollowing up on last year's post, Laura Rosenbury Stakes Her Deanship On Raising Florida's Ranking To #35; Amidst Claims Of Sexism, Her Regime Comes Under Fire, With The Graduate Tax Program Its Flashpoint:  Florida Dean Laura Rosenbury is already halfway toward her goal of being a Top 35 law school with a 7-point improvement in its U.S. News ranking, to #41.

University of Florida Press Release, UF Law Jumps Seven Spots in U.S. News Rankings:

The University of Florida Levin College of Law climbed seven spots in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s best law schools, placing at No. 41 overall. This rise is the largest year-to-year increase in over 20 years and is the second largest improvement of any law school ranked in the top 50. The Graduate Tax Program held its spot as the No. 1 program among public law schools and No. 3 overall. ...

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March 15, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Pepperdine Is #1 In ADR, #5 In Practical Training

2018 U.S. News LawFor the twelfth time in thirteen years, Pepperdine Law School's Straus Institute has been ranked the #1 dispute resolution program in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Congratulations to Tom Stipanowich and his faculty and staff colleagues for this well deserved recognition of the amazing academic programs and training and conferences they offer.

In addition, Pepperdine has been named the fifth best law school for practical training by The National Jurist (Spring 2017):

Cover

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March 15, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kamin Presents Getting Americans To Save: In Defense Of (Reformed) Tax Incentives Today At Tulane

KaminDavid Kamin (NYU) presents Getting Americans to Save: In Defense of (Reformed) Tax Incentives, 70 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Tulane today as part of its Workshop on Regulation and Coordination Series:

According to the most recent literature, one of the primary systems for getting Americans to save more — a system of tax-preferred retirement accounts — is fundamentally broken and should be abandoned. This system of 401(k)s, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and other tax-preferred accounts cost the government about $80 billion per year, and influential new research by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and co-authors — among others — suggests that tax incentives like these are unable to substantially increase private saving. However, this case against tax incentives is overstated.

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March 14, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Gamage & Shanske:  Tax Cannibalization And Fiscal Federalism

David Gamage (Indiana) & Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), Tax Cannibalization and Fiscal Federalism in the United States, 111 Nw. U. L. Rev. 295 (2017):

The current structure of U.S. federal tax law incentivizes state governments to adopt tax policies that inflict costs on the federal government, at the expense of national welfare. We label this the “tax cannibalization problem.”

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March 14, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Winners And Losers In The 2018 U.S. News Law School Rankings ... Should It Matter?

2018 U.S. News LawFollowing up on this morning's post, 2018 U.S. News Law School Peer Reputation Rankings (And Overall Rankings):  National Law Journal, U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Good News for Northwestern, Bummer for Berkeley:

After flirting with the top 10 on the U.S. News & World Report’s annual law school rankings for most of the past decade, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law has finally broken through.

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March 14, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Brooks:  The Definitions Of Income

John R. Brooks (Georgetown), The Definitions of Income, 71 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2017):

What is income? It’s a seemingly simple question that’s surprisingly hard to answer. Income is the basis for assigning tax burdens, for distributing transfers, and for broader normative issues of inequality and justice. Yet we lack a shared conception of income, and a pure, rigorous definition of income is impossible. In this Article I review the intellectual history of the income concept among tax and fiscal theorists to show the difficulty of the problem, and also to show that some important debates about what’s proper under an income tax can be explained instead as arguments over competing income definitions that necessarily incorporate policy choices. These insights are applied to more modern questions, like the role of tax expenditure analysis and optimal income tax theory. I also perform — for the first time in the literature — a close examination and comparison of 12 different income definitions used by the federal government for different purposes. This examination illustrates that there is wide range of income concepts actively in use, but that the measure of income for tax purposes has a prominent and growing role.

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March 14, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

2018 U.S. News Law School Peer Reputation Rankings (And Overall Rankings)

2018 U.S. News LawContinuing a TaxProf Blog tradition (see links below for 2009-2017), here is the full list of the 197 law schools ranked by academic peer reputation, as well as their overall rank, in the new 2018 U.S. News Law School Rankings (methodology here):

Peer Rank

Peer Score

School

Overall Rank

1

4.8

Yale

1

1

4.8

Stanford

2

1

4.8

Harvard

3

4

4.6

Chicago

4

4

4.6

Columbia

5

6

4.5

NYU

6

7

4.4

Michigan

8

7

4.4

Virginia

8

7

4.4

UC-Berkeley

12

10

4.3

Penn

7

11

4.2

Duke

10

11

4.2

Northwestern

10

11

4.2

Cornell

13

14

4.1

Texas

14

14

4.1

Georgetown

15

16

3.9

UCLA

15

16

3.9

Vanderbilt

17

18

3.6

Washington U.

18

18

3.6

Emory

22

20

3.5

USC

19

20

3.5

Notre Dame

20

20

3.5

Minnesota

23

20

3.5

North Carolina

39

24

3.4

Iowa

20

24

3.4

Boston University

23

24

3.4

Geo. Washington

30

24

3.4

Wisconsin

30

24

3.4

UC-Davis

39

29

3.3

Boston College

26

29

3.3

UC-Irvine

28

29

3.3

Indiana-Bloom.

30

29

3.3

Ohio State

30

29

3.3

Fordham

36

29

3.3

Illinois

44

35

3.2

Arizona State

25

35

3.2

Alabama

26

35

3.2

Georgia

30

35

3.2

U. Washington

30

35

3.2

Colorado

36

35

3.2

William & Mary

41

41

3.1

Wash. & Lee

28

41

3.1

Wake Forest

36

41

3.1

Florida

41

41

3.1

Arizona

48

41

3.1

Tulane

50

41

3.1

UC-Hastings

54

47

3.0

Florida State

48

47

3.0

Maryland

48

49

2.9

Utah

44

49

2.9

BYU

46

51

2.8

Connecticut

54

51

2.8

American

86

51

2.8

Oregon

86

54

2.7

George Mason

41

54

2.7

Temple

53

54

2.7

Houston

54

54

2.7

Tennessee

57

54

2.7

Cardozo

65

54

2.7

Kansas

65

54

2.7

Denver

76

54

2.7

Miami

77

54

2.7

San Diego

77

63

2.6

SMU

46

63

2.6

Kentucky

57

63

2.6

Case Western

62

63

2.6

Georgia State

65

63

2.6

Loyola-L.A.

65

63

2.6

Missouri

65

63

2.6

Pepperdine

72

63

2.6

Pittsburgh

82

71

2.5

Nebraska

57

71

2.5

Richmond

57

71

2.5

Rutgers

62

71

2.5

UNLV

62

71

2.5

Oklahoma

72

71

2.5

Loyola-Chicago

82

71

2.5

Brooklyn

88

71

2.5

Indiana-Indy

88

71

2.5

Hawaii

100

80

2.4

Baylor

51

80

2.4

Seton Hall

57

80

2.4

Northeastern

65

80

2.4

Cincinnati

72

80

2.4

Arkansas-Fay.

77

80

2.4

Villanova

77

80

2.4

South Carolina

88

80

2.4

Chicago-Kent

92

80

2.4

Lewis & Clark

100

80

2.4

Howard

120

80

2.4

Seattle

120

80

2.4

Santa Clara

132

92

2.3

New Mexico

77

92

2.3

Penn State Univ.

82

92

2.3

St. Louis

88

92

2.3

Louisville

92

92

2.3

Syracuse 

92

92

2.3

Michigan State

96

92

2.3

Marquette

100

92

2.3

Hofstra

118

92

2.3

DePaul

120

92

2.3

Maine

139

102

2.2

St. John's

72

102

2.2

Texas A&M

92

102

2.2

LSU

96

102

2.2

West Virginia

96

102

2.2

Catholic

106

102

2.2

SUNY-Buffalo

106

102

2.2

Mississippi

109

102

2.2

UMKC

112

102

2.2

CUNY

127

102

2.2

Arkansas-L.R.

134

102

2.2

Vermont

134

113

2.1

Stetson

96

113

2.1

Idaho

109

113

2.1

Gonzaga

112

113

2.1

Baltimore

112

113

2.1

Drexel

112

113

2.1

Wyoming

112

113

2.1

Montana

120

113

2.1

Loyola-N.O.

142

121

2.0

Penn State-Dick.

65

121

2.0

Tulsa

82

121

2.0

New Hampshire

100

121

2.0

Albany

109

121

2.0

Creighton

120

121

2.0

Mercer

134

121

2.0

Suffolk

140

121

2.0

North Dakota

142

121

2.0

Willamette

142

130

2.0

San Francisco

Tier 2

130

1.9

Wayne State

100

130

1.9

Drake

106

130

1.9

New York Law S.

112

130

1.9

Texas Tech

118

130

1.9

Pace

120

130

1.9

Quinnipiac

127

130

1.9

Washburn

127

130

1.9

Chapman

134

130

1.9

Memphis

140

130

1.9

McGeorge

142

130

1.9

South Dakota

142

130

1.9

Southwestern

Tier 2

143

1.8

Florida Int'l

100

143

1.8

St. Thomas (MN)

120

143

1.8

Cleveland State

127

143

1.8

Duquesne

127

143

1.8

Toledo

132

143

1.8

Akron

134

149

1.7

Samford

147

149

1.7

N. Illinois

148

149

1.7

Dayton

Tier 2

149

1.7

J. Marshall (IL)

Tier 2

149

1.7

Mitchell-Hamline

Tier 2

149

1.7

Roger Williams

Tier 2

149

1.7

S. Illinois

Tier 2

149

1.7

Widener (DE)

Tier 2

157

1.6

Widener (PA)

148

157

1.6

Cal-Western

Tier 2

157

1.6

Elon

Tier 2

157

1.6

Golden Gate

Tier 2

157

1.6

N. Kentucky

Tier 2

157

1.6

Nova

Tier 2

157

1.6

South Texas

Tier 2

157

1.6

St.Mary's

Tier 2

157

1.6

Valparaiso

Tier 2

166

1.5

Campbell

Tier 2

166

1.5

Capital

Tier 2

166

1.5

Detroit Mercy

Tier 2

166

1.5

Dist. of Columbia

Tier 2

166

1.5

Mississippi C.

Tier 2

166

1.5

New England

Tier 2

166

1.5

NC Central

Tier 2

166

1.5

Ohio Northern

Tier 2

166

1.5

Oklahoma City

Tier 2

166

1.5

Texas Southern

Tier 2

166

1.5

Touro

Tier 2

166

1.5

U Mass.

Tier 2

178

1.4

Florida A&M

Tier 2

178

1.4

J. Marshall (GA)

Tier 2

178

1.4

Southern

Tier 2

178

1.4

St. Thomas (FL)

Tier 2

178

1.4

W. New England

Tier 2

178

1.4

Whittier

Tier 2

184

1.3

Belmont

Tier 2

184

1.3

Faulkner

Tier 2

184

1.3

Charleston

Tier 2

184

1.3

T. Jefferson

Tier 2

188

1.2

Appalachian

Tier 2

188

1.2

Ave Maria

Tier 2

188

1.2

Barry

Tier 2

188

1.2

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

188

1.2

La Verne

Tier 2

188

1.2

Liberty

Tier 2

188

1.2

Regent

Tier 2

188

1.2

W. Mich. Cooley

Tier 2

188

1.1

Western State

Tier 2

197

1.1

Ariz. Summit

Tier 2


Prior years' rankings:

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March 14, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Public Company Proximity To IRS Office Increases Audit Risk And Tax Avoidance

JournalThomas R. Kubicka (Kansas), G. Brandon Lockhart (Clemson), Lillian F. Mills (Texas & John R. Robinson (Texas A&M), IRS and Corporate Taxpayer Effects of Geographic Proximity, 60 J. Accounting & Econ. ___ (2017):

We investigate whether geographic proximity between corporate headquarters and IRS regional offices affects corporate tax avoidance and the likelihood and productivity of IRS examinations. Using geographic distance to represent information asymmetry, we find that corporations avoid more tax when located closer to the IRS unless they are close to an IRS industry specialist. This finding is consistent with taxpayers believing proximity provides them with an information advantage over the IRS.

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March 14, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Provost Reassures Students That Rumors Of Louisville Law School's Closing Are False

LouisvilleFollowing up on last week's post, Louisville's 5-Year Interim Dean Is Passed Over In Selection Of New Dean; Law School Fires Student Workers And RAs To Address Budget Deficit:

Insider Louisville, Interim UofL Law School Dean Removed From Consideration for Permanent Position:

Despite a reportedly strong recommendation from the search committee tasked with finding candidates for the permanent dean position at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, interim dean Susan Duncan — who has served in that role for five years — was removed as a candidate last week.

In an email to Brandeis faculty, Duncan announced that decision, in addition to broaching the subjects of student workers in the law school abruptly losing their jobs and supplies being removed from its offices due to budgetary reasons. The email set off an emergency meeting between concerned faculty and staff and interim Provost Dale Billingsley on Thursday, and then again on Friday.

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March 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Optimum Ratio Of Highest-To-Lowest-Compensated Partners in BigLaw Is 9-1, Not Traditional 3-1 (As With Law School Faculty)

American Lawyer, Is Your Firm's Partner Comp Spread Too Narrow?:

It is fast becoming an imperative for elite firms to widen the range of their partner compensation. Too narrow a range allows competitors with wider ranges to lure away the most commercially successful partners. We saw this in London when the U.S. firms arrived and undid the elite London firms’ lockstep models. We are seeing this increasingly in New York where firms like Kirkland & Ellis, who reportedly moved recently to a ratio of the compensation of their highest- to lowest-compensated partners of 9-1, pose a renewed threat to old-line firms with narrow, 3-1-type ratios.

Ratio 3

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March 14, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shanske Presents Equitable Apportionment And The State Corporate Income Tax Today At UC-Irvine

Shanske (2017)Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) presents em>Equitable Apportionment and the State Corporate Income Tax: Past, Present and Possible Future at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

What a tough break for formulary apportionment. We are at a moment when there is apparently a real interest in reforming the federal corporate income tax in a way that, at least in theory, would broaden the base of the tax and encourage exporters. Shifting to the use of formulary apportionment with a single sales factor (SSF) could theoretically achieve these goals and there is at least one well-developed reform proposal to that end on the table. Moreover, over 40 states impose a corporate income tax and they have used formulas for a very long time, and so there is a track record and case law to work with. But this is not — yet — formulary apportionment’s moment.

This is the moment for the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax (DBCFT), which relies on border tax adjustments (BTAs).

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March 13, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Partners Earn Second Largest Paychecks At BigLaw Firms

American Lawyer, Partner Compensation By the Numbers:

The findings below come from the most recent partner compensation survey from Major, Lindsey & Africa and ALM Intelligence; Am Law 200 annual financial reports; and ALM Intelligence consulting reports.

Partner Pay

 

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March 13, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Profs Sue For Retaliation, Hostile Work Environment After Denver University Failed To Respond To Complaints About Colleague's Masturbation In His Office

BlackInside Higher Ed, Dropping the Ball on Professor's Dropped Trou?:

In an eyebrow-raising lawsuit filed last week against Metro State University in Denver, two professors say they were retaliated against for reporting a colleague’s alleged sexual indiscretion with … himself. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission granted the plaintiffs right-to-sue notices, but the implicated professor denies all claims against him. The university also denies the allegations and plans a vigorous defense.

The complaint was brought by Kamran Sahami, a professor of physics and former president of the university’s Faculty Senate, and Kristin Watson, a former non-tenure-track professor of communications and business. Watson alleges that she saw Gregory Black [right], chair of marketing, masturbating in his office in 2011 but didn’t report the incident to administrators for several years, in part because she was “shocked and traumatized,” and because she lacked tenure and feared for her job.

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March 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tax Is A Feminist Issue

Economist Logo (2015)The Economist, Tax Is a Feminist Issue: Why National Budgets Need to Take Gender Into Account:

Designing fiscal policies to support gender equality is good for growth.

Like many rich-country governments, Britain’s prides itself on pursuing policies that promote sexual equality. However, it fails to live up to its word, argues the Women’s Budget Group, a feminist think-tank that has been scrutinising Britain’s economic policy since 1989. A report in 2016 from the House of Commons Library, an impartial research service, suggests that in 2010-15 women bore the cost of 85% of savings to the Treasury worth £23bn ($29bn) from austerity measures, specifically cuts in welfare benefits and in direct taxes. Because women earn less, rely more on benefits, and are much more likely than men to be single parents, the cuts affected them disproportionately.

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March 13, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Second International Conference On Taxpayer Rights Kicks Off Today In Vienna

More On The Proposal To Ban The UNC Center For Civil Rights From Engaging In Litigation

North Carolina LogoFollowing up on last week's post, State May Ban UNC Center For Civil Rights From Engaging In Litigation:  Chapel Hill Herald-Sun editorial, UNC Legal Centers Help Students and Clients:

The late Jesse Helms used to refer to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as "Pink Hill" and to suggest that it be set aside as a hippie reservation.

Since taking over the General Assembly and packing the university's Board of Governors with their own people, Republicans have set out to swat the liberal Chapel Hill gadfly once and for all.

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March 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1404: Attorney General Sessions Weighs Appointing Special Counsel To Investigate Obama's Justice Department Scandals

IRS Logo 2

Hugh Hewitt, Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Hugh Hewitt:  Now let me switch to the Department itself, Mr. Attorney General. It had a bad eight years. I’m a proud veteran of the Department of Justice, as you are. But the IRS case, the Fast and Furious case, Secretary Clinton’s server, the Department of Justice came under great criticism. How about an outside counsel, not connected to politics, to review the DOJ’s actions in those matters with authority to bring charges if underlying crimes are uncovered in the course of the investigation, and just generally to look at how the Department of Justice operated in the highly-politicized Holder-Lynch years?

Jeff Sessions:  Well, I’m going to do everything I possibly can to restore the independence and professionalism of the Department of Justice. So we would have to consider whether or not some outside special counsel is needed. Generally, a good review of that internally is the first step before any such decision is made.

Hugh Hewitt:  Will you be looking at the IRS investigation specifically, because that left many of us thinking that the Department of Justice had laid down for a terrible abuse of political power?

Jeff Sessions:  It does. That circumstance raised a lot of questions in my mind, and when I was in the Senate. So it is a matter of real concern to me.

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March 13, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Settlement Finalized In University Of Houston And South Texas Houston Law Schools Trademark Dispute; Houston Astros Are On Deck

UHSTHA

Following up on last week's post, University Of Houston, South Texas Law Schools Settle Naming Rights Dispute:  Houston Chronicle, UH Naming Dispute Could Now Draw in Astros, Houston Community College:

The University of Houston has settled the score in a protracted trademark dispute with rival South Texas College of Law Houston, but the fight over naming rights may not be over.

On deck are two new potential opponents: the Houston Astros and Houston Community College.

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March 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

As Deadlines Approach For College Financial Aid & Income-Based Loan Repayment, IRS Leaves Parents, Students & Graduates In Lurch By Taking Down Online Tax Return Data Retrieval Tool

FAFSAIRSJoint Statement of the IRS and the U.S. Department of Education:

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool on fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov is currently unavailable. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. However, at this time, the IRS anticipates the online data tool will be unavailable for several weeks.

Forbes, IRS Data Retrieval Tool Outage Brings Applying For College Financial Aid To A Halt:

The IRS tool that sends parents' and students' tax data to the online filing system for the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been taken offline for security concerns, derailing the aid application (FAFSA) process and causing a mess for students and colleges nationwide.

Fiscal Times, Leave More Time for Your Financial Aid Form This Year as IRS Shuts Down FAFSA Data Tool:

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March 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

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. [1,526 Downloads]  The Known Unknowns of the Business Tax Reforms Proposed in the House Republican Blueprint, by Michael J. Graetz (Columbia)
  2. [450 Downloads]  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, by David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York)
  3. [407 Downloads]  Accounting for Behavioral Considerations in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing, by Lily L. Batchelder (NYU)
  4. [325 Downloads]  Predicting Stock Market Prices with Physical Laws, by Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)
  5. [234 Downloads]  Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation, by Edward A. Morse (Creighton)

March 12, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bainbridge:  The Law And Economics Of Jesus’ Parable Of The Talents

Bainbridge 2Stephen M. Bainbridge (UCLA), The Law and Economics of the Parable of the Talents (slides):

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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March 12, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1403: Should Koskinen Remain, Resign, Or Be Fired?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Arizona Summit Law School Affiliates With Bethune-Cookman University To Diversify Legal Profession Despite 25% Bar Pass Rate

ABCFollowing up on my previous post, Arizona Summit Law School's Bar Passage Rate Plummets To Shocking 24.6% (Down From 96.7% In 2008):

Arizona Republic, Arizona Summit Law School Moves to Affiliate With a Private, Nonprofit University:

A for-profit law school in downtown Phoenix that is struggling with falling bar-passage rates is moving to affiliate with one of the country’s historically black colleges and universities.

Arizona Summit Law School has signed an affiliation agreement with the private, nonprofit Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida [2,136 miles away].

The law school, founded in 2004, once boasted bar passage rates of 97 percent but has seen its percentages drop to 25 percent among first-time test takers.

Arizona

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March 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Mehrotra Posts Tax Papers On SSRN

SSRN LogoAjay K. Mehrotra (American Bar Foundation; Northwestern) has posted three tax papers on SSRN:

  • A Bridge Between: Law and the New Intellectual Histories of Capitalism, 64 Buff. L. Rev. 1 (2016):  "The American historical profession has in recent years witnessed a significant revival of two subfields that were once thought to be nearly dead. Both intellectual history and what is often referred to today as the history of capitalism are flourishing. In some cases, the two fields have converged. What role has law and legal history played in this revival and convergence? How have formal and informal laws, legal institutions, and legal actors and processes informed our conceptual understanding of the origins and development of modern American capitalism? This essay explores these historiographical and programmatic questions as part of a symposium directed at “Opportunities for Law’s Intellectual History.” This brief essay explores the role of law and legal history as a bridge between the two revived subfields. It does so in three parts. Part I briefly chronicles the recent revival of the two subfields. Part II explores why law, in its broadest sense, may be particularly well suited to help integrate the convergence between intellectual history and the new histories of capitalism. Why, that is, law has been and may continue to be a bridge between the two subfields. Part III uses the history of American tax law and policy as one example to show how law is vital to our understanding of the new intellectual histories of capitalism. The essay concludes with a modest set of observations on where the new literature on law and the intellectual histories of capitalism may be headed."

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March 11, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Law School Dean Announcement

The IRS Scandal, Day 1402: IRS Locates 7,000 Documents Related To Tea Party Targeting

IRS Logo 2Washington Free Beacon, Two Years Later, IRS Locates 6,924 Documents Related to Tea Party Targeting; Agency Will Not Commit to a Timeframe to Make the Documents Public:

The Internal Revenue Service has located 6,924 documents potentially related to the targeting of Tea Party conservatives, two years after the group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for them.

The watchdog group intended to find records regarding how the IRS selected individuals and organizations for audits that were requesting nonprofit tax status.

The agency will not say when it will make the documents available to the public.

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March 11, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) discusses how the House GPO Affordable Care Act replacement plan complicates 2016 tax filing.

KristanMandate no more? House Republicans released their Obamacare replacement plan yesterday. While the policy implications of the proposal are obviously interesting, this time of year my first question is, “does this affect the current tax season?”

Yes, big league.

The proposal would repeal both the individual mandate and employer mandate retroactive to the beginning of 2016. As we are in the middle of the filing season for 2016 returns, that’s a big deal.

Taxpayers and preparers had a filing season dilemma even before the House GOP announced their plan yesterday. After President Trump issued an executive order telling agencies to be forgiving on ACA enforcement, the IRS changed its plans to allow individuals to file returns without answering health coverage questions — making it possible to file returns ignoring the penalty for lacking ACA-compliant health coverage.

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March 10, 2017 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new article by J. Clifton Fleming, Jr. (BYU), Robert J. Peroni (Texas) and Stephen E. Shay (Harvard), Defending Worldwide Taxation With a Shareholder-Based Definition of Corporate Residence 2016 BYU L. Rev. 1681 (2017).

Glogower (2016)Fleming, Peroni, and Shay’s new work proposes a shareholder-based test for determining corporate residence.  Under this test, a foreign corporation would be treated as a U.S. tax resident for a taxable year if 50% or more of its shares were beneficially owned by U.S. residents at the end of the preceding year.  The corporation will be treated as presumptively satisfying this test if its shares are traded on a U.S. market or are marketed to U.S. investors.  The presumption can be rebutted by either the corporation or the IRS, with evidence that the U.S. beneficial ownership of the shares is in fact below the 50% threshold.  Finally, corporations organized under U.S. law would remain domestic residents, as under current law, regardless of the shareholder composition.

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March 10, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Pittsburgh Law Dean Boycotts Local TV Station That Refused To Allow Muslim Law Prof To Participate In Panel Discussion Of President Trump's Travel Ban

PittABA Journal, Pitt Law Dean Will No Longer Appear on TV Station Over Alleged Bias Against Middle Eastern Prof:

A University of Pittsburgh School of Law professor says he was passed over as a guest on a local CBS affiliate news show, because he is Iraqi-American and a Muslim. And in the wake of these allegations William M. Carter Jr., dean of the law school and a constitutional scholar, has said that he will no longer appear on KDKA-TV programming.

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March 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth: Corporate Tax Avoidance By Fortune 500 Companies, 2008 To 2015

New York Times, Profitable Companies, No Taxes: Here’s How They Did It:

Complaining that the United States has one of the world’s highest corporate tax levels, President Trump and congressional Republicans have repeatedly vowed to shrink it.

Yet if the level is so high, why have so many companies’ income tax bills added up to zero?

That’s what a new analysis of 258 profitable Fortune 500 companies that earned more than $3.8 trillion in profits showed [The 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth: Corporate Tax Avoidance by Fortune 500 Companies, 2008 to 2015].

18 CorpsAlthough the top corporate rate is 35 percent, hardly any company actually pays that. The report, by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning research group in Washington, found that 100 of them — nearly 40 percent — paid no taxes in at least one year between 2008 and 2015. Eighteen, including General Electric, International Paper, Priceline.com and PG&E, incurred a total federal income tax bill of less than zero over the entire eight-year period — meaning they received rebates. The institute used the companies’ own regulatory filings to compute their tax rates. ...

How does a billion-dollar company pay no taxes?

Companies take advantage of an array of tax loopholes and aggressive strategies that enable them to legally avoid paying what they owe. The institute’s report cites these examples:

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March 10, 2017 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (6)