TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, February 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 EITC can be used to purchase drugs:

KristanEarned income credit helps poor man pay for his pharmaceuticals.

IRS 1, Grandma 0. A poor unemployed father was having difficulty financing his medication. But as a President once said, “when somebody hurts, Government has got to move.” Through the magic of the earned income tax credit, this poor man filed his tax return, moving the IRS to send a check that was used to pay for his medication.was

Unfortunately, the medication was recreational. 

The man was unemployed and living at his mother’s with his wife and kids. Grandma was working as a nurse’s aide to support the whole bunch. Judge Holmes takes up the story (as I normally do, I abbreviate the taxpayer’s name, here as “S.”):

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February 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 Chris Sanchirico (Penn), Business Investment in the Tax Reform Blueprint

Glogower (2016)Since its release last June, the business tax provisions of the GOP House’s tax reform plan (“the reform plan”) have garnered intense interest, and improbably trending hashtags.  Much of the focus has centered on the border adjustment, which taxes imports but exempts exports, and its implications for the dollar and trade agreements.  (For example, Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan/UC-Irvine) and Kimberly Clausing (Reed)).  Sanchirico’s new work, in contrast, examines two other related provisions in the reform plan: immediate expensing for business investments, and disallowance of a deduction for a business’ net interest expenses.

The conventional wisdom, as reflected in the reform plan, is that businesses would prefer the reform package of expensing plus interest non-deductibility to current law, which generally allows accelerated depreciation and interest deductions. Sanchirico’s work challenges this assumption, as well as the related arguments that the reform package will incentivize investment and encourage more efficient investment and financing decisions. 

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

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Brunson & Herzig:  Treasury Department Should Create Blacklist Of What Constitutes Prohibited Discrimination By Religious Organizations

Samuel D. Brunson (Loyola-Chicago) & David Herzig (Valparaiso), A Diachronic Approach to Bob Jones: Religious Tax Exemptions after Obergefell, 92 Ind. L.J. ___ (2016):

In Bob Jones v. U.S., the Supreme Court held that an entity may lose its tax exemption if it violates a fundamental public policy, even where religious beliefs demand that violation. In that case, the Court held that racial discrimination violated fundamental public policy. Could the determination to exclude same-sex individuals from marriage or attending a college also be considered a violation of fundamental public policy? There is uncertainty in the answer. In the recent Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized same-sex marriage, the Court asserted that LGBT individuals are entitled to “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” Constitutional law scholars, such as Lawrence Tribe, are advocating that faith groups might lose their status, citing that this decision is the dawning of a new era of constitutional doctrine in which fundamental public policy will have a more broad application.

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February 10, 2017 in IRS News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Winners Of The 16th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge

LST 2ABA Tax Section, Winners in J.D. and LL.M. Divisions of Law Student Tax Challenge Chosen:

J.D. Division
1st Place:  Tyler Johnson & Anna Peckjian (Northwestern)
2nd Place:  Joshua Jacobson & George Gray (Florida)
3rd Place:  Nicholas Bjornson & Brian Lynn (Kansas)
Best Written Submission:  Joshua Jacobson & George Gray (Florida)

LL.M. Division

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February 10, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Yin:  Congress Already Has The Power To Obtain And Release Trump’s Tax Returns

Trump Tax ReturnsWashington Post op-ed: Congress Has the Power to Obtain and Release Trump’s Tax Returns, by George K. Yin (Virginia):

Though our new president may not realize it, Congress has the power to obtain his tax returns and reveal them to the public without his consent, including returns under audit. As just urged by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), legislators seeking information on President Trump’s possible conflicts of interest should immediately exercise this authority rather than wait for the passage of new veto-proof legislation — a highly uncertain prospect — that would have the same effect.

The ability of Congress to disclose confidential tax information was added to the law almost 100 years ago. Since the Civil War, when it began requiring taxpayers to submit private information to the government to comply with the tax laws, Congress has struggled to balance the privacy interests of taxpayers with the public’s right to know. Eventually, Congress decided that tax information should remain confidential except in two situations. First, it authorized the president to determine whether any tax information could be disclosed. And, in 1924, it gave the same power to certain congressional committees [George K. Yin, Protecting Taxpayers From Congressional Lawbreaking].

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February 10, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

North Dakota Law School Eliminates Its Only Clinic In Face Of Possible 15% Budget Cut; Faculty, Staff Offer Voluntary Pay Cuts To Stem 11% Tuition Increase

UND 3Grand Forks Herald, UND School of Law Looks at Tuition Increase, Puts Pro Bono Clinic on Hiatus:

The UND School of Law will put its student law clinic on hiatus for at least two years and is beginning to discuss tuition increases because of higher education budget cuts proposed by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

In a meeting with about 80 law students Thursday afternoon, UND School of Law Dean Kathryn Rand told students the program would need to begin making hard cuts. Those cuts will include no longer operating the law clinic, which provides pro bono legal service primarily in immigration and employment law fields. The clinic allows law students to get some of the hands-on credits they need to earn their juris doctorates.

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February 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Walker Presents The Practice And Tax Consequences Of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Today At Duke

Walker (2016)David Walker (Boston University) presents The Practice and Tax Consequences of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Although nonqualified deferred compensation plans lack explicit tax preferences afforded qualified plans, it is well understood that nonqualified deferred compensation results in a joint tax advantage when employers earn a higher after-tax return on deferred sums than employees could achieve on their own. Several commentators have proposed tax reform aimed at leveling the playing field between cash and nonqualified deferred compensation, but reform is not easily achieved. This Article examines the stakes.

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February 9, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana University Law Profs Targeted By White Supremacist Group

Indiana (2016)ABA Journal, Indiana University Law Profs Are Among Those Targeted by White Supremacist Group:

Professors at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law were among academics targeted by a white supremacist group on that campus and as many as 30 universities across the country.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 20 Moot Court Programs (2010-2016)

Best Schools for Mott Court, National Jurist (Winter 2017):

Every year, the [University of Houston Law Center's Blakely Advocacy Institute] identifies the top schools using a scoring method that assesses the quality of the competition a school participated in, the size of the competitions, and the school's performance in those competitions. The institute then invites the top 16 from the prior year to participate in what it calls "the best of the best" — the Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship. Last year, Georgetown University Law Center won the competition.

National Jurist 2

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February 9, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Names Mindy Herzfeld Professor Of Tax Practice And International Tax Program Director

FMDean Laura Rosenbury has announced that Mindy Herzfeld (right) will join the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law as a Professor of Tax Practice and Director of the LL.M. in International Tax Program:

Since 2014, Professor Herzfeld has been a Contributing Editor for Tax Analysts, authoring weekly columns on international tax policy developments and cross-border transactions in Tax Notes International. Prior to that, Professor Herzfeld worked as an international tax advisor for Deloitte Tax LLP, based in its Washington D.C. and New York offices. She began her career at Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York City and has also worked as tax counsel at Ford Motor Company. Professor Herzfeld received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. She has published over 100 articles in Tax Notes International and Tax Notes, many of which have been cited in law review articles by the leading international tax scholars, in Congressional Research Service Reports and in Treasury Department studies.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSSSE:  Law School Merit Scholarship Policies — Engines Of Inequity

LSSSE Logo

Law School Survey of Student Engagement, Law School Scholarship Policies: Engines of Inequity
Frank H. Wu (Former Dean, UC-Hastings), Foreword:

Figure 1The scholarship policies described in this Report ought to be exposed for what they are: sales gimmicks in the form of tuition discounts. Despite their name, “merit scholarships” are neither based on actual merit nor true scholarships. Law schools could reduce the price of attendance across-the-board for the benefit of students, with the same aggregate budgetary effect on institutions. But they have not done so. The reason is that consumers respond to sales; they want deals. Law students are no different; their enrollment decisions often depend on which school offers the biggest “merit scholarship.” 

As this Report highlights convincingly, these selective tuition breaks flow most generously to privileged students. These trends betray our shared ideals of ensuring access to higher education – the engine of the American Dream.

Everyone is on the side of merit. There are no advocates for mediocrity. But socalled merit scholarships are less about students’ merit than they are about our own sense of elitism. The formulas for allocating the scholarships usually blend LSAT and UGPA. Responsible decisionmakers, including those who design standardized tests, warn that these instruments are merely predictors of performance. They should not be confused with merit itself.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Number Of Americans Renouncing Their U.S. Citizenship Hit All-Time High In 2016 (Up 26% From 2015)

International Tax Blog, 2016 Fourth Quarter Published Expatriates — New Annual Record:

Today the Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency (“expatriated”) during the fourth quarter of 2016. The number of published expatriates for the quarter was 2,365, bringing the total number of published expatriates in 2016 to 5,411.  The total for the year breaks last year’s record number of 4,279 published expatriates.  The number of expatriates for 2016 is a 26% increase over 2015 and a 58% increase over 2014 (2,999).

Expats

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February 9, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

ABA's Rejection Of Stricter Bar-Pass Rule Draws Support, Criticism

ABA Logo (2016)National Law Journal, ABA's Rejection of Stricter Bar-Pass Rule Draws Support, Criticism:

The American Bar Association's rejection Monday of a stricter bar pass standard for law schools is a win for diversity in the legal profession, or it's a missed opportunity to protect vulnerable law students.

It depends on whom you ask.

The legal academy reacted swiftly to news that the ABA's House of Delegates voted down a controversial, long-debated proposal to give law schools two years to ensure at least 75 percent of recent graduates pass the bar exam, instead of the current five years. The proposal also would have eliminated a provision under which law schools can retain their accreditation as long as their bar pass rates are no lower than 15 percent of the statewide average in their particular jurisdiction.

Many law deans applauded the proposal's failure, citing a need for further study on the rule's impact at a time of falling bar pass rates. But consumer advocates said it will further enable law schools to admit unqualified students.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Alumni Demand Resignation of Charlotte Law School Dean, President

Charlotte Observer, Fed up Charlotte School of Law Alumni Target Top Leaders:

The alumni of Charlotte School of Law has become the latest group to call for a change of leadership to save the foundering uptown school.

In a letter sent Tuesday morning, the graduates have demanded that President Chidi Ogene and Dean Jay Conison immediately resign.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Liscow Presents Innovation And Climate Law Today At Toronto

Liscow (2017)Zachary Liscow (Yale) presents Innovation and Climate Law (with Quentin Karpilow (Yale)) at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

A common view in environmental law is that the government should not pick certain technologies over others. Rather, in the context of climate policy, this view suggests that the government should impose a carbon tax and let that induce innovation in private sector through the patent system. We offer a qualified defense of the government “picking winners”: directly encouraging innovation in cleantech over dirtytech and even within cleantech. Our argument is largely based on recent research in economics showing “path dependence” in the development of energy technology, suggesting that a big push in cleantech innovation can lead to a permanent reorientation of the energy sector and lead to more emissions reductions at lower cost.

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February 8, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Impact Of The Possible Repeal Of The Charitable Deduction On Law School Deans

Law Deans on Legal Education Blog: How Would Nuking the Charitable Tax Deduction Affect Higher Ed (and Law Deaning)?, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

According to Forbes (Ashlea Ebeling, This May Be The Last Year You Get A Charitable Tax Deduction), via Dean Dad, the tax deduction for charitable contributions may be history.  This could be devastating for higher education. ... 

The Forbes article suggests that charitable giving would plummet absent the deduction. What would this mean for the typical law school dean? Ten years ago, fundraising was the coin of the decanal realm. Today, fundraising is still important, but developing donors is a long-term commitment (it can take 3-5 years to establish the kind of relationship/trust that results in major gifts, and even then bequests may not "mature" for decades). Fundraising is critical to a school's long-term future; many struggling schools are surviving thanks to endowments created by decanal fundraising decades ago. However, short-term enrollment crises pose existential threats at many law schools, and immediate existential threats always trump long-term investments, so my guess is that fundraising already is getting less decanal attention than it did several years ago. Moreover, donors give to opportunities, not need, so fundraising is almost never a solution to current budget challenges.

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February 8, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

McLaughlin:  Conservation Easements And The Valuation Conundrum

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah), Conservation Easements and the Valuation Conundrum, 19 Fla. Tax Rev. 225 (2016):

For more than fifty years, taxpayers have been able to claim a federal charitable income tax deduction under Internal Revenue Code § 170(h) for the donation of a conservation easement or a façade easement. For just as long, the deduction has been subject to abuse, including valuation abuse. Dismayed by the expenditure of significant judicial and administrative resources to combat abuse in the easement donation context, the Treasury Department recently proposed reforms, including reforms to address valuation abuse. The reforms were proposed in somewhat of an analytical vacuum, however, because there has been no comprehensive analysis of the easement valuation case law. This article fills that void.

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February 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  ‘A Conservative Climate Solution’ — Republican Group Calls For Carbon Tax

New York Times, ‘A Conservative Climate Solution’: Republican Group Calls for Carbon Tax:

A group of Republican elder statesmen is calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change.

The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is “a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles. ...

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February 8, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times:  The Crisis At Charlotte Law School

Charlotte Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below): New York Times, For-Profit Law School Faces Crisis After Losing Federal Loans:

[Charlotte Law School], with hundreds of students, remains in business, even without the lifeline of federal student aid. It is counting on the Education Department under the Trump administration to reopen the loan spigot that the agency turned off last month after the American Bar Association, the law school accreditor, found that the school did not satisfy its admissions and curriculum standards. ...

Charlotte Law’s struggles and its dispute with the government highlight the questions being raised over for-profit law schools and the sky-high amounts that students are borrowing for their education. Law school debt alone, when counting interest, has risen to about $175,000 per student, said J. Jerome Hartzell, a lawyer in Raleigh, N.C., who has studied the debt issue.

“It would require an income of over $122,000 to be able to afford just the interest on a student loan of that size,” Mr. Hartzell said. “Most North Carolina lawyers don’t earn that much.”

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February 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Oxford Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

OxfordUniversity of Oxford, Associate Professorship of Taxation Law:

The University proposes to appoint an Associate Professor of Taxation Law. The MSc Taxation is a Law Faculty degree that is organised and taught jointly with the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, based in the Saïd Business School (the Tax Centre). The appointed person will teach tax law at graduate level, especially on the part-time MSc in Taxation, and also at undergraduate level, they will engage in research at the highest level and supervise graduate students in the field of Taxation Law and in such other areas of research as may be appropriate. The postholder will have excellent opportunities to engage with the interdisciplinary tax research and policy work at the Tax Centre. The person appointed will be offered a non-tutorial fellowship at Harris Manchester College.

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February 8, 2017 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

For-Profit Online University

View video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.

February 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kaye:  Tax Transparency— A Tale Of Two Countries

Tracy A. Kaye (Seton Hall), Tax Transparency: A Tale of Two Countries, 39 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1153 (2016):

On April 4, 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists announced their access to the “Panama Papers,” 11.5 million documents comprising forty years of emails, bank accounts and client records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. This latest public disclosure reveals the offshore accounts of individuals and corporations from over 200 countries and demonstrates that the movement toward global transparency is inevitable. The Panama Papers are also a powerful reminder that transparency matters greatly in the war on tax evasion.

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February 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Batchelder Presents Accounting For Behavioral Biases In Business Tax Reform Today At Georgetown

BatchelderLily Batchelder (NYU) presents Accounting for Behavioral Biases in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

One of the fundamental questions in business tax reform is whether to allow firms to immediately expense investments or require economic cost recovery. The conventional view is that expensing would generate stronger growth effects holding revenues constant. This view is rooted in traditional models of corporate finance that assume firms look at the net present value of expected tax payments when incorporating taxes into investment decisions. But this traditional view ignores the possibility that firms focus on more salient measures of taxes as well. If so, they may respond less to expensing than this theory suggests because expensing does not lower their financial accounting tax liability and, all else equal, requires a higher statutory rate.

This paper considers whether firms undervalue expensing due to a focus on these non-economic tax metrics and, if so, what this implies about business tax reform if the goal is to increase US investment. It develops a framework for what cost recovery rules are optimal, and then uses new and existing data to parameterize this framework, holding constant long-run revenues and the relative tax treatment of debt and equity. 

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February 7, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Like Obama, Gorsuch Supports Two-Year Law School, But Scalia Dissents

Gorsuch 2National Law Journal, Gorsuch Supports Two-Year Law School, but Scalia Dissents:

Judge Neil Gorsuch and President Barack Obama agree at least on one thing: A third-year of law school should be optional.

Gorsuch, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and is President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, questioned the need for three years of law school in a September 2015 paper he presented at the United Kingdom-United States Legal Exchange in London. Gorsuch noted that “President Obama, himself a Harvard-trained lawyer has promoted this concept” of an optional third year. ...

One of Gorsuch's legal heroes—the late Justice Antonin Scalia—vigorously objected to the notion of two-year law school, as did Scalia’s best friend on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. ...

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Tax Section Names 2017 Nolan Fellows

ABA Tax Section (2017)The ABA Tax Section announced the recipients of its 2017 Nolan Fellowships at its midyear meeting in Orlando:

  • Elizabeth K. Blickley (Washington, D.C.)
  • Matthew Cooper (Ernst & Young, Washington, D.C.)
  • Nikki J. Hasselbarth (Venable, Baltimore)
  • Vanessa C. Lafleur (Louisiana Department of Revenue, Baton Rouge)
  • Rafi W. Mottahedeh (Jenner & Block, Chicago)
  • Susanna W. Ratner (SeniorLAW Center, Philadelphia)

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February 7, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Crisis Of Race In Higher Education

RaceWilliam F. Tate IV (Dean, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences & Vice Provost, Graduate Education, Washington University), Nancy Staudt (Dean, Law School, Washington University) & Ashley Macrander (Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Affairs, Washington University), The Crisis of Race in Higher Education: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue (2016):

The compendium of writings in this edited volume sheds light on the event Race & Ethnicity — 2015: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue at Washington University in St. Louis and the work current students, faculty, and staff are doing to improve inclusivity on campus and in St. Louis.

Race & Ethnicity — 2015: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue:

On Feb. 5-6, 2015, the university came together to explore critical issues facing our community. Here, you can experience what transpired that day—a day that marked the beginning of a dialogue and work that must continue. We invite you to be part of this ongoing process.

Over the course of 25 hours, the subjects of race and ethnicity were explored through the lens of the five themes summarized below. Watch the videos, be inspired and continue the conversation.

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February 7, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Theft Loss Deductions, Restitution, And Public Policy

Steven Friedell (Rutgers), Confidence Schemes: Theft Loss Deductions, Restitution, and Public Policy, 90 St. John's L. Rev. 25 (2016):

May courts legitimately impose their public policy views to override statutory commands? This article focuses on some of these problems in the field of federal income tax. Part I of the article focuses on theft losses suffered by confidence-scheme victims who thought they would profit from counterfeiting or other illegal activity. Courts usually disallow these deductions so as to discourage illegal activity. This article criticizes this rationale and offers a better one. It suggests that a tax deduction would be contrary to state policy in those situations where states in effect penalize victims by denying them restitution from the thieves. Part II discusses the cases that have denied deductions for fines and civil penalties and explores how these apply to the denial of restitution.

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February 7, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA 'Overwhelmingly' Rejects 75% Bar Passage Requirement

ABA Logo (2016)Following up on yesterday's post, ABA To Vote Today On 75% Bar Passage Requirement:  ABA Journal, ABA House Rejects Proposal to Tighten Bar Pass Standards for Law Schools:

The ABA House of Delegates on Tuesday voted against a proposal to tighten bar passage rate standards for accredited law schools. ...

A storm of criticism has surrounded Standard 316’s proposed revision, which would have required that to meet accreditation standards, 75 percent of a law schools’ graduates must pass a bar exam within a two-year period. ...

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Katherine Magbanua's Murder Trial In Killing Of Dan Markel Is Delayed As Two Inmates Say Alleged Hit Man Sigfredo Garcia Implicated Charlie And Donna Adelson

MagnaubaTallahassee Democrat, Informants' Interviews Force Markel Trial Delay:

Interviews with inmates who spent time with Sigfredo Garcia in the Leon County Jail may corroborate what one of his co-defendants and investigators have said all along about the death of Dan Markel — that Garcia was allegedly recruited by the law professor’s in-laws in a murder for hire plot.

The interviews, with two inmates at the Leon County Jail, reveal that while housed in L Pod, 34-year-old Garcia opened up about the Markel investigation and how he ended up driving to Tallahassee from Miami to allegedly shoot the Florida State legal scholar. ...

Police have asserted that Markel’s former in-laws, chiefly his ex-wife Wendi Adelson’s brother and mother, Charlie and Donna Adelson, were involved in planning and paying to have the legal scholar killed. ... The Adelsons remain suspects in the murder-for-hire plot, said Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman. They have denied any involvement and have not been charged. ...

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

How To Count Citations (If You Must)

EinsteinMotty Perry (Warwick) & Philip J. Rent (Chicago), How To Count Citations If You Must:

Citation indices are regularly used to inform critical decisions about promotion, tenure, and the allocation of billions of research dollars. Nevertheless, most indices (e.g., the h-index) are motivated by intuition and rules of thumb, resulting in undesirable conclusions. In contrast, five natural properties lead us to a unique new index, the Euclidean index, that avoids several shortcomings of the h-index and its successors. The Euclidean index is simply the Euclidean length of an individual’s citation list.

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charlotte Law Students Skewer Administration; Terminated Faculty Lawyer Up

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pratt Presents The IRS's Startling Attempt To Deny Medical Expense Deduction For Cost Of Male-To-Female Transition Today At Pepperdine

Pratt (2016)Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) presents The Tax Definition of “Medical Care:” A Critique of the Startling IRS Arguments in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, 23 Mich. J. Gender & L. 313 (2016), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

This Article critiques the startling arguments made by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, a case in which the issue was whether a person diagnosed with gender identity disorder (“GID”) could take a federal tax deduction for the costs of male-to-female medical transition, including hormone treatment, genital surgery, and breast augmentation.

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February 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Auerbach Presents U.S. Inequality, Fiscal Progressivity, And Work Disincentives Today At NYU

AuerbachAlan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley) presents U.S. Inequality, Fiscal Progressivity, and Work Disincentives: An Intra-generational Accounting (with Laurence Kotlikoff (Boston University) & Darryl Koehler) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

This study combines the 2013 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances data and the Fiscal Analyzer, a highly detailed life-cycle consumption-smoothing program, to a) measure ultimate economic inequality – inequality in lifetime spending power – within cohorts, b) assess fiscal progressivity within cohorts, c) calculate marginal remaining lifetime net tax rates, taking into account all major federal and state tax and transfer policies, d) evaluate the ability of current income to correctly classify households as rich, middle class, and poor, e) determine whether current-year average net tax rates accurately capture actual fiscal progressivity, and f) determine whether current-year marginal tax rates on labor supply accurately capture actual remaining lifetime marginal net tax rates.

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February 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Olson Presents Tax Policy In The New Administration Today At Minnesota

Olson (2017)Pam Olson (PricewaterhouseCoopers) presents Tax Policy in the New Administration at the University of Minnesota Law School Corporate Institute Forum on Taxation and Regulation today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series:

The start of a new presidential administration is always an interesting time for reflecting on tax policy. What are the new administration’s tax policy goals? Where does tax policy fall on the new administration’s list of priorities? What tax legislation might Congress consider?

The Honorable Pam Olson is the U.S. Deputy Tax Leader and Washington National Tax Services Practice Leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, heading a team that includes many former senior government officials and policy advisors. Before joining PwC, she retired from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where she was the leader of the Washington office tax practice.

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February 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Former Dean: ABA Should Deploy SWAT Teams To Rescue Students At Failing Law Schools

ABASWATTaxProf Blog op-ed:  Would Receivership Be Appropriate for a Failing and Malfeasant Law School?, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

As has been much-described elsewhere, the Department of Education has, for a variety of reasons (mostly related to admitting unqualified students and low bar pass rates), cut the ability of Charlotte Law students to qualify for federal student loans. This leaves students in academic purgatory, wondering whether the school will remain open long enough for them to receive their degrees. Many — undoubtedly the most qualified — already have transferred, but given Charlotte’s recent admissions practices, a large percentage of the student population likely lacks any such option. Meanwhile, administrators at Charlotte Law have announced that the school intends to remain open (meaning existing student debt remains extant) but also have submitted a teach-out plan that, as David Frakt points out, is crazy-nuts inadequate (my language, not David’s). Charlotte’s plan to provide “quality assurance” to its students will be run and operated by Florida Coastal – a sister-school in the Sterling Partners for-profit family — a school with numbers almost as dismal as Charlotte’s.

This is grossly unfair to Charlotte students, who likely will be left deeply in debt, with no degree or opportunity to sit for a bar, and several years of their lives wasted. (Indiana Tech students are in much the same boat, and this is not likely the last time we will see this scenario playing out.) Plenty of hand-wringing is occurring in the blogosphere and local press, but notwithstanding ABA sanctions and the DOE slow-bleed of cutting loan access, there doesn’t seem to be an option for direct intervention to stop what seems to me the fairly obvious malfeasance of Charlotte’s administrators and private owners.

Perhaps now’s the time to put some teeth into the Sanctions section of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools by providing for the appointment of an ABA SWAT team that could come in on short notice and either right a sinking ship or create a viable and fair exit plan.

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February 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABA To Vote Today On 75% Bar Passage Requirement

ABA Logo (2016)Press Release, At Miami Meeting, ABA to Consider Law School Bar Passage Proposal, Myriad of Other Issues:

The American Bar Association House of Delegates, which determines association-wide policy, will consider a proposal to simplify and strengthen the bar passage standard for ABA-accredited law schools at the association’s Midyear Meeting in Miami.

The 589-member House will meet at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6 in the James L. Knight Center (3rd Floor) of the Hyatt Regency Miami. The session will conclude the 2017 Midyear Meeting, which begins Feb. 1.

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February 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Graetz:  Business Tax Reforms In The House GOP Blueprint

Michael J. Graetz  (Columbia), The Known Unknowns of the Business Tax Reforms Proposed in the House Republican Blueprint:

This set of slides raises important issues and questions concerning the potential effects of a border-adjusted destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT) as proposed in the 2016 House Blueprint “A Better Way.” This will form the basis for an article forthcoming in the Columbia Tax Journal. Citations have been omitted here.

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February 6, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sanchirico:  Business Investment In The House GOP Tax Reform Blueprint

Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania), Business Investment in the Tax Reform Blueprint:

November’s election thrust to the fore the tax reform Blueprint released last June by House GOP leaders. One of the plan’s key features, which has received surprisingly little attention, is its treatment of business investment. Outlays for plant, equipment and other business assets would be immediately deductible, rather than depreciated over time, while interest costs would be deductible only to the extent of interest income. This plan to replace net interest deductions with expensing of capital outlays is likely to hurt most businesses — some significantly — and so is likely to face a growing chorus of objections in coming months as this becomes clear to business leaders.

Moreover, claims made about this part of the Blueprint’s positive impact on the economy — that it will reduce distortion and encourage investment — are subject to significant caveats and are, in some cases, contradicted by the conceptual understructure of the plan itself.

February 6, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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