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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

U.S. Companies Added $206 Billion to Offshore Profit Stockpiles to Avoid Tax in 2013 -- 18% by Apple, IBM and Microsoft

Bloomberg:  Cash Abroad Rises $206 Billion as Apple to IBM Avoid Tax, by Richard Rubin:

Apple IBM MicrosoftThe largest U.S.-based companies added $206 billion to their stockpiles of offshore profits last year, parking earnings in low-tax countries until Congress gives them a reason not to.

The multinational companies have accumulated $1.95 trillion outside the U.S., up 11.8 percent from a year earlier, according to securities filings from 307 corporations reviewed by Bloomberg News. Three U.S.-based companies -- Microsoft, Apple and IBM -- added $37.5 billion, or 18.2 percent of the total increase.

“The loopholes in our tax code right now give such a big reward to companies that use gimmicks to make it look like they earn their profits offshore,” said Dan Smith, a tax and budget advocate at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which seeks to counteract corporate influence.

Even as governments around the world cut tax rates and try to keep corporations from shifting profits to tax havens, the U.S. Congress remains paralyzed in its efforts. The response of U.S.-based companies over the past few years has been consistent: book profits offshore and leave them there. ...

The bulk of the offshore profits are held by a relatively small number of companies. The top 22 corporations in the analysis have more accumulated earnings outside the U.S. than the other 285 combined.

(Hat Tip: Bruce Bartlett.)

March 12, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

John Yoo on the U.S. News Rankings: Peer Reputation Is the Only Thing That Matters

Following up on yesterday's post, 2015 U.S. News Peer Reputation Rankings (v. Overall Rankings):  John Yoo (UC-Berkeley), Do Law School Rankings Matter?:

U.S. News 2015The US News and World Report rankings of graduate schools are out today. One part of me feels like Steve Martin in The Jerk, running out of his house proudly yelling that the phone books are out and his name is finally in it. (I also laughed hard at the advice that Martin's father gave him upon leaving home but that is another story).

Another part of me realizes that the rankings are to be taken seriously — because everyone else takes them seriously: law students choosing where to attend, law firm partners making hiring decisions, law school administrators, faculty, and especially alumni.

The problem with US News is that it factors in lots of odd things in calculating its rankings. For example, in the past they've weighed things like how big the library is, even though most law students only use the library as a study hall because most materials are online now. It has also used money as a proxy for greatness, though, as we have seen from K-12, money spent per pupil and educational performance do not correlate. The rankings also look at bar passage rates, employment outcomes (on which schools have "cheated" by hiring their own students for a year), average LSAT and GPAs, etc.

For all those law students who will spend the next few weeks considering where to go, one of the biggest factors will probably be academic reputation. After all, those obscure considerations above don't matter — and aren't even generally known — to most people on the bench or in a practice. If you were to choose a law school based on anything other than academic reputation (which is a function of the quality of the faculty and the success of the alumni) you are making a big mistake. ... [T]his and this alone should guide the prospective student in deciding where to go and steer the judge or partner on where to hire.

March 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

President Obama's Interview With Zach Galifianakis

New 2015 U.S. News Tax Rankings

U.S. News 2015Here are the new 2015 U.S. News Tax Rankings, along with last year's rankings:

2015

Rank

 Tax

Program

2014

Rank

1

NYU

1

2

Florida

3

3

Georgetown

2

4

Northwestern

4

5

Boston University

7

5

Columbia

13

5

Miami

5

8

Harvard

12

8

San Diego

14

10

U. Washington

10

11

Virginia

7

12

UCLA

10

12

USC

5

14

Loyola-L.A.

7

15

Michigan

14

n/r

Boston College

16

n/r

UC-Hastings

17

n/r

Houston

18

The biggest movers are:

  • +8:  Columbia (#5)
  • +6   San Diego (#8)
  • +4:  Harvard (#8)
  • -7:   USC (#12), Loyola-L.A. (#14)
  • -4:   Virginia (#11)  

Boston College (#16), UC-Hastings (#17), and Houston (#18) were ranked last year and are unranked this year.

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

2015

Rank

Grad Tax

Program

2014

Rank

1

NYU

1

2

Florida

3

3

Georgetown

2

4

Northwestern

4

5

Miami

5

5

Boston University

6

7

San Diego

9

8

U. Washington

8

9

Loyola-L.A.

7

n/r

Houston

10

Houston (#10) was ranked last year and is unranked this year.

The U.S. News tax survey instrument states that it is intended "to identify the law schools having the top programs in tax law." The survey is sent "to a sample of law school faculty listed in the AALS Directory of Law Teachers 2012-2013 as currently teaching a course or seminar in tax law." Recipients are asked "to [i]dentify up to fifteen (15) schools that have the highest-quality tax law courses or programs. In making your choices consider all elements that contribute to a program's excellence, for example, the depth and breadth of the program, faculty research and publication record, etc."

As Donald Tobin (Ohio State) has noted, it is more than strange that NYU has finished ahead of Florida and Georgetown each year that U.S. News has conducted the survey.  Because the survey ranks the schools by how often they appear on the respondents' "Top 15" lists, this means that some folks list NYU, but not Florida and Georgetown, among the Top 15 tax programs.

For more on tax rankings, see our article, Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?, which compiles information about 13 highly ranked tax LLM programs: (1) NYU; (2) Florida; (3) Georgetown; (4) Northwestern; (5) Miami; (6) Boston University; (7) San Diego; (8) Loyola-L.A./LMU; (9) SMU; (10) Denver; (11) University of Washington; (12) Villanova; and (13) Chapman. The topics on which information is reported in the Article include: (1) tuition; (2) scholarships; (3) the full-time tax professors who teach in each program and the tax courses they teach; (4) the number of full-time and part-time students enrolled in each program; (5) general information about adjunct professors teaching in each program; (6) required courses; (7) elective courses, specialty certificates, and concentrations; (8) opportunities to develop tax practice skills by taking experiential learning courses and simulated practice courses; (9) extracurricular tax activities; (10) opportunities to graduate with honors or receive academic prizes; and (11) career planning and placement services offered to students in each program. The article also ranks the tax faculty at these thirteen law schools by citations (the Top 5 are NYU (1), Florida (2), Georgetown (3), Miami (4), and Northwestern (5)) and SSRN downloads (the Top 5 are Loyola-L.A. (1), NYU (2), Chapman (3), Florida (4), and San Diego (5)).

Other resources available on TaxProf Blog include:

March 12, 2014 in About This Blog, Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Jennifer Bird-Pollan to be Fulbright Visiting Professor in Vienna

FulbrightUniversity of Kentucky Professors Receive Fulbrights:

Congratulations are in order for a University of Kentucky husband and wife team – Philosophy Professor Stefan Bird-Pollan and College of Law Professor Jennifer Bird-Pollan. They are first-time recipients of Fulbright Visiting Professorships, given by the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Stefan will be the Fulbright Visiting Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Vienna during the Fall 2014 semester. While there, he will be teaching Contemporary Ethical Theory and working on his book manuscript interpreting Kantian ethics.

Jennifer will be joining the family in Austria in December for her Spring 2015 semester award. ... Jennifer will be the Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Vienna University of Business and Economics (the Wirtschafts Universität, or the “WU”) and will teach a course on U.S. Tax Law. Jennifer’s appointment will allow her to participate in the Institute for International Tax Law and Policy, which is housed in the University.

March 12, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Managing Income Tax Compliance through Self-Assessment

IMFAndrew Okello (IMF), Managing Income Tax Compliance through Self-Assessment:

Modern tax administrations seek to optimize tax collections while minimizing administration costs and taxpayer compliance costs. Experience shows that voluntary compliance is best achieved through a system of self-assessment. Many tax administrations have introduced self-assessment principles in the income tax law but the legal authority is not being consistently applied. They continue to rely heavily on “desk” auditing a majority of tax returns, while risk management practices remain largely underdeveloped and/or underutilized. There is also plenty of opportunity in many countries to enhance the design and delivery of client-focused taxpayer service programs, and better engage with the private sector and other stakeholders.

(Hat Tip: Bruce Bartlett.)

March 12, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Miller & Chevalier Releases Tax Policy Forecast Survey: 0% Expect Tax Reform in 2014

M&C CoverMiller & Chevalier (Washington, D.C.) and the National Foreign Trade Council yesterday released their 2014 Tax Policy Forecast Survey measuring the current perspectives and attitudes of leading corporate tax executives on the direction of tax policy in the coming year:

  • U.S. businesses are uneasy about global competitiveness. Topping the list of tax concerns respondents would like address are the enactment of revenue offsets absent a competitive tax system or competitive tax rates (24 percent), the statutory tax rate (18 percent) and taxation of international operations (18 percent) top the list of tax concerns they would like the government to address. Respondents say changing the worldwide tax system (32 percent) and reducing the statutory tax rate (35 percent) could be game changers in the global marketplace.
  • Divisions in Congress coupled with the Administration's weak support are preventing tax reform. Obama Administration priorities (40 percent) and the split in Congressional control (30 percent) were cited by respondents as the factors that will have the most negative impact on reform in 2014.
  • Respondents believe House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Camp is the most influential tax policymaker, followed by President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and new Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden. Chairman Camp’s release of the Tax Reform Act of 2014 after the survey date only solidifies his role as the top tax policymaker.
  • Not even one respondent predicted tax reform will be enacted in 2014.  

Document-2

March 12, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 307

IRS Logo 2Providence Journal:  Can Congress Compel IRS Chief to Testify?, by Robert Romano (Citizens for Limited Government):

A lot has happened since former Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations head Lois Lerner refused to testify in May 2013 about the agency’s targeting of the Tea Party and other 501(c)4 organizations, asserting her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

For starters, it turns out the scandal goes much higher than was originally stated.

Holly Paz, managing director at the D.C.-based IRS technical office, has testified that, in February 2010, “a case was identified where there was potential for political campaign activity, and that was when they reached out to Washington and the case was transferred to Washington.”

Paz said she then forwarded it to agency tax specialist and lawyer Carter Hull, who developed many of the invasive follow-up questions that attempted to probe just how political groups intended to be.

Michael Seto, the head of Hull’s unit, said it was Lerner who ordered that the Tea Party applications be subjected to special scrutiny.

In addition, Hull said that when he met with Lerner’s senior adviser, he was told that his recommendations on the Tea Party applications would be first reviewed by the IRS general counsel William Wilkins, only one of two political appointments in the agency besides the commissioner.

Hull’s supervisor Ronald Shoemaker told investigators that the counsel’s office wanted information about the applicants’ political activities leading up to the 2010 election.

So, what began as a scandal with supposedly “low-level” employees in Cincinnati actually goes all the way to Washington, with the then-head of Exempt Organizations and the agency’s general counsel not only aware of the targeting but coordinating its decision-making process.

And yet, the targeting might not have been criminal after all, or so says the Department of Justice, which according to The Wall Street Journal is not planning on filing charges.

Giving the benefit of the doubt — that there is nothing in the U.S. Code that prohibits the sort of targeting that took place, even though one of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon was “to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner” — then why did Lois Lerner even bother pleading the Fifth back in May and again this week?

If there was no criminal activity, in principle, then Lerner cannot incriminate herself. Lerner said it herself before the House Oversight Committee: “I have not broken any laws.” ...

Lerner is running out of excuses. So maybe she just needs to come clean, fess up and be done with it. Or be found in contempt of Congress and face even more consequences.

Continue reading

March 12, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sikes Presents Cross-Country Evidence on Capital Gains Taxes, Risk, and Expected Rates of Return Today at NYU

SikesStephanie Sikes (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School) presents Cross-Country Evidence on the Relation between Capital Gains Taxes, Risk, and Expected Rates of Return (with Luzi Hail (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School) & Clare Wang (Northwestern University, Kellogg School)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Auerbach:

This study empirically examines the prediction in Sikes and Verrecchia (2012) that the relation between capital gains tax rates and expected rates of return varies in the cross-section and over time with firm risk and market risk. Specifically, we test whether the general positive relation between expected returns and the capital gains tax rate becomes weaker or even reverses when (i) a firm’s systematic risk is high, (ii) the aggregate market risk premium is high, or (iii) the risk-free rate is low. Using an international panel from 25 countries over the 1990 to 2004 period, we find evidence supporting these predictions. The results are particularly pronounced in countries with substantive changes in tax rates, a tradition of low tax evasion, less integrated capital markets, and less institutional ownership as well as around substantive changes in the three risk proxies. We corroborate our findings in a single country setting, using the 1978, 1997, and 2003 changes to the capital gains tax rate in the United States as events. Our results underscore the importance of macroeconomic and firm-specific factors in the determination of the effect of capital gains taxes on expected returns and show that the valuation effects can sometimes be in the opposite direction of what is generally expected.

March 11, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Baradaran: Teaching While Woman

MehrsaMehrsa Baradaran (Georgia), Teaching While Woman:

I was fairly naïve my first few semesters teaching and thought that I would just be myself in the classroom and I would earn the class’s respect (or "R-S-P-E-C-T"). I’m naturally averse to hierarchy and formality and wanted to run a democratic classroom. I didn’t want to impose draconian rules or shame my students into submission—I worked hard to know the materials and offer it in a way that they would learn it—without having to force them to pay attention by forbidding laptops or cold-calling. The result: my first few semesters were disasters. It turns out that they didn’t automatically see me as an authority and a few loud talkers began to dominate my “democratic” classroom. There was also rampant disrespect and eye rolling. I called on a student once who wouldn’t take the lollipop out of his mouth to answer my questions, which he did in a very dismissive way. (I should mention that my 1L classes were predominantly male at BYU).

Continue reading

March 11, 2014 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Brooks Reviews Global Economic Governance and the Politics of International Tax Cooperation

CoverKimberley Brooks (Dean, Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law), After the Financial Crisis (reviewing Richard Eccleston (University of Tasmania), The Dynamics of Global Economic Governance: The Financial Crisis, the OECD and the Politics of International Tax Cooperation (2012)):

[The book] is a welcome addition to the literature on the regulatory responses to international tax evasion, authored in the light of the global financial crisis.  Richard Eccleston, a political scientist in Tasmania, shifts the typical legal scholar’s lens from the legal frameworks that facilitate tax evasion to a careful and insightful exploration or the role of political actors in facilitating tax cooperation in response to that evasion.  The work is supported by interviews with more than 40 national tax officials, business and NGO representatives, OECD and UN staff.

Global Economic Governance is written for tax junkies.  It is shot through with detail, carefully crafted, and densely written.  For those with a mild interest in the area, the chapter to spend time on is the first one, and most specifically the section that details the strategies used in international tax evasion: private banking, mass-marketed tax schemes, opaque corporate structures, shell entities, trusts, rules that obscure real ownership, methods of disguising real corporate ownership, and exempt entities.  This reads like the stuff of a good (or perhaps average) Tom Cruise movie: nevertheless, it is daily fare for those who seek to avoid tax liability around the world.

March 11, 2014 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is the Internal Revenue Code So Complicated That It Is Unconstitutionally Vague?

David E. Vance (Rutgers-Camden), Is the Federal Income Tax Code Unconstitutionally Vague?, 5 Mustang J. L. & Legal Stud. 47 (2013):

Taxes are the price of living in a civilized society and no one disputes the right of the federal government to tax income. However, the federal tax code may have become so complicated that it is unconstitutionally vague. A law is unconstitutionally vague when a person of ordinary intelligence cannot determine what is required of him or her. There is a presumption that laws are constitutional and that presumption can only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. However, there is a broad and deep body of clear and convincing evidence that the tax code is so complex that it is unconstitutionally vague. The contribution of this article is to create a record of tax code complexity that can be used as the basis for judicial action.

March 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

2015 U.S. News Peer Reputation Rankings (v. Overall Rankings)

U.S. News 2015Continuing a TaxProf Blog tradition (see links below for 2009-2014), here is the full list of the 194 law schools ranked by academic peer reputation, as well as their overall rank, in the new 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings (methodology here):

Peer Rank

Peer Score

School

Overall Rank

1

4.8

Yale

1

1

4.8

Harvard

2

3

4.7

Stanford

3

4

4.6

Columbia

4

4

4.6

Chicago

4

6

4.4

NYU

6

6

4.4

UC-Berkeley

9

6

4.4

Michigan

10

9

4.3

Pennsylvania

7

9

4.3

Virginia

8

11

4.2

Duke

10

12

4.1

Northwestern

12

12

4.1

Cornell

13

12

4.1

Georgetown

13

15

4.0

Texas

15

16

3.9

UCLA

16

17

3.8

Vanderbilt

16

18

3.6

Washington (St. Louis)

18

19

3.5

Minnesota

20

19

3.5

USC

20

19

3.5

North Carolina

31

22

3.4

Emory

19

22

3.4

George Washington

20

22

3.4

Notre Dame

26

22

3.4

UC-Davis

36

26

3.3

Boston University

27

26

3.3

Wisconsin

31

28

3.2

William & Mary

24

28

3.2

Iowa

27

28

3.2

Indiana (Bloomington)

29

28

3.2

Ohio State

31

28

3.2

Boston College

36

28

3.2

Fordham

36

28

3.2

Washington & Lee

43

35

3.1

Alabama

23

35

3.1

Washington (Seattle)

24

35

3.1

Georgia

29

35

3.1

Wake Forest

31

35

3.1

Arizona

40

35

3.1

Illinois

40

35

3.1

Florida

49

35

3.1

UC-Hastings

54

43

3.0

Arizona State

31

43

3.0

Colorado

43

43

3.0

Tulane

46

46

2.9

BYU

36

46

2.9

Florida State

45

46

2.9

Maryland

46

49

2.8

Utah

49

49

2.8

Connecticut

54

49

2.8

Cardozo

64

49

2.8

American

72

53

2.7

George Mason

46

53

2.7

Temple

61

53

2.7

Miami

61

53

2.7

San Diego

79

53

2.7

Oregon

100

58

2.6

SMU

42

58

2.6

Pepperdine

54

58

2.6

Houston

58

58

2.6

Case Western

64

58

2.6

Denver

68

58

2.6

Kansas

68

58

2.6

Tennessee

72

58

2.6

Pittsburgh

81

58

2.6

Loyola (Los Angeles)

87

67

2.5

Richmond

51

67

2.5

Nebraska

54

67

2.5

Kentucky

58

67

2.5

Oklahoma

58

67

2.5

Georgia State

64

67

2.5

Missouri (Columbia)

64

67

2.5

Loyola (Chicago)

68

67

2.5

Chicago-Kent

72

67

2.5

Brooklyn

83

76

2.4

Baylor

51

76

2.4

Penn State

51

76

2.4

Lewis & Clark

72

76

2.4

New Mexico

72

76

2.4

Cincinnati

79

76

2.4

Rutgers (Camden)

81

76

2.4

Rutgers (Newark)

83

76

2.4

Indiana (Indianapolis)

87

76

2.4

Marquette

93

76

2.4

Hawaii

100

76

2.4

Santa Clara

107

87

2.3

Arkansas (Fayetteville)

61

87

2.3

Seton Hall

68

87

2.3

UNLV

83

87

2.3

Michigan State

87

87

2.3

Seattle

87

87

2.3

Northeastern

93

87

2.3

South Carolina

93

87

2.3

Villanova

93

87

2.3

SUNY (Buffalo)

100

87

2.3

Catholic

107

87

2.3

Syracuse

107

87

2.3

DePaul

121

99

2.2

LSU

72

99

2.2

Louisville

87

99

2.2

Mississippi

104

99

2.2

Missouri (Kansas City)

104

99

2.2

Gonzaga

107

99

2.2

St. John's

107

99

2.2

Arkansas (Little Rock)

121

99

2.2

Maine

129

99

2.2

Hofstra

135

99

2.2

Howard

135

109

2.1

West Virginia

83

109

2.1

Wayne State

87

109

2.1

Stetson

93

109

2.1

St. Louis

93

109

2.1

Vermont

129

109

2.1

Loyola (New Orleans)

Tier 2

109

2.1

San Francisco

Tier 2

116

2.0

Tulsa

72

116

2.0

Mercer

104

116

2.0

Texas Tech

107

116

2.0

CUNY

113

116

2.0

Albany

118

116

2.0

Idaho

118

116

2.0

Montana

121

116

2.0

Willamette

121

116

2.0

Drexel

129

116

2.0

Wyoming

129

116

2.0

Baltimore

135

116

2.0

Suffolk

Tier 2

128

1.9

New Hampshire

93

128

1.9

Drake

113

128

1.9

Cleveland State

115

128

1.9

Creighton

115

128

1.9

Washburn

115

128

1.9

Quinnipiac

118

128

1.9

North Dakota

129

128

1.9

New York Law School

140

128

1.9

Pace

140

128

1.9

McGeorge

147

128

1.9

Southwestern

Tier 2

139

1.8

Duquesne

121

139

1.8

Hamline

121

139

1.8

Akron

121

139

1.8

St. Thomas (Minneapolis)

129

139

1.8

Samford

135

139

1.8

William Mitchell

135

139

1.8

Chapman

140

139

1.8

Memphis

140

139

1.8

Toledo

140

139

1.8

South Dakota

145

139

1.8

Southern Illinois

Tier 2

139

1.8

Dayton

Tier 2

139

1.8

Widener

Tier 2

152

1.7

Florida International

100

152

1.7

South Texas

146

152

1.7

John Marshall (Chicago)

Tier 2

152

1.7

Roger Williams

Tier 2

152

1.7

Texas A&M

Tier 2

152

1.7

Valparaiso

Tier 2

158

1.6

California Western

Tier 2

158

1.6

Elon

Tier 2

158

1.6

Golden Gate

Tier 2

158

1.6

Mississippi College

Tier 2

158

1.6

Northern Illinois

Tier 2

158

1.6

Northern Kentucky

Tier 2

158

1.6

Nova Southeastern

Tier 2

158

1.6

Oklahoma City

Tier 2

158

1.6

St. Mary's

Tier 2

158

1.6

Touro

Tier 2

168

1.5

Campbell

121

168

1.5

Capital

Tier 2

168

1.5

New England

Tier 2

168

1.5

North Carolina Central

Tier 2

168

1.5

Ohio Northern

Tier 2

173

1.4

John Marshall (Atlanta)

Tier 2

173

1.4

Southern Illinois

Tier 2

173

1.4

St. Thomas (Miami)

Tier 2

173

1.4

Texas Southern

Tier 2

173

1.4

Detroit

Tier 2

173

1.4

District of Columbia

Tier 2

173

1.4

Western New England

Tier 2

173

1.4

Whittier

Tier 2

181

1.3

Appalachian

Tier 2

181

1.3

Charleston

Tier 2

181

1.3

Faulkner

Tier 2

181

1.3

Florida A&M

Tier 2

181

1.3

Thomas Jefferson

Tier 2

186

1.2

Arizona Summit

Tier 2

186

1.2

Barry

Tier 2

186

1.2

Charlotte

Tier 2

186

1.2

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

186

1.2

Liberty

Tier 2

186

1.2

Regent

Tier 2

186

1.2

Thomas M. Cooley

Tier 2

186

1.2

Western State

Tier 2

194

1.1

Ave Maria

Tier 2

Prior years' rankings:

Press and blogosphere coverage:

Update:   Brian Leiter (Chicago):    "Schools clearly underranked in this year's academic survey include Southern California, Illinois, Florida State, and San Diego (2.7).  In the case of Illinois, they are clearly still suffering from the scandal about student credentials."

March 11, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

House Releases Report on Lois Lerner's Role in the IRS Scandal

Lerner-ReportThe House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform this morning released a 141-page staff report, Lois Lerner's Involement in the IRS Targeting of Tax-Exempt Organizations:

  • Tea Party “itching for a Constitutional challenge:” Lerner and her colleagues, after being under public pressure from President Obama and other Democrats, engaged in an e-mail exchange about how they could showcase their scrutiny of a Tea Party applicant for public disclosure, despite rules protecting the secrecy of unapproved applications.  The conversation turned to the possibility of a court case – if a Tea Party applicant would challenge the IRS ruling.  On this, Ms. Lerner opined, Tea Party groups would litigate because they are “itching for a Constitutional challenge.” – p. 41
  • Lerner discusses political scrutiny that isn’t “per se political:” In one e-mail exchange that began with a discussion of an article noting, “organizations woven by the fabulously rich and hugely influential Koch brothers,” Lerner told colleagues, “we do need a c4 project next year.”  While she initially says, “my object is not to look for political activity,” later in the exchange she acknowledges that it will examine political activity. “We need to be cautious so it isn’t a per se political project.  More a c4 project that will look at levels of lobbying and pol. Activity along with exempt activity.” – p. 17
  • Lerner broke IRS rules by mishandling taxpayer information:  While Lerner told Congress under oath, “I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations,” e-mails show Lerner handled protected 6103 taxpayer information in her nonofficial e-mail account. In a November 2013 letter from Daniel Werfel, Werfel notes, “We do not permit IRS officials to send taxpayer information to their personal email addresses. An IRS employee should not send taxpayer information to his or her personal email address in any form, including redacted.” – p. 33
  • Lerner planned to retire in October all along: While House Democrats have pushed that Lerner was forced out by the IRS as a result of the TIGTA report; new e-mails indicate that Lerner had planned an October retirement long before TIGTA released its report.  Her paid leave amounted to a paid vacation preceding her retirement – it does not appear that the IRS penalized her in any way for her conduct. – p.  40-41
  • Despite knowing about improper scrutiny, Lerner had IRS blame victims: An IRS document bearing Lerner’s signature shows that in March 2012, despite knowing about improper scrutiny at that time, Lerner reviewed and signed off on a response to Congress that blamed applicants for heightened scrutiny.  “[T]he IRS contacts the organization and solicits additional information when the organization does not provide sufficient information in response to the questions on the Form 1024 or if issues are raised by the application …. The revenue agent uses sound reasoning based on tax law training and his or her experience to review the application and identify the additional information needed to make a proper determination of the organization’s exempt status.” – p. 36
  • Concern Citizens United hurting Democrats:  Lerner believed the Executive Branch needed to take steps to undermine the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  A senior advisor to Lerner e-mailed her an article about allegations that unknown conservative donors were influencing U.S. Senate races.  The article explained how outside money was making it increasingly difficult for Democrats to remain in the majority in the Senate.  Lerner replied:  “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.” – p. 21
  • Citizens United created pressure for IRS to “fix the problem”:  According to Lerner: “The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns.  And everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it.  The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem.” – p. 20
  • “Multi-Tier Review”:  Lerner personally directed that Tea Party cases go through a “multi-tier review.” An IRS employee testified that Lerner “sent [him an] e-mail saying that when these cases need to go through multi-tier review and they will eventually have to go to [Judy Kindell, Lerner’s senior technical advisor] and the Chief Counsel’s office.”  A D.C. IRS employee said this level of scrutiny had no precedent. – p. 24-25
  • Head of the IRS Cincinnati office’s testimony refutes Lois Lerner and President Obama’s O’Reilly interview assertion that this was all about a “local office”: “[Y]es, there were mistakes made by folks in Cincinnati as well [as] D.C. but the D.C. office is the one who delayed the processing of the cases.” – p. 44

Press and blogosphere coverage:

March 11, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Ordower: A Grand Unified Global Income Tax

Florida Tax ReviewHenry Ordower (Saint Louis), Utopian Visions Toward a Grand Unified Global Income Tax,14 Fla. Tax Rev. 361 (2013):

Over the past several decades, many countries that historically relied on progressive taxes on income, wealth, and decedents’ estates for much governmental revenue have shifted to less progressive and regressive taxes on labor and consumption. Reasons for the shift are many but include international tax competition as world economies have become increasing global. This paper assumes that progressive taxes remain the best and fairest choice for providing governmental revenue, so that a fundamental change in the scope of the progressive income tax is essential to protect progressivity.

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March 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah: Reflections on the Tax Reform Act of 2014

Tax ReformReuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), The Devil in the Details: Reflections on the Tax Reform Act of 2014:

The Discussion Draft of the “Tax Reform Act of 2014” (TRA14) released by US House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) on February 26, 2014 represents a major effort for fundamental and far reaching reform of US tax law. Unfortunately, while many parts of the proposal seem quite sensible as an effort to bring back the “spirit of 1986”, the international tax reform proposals are deeply flawed and based on obsolete assumptions on the world facing US multinationals in 2014.

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March 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Students Sue Their Law Schools for Deceptive Employment Reporting Practices

Ogechi Achuko (J.D. 2013, Virginia), Note, The Blame Game: Law Students Sue Their Law Schools for Deceptive Employment Reporting Practices, 20 Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L. 517 (2013):

Since the Great Recession, the legal job market has markedly declined leaving many recent law school graduates without employment and frustrated. In response, a number of graduates are blaming their law schools for providing misleading employment statistics that they claim to have detrimentally relied upon in their decision to attend law school. This Note focuses on the recent wave of class action lawsuits against several American law schools for their alleged use of deceptive employment reporting practices based on legal theories such as fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and state consumer protection law violations. This Note analyzes the viability of these legal claims and the various defenses raised by the law school defendants. In conclusion, the Note discusses how these class action lawsuits along with pressure from the media and the government have increased law school transparency and accountability.

March 11, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 306

SilenceSan Francisco Chronicle:  The Silence of the Tax Lamb, by Debra Saunders:

Former IRS official Lois Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right on Wednesday not to incriminate herself when she testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.

Oddly, the news media and Democratic leaders don't think it's a big deal when a federal official - Lerner was the head of the IRS tax-exempt unit when she first invoked the Fifth last May - won't answer questions about her actions as a federal official. ...

Just what was Lerner doing on the taxpayer dime that she doesn't want to share?

Lerner's silence is especially unsettling given that her attorney, William Taylor III, told reporters that Lerner had given a full interview to the Department of Justice with no grant of immunity. Lerner's lawyers, he said, have confidence that prosecutors, unlike Issa, are open-minded. ...

"It does strike me as a little odd," Rutgers law Professor George Thomas III told the Wall Street Journal. "One explanation is the one given by her lawyer. The other, darker explanation is that she and her lawyer think that DOJ is not interested in a serious investigation of the IRS treatment of these tax-exempt groups."

Could it be that Lerner's lawyers do not fear the often-terrifying Justice Department precisely because President Obama already signaled there is no cause for concern because the IRS story is a "phony scandal"?

Similarly, the president signaled his disdain for conservative nonprofits during the 2010 and 2012 election seasons. Lo and behold, the IRS started to put conservative tax-exempt organizations on the slow track and under a microscope.

Last year, Lerner admitted that after the IRS saw an uptick in applications for social-welfare organizations in 2010, staff began screening for groups that used words like "Tea Party" or "Patriots." She even apologized. "That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive and inappropriate - that's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said.

She also claimed that IRS staffers did not target Tea Party patriot types "because of any political bias. They did it because they were working together. This was a streamlined way for them to refer to the cases."

That is, it was convenient.

I do not believe that claim. I don't know many liberals who actually believe it either. I do believe that if the Bush administration IRS targeted social-welfare groups that used terms like "antiwar" and "torture," the left would want to investigate. They'd want to know if the IRS policy came from the White House. And they wouldn't give a pass to officials who took the Fifth.

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March 11, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kahn & Polsky: The End of Cash and the Income Tax

Jeffrey H. Kahn (Florida State) & Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina), The End of Cash, the Income Tax, and the Next 100 Years, 41 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 159 (2013):

The income tax is technologically very similar to the way it was in its early years, and technological developments have been at the margins of the income tax and have not affected its core elements. Still, technological improvements have made third-party reporting and withholding more efficient, which has allowed these mechanisms to become more pervasively used. Technology has also made it easier for taxpayers to substantiate their activities. These changes have facilitated the evolution of the income tax from its original class tax to the mass tax it is today.

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March 10, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NLJ: Dilemma for Law Schools: Lower Standards or Enrollment?

National Law Journal: Consider the Legal Educator's Dilemma: Lower Standards, or Live With Enrollment Decline?, by Karen Sloan:

The number of students heading into law schools in 2013 tumbled for the third straight year, according to data released by the ABA. New student enrollment at all ABA-accredited law schools fell by 8 percent, meaning the number of 1Ls has declined by more than 24 percent since 2010.

But not all law schools have felt the same amount of pain. The ABA has released school-specific enrollment figures showing that 13 law schools saw 1L enrollment drop by 30 percent or more in the span of 12 months, while an additional 27 recorded declines of 20 to 30 percent. In all, 132 of the 199 ABA-accredited law schools saw declines in their 1L classes, while eight schools saw no change in new enrollment. Slightly more than a quarter of schools—62—actually posted 1L enrollment gains.

Shrinking applicant pools have forced many law schools into a difficult choice: maintain their admissions standards and bring in a smaller 1L class, or relax standards to boost the number of incoming students. Some law schools have even had to cope both with smaller classes and lower Law School Admission Test scores and undergraduate grade-point averages, University of St. Thomas School of law professor Jerome Organ noted in a post on The Legal Whiteboard blog.

In the chart below, we highlight the 20 law schools that saw the largest percentage decline in their 1L class in 2013, and the 20 law schools that saw the biggest percentage increase. We’ve also indicated any change in each school’s median LSAT score, which sheds some light on how they balanced class size and admissions standards.

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March 10, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lavoie: Is a Wealth Tax Now Possible in America?

Richard Lavoie (Akron), Dreaming the Impossible Dream: Is a Wealth Tax Now Possible in America?:

It is often thought that a direct tax on individual wealth is a political non-starter in the United States. Not only is such a tax arguably unconstitutional, but as a psychological matter it goes against the American psyche. That is, each of us hold out hope that someday we might become rich too, so we will not support any tax perceived as a “soak the rich” ploy. But has wealth inequality in the United States now reached the breaking point? Might recent public attention to the issue of economic inequality indicate that it might be possible to make a wealth tax a reality? This article will examine the utility and political viability of adopting a wealth tax in the United States.

March 10, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Call for Student Papers: Tax Notes, State Tax Notes, and Tax Notes International

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Call For Entries: Tax Analysts’ Inaugural Student Paper Competition:

Tax Analysts’ Tax Notes, State Tax Notes, and Tax Notes International magazines are now accepting submissions for the inaugural student paper competition. Winning contestants will have their papers published in a well-established and reputable magazine.

Students must be enrolled in a law, economics, or tax postgraduate program. Papers should be between five and 25 pages long and focus on an unsettled question of tax law or tax policy. Submissions will be judged on argument, content, grammar, and overall quality and should include a cover letter providing information about the author and a short abstract about the paper.

Each magazine will choose at least one, but no more than five, high-quality papers for publication. Papers must not have been published elsewhere.

Submissions should be sent to studentpapers@tax.org by May 31 and will be published in the summer of 2014.

March 10, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dodge: The Fair Income Tax

Joseph M. Dodge (Florida State), The Fair Income Tax:

This article argues that the classic “accretion” Haig-Simons formulation of personal income, namely, an individual’s consumption plus net increases in wealth for the taxable year, not only was not actually advocated by Simons himself, but also is (in part) contrary to fundamental political values and raises unnecessary practical problems. Contrary to what is commonly supposed, consumption is best seen not an independent category of income, but only a deduction-disallowance principle. Likewise, the “accretion” notion of “changes in wealth” - requiring the annual valuation of asset values - is (mostly) impractical, psychologically unacceptable, and contrary to political values. The realization principle -- embraced by Simons -- is not only convenient but considered to be fundamentally fair.

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March 10, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student Selectivity (Median LSAT/GPA) Changes for the 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings

US NewsIn advance of tomorrow's release of the new 2015 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings:  Brian Huddleson has added to my ranking of the 202 ABA-accredited law schools by student selectivity of the entering Fall 2013 class weighted by LSAT scores (12.5%) and undergraduate GPAs (10%) using the U.S. News methodology a ranking of the entering Fall 2012 class. (Brian's data excludes provisionally accredited schools and law schools in Puerto Rico.) Here are the biggest improvements and declines in student selectivity of the Top 100 schools for the forthcoming 2015 rankings.

Update:  I have deleted the chart because the methodology of my student selectivity ranking for the Fall 2013 class is not consistent with Brian's ranking for the Fall 2012 class.  I will post an updated chart as soon as I can.

March 10, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Tax Implications of Spring Break

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Billy Hamilton, Where the Bucks Are: The Fiscal Realities of Spring Break, 71 State Tax Notes 587 (Mar. 10, 2014):

Hamilton describes the annual pilgrimage college students make to sunnier climes during spring break. Hamilton says there’s more to the ritual than sun and beer, and that it’s both a boon and a bane for those cities frequented by students. He outlines the costs and tax implications for the local governments of spring break destinations.

Fort

March 10, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ: College Financial Aid Planning for Affluent Families

Wall Street Journal:  College Aid for the Affluent: How Parents With Above-Average Income Can Try to Lower a Tuition Bill:

Most affluent families with college-age children don't qualify for financial aid. But there are several moves that parents with above-average income can make before applying for aid that could result in a lower tuition bill.

Nearly half of all undergraduates received grants based on financial need in 2011-12, the most recent year for which U.S. Education Department survey data are available, according to an analysis by Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president with Las Vegas-based Edvisors.com, which tracks financial aid. The average recipient received $4,787 in grants, up 20% from four years earlier.

WSJ Chart

But only 14% of students whose families have $100,000 or more in adjusted gross income received need-based grants for that year, according to the analysis. The rest either didn't apply or didn't qualify. ...

Many families can increase the amount of financial aid they qualify for by lowering their income in the calendar year before they submit the aid application, and by shifting assets into certain types of accounts before they file.

The key is understanding how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form works. The Fafsa is used to determine the amount of federal and state aid a family will receive, and most colleges use it to calculate how much additional need-based aid they provide. ...

Here are several steps families can take to boost their chances of getting assistance:

  • Move a student's funds into protected accounts.
  • Postpone making cash gifts.
  • Make the most of tax benefits.
  • Avoid home-equity loans.

March 10, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 305

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Michael Helfand: Pepperdine Scholar and Teacher of the Year

HelfandKudos to my friend and colleague Michael Helfand, whose selection as Scholar of the Year (along with Trey Childress) and Teacher of the Year (along with Kris Knaplund and Steve Schultz) was announced last night at Pepperdine's 41st Annual Law School Dinner.  Since joining the Pepperdine faculty in 2010, Michael has published a number of important articles, including:

He is also the editor of the forthcoming book, Negotiating State and Non-State Law: The Challenges of Global and Local Legal Pluralism (Cambridge University Press).

Michael embodies what I love most about Pepperdine, a university with a strong Christian mission and rigorous academic and scholarly standards that is welcoming of faculty of all faiths.   

March 9, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Advice for Parents and Their Daughters

Interesting juxtaposition in the Weekend Wall Street Journal book review section:

BossyThe Saturday Essay:  Don't Call Us Bossy:

Confident girls are often called the other B-word, and it can keep them from reaching their full potential, write Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez.

Although the two of us come from different backgrounds, we both heard the same put-down. Call it the other B-word. Whether it is said directly or implied, girls get the message: Don't be bossy. Don't raise your hand too much. Keep your voice down. Don't lead.

Even our most successful and celebrated female leaders cannot rise above these insults. A foreign-policy adviser once described former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as "the bossy intrusive Englishwoman." Susan Rice, the U.S. national security adviser, was described as having a "bossy demeanor" by a fellow diplomat, while Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has been described as "difficult" and "nasty" by lawyers.

The phrase "too ambitious" is leveled at female leaders from Madeleine Albright to Hillary Clinton and perpetuates our most damning stereotypes. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has a pillow in her California home that declares: "I'm not bossy. I just have better ideas."...

Despite earning the majority of college degrees, women make up just 19% of the U.S. Congress, 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 10% of heads of state. Most leadership positions are held by men, so society continues to expect leadership to look and act male and to react negatively when women lead.

The irony, of course, is that so-called bossy women make great leaders. And we need great leaders. Our economic growth depends upon having women fully engaged in the workforce. Our companies perform better with more women in management. And our homes are happier when men and women share responsibilities more equally.

It's time to end the gendered speech that discourages girls from an early age. So the next time you hear a girl called "bossy," do what CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell advised: Smile, take a deep breath and say, "That girl's not bossy. She has executive leadership skills."

Marry SmartCharlotte Allen, Battle Hymm of a Tiger Mother (reviewing Susan Patton, Marry Smart: Advice for Finding THE ONE (2014)):

If mating today is a game of winner-take-all, should women treat college as a time for husband hunting?

Susan Patton is the infamous "Princeton Mom." A graduate of Princeton (class of '77), with two Princeton sons, Ms. Patton wrote a letter last year to the campus newspaper advising female Tigers: "Find a husband on campus before you graduate." Her point was that never again would these high-achieving and highly ambitious young women have access to so large a pool of single young men who were their intellectual equals. After college, as these educated young women entered the workplace, they would discover that the most desirable men are usually already married. As the letter went viral online, feminists jumped all over Ms. Patton, accusing her of perpetuating archaic gender roles, meddling in her sons' romantic lives and chewing on sour grapes because her own marriage, to a non-Princeton man long after graduation, had ended in divorce after 25 years.

The current expectation for most women attending college, especially a top-ranked college, is to spend their 20s building their careers, experimenting with relationships, and not even thinking about wanting a husband and children until they reach age 30 or so. In "Marry Smart," essentially a book-length expansion of her Daily Princetonian letter, Ms. Patton forthrightly explains why this trajectory is all wrong. "Let's face it: By the time you are thirty years old, your marriage prospects will have diminished dramatically from what they were when you were twenty," she writes. "And when you're thirty and still hope to have children, a distinct panic will start to set in." 

For one thing, there is the matter of looks. "You'll never be more attractive than you are as a very young woman," Ms. Patton writes. This is true. If you want to see beautiful people, visit any college campus. Even the plain girls and the slovenly girls in their sweatpants and rubber shower sandals radiate vitality. They all may still look fine a decade later, but if mating is a game of winner-take-all—and Ms. Patton is quite sure it is—the question is whether men in their own age cohort will prefer their now-older selves to the younger competition.

Since men, even young college men, distinguish between the women they want to have casual sex with and the women they want to marry and have children with, Ms. Patton devotes much of her book to telling readers how to fall into the second category. Avoid the campus hookup scene—it's a waste of precious time. Don't binge-drink—you will do stupid things. Realistically assess your looks and act accordingly: If you are only a "six," that handsome "ten" knows he can do better than you and is probably out of your league. Lose excess weight. Act like a lady. Don't swear like a fishwife. Learn to cook. Don't be a whiny, moody, spoiled, entitled princess ("hothouse tomato" is Ms. Patton's term). Cultivate a generous spirit and a readiness to forgive. Don't chase after "bad boys," especially if they display traits such as drug abuse and physical violence. Don't be a gold-digger ("earn your own fortune").

For some young women, "Marry Smart" will be like a trip to the carwash, where the dust of antagonistic feminist doctrine about sex and marriage gets blasted off the windshield so they can see clearly. Ms. Patton's advice mirrors sociologist Peter Berger's observation that "the lightning shaft of Cupid seems to be guided rather strongly within very definite channels of class, income, education, racial and religious background." Although Ms. Patton's tone can seem snobbish and Ivy-centric, what she has to say is meant to apply equally to young women whose best educational prospects turn out to be a state school, a community college or perhaps no college at all: Start looking for a lifelong mate seriously and early on; don't waste time with jerks, criminals and, unless you are exceptionally beautiful, men outside your social class; and cultivate the moral qualities that will make you attractive to a man of moral quality.

March 9, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThis this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads on SSRN is the same as last week's list:

  1. [367 Downloads]  The Economics of Tax Law, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  2. [297 Downloads]  Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation, by Edward A. Morse (Creighton)
  3. [286 Downloads]  What Do We Know About Base Erosion and Profit Shifting? A Review of the Empirical Literature, by Dhammika Dharmapala (Illinos)
  4. [261 Downloads]  ,2012 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law by Jeffrey A. Cooper (Quinnipiac) & John R. Ivimey (Reid & Riege, Hartford))
  5. [234 Downloads]  Understanding Income Tax Deferral, by Daniel I. Halperin (Harvard) & Alvin C. Warren (Harvard)

March 9, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 304

IRS Logo 2Washington Post op-ed:  The IRS’s Behavior Taxes Credulity, by George F. Will:

What’s been said of confession — that it is good for one’s soul but bad for one’s reputation — can also be true of testifying to Congress, so Lois Lerner has chosen to stay silent. Hers, however, is an eloquent silence.

The most intrusive and potentially most punitive federal agency has been politicized; the IRS has become an appendage of Barack Obama’s party. Furthermore, congruent with exhortations from some congressional Democrats, it is intensifying its efforts to suffocate groups critical of progressives, by delaying what once was the swift, routine granting of tax-exempt status.

So, the IRS, far from repenting of its abusive behavior, is trying to codify the abuses. It hopes to nullify with new rules the existing legal right of 501(c)(4) groups, many of which are conservative, to participate in politics. The proposed rules have drawn more than 140,000 comments, most of them complaints, some from liberals wary of IRS attempts to broadly define “candidate-related political activity” and to narrow the permissible amount of this.

Lerner is, so far, the face of this use of government to punish political adversaries. She knows what her IRS unit did and how it intersects with the law, and for a second time she has exercised her constitutional right to remain silent rather than risk self-incrimination. The public has a right to make reasonable inferences from her behavior.

And from Obama’s. After calling the IRS behavior “outrageous,” he now says there is not a “smidgen” of evidence of anything to be outraged about. He knows this even though the supposed investigation of the IRS behavior has not been completed, or perhaps even begun. The person he chose to investigate his administration is an administration employee and a generous donor to his campaigns.

Obama breezily says there was nothing more sinister than “boneheaded decisions” by wayward and anonymous IRS underlings. Certainly boneheadedness explains much about this administration. Still, does he consider it interesting that the consequences of IRS boneheadedness were not randomly distributed but thwarted conservatives? ...

There almost certainly are people, above her and beyond the IRS, who initiated or approved the IRS’s punitive targeting of conservative groups and who hope Lerner’s history of aggressive partisanship will cause investigators to conclude that she is as high as responsibility for the targeting rises. Those people should hire criminal defense attorneys.

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March 9, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

McMahon, Shepard & Simmons: 2013 Federal Income Tax Developments

Florida Tax ReviewMartin J. McMahon, Jr. (Florida), Ira B. Shepard (Houston) & Daniel L. Simmons (UC-Davis), Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation: The Year 2013, 15 Fla. Tax Rev. 233 (2014) (212 pages):

This recent developments outline discusses, and provides context to understand the significance of, the most important judicial decisions and administrative rulings and regulations promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department during 2013 – and sometimes a little farther back in time if we find the item particularly humorous or outrageous. Most Treasury Regulations, however, are so complex that they cannot be discussed in detail and, anyway, only a devout masochist would read them all the way through; just the basic topic and fundamental principles are highlighted – unless one of us decides to go nuts and spend several pages writing one up. This is the reason that the outline is getting to be as long as it is. Amendments to the Internal Revenue Code generally are not discussed except to the extent that (1) they are of major significance, (2) they have led to administrative rulings and regulations, (3) they have affected previously issued rulings and regulations otherwise covered by the outline, or (4) they provide Dan and Marty the opportunity to mock our elected representatives; again, sometimes at least one of us goes nuts and writes up the most trivial of legislative changes. The outline focuses primarily on topics of broad general interest (to us, at least) – income tax accounting rules, determination of gross income, allowable deductions, treatment of capital gains and losses, corporate and partnership taxation, exempt organizations, and procedure and penalties. It deals summarily with qualified pension and profit sharing plans, and generally does not deal with international taxation or specialized industries, such as banking, insurance, and financial services.

March 8, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

World University Rankings by Reputation (For Research and Teaching)

World Reputation RankingsLondon-based Times Higher Education has released its 2014 World University Rankings based exclusively on reputation for research (66.7%) and teaching (33.3%) from surveys of 10,536 academics from 133 countries (methodology) (Top 100).  The Top 25 are (click on the links for each school's research and teaching ranking):

  1. Harvard (U.S.)  100.0
  2. MIT (U.S.)  90.4
  3. Stanford (U.S.)  74.9
  4. Cambridge (U.K.)  73.3
  5. Oxford (U.K.)  67.8
  6. UC-Berkeley (U.S.)  63.1
  7. Princeton (U.S.)  35.7
  8. Yale (U.S.)  30.9
  9. Cal-Tech (U.S.)  29.2
  10. UCLA (U.S.)  28.8
  11. Tokyo (Japan)  27.7
  12. Columbia (U.S.)  21.6
  13. Imperial College of London (U.K.)  20.9
  14. Chicago (U.S.)  20.8
  15. Michigan (U.S.)  18.9
  16. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)  17.4
  17. Cornell (U.S.)  16.9
  18. Johns Hopkins (U.S.)  16.8
  19. Kyoto (Japan)  15.1
  20. Toronto (Canada)  14.9
  21. National University of Singapore (Singapore)  13.5
  22. Pennsylvania (U.S.)  12.8
  23. Illinois (U.S.)  12.7
  24. London School of Economics (U.K.)  11.8
  25. University College London (U.K.)  11.5

8 of the Top 10, 17 of the Top 25, and 29 of the Top 50 are U.S. universities.

March 8, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

World Tax Journal Publishes New Issue

WTJThe World Tax Journal has published Vol. 6, No. 1 (2014):

  • Pasquale Pistone, Coordinating the Action of Regional and Global Players during the Shift from Bilateralism to Multilateralism in International Tax Law:  "The editor introduces this issue of the World Tax Journal with a contribution that welcomes the BEPS project as a significant step in the transition from bilateralism to multilateralism in international taxation. The broad-based consensus and participation in setting the BEPS standards make such project an enhanced form of multilateralism if compared with that which allowed the Global Forum on Fiscal Transparency to implement the standards developed by a more limited number of countries. The contribution of the editor also addresses how global multilateralism relates with regional multilateralism in some areas of the world, such as the European Union, calling for a stronger cooperation among the institutional players within a coordinated framework for the exercise of taxing powers in cross-border situations that could give rise to global international tax law."
  • Yariv Brauner, BEPS: An Interim Evaluation:  "The article evaluates the OECD BEPS Action Plan and recent progress in light of the key insights of the BEPS: (i) progress can be achieved solely through cooperation, and the existing competition based, unilateral action dominated paradigm is destined to fail; (ii) a comprehensive, holistic approach rather than ad hoc fix-ups is needed for a chance of success; and (iii) some innovations differing from the tradition that is the base for the current regime may be required in order to tackle the evolving new challenges that the regime faces. The article points to the promising aspects of the plan and to the areas where progress seem wanting. It further provides observations on certain steps that the OECD can and should take to increase the chances of success of the BEPS project."
  • Chloe Burnett, Intra-Group Debt at the Crossroads: Stand-Alone versus Worldwide Approach:  "Cross-border intra-group debt represents a significant proportion of total global monetary flows. Responding to tax base erosion from related party interest deductions, countries have introduced domestic rules against “interest stripping” but the heterogeneity of these rules leads to double taxation and double non-taxation. The OECD’s 2013 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan endorsed by the G20 identifies debt deductions as “Action Item 4”, for reform by the end of 2015. This article surveys the existing approaches, from “stand-alone” to “worldwide ratio” rules. The author concludes that the worldwide approach is preferable, and recommends that more countries adopt such a rule, limiting the local leverage ratio to the third-party leverage ratio of the worldwide group. Such a rule is principled, given the fungibility and other unique features of finance, can draw upon existing rules in three countries and achieves the BEPS project aim of eliminating a large capacity for profit shifting."
  • Marcel G.H. Schaper, A Computational Legal Analysis of Acte Clair Rules of EU Law in the Field of Direct Taxes:  "What rules of EU law in the field of direct taxes are clear and can be applied at the national level without additional interpretative guidance of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)? This article applies computational methods, and network science in particular, to analyse which rules of EU law in the field of direct taxes may be considered “clear”. The aim of this article is to find units of information which have replicated through repeated application in the CJEU’s rulings and are thus dominant in this functional field of EU law. All 185 rulings handed down by the CJEU in the field of direct taxes in the period between 1983 and 2012 are analysed. The product of this research is reported in the Annex in which the most important settled and well-established rules of EU law in the field of direct taxes are organized in a legally relevant manner."

March 8, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 303

IRS Logo 2Tax Analysts Blog:  More Arrogance and Secrecy From the IRS, by Christopher Bergin:

A couple of days ago, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee tried to hold a hearing on the IRS exemption scandal. I say try because it turned into a circus. Most of the press focused on the unprofessional and immature behavior of the committee’s top two members: Chair Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif., and ranking minority member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md. The most significant part was largely ignored. ...

Lois Lerner, who is at the center of the controversy and the one who started all this by announcing at a meeting of the ABA Section of Taxation last May that the IRS had mistreated some conservative organizations, refused once again to testify. Somehow this thing has to come to a head.

I am not an IRS basher or hater. As I have said countless times, taking the heat for it every time (and that’s fair game, by the way), I know many fine people who have worked or work for that agency. But we are in litigation with the IRS in an attempt to get information on how it trained people to handle applications from groups seeking to be recognized as social welfare organizations. That litigation has been an incredibly frustrating process.

I don’t know if these apparent political decisions were made by Lerner or others either inside or outside the IRS, because trying to get information out of that agency is like trying to get sweat out of a rock. Over the years, it has fought the silliest things. I’m only half kidding when I say that if you asked the IRS to see the kind of staplers it’s using, it would tell you it doesn’t have staplers.

The IRS will go to great lengths not to be scrutinized. And that breeds an atmosphere of no accountability -- which leads to arrogance. We have seen that arrogance consistently throughout the congressional investigations of several IRS officials. And where will it lead us? Not to a good place, especially for those of us getting ready to file our yearly income tax returns. A tax collector that treats its “customers” as guilty until proven innocent is a tax collector out of control. That is precisely what the national taxpayer advocate has been warning about. If IRS officials don’t believe they are accountable to Congress, the rest of us don’t stand a chance. ...

Maybe it’s time to lay siege to Fortress Secrecy.

Continue reading

March 8, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Today's Law Grads Will Enjoy the 'Most Robust Legal Market That Has Ever Existed in This Country'

René Reich-Graefe (Western New England), Keep Calm and Carry On, 27 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 55 (2014):

This Essay examines some of the hard data available for today’s legal market and develops very basic forecasts and hypotheses about what the future will bring for the U.S. legal profession during the next decades. In conclusion, it projects that recent law school graduates and current and future law students are standing at the threshold of the most robust legal market that ever existed in this country — a legal market which will grow, exist for, and coincide with, their entire professional careers. Using admittedly back-of-the-envelope math based on current trends affecting the legal market (in particular, lawyer retirements, population growth, and additional demand for legal services driven by increased volume and complexity), the Essay estimates over 840,000 new employment opportunities for lawyers between 2010 and 2030 alone. In other words, the Essay projects that, statistically, the legal profession market is moving into the direction of close-to-guaranteed legal employment for all law school graduates over the course of the next two decades.

[T]he remaining pages of this essay are ... intended merely as a brief exercise in some eclectic apologetics of the present state of legal education for those of us who refuse to become card-carrying members of the contemporary ‘Hysterias-R-Us’ legal lemming movement. Thus, as a mere starting premise, the following six projections examine some of the hard data available about today’s legal market and provide some very basic forecasts and hypotheses about what the future will bring for the legal profession during the next decades—without the hype or any need to sell advertisement space.

  1. Over half of currently practicing lawyers in this country will retire over the next fifteen to twenty years).
  2. Over the next ten years, the current annual retirement rate of lawyers will double; over the next fifteen years, it will triple.
  3. The U.S. population will increase by over one hundred million people, i.e., by one third, until 2060, thus, increasing total demand for legal services accordingly.
  4. The two largest generational wealth transfers in the history of mankind— dubbed the ‘Great Transfer’ and the even ‘Greater Transfer’—will occur in the United States over the course of the next thirty to forty years, thus, increasing total demand for legal services even further.
  5. Everything in the law, by definition, will continue to change, increase in volume, and become more complicated and complex—a trend further accelerated by the developments discussed in 3. and 4. above.
  6. As a result of Projections 1 through 5 above, recent law school graduates and current and future law students are standing at the threshold of the most robust legal market that ever existed in this country—a legal market which will grow, exist for, and coincide with, their entire professional career. ...

Law is about both substance and perception; it has both imperative and expressive functions. At least for our own sake—if not society’s sake as a whole—we, as lawyers and legal educators, should be more measured in what we believe and express is; what we believe and express should be; and what we believe and express will be. And, in doing so, be as rational and thorough, as empirical and scientific, and as practical and equitable about it as we can be—which is what we owe society, what we owe our law students (former, current and future), and what we owe ourselves as a profession and as professionals. Hindsight may show that our current collective deflationary treatment of legal education and its value—at least, for purposes of income generation (as opposed to its holistic value for both individual and society)—is only a footnote, and an interesting incident of mass hysteria, in the early history of the twenty-first century. The above-mentioned article in the Washington Post speculated, in its opening paragraph, that a “perhaps permanent—sharp constriction in the job market for new lawyers” has occurred. In the end, nothing could be further from the truth.

(Hat Tip: Brian Leiter.)

March 7, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

NYU's Tax Exceptionalism

NYU Logo (2013)Daniel N. Shaviro (NYU), Only at NYU Law School:

Perhaps I can be forgiven for a spasm of institutional chauvinism. There is no place like NYU Law School, in the U.S. or indeed around the world, for studying tax law and policy. A case in point today came from an event [a paper presentation by Alfons Weichenrieder (Goethe University, Department of Economics] that was organized pretty much on the fly, yet drew a strong audience response. ...

OK, onto the NYU Law School chauvinism. One point is simply that we had an event like this, and have many such in the course of a typical semester. But another point is that, despite a late start on our part in promoting the event (basically because everyone is every busy), we got more than 20 people to show up (and then engage in lively discussion), on short notice, on a Thursday night from 6 to 7 pm, with no food available (other than a Cadbury chocolate bar that Alfons whimsically brought), on a rather specialized topic, for an empirical paper by an economist who is not from the U.S. and thus is not known to most people here, and on a night when many or even most of the tax students who might have come were unavailable because they were going to Washington for a job fair. The audience included NYU students, NYU faculty, and tax people from outside the institution who are regularly participating members of our broader community.

I tend to doubt that all this could have happened at any other U.S. law school.  

NYU has been ranked #1 in tax every year by U.S. News & World Report.

March 7, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Tax Roundup

March 7, 2014 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

March 7, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Student Selectivity (Median LSAT/GPA) for the 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings

US NewsIn advance of Tuesday's release of the new 2015 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings:  below is a ranking of the 202 ABA-accredited law schools by student selectivity weighted by LSAT scores (12.5%) and undergraduate GPAs (10%) using the U.S. News methodology:

1

YALE

2

HARVARD

3

CHICAGO

4

STANFORD

5

PENNSYLVANIA

6

VIRGINIA

7

DUKE

8

UCLA

9

COLUMBIA

10

NYU

11

NORTHWESTERN

12

UC-BERKELEY

13

GEORGETOWN

14

VANDERBILT

15

MICHIGAN

16

ALABAMA

17

MINNESOTA

18

EMORY

19

USC

20

CORNELL

21

GEORGE WASHINGTON

22

WASHINGTON - ST. LOUIS

23

WILLIAM & MARY

24

TEXAS

25

INDIANA - BLOOMINGTON

26

BOSTON UNIVERSITY

27

WASHINGTON - SEATTLE

28

BOSTON COLLEGE

29

GEORGIA

30

BYU

31

NOTRE DAME

32

SMU

33

COLORADO

34

UC-IRVINE

35

WAKE FOREST

36

IOWA

37

WASHINGTON & LEE

38

UC-DAVIS

39

OHIO STATE

40

WISCONSIN

41

ARIZONA STATE

42

FORDHAM

43

PEPPERDINE

44

GEORGE MASON

45

ARIZONA

46

NORTHEASTERN

47

ILLINOIS

48

FLORIDA

49

BAYLOR

50

NORTH CAROLINA

51

RICHMOND

52

PENN STATE

53

MARYLAND

54

UC-HASTINGS

55

FLORIDA STATE

56

UTAH

57

SAN DIEGO

58

CARDOZO

59

CINCINNATI

60

VILLANOVA

61

LOYOLA – LOS ANGELES

62

HOUSTON

63

TENNESSEE

64

NEBRASKA

65

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL

66

MICHIGAN STATE

67

TEMPLE

68

LEWIS & CLARK

69

CONNECTICUT

70

TULANE

71

NEVADA - LAS VEGAS

72

KENTUCKY

73

SETON HALL

74

BROOKLYN

75

CHICAGO-KENT

76

DENVER

77

OKLAHOMA

78

PITTSBURGH

79

CASE WESTERN

80

GEORGIA STATE

81

MISSOURI - COLUMBIA

82

LOYOLA - CHICAGO

83

WAYNE STATE

84

OREGON

85

AMERICAN

86

NEW HAMPSHIRE

87

MISSISSIPPI

88

TEXAS TECH

89

MIAMI

90

LSU

91

ARKANSAS - FAYETTEVILLE

92

KANSAS

93

TULSA

94

SUNY - BUFFALO

95

BELMONT

96

SAINT LOUIS

97

RUTGERS – CAMDEN

98

RUTGERS – NEWARK

99

ST. JOHN'S

100

CHAPMAN

101

INDIANA - INDIANAPOLIS

102

HAWAII

103

SEATTLE

104

NEW MEXICO

105

ST. THOMAS - MINNESOTA

106

WEST VIRGINIA

107

MAINE

108

DREXEL

109

CITY UNIV. OF NEW YORK

110

STETSON

111

LOUISVILLE

112

SANTA CLARA

113

SYRACUSE

114

QUINNIPIAC

115

DUQUESNE

116

MARQUETTE

117

SOUTH CAROLINA

118

WILLIAM MITCHELL

119

ALBANY

120

MONTANA

121

REGENT

122

DEPAUL

123

MERCER

124

AKRON

125

GONZAGA

126

HAMLINE

127

WASHBURN

128

MCGEORGE

129

TOLEDO

130

SAN FRANCISCO

131

CLEVELAND STATE

132

CATHOLIC

133

WYOMING

134

HOFSTRA

135

DRAKE

136

MEMPHIS

137

PUERTO RICO

138

CAMPBELL

139

MISSOURI - KANSAS CITY

140

IDAHO

141

BALTIMORE

142

CREIGHTON

143

NORTHERN KENTUCKY

144

ARKANSAS - LITTLE ROCK

145

SOUTHWESTERN

146

LIBERTY

147

VERMONT

148

PACE

149

MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE

150

TEXAS A&M

151

SAMFORD

152

NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL

153

SUFFOLK

154

LOYOLA - NEW ORLEANS

155

SOUTH TEXAS

156

OHIO NORTHERN

157

CALIFORNIA WESTERN

158

DETROIT

159

HOWARD

160

WIDENER - DELAWARE

161

NORTH DAKOTA

162

WESTERN NEW ENGLAND

163

WILLAMETTE

164

ROGER WILLIAMS

165

OKLAHOMA CITY

166

CHARLESTON

167

PONTIFICAL CATHOLIC

168

GOLDEN GATE

169

NORTHERN ILLINOIS

170

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

171

WESTERN STATE

172

ST. MARY'S

173

AVE MARIA

174

JOHN MARSHALL - CHICAGO

175

ELON

176

CAPITAL

177

NOVA SOUTHEASTERN

178

SOUTH DAKOTA

179

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

180

NEW ENGLAND

181

DAYTON

182

NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL

183

WIDENER - HARRISBURG

184

FAULKNER

185

JOHN MARSHALL - ATLANTA

186

APPALACHIAN

187

WHITTIER

188

MASSACHUSETTS

189

INTER AMERICAN UNIV.

190

TOURO

191

ST. THOMAS - FLORIDA

192

FLORIDA A&M

193

TEXAS SOUTHERN

194

BARRY

195

LA VERNE

196

THOMAS M. COOLEY

197

THOMAS JEFFERSON

198

FLORIDA COASTAL

199

CHARLOTTE

200

VALPARAISO

201

ARIZONA SUMMIT

202

SOUTHERN

March 7, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tax Expatriation Blog

Tax ExpatWelcome to the tax blogosphere:  Tax Expatriation, by Patrick Martin (Procopio, San Diego), which focuses on "matters of U.S. citizenship renunciation and relinquishment, and lawful permanent resident abandonment."

March 7, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death of Sarah Tran

TanSarah McQuillen-Tran (SMU) died last Friday at the age of 34:

Sarah Elizabeth McQuillen-Tran passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends on Friday, February 28th at the age of 34. She had a strong spirit and heroically fought a relapse of leukemia over the past year.  Sarah received bone marrow transplants from her brother Paul and her sister Kathy.  She received excellent medical care from both Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore and Baylor Medical Center in Dallas.  Sarah and her family received tremendous support and encouragement from her family, friends and the local community, especially her Fondren Family, (friends and faculty) at Southern Methodist University.  Sarah's family would like to thank Armstrong elementary school, Highland Park Presbyterian Church, and Highland Park United Methodist Church for their wonderful support, as well as the ministers of Baylor and the Music Fairy.

Sarah was born in Leidschedam, Holland in 1979. She went to school in England and Saudi Arabia, and attended high school in the USA and Philippines.  After graduating from high school,  she spent a year volunteering in the Philippines, India and Nepal before going to college at UC Berkeley. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Civil Engineering, Sarah and her college sweetheart Thuan Tran joined the Peace Corps and served in Guinea, West Africa. They were married in Oakland, California in 2004.

FarrahSophia, their first great love, was born in Oakland, California in 2005. Sarah and Thuan then moved to Washington, D.C, where Sarah attended Georgetown Law School and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She later Clerked for the Honorable Judge Timothy Belcher Dyk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and worked for the Energy Group at Jones Day law firm.

Sarah won her first battle with Leukemia at Johns Hopkins Cancer Research Center in Baltimore, MD.   She received a bone marrow transplant from her brother Paul in 2008, which enabled her to live a happy and healthy life for four and a half more years, and give birth to their second great love, Jimi Owen Tran in 2010.

Since January 2011, Professor Tran served as an Assistant Professor of Law at the Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas. She specialized in Intellectual Property, Regulatory and Environmental Law. A nationally recognized legal scholar, Professor Tran published articles in many of the leading U.S. law journals. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Professor Tran served as a Fellow in the SMU Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. Professor Tran was equally dedicated to her teaching.  She taught Property Law and other courses to over one hundred students at the law school.  She also taught courage and determination amongst other qualities to her students, often conducting lectures from her hospital bed at Baylor Medical Center via Skype. ...

Sarah is survived by her husband Thuan and their two children FarrahSophia and Jimi Owen, her mother Jacqueline Conci and husband Michael Conci of Auburn, California and her Father Roland McQuillen and wife Gabrielle Kelly-McQuillen, of Ireland.  Sarah is also survived by her brother Paul and his partner Heather, her brother Mark and her sister Kathy, her husband Mo and her niece.

A memorial service celebrating Sarah’s life and spirit will be held on Saturday, March 15th at the Highland Park Methodist Church on 3300 Mockingbird Lane in Dallas, Texas at 10:00 a.m. A potluck lunch will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider making a contribution to the Tran Children Development Fund.

Sarah was a compassionate, affectionate wife and a devoted, loving mother. She will live on in our hearts as a shining example of brilliance, tenacity, an adventurous ‘can do’ spirit, dedication to family, students, fun, love and life.  Au revoir until we meet again.

For more of Sara's amazing story, see  SMU Property Law Professor Battling Leukemia Teaches From Hospital Bed. (Hat Tip: Babette Boliek.)

March 7, 2014 in Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Georgetown Symposium on Tamanaha's Failing Law Schools

FailingSymposium, Brian Z. Tamanaha's Failing Law Schools, 26 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 341-442; 521-539 (2013):

March 7, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 302

Continue reading

March 7, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Law School Applicants From Top Colleges Plunge 36%

Associate's Mind has updated its prior post and found that law school applicants from graduates of the Ivy league plus Chicago, Duke, and Stanford have plunged 36% since 2008 (click to enlarge):

AM 1 AM 2

March 6, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Johnston: Real Tax Reform Means Starting From Scratch

AljazeeraAljazeera:  Real Tax Reform Means Starting From Scratch, by David Cay Johnston (Syracuse):

News broke last week about a major new "tax reform" proposal on Capitol Hill. But while the 979-page bill that Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) issued last week contained ideas excellent as well as awful, it didn’t represent "reform" at all.

“Reform” means improvement. News reports should generally avoid that term, except in remarks attributed to advocates. In news articles, as opposed to opinion columns like this, “change” and “overhaul” are appropriately neutral terms.

Three planks in Camp’s proposal show that it is not reform but business-as-usual, brought to you by the powerful lobbying interests that dominate lawmaking in Washington and whose agenda favors shifting tax burdens down the income ladder.

Continue reading

March 6, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Shay Presents Formulary Apportionment in the U.S. Today at Temple

ShayStephen E. Shay (Harvard) presents Formulary Apportionment in the U.S. International Income Tax System: Putting Lipstick on a Pig? (with J. Clifton Fleming (BYU) & Robert J. Peroni (Texas)) at Temple today as part of its Tax Policy & Administration Colloquium Series hosted by Alice Abreu & Andrea Monroe:

[T]he authors argue that formulary apportionment and the current standard, arm's length transfer pricing, are just two shades of lipstick on the pig that is the US international tax system, with its twin features of deferral and cross-crediting. They conclude that formulary apportionment might be the less offensive shade, but in effect the whole discussion is a diversion from a broad reform that is sorely needed on the pig itself

March 6, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Tax Tips for Same-Sex Couples

March 6, 2014 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)