TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Protesters Force Cancellation Of Speech By State Representative At Federalist Society Event At Thurgood Marshall Law School

Thurgood Marshall LogoFollowing up on yesterday's post, Seattle Law School Is Latest Flashpoint Over Campus Speech; Petition Seeks Cancellation Of Immigration Debate Sponsored By Federalist Society:  KHOU, Protesters at TSU Prevent State Representative's Speech:

There was controversy on the Texas Southern University campus right before the cancellation of one lawmaker’s speech Monday.

After dozens of protesters filed into an event featuring House Representative Briscoe Cain, they wouldn’t allow Rep. Cain to speak, claiming he has ties to the Alt-Right and is anti-LGBT.

Rep. Cain was invited to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law by the Federalist Society to talk to the students about the recent legislative special session. Instead, the event was shut down before it even started. 

“No hate anywhere, you don’t get a platform here!" protesters yelled inside the room.

Continue reading

October 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Camp: Misapplication Of The Anti-Injunction Act In Chamber Of Commerce v. IRS

Camp (2017)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Misapplication Of The Anti-Injunction Act In Chamber Of Commerce v. IRS, by Bryan Camp (Texas Tech):

This is a follow-up to some good blogs on a recent decision by the District Court for the Western District of Texas in Chamber of Commerce v. IRS. See these posts by Professors Les Book, Kristin Hickman, Daniel Hemel and Andy Grewal. All are worth reading.

The more I think about this opinion, the more convinced I am that the court misapplied the Anti-Injunction Act. What I want to point out in this post is what I see as a logical disconnect between the court’s ruling on standing and its ruling on the Anti-Injunction Act. My contention is that the court’s rationale for finding standing necessarily poisons the plaintiffs’ ability to avoid the Anti-Injunction Act. In brief, I just don’t think the plaintiffs here can have it both ways. If they have standing because the disliked regulation will hurt them by potentially increasing their taxes, the Anti-Injunction Act applies. But if, in order to avoid §7421, they claim that striking down the disliked regulation will have no effect on the assessment or collection of taxes from them (or anyone else) then they lose standing.

Continue reading

October 10, 2017 in New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Artificial Intelligence And Its Implications For Lawyers And Law Schools

Robot Lawyer 2David Barnhizer (Cleveland State), Artificial Intelligence and Its Implications for Lawyers and Law Schools:

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett recently stated that capitalism inevitably cuts jobs in its quest for greater efficiency, productivity and profit.  That is what he says is going on with AI/robotics.  While lamenting this dynamic, Buffett did go as far as saying that government needed to develop strategies to help the “Roadkill” represented by workers pushed out of jobs that will not be recreated. If we accept the dismal placement figures for recent law school graduates, far too many are “Roadkill”, both because they find out on graduating that there is no place to go for work of the kind they anticipated, or any kind related to law, and because they are burdened by massive debt with little hope of being able to repay that obligation.

Continue reading

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

Treasury Rolls Back Eight Tax Regulations

TreasuryTreasury Department, Second Report to the President on Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens (Executive Order 13789) (Oct. 2, 2017) (press release):

This Second Report recommends actions to eliminate, and in other cases mitigate, consistent with law, the burdens imposed on taxpayers by eight regulations that the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has identified for review under Executive Order 13789. As stated in the order, it is the policy of the President that tax regulations provide clarity and useful guidance. Recent regulations, however, have increased tax burdens and impeded economic growth. The order therefore calls for immediate action to reduce tax regulatory burdens and provide useful and simplified tax guidance.

Continue reading

October 10, 2017 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Liscow Presents Is Efficiency Biased? Today At Loyola-L.A.

Liscow (2017)Zachary Liscow (Yale) presents Is Efficiency Biased? at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

The most common underpinning of economic analysis of the law has long been the goal of efficiency (i.e., choosing policies that maximize people’s willingness to pay), as reflected in economic analysis of administrative rulemaking, judicial rules, and proposed legislation. Current thinking is divided on the question whether efficient policies are biased against the poor, which is remarkable given the question’s fundamental nature. Some say yes; others, no.

I show that both views are supportable and that the correct answer depends upon the political and economic context and upon the definition of neutrality.

Continue reading

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

Leiter: What In The World Is Going On At Emory Law School?

Emory LogoBrian Leiter (Chicago), What in the World Is Going On at Emory Law School?:

I've been hearing about the turmoil at Emory Law from both insiders and colleagues elsewhere, who have also heard from insiders. Here's what seems absolutely clear at this point:

1.  Prof. Robert Schapiro announced last March he would not seek another term as Dean.

2.  Disregarding faculty input, the central administration (itself in transition) appointed an alum, a retired partner from Alston & Bird, as the Interim Dean.

Continue reading

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

ABA Tax Section Chair Explains Reduced Travel Support For Academics

ABA Tax Section (2017)Following up on my previous posts:

To:      ABA Taxation Section Teaching Taxation Committee members
From: Karen L. Hawkins, Chair, Taxation Section
Re:     Reimbursement for Academic leaders and speakers

As all of you are aware by now, during the business meeting of the Taxation Section Council, difficult financial decisions were made. These types of difficult belt-tightening decisions have had to be made over the past two years, and will continue to be required to reach, and maintain, a revenue neutral budget. If the Section is to maintain its stated commitments to provide services to its membership; tax assistance to vulnerable taxpayers; and leadership in support of a workable tax system, it is imperative that we continue to cut expenses while also seeking additional ways to increase income.

Continue reading

October 9, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Seattle Law School Is Latest Flashpoint Over Campus Speech; Petition Seeks Cancellation Of Immigration Debate Sponsored By Federalist Society


Bloomberg Law, Seattle Law School Latest Flashpoint Over Campus Speech:

An immigration debate at Seattle University School of Law is the latest front for the hot-button issue of campus speech rights. ...

At Seattle University’s law school, a petition purportedly signed by over 200 individuals is asking the school to cancel the Oct. 16 debate, which is being hosted by the school’s Federalist Society chapter.

Continue reading

October 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

Which Law School Will Become The Mayo Clinic Of Legal Education Via The Dean And Faculty's Use Of Social Media?

Mayo 3Kevin O’Keefe (CEO & Founder, LexBlog), Law Schools Need To Introduce Social Learning:

Little question that some law school students are using social media and blogging to build a name for themselves. ... But how many law students are blogging and using social media for learning? How many law professors and law schools are promoting its use for learning?

Sadly, not many — and that’s a loss for the students, as well possible malfeasance on a law school’s part for failing to do so.

ZDNet’s Dion Hinchcliffe recently reported that though technology has long been used to improve how we learn, today’s digital advances, particularly with social media, have taken learning in a powerful new direction:

[The digitization of learning] allows learning — for better or worse, depending on the critic — to be far more situational, on-demand, self-directed, infinitely customized, even outright enjoyable, depending on the user experience, all of which leads to more profound engagement of learners.

In addition, the rise of social networking technology has allowed people with similar learning interests to come together as a group to share knowledge on a subject — and perhaps even more significantly — to express their passion for an area of learning. This can create deeper, more intense, and more immersive educational experiences within a community of like-minded learners. ...

“Social learning” is more than theory, the use of digital platforms and social networks to bring together communities has proven to work. ... Hinchcliffe suggests organizations lay a foundation for social learning. In the case of law schools, a foundation means creating a positive environment for social media and blogging.

Continue reading

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

Lesson From The Tax Court: What Is 'Away From Home'?

Tax Court (2017)It takes money to make money. I use that adage to teach my students the basic idea behind the §162 deduction: the money it takes to make money should be deductible from the money made.  On October 2, 2017 the Tax Court decided the case of John S. Barrett and Maria T. Barrett v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2017-195. The case illustrates a common problem with that adage: how to know when the costs of traveling away from home are deductible business expenses under §162.

Section 162 allows a deduction for “traveling expenses...while away from home in the pursuit of a trade or business.” In contrast, §262 denies deductions for “personal, living or family expenses.” So that is the tension: is an expense business or personal? The more a taxpayer can connect expenses to business needs and away from personal preferences, the more likely the taxpayer can deduct those expenses.

Travel expenses that are more closely connected to taxpayer’s personal preferences are called “commuting” costs and are not deductible. The idea is that everyone has to live somewhere. And our personal choice of where to live should not allow us a deduction in the cost of going to work. That is the idea of your “tax home.” However, expenses for travel away from the “tax home” that are incurred because of business needs, and so duplicate otherwise personal living expenses, are deductible. The IRS has a really good explanation of this distinction in Rev. Rul. 99-7. The classic case on the subject is Commissioner v. Flowers, 326 U.S. 465 (1946), where the Court held that when a taxpayer’s job moved to a different city, his choice to continue living in the old city and travel 165 miles to the new job was a personal choice. His “tax home” was the new city where his employer required him to work. So his choice to remain in the old city just created a long commute.

On the surface, the Barrett case looks like Flowers. In Barrett, the married taxpayers liven in Las Vegas. For some 20 years Mr. Barrett had a business of providing video recording to one client: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and did so using a studio in Las Vegas. But when AIPAC built a new building in Washington D.C., it built its own video recording and production studio. So now instead of travelling across town, Mr. Barrett had to travel to D.C. each year, spending two or more months either in hotels or in a rented condo. The issue was whether Mr. Barrett’s expenses of travel, lodging, and meals were deductible under §162. The IRS thought Mr. Barrett just had a long commute, that his “tax home” was now Washington D.C. The Tax Court disagreed. 

Continue reading

October 9, 2017 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

L.A. Times Editorial: Lower The Cut Score To Increase Diversity Of The Bar

California Bar ExamLos Angeles Times editorial:  Ease Up on California's Bar Exam to Achieve More Diversity Among Lawyers:

California’s bar exam is notoriously difficult. Or, more to the point, it’s notoriously difficult to pass, which is not quite the same thing. The questions that prospective lawyers must answer aren’t necessarily harder here than those on other states’ exams, but the grading is tougher. It’s as if you only have to get a C+ to be an attorney in Illinois, but you need an A- in California. Fewer than half the would-be lawyers who took the test here in the last three years passed it.

That might be OK if it meant that California’s attorneys were more competent, and the public better protected against poor lawyering, than in other states. But there is no evidence to support any such contention. The pass rate, as set by the state, is relatively arbitrary.

Continue reading

October 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 8, 2017

2018 Times Higher Education World Law School Rankings: Citations

THEFollowing up on my previous posts on the 2018 Times Higher Education World Law School Rankings (links below):  here are the Top 25 law schools in Citations: Research Influence (methodology below the fold), which counts 25% in the overall ranking:

  1. Arizona State (60 overall ranking)
  2. Harvard (9)
  3. Queensland (54)
  4. Ohio State (77)
  5. Yale (3)
  6. Stanford (2)
  7. South Australia (88)
  8. British Columbia(16)
  9. Duke (1)
  10. Chicago(4)
  11. Vanderbilt(46)
  12. Dalhousie (74)
  13. Texas (55)
  14. University of Washington (31)
  15. UC-Irvine (78)
  16. Melbourne (7)
  17. University College London (8)
  18. Leiden (20)
  19. Edinburgh (14)
  20. NYU (12)
  21. Cambridge (5)
  22. Manchester (28)
  23. Amsterdam (23)
  24. Georgetown (25)
  25. Hebrew University of Jerusalem (59)

Continue reading

October 8, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

District Court: § 107 Housing Allowance For 'Ministers Of The Gospel' Violates The Establishment Clause

Gaylor v. Mnuchin, No. 16-cv-215 (W.D. WI Oct. 6, 2017):

The question in this case is whether Congress may give a subset of religious employees an income tax exemption for which no one else qualifies. At issue is the constitutionality of 26 U.S.C. § 107(2), which excludes from the gross income of a “minister of the gospel” a “rental allowance paid to him as part of his compensation.” (Although the phrase “minister of the gospel” appears on its face to be limited to Christian ministers, the Internal Revenue Service has interpreted the phrase liberally to encompass certain religious leaders of other faiths as well. ...

As to the merits, I will deny defendants’ motions for summary judgment and grant summary judgment in plaintiffs’ favor. I adhere to my earlier conclusion in Lew that § 107(2) violates the establishment clause because it does not have a secular purpose or effect and because a reasonable observer would view the statute as an endorsement of religion.

Continue reading

October 8, 2017 in New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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 #2 and #5:

  1. [717 Downloads]  Federal Tax Procedure (2017 Practitioner Ed.), by John Townsend (Houston)
  2. [493 Downloads]  Private Benefits in Public Offerings: Tax Receivable Agreements in IPOs,, by Gladriel Shobe (BYU)
  3. [374 Downloads]  Is Efficiency Biased?, by Zachary Liscow (Yale)
  4. [264 Downloads]  When Did Tax Avoidance Become Respectable?, by Steven Bank (UCLA)
  5. [208 Downloads]  The Rise of Trust Decanting in the United States, by Robert Sitkoff (Harvard),

October 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Crossroads Cincinnati: What Would Jesus Disrupt?

CrossroadsCrossroads, our former church in Cincinnati, has been named the fastest growing church and the fourth largest church in America.  Bloomberg Businessweek had a a fascinating article about the church a few months ago, What Would Jesus Disrupt?:

For two days, the crowd sits in darkness in plush theater seats, watching the church stage. There are smoke machines and LED screens, harnessed climbers scaling a scaffold “mountain” and raising their arms in symbolic victory over the startup world’s arduous climb. There’s talk of destiny-defining “exits.” Of Jesus and his disciples: “The most successful startup in history!” Of the parable of the talents, in which two servants are lauded by their master for turning a profit with money he staked them: “The first recorded instance of venture capital and investment banking in history!” Of ancient business elites: “A church is the oldest marketplace in the history of the world.” Of the promised land of angel investing, where divinely inspired entrepreneurs dwell: “Because God creates things, too!” Mark Burnett, the producer of The Apprentice and Shark Tank, shows up to remind everyone that “the Bible is full of merchants and people doing work.”

At last, near the end of Unpolished 2015, a faith and entrepreneurship conference hosted by Crossroads, an evangelical church in Cincinnati, the marquee event begins: the final round of a pitch contest. Organizers have selected three prospective company founders out of more than 100 entrants, each of whom submitted a minute-long video pitch deck. ...

Continue reading

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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

2018 Times Higher Education World Law School Rankings: Research

THEFollowing up on my previous posts on the 2018 Times Higher Education World Law School Rankings (links below):  here are the Top 25 law schools in Research: Volume, Income, and Reputation (methodology below the fold), which counts 30.8% in the overall ranking:

  1. Duke (1 overall ranking)
  2. KU Leuven (24)
  3. Cambridge (5)
  4. Oxford (6)
  5. Stanford (2)
  6. Toronto (10)
  7. Hong Kong (18)
  8. Pennsylvania (11)
  9. Harvard (9)
  10. NYU (12)
  11. Chicago (4)
  12. University College London (8)
  13. Yale (3)
  14. UC-Berkeley (19)
  15. Michigan (15)
  16. Leiden (20)
  17. Edinburgh (14)
  18. King's College London (25)
  19. Melbourne (7)
  20. Cornell (22)
  21. Tilburg (36)
  22. National University of Singapore (30)
  23. Amsterdam (23)
  24. McGill (13)
  25. South Wales (31)

Continue reading

October 7, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida 3L Shot In Las Vegas Narrowly Escapes Paralysis, Vows To Be Prosecutor When She Graduates

The IRS Scandal, Day 1612: Inspector General Debunks Ideological Targeting Of Conservative Groups By The IRS

IRS Logo 2New York Times, In Targeting Political Groups, I.R.S. Crossed Party Lines:

A federal watchdog investigating whether the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status said that the agency also scrutinized organizations associated with liberal causes from 2004 to 2013.

The findings by the Treasury Department’s inspector general mark the end of a political firestorm that embroiled the I.R.S. in controversy, led to the ouster of its commissioner and prompted accusations the tax collection agency was being used as a political weapon by the Obama administration.

The exhaustive report, which examined nine years worth of applications for tax-exempt status, comes after a similar audit in 2013 found that groups with conservative names like “Tea Party,” “patriot” or “9/12” were unfairly targeted for further review.

The new report found that the I.R.S. was also inappropriately targeting progressive-leaning groups. While the investigation does not specify the political affiliations of the groups, names that were flagged included the words “Progressive,” “Occupy,” “Green Energy,” and Acorn — the acronym for the now defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ...

Ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans regularly used the scandal to bludgeon Democrats and paint the Obama administration as corrupt. But now it appears that the I.R.S. was an equal offender. “This report shows the I.R.S. deep scrutiny of political groups is in fact bipartisan, it is liberal and conservative groups that the I.R.S. has been targeting,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

Rather than condemn the I.R.S. actions, Democrats on Thursday celebrated the findings as evidence that Republicans were wrong to claim bias at the I.R.S. Democrats had previously been critical of the 2013 Treasury report since it only looked at two years of applications. “After years of baseless claims and false accusations it is my hope Republicans will finally put an end to this witch hunt and admit that their attacks on the I.R.S. were nothing but political grandstanding on behalf of special interests at the expense of American taxpayers,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

Republicans, however, are not prepared to let the I.R.S. off the hook and seized on the report as evidence that the agency must be reformed. “This report reinforces what government watchdogs and congressional investigators have confirmed time and time again: Bureaucrats at the I.R.S., such as Lois Lerner, arbitrarily and haphazardly administered the tax code and targeted taxpayers based on political ideology,” said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “It’s no wonder the American people have lost faith in the I.R.S.”

The controversy over political targeting at the I.R.S. was the genesis of many congressional hearings and probes, and it has continued to haunt its current commissioner, John Koskinen, whom Mr. Obama tapped to stabilize the agency. As recently as April, House members called for the firing of Mr. Koskinen for the “gross mishandling” of its investigation into the targeting of political groups. Despite the uproar from Republicans, President Trump has not taken any steps to fire Mr. Koskinen, whose term ends next month.

Washington Post, Four Years Later, the IRS Tea Party Scandal Looks Very Different. It May Not Even Be a Scandal:

It all seemed to add up. At least it did then.

The Internal Revenue Service, according to outraged Republicans and many media accounts at the time, targeted tea party organizations and other conservative nonprofit groups that were seeking tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012. Critics said the tax agency had subjected the targeted groups to extra scrutiny, questioning and long delays, largely because their names suggested they would be political opponents of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.

The allegations formed one of the best-known scandals of former president Barack Obama’s administration and led to months of congressional hearings, official investigations and damning news coverage.

Now, it seems, it wasn’t so simple. ...

The new finding suggests Republicans and the media provided an incomplete or even misleading account of what the IRS was up to when it was reviewing political organizations that sought tax-exempt status. While not of the order of the news media’s credulous (and flawed) reporting about supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S. invasion in 2003, the report offers a check on the prevailing narrative of the time.

It may also offer a measure of vindication to Obama, at least according to one of his senior advisers. “The Obama administration was often accused of Nixonian wrongdoing,” Eric Schultz, the former president’s spokesman and a deputy White House press secretary under him, said Thursday. “At some point, I lost track of how many Watergates we had. But we live in an environment where the more hyperbolic your allegation is, the more likely it will get headlines, no matter its veracity. This report substantiates our argument that our White House did not politicize the IRS, but those allegations, A1 material at the time, have lived online for four years and now that the public has moved on, they’re proven false.” ...

The issue might have become part of what Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan has called the “scandal attention cycle” — the rapid surge of attention as reporters race to cover an issue followed by a similar decline as the news media loses interest. “The problem is that it often takes time for the full set of facts to come out,” Nyhan has written. “By that time, the story is old news and the more complex or ambiguous details that often emerge are buried or ignored.”

Philip Hackney (LSU), IRS ‘Targeted’ Liberal Organizations and After All These Years TIGTA is Still Wrong:

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) just issued a new report four years and five months after rebuking the IRS for using “inappropriate” criteria to select applications for tax exempt status for scrutiny. In the first report, TIGTA rebuked the IRS for pulling the applications of conservative leaning organizations for greater scrutiny.

This time it considers the fact that the IRS over a period of 10 years used liberal leaning names such as ACORN, Emerge, and Progressive as criteria for pulling applications for greater scrutiny. This resulted in the IRS applying greater scrutiny to these organizations. Some might say the IRS targeted these organizations. Those organizations appear to have faced long wait times as well, and sometimes some questions of limited merit.

I write this piece to make two points: (1) had this information been in the initial report, I don’t think we would have had the “scandal” that shook the IRS and the political world of the time; and (2) the TIGTA report built its primary claim on a garbled faux legal postulate. The original report did terrible damage to the IRS and individuals by failing on both of these fronts.

Leandra Lederman (Indiana), The Real IRS Scandal:

[T]he new TIGTA report “identified 146 cases in which the IRS examined groups for suspicion of engaging in disallowed political activity using those criteria.” This finding is not a surprise. The fact that IRS employees were using keywords to identify progressive as well as conservative organizations doing too much political activity to qualify under 501(c)(4) should have been clear to anyone who dug into the public documents. But it wasn’t the message that the House Oversight Committee — and thus many media stories — disseminated. The real scandal was the d amage the resulting witch hunt did to the IRS. I wrote about that in [IRS Reform: Politics As Usual?, 7 Colum. J. Tax L. 36 (2016)] and in a related, short article I published in Tax Notes, The IRS, Politics, and Income Inequality, [150 Tax Notes 1329 (Mar. 14, 2016),] focused in part on IRS underfunding. I hope that TIGTA’s new report helps set the record straight.

Continue reading

October 7, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Orly Mazur (SMU) reviews a new draft article by Karen Burke (Florida), Exploiting the Medicare Tax Loophole.

Mazur (2017-2)Employment taxes comprise an important source of federal tax revenue. Traditionally, only an individual’s earned income was subject to these taxes. However, with the introduction of Section 1411, the tax law now also subjects the unearned income of high-income individuals to a 3.8% Medicare tax (“Unearned Income Medicare Contribution”). Thus, the current law attempts to subject both the earned and unearned income of high earners to the Medicare tax. Unfortunately, not all high income taxpayers pay their fair share of this tax.

Karen Burke’s new work explains the various tax planning techniques that taxpayers currently use to avoid the 3.8% Medicare tax imposed on wages and net self-employment earnings and the 3.8% Medicare tax imposed by Section 1411 on unearned income. In particular, she illustrates how high-income owner-employees can avoid contributing to Medicare financing by providing services as an active limited partner of a state law limited partnership, by conducting business operations as an owner-employee of an S corporation, or by using tiers of entities to circumvent the employment tax rules. 

Continue reading

October 6, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Kleinbard: Only Jay Gatsby Could Love The Trump Tax Plan

Vox op-ed:  The GOP Says Its Business Tax Plan Will Help Workers and Small Businesses. It Won’t.
Instead, It’s a Gift to People With Lots of Capital, by Edward Kleinbard (USC):

To understand the business tax provisions in the Trump tax proposals, begin with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s insight that the rich are different from you and me — they have more money.

In particular, they have more capital. (Ever polite, economists call piles of money that have been invested “capital.”) Business tax reform really is an exercise in how we should tax capital income — that is, returns on investments. And because the rich have lots more capital than do you or I, the benefits of the multitrillion-dollar business tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration’s tax “framework” necessarily will be vacuumed up by the most affluent Americans. Business tax reform has only a modest connection to the economic future of working stiffs, and the small connection that does exist is a second-order effect.

Continue reading

October 6, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

2018 Times Higher Education World Law School Rankings: Teaching

THEFolowing up on yesterday's post, 2018 Times Higher Education World Law School Rankings:  here are the Top 25 law schools in Teaching: The Learning Environment (methodology below the fold), which counts 32.7% in the overall ranking:

  1. Chicago (4 overall ranking)
  2. Stanford (2)
  3. Yake (3)
  4. UCLA (21)
  5. Duke (1)
  6. Georgetown (25)
  7. Virginia (29)
  8. Cornell (22)
  9. Penn (11)
  10. Toronto (10)
  11. NYU (12)
  12. Michigan (15)
  13. McGill (13)
  14. Columbia (17)
  15. Melbourne (7)
  16. UC-Berkeley (15)
  17. British Columbia (16)
  18. Cambridge (5)
  19. Oxford (6)
  20. Harvard (9)
  21. Singapore (30)
  22. Edinburgh (14)
  23. University College London (8)
  24. George Washington (38)
  25. Amsterdam (23)

Continue reading

October 6, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fleming, Peroni & Shay: Incorporating A Minimum Tax In A Territorial System

J. Clifton Fleming Jr. (BYU), Robert J. Peroni (Texas) & Stephen E. Shay (Harvard), Incorporating a Minimum Tax in a Territorial System, 157 Tax Notes 73 (Oct. 2, 2017):

In this report, Fleming, Peroni, and Shay analyze the effects of including a final, low-rate minimum tax on U.S. multinational corporations in a territorial system. They continue to prefer a real worldwide international tax system, but see a final, low-rate minimum tax as a second-best measure to reduce the revenue loss of a territorial system.

Continue reading

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

Oregon Lowers Bar Exam Cut Score From 142 to 137, Pass Rate Increases By 36%

The IRS Scandal, Day 1611: TIGTA Report, Review Of Selected Criteria Used To Identify Tax-Exempt Applications For Review

IRS Logo 2Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Agency Statement On Audit Report: “Review of Selected Criteria Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review”:

In May 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) published an audit report in which we reported that between May 2010 and May 2012, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used inappropriate criteria to identify for review organizations’ applications for tax-exempt status. TIGTA’s 2013 audit found that the IRS inappropriately selected organizations for scrutiny based on their names or policy positions, instead of indications of significant potential political campaign intervention. Further, TIGTA found that the IRS made requests for unnecessary information and delayed, in some cases for years, making decisions on the organizations’ applications.

This audit was initiated based on bipartisan interest expressed by Members of Congress regarding the IRS’s use of other criteria to select tax-exempt applications for further review. Today, we are releasing a 115-page audit report that provides a historical account of the IRS’s use of 17 additional selection criteria going back as far as 2004. These 17 selection criteria were chosen based on bipartisan input from congressional committees of jurisdiction over the IRS, input from the IRS, and training materials that were not provided to TIGTA during the 2013 audit.

TIGTA found that, between 2004 and 2013, the IRS potentially used more than 250 criteria to identify for further review the applications of organizations seeking tax-exempt status. In our 2013 audit, we found that the process for review of applications for potential political advocacy from May 2010 to May 2012 involved the IRS’s use of a tracking sheet identifying the potential political cases selected for further review; however, the IRS was unable to identify what specific cases, if any, were selected for further review under 16 of the 17 criteria in our current report. Without case selection tracking sheets for the 16 criteria, TIGTA used various other sources to identify 146 cases related to the 17 criteria with indications of political activity, and confirmed that 83 of them were selected for review based on the 17 criteria.

This report is divided into 17 sections, one for each of the 17 criteria. Due to the unique nature of the 17 criteria, it is difficult to compare the criteria to each other, or to compare in aggregate to the criteria reviewed in the 2013 audit. However, TIGTA did find that, while the number of organizations impacted is significantly less than the number detailed in the 2013 report, some organizations in the current report also experienced significant delays and received requests for unnecessary information. In addition, in the 2013 report the majority of cases we reviewed were from organizations applying for I.R.C. § 501 (c)(4) status. In contrast, the majority of the 146 cases in the current report were organizations applying for I.R.C. § 501 (c)(3) status.

Our 2013 report made several recommendations for process improvements and all of them were implemented by the IRS, which we verified in a follow-up audit in 2015. As a result of our 2013 report, the IRS completely revamped the process for reviewing tax-exempt applications, including the elimination of criteria listings, known as “Be On the Lookout” listings, in June 2013. According to the IRS, the revamped process has totally eliminated the backlog of applications and reduced processing cycle times for cases. Since the review process in place when the 17 criteria were potentially used by the IRS is no longer in effect, TIGTA did not make any recommendations for improvement in this audit report.

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Review of Selected Criteria Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review (2017-10-054) (Sept. 28, 2017):

In a prior audit, TIGTA determined that the IRS used inappropriate criteria to select tax‑exempt applications for further review. Moreover, ineffective management resulted in substantial delays in processing certain applications and allowed unnecessary information requests to be issued. It is critical that tax laws are administered in a fair and impartial manner.

In the prior review, TIGTA audited criteria that the IRS stated it used to select potential political cases for additional review from May 2010 through May 2012. The overall objective of this audit was to provide a historical account of the IRS’s development and use of 17 select criteria from 259 criteria used to identify tax‑exempt applications for review. The 17 criteria discussed in this report were selected based on input from staff of various congressional committees of jurisdiction and the IRS as well as from training documents that were not provided to TIGTA in the prior audit.

TIGTA found that, from August 2004 through June 2013, the IRS potentially used 259 criteria to identify tax-exempt applications for further review. Most of these criteria involved issues besides political campaign intervention, such as potential fraud, abuse, and links to terrorism.

In the prior audit, TIGTA found that the IRS used a tracking sheet to show which potential political cases were selected for further review; however, IRS management stated that case listings such as the one provided in the prior audit were not required. Due to the lack of case listings for all but one of the 17 criteria, TIGTA used various sources to identify more than 900 cases that could potentially have been selected for review based on the 17 criteria. However, TIGTA could not verify whether all relevant cases were identified.

Based on TIGTA’s review of case documentation, 181 of the more than 900 cases had evidence of political activities or indications of significant potential political campaign intervention (the subject of the prior audit). Thirty-five of these cases were not processed while the applicable criteria were in use and did not appear to be processed based on the criteria. For the remaining 146 cases, TIGTA determined that 83 were processed based upon the criteria and 63 were processed while the criteria were in use, but TIGTA could not confirm these 63 cases were selected based upon the criteria. Analysis of the 146 cases is shown in each of the 17 sections of the report with information for each of these unique criteria.

Figure 4

Continue reading

October 6, 2017 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Hickman: Chamber of Commerce v. IRS — The Post-Mayo Shake Out Continues

Hickman (2017)Following up on Monday's post, U.S. District Court Strikes Down Obama-Era Anti-Inversion Regulation, Limiting IRS's Power To Make Rules That Skirt The APA:

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Chamber of Commerce v. IRS:  The Post-Mayo Shake Out Continues, by Kristin Hickman (Minnesota):

Here we go again.  In 2011, the Supreme Court in the Mayo Foundation case declared that it was “not inclined to carve out an approach to administrative review good for tax law only.”  Since then, courts and scholars have been engaged in an ongoing enterprise of debating just how far to take that suggestion.  Last week, in Chamber of Commerce v. IRS, a federal district court in Texas offered up the latest installment in the ongoing post-Mayo shake out when it invalidated a set of Treasury regulations —this time, Temp. Treas. Reg. 1.7874-8T regarding inversion transactions — on Administrative Procedure Act (APA) grounds.  The court’s opinion addressed several issues concerning the relationship between the IRC and general administrative law principles.  And, as with Cohen, Home Concrete, Altera, and other cases in this line, the Chamber of Commerce decision has inspired cheers from some, hand wringing by others, and a great deal of curiosity as tax specialists and administrative law generalists again try to understand one another.

Continue reading

October 5, 2017 in IRS News, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

Walker (2016)David Walker (Boston University) presented The Practice and Tax Consequences of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation at Pennsylvania yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

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.

Continue reading

October 5, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Bar Spins Off Its Sections Amid Concerns Over Spending On Liquor, Resorts

CA state bar logo PNGABA Journal, California Bar Spins Off its Sections Amid Concerns Over Liquor Spending, Resort Functions:

The State Bar of California has spun off its 16 voluntary sections into a nonprofit entity, making the state bar strictly a disciplinary and regulatory agency that is mandatory for state lawyers.

The changes are authorized in a bill signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, report Courthouse News Service, the Metropolitan News-Enterprise and a state bar press release.

The sections began to consider a split from the state bar last year, partly because of new restrictions that included a ban on spending on alcohol at events and on contracting with resort-style venues, Courthouse News Service reported in May. Sections had argued the restrictions would hurt membership. ...

Continue reading

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

Lederman: The ABA Tax Section’s Reduced Travel Support For Academics

ABA Tax Section (2017)Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloomington), Analysis of the ABA Tax Section’s Reduced Travel Support for Academics:

A hot topic among professors at the recent ABA Tax Section meeting in Austin was the reduction in travel support for academics scheduled to take effect with the upcoming meeting in San Diego. As Prof. Bryan Camp wrote on TaxProf blog, the background is that, for years, and through the most recent meeting, full-time professors who have a leadership role in the section (Chair or Vice-Chair of a committee, or higher positions) have received a travel subsidy.

Continue reading

October 5, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

2018 Times Higher Education World Law School Rankings

THETimes Higher Education has released its 2018 ranking of the Top 100 Law Schools in the world, based on this methodology:

  • Teaching:  The Learning Environment (32.7%)
  • Research:  Volume, Income and Reputation (30.8%)
  • Citations:  Research Influence (25%)
  • International Outlook:  Staff, Students and Research (9%)
  • Industry Income:  Innovation (2.5%)

Here are the Top 25 law schools:

  1. Duke
  2. Stanford
  3. Yale
  4. Chicago
  5. Cambridge
  6. Oxford
  7. Melbourne
  8. University College London
  9. Harvard
  10. Toronto
  11. Pennsylvania
  12. NYU
  13. Melbourne
  14. Edinburgh
  15. Michigan
  16. British Columbia
  17. Columbia
  18. Hong Kong
  19. UC-Berkeley
  20. Leiden
  21. UCLA
  22. Cornell
  23. Amsterdam
  24. KU Leuven
  25. Georgetown

Continue reading

October 5, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1610: Inspector General Says IRS Gave Extra Scrutiny To Liberal Groups, Undermining GOP Claims Of Ideological Targeting Of Conservative Groups By IRS

IRS Logo 2Washington Post, Liberal Groups Got IRS Scrutiny, Too, Inspector General Suggests:

A federal watchdog has identified scores of cases in which the Internal Revenue Service may have targeted liberal-leaning groups for extra scrutiny based on their names or political leanings, a finding that could undermine claims that conservatives were unfairly targeted under President Barack Obama.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reviewed cases between 2004 and 2013, which includes the period TIGTA previously examined in a 2013 report that faulted the IRS for using inappropriate political criteria to select groups for heightened scrutiny.

That earlier report found that 96 groups with names referencing “Tea Party,” “Patriot” or “9/12” were selected for intensive review between May 2010 and May 2012, and the House Ways and Means Committee later identified another 152 right-leaning groups that were subjected to scrutiny. Those findings fueled accusations by Republican lawmakers that the Obama administration engaged in politically motivated targeting of conservatives.

But Democrats have long challenged those claims, arguing that liberal-leaning groups were given close scrutiny alongside the conservative groups. The 2013 TIGTA report, they argued, was based on selective criteria that omitted numerous nonconservative groups that were also subjected to close IRS review.

The new report examines a broader range of criteria used by the IRS. It does not characterize the politics of the groups that were selected for scrutiny, a TIGTA spokeswoman emphasized Wednesday. But many of the 17 criteria the report examined had obvious political overtones — including affiliation with the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), as well as names referencing “Progressive,” “Green Energy,” “Medical Marijuana,” and “Occupy.”

Together, the watchdog identified 146 cases in which the IRS examined groups for suspicion of engaging in disallowed political activity using those criteria. Eighty-three of those were definitively chosen for scrutiny because of the selection criteria, the inspector general found; the report could not definitively determine how the other cases were chosen.

The Washington Post reviewed a version of the TIGTA report dated Sept. 28 that has been circulated to various lawmakers and committees on Capitol Hill. The full report is set to be released to the public Thursday.

The new report reiterates the inspector general’s earlier criticism of the IRS review process at the time, calling it “inappropriate” to target groups for scrutiny based on their names rather than on actual evidence of illicit political activity that would leave them ineligible for tax exemptions.

Groups that were selected for review waited months — years, in some cases — for their applications to be reviewed and were subjected to onerous and, in some cases, improper requests for information on their donors and activities. ...

Brady said in a statement Wednesday that the new TIGTA report “reinforces what government watchdogs and congressional investigators have confirmed time and time again: bureaucrats at the IRS, such as Lois Lerner, arbitrarily and haphazardly administered the tax code and targeted taxpayers based on political ideology.” He pledged to “continue holding the IRS accountable for their actions.”

Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.), who served as the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee during the height of the IRS scandal, said Wednesday that the report confirmed “political manipulation by the Republicans.” “They were trying to squeeze whatever political juice they could out of this,” he said. “Incompetence is different than a political witch hunt. There never was one, at least one that anybody could identify.”



Continue reading

October 5, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

E.U. Pushes To Collect More Taxes From Big Tech; Experts Say U.S. Must Not Cede Its Share Of The Tax Pie To Other Countries

New York Times, E.U., Citing Amazon and Apple, Tells Nations to Collect Tax:

European competition regulators on Wednesday mounted a push against tax avoidance by Silicon Valley giants, announcing plans to take Ireland to court for failing to collect back taxes from Apple and ordering Luxembourg to claim unpaid taxes from Amazon.

Continue reading

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

Why Do Law Profs Provide Peer Review Of Scholarship, But Not Teaching?

Mary Lynch (Albany), Experience with Peer Support, Peer Review and Feedback on Teaching?

We are all familiar with engagement in peer review of scholarship. Law faculty culture prioritizes peer input and review of scholarly ideas and articles. Sending drafts of articles to colleagues for feedback, “workshopping” preliminary ideas, and vetting scholarship is part and parcel of the work we do. We visit other schools, make presentations and attend conferences because we value peer discussion and input. It is the basis by which we create and communicate knowledge.

I don’t believe, however, we have a similarly pervasive culture for formative peer review when it comes to teaching in law schools, although such culture exists at other higher education institutions.

Continue reading

October 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Days 1501-1600

October 5, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mason Presents Whose Arm's-Length Standard? Today At Northwestern

Mason (2016)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents Tax Rulings as State Aid — Part 4: Whose Arm's-Length Standard?, 155 Tax Notes 947 (May 15, 2017), at Northwestern as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

In this fourth part in a series of reports on state aid, Mason focuses on the element of “advantage” in EU state aid law, and she criticizes the European Commission’s doctrinal approach to identifying advantages for state aid purposes. In particular, this article addresses the divergence between the EC’s and OECD’s conceptions of the arm’s-length principle. ...

Continue reading

October 4, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Herzig: Trump's Repatriation Tax Holiday Would Be Boon To Shareholders, Not Workers: 'A Holiday From Sensible Tax Policy'

New York Times op-ed:  The Trump Tax Idea That’s a Boon for Shareholders, by David Herzig (Valparaiso):

One of the proposals in the Republican tax plan set out last week — a bid to get American corporations to “repatriate” their untaxed corporate overseas profits — has support both in Congress and in the Trump administration. As much as $2.6 trillion in such profits sits in offshore subsidiaries of United States corporations.

Under the plan, the government would declare a tax holiday — a rate as low as 10 percent — to encourage the United States companies operating overseas to repatriate their overseas profits. Congress and the president see getting this money back to the United States as a way to goose job and wage growth in the United States and to fill some of the revenue holes that are expected as a result of the plan’s other sweeping tax cuts.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for instance, said that the tax break “will bring back trillions of dollars that are offshore to be invested here in the United States to purchase capital and to create jobs.” President Trump echoed those sentiments during his campaign.

In reality, when corporations repatriate offshore earnings during a tax holiday, the largest beneficiary of the giveaway is not working Americans but corporate shareholders.

Continue reading

October 4, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Is Changing Its Name To 'Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law'


Townhall, A University in Wales is Renaming Its Law School After Hillary Clinton:

Swansea University in Wales is renamingi ts law school after Hillary Clinton and will honor the two-time presidential candidate and former secretary of state with an honorary degree. Clinton is being honored for her "commitment to promoting the rights of families and children around the world," and will receive the degree on October 14.

WalesOnline, Hillary Clinton Is Visiting Swansea Next Month to Collect a Top Honour:

Continue reading

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

Democrats And Republicans Blast IRS's Decision To Award Equifax $7.25m No-Bid Contract To Prevent Taxpayer Identity Theft: 'I Thought I Was Reading The Onion'

EIRSPolitico, IRS Awards Multimillion-Dollar Fraud-Prevention Contract to Equifax:

The IRS will pay Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud under a no-bid contract issued last week, even as lawmakers lash the embattled company about a massive security breach that exposed personal information of as many as 145.5 million Americans.

contract award for Equifax's data services was posted to the Federal Business Opportunities database Sept. 30 — the final day of the fiscal year. The credit agency will "verify taxpayer identity" and "assist in ongoing identity verification and validations" at the IRS, according to the award. ...

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blasted the IRS decision.

Continue reading

October 4, 2017 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

20 Of 21 California Law School Deans Urge Supreme Court To Lower Bar Exam Cut Score On Interim Basis Pending Further Study

California Bar ExamLetter from Deans of 20 of the 21 ABA-Accredited California Law Schools to the Supreme Court of California (Oct. 2, 2017):

[W]e seek here to highlight what we believe are the key points for the Court's consideration, as well as to ask the Court for specific relief. We have organized this letter in four sections, as follows:

  1. We respectfully request that the Court schedule a meeting (or a hearing) with the State Bar, the Deans of the California law schools, and any other parties the Court believes should be present.
  2. We respectfully restate the position that we advanced during the public comment period, that the Standard Setting Study does not provide a valid basis to set an interim cut score. We include as attachments to this submission supporting Comments that set forth in detail the significant flaws present in the Standards Setting Study. We also briefly discuss the additional studies that we believe should be undertaken.
  3. We address the principal policy consequences that would follow from retaining California's exceptionally high current cut score of 1440, and state why we believe that, based on those policy considerations, the adoption of an interim cut score between 1350 and 1390 would best serve the public interest while the Court authorizes studies that are more thorough
  4. Conclusion.

Continue reading

October 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Washington University Is Sixth Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions

GREFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Washington University is the sixth law school to accept the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT,  joining (in chronological order) Arizona, Harvard, Northwestern, Georgetown, and Hawaii.  From Dean (and Tax Prof) Nancy Staudt's announcement:

“WashULaw wants to appeal to the best students in the country and the world, regardless of their academic, professional or personal background,” said Nancy Staudt, dean and the Howard & Caroline Cayne Professor of Law. “The class beginning this fall was one of the most accomplished and diverse in the history of WashULaw. The decision to accept the GRE will continue to build on these efforts, making the admissions process even more accessible to highly qualified and motivated students of all backgrounds interested in pursuing a legal education.” ...

Continue reading

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

The Corporate Response To Government Attacks On Tax Shelters

Noel Brock (Eastern Michigan), Edward Schnee (Alabama) & Shane Stinson (Alabama), The Corporate Response to Government Attacks on Tax Shelters, 8 Int'l J. Fin. Res. (2017):

We examine the effectiveness of four federal government actions, all of which were designed to curb the proliferation of corporate tax shelters dating back to the 1990s, at eliciting measurable changes in characteristics commonly associated with tax shelter firms. Our results suggest that the government’s initial attacks on corporate tax shelters in the early 2000s elicited significant declines in book-tax differences, discretionary accruals, and the use of Big N audit firms, which contributed to gradual reductions in the estimated likelihood of tax sheltering for both multinational and purely domestic firms. Conversely, later attempts to discourage corporate tax shelters proved ineffective, likely due in part to the effectiveness of previous government attacks and a faltering economy.

Continue reading

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

Ex-Big Law Associate Who Flunked Bar Can Proceed With Suit Against Examiners

WycheFollowing up on my previous post, Harvard Grad Who Flunked Bar Sues Over Loss Of Big-Law Job:  American Lawyer, Ex-Big Law Associate Who Flunked Bar Can Proceed With Suit Against Examiners:

A former Ropes & Gray associate and Harvard Law School grad who failed the bar exam twice can move ahead with parts of her federal lawsuit against the New York State Board of Law Examiners.

Tamara Wyche sued the board and its individual members in 2016, claiming the board's denial of testing accommodations, which she received in law school, caused her to fail the attorney licensing exam and lose her lucrative associate job at Ropes & Gray.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie of the Eastern District of New York formally dismissed two of Wyche's four claims — brought under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the New York City Human Rights Law — in a Sept. 25 opinion [T.W. v. New York State Board of Law Examiners, No. 16-CV-3029 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 26, 2017)], although Wyche already had agreed to withdraw those claims.

But Dearie deferred ruling on her two remaining claims — alleged violations of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — in order to allow for discovery into whether they are barred under New York's sovereign immunity.

Continue reading

October 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fullerton Presents Vertical And Horizontal Redistributions From A Carbon Tax And Rebate Today At Columbia

FullertonDon Fullerton (Illinois) presents Vertical and Horizontal Redistributions from a Carbon Tax and Rebate (with Julie-Anne Cronin (U.S. Treasury Department) & Steven Sexton (Duke)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

Because electricity is a higher fraction of spending for those with low income, carbon taxes are believed to be regressive. Many argue, however, that their revenues can be used to offset the regressivity. We assess these claims by employing data on 322,000 families in the U.S. Treasury’s Distribution Model to study vertical redistributions between rich and poor, as well as horizontal redistributions among families with common incomes but heterogeneous energy intensity of consumption (different home heating and cooling demands).

Continue reading

October 3, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senate Holds Hearing Today On International Tax Reform

Senate LogoThe Senate Finance Committee held a hearing today on International Tax Reform:

October 3, 2017 in Congressional News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Technology Offers Law Grads New Ways To Tap Into Job Market: Networking, Analytics, And Apps

American Lawyer, Technology Offers Law School Grads New Ways to Tap into the Job Market:

Law students or grads fresh out of law school have some new technologies at their disposal for getting into the job market. Here’s a look at some of the new tools helping new lawyers get a foot in the door to their legal career.

Teaching What Law Schools Don’t: Networking:
Among databases of legal job listings, and how-to resume and interview guides, some law schools around the country are offering something novel. It is a tool that instead of automatically introducing students to legal employers teaches them how to make their own connections. Lawcountability J.D., a cloud-based app that offers instructional videos on how prospective attorneys can market themselves and network, was recently deployed in over U.S. 70 law schools nationwide. ...

Continue reading

October 3, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TIGTA: IRS Must Ensure That Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Is Given Only To Eligible Taxpayers (200,000 Returns Were Prepared For Ineligible Taxpayers, Including Four With AGIs > $1 Million)

TIGTAThe Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has released Improvements Are Needed to Ensure That the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Grant Program Extends Tax Return Preparation to Underserved Populations (2017-40-088):

TIGTA’s review of the almost 4.5 million tax returns prepared by grantees during Grant Years 2014 through 2016 identified that: 1) volunteers prepared 201,572 (4 percent) returns with an Adjusted Gross Income amount that exceeded the income threshold set for free tax return preparation, including 34,371 returns with an Adjusted Gross Income greater than $100,000 and 11 returns with an Adjusted Gross Income exceeding $1 million; 2) the IRS could not verify if 456,220 (10 percent) tax returns with complex tax schedules were prepared by volunteers with advanced certifications; and 3) 15,402 returns were out of scope. Finally, some guidelines and procedures were not current or consistent.

Continue reading

October 3, 2017 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

McGinnis: The AALS Claims To Favor The Public Interest, While Advancing Its Own

AALS (2018)John O. McGinnis (Northwestern), The Association of American Law Schools Claims to Favor the Public Interest, While Advancing Its Own:

The American Association of Law Schools (AALS) is a professional guild. It never misses a chance to proclaim that it is working in the public interest, while nevertheless focusing on its own interests —expanding the perquisites and number of its members.  The latest newsletter makes this combination even more visible than usual. It devoted its opening essay to Access to Justice — which it claims to favor. Simultaneously, it announced its opposition to a proposal of the American Bar Association, now operating under the watchful eye of Antitrust Division, which could decrease the cost of going to law school — one of the principal barriers to access.   The problem is that the proposal might well over time reduce the number of tenured professors, who, of course, run the AALS.

The ABA proposes that after the first year of law, accredited law schools could permit part-time teachers to teach any or all second and third year courses. The first year would remain mainly the province of a full-time faculty. The rationale of the AALS’s opposition is that “full time faculty are essential to providing quality education.” It provides no empirical support for this claim. ...

Continue reading

October 3, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)