TaxProf Blog

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

House And Senate Agree To Cut North Carolina Law School's Budget 'Only' 4% ($500k), Not 30% ($4m) Sought By Senate

North Carolina LogoFollowing up on my prior posts (links below):  News & Observer, UNC Law School’s Budget Is Cut – but It Could Have Been Worse:

The negotiated state budget deal leaves UNC’s law school with a cut of $500,000 – smaller than an earlier $4 million proposed reduction.

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June 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hatfield:  Cybersecurity And Tax Reform

Michael Hatfield (University of Washington), Cybersecurity and Tax Reform, 93 Ind. L.J. ___ (2017):

The IRS collects information on more Americans and handles more money than any other agency. The cybersecurity risks are high. This Article takes seriously both the challenges and the agency's limitations in solving those problems through technological advances. This Article describes the cybersecurity problem as a legal problem for Congress to address rather than merely a digital problem for IRS technicians. By legislation, Congress defines what information is tax relevant, and then the IRS digitally collects, stores, and process the information. Over the years, without any regard for information security, Congress has designed a tax system that requires the IRS to collect more information than it can now protect. But there is ample flexibility for Congress to reform tax law to decrease the information held by the IRS and increase the likelihood the IRS can defend it. This Article explores specific ways in which the tax laws and its administration could be changed to simplify the information needs of the IRS, making its information system both a less appealing and a more defensible cyberattack target. In short, if the tax law were simpler in specific ways, the information technology needs at the IRS would be simpler, and adequate cybersecurity for it would be easier.

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June 20, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

BYU Law School Launches New Legal Design Lab

LawXPress Release, Introducing LawX, BYU Law's New Legal Design Lab:

BYU Law School is pleased to announce the launch of LawX, a legal design lab that will create products and other solutions to address the pressing issues relating to access to legal services. 

“LawX will tackle some of the most challenging issues facing our legal system today,” said Gordon Smith, Dean of BYU Law School. “Some gaps in legal services may not be attractive targets for innovation by small, private startups or larger profit-oriented businesses, but closing these gaps would make a tremendous difference to many people who feel priced out of the market for legal services. A legal design lab embedded within a law school is an ideal platform for addressing these issues. LawX will use design thinking to address these problems, and when appropriate, to create products to solve them.”

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June 20, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thomas Reviews Hayashi's The Tax Effects Of Refund Anticipation Loans

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), Are Tax-Time Financial Products Good for the Poor? (JOTWELL) (reviewing  Andrew Hayashi (Virginia), The Effects of Refund Anticipation Loans On the Use of Paid Preparers and EITC Take-up (2016)):

The conventional wisdom about refund anticipation loans, at least among many academics, is that they are predatory lending products that benefit big businesses at the expense of the poor. Andrew Hayashi turns this notion on its head in his insightful paper, The Effects of Refund Anticipation Loans on the Use of Paid Preparers and EITC Take-up. 

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June 20, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three More Female Law Profs Sue University Of Denver Over Pay Gap

DenverFollowing up on my earlier posts (links below):  Law.com, Three More Female Law Profs Sue U of Denver Over Pay Gap:

Three women law professors at the University of Denver have joined a pay discrimination lawsuit filed last year by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a colleague, alleging that the law school pays women faculty substantially less than men in the same jobs.

Nancy Ehrenreich, Kris McDaniel-Miccio and Catherine Smith on June 16 intervened in the EEOC suit centered on the case of longtime professor Lucy Marsh. That suit has garnered significant attention within the legal academy.

The four women professors claim that the law school pays men significantly more, and that their attempts to gain pay parity went nowhere with former law dean Martin Katz. The school has denied in court papers that any such pay disparity exists, and said pay is based on performance.

“Despite their laudable performance in [teaching, scholarship and public service], plaintiff-intervenors were and continue to be paid less than the mean annual salary for male full law professors,” reads the complaint from the three new plaintiffs, filed June 16 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. ...

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June 20, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Pareja:  The Problem With Using Advanceable, Income-Based Tax Credits To Subsidize Health Insurance

Affordable Care ActMary Leto Pareja (New Mexico), Inviting Everyone to the ACA (Risk) Pool Party: The Problem with Using Advanceable, Income-Based Tax Credits to Subsidize Health Insurance, 20 Fla. Tax Rev. 551 (2017):

The year 2014 marked the first opportunity for American taxpayers to receive subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) new Premium Tax Credit (“PTC”). About 4.8 million people enrolled in an ACA plan in 2014 were eligible, and nearly 97% of these claimants were approved for advance payments of the PTC.

The year 2015 marked the first tax return where taxpayers received the unpleasant surprise that they must repay excess credits due to reconciliation. Advance PTC estimates turned out to be highly inaccurate, with only 8% of claimants receiving accurate advance payments. A majority, 51%, had to repay some or all of the advance payments.

These figures reveal systemic problems in the PTC’s design. While the PTC’s function is to entice the uninsured to purchase insurance (and dive into insurance risk pools), reconciliation lurks as a financial danger for those who make the plunge. A shark is swimming in the pool.

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June 20, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nominations Sought: Best Law Mentors, Best New Lawyers

HUPFollowing up on his book, What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2013), Michael Hunter Schwartz (Dean, McGeorge) is seeking nominations for his two forthcoming books:

What the Best Law Mentors Do (Harvard University Press Forthcoming 2019):

We are looking for the best law mentors in America. Our goal is to find the mentors who transform junior lawyers’ careers and even lives, study those mentors in depth, understand why they are so effective, and, in so doing, synthesize a set of behaviors, attitudes, and habits of mind for the benefit of all the rest of us who aspire to be transformative mentors. We hope to produce a work that is a manual for mentors, a source of inspiration, and a tool that new and newer lawyers might use to find good mentors.

Our methodology will be qualitative: we will solicit nominations, gather evidence of nominees' excellence, pare the list to the most extraordinary legal mentors, and then study the mentors where they work, interviewing both the mentors and focus groups of current and former mentees. We also hope to observe mentoring interactions. The interviews and our notes will generate thousands of pages of data. We will sift that data, identify what the best mentors have in common and areas of important difference, and organize the book by the common themes. We plan to finish our research over the next three years and complete What the Best Law Mentors Do by January 2019.

What The Best New Lawyers Do (Harvard University Press Forthcoming 2019):

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June 20, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Herzfeld:  The Case Against BEPS

BEPS (2017)Mindy Herzfeld (Florida), The Case Against BEPS : Lessons for Coordination:

In 2013 the OECD, at the behest of the G20, embarked upon an ambitious project of coordinating and harmonizing countries’ international tax rules under the guise of curtailing multinational companies’ cross-border tax planning, generally referred to as base erosion and profit shifting, or BEPS. The project was finalized with great fanfare in October 2015. But the proclamations of success masked real underlying differences between participant countries. I argue that the project suffered from a number of flaws that that largely precluded effective coordination, as a result of which the project’s recommendations largely gloss over key differences in participants’ goals and commitments while doing nothing to solve the systemic problems it was seeking to address. For example, while a key stated goal of the project was to align the taxation of profits with value creation, there was no attempt made to define the location of value creation, nor to address the fact that this principle is fundamentally at odds with the arm’s length principle that serves as the backbone of transfer pricing rules.

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June 19, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hayashi Reviews Batchelder's Accounting For Behavioral Considerations In Business Tax Reform

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Andrew Hayashi (Virginia), Do Taxes Motivate Corporate Managers? (JOTWELL) (reviewing Lily Batchelder (NYU), Accounting for Behavioral Considerations in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing (2017)):

Tax scholarship is interdisciplinary. To evaluate tax policy it helps to know at least a little about economics, a little about philosophy, something about budget processes, and a lot about the dizzying creativity of the marketplace in exploiting loopholes and facilitating tax-advantaged transactions. In her recent article Accounting for Behavioral Considerations in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing, Lily Batchelder shows us that we must add financial accounting and firm (and corporate managers’) behavioral considerations to the mix.

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June 19, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Need For Better Eligibility Regulations In The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Federal Student AidGregory Crespi (SMU), The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: The Need for Better Eligibility Regulations:

People will start seeking tax-exempt debt forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLF”) program in October of 2017 after satisfying the requirements of 10 years of post-October 1, 2007 employment in a “public service job.” I estimate that eventually 200,000 people a year or more will obtain debt forgiveness under this program, at a total cost to the Treasury of $12 billion/year or more. Estimates are that up to one-quarter of all employment will qualify as a public service job.

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June 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Independent Accountant Confirms Financial Viability Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program

Florida Logo (GIF)Following up on my previous posts on Florida Law Prof Robert Rhee's remarkable critique of its graduate tax program (my perspective is here) and Dean Laura Rosenbury's ambitious plan to become a Top 35 law school (links below):  an independent accountant has issued an in-depth report on the finances of Florida's graduate tax program.  The report takes a detailed look at revenues and expenses, including the 10% overhead charge paid to the university and the method of allocating faculty compensation to the program.  As Dean Rosenbury notes in an email to the Florida tax community, the report "puts to rest concerns about the program's financial viability so long as we maintain or increase student enrollment."

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June 19, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

86% Of The Civil Legal Needs Of Low-Income Americans Are Unmet

LSCLegal Services Corp., The Justice Gap: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-income Americans:

The phrase “with liberty and justice for all” in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance represents the idea that everyone should have access to justice, not just those who can afford legal representation.In criminal cases, legal assistance is a right. Americans accused of a crime are appointed legal counsel if they cannot afford it. As a general matter, however, there is no right to counsel in civil matters. As a result, many low-income Americans “go it alone” without legal representation in disputes where they risk losing their job, their livelihood, their home, or their children, or seek a restraining order against an abuser.

This “justice gap” – the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs – has stretched into a gulf. State courts across the country are overwhelmed with unrepresented litigants. In 2015, for example, an estimated 1.8 million people appeared in the New York State courts without a lawyer. And we know that 98% of tenants in eviction cases and 95% of parents in child support cases were unrepresented in these courts in 2013. Comparable numbers can be found in courts across the United States. 

This study explores the extent of the justice gap in 2017, describing the volume of civil legal needs faced by low-income Americans, assessing the extent to which they seek and receive help, and measuring the size of the gap between their civil legal needs and the resources available to address these needs.

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June 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 18, 2017

As More States Kill Their Estate Taxes, Will The Push To Repeal The Federal Estate Tax Become Irresistible?

Wall Street Journal Tax Report, Why More States Are Killing Estate Taxes:

WSJ 2Want proof taxes can actually go down? In the past three years, nine states have eliminated or lowered their estate taxes, mostly by raising exemptions.

And more reductions are coming. Minnesota lawmakers recently raised the state’s estate-tax exemption to $2.1 million retroactive to January, and the exemption will rise to $2.4 million next year. Maryland will raise its $3 million exemption to $4 million next year. New Jersey’s exemption, which used to rank last at $675,000 a person, rose to $2 million a person this year. Next year, New Jersey is scheduled to eliminate its estate tax altogether, joining about a half-dozen others that have ended their estate taxes over the past decade.

This tax-cutting trend has been fueled by competition between the states for affluent and wealthy taxpayers. Such residents owe income taxes every year, but some are willing to move out of state to avoid death duties that come only once. Since the federal estate-and-gift tax exemption jumped to $5 million in 2011, adjusted for inflation, state death duties have stood out. ...

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June 18, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Charleston President Touts Rebirth Of Law School With 150% Enrollment Boost, Removal From DOE's 'Naughty List'; He Urges Graduates To Work As Policemen And Firemen

Charleston Logo (2017)Following up on my previous post, Charleston, Florida Coastal Law Schools Fail 'Gainful Employment' Test, Will Lose Federal Student Loans If They Fail Again Next Year; Three Other Law Schools In Danger Zone:  Post and Courier, Charleston School of Law Off U.S. Education Department's 'Naughty' List:

Several years after the Charleston School of Law became engulfed in chaos over a pending sale to a private company, its president says the institution has rebounded in enrollment and finances.

"The school is turning around quicker than anyone could imagine," President Ed Bell said Friday. "We literally thought it would take four to five years, but we've done it in less than two."

Bell noted that in October 2015, the school had only 82 members in its freshman class. Last year, that had climbed to 202, and he said he expects between 200 and 225 this fall. ...

Meanwhile, the law school's Financial Ratio Responsibility score — a federal benchmark of a school's financial health — rose from a failing minus 0.6 in 2014 and 2015, to 2.6 last year, he said. A school must score a 1.5 or higher to avoid getting on the department's so-called "naughty list." The Department of Education has not published its 2015-16 list.

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June 18, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN LogoThere is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #3:

  1. [223 Downloads]  Can New York Publish President Trump's State Tax Returns?, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago)
  2. [166 Downloads]  A Taxonomy for Tax Loopholes, by Heather Field (UC-Hastings)
  3. [163 Downloads]  The Rise and Fall of the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax: What Was That All About?, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  4. [137 Downloads]  Shareholder Wealth Effects of Border Adjustment Taxation, by Fabio B. Gaertner (Wisconsin), Jeffrey L. Hoopes (North Carolina) & Edward L. Maydew (North Carolina)
  5. [133 Downloads]  Why Don't White Supremacists Pay Taxes?, by Eric Franklin Amarante (UNLV)

June 18, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

12th Annual Junior Tax Scholars Workshop Concludes Today At Toronto

TorontoPanel #5:  Inequality

Daniel Hemel (Chicago), Gambling for Good
Commentators: Rebecca Morrow (Wake Forest), Erin Scharff (Arizona State)

Zach Liscow (Yale), How to Structure Transfers to Low-Income Americans
Commentators:  Andrew Hayashi (Virginia), Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto)

Goldburn Maynard (Lousiville), The Cold of Tax Justice
Commentators:  Allen Madison (South Dakota), Gabriel Shobe (BYU)

Orly Mazur (SMU), Taxing the Robot
Commentators:  Tessa Davis (South Carolina), Ari Glogower (Ohio State)

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June 17, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Professors Can Avoid The 'Summer Slump'

Chronicle of Higher Education, More Than a ‘Summer Slump’: How the Loss of Structure Affects Academics:

For nine months a year at research universities, instructors and students build communities from a transient group of academics unified by one thing: classes. Professors invest time in students, committees, and teaching; students invest time in their assignments. Pushed to the side are research projects, dissertations, authorial goals, and, often, social lives.

That changes in the summer. The fixed schedule disappears, the community disperses, and the work that has been building up over the school year can loom dangerously close to deadline. Although professors sometimes teach summer courses, those classes are often less time-intensive, leaving weeks of unregulated time between sessions.

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June 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new work by Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings), A Taxonomy for Tax Loopholes, 55 Hous. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2018). 

Glogower (2016)Heather Field’s new work introduces a taxonomy of different types of “tax loopholes,” to guide policymakers and the public, and to promote analytic rigor in the public discourse over tax policy. 

Field first demonstrates that the term has no independent and consistent meaning, other than as a vague pejorative (except when used by some advisors and clients proud to “beat the system”). This nebulous terminology, Field argues, impedes meaningful tax policy analysis, and the prospects for tax reform.  In order to bridge the gap between loophole rhetoric and substantive tax policy analysis, Field subsequently introduces a taxonomy of loopholes, divided along two axes.  First, tax loopholes may be categorized by reference to their normative policy objections. 

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June 16, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

12th Annual Junior Tax Scholars Workshop Kicks Off Today At Toronto

TorontoPanel #1:  The Family Unit

Christine Allie (Widener), Negating the Cost of “I Do”: Ending the U.S. Tax Code’s Family Penalty Through Permissive Joint Filing
Commentators:  Kathleen Delaney-Thomas (North Carolina), Sloan Speck (Colorado), 

Tessa Davis (South Carolina), Freezing the Future: Fertility, Choice, and Taxing State of the Art Reproductive Technologies
Commentators:  Pippa Browde (Montana), Erin Scharff (Arizona State)

Khrista Johnson (Pepperdine), The Offshore Whistle During Divorce: An Examination of the Whistleblower Program and Innocent Spouse Relief
Commentators:  Gabriel Schobe (BYU), Genevieve Tokić (Northern Illinois)

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June 16, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bilionis:  Bringing Purposefulness To Professional Identity Formation

Louis D. Bilionis (Cincinnati), Bringing Purposefulness to the American Law School's Support of Professional Identity Formation,  13 U. St. Thomas L.J. ___ (2017):

Ten years after the publication of Educating Lawyers, a growing number of American law schools are taking initiative to better support their students in the formation of professional identity. There is widespread recognition that success in these efforts requires an element of “purposefulness” on the part of law faculty and staff. Experiences, environments, and pedagogies that actually work for professional identity formation must be crafted and promoted with intentionality. Bringing the requisite purposefulness to the effort, however, will take a mindset about the education of a lawyer that will be new to many in legal education.

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June 16, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Call For Papers: Penn State Workshop On Property Implications Of The Sharing Economy

Penn State Logo (2016)Call for Papers, Property Implications of the Sharing Economy Workshop:

This workshop at Penn State Law (University Park) will bring together an interdisciplinary and transnational group of scholars to explore the many property implications of the sharing economy. The workshop is being co-organized by Dean Hari Osofsky, Penn State Law and School of International Affairs; Rashmi Dyal-Chand, Northeastern University School of Law; and Shelly Kreiczer-Levy, College of Law and Business, Ramat Gan, Israel. It is co-sponsored by Penn State Law, the AALS Property Section, and the AALS Commercial and Related Consumer Law Section.

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June 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lawsky:  Formalizing The Tax Code

Sarah B. Lawsky (Northwestern), Formalizing the Code, 70 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2017):

The Internal Revenue Code is notoriously complex, both substantively and structurally. This article examines one source of structural complexity in the Internal Revenue Code: dependency among sections that stems from defined terms. In particular, the article examines what it terms the problem of “definitional scope”: when the structure of the Code leaves unclear to what a term refers. The article uses the problem of definitional scope as a case study to suggest that those who draft tax legislation should formalize proposed statutory language — translate it into logical terms — prior to its enactment.

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

Newspaper Editorializes Against GOP Senate's 30% Cut To UNC Law School Budget As 'Petty Revenge Politics' Against Gene Nichol

North Carolina LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  News & Observer editorial, Cutting the UNC Law School Budget Is a Clumsy Attempt to Quiet a Critic:

The state Senate proposes to cut 30 percent of the school’s state appropriation, or $4 million. ... The proposed cut isn’t aimed at Martin Brinkley, the respected and affable dean who took over in 2015 after a successful career in corporate law. Brinkley is a North Carolinian who moves well among Republicans and Democrats and he’s most interested in preparing law students for careers.

Rather, the proposal seems to squarely target Gene Nichol, another unquestionably brilliant faculty member. ... That’s not responsible budgeting. It’s petty revenge politics, and at its worst, it’s a dangerous attempt to muffle free speech in a place where it should thrive. If anything, his outspokenness spurs more intelligent debate from the right as well as the left. ...

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June 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Kleinbard:  Business Taxes Reinvented — The Dual Business Enterprise Income Tax

Edward Kleinbard (USC), Business Taxes Reinvented: The Dual Business Enterprise Income Tax:

This short overview and accompanying term sheet summarize the key features of a proposed comprehensive business tax environment termed the Dual Business Enterprise Income Tax (the Dual BEIT). The term sheet format is a useful mode of presentation for capturing in one accessible document the major policy recommendations of the Dual BEIT (or any other comprehensive tax reform proposal).

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

Nick Mirkay Leaves Creighton For Hawaii

Bursting The Legal Scholarship Bubble: Some Retrograde Recommendations

BubbleFrank O. Bowman III (Missouri), Days of Future Past: A Plea for More Useful and More Local Legal Scholarship, in The Fate of Scholarship in American Law Schools (Cambridge University Press 2017):

Legal scholarship is at an inflection point because the legal education industry, to which legal scholarship is merely an internally overvalued appendage, is passing from a period of affluent abundance to a period of relative austerity. Scarcity stimulates self-examination.

This essay describes how the population explosion in American law schools during the 1990s and the simultaneous rise of the U.S. News rankings mania created a kind of tulip bubble in legal scholarship — a bubble that is rapidly, and properly, deflating. I make several concededly retrograde recommendations for dealing with a post-bubble world, including changing law school hiring practices to favor professors with more legal experience than has long been the fashion, assessing scholarship more by effect and less by placement, and devoting more of our scholarly attention to questions of state law and practice.

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June 15, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (37)

A Tax Dead on Arrival: Classical Liberalism, Inheritance, And Social Mobility

Åsbjørn Melkevik (Harvard), A Tax Dead on Arrival: Classical Liberalism, Inheritance, and Social Mobility:

Historically, it is safe to say that very few laws did as much to stoke inequality as laws touching descents and hereditary transmissions. This paper attempts to see if the classical liberal tradition can endorse inheritance taxation so as to further fair equality of opportunity, as well as to lessen inequality of undeserved wealth. It argues that fair equality of opportunity is a necessary feature of market societies to make sure that they remain competitive.

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pepperdine On Skid Row

URMOne of the great joys of my first two weeks as dean has been learning more about the incredible work being done by so many people at Pepperdine. Today, my wife, daughter, and I had the privilege of spending part of the day at our Legal Aid Clinic and Low Income Taxpayer Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Pepperdine faculty members and clinic directors Brittany Stringfellow Otey and Isai Cortez gave us an inspiring tour of the facilities and introduced us to current Pepperdine law students who are working at the clinics over the summer.  Our Director of Clinical Education Jeff Baker joined us for a wonderful lunch at mission-driven HomeGirl Cafe before our trek back to Malibu.

Students

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June 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah & Mazzoni:  The Trump Tax Reform Plan — Implications For Europe

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. 2017, Michigan), The Trump Tax Reform Plan: Implications for Europe:

On April 26, 2017, the Trump administration unveiled a one page tax reform outline (the “Trump Plan”) that differs significantly from the tax reform plan proposed in June, 2016 by the House Republicans (the “House Blueprint”). The two most important changes are deleting both the cash flow element and the destination based element of the House Blueprint. These changes have significant implications for European foreign direct investment (FDI) into the US and for US FDI into Europe.

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June 14, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shaviro:  The Rise And Fall Of The Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax

Daniel Shaviro (NYU), The Rise and Fall of the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax: What Was that All About? (Presentation Slides):

These slides, prepared for the keynote address at the Nordic Tax Research Council Annual Conference in Haikko Borga, Finland, on June 1, 2017, offer background regarding the reasons for the rise and fall of the destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT) as an apparently live legislative option. They place this saga in the broader context of the U.S.'s being the only major country without a value-added tax (VAT).

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

Del Wright Leaves Valparaiso For UMKC

WrightDel Wright (Valparaiso) has accepted a lateral offer to join the University of Missouri Kansas City Law School faculty. Del's recent publications include:

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June 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (2)

$110 Million Buys You Nothing At The University Of Wisconsin

WisconsinInside Higher Ed, A School Money Can't Buy:

The price to buy nothing has gone up over the last 10 years, and an exclusive group of donors is very interested in finding out what the next 10 will bring.

In the fall of 2007, the University of Wisconsin Madison announced an unusual naming partnership for its business school. A group of 13 donors made gifts totaling $85 million. In exchange, the Wisconsin School of Business would not change its name for a period of at least 20 years.

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June 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weidner:  Sarbanes-Oxley And The New FASB Rules On Accounting For Leases

Donald J. Weidner (Florida State), New FASB Rules on Accounting for Leases: A Sarbanes-Oxley Promise Delivered, 72 Bus. Law. 367 (2017):

Congress responded to the financial accounting scandals of the new millennium by enacting the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which required the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to study filings by issuers and report on the extent of off-balance sheet arrangements, particularly those involving leases. In 2005, the SEC reported that there “may be approximately $1.25 trillion in non-cancellable future cash obligations committed under operating leases that are not recognized on issuer balance sheets, but are instead disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.” Accordingly, the SEC Report requested the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) to craft new rules to record more lessee liabilities on the balance sheet. In 2016, the FASB issued sweeping new rules that affect virtually every firm that leases assets “such as real estate, airplanes, and manufacturing equipment.” In a dramatic change in approach, every lease for more than 12 months will be capitalized and recorded on the lessee’s balance sheet as reflecting both a “right of use asset” and a corresponding liability.

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Billion Dollar Blind Spot: How the U.S. Tax Code's Small Business Expenditures Impact Women Business Owners

BillionCaroline Bruckner (Kogod Tax Policy Center), Billion Dollar Blind Spot: How the U.S. Tax Code's Small Business Expenditures Impact Women Business Owners:

In 1976, the U.S. Census Bureau (Census) released its first ever report on the state of women's business ownership in the United States that counted 402,025 women-owned U.S. firms representing only 4.6% of all firms and 0.3% of all U.S. business receipts, as of 1972. Today, women-owned firms have increased to 11.3 million businesses representing 38% of all U.S. firms.

During this period of extraordinary growth, Congress has acted to promote women's business ownership by passing legislation designed to eliminate discriminatory lending practices and promote federal contracting and counseling opportunities for women business owners. At the same time, Congress has also worked to enhance the U.S. tax code (the "Code") to aid small businesses with tax expenditures that will cost U.S. taxpayers more than $255 billion in the next five years under current law.

However, at no point have policymakers looked at whether this will be money well spent when it comes to women business owners and the challenges they have growing their receipts and accessing capital.

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June 13, 2017 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Must Restructure. It Won't Be Easy.

Forbes, Law Schools Must Restructure. It Won't Be Easy.:

Law schools and firms have long had a symbiotic relationship. It’s not surprising, then, that they are are confronting similar challenges -- an outdated model; entrenched stakeholders that oppose change; declining demand; high cost; failure to deploy technology and process/project management to promote more efficient delivery of services; high customer dissatisfaction; and customers ‘voting with their feet.’ Their challenges are the inevitable result of a failure to adapt to a changed marketplace. Most law schools and law firms—apart from a handful of elites—have two options: differentiate or die.

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June 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

How Tax Policy Favors Robots Over Workers, And What To Do About It

Ryan Abbott (University of Surrey) & Bret N. Bogenschneider (University of Surrey), How Tax Policy Favors Robots over Workers and What to Do About It:

In an article forthcoming in the Harvard Law and Policy Review [Should Robots Pay Taxes? Tax Policy in the Age of Automation] we argue that existing tax policies encourage automation, even when a human worker would otherwise be more efficient than a machine. That’s because automating lets firms avoid wage taxes, which fund social benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Only with human workers are firms responsible for paying taxes on wages to the federal government (and sometimes additional wage taxes at the state or local level) based on an employee’s salary.

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June 13, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

More On The Declining Quality Of Law School Applicants

Correction:  This post originally contained inaccurate data.  I have deleted the inaccurate data and urge readers to see my later post, The Quantity And Quality Of Law School Applicants.

Following up on yesterday's post:

American Lawyer Media Morning Minute:
American Lawyer 2

 

 

 

June 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Avi-Yonah:  Territoriality And The Original Intent Of Subpart F

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Territoriality and the Original Intent of Subpart F:

On April 26, 2017, President Trump issued a one-page tax reform outline that included “territoriality,” i.e., exempting from tax dividends from the non-Subpart F income of controlled foreign corporations. Territoriality is also included in the House GOP “Better Way” Blueprint and was supported by the Obama Administration and in bipartisan legislation introduced in 2016 by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Thus, of all the current tax reform proposals, it may have the best chance of being enacted, especially given that it is linked with imposing some tax on the past offshore earnings of US multinationals.

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

Academic 'Mansplaining'

ManplainingInside Higher Ed, Academic 'Mansplaining' 101:

“Let her speak, please!” That’s what a member of the audience yelled at last weekend’s World Science Festival in New York during a panel on Pondering the Imponderables: The Biggest Questions of Cosmology. Video of the incident has since gone viral, with many calling it a prime example of "mansplaining" and general sexism.

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June 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Marian Presents The Making Of International Tax Law: Empirical Evidence From Natural Language Processing Today In Germany

Marian (2016)Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) presents The Making of International Tax Law: Empirical Evidence from Natural Language Processing (with Elliott Ash (Princeton)) at the University of Heidelberg today:

We offer the first attempt at empirically testing the level of transnational consensus on the legal language controlling international tax matters. We also investigate the institutional framework of such consensus-building. We build a dataset of 4,052 bilateral income tax treaties, as well as 16 model tax treaties published by the United Nations (UN), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United States. We use natural language processing to perform pair-wise comparison of all treaties in effect at any given year. We identify clear trends of convergence of legal language in bilateral tax treaties since the 1960s, particularly on the taxation of cross-border business income.

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June 12, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

People Are Bothered By Economic Unfairness, Not Economic Inequality

Nature: Why People Prefer Unequal Societies, by Christina Starmans (Yale), Mark Sheskin (Yale) & Paul Bloom (Yale):

There is immense concern about economic inequality, both among the scholarly community and in the general public, and many insist that equality is an important social goal. However, when people are asked about the ideal distribution of wealth in their country, they actually prefer unequal societies. We suggest that these two phenomena can be reconciled by noticing that, despite appearances to the contrary, there is no evidence that people are bothered by economic inequality itself. Rather, they are bothered by something that is often confounded with inequality: economic unfairness. Drawing upon laboratory studies, cross-cultural research, and experiments with babies and young children, we argue that humans naturally favour fair distributions, not equal ones, and that when fairness and equality clash, people prefer fair inequality over unfair equality. Both psychological research and decisions by policymakers would benefit from more clearly distinguishing inequality from unfairness.

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June 12, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

Water And Taxes

Dave Owen (UC-Hastings), Water and Taxes, 50 UC Davis L. Rev. 1559 (2017) (reviewed by David Gamage (Indiana) here):

This article considers how water consumption in the United States is and should be taxed. It reviews the few federal and state tax code provisions that directly target water use and the somewhat larger number of provisions with indirect implications for water policy. It also draws upon existing literature on tax policy, water law, and water economics to evaluate whether taxation of water consumption makes sense.

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June 12, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Proportion Of Law School Applicants By LSAT Bands

Correction:  This post originally contained inaccurate data.  I have deleted the inaccurate data and included corrected charts from my later post, The Quantity And Quality Of Law School Applicants.

Although the number of LSAT test-takers increased 3.3% in the Fall 2017 admissions season, the LSAC has announced that the number of law school applicants decreased 0.5%. The applicant decline continues to be most pronounced in the highest LSAT score bands:

Chart 1

Chart 2

 

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June 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Tulane Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Tulane (2015)Tulane University School of Law invites applications for several faculty positions beginning in the 2018-19 academic year:

Both lateral and entry-level candidates are welcome to apply. Although all subject areas will be considered, we are especially interested in candidates interested in teaching tax courses. Applicants must possess a J.D. or equivalent degree and have strong academic credentials. We are especially committed to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. Applications from women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and others whose background, experience, and viewpoints contribute to the diversity of our institution are encouraged.

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June 12, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Erin Scharff (Arizona State) reviews a new working paper by Jay Soled (Rutgers) and James Alm (Tulane), W(h)ither the Tax Gap?, 92 Wash. L. Rev. 521 (2017).

Scharff (2017)In their thoughtful new article, W(h)ither the Tax Gap?, Jay Soled and James Alm make a persuasive case that several economic trends are likely to narrow the tax gap in the near future.  As they note, such progress on tax compliance could play a significant role in closing the deficit. 

In particular, Soled and Alm highlight three trends that they suggest make it more likely that tax authorities will be able to improve compliance in the coming years.  First, the increasing reliance on electronic payments makes it more difficult for would-be tax cheats to hide income.  These days, even taxicabs, convenience stores, and valet attendants accept credit cards.  (Not to accuse all of these occupations of cheating, but those paid in cash can more easily hide their earnings.)  Second, as Soled and Alm observe, as the use of cash declines, “[t]hose who use cash, especially large denomination notes, will likely be flagged as potential tax evaders.”

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June 11, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)