TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, September 30, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) reviews a new paper on a topic of great concern to many law students:  Treasury Should Exclude Income from Discharge of Student Loans, by John R. Brooks (Georgetown), 152 Tax Notes 751 (Aug. 1, 2016).

Gamage (2016)As anyone who has taken the basic law school tax course should know, the doctrines surrounding discharge of indebtedness income are troubled and often incoherent.  I have found that law students are especially anxious about the possibility of having discharge of indebtedness income from the cancellation of student loans through the federal government’s Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay as You Earn (PAYE) programs.  (Note to tax law professor readers: these topics make great vehicles for teaching discharge of indebtedness doctrines!)

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September 30, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (2)

Mason Presents Citizenship Taxation Today At Florida

Mason (2015)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents Citizenship Taxation, 89 S. Cal. L. Rev. 169 (2016), at Florida today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner:

The United States is the only country that taxes its citizens’ worldwide income, even when those citizens live indefinitely abroad. This Article critically evaluates the traditional equity, efficiency, and administrability arguments for taxing nonresident citizens. It also raises new arguments against citizenship taxation, including that it puts the United States at a disadvantage when competing with other countries for highly skilled migrant.

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September 30, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Slemrod Presents The Impact Of Public Tax-Return Disclosure Today At Pennsylvania

SlemrodJoel Slemrod (Michigan) presents The Impact of Public Tax-Return Disclosure (with Jeffrey L. Hoopes (North Carolina) & Leslie Robinson (Dartmouth)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

We investigate the effect of public disclosure of information from corporate tax returns filed in Australia on consumers, investors, and the corporations themselves that were subject to disclosure. We find some evidence that, for firms subject to disclosure, consumer sentiment declines for relatively small private companies, and that investor reaction is negative for both Australian public firms and non-Australian public firms with Australian operations. Regarding firm behavior, we find evidence that some firms took action to avoid disclosure, adjusting their reported income in order to fall below the disclosure threshold. Other firms that did not avoid disclosure appear to have reported paying more in tax in the year of the disclosure.

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September 28, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Leiter Poll:  The Top 50 Law Faculties (Scholarly Distinction)

Top 50Brian Leiter (Chicago), 50 Best Law School Faculties in Terms of Scholarly Distinction, 2016 Edition:

Here's a list of 76 faculties that might have some claim on having one of the 50 strongest law faculties in terms of scholarly distinction (with apologies to any wrongly omitted).  Have fun!  Detailed ballot reporting will make attempts at strategic voting obvious, so don't!  I'll call out your school!  Remember, this is about the scholarly distinction of the faculties, so if all you know is the U.S. News rank, don't complete the survey, or choose "no opinion" for those schools! 

BAD BEHAVIOR WATCH:  Remarkably, 4  people have ranked Arizona State ahead of Yale!  I wonder where they teach? ...

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September 28, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Oei & Ring:  Can Sharing Be Taxed?

AUShu-Yi Oei (Tulane) & Diane Ring (Boston College), Can Sharing Be Taxed?, 93 Wash. U. L. Rev. 987 (2016):

In the past few years, we have seen the rise of a new model of production and consumption of goods and services, often referred to as the “sharing economy.” Fueled by startups such as Uber and Airbnb, sharing enables individuals to obtain rides, accommodations, and other goods and services from peers via personal computer or mobile application in exchange for payment. The rise of sharing has raised questions about how it should be regulated, including whether existing laws and regulations can and should be enforced in this new sector or whether new ones are needed.

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September 28, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Brooks:  Treasury Should Exclude Income From Discharge Of Student Loans

John R. Brooks (Georgetown), Treasury Should Exclude Income from Discharge of Student Loans, 152 Tax Notes 751 (Aug. 1, 2016):

There are several ways that a student loan borrower can have a federal student loan discharged. In some cases, that cancellation of student debt creates taxable income, but in others it does not. This Article argues that taxing cancellation of student debt undermines the purposes of loan discharge and income-driven repayment programs like IBR and PAYE. This Article further argues that, if Congress does not act to provide a clear exclusion, Treasury has sufficient statutory and common law authority to exclude that income, and that it should do so.

September 27, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Peroni Presents Defending Worldwide Taxation Today At Loyola-L.A.

Peroni (2015)Robert J. Peroni (Texas) presents Defending Worldwide Taxation and Addressing Inversions with a Shareholder-Based Definition of Corporate Residence, 2016 BYU L. Rev. ___ (with J. Clifton Fleming, Jr. (BYU) & Stephen Shay (Harvard)), at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

This article argues that a principled, efficient, and practical definition of corporate residence is necessary even if some form of corporate integration is adopted, and that such a definition is a key element in designing either a real worldwide or a territorial income tax system as well as a potential restraint on the inversion phenomenon. The article proposes that the United States adopt a shareholder-based definition of corporate residence that is structured as follows:

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September 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Batchelder:  Trump Plan Raises Taxes For Millions Of Low- And Middle-Income Families

Trump (2016-2)Lily L. Batchelder (NYU), Families Facing Tax Increases Under Trump's Latest Tax Plan:

Donald Trump’s latest tax plan would cost more than $5 trillion over 10 years. Trump claims his plan would cut taxes for every income group, with the largest tax cuts for working- and middle-class families. But despite its enormous price tag, his plan would actually significantly raise taxes for millions of low- and middle-income families with children, with especially large tax increases for working single parents.

This paper explains why Trump’s latest tax plan raises taxes on so many families and provides examples of how large these tax increases would be. I conservatively estimate that Trump’s plan would increase taxes for roughly 7.8 million families with minor children. These families who would pay more taxes represent roughly 20% of households with minor children and more than half of single parents. They include roughly 25 million individuals and 15 million children.

Washington Post, A New Study Says Trump Would Raise Taxes for Millions. Trump’s Campaign Insists He Won’t.:

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September 26, 2016 in Political News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Michelle Alexander Resigns From Ohio State Law Faculty For Seminary, Valuing 'Publicly Accessible Writing Over Academic Careerism'; Law Without 'A Moral Or Spiritual Awakening' Cannot Bring About Justice

Alexander 3Michelle Alexander, recipient of a 2016 Heinz Award ($250,000) for her work as "legal scholar, advocate, civil rights attorney and author of the seminal book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," has resigned from the Ohio State Law School faculty to teach and study at Union Theology Seminary in New York City:

I am walking away from the law. I’ve resigned my position as a law professor at Ohio State University, and I’ve decided to teach and study at a seminary. Why?

There is no easy answer to this question, and there are times I worry that I have completely lost my mind. Who am I to teach or study at a seminary? I was not raised in a church. And I have generally found more questions than answers in my own religious or spiritual pursuits. But I also know there is something much greater at stake in justice work than we often acknowledge. Solving the crises we face isn’t simply a matter of having the right facts, graphs, policy analyses, or funding. And I no longer believe we can “win” justice simply by filing lawsuits, flexing our political muscles or boosting voter turnout. Yes, we absolutely must do that work, but none of it — not even working for some form of political revolution — will ever be enough on its own. Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed and the hunger for power. American history teaches how these games predictably play out within our borders: Time and again, race gets used as the Trump Card, a reliable means of dividing, controlling and misleading the players so a few can win the game.

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September 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper and new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [387 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)
  2. [178 Downloads]  Transfer Pricing Money: The Chevron Case, by Richard J. Vann (Sydney) & Graeme S. Cooper (Sydney)
  3. [170 Downloads]  Financial Advisers Can't Overlook the Prudent Investor Rule, by Max M. Schanzenbach (Northwestern) & Robert H. Sitkoff (Harvard)
  4. [119 Downloads]  Taxation and Human Rights: A Delicate Balance, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. 2017, Michigan)
  5. [105 Downloads]  Law and Macroeconomics: The Law and Economics of Recessions, by Yair Listokin (Yale)

September 25, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new paper by Edward Kleinbard (USC), Capital Taxation in an Age of Inequality, the first installment of a two-part project proposing a new tax instrument, the Dual Business Enterprise Income Tax (BEIT).  Kleinbard’s current article explores the theory behind the Dual BEIT, while a subsequent follow up article will describe its technical operation.  

Glogower (2016)In brief, the Dual BEIT, which builds on Kleinbard’s prior proposals, operates as a single flat-rate tax on capital income, divided between an investor-level tax on normal returns, and a business-level tax on profits.  The investor-level tax is implemented through a tax on deemed normal returns to investments.  Businesses deduct a cost of capital allowance of the same normal return (regardless of whether the business is financed by debt or equity), resulting in a business-level tax on profits.

The article begins with a series of arguments justifying capital income taxation in general:  First, the classic optimal tax theory result that normal returns to saving should not be taxed has “no practical lessons to teach” in a world with inherited capital and gratuitous transfers.  Second, capital income taxation addresses increasing concerns with wealth and income concentration.  Third, taxing capital income taxes is necessary to raise revenue for public investment and social insurance programs.  Fourth, recent studies, including by the IMF and the OECD, suggest that reducing inequality may increase economic growth.

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September 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hillary Clinton Proposes Raising Estate Tax Rate From 40% To 65%

Clinton KaineWall Street Journal, Hillary Clinton Proposes 65% Top Rate for Estate Tax:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would levy a 65% tax on the largest estates and make it harder for wealthy people to pass appreciated assets to their heirs without paying taxes, expanding the list of tax increases she would impose on the top sliver of America’s affluent.

The estate-tax increase and other new proposals that Mrs. Clinton detailed on Thursday would generate $260 billion over the next decade, enough to pay for her plans to simplify small business taxes and expand the child tax credit, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget [more here], which advocates fiscal restraint.

In all, Mrs. Clinton would increase taxes by about $1.5 trillion over the next decade, increasing federal revenue by about 4%, though that new burden would be concentrated on relatively few households. There is at least a $6 trillion gap between her plan and the tax cuts proposed by her Republican rival Donald Trump.

The Clinton campaign changed its previous plan—which called for a 45% top rate—by adding three new tax brackets and adopting the structure proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the Democratic primaries. She would impose a 50% rate that would apply to estates over $10 million a person, a 55% rate that starts at $50 million a person, and the top rate of 65%, which would affect only those with assets exceeding $500 million for a single person and $1 billion for married couples.

CRFB

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September 23, 2016 in Political News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

NYU Symposium:  Human Rights And Tax In An Unequal World

HRThe two-day symposium on Human Rights and Tax in an Unequal World concludes today at NYU:

Session #3:   Beyond “Spillover”: North-South Dimensions of Tax and Tax Abuse

This panel will situate the discussion of tax abuse and human rights in its geopolitical context, addressing the differentiated responsibilities of the Global North and South for the causes and consequences of tax abuse, and the relationship between cross-border tax abuse and inter-State inequalities. Experts from the fields of tax and human rights will discuss the methodological challenges of assessing the extraterritorial impacts of tax policies and secrecy regimes, some of which were laid bare in recent attempts to conduct “spillover analyses” of laws and regulations in the Global North. How can studies capture the human rights consequences of the policies that enable cross-border tax abuse, including the gendered impacts? Panelists will explore options for enforcing global tax rules and holding actors accountable for tax abuses that affect human rights, including the potential role for domestic courts, as well as regional and international human rights bodies.

Session #4:  Private Actors and the Public Purse: The Roles of Corporations, Lawyers, and Accountants in Tax Abuse

Consumers and regulators are increasingly scrutinizing the practices of corporations that hide assets to avoid or minimize taxes paid on the benefits they reap from operating in various jurisdictions, and the responsibilities of the law firms (like Mossack Fonseca of Panama Papers fame) and accountants that facilitate such practices. Recent high-profile tax scandals have underscored the reputational risks of tax abuses and have made tax planning an issue of corporate social responsibility and business ethics. Some of the questions panelists will explore include: How realistic is it to expect serious reform of tax practices to come from private actors? Are efforts to encourage ‘good corporate tax behavior’ delaying compulsory measures by suggesting there is voluntary progress? How do human rights principles and policies bear on the ethical obligations of accountants and lawyers who work in the area of taxation? In what ways, if any, should considerations of human rights law affect the ethics of accountants and lawyers in this field?

Session #5:  The Responsibilities of Governments: The Case of Transparency

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September 23, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kahng Presents Who Owns Human Capital? At Emory

Kahng (2017)Lily Kahng (Seattle) presented Who Owns Human Capital?, 93 Wash. U. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Emory yesterday as part of its Faculty Colloquium Series:

This Article analyzes the tax law’s capital income preference through the lens of intellectual capital, an increasingly important driver of economic productivity whose value derives primarily from workers’ knowledge, experience and skills. The Article discusses how business owners increasingly are able to “propertize” labor into intellectual capital — to control their workers and appropriate the returns on their labor through the expansive use of intellectual property laws, contract and employment laws, and other legal mechanisms. The Article then shows how the tax law provides significant subsidies to the process of propertization and thereby contributes to the inequitable distribution of returns between business owners and workers. The Article’s analysis further reveals the tax law’s fundamental capital-labor distinction to be questionable, perhaps even illusory, an insight which has profound implications for the tax law.

September 22, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NYU Symposium:  Human Rights And Tax In An Unequal World

HRThe two-day symposium on Human Rights and Tax in an Unequal World kicks off today at NYU:

Session #1:  Are Human Rights Really Relevant to Tax?

This panel will ask a range of leading tax scholars and practitioners what relevance human rights law has or could have to the field of tax law. Do human rights matter to tax policy and practice? Are human rights laws and institutions relevant to understanding and regulating the global tax system? How do the core principles of the human rights regime—non-discrimination, equality, and dignity— inform thinking on the power to tax, the design of tax policies, and the implementation and enforcement of tax laws? Can human rights law help trace the line between permissible tax competition and impermissible interference with other States’ tax sovereignty? Panelists will discuss how tax experts are, or whether they should be, grappling with concepts of human rights and corresponding duties as they chart reforms of domestic and global tax policies, and what they need from the human rights community to do so.

Session #2:  The Human Rights Dimensions of Tax and Tax Abuse

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September 22, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Utah Law Prof: Impeach Trump Immediately If He Beats Clinton

Trump (2016-2)Christopher Peterson (Utah), Trump University and Presidential Impeachment:

In the final weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaign Donald J. Trump faces three lawsuits accusing him of fraud and racketeering. These ongoing cases focus on a series of wealth seminars called “Trump University” which collected over $40 million from consumers seeking to learn Trump’s real estate investing strategies. Although these consumer protection cases are civil proceedings, the underlying legal elements in several counts that plaintiffs seek to prove run parallel to the legal elements of serious crimes under both state and federal law. This essay provides a legal analysis of whether Trump’s alleged behavior would, if proven, rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the presidential impeachment clause of the United States Constitution.

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September 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (9)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Duff Presents Dworkinian Equality And Redistributive Taxation Today At Toronto

Duff (2016)David Duff (British Columbia) presents Tax Policy and the Virtuous Sovereign: Dworkinian Equality and Redistributive Taxation at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Among the purposes of a tax system, it is generally accepted that one role is to implement a society’s conception of distributive justice. Indeed, if justice is, as John Rawls famously declared, “the first virtue of social institutions,” distributive justice may properly be regarded as the first or sovereign virtue of a society’s tax system – to which a virtuous sovereign should properly attend.

This article reviews Ronald Dworkin’s theory of distributive justice as equality of resources and its implications for redistributive taxation. Part II examines the theory itself in contrast to other prominent theories of distributive justice, arguing that Dworkin’s approach provides a more compelling conception of distributive justice than welfare-based theories that do not take rights and responsibilities seriously, Rawlsian theory which is insufficiently attentive to individual rights and responsibilities, and classical libertarianism which fails to take equality seriously.

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September 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Buchanan Presents Social Security, Inequality, And Younger Generations Today At Northwestern

BuchananNeil Buchanan (George Washington) presents Social Security, Inequality, and Younger Generations at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Are older generations of Americans using Social Security to enrich themselves at the expense of their children and grandchildren? To listen to the public debate in the United States, one could be forgiven for thinking so. Derogatory labels for older people, such as “greedy geezers,” have become common in the American political debate, with news commentators, politicians, and even the popular culture chiming in with claims that older Americans are the cause of otherwise-solvable budget problems, and more generally that they are a cohort of selfish retirees and near-retirees who refuse to give up their excessive government-provided benefits, which will inevitably lead to disastrous outcomes for the generations to follow.

September 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Zidar Presents Business In The United States: Who Owns It And How Much Tax Do They Pay? Today At Columbia

ZidarOwen Zidar (Chicago) presents Business in the United States: Who Owns It and How Much Tax Do They Pay? (with Michael Cooper, John McClelland, James Pearce, Richard Prisinzano, Joseph Sullivan (all of the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Tax Analysis), Danny Yagan (UC-Berkeley), & Eric Zwick (Chicago)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

"Pass-through" businesses like partnerships and S-corporations now generate over half of U.S. business income and account for much of the post-1980 rise in the top-1% income share. We use administrative tax data from 2011 to identify pass-through business owners and estimate how much tax they pay. We present three findings. (1) Relative to traditional business income, pass-through business income is substantially more concentrated among high-earners. (2) Partnership ownership is opaque: 20% of the income goes to unclassifiable partners, and 15% of the income is earned in circularly owned partnerships. (3) The average federal income tax rate on U.S. pass-through business income is 19%--much lower than the average rate on traditional corporations. If pass-through activity had remained at 1980's low level, strong but straightforward assumptions imply that the 2011 average U.S. tax rate on total U.S. business income would have been 28% rather than 24%, and tax revenue would have been approximately $100 billion higher.

Owen Zidar (Chicago), Pass-Through Income and The Top 1%:

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September 20, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Starstruck States Squander $10 Billion In Film Tax Incentives Producing Minimal Economic Returns

Starstruck States Squander Millions of Tax Dollars on Film Productions, USC Study Finds; Tax Incentives Handed to Filmmakers Offer Minimal Return in Terms of Job or Wage Growth Yet Some States Opt to Outbid Each Other for Films:

Nearly all 50 states have lured Hollywood productions with millions of dollars in special tax incentives for filmmaking, but new USC research shows the incentives fail to deliver the long-term economic benefits promised by industry lobbyists and lawmakers.

“The incentives are a bad investment. States pour millions of tax dollars into a program that offers little return,” said lead author Michael Thom, an assistant professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy who specializes in public finance. “We looked at job growth, wage growth, states’ share of the motion picture industry and the industry’s output in each state. On average, the only benefits were short-term wage gains, mostly to people who already work in the industry. Job growth was almost nonexistent. Market share and industry output didn’t budge.” ...

USC 1

The five states with the greatest cumulative investment in the motion picture tax credits:

  1. New York, $2.6 billion (enacted 2004)
  2. Louisiana, $1.5 billion (enacted 2002)
  3. Connecticut, $614 million (enacted 2006)
  4. California, $582 million (enacted 2009)
  5. Georgia, $529 million (enacted 2005)

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September 20, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Gamage & Shanske:  The Federal Government's Power To Restrict State Taxation

David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) & Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), The Federal Government's Power to Restrict State Taxation, 81 State Tax Notes 547 (Aug. 15, 2016):

This essay evaluates the limits on the U.S. federal government’s powers to restrict the taxing powers of state governments. The essay revisits earlier debates on this question to consider the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and also academic research on the problem of tax cannibalization.

September 20, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Alstott Presents A New Deal For Old Age: Toward A Progressive Retirement Today At Loyola-L.A.

AAAnne Alstott (Yale) presents A New Deal for Old Age: Toward a Progressive Retirement at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

A growing chorus of policy analysts is calling for an increase in the Social Security retirement age. Even staunch defenders of Social Security have begun to concede that the retirement age of 66 is too low, in light of the increasing longevity, improving health, and expanding work options of older Americans. Still, some progressives worry that the only way to protect disadvantaged workers is to leave the early and full retirement ages as they are. The result is a debate that pits intergenerational fairness against intragenerational fairness: either we shortchange the young (by paying unneeded benefits to the old) or else we shortchange the disadvantaged (by raising the retirement age to levels that are unrealistic for low-earners).

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September 19, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Take On Robert Rhee's Critique Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program

Florida Logo (GIF)I read with great interest Robert Rhee's 24-page critique of Florida's graduate tax program, the reaction by Florida Law Profs Marty McMahon and Jeff Harrison and a reader of this blog, and Rhee's defense of his letter (as well as the 35 comments, including by Florida Prof Michelle Jacobs; Tax Profs Linda Beale, Erik Jensen, and Mike Livingson; and Law Profs Orin Kerr and Jason Yackee).  Although I was a visiting professor at Florida many years ago and have many friends on the Florida tax faculty, I have no first-hand knowledge of the state of affairs in Gainesville.  I disagree with several aspects of Rhee's letter (e.g., Rhee claims that Florida is the most expensive high quality graduate tax program in the country because "NYU and Georgetown are 100% online" — like several programs, NYU and Georgetown offer both residential and online tax LL.M.s (NYU and Georgetown dub their online degrees "Executive LL.M.s" to distinguish them from their residential LL.M. degrees); Alabama is the only school to offer an exclusively online tax LL.M.).

I want to focus here on Rhee's criticism of the Florida tax faculty's scholarly bona fides.  I have served as associate dean for research at two law schools and have thought quite a bit about the role of law faculty in today's legal education landscape and expressed those views in multiple blog posts, as well as in several law review articles and presentations (listed below).  Rhee's discussion of the Florida tax faculty's scholarly performance considers only one of the several metrics for measuring law faculty scholarship and ignores other aspects of faculty contributions to law school success.

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September 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [414 Downloads]  The True Economic Effects of Corporate Inversions, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  2. [370 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)
  3. [342 Downloads]  Executive Pay: What Worked? , by Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple)
  4. [146 Downloads]  Financial Advisers Can't Overlook the Prudent Investor Rule, by Max M. Schanzenbach (Northwestern) & Robert H. Sitkoff (Harvard)
  5. [141 Downloads]  Transfer Pricing Money: The Chevron Case, by Richard J. Vann (Sydney) & Graeme S. Cooper (Sydney)

September 18, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Polsky Presents Elite Tax Professionals And The Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga Today at Florida

Polsky (2015)Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Elite Tax Professionals Behaving Badly: The Sad and Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga at Florida today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner:

For at least the past 15 years, many private equity fund managers have used a technique—known as a management fee waiver—to try to claim their salaries as capital gains. Recently, the Treasury and IRS explained that, at least in the government’s view, the vast majority of fee waivers do not actually provide the claimed tax result. Reports of recent audit activity relating to fee waivers suggest that the fee waiver saga may finally be coming to an end, but not before billions of dollars of tax revenues have been permanently lost.

While much has been written on the substantive legal issues surrounding fee waivers, there has been no discussion of the prominent role that leading tax professionals have played in drafting, justifying, and defending fee waivers. This article discusses this sad and sordid aspect of the fee waiver saga. It is not a pretty picture.

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September 16, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Daniel Hemel (Chicago) discusses two articles recently posted to SSRN—one by Yair Listokin (Yale), the other by Thomas Brennan (Harvard) and Alvin Warren (Harvard)—which offer illuminating (and divergent) perspectives on the role of realization and deferral in a low interest rate environment.

HemelListokin’s contribution, How To Think About Income Tax When Interest Rates Are Zero, 151 Tax Notes 959 (May 16, 2016), begins with the observation that “[t]he significance of many of income tax law’s core concepts depends on the interest rate.” One example is the realization requirement: Listokin writes that “[w]ith interest rates at zero, the government is indifferent as to whether a taxpayer realizes income now or in the future—as long as the taxpayer’s tax rate is constant across years.” As a result, Listokin says, the tax curriculum and tax law scholarship should focus less on doctrines like the realization requirement that affect the timing of tax payments, and more on doctrines like stepped-up basis that affect the rate at which (and amount on which) tax is paid.

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September 16, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harvard Business School:  Problems Unsolved And A Nation Divided — The State Of U.S. Competitiveness 2016

ProblemsHarvard Business School:  Problems Unsolved and a Nation Divided: The State of U.S. Competitiveness 2016, by Michael E. Porter, Jan W. Rivkin & Mihir A. Desai (with Manjari Raman):

Harvard Business School (HBS) launched the U.S. Competitiveness Project in 2011 as a multi-year, fact-based effort to understand the disappointing performance of the American economy, its causes, and the steps needed by business and government to restore economic growth and prosperity shared across all Americans. We draw on surveys of HBS alumni and the general public to solicit views about the state of U.S. competitiveness as well as the steps needed to restore it.

This report provides an overview of our findings on the evolution of the U.S. economy, the state of U.S. competitiveness in 2016, and priorities for the next President and Congress, drawing on our research and the May–June 2016 surveys of alumni and the general public.

While a slow recovery is underway, fundamentally weak U.S. economic performance continues and is leaving many Americans behind. The federal government has made no meaningful progress on the critical policy steps to restore U.S. competitiveness in the last decade or more. ...

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September 16, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lederman Presents Does Enforcement Crowd Out Voluntary Tax Compliance? Today At Boston College

Ledderman (2016)Leandra Lederman (Indiana) presents To What Extent Does Enforcement Crowd Out Voluntary Tax Compliance? at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti and Diane Ring:

Governments commonly use deterrence methods, such as audits and the imposition of penalties, to foster compliance with tax laws. Although this approach is consistent with economic modeling of tax compliance, some scholars caution that deterrence may backfire, “crowding out” intrinsic motivations to pay taxes and thus reducing compliance. This article analyzes the evidence to date to determine the extent of such an effect. Field studies suggest that deterrence tools, such as audits, generally are highly effective at increasing tax collections but that crowding out may occur in some contexts, with respect to certain subgroups of taxpayers. The article argues that more field studies on compliant taxpayers are needed but that the existing evidence suggests that tax collectors should be careful with the explicit and implicit messages they give taxpayers, so as not to undermine the generally positive effects on compliance of enforcement of the tax laws.

Update:  Shu-Yi Oei blogs the workshop here.

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September 15, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Capital Without Borders: Wealth Managers And The One Percent

CapitalFollowing up on my previous post, Inside The Secretive World Of Tax-Avoidance Experts:  Brooke Harrington (Copenhagen Business School),  Capital Without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent (Harvard University Press Sept. 2016) (review here):

How do the one percent hold on to their wealth? And how do they keep getting richer, despite financial crises and the myriad of taxes on income, capital gains, and inheritance? Capital Without Borders takes a novel approach to these questions by looking at professionals who specialize in protecting the fortunes of the world’s richest people: wealth managers. Brooke Harrington spent nearly eight years studying this little-known group—including two years training to become a wealth manager herself. She then “followed the money” to the eighteen most popular tax havens in the world, interviewing practitioners to understand how they helped their high-net-worth clients avoid taxes, creditors, and disgruntled heirs—all while staying just within the letter of the law.

Capital Without Borders reveals how wealth managers use offshore banks, shell corporations, and trusts to shield billions in private wealth not only from taxation but from all manner of legal obligations. And it shows how practitioners justify their work, despite evidence that it erodes government authority and contributes to global inequality.

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September 15, 2016 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kleinbard:  Capital Taxation In An Age Of Inequality

Edward D. Kleinbard (USC), Capital Taxation in an Age of Inequality:

The standard view in the U.S. tax law academy remains that capital income taxation is both a poor idea in theory and completely infeasible in practice. But this ignores the first-order importance of political economy issues in the design of tax instruments. The pervasive presence of gifts and bequests renders moot the claim that the results obtained by Atkinson and Stiglitz (1976) counsel against taxing capital income in practice.

Taxing capital income is responsive to important political economy exigencies confronting the United States, including substantial tax revenue shortfalls relative to realistic government spending targets, increasing income and wealth inequality at the top end of distributions, and the surprising persistence of dynastic wealth. It also responds to a new strand of economic literature that argues that “inclusive growth” leads to higher growth.

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September 14, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clausing:  Strengthening The Indispensable U.S. Corporate Tax

Kimberly A. Clausing (Reed College), Strengthening the Indispensable U.S. Corporate Tax:

The U.S. system of corporate taxation is in desperate need of reform. Observers note that both the high statutory rate (35 percent) and the purported “worldwide” nature of our system place the U.S. system out of line with those of our trading partners. This characterization is misleading because it contradicts the underlying reality. Under the current U.S. corporate tax system, effective tax rates are far lower than statutory rates, and the foreign incomes of multinational firms often face a lighter burden than they would under the tax systems of our trading partners. A key goal of potential reforms to U.S. corporate taxation should be to better align the tax system’s stated features with its true characteristics.

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September 14, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Avi-Yonah & Shaviro:  Human Rights And Tax In An Unequal World

HRDaniel Shaviro (NYU), Interrogating the Relationship between 'Legally Defensible' Tax Planning and Social Justice:

This article, prepared for presentation on September 23, 2016 at a conference at NYU Law School, organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and entitled Human Rights and Tax in an Unequal World, mainly takes the form of a dialogue between two fictional individuals. The conclusions that the discussants reach (insofar as they are able to agree) can be summarized as follows:

Large-scale tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and large companies that is legally defensible under relevant national tax laws can nonetheless have major adverse effects on social justice and/or public morale. However, its legal defensibility complicates analyzing its ethical implications, as compared to the more straightforward case of committing tax fraud. Legal defensibility also complicates the analysis of the extent to which human rights advocates should focus on such desiderata as “good corporate tax behavior” and the ethics of tax professionals.

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September 13, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Tax Papers And Panels: Law & Society Annual Meeting

Mexico CityNeil Buchanan (George Washington) has issued his annual call for tax papers and panels for next year's annual meeting of the Law & Society Association in Mexico City (June 20-23, 2017):

For the thirteenth year in a row, I will organize sessions for the the Law, Society, and Taxation group (Collaborative Research Network 31).  New this year, I am joined in my organizational efforts by Professors Jennifer Bird-Pollan and Mirit Eyal-Cohen.

Although there is an official call for papers, please remember that you are not bound by the official theme of the conference.  We will give full consideration to proposals in any area of tax law, tax policy, distributive justice, interdisciplinary approaches to tax issues, and so on.

Good news:  Law & Society now only requires a 1500- to 3000-character description of your topic.  This is less demanding than last year’s new 6000 character requirement, which was the subject of many (well founded) complaints.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, October 19, 2016.  To submit your proposal, please follow the instructions immediately below.

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September 13, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Viswanathan:  The Hidden Costs Of Cliff Effects In The Internal Revenue Code

Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings), The Hidden Costs of Cliff Effects in the Internal Revenue Code, 164 U. Pa. L. Rev. 931 (2016):

Cliff effects in the Internal Revenue Code trigger a sudden increase of federal tax liability when some attribute of a taxpayer—most commonly income—exceeds a particular threshold value. As a result, two taxpayers in nearly identical economic situations can face considerably different tax liabilities depending on which side of the triggering criterion they fall. The magnitude of the equity and efficiency costs associated with cliff effects is significant: cliff effects are attached to tax provisions amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, the majority of which are targeted at low- and moderate-income taxpayers.

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September 13, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Five Myths About Economic Inequality In America

CatoMichael D. Tanner (Cato Institute), Five Myths about Economic Inequality in America:

Over the past several years, economic inequality has risen to the forefront of American political consciousness. Politicians, pundits, and academics paint a picture of a new Gilded Age in which a hereditary American gentry becomes ever richer, while the vast majority of Americans toil away in near-Dickensian poverty. As economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman puts it, “Describing our current era as a new Gilded Age or Belle Époque isn’t hyperbole; it’s the simple truth.” Political candidates have leapt on the issue. ...

It’s a compelling political narrative, one that can be used to advance any number of policy agendas, from higher taxes and increases in the minimum wage to trade barriers and immigration restrictions. But it is fundamentally wrong, based on a series of myths that sound good and play to our emotions and sense of fairness, but that don’t hold up under close scrutiny.

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September 13, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Presents Taxpayer Rights, Social Psychology And The EITC Today At Loyola-L.A.

BookLes Book (Villanova) presents Thinking About Taxpayer Rights and Social Psychology to Improve Administration of the EITC at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

The IRS is a reluctant but key player in delivering social benefits to the nation’s working poor. The earned income tax credit (EITC) is generally praised for its role in reducing poverty and incentivizing low-wage work. While the EITC has generally received bipartisan support, the IRS faces strong criticism over EITC compliance issues. Opponents focus on headline-generating reports of improper payments and a characterization of errors as likely due to fraud. Advocates look to the intersection of legal complexity and the characteristics of recipients as the main driver of error and the relatively low share of the tax gap that is attributable to refundable credits in general and the EITC in particular.

The current compliance challenge presents an opportunity to think about the compliance problem differently than before.

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September 12, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

JFK & Reagan Provide Path Toward Brighter Economic Future: Bipartisan Tax Cuts

JFKWall Street Journal op-ed: Return to JFK’s ‘Rising Tide’ Model: Kennedy and Reagan Both Spurred Growth Through Bipartisan Tax Cuts. That’s Just What Is Needed Now., by Lawrence Kudlow & Brian Domitrovic (co-authors, JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity” (Sept. 6, 2016)):

since 2000, U.S. economic output has inched along at a rate of 1.8% a year, an astoundingly low number almost half of the long-term average of over 3%. This is not the way America is supposed to be. The United States has regularly achieved more than 3% economic growth as a matter of course, as it has led the global industrial and technological revolutions with millions of new jobs, entrepreneurial wonders and mass prosperity in tow.

The two greatest political figures in America since World War II staked their presidencies on economic growth: John F. Kennedy in the 1960s and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Kennedy was the pioneer. When Reagan rallied to the cause of growth 20 years later, he did so explicitly following Kennedy’s “a rising tide lifts all boats” model. ...

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September 12, 2016 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Estate Tax

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper and new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [411 Downloads]  The True Economic Effects of Corporate Inversions, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  2. [340 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)
  3. [323 Downloads]  Executive Pay: What Worked? , by Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple)
  4. [208 Downloads]  Framework for U.S. Transfer Pricing Analysis Under Treasury Regulation Section 1.482 and the OECD Guidelines Compared , by William Byrnes (Texas A&M) & Robert Cole (Deceased)
  5. [165 Downloads]  Ten Observations Concerning International Tax Policy, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

September 11, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Federal College Tax Credits Cost $32 Billion/Year And Have Zero Effect On Applications Or Enrollment

Peter Bergman (Columbia), Jeffrey T. Denning (BYU) & Dayanand Manoli (Texas), Is Information Enough? Evidence from a Tax Credit Information Experiment with 1,000,000 Students:

This study examines the effect of information about tax credits for college using a sample of over 1 million students or prospective students in Texas. We sent emails and letters to students that described tax credits for college and tracked college outcomes. We find that for all three of our samples—already enrolled students, students who had previously applied to college but were not currently enrolled, and rising high school seniors—that information about tax credits for college did not affect reenrollment, application, and enrollment respectively.

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September 10, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) reviews a new paper by Dave Owen (UC-Hastings), Water and Taxes, 50 UC Davis L. Rev. ___ (2016):

Gamage (2016)The article begins by reviewing the basics of both water law and tax law, to explain that there are currently only modest interactions.  Water rights are indeed taxed, especially by state and local property tax regimes.  Yet the article explains that the ways in which water rights are currently taxed do not serve to meaningfully address concerns about inadequate water conservation.  The article thus proposes more robustly taxing water rights as a means for achieving better water conservation.

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September 9, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Corporate Inversions Benefit CEOs More Than Shareholders

Cato at Liberty:  Corporate Inversions, by Peter Van Doren:

Among industrialized countries, the United States has the highest official corporate tax rate and one of the highest effective tax rates. To take advantage of lower taxes in other countries, some U.S. firms elect to sell themselves to smaller foreign firms, a process called “inversion.”

For shareholders of those firms, the tax consequences of inversions are complicated. Some are harmed by the move while others benefit. Individual shareholders, who own shares in taxable accounts, are taxed on the increased value of their shares. This can result in different tax outcomes from inversions for shareholders who have held the stock for a long time prior to the inversion and short-term shareholders (including corporate officers exercising company stock options).

In the summer issue of Regulation, I described a new research paper that investigates 73 inversions that occurred from 1983 to 2014 [Anton Babkin (Wisconsin), Brent Glover (Carnegie Mellon) & Oliver Levine (Wisconsin), Are Corporate Inversions Good for Shareholders?]. For those investors who had owned stock for three years, half of the inversions resulted in a negative return. So if many long-term shareholders lose money on inversions, why do they occur?

The answer appears to be that corporate executives gain from inversions even if shareholders lose.

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September 9, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tax Development Journal Publishes New Issue

TDJ4The Tax Development Journal of California State University, Northridge (a double-blind, peer-reviewed journal), has published Volume 6 (Fall 2016):

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September 8, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hackney Presents Labor Unions And Tax Exemption Today At Northwestern

HackneyPhilip Hackney (LSU) presents Subsidizing the Heavenly Chorus: Labor Unions and Tax Exemption at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Labor interests are historically politically weak in our US democracy. They face classic collective action problems. Laborers are great in number, do not have strong political skills, and are unlikely to recoup the cost of participating in labor union activity. Without assistance, we should expect labor interests to engage in limited and sporadic organized political efforts. This presents big problems for a modern democratic state that depends upon organized interests to represent the interests of its citizens. This Article examines the impact of our federal income tax system on labor interests in the context of the provision of tax exemption to labor unions and the deduction of labor union dues.

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September 7, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through September 1, 2016) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

58,913

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

10,432

2

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

33,576

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

4860

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

31,985

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3544

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

27,864

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2769

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

26,435

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2336

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

22,843

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

2217

7

James Hines (Michigan)

22,048

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

2057

8

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

21,281

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

2032

9

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

21,234

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

2016

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

20,689

Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)

1967

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

19,198

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1868

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

18,560

Chris Hoyt (UMKC)

1866

13

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

17,851

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1794

14

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

17,234

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1779

15

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

17,206

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1749

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

17,122

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1708

17

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

16,836

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1506

18

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

16,680

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1505

19

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

16,398

Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)

1419

20

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

16,167

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1407

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

15,873

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1383

22

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

15,698

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1362

23

David Walker (Boston Univ.)

15,231

Richard Kaplan (Illinos)

1329

24

Steven Bank (UCLA)

13,802

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1213

25

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

13,254

Stephen Shay (Harvard)

1203

Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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September 7, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Call For Papers:  Iowa-ACTEC Symposium On Wealth Transfer Law In Comparative And International Perspective

IowaACTECThe University of Iowa College of Law and American College of Trust and Estate Counsel have issued a Call for Papers for a symposium on Wealth Transfer Law in Comparative and International Perspective, to be held at the University of Iowa College of Law on Friday, September 8, 2017, with the papers to be published in the Iowa Law Review:

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September 6, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Perdue:  Law Schools, Universities, And The Challenge Of Moving A Graveyard

Rethinking 2Wendy Collins Perdue (Dean, Richmond), Law, Universities, and the Challenge of Moving a Graveyard, 50 U. Rich. L. Rev. Online 3 (2015) (reviewing Carel Stolker, Rethinking the Law School: Education, Research, Outreach and Governance (Cambridge University Press 2015)):

The last five years have been difficult ones for American legal education. With applications to law schools declining 40% nationally, many schools are struggling to maintain quality in the face of significant budgetary pressures. But one component of the legal-education world has been robust: there is a boom market in books, articles, reports, websites, and blogs filled with criticism and even anger at the current state of legal education. There are many villains in these narratives—greedy universities that suck resources, self-absorbed faculty who are indifferent to their students, and dishonest deans willing to misrepresent their current reality—and many victims—duped college graduates and lawyers leading miserable lives of tedium, long hours, and depression.

Against this dark narrative genre, Carel Stolker’s new book, Rethinking the Law School, stands in sharp contrast. Having been both a law school dean and university president at Leiden University in The Netherlands, Stolker brings the perspective of a dean who has sought to innovate, and of a university president who has dealt with the political, academic, financial, and managerial complications of a modern university. The book offers a broad look at legal education around the world, along with a thoughtful exposition of the challenges facing law schools and law deans. Stolker is no cheerleader for the current state of legal education, but recognizing that “the nature, content and quality of legal education is a subject that flares up frequently and dies down again,” he approaches the issues without the shrillness and anger that characterize some of the current commentary. He also leavens his realism with some welcomed humor, noting, for example that “changing a university is like moving a graveyard, you get no help from the people inside.” ...

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September 6, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's, with some reshuffling of the order of the papers within the Top 5:

  1. [491 Downloads]  Dark Pools, High-Frequency Trading, and the Financial Transaction Tax: A Solution or Complication?, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  2. [398 Downloads]  The True Economic Effects of Corporate Inversions, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  3. [320 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)
  4. [306 Downloads]  Executive Pay: What Worked? , by Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple)
  5. [244 Downloads]  The Trojan Horse of Corporate Integration, by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC)

September 4, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new paper by Daniel Hemel (Chicago) and Kyle Rozema (Northwestern), Inequality and the Mortgage Interest Deduction, forthcoming in the Tax Law Review:

Glogower (2016)Hemel and Rozema ask a question that we thought was well settled: What are the distributional consequences of repealing the mortgage interest deduction (“MID”)? Their conclusion (spoiler alert): It depends.

The article is important in two respects. First, it introduces a more sophisticated analysis of the distributional consequences from repealing (or limiting) the MID and other tax preferences. Through this exercise, the article also adds empirical perspective to the choices for measuring progressivity in tax reforms.

Building on David Kamin’s work on progressivity in tax reforms, the article begins with a result we’ll call the “Tax Burden Paradox”: Repealing a tax preference that provides a larger benefit to high-income taxpayers in dollar terms may in fact decrease those taxpayers’ share of society’s total tax burden.  Consider the article’s example of a two-household society, one rich with pretax income of $100, and one poor with pretax income of $50, and progressive rates that tax the first $50 of income at 20%, and additional income at 40%.  The rich and poor households pay $12 and $9, respectively, in mortgage interest. With the MID, the rich household pays $25.20 in taxes, or 75.4% of the society’s total $33.40 tax burden. If the MID is repealed, the rich household pays $30 in taxes, for a reduced 75% share of the society’s total $40 tax burden.

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September 2, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mazur: Transfer Pricing Challenges In The Cloud

CloudOrly Mazur (SMU), Transfer Pricing Challenges in the Cloud, 57 B.C. L. Rev. 643 (2016):

Cloud computing — the provision of information technology resources in a virtual environment — has fundamentally changed how companies operate. Companies have quickly adapted by moving their businesses to the cloud, but international tax standards have failed to follow suit. As a result, taxpayers and tax administrations confront significant tax challenges in applying outdated tax principles to this new environment. One particular area that raises perplexing tax issues is the transfer pricing rules. The transfer pricing rules set forth the intercompany price a cloud service provider must charge an affiliate using its cloud services, which ultimately affects in which jurisdiction the company’s profits are taxed. This Article argues that the fundamental features of cloud computing exacerbate some of the more difficult transfer pricing problems that already exist.

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September 2, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)