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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kadet: Attacking Profit Shifting — The Approach Everyone Forgets

Jeffery M. Kadet (University of Washington), Attacking Profit Shifting: The Approach Everyone Forgets, 148 Tax Notes 193 (July 15, 2015):

Kadet uses hypothetical but realistic examples to show how the IRS could combat profit shifting by directly taxing the effectively connected income of controlled foreign corporations. He also urges Treasury to update the ECI regulations as soon as possible to reflect current technology and modern business models and practices. 

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July 29, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why All Attorneys Should Learn About Entrepreneurship In Law School

EntJ. Mark Phillips (Belmont), Entrepreneurial Esquires in the New Economy: Why All Attorneys Should Learn About Entrepreneurship in Law School, 8 J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L. 59 (2014):

As the legal industry continues to recover from the shock of the recent recession, it finds itself in a fundamentally different place than it was ten years ago, with even more tumultuous change on the horizon. Economic pressure coupled with continued technological innovation has increased attorney unemployment levels, shifted law firm business models, and changed the expectations of legal clientele. Yet, despite this radically shifting market place, legal education has remained fundamentally unchanged. This article examines the current state of the legal industry through an entrepreneurial lens and juxtaposes it with the current state of legal education. In doing so, this article sets forth three key claims:

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July 29, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hickman: The Tax Court Delivers An APA-Based Smackdown

Hickman 2014 2TaxProf Blog op-ed:   Altera Corp. & Subs. v. Commissioner: The Tax Court Delivers An APA-Based Smackdown, by Kristin Hickman (Minnesota):

Since the Supreme Court decided the Mayo Foundation case in 2011, the government has done everything it can to limit the scope of the Supreme Court’s 2011 Mayo Foundation decision.  Even though the Mayo Foundation Court declined “to carve out an approach to administrative review good for tax law only” and otherwise signaled fealty to general administrative law norms in the tax context, the IRS and the Department of Justice have repeatedly pursued a narrow construction of Mayo Foundation, and the Tax Court has often been happy to play along.  Not today.

In Altera Corp. & Subs. v. Comm’r,, 145 T.C. No. 3 (July 27, 2015) the Tax Court unanimously invalidated regulations under Section 482 requiring participants in qualified cost-sharing arrangements to include stock-based compensation costs in the cost pool in order to comply with the arm’s length standard, on grounds that the regulations were not the product of reasoned decisionmaking as required by Administrative Procedure Act (APA) § 706(2)(A) and Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association of the United States v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.,, 463 U.S. 29 (1983), known in administrative law circles as State Farm.  From top to bottom, the Altera opinion reads like a treatise on general administrative law requirements and norms.  Without delving into the policy details of the regulation at issue, the following paragraphs summarize the Tax Court’s opinion and its potential implications.

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July 28, 2015 in New Cases, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sanchirico & Shuldiner: The Deferral Effects Of Passing Through Foreign Subsidiaries’ Passive Income

Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania) & Reed Shuldiner (Pennsylvania), The Deferral Effects of Passing Through Foreign Subsidiaries’ Passive Income:

The immediate U.S. taxation of foreign subsidiaries’ passive, but not active income is a scenario of increasing practical importance. This paper builds on Alvin Warren’s recent analysis of this partially deferral-tempering case. It clarifies some of the legal and economic mechanics behind Warren’s formula. It also makes several points de novo. It highlights the conceptual relationship between passive-income pass-through and delayed realization of accrued gains. It points out that delayed realization inside the subsidiary effectively deactivates passive-income pass-through. And it describes when it does and does not matter that the parent takes interim distributions from the subsidiary, as when it uses such distributions to pay its interim pass-through tax liability.

July 28, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brunson & Herzig: Tax Exemption, Public Policy, And Discriminatory Fraternities

SigmaFollowing up on my previous post, Using the Tax Law to Combat Racist Fraternities and Sororities:  Samuel D. Brunson (Loyola-Chicago) & David Herzig (Valparaiso), Tax Exemption, Public Policy, and Discriminatory Fraternities, 35 Va. Tax Rev. ___ (2015):

In this Essay, Professors Herzig and Brunson make the normative argument that the I.R.S. should reject tax-exemptions of discriminatory social clubs. They look to current Supreme Court jurisprudence to demonstrate a willingness of the Court to import a public policy rule into the social club rules. Alternatively, if this position is untenable under traditional administrative law principles, they propose a statutory fix.

July 28, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

2nd National Symposium On Experiential Education In Law

ElonSecond National Symposium on Experiential Education In Law, 7 Elon L. Rev. 1-430 (2015)

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July 28, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2015

McCubbins & Seljan: The Effect Of Proposition 13 On Municipal Revenue Sources

Prop 132Colin H. McCubbins (Stanford) & Ellen Seljan (Lewis & Clark), Staying at Home: The Effect of Proposition 13 on Municipal Revenue Sources:

The effects of California's Proposition 13 are far reaching in both California state and municipal government finance. For local governments, who relied most heavily on property taxes to fund infrastructural development and public services, the effects were especially pronounced. Previous findings have indicated that this has caused local governments to substitute away from property taxes towards uncapped revenue sources, such as sales taxes and charges and fees. To better understand the effects of Proposition 13 on local government finance, we leverage a peculiarity in the letter of the law: homes are reassessed upon sale. As such, we test the effects of high homeowner mobility on local government finances. We find that in municipalities with greater mobility have larger proportions of their revenue generated by property taxes, indicating that as more houses are reassessed, local governments are shifting their revenue burdens back towards property taxes.

July 27, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [226 Downloads]  Capital Accounts in LLCs and in Partnerships: Powerful Default Rules and Potential Tax Significance, by Donald J. Weidner (Dean, Florida State)
  2. [200 Downloads]  Reducing Inequality With A Retrospective Tax On Capital, by James Kwak (Connecticut)
  3. [132 Downloads]  How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Our Homeowner Tax Rules, by David Hasen (Colorado)
  4. [109 Downloads]  Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks, by Susan C. Morse (Texas)
  5. [107 Downloads]  The International Tax Regime — A Centennial Reconsideration, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan)

July 26, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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July 24, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Grewal: Petaluma Takes A Bizarre Turn

Andy Grewal (Iowa), Petaluma Takes a Bizarre Turn:

Petaluma FX v. Commissioner, a case involving some complex tax procedure issues, has gone on for nearly a decade and has made three trips to the D.C. Circuit. The strangest twist seemingly occurred in 2012 when, in a case involving similar issues, the Tax Court performed a “reverse benchslap” on the D.C. Circuit, allegedly flouting the court’s first opinion in Petaluma. However, things have managed to get even stranger.

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July 24, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trigger Warnings And The Law School Crisis

Trigger Warning 2Kim Chanbonpin (John Marshall), Crisis and Trigger Warnings: Reflections on Legal Education and the Social Value of the Law, 90 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 615 (2015):

This Essay begins by understanding the law school crisis through the framework of disaster capitalism. This framing uncovers the ways in which reformers are taking advantage of the current crisis to restructure legal education. Under the circumstances, faculty may reasonably read the contemporaneous student-led movement to require trigger warnings in the classroom as an assault on academic freedom. This reading, however, clouds the water. Part II attempts to clear the confusion by decoupling the trigger-warning movement from the broader phenomenon of law school corporatization. Trigger-warning demands might alternatively be read as a student critique of traditional law school pedagogy. Especially in the first year, the role of faculty is to indoctrinate students in a system of dispassionate analysis where subjective experiences and emotional reactions have no place. In this light, the trigger warning debate offers an opportunity to fundamentally alter the learning process by inviting students to become partners in the production of knowledge by allowing them to reclaim power in the classroom. Attending to student concerns facilitates robust discussions where the assigned materials are thoroughly dissected and debated, a result that ultimately benefits everyone in the classroom. Part III proposes that law school is still a good option for those students who are interested in both rigorous intellectual exercise and developing the practical skills necessary for the effective representation of clients. This discussion lays the foundation for a reflection on a broader question—the role of law in a democracy. Although the U.S. legal system falls short of perfect justice and equality, lawyers ought to be vigilant when confronted with market demands that would force law and society to cede ground to powers that represent solely private interests.

July 24, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fall 2015 Law Review Article Submission Guide

Nancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC) have updated their incredibly useful document, which contains two charts for the Fall 2015 submission season covering 204 law reviews.

The first chart (pp. 1-52) contains information gathered from the journals’ websites on:

  • Methods for submitting an article (such as by e-mail, ExpressO, regular mail, Scholastica, or Twitter)
  • Any special formatting requirements
  • How to request an expedited review
  • How to withdraw an article after it has been accepted for publication elsewhere

The second chart (pp. 53-60) contains the ranking of the law reviews and their schools under six measures:

  • U.S. News: Overall Rank
  • U.S. News: Peer Reputation Rating
  • U.S. News: Judge/Lawyer Reputation Rating
  • Washington & Lee Citation Ranking
  • Washington & Lee Impact Factor
  • Washington & Lee Combined Rating

They also have posted a list of links to the submissions information on each law journal’s website. Nancy notes:

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July 22, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shobe: Disaggregating The State And Local Tax Deduction

Gladriel Shobe (Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York), Disaggregating the State and Local Tax Deduction, 35 Va. Tax Rev. ___ (2015):

The appropriateness of a federal deduction for state and local taxes is a frequent point of contention among scholars and policymakers, and various proposals have been offered to limit or modify the deduction. All of the debates and proposals surrounding the deduction treat states and localities as if they were the same. This Article disaggregates state and local governments to show that the way they tax and spend is different in many ways that are relevant to the deduction. When state and local government revenues are disaggregated, it becomes clear that the “state and local tax deduction” is actually two distinct deductions, one primarily for state income taxes and another primarily for local property taxes. Property taxes, which make up nearly three-quarters of local taxes, are fully deductible. Sales taxes, which make up nearly half of state revenue, can only be deducted in lieu of income taxes, an option that few itemizing taxpayers take. When state and local expenditures are disaggregated, it becomes apparent that local expenditures provide more direct benefits to taxpayers living within relatively homogeneous localities while state expenditures provide fewer public benefits to those who pay state taxes and are more likely to result in redistribution.

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July 21, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, July 20, 2015

America's Best Program For The Poor May Be Even Better Than We Thought

EITC Logo (2014)Hilary W. Hoynes (UC-Berkeley) & Ankur J. Patel (U.S. Treasury Department), Effective Policy for Reducing Inequality? The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Distribution of Income:

In this paper, we examine the effect of the EITC on the employment and income of single mothers with children. We provide the first comprehensive estimates of this central safety net policy on the full distribution of after-tax and transfer income. We use a quasi-experiment approach, using variation in generosity due to policy expansions across tax years and family sizes. Our results show that a policy-induced $1000 increase in the EITC leads to a 7.3 percentage point increase in employment and a 9.4 percentage point reduction in the share of families with after-tax and transfer income below 100% poverty. Event study estimates show no evidence of differential pre-trends, providing strong evidence in support of our research design. We find that the income increasing effects of the EITC are concentrated between 75% and 150% of income-to-poverty with little effect at the lowest income levels (50% poverty and below) and at levels of 250% of poverty and higher. By capturing the indirect effects of the credit on earnings, our results show that static calculations of the anti-poverty effects of the EITC (such as those released based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure, Short 2014) may be underestimated by as much as 50 percent.

Vox, America's Best Program for the Poor May be Even Better Than We Thought:

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July 20, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Case For Replacing Investment Income Taxes With An Annual Wealth Tax

S. Douglas Hopkins (Krestel Consulting, Sparta, NJ), The Case for Replacing Investment Income Taxes with an Annual Wealth Tax, 147 Tax Notes 1305 (June 15, 2015):

The tax reform debate in America is largely framed as a conflict of competing principles rather than shared goals and the resulting politicized power struggle has left us blind to a critical flaw in fiscal policy: Structural preferences that shelter wealth from direct taxation are subsidizing unproductive and illiquid capital, thereby distorting investment incentives and obstructing sustainable economic growth and job creation. Those preferences are both inefficient and inequitable, contrary to core principles of both democracy and capitalism.

A properly designed annual wealth tax could facilitate removal of those preferences and serve as the cornerstone element of simultaneously more equitable and efficient comprehensive tax reform: a) stimulating more productive investment and thereby job growth, while allowing us to b) equalize effective tax rates between labor and capital, and c) lower the maximum marginal tax rate to 25%.

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July 20, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

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. [200 Downloads]  Citizenship Taxation, by Ruth Mason (Virginia)
  2. [196 Downloads]  Reducing Inequality With A Retrospective Tax On Capital, by James Kwak (Connecticut)
  3. [151 Downloads]  Capital Accounts in LLCs and in Partnerships: Powerful Default Rules and Potential Tax Significance, by Donald J. Weidner (Dean, Florida State)
  4. [106 Downloads]  How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Our Homeowner Tax Rules, by David Hasen (Colorado)
  5. [101 Downloads]  Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks, by Susan C. Morse (Texas)

July 19, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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July 17, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Taylor: Should Payroll Taxes Be Repealed?

Willard B. Taylor (NYU & Sullivan & Cromwell), Should Payroll Taxes Be Repealed?, 148 Tax Notes 213 (July 13, 2015):

This article argues that serious consideration should be given to the repeal or payroll taxes, i.e., of FICA and SECA, and of the 3.8% tax on net investment income, and Social Security and Medicare benefits funded with personal income tax revenues. There is no sound reason not to do so, apart from politics, and repeal would focus Congress on the regressive structure of taxes imposed on labor income and eliminate the complexity (and distortion with respect to, e.g., the choice of entity to carry on a business) of three separate taxes.

July 17, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

University of Chicago Law School Study: Better Scholars Are Better Teachers

Tom Ginsburg (Chicago) & Thomas J. Miles (Chicago), The Teaching/Research Tradeoff in Law: Data from the Right Tail, 39 Evaluation Rev. 46 (2015):

Background: There is a long scholarly debate on the trade-off between research and teaching in various fields, but relatively little study of the phenomenon in law. This analysis examines the relationship between the two core academic activities at one particular school, the University of Chicago Law School, which is considered one of the most productive in legal academia. Method: We measure of scholarly productivity with the total number of publications by each professor for each year, and we approximate performance in teaching with course loads and average scores in student evaluations for each course. In OLS regressions, we estimate scholarly output as a function of teaching loads, faculty characteristics, and other controls. We also estimate teaching evaluation scores as a function of scholarly productivity, fixed effects for years and course subject, and faculty characteristics. Result: Net of other factors, we find that, under some specifications, research and teaching are positively correlated. In particular, we find that students’ perceptions of teaching quality rises, but at a decreasing rate, with the total amount of scholarship. We also find that certain personal characteristics correlate with productivity. Conclusion: There recent debate on the mission of American law schools has hinged on the assumption that a trade-off exists between teaching and research, and this article’s analysis, although limited in various ways, casts some doubt on that assumption.

Chicago Chart

Orin Kerr (George Washington), Is There a Teaching/Scholarship Trade-off in Law Schools?:

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July 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Madison: The Denial Of IRS Access To The Taxpayer's Playbook

PlaybookAllen D. Madison (South Dakota), The Denial of IRS Access to its Adversary's Playbook, 60 S.D. L. Rev. 232 (2015):

When examining a corporate taxpayer, the IRS often seeks special accounting documents called tax accrual workpapers. These workpapers often contain privileged documents, but the IRS does not care. It believes it is entitled to the documents despite that the work product doctrine protects the documents from the IRS's investigation authority. Although the law seems clear, some courts appear to have ignored the law and permitted the IRS to obtain the documents in some cases. Differing results under similar circumstances have made the law less clear. The IRS should stop trying to obtain taxpayers' work product, and the Supreme Court should clear up the law with respect to these documents.

July 17, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Osofsky: Tax Administration And Tax Scholarship

Leigh Osofsky (Miami) has a great series of posts on tax administration and tax scholarship:

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July 16, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Contemporary Tax Journal Publishes New Issue

Contemporary Tax JournalsThe San Jose State University Masters of Science in Taxation Program in the Lucas Graduate School of Business has published the sixth issue (Vol. 5, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 2015)) of The Contemporary Tax Journal.

July 16, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chodorow: The Tax Consequences Of Catalyzed Fans

Red SoxAdam Chodorow (Arizona State), The Tax Consequences of Catalyzed Fans, 6 Harv. J. Sports & Ent. L. 187 (2015):

This article, in honor of Dan Markel, explores the tax issues that would arise were fans to band together as a Fan Action Committee (FAC) to offer players additional compensation or a donation to a favored charity as an incentive to sign with the fans’ team, the proposal at the heart of one of Dan’s last articles. Both the direct compensation and charitable models raise questions regarding whether the players and owners have income, the tax consequences for the FAC of both contributions and distributions, and the fans’ ability to deduct contributions to the FAC. Exploring these questions will help pave the way for FACs to move from academic discourse to the real world, offers the opportunity to consider a number of important tax policy issues that have far broader application, and seems like a wonderful way to honor Dan’s memory.

July 16, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Taxing Meat To Fight Climate Change

MeatMarya Torrez (American), Accounting for Taste: Trade Law Implications of Taxing Meat to Fight Climate Change, 27 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 61 (2014):

Global climate change threatens to have disastrous consequences for life as we know it. Animal agriculture makes a tremendous contribution to climate change. While largely ignored in the policy arena, in recent years, scientists have suggested a tax on meat to begin to address this issue.

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July 16, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Soled & Gans: Asset Preservation And The Evolving Role Of Trusts In The 21st Century

AssetJay A. Soled (Rutgers) & Mitchell M. Gans (Hofstra), Asset Preservation and the Evolving Role of Trusts in the Twenty-First Century, 72 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 257 (2015):

For the vast majority of the twentieth century, trusts served two pivotal roles. The first was as a vehicle to help mitigate federal and state estate tax burdens, the rates of which could be quite significant. The second was to assist in asset preservation, safeguarding trust beneficiaries from their profligacy, former spouses, creditors, and the like.

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July 15, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chorvat: Taxation And Liquidity — Evidence From Retirement Savings

Elizabeth Chorvat (Illinois), Taxation and Liquidity: Evidence from Retirement Savings:

This paper tests the response of a cross section of U.S. households to a reduction in the tax cost of holding liquid assets by the 2003 Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, whether that response was tax efficient, and the distribution of that response. Empirical results based on regression analyses of Survey of Consumer Finances data between 1998 and 2010 suggest that lower, middle, and high-income households responded to the enactment of the dividend preference in a tax-efficient manner, increasing allocations to liquid accounts and away from tax-preferred retirement accounts. Notwithstanding the conventional wisdom that behavioral responses to changes in the taxation of investments occur predominantly among the wealthy, the paper finds that the largest behavioral response to the 2003 dividend preference appears to have been among those households in the highest and lowest income groups, with the largest response among the lowest income households. If household income is an important determinant to the value of liquidity, we might well understand that those with the highest need for liquidity might have the largest response to a reduction in the cost of that liquidity. Curiously, while middle-income households responded to the lower cost of liquidity in a tax-efficient manner, theirs was a distinctly smaller response.

July 15, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Luke: The Taxing Problem of Debt Principal

Charlene Luke (Florida), Of More Than Usual Interest: The Taxing Problem of Debt Principal, 39 Seattle U. L. Rev. ___ (2015):

Leverage is an essential but often troubling component of the U.S. market. In the tax area, the potentially problematic incentive effects of interest deductibility have long engaged a wide array of tax commentators and policymakers. While interest deductibility rightly receives widespread scrutiny, a more comprehensive approach to leverage is needed. This Article focuses on the surprisingly complicated tax treatment of cash (and cash equivalent) borrowings. This Article highlights that using debt principal to finance business and investment tax benefits yields favorable tax timing mismatches for taxpayers and thereby theoretically amplifies any distortions caused by the deductibility of debt interest.

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July 15, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Browde: The Need For Increased Penalties To Deter Tax Identity Theft

Florida Tax ReviewPippa Browde (Montana), Many Unhappy Returns: The Need for Increased Tax Penalties for Identity Theft-Based Refund Fraud, 18 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2015):

The growing problem of fraudulent tax returns being submitted based on stolen identities is a “tsunami of fraud,” and victims, lawmakers, and law enforcement are struggling with how to deal with the fallout. The issues surrounding identity theft-based tax fraud are complex. Current IRS efforts to stem the tide involve pouring resources into assisting victims, updating IRS processes to detect and prevent refund fraud, and increasing the number of criminal investigations and prosecutions it pursues. The IRS’s approach and pending proposed legislation are not enough to address the problems created by identity theft-based tax fraud. This article argues the IRS and Congress must use a holistic approach to attack this specie of tax fraud. To that end, this article supports enhanced criminal penalties and proposes new civil tax penalties aimed specifically at identity theft tax fraud.

This article pursues two goals. First, it documents and explains the problem of identity theft-based refund fraud, highlighting particular issues with respect to tax compliance. In so doing it analyzes existing civil and criminal tax penalties to punish and deter identity thieves, an analysis which reveals that existing criminal penalties are insufficient and that there is no directly applicable existing civil penalty. Second, to address the gaps in existing law, the article proposes standards for Congress to use in crafting a comprehensive penalty scheme to apply to identity theft-based refund fraud.

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July 14, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSAT Is Poor Predictor Of Law School Grades: 6 LSAT Points = 0.1 LGPA

LSAT (2015)Alexia Brunet Marks (Colorado) & Scott A. Moss (Colorado), What Makes a Law Student Succeed or Fail? A Longitudinal Study Correlating Law Student Applicant Data and Law School Outcomes:

Despite the rise of "big data" empiricism, law school admission remains heavily impressionistic; admission decisions based on anecdotes about recent students, idiosyncratic preferences for certain majors or jobs, or mainly the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet no predictors are well-validated; studies of the LSAT or other factors fail to control for college quality, major, work experience, etc. The lack of evidence of what actually predicts law school success is especially surprising after the 2010s downturn left schools competing for fewer applicants and left potential students less sure of law school as a path to future success. We aim to fill this gap with a two-school, 1400-student, 2005-2012 longitudinal study. After coding non-digitized applicant data, we used multivariate regression analysis to predict law school grades ("LGPA") from many variables: LSAT; college grades ("UGPA"), quality, and major; UGPA trajectory; employment duration and type (legal, scientific, military, teaching, etc.); college leadership; prior graduate degree; criminal or discipline record; and variable interactions (e.g., high-LSAT/low-UGPA or vice-versa).

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July 14, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (9)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

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:

  1. [395 Downloads]  Taxation of E-Commerce, by Orkhan Abdulkarimli (Baku State)
  2. [339 Downloads]  Trust Decanting: A Sale Without Gain Realization, by Jason Kleinman (Herrick, New York)
  3. [193 Downloads]  Reducing Inequality With A Retrospective Tax On Capital, by James Kwak (Connecticut)
  4. [190 Downloads]  Citizenship Taxation, by Ruth Mason (Virginia)
  5. [178 Downloads]  What Does Voluntary Tax Compliance Mean?: A Government Perspective, by J. T. Manhire (Texas A&M)

July 12, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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July 10, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hasen: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Our Homeowner Tax Rules

David Hasen (Colorado), How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Our Homeowner Tax Rules:

This short essay reviews the tax benefits available from home ownership. Sample calculations are provided. Fatalism is noted.

July 9, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The New Regulatory Regime In Legal Education

Sarah Valentine (CUNY), Flourish or Founder: The New Regulatory Regime in Legal Education, 44 J. Law & Educ. ___ (2015):

There is a new regulatory regime in legal education. Outside regulators, whether nationwide or state specific, are seeking to alter the education and training provided by U.S. law schools. These new mandates build on decades of work distilling how best to provide a professional legal education. Law schools have long fought outside reform; we do so now at our peril. This Article explores the current reforms, places them in historic context, and then articulates how legal educators should engage with the reforms to recenter student learning. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, this Article argues that law schools can flourish if we embrace the regulatory reforms and may founder if we continue to resist them.

July 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | 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 July 1, 2015) 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 (Michigan)

47,187

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)

7066

2

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

28,903

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

5607

3

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)

28,133

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)

4511

4

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

24,479

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3939

5

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

23,936

Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)

3289

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

20,978

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2636

7

James Hines (Michigan)

20,834

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2057

8

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

20,075

Omri Marian (Florida)

1958

9

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

19,824

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1851

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

18,453

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1736

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

17,584

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1726

12

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

16,035

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1666

13

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

15.749

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1639

14

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,742

David Gamage (UC-Berkeley)

1519

15

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

15,598

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

1492

16

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

15,386

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1466

17

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

15,344

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

1413

18

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

15,262

Dick Harvey (Villanova)

1372

19

David Weisbach (Chicago)

15,231

James Hines (Michigan)

1208

20

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

14,785

Chris Sanchirico (UNLV)

1208

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

14,558

Joe Bankman (Stanford)

1145

22

David Walker (BU)

14,358

Carter Bishop (Penn)

1137

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

13,413

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1111

24

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

12,810

Ruth Mason (Virginia)

1086

25

Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)

12,095

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1067

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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July 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tax Non-Compliance Detection Using Co-Evolution Of Tax Evasion Risk And Audit Likelihood

Erik Hemberg (MIT), Jacob Rosen (MIT), Geoff Warner (MITRE Corp.), Sanith Wijesinghe (MITRE Corp.) & Una-May O’Reilly (MIT), Tax Non-Compliance Detection Using Co-Evolution of Tax Evasion Risk and Audit Likelihood:

We detect tax law abuse by simulating the co-evolution of tax evasion schemes and their discovery through audits. Tax evasion accounts for billions of dollars of lost income each year. When the IRS pursues a tax evasion scheme and changes the tax law or audit procedures, the tax evasion schemes evolve and change into undetectable forms. The arms race between tax evasion schemes and tax authorities presents a serious compliance challenge. Tax evasion schemes are sequences of transactions where each transaction is individually compliant. However, when all transactions are combined they have no other purpose than to evade tax and are thus non-compliant. Our method consists of an ownership network and a sequence of transactions, which outputs the likelihood of conducting an audit, and requires no prior tax return or audit data. We adjust audit procedures for a new generation of evolved tax evasion schemes by simulating the gradual change of tax evasion schemes and audit points, i.e. methods used for detecting non-compliance. Additionally, we identify, for a given audit scoring procedure, which tax evasion schemes will likely escape auditing. The approach is demonstrated in the context of partnership tax law and the Installment Bogus Optional Basis tax evasion scheme. The experiments show the oscillatory behavior of a co-adapting system and that it can model the co-evolution of tax evasion schemes and their detection.

July 8, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hayashi Reviews Liscow's Critique Of Kaplow & Shavell: When Legal Rule Design Should Incorporate Equity As Well As Efficiency

JotwellAndrew Hayashi (Virginia),  Equity and Efficiency in Rule Design (Jotwell) (reviewing Zachary D. Liscow (J.D. 2015, Yale), Note, Reducing Inequality on the Cheap: When Legal Rule Design Should Incorporate Equity as Well as Efficiency, 127 Yale L.J. 2478 (2014)):

Great arguments aren’t always right, but they should be bold, persuasive, and force the scholarly community to respond by testing the arguments’ logic and limitations. In recent years, there are few arguments that have been more generative of thoughtful scholarship than Kaplow and Shavell’s claim that income redistribution should be done solely through the system of taxes and transfers and that legal rules should be chosen solely for their efficiency properties [Why The Legal System Is Less Efficient Than The Income Tax In Redistributing Income, 23 J. Legal Stud. 667 (1994)]. This conclusion is instinctively repugnant to many scholars outside of the law and economics tradition, and surprising to many within it. Yet, first rank economists that they are, Kaplow and Shavell’s logic, at least under the assumptions of the model they use to make their argument, is unassailable.

But, what Kaplow and Shavell’s logic proves and what it has often been taken to prove are two very different things. Although many excellent scholars have offered incisive critiques of the Kaplow and Shavell result, Zach Liscow’s recent note in the Yale Law Journal does as fine a job as I’ve seen of both identifying the reason for this difference and arguing from within a welfarist framework that equitable considerations should apply to legal rules too. The note is admirable in its accessibility, clarity, and rigor. I would include it on the reading list for any law and economics or tax policy seminar that addressed the merits of redistribution through the tax and transfer system.

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July 7, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Haneman: The Collision Of Student Loan Debt And Joint Marital Taxation

Student LoansVictoria J. Haneman (Concordia), The Collision of Student Loan Debt and Joint Marital Taxation:

Students presently graduating from college represent perhaps the most indebted generation of young adults in the history of the United States, which may be attributed to the fact that interest-bearing debt plays a primary role in ensuring that our children pursue higher education. The long-term consequences of student loan borrowing, and its impact on this generation of borrowers, both remain to be seen. To assist borrowers with the burden of loan repayment, the federal government has developed two income based repayment programs. This Article focuses upon one important detail of the program that has largely escaped the focus of the media and scholars: the ability of a borrower to file separate tax returns and qualify for income based repayment on the basis of his or her income alone.

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July 7, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Taxation And Tax Policy Roundtable Today At Netanya College School Of Law (Israel)

  • NetanyaYariv Brauner (Florida): Arm's Length Transfer Pricing
  • David Elkins (Netanya), Allocative Efficiency, Transactional Fairness, and Distributive Justice in International Taxation: A (Not So) Radical Proposal For Reform
  • Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama), Through the Lens of Innovation
  • Assaf Lichovsky (Tel Aviv), Tax Law and Social Norms in Mandatory Palestine and Israel
  • Tamir Shanan (College of Management) & Chen Avidov, Tax Appeal Procedure - How Courts Consider Tax Appeals

July 7, 2015 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Last-Minute Publishing Opportunity: American University Law Review

American 3The American University Law Review would like to invite authors to submit their complete or nearly complete articles for possible publication in Volume 65.2 of the Law Review.  We are beginning production on this volume shortly and are interested in acquiring one additional article to add to the outstanding pieces that we are already featuring in the issue. Because of the short amount of time we have prior to entering production, we are hoping to receive your submissions no later than Friday, July 10th, 2015.

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July 6, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

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:

  1. [385 Downloads]  Taxation of E-Commerce, by Orkhan Abdulkarimli (Baku State)
  2. [317 Downloads]  Trust Decanting: A Sale Without Gain Realization, by Jason Kleinman (Herrick, New York)
  3. [189 Downloads]  Reducing Inequality With A Retrospective Tax On Capital, by James Kwak (Connecticut)
  4. [181 Downloads]  Citizenship Taxation, by Ruth Mason (Virginia)
  5. [167 Downloads]  What Does Voluntary Tax Compliance Mean?: A Government Perspective, by J. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department)

July 5, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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July 3, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah: Constructive Unilateralism — U.S. Leadership And International Taxation

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Constructive Unilateralism: US Leadership and International Taxation:

In recent years, various US international tax proposals have been advanced on the basis that we should follow the lead of our major trading partners. For example, it has been argued that we should adopt a “territorial” tax system (really, an exemption for dividends from controlled subsidiaries of US multinationals) because most of our trading partners have done so, or that we should adopt a “patent box” because some EU countries have one. But is this an adequate policy argument? Historically, most of the advances in international taxation occurred because the US led, not because it has followed. This paper reviews the history of instances in which other countries followed US international tax reforms, and then argues that positive results can be expected if the US maintains its leadership by “constructive unilateralism”.

July 3, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shaviro: Taxing Potential Community Members' Foreign Source Income

Daniel Shaviro (NYU), Taxing Potential Community Members' Foreign Source Income:

Recent years have witnessed rising debate, on both sides of the Atlantic, regarding how to define the category of individuals whom a given country classifies as domestic taxpayers, and who thus may be taxable on their foreign source income (FSI) even if they live abroad. While the United States rules focus distinctively on citizenship, the broader issue is better viewed as pertaining to the taxation of “potential community members” (PCMs) – that is, all those who plausibly might be viewed as members of the home community.

This paper makes two main points regarding the taxation of PCMs on their FSI. First, the issues turn in large part on drawing a distinction between “us” and “them” – that is, between people whom we classify as members of the home community, and thus whose welfare we care about, and those whom we classify as normatively irrelevant (or less relevant) outsiders. While such a distinction is inevitable in a world with separate national governments, conventional tax policy and public economics tools shed little direct light on how one might operationalize it.

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July 2, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morriss: BEPS, FATCA & EU Tax Harmonization: Seeing The Taxman

Andrew P. Morriss (Dean, Texas A&M), Seeing Like A Taxman:

The world of international financial regulation and taxation is in turmoil. New initiatives from the United States, the OECD and the European Union seek to reign in tax avoidance and evasion through a wide array of measures. These include the US FATCA, the OECD's base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiative, and EU tax harmonization measures. As Richard Gordon and I have argued elsewhere, these measures were generally adopted without regard to whether the benefits they might yield in revenue collection are worth the costs they impose [Moving Money: International Financial Flows, Taxes, & Money Laundering, 35 Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. (2014)]. Why then do they continue to appear?

Scott 3One advantage academics have in such circumstances is to bring to bear ideas from outside a narrow field that can help make sense of events by providing a framework for analysis. Two books by James C. Scott, a political scientist and anthropologist at Yale, offer a perspective on anti-avoidance and anti-evasion measures that can suggest where things might be headed. In Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (Yale 1998), Scott drew on his work in Southeast Asia to analyze why many ambitious development projects failed. In The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (Yale 2009), he looked at the history of upland people who avoided incorporation into pre-colonial and colonial states by running away. We can use Scott's analysis as an opportunity to re- think how governments are approaching tax avoidance and tax evasion. In doing so, I am stretching Scott's analysis well beyond where he deployed it. Nonetheless, the analogy between Southeast Asian societies and modern tax avoidance and evasion is a powerful one.

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July 2, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Weidner: Capital Accounts In LLCs And Partnerships

Donald J. Weidner (Dean, Florida State), Capital Accounts in LLCs and in Partnerships: Powerful Default Rules and Potential Tax Significance, 14 Fla. St. U. Bus. Rev. 1 (2015):

Balance sheets for limited liability companies and for partnerships differ from corporate balance sheets in one important respect. Accounting for these alternative forms traditionally includes a separate equity account, or “capital account,” for each owner. Accounting practice and case law suggest that, at least as a default rule or norm, these accounts guide distributions on liquidation or buyout, and, if negative, may also reflect debts to the firm. Indeed, the statutory default rule of partnership law in most states requires that individual capital accounts be maintained and given economic significance on liquidation or buyout. Although the statutory law of LLCs does not contain these default rules, partnership law provides analogy. Furthermore, the federal income tax rules that apply both to partnerships and to most multi-member LLCs closely examine the maintenance and significance of capital accounts to determine the validity of special allocations of tax benefits. Finally, capital accounts analysis also sharpens the understanding of the economic arrangement of the owners, particularly with respect to how and to what extent they have agreed to share different items of loss.

July 2, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Rules for Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers

ThreeMichael D. Cicchini, Three Rules for Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers, 34 Miss. C. L. Rev. 1 (2015):

Legal education reform is currently a hot topic. The most promising ideas involve elevating skills-based training from its current sideshow status (where it is taught by adjunct and clinical instructors) to a meaningful and integral part of the mainstream curriculum. This type of skills-based reform, however, not only faces some practical roadblocks, but also it glosses over legal education’s deeper, more fundamental problem: the failure to adequately train students in the underlying substantive and procedural law. To address this more immediate issue, this Essay recommends three basic rules for reform.

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July 2, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Palfrey: BiblioTech — Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In The Age Of Google

PalfreyJohn Palfrey (Head of School, Phillips Academy; former Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law & Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources, Harvard Law School), BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (May 2015):

Libraries today are more important than ever. More than just book repositories, libraries can become bulwarks against some of the most crucial challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information.

In BiblioTech, educator and technology expert John Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. And libraries, which play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible—by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online.

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July 1, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Are Academic Law Libraries Doomed?

Law LibraryYesJames Milles (SUNY-Buffalo), Legal Education in Crisis, and Why Law Libraries are Doomed, 106 Law Libr. J. 507 (2014):

The dual crises facing legal education - the economic crisis affecting both the job market and the pool of law school applicants, and the crisis of confidence in the ability of law schools and the ABA accreditation process to meet the needs of lawyers or society at large - have undermined the case for not only the autonomy, but the very existence, of law school libraries as we have known them. Legal education in the United States is about to undergo a long-term contraction, and law libraries will be among the first to go. A few law schools may abandon the traditional law library completely. Some law schools will see their libraries whittled away bit by bit as they attempt to answer “the Yirka Question” in the face of shrinking resources, reexamined priorities, and university centralization. What choices individual schools make will largely be driven by how they play the status game.

NoKenneth J. Hirsh (Cincinnati), Like Mark Twain: The Death of Academic Law Libraries Is an Exaggeration, 106 Law Libr. J. 521 (2014):

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July 1, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pittsburgh Tax Review Publishes New Issue

Pittsburgh Tax Review The Pittsburgh Tax Review has published Vol. 12, No. 1 (Fall 2014):

July 1, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)