TaxProf Blog

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cauble Presents Taxing Publicly Traded Entities Today at Toronto

Cauble (2015)Emily Cauble (DePaul) presents Taxing Publicly Traded Entities at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Publicly traded entities are generally treated as corporations for U.S. tax purposes. Under various exceptions, however, publicly traded entities may obtain special treatment if they earn predominately certain specified types of qualifying income. This Article examines potential rationales for granting special tax treatment to certain publicly traded entities. As the analysis in this Article will show, many of the potential rationales are unconvincing. In addition, to the extent that some rationales may be persuasive, the current rules are not designed in a way that best comports with these potential justifications. Therefore, reform is needed.

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

Miller: Reducing the Corporate Tax Rate and Income Inequality

 David S. Miller (Cadwalader, New York), Reducing the Corporate Tax Rate and Income Inequality:

There is broad consensus about the need to reform the international tax system and reduce the corporate tax rate, but great political difficulty in doing so, largely because of the insistence that any changes be revenue neutral, with the offsetting revenue arising from a repeal of tax expenditures that would disproportionately affect purely domestic corporations and require small businesses to fund the corporate tax reduction.

At the same time, the realization requirement allows the very wealthiest individuals to defer or avoid income tax on their investments and contributes significantly, if not overwhelmingly, to income inequality.

Solving the second problem allows a solution to the first.

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

Beyond Homo Economicus: The Prosocial Brain & The Charitable Tax Deduction

Ryan S. Keller (Ph.D. 2015, Cambridge), Beyond Homo Economicus: The Prosocial Brain & The Charitable Tax Deduction, 34 Va. Tax Rev. ___ (2014):

Charitable tax policy is at an impasse. Historically, citizens have overwhelmingly supported the charitable tax deduction as a means of fostering diversity, encouraging donations and supporting the nonprofit sector. Yet various policymakers and academics have increasingly disputed the deduction’s cogency and justifiability. In response, legal scholars and economists have offered various defenses and assessments of the deduction, but these have not convinced skeptics or placed the deduction on sufficiently solid theoretical and policy footing. The article adopts a novel approach by instead employing recent research in the neuroscience and psychology of prosocial behavior and charitable giving. Specifically, it identifies structural advantages specific to the deduction, rather than to charity or nonprofits more broadly. It then delineates key neural mechanisms and psychological functions that provide evidence linking dimensions of the deduction to distinct, previously neglected positive externalities. Amidst growing skepticism, developing a more capacious understanding of the deduction’s worth to society is essential. Indeed, failure to consider more robust, innovative analyses of the deduction compels authorities to craft policy without adequate information, and leaves the deduction and thus many philanthropic endeavors needlessly vulnerable.

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Villanova Symposium: Selective Issues in Tax Administration

Villanova Law LogoSymposium, Selective Issues in Tax Administration, 59 Vill. L. Rev. 409-648 (2014):

The Increasing Importance of the Whistleblower Provisions in U.S. Tax Administration

The IRS's Efforts to Regulate Unlicensed Tax Return Preparers

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January 6, 2015 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Discussion of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century

PikettyAllied Social Science Associations Annual Meeing (Boston Jan 3-5, 2015), A Discussion of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century (Harvard University Press, 2014):

New York Times, Talk Turns to Inequality at Annual Meeting of Economists.  For my perspective, see Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, 64 Emory L.J. Online ___ (2015):

Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century has acted as an accelerant fueling the fiery public debate over increasing inequality in America and around the world. Piketty makes the provocative empirical claim that the rate of return to private capital inevitably exceeds the rate of economic growth (r > g) and thus leads to growing concentrations of wealth among the richest members of society. Piketty has spawned heated debates in newspapers, magazines, and blogs, which soon will continue in academic journals and law reviews. Shi-Ling Hsu is one of the first out of the gate with The Rise and Rise of the One Percent: Considering Legal Causes of Wealth Inequality, 64 Emory L.J. Online ___ (2015).

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January 6, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kahng: The Taxation of Intellectual Capital

Lily Kahng (Seattle), The Taxation of Intellectual Capital, 66 Fla. L. Rev. 2229 (2014):

Intellectual capital — broadly defined to include nonphysical sources of value such as patents and copyrights, computer software, organizational processes and know-how — has a long history of being undervalued and excluded from measures of economic productivity and wealth. In recent years, however, intellectual capital has finally gained wide recognition as a central driver of economic productivity and growth. Scholars in fields such as knowledge management, financial accounting and national accounting have produced a wealth of research that significantly advances our conceptual understanding of intellectual capital and introduces new methodologies for identifying and measuring its economic value.

This Article is the first to analyze and assess the taxation of intellectual capital within this broader interdisciplinary landscape.

Informed by the recent research and reform efforts in knowledge management, financial accounting and national accounting, the Article finds that the tax law, which allows most investments in intellectual capital to be deducted, is fundamentally flawed. This results in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenues, costly misallocations of resources and a grave deviation from the accurate measure of income. The Article argues that, consistent with the prevailing view in other fields, investments in intellectual capital ought to be capitalized under the tax law. Drawing upon the work of reform proponents in other fields as well as their critics, the Article considers whether and to what extent the advances in other disciplines can be adapted to the tax system. Based on this analysis, it proposes the tax law be reformed to require businesses to capitalize and amortize over five years a broad array of intellectual capital investments including research and development, advertising, worker training and strategic planning.

January 6, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Can Scandinavians Tax So Much?

Henrik Jacobsen Kleven (London School of Economics), How Can Scandinavians Tax So Much?, 28 J. Econ. Perspectives 77 (Fall 2014):

American visitors to Scandinavian countries are often puzzled by what they observe: despite large income redistribution through distortionary taxes and transfers, these are very high-income countries. They rank among the highest in the world in terms of income per capita, as well as most other economic and social outcomes. The economic and social success of Scandinavia poses important questions for economics and for those arguing against large redistribution based on its supposedly detrimental effect on economic growth and welfare. How can Scandinavian countries raise large amounts of tax revenue for redistribution and social insurance while maintaining some of the strongest economic outcomes in the world? Combining micro and macro evidence, this paper identifies three policies that can help explain this apparent anomaly: the coverage of third-party information reporting (ensuring a low level of tax evasion), the broadness of tax bases (ensuring a low level of tax avoidance), and the strong subsidization of goods that are complementary to working (ensuring a high level of labor force participation). The paper also presents descriptive evidence on a variety of social and cultural indicators that may help in explaining the economic and social success of Scandinavia.

Table 1

January 6, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

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 list. The #1 paper is now #72 in all-time downloads among 10,616 tax papers:

  1. [1543 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [294 Downloads]  Piketty in America: A Tale of Two Literatures, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  3. [195 Downloads]  The Rise and Fall of the Consumption Tax: A Historical Perspective, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  4. [189 Downloads]  Corporate Inversions -- Background, Causes, and Policy Options, by J. Richard (Dick) Harvey (Villanova)
  5. [152 Downloads]  California Dreamin': Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine)

January 4, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Osofsky Reviews Zelenak's Custom and the Rule of Law in the Administration of the Income Tax

JotwellLeigh Osofsky (Miami), The IRS as Tax Law Nonenforcer (Jotwell) (reviewing Lawrence Zelenak (Duke), Custom and the Rule of Law in the Administration of the Income Tax, 62 Duke L.J. 829 (2012)):

Zelenak laments the difficulty in challenging customary deviations. He usefully explores how the pro-taxpayer nature of customary deviations and limitations on third-party taxpayer standing leave little room for outsiders to step in and prevent customary deviations from going too far. Zelenak leaves the reader with the sense that customary deviations can in some cases be desirable, in some cases problematic, but in all cases difficult to do anything about as a result of limitations on taxpayer standing and the real threat that allowing standing to challenge the deviations may pose to the administrability of the tax system. Zelenak’s most concrete proposal is for “Congress to enact a new Code provision specifically authorizing the Treasury Department to issue regulations narrowing the statutory definition of gross income with respect to non-cash benefits received outside of an employment context, whenever the IRS decides that administrative concerns make such a narrowing advisable,” and that “Congress might decide to give the Treasury Department similar authority to revise by regulation other specified Code sections”  

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December 31, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Do Colleges (and Law Schools) Need a Business Productivity Audit?

College TuitionWall Street Journal op-ed:  Colleges Need a Business Productivity Audit, by Frank Mussano & Robert Iosue (authors, College Tuition: Four Decades of Financial Deception (2014)):

College tuition rates are ridiculously out of hand. Since the late 1970s, tuition has surged more than 1,000%, while the consumer-price index has risen only 240%. ...

[T]hree quarters of a typical college budget is spent on personnel expenses, including benefits. Yet the average professor spends much less time in the classroom today than two decades ago. In 2010 44% of full-time faculty reported that they spent nine or more hours a week in the classroom, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. In 1989 more than 60% said they did. The traditional 12-15 hours a week teaching load is changing into a six-to-nine-hour workweek, a significant decrease in productivity.

The typical defense of the reduced workload goes something like this: Professors have increased research demands, more extensive classroom preparation and committee work, as well as additional administrative and student-counseling responsibilities. Except for a handful of elite researchers, this argument doesn’t add up. ...

There’s another problem: The number of college administrators has increased 50% faster than the number of instructors since 2001, according to the Education Department. Administrative costs have far outpaced other college expenses during the past two decades. ...

All the while, colleges launched a prestige arms race, dropping millions on extravagant buildings. Higher-education construction spending has doubled since 1994, with a peak of $15 billion in 2006 that has leveled off at $11 billion in recent years. Adding to the frenzy are the various magazine rankings that base much of their quality-assessment formula on the amount of money spent on student services and facilities, even if the funds are wasted. Campuses have everything from lazy rivers to climbing walls to luxury dormitories.

On top of that, student-loan debt has skyrocketed to $1.2 trillion. Easy access to government loan money has given colleges license to boost tuition with no motivation to keep costs down. ...

[C]olleges and universities engaged in a spending spree because they can. But there’s one simple idea that might start to reverse the spending spree: audits of higher education. ...

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December 30, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

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 December 1, 2014) 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.)

41,740

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

6701

2

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

27,185

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

5227

3

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

23,266

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

2863

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

21,236

Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 

2655

5

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

20,333

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2546

6

James Hines (Michigan)

20,177

Gregg Polsky (North Carolina)

2332

7

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

19,426

Omri Marian (Florida)

1984

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

19.234

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1944

9

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

16,991

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1791

10

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

16,621

David Gamage (UCBerkeley)

1673

11

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,510

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1559

12

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

15,404

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1532

13

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

14,801

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

1531

14

David Weisbach (Chicago)

14,683

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1513

15

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

14,594

Dick Harvey (Villanova)

1450

16

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

14,551

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1381

17

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

14,340

James Hines (Michigan)

1353

18

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

14,240

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1317

19

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

14,206

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1308

20

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

14,100

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1240

21

David Walker (Boston Univ.)

14,065

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1234

22

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

12,575

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

1210

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

12,541

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

1183

24

Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)

11,875

Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)

1107

25

Ed McCaffery (USC)

11,844

Steve Willis (Florida)

1104

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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December 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Call for Business Tax Papers: Oxford University Symposium

OxfordCall for Papers: Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation 9th Annual Symposium:

We invite you to submit a paper for the ninth annual symposium of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation. The symposium will take place at the Saïd Business School in Oxford, from Monday 22 – Thursday 25 June 2015. As ever, we welcome research on any topics related to business taxation in its broadest sense, including papers from economics, law and other disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary contributions. The programme from last year’s symposium can be found here.

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December 29, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

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 paper debuting on the list at #5. The #1 paper is now #76 in all-time downloads among 10,606 tax papers:

  1. [1487 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [274 Downloads]  Piketty in America: A Tale of Two Literatures, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  3. [176 Downloads]  The Rise and Fall of the Consumption Tax: A Historical Perspective, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  4. [173 Downloads]  Corporate Inversions -- Background, Causes, and Policy Options, by J. Richard (Dick) Harvey (Villanova)
  5. [146 Downloads]  California Dreamin': Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine)

December 28, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hatfield: Taxation and Surveillance -- An Agenda

Michael Hatfield (University of Washington), Taxation and Surveillance: An Agenda:

Among government agencies, the IRS likely has the surest legal claim to the most information about the most Americans: your hobbies; your religious affiliation; your reading; your travel; and your medical information are all potentially tax relevant. Privacy scholars have studied the arrival of Big Data, the internet-of-things, and the surveillance joint venture of government and private companies, but neither privacy nor tax scholars have considered how these technological advances could improve tax administration. As government agencies and private companies increasingly pursue what has been described as the “growing gush of data,” the use of these technologies in tax administration will become increasingly important to consider. This Essay provides an agenda of items for discussion, debate, and research related to the development, implementation, and effects of moving towards a surveillance-facilitated tax system.

December 23, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Economics of Guilds

Sheilagh Ogilvie (University of Cambridge), The Economics of Guilds, 28 J. Econ. Perspectives 169 (Fall 2014):

Occupational guilds in medieval and early modern Europe offered an effective institutional mechanism whereby two powerful groups, guild members and political elites, could collaborate in capturing a larger slice of the economic pie and redistributing it to themselves at the expense of the rest of the economy. Guilds provided an organizational mechanism for groups of businessmen to negotiate with political elites for exclusive legal privileges that allowed them to reap monopoly rents. Guild members then used their guilds to redirect a share of these rents to political elites in return for support and enforcement. In short, guilds enabled their members and political elites to negotiate a way of extracting rents in the manufacturing and commercial sectors, rents that neither party could have extracted on its own. First, I provide an overview of where and when European guilds arose, what occupations they encompassed, how large they were, and how they varied across time and space. I then examine how guild activities affected market competition, commercial security, contract enforcement, product quality, human capital, and technological innovation. The historical findings on guilds provide strong support for the view that institutions arise and survive for centuries not because they are efficient but because they serve the distributional interests of powerful groups.

December 23, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

DiRusso: A Charitable Flexible Spending Account

Alyssa A. DiRusso (Cumberland), Charity at Work: Proposing a Charitable Flexible Spending Account, 2014 Utah L. Rev. 281:

This Article will propose a Charitable Flexible Spending Account system to enhance the current regulatory regime of the itemized charitable deduction. Part II begins by explaining the current charitable income tax deduction, including its history and the policies underlying its enactment. Part III then explores academic critiques and criticisms of the charitable deduction, and it determines the extent to which the current system of charitable tax incentives is sufficient. Part IV discusses the parallel challenge and development of tax rules relating to medical expense deductions, and it explains both the itemized deduction for medical expenses and medical flexible spending arrangements. Building upon this foundation, Part V proposes a Charitable Flexible Spending Account system and explains the details of its implementation. Finally, the Article will conclude with thoughts on the future of the evolution of tax incentives for charitable giving. 

December 23, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kaye: Innovations in the War on Tax Evasion

Tracy A. Kaye (Seton Hall), Innovations in the War on Tax Evasion, 2014 BYU L. Rev. 363:

Offshore tax evasion is a global problem that requires a global solution. Nevertheless, the United States unilaterally responded to the offshore tax evasion problem by enacting the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. FATCA requires foreign banks to report information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers directly to the Internal Revenue Service and imposes a thirty percent withholding tax on certain U.S. payments to any bank that will not cooperate. Yet, U.S. banks were not required to report any information on nonresident account holders (except for Canadians) to anyone. FATCA garnered worldwide attention. The European Union expressed its concerns to the U.S. Treasury about the compliance burden on the financial industry and the conflict with EU Member States’ laws on privacy and data protection. Treasury is resolving these issues by negotiating bilateral agreements known as Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) that will require reciprocity on the part of the United States in the exchange of information. These IGAs are furthering the movement toward global transparency as most FATCA partner jurisdictions intend to require reporting on all nonresident accounts rather than just U.S. accounts. This could lead to the development of a multilateral platform for the exchange of information that is critical to combating offshore tax evasion. This Article urges the United States to adopt the regulations and legislation that are necessary before the United States can provide its FATCA partners with the same information that they have been asked to give the U.S. government. The United States should play a leadership role in furthering global transparency and take the steps required to no longer function as a tax haven for tax evaders from other countries. The IGA with Mexico that entered into force on January 1, 2013, is an appropriate vehicle for the United States to demonstrate this renewed commitment to the exchange of information.

December 23, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Experiential Education and Our Divided Campuses

Margaret Reuter (Indiana) & Joanne M. Ingham (New York Law School), Experiential Education and Our Divided Campuses:

The Carnegie education masters, legal employers, and the ABA have appealed for more experiential teaching in law schools. The time is now; every school will soon have to provide at least 6 credits of clinic, field placement, and skills courses for each of their students according to the ABA’s most recent amendments to the Standards for Approval of Law Schools. Many educators and commentators proclaim the successes of the experiential courses to date, and assume that our current offerings just have to be expanded to accommodate the influx of students. However examination of the nature of the experiential coursework of 2,132 attorneys reveals that experiential courses have not been comparably pursued or valued by our former students as they have headed to careers in different settings and types of law practice. There are dramatic contrasts between public and private lawyers, litigators and transactional lawyers in the types of courses they took (or avoided) and in the lasting value they reaped. The Experiential Learning Opportunities and Benefits Survey and Study provides important insights and questions for deans, faculties, and curriculum committees to consider as they reorient their curricula to meet the new ABA requirements.

Chart 1

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December 22, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

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. The #1 paper is now #78 in all-time downloads among 10,599 tax papers:

  1. [1449 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [255 Downloads]  Piketty in America: A Tale of Two Literatures, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  3. [180 Downloads]  Corporate Inversions and the Unbundling of Regulatory Competition, by Eric L. Talley (UC-Berkeley)
  4. [154 Downloads]  The Rise and Fall of the Consumption Tax: A Historical Perspective, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  5. [153 Downloads]  Corporate Inversions -- Background, Causes, and Policy Options, by J. Richard (Dick) Harvey (Villanova)

December 21, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Judge Edwards on Rodell's Goodbye to Law Reviews

Harry T. Edwards (Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit), Another Look at Professor Rodell's Goodbye to Law Reviews, 100 Va. L. Rev. 1483 (2014):

I am not advocating a return to the narrow-minded, provincial doctrinal scholarship that Professor Rodell singled out for criticism. My hope is that law schools will lead the way in valuing the work of all good scholars, those who write articles focused on professional practice, procedure, doctrine, legislation, and regulation, as well those who focus on theory, philosophy, and empirical studies. The law schools and law reviews should consider seriously Professor Rodell’s view that “law is supposed to be a device to serve society, a civilized way of helping the wheels go round without too much friction.” If the status quo remains, our profession may find itself criticized for merely “diddling while Rome burned.” Professor Rodell’s memorable phrase is as apt today as it was when he wrote it in 1936. 

Michael Dorf (Cornell), Judge Harry Edwards Is Still Unimpressed With Legal Scholarship:

In 1992, Judge Edwards took to the pages of the Michigan Law Review to decry what he called The Growing Disjunction Between Legal Education and the Legal Profession. Although Judge Edwards was careful to qualify his criticisms by acknowledging the existence of good scholarship, his basic attitude was nostalgia for a then-rapidly-fading era when legal scholarship was written almost exclusively by first-rate lawyers-turned-academics who were interested in the same sorts of questions as courts (and perhaps legislatures), rather than by the new generation of "ivory tower dilettantes, pursuing whatever subjects pique their interest, whether or not the subject merits scholarship, and whether or not they have the scholarly skills to master it." (Emphasis in original.) ...

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December 20, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Johnson: Reflections on Home Concrete -- Writing Tax Regulations and Interpreting Tax Statutes

Steve R. Johnson (Florida State), Reflections on Home Concrete: Writing Tax Regulations and Interpreting Tax Statutes, 13 Fla. St. U. Bus. Rev. 77 (2014):

United States v. Home Concrete & Supply, LLC is the Supreme Court's most recent foray into the thicket of the validity of Treasury tax regulations. The decision disappointed some because the Court avoided many significant issues raised by commentators or briefed by the parties.

Nonetheless, Home Concrete gives us much to digest. Some reactions to the decision appear below. They are grouped under four headings: (1) litigation balance between the government and taxpayers, (2) retroactivity, (3) deference doctrine, and (4) statutory interpretation. These considerations are developed below after a brief description of the Home Concrete decision.

December 19, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Schizer: Limiting Tax Expenditures

David Schizer (Columbia), Limiting Tax Expenditures, 68 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2014):

The federal government devotes over a trillion dollars each year to tax provisions that pursue “nontax” goals. Scaling back these tax expenditures should be a high priority. Yet one-size-fits-all limits are often proposed, and are not good policy. Each tax expenditure generates its own mix of positive externalities and private benefits (or “programmatic benefits”). To choose the right limit, we should consider what programmatic benefits we would lose. The goal should be to reap programmatic benefits at lower cost. Different strategies are appropriate for each tax expenditure, including: tightening the definition of favored conduct; focusing on claimants who are easiest to motivate; favoring claimants who use the subsidy more effectively; calibrating how much favored activity we subsidize; and changing the government agency that administers the subsidy. We also should account for excess burden and distribution. Does repeal or a limit influence labor or savings decisions? Does it affect planning and administrative costs? Does it bring is closer to the distribution we want?

In addition to proposing this three-part framework for limiting tax expenditures, which focuses on programmatic benefits, excess burden, and distribution, this Article also analyzes seven different limits. They have very different effects. For example, a “cap” eliminates the subsidy for high levels of favored activity. In contrast, a “floor” disallows the subsidy for low levels. “Haircuts,” “maximum fractions,” and “phaseouts” preserve the subsidy for both high and low levels of favored activity, but in weakened form. Each limit offers a different mix of strengths and weaknesses, making it a better fit for some tax expenditures than others.

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December 18, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sanchirico Presents Two Tax Papers in Italy

SanchiricoChris Sanchirico (Pennsylvania) presents two papers at the 10th Annual Conference of the Italian Society of Law and Economics at the University of Rome:

As American as Apple Inc.: International Tax and Ownership Nationality, 68 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2014):

The ownership nationality of large US multinational companies plays an implicit but important role in the current debate over how such companies should be taxed. This paper identifies that role and investigates what is actually known about where these companies’ shareholders reside. 

Self-Constructed Assets and Efficient Tax Timing:

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December 18, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kwall & Wilbur: The Outer Limits of Realization

Florida Tax ReviewJeffrey L. Kwall (Loyola-Chicago) & Katie K. Wilbur (Varnum, Grand Rapids, MI), The Outer Limits of Realization: Weiss v. Stearn and Corporate Dilution, 16 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2014):

The Supreme Court’s 1924 Weiss v. Stearn decision involved a classic case of corporate dilution. In that case, a corporation (“Oldco”) transferred its business to a new corporation (“Newco”) in a transaction where the Oldco shareholders surrendered all their stock for 50% of the stock of Newco (and cash). The transaction diluted the proprietary interest of the Oldco shareholders from 100% to 50%. Because the Oldco shareholders surrendered control of the enterprise, the 50% interest they received in Newco was fundamentally different from the 100% interest they had owned in Oldco. Nevertheless, the Court held that the receipt of the Newco shares was not a taxable event (a “realization event”) to the Oldco shareholders. The Court reached this result by ignoring the dilution that occurred in the case.

In 1991, the Supreme Court resurrected the Weiss v. Stearn decision in the Cottage Savings case. There, the Court relied on Weiss v. Stearn to establish that the exchange of property triggers a realization event only if the property received is “materially different” from the property surrendered. Once again, the Court ignored the dilution that occurred in Weiss v. Stearn. As a result, Supreme Court jurisprudence sheds no light on the question of whether corporate dilution can trigger realization.

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December 18, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Madison: The Tax Consequences of Services Provided by Single People in a Relationship

Allen D. Madison (South Dakota), The Taxation of Gratuitous Services Gone Out of 'Control', 45 U. Mem. L. Rev. 115 (2014):

How does the IRS’s ruling that both parties to an exchange of services are subject to income tax apply in the dating context? When meeting, dating, living together, or potentially raising a child together, single people provide services for each other. Most are unaware that potential tax liability lurks behind their performance and receipt of services. This article proposes a framework for determining when a service is gratuitous and thus subject to income tax and then applies that framework to the four potential phases of singlehood.

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December 17, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morse: Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation (2014)

Edward A. Morse (Creighton), Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation (2014):

This outline, prepared for the 52nd Annual Great Plains Tax Institute in Omaha, Nebraska (December 4-5, 2014) covers significant developments in federal income taxation along with a few other interesting or noteworthy tax topics. It is not intended to provide exhaustive coverage, but it offers a selective treatment of items likely to interest practitioners and advisors within a broad range of professional practices. Coverage in this outline generally includes events from the prior Institute through December 1, 2014.

December 17, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Crane Reviews Halperin & Warren, Understanding Income Tax Deferral

JotwellCharlotte Crane (Northwestern), Keeping Us Honest About the Timing Flaws in the Income Tax (Jotwell) (reviewing Daniel I. Halperin (Harvard) & Alvin C. Warren Jr. (Harvard), Understanding Income Tax Deferral):

The recent attempt of Halperin and Warren to lay out with some precision what is at stake in the various phenomena loosely called “deferral” is a welcome contribution and should become a go-to primer. The essay includes the math critical to the analysis, but in a way that does not require the reader to be able to reproduce it in order to get the full message. It is also a useful review of the literature produced by tax academics in law schools (significantly by Halperin and Warren themselves) that connects the relatively simple financial principles regarding the time value of money with the on-the-ground tax policy debates in which they properly appear.

December 17, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shaviro: The Case for 1986-Style Corporate Tax Reform

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Daniel N. Shaviro (NYU), Evaluating the Case for 1986-Style Corporate Tax Reform, 145 Tax Notes 1267 (Dec. 15, 2014):

Shaviro explores the relationship between taxing corporate income at the entity level and the difficulties in evaluating whether a corporate rate cut would be desirable without significant structural changes.

December 17, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Barry & Caron: Tax Regulation, Transportation Innovation, and the Sharing Economy

Jordan M. Barry (San Diego) & Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine), Tax Regulation, Transportation Innovation, and the Sharing Economy, 81 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue ___ (2015):

Many emerging companies’ business models center on helping consumers to share assets in new ways. This “sharing economy” has already experienced tremendous growth and attracted considerable investment capital and talent. Yet, as is often the case with economic innovations, existing regulatory structures have hindered the growth of the sharing economy, reducing its popularity and slowing its development.

This Article explores the tension between innovation and regulation, both in general and in a specific context: the intersection of the transportation sector of the sharing economy and the qualified transportation fringe benefit rules of Internal Revenue Code Section 132. We illustrate how regulators’ legitimate concerns combine with the uncertainty surrounding new ways of doing business to create regulatory environments that place new industries at a disadvantage. We also argue that two of the most common approaches that regulators adopt to foster new industries – expanding regulation to encourage new industries and restricting regulation to spur innovation – are both flawed. In tax and other areas of law, these approaches tend to operate cyclically, with each coming into fashion for a time until its flaws are deemed unbearable and it gets replaced by the other. This cycle will continue until someone comes up with a better innovation.

December 16, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Brookings Hosts Conference Today on The Long Run Outlook for the Federal Budget

BrookingsThe Brookings Institution hosted a conference today on The Long Run Outlook for the Federal Budget: Do We Know Enough to Worry?:

Other commentators:

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December 15, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Elkins Presents The Achilles Heel of Corporate Taxation Today at Hebrew University

Elkins (2015)David Elkins (Netanya) presents The Achilles Heel of Corporate Taxation at Hebrew University of Jerusalem today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

A great deal of the complexity and inconsistency of the corporate tax structure can be traced to a 1921 decision in which the Supreme Court refused to bifurcate the amount paid for shares and to consider part of that amount as consideration for the right to participate in the distribution of already accumulated earnings. Although the government won that case, it turned out to be one of its most pyrrhic victories, as the consequent misallocation of basis created perhaps the most basic corporate tax shelter. Congress, instead of attacking the root of the problem by providing for bifurcation, chose to make it inconvenient for taxpayers to exploit what it viewed as an isolated glitch in the system (and in the process created a great deal of collateral damage). The Commissioner, with some degree of success, tends to look askance at corporations that engage in legitimate self-help by withdrawing profits before selling their shares. Bifurcation would contribute to the equity, efficiency, and simplicity of the corporate tax structure by equalizing the tax treatment of the various methods by which corporate shareholders realize their right to capital and earnings.

December 15, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tobin: The IRS and a Crisis of Confidence -- A New Regulatory Approach for a New Era

Florida Tax ReviewDonald B. Tobin (Dean, Maryland), The Internal Revenue Service and a Crisis of Confidence: A New Regulatory Approach for a New Era, 16 Fla. Tax Rev. 429 (2014):

The Internal Revenue Service is not usually thought of as the agency charged with enforcing the nation’s campaign finance laws. It has found itself, however, at the center of a firestorm over both its involvement and its ineptitude in enforcing certain rules that regulate the campaign activities of tax-exempt organizations. For historical, legal, and practical reasons, the Internal Revenue Code regulates the political activity of tax-exempt groups, in some instances providing for disclosure of campaign donors and expenditures, and in other instances limiting the amount of political activity engaged in by tax-exempt organizations. As campaigns become more sophisticated and complicated, pressure is placed on the rules regulating the political activity of tax-exempt organizations. The current structure regulating the political activity of tax-exempt organizations is unworkable, and the recent crisis resulting from the IRS’s use of partisan criteria to determine what applications for exempt status should come under further inquiry highlights the breakdown in the current regulatory regime.

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December 15, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

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 paper debuting on the list at #5. The #1 paper is now #97 in all-time downloads among 10,578 tax papers:

  1. [1340 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [397 Downloads]  Obama Care Fails the Origination Clause: Why Sissel and Hotze Should Be Reversed, by Steven J. WIllis (Florida) & Hans G. Tanzler (Florida)
  3. [231 Downloads]  Piketty in America: A Tale of Two Literatures, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  4. [206 Downloads]  A Conceptual Framework for the Regulation of Cryptocurrencies, by Omri Marian (Florida)
  5. [168 Downloads]  Corporate Inversions and the Unbundling of Regulatory Competition, by Eric L. Talley (UC-Berkeley)

December 14, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Witte: From Critical Legal Studies to Christian Legal Studies

Law Bible 4John Witte Jr. (Emory), Foreword: From Critical Legal Studies to Christian Legal Studies, in Law and the Bible: Justice, Mercy and Legal Institutions (Robert Cochran & David VanDrunen, eds.  2013):

This text reflects briefly on the precocious rise of Christian legal studies in North American and European law schools, and the past, present, and potential role of Scripture and the Christian tradition in shaping modern understandings of public, private, penal, and procedural law.

December 14, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, December 12, 2014

WSJ: Bonus Depreciation Fails to Boost Jobs, Capital Investment

Wall Street Journal, A Tax Break Fails to Produce Jobs:

With Congress poised to extend a raft of tax breaks, consider this: One such break has helped AT&T and Verizon slash their recent tax bills by billions of dollars without leading to the intended increase in investment or jobs.

The measure, known as “bonus depreciation,” lets companies offset their income with investments they have made more quickly. It was enacted in 2008 as part of the economic stimulus package with the goal of giving companies an incentive to build more factories or upgrade more equipment, creating jobs and giving a boost to sluggish economic growth in the process.

But that isn’t how it has worked, at least at AT&T and Verizon, whose vast networks of towers and cables make them two of the country’s biggest investors in infrastructure.

AT&T estimated its federal tax bill last year at $3 billion, down from about $5.9 billion in 2007, before the tax relief was enacted. Verizon estimated that it would get $197 million back last year, compared with a 2007 bill of $2.6 billion.

Meanwhile, the companies have kept their capital spending relatively flat since the stimulus was adopted, and their employee count has dropped by more than 100,000 people, a fifth of their combined work forces.

WSJ

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December 12, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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December 12, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Avi-Yonah: Why AMT and No AMxT? A Comment on Hines and Logue

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Why AMT and No AMxT? A Comment on Hines and Logue:

In Understanding the AMT, and Its Unadopted Sibling, the AMxT,  Jim Hines and Kyle Logue propose an interesting new theory about why the US has an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The function of the AMT, they propose, is to enable Congress to adopt a progressive rate schedule and to accommodate heterogeneous preferences for tax expenditures. Hines and Logue write that "By taxing a broad definition of income, the AMT makes it possible to have a tax system that both encourages certain activities with generous tax preferences and maintains a semblance of distributional equity." This rationale, they suggest, also favors the adoption of an Alternative Maximum Tax (AmXT), which would cap tax liabilities of individuals with very few preference items and thereby afford Congress greater flexibility in designing the income tax. This analysis is certainly novel, since most of the existing tax literature is opposed to the AMT. The problem, however, is that Hines and Logue have no explanation why Congress adopted the AMT but not the AMxT. When a novel theory explains part but not all of the observed phenomena, it behooves us to take another look at the theory. The following suggests another explanation for the AMT, which I believe is more consistent with Congress’ intent. It also suggests a reason to retain the AMT even if Congress does not adopt the AMxT.

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

Yin: The IRS's Misuse of Scarce Compliance Resources in the Exempt Organization Area

George K. Yin (Virginia), The IRS's Misuse of Scarce Compliance Resources in the Exempt Organization Area:

This paper briefly explains why the IRS’s adoption of an abbreviated application form (Form 1023-EZ) for organizations seeking recognition of their tax exemption under section 501(c)(3) results in a misuse of scarce compliance resources in the exempt organization area.

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Caron: Thomas Piketty and Inequality -- Legal Causes and Tax Solutions

Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine), Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, 64 Emory L.J. Online ___ (2015):

PikettyThomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century has acted as an accelerant fueling the fiery public debate over increasing inequality in America and around the world. Piketty makes the provocative empirical claim that the rate of return to private capital inevitably exceeds the rate of economic growth (r > g) and thus leads to growing concentrations of wealth among the richest members of society. Piketty has spawned heated debates in newspapers, magazines, and blogs, which soon will continue in academic journals and law reviews. Shi-Ling Hsu is one of the first out of the gate with The Rise and Rise of the One Percent: Considering Legal Causes of Wealth Inequality, 64 Emory L.J. Online ___ (2015).

Hsu focuses on the interesting question of how law and legal institutions foster inflated returns on capital (Piketty's r). He also makes the important point that lawmakers often conflate Piketty's r with g (public economic growth), resulting in laws that boost the former with little discernible impact on the latter. The bulk of Hsu's argument is devoted to explaining how five areas of American law contribute to "the legal enrichment of the one percent": financial regulation, antitrust law, oil and gas subsidies, transition relief, and electric utility regulation. He concludes with a plea for greater federal funding of education to spur greater economic growth and bridge the deepening inequality chasm in America.

Hsu's essay is a significant contribution to what is certain to be an energetic debate over the implications of Piketty's work. The need to examine the impact of legal rules and institutions on both private capital returns and public economic growth will be an enduring contribution to future scholarship on the extent, consequences, and reduction of income and wealth inequality. I offer here two modest reactions to Hsu's essay: (1) recent inequality research has shifted the focus of high-end wealth concentration from the Top 1% to the Top 0.1% (and even the Top 0.01%), with important implications for the work of both Piketty and Hsu, including (2) the inquiry into whether policymakers should intervene before the fact to re-shape the distribution of the benefits and burdens of economic activity (Hsu's approach) or instead redistribute wealth after the fact (Piketty's approach).

In a recent essay, Joseph Bankman and I argued that tax scholars need to focus more of our work on how policymakers should address the federal government's unprecedented (and growing) fiscal imbalance. California Dreamin’: Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis, 48 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 405 (2014). In Piketty terms, s (spending) > r (revenues). We proposed that California's recent tax increases on the wealthy should provide a template for the nation to bring r more into alignment with s.

Piketty's pioneering work provides added impetus for deploying the tax system in this effort. Increasing the tax burden on the wealthy would both raise revenue to meet the nation's spending needs and redistribute wealth to alleviate Gatsby-level inequality in America. Hsu’s proposed focus on the distributional impact of laws and legal institutions may prove to be helpful in the long run but a chimera in the short term as the nation's fiscal and inequality challenges demand solutions that only the tax system stands ready to provide. In short, raising taxes on the wealthy would both increase r (revenues) to better match s (spending) and decrease r (private capital returns) to better match g (public economic growth). 

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

Manhire: Do Tax Audits Matter?

J. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department), Do Audits Matter?: A Speculative Theory on the Relation between Tax Audits and Underreporting:

The theory expressed in this paper stems from the conviction that the underreporting rate is discoverable if one understands the relationship between the audit perspective of the tax authority and the underreporting perspective of the population filing individual income tax returns. This theory, if correct, allows for an approximation of the underreporting rate given only enforcement statistics.

After deriving the hidden measure, the paper then approximates the underreporting rate for the categories of individual income tax return filers regularly published by the tax authority and correlates the published audit rates with the approximated underreporting rates. In an attempt to answer the question, “do audits matter for voluntary compliance?,” this paper hypothesizes that a negative correlation between audit and underreporting rates suggests that those categories of tax returns have a hypersensitivity to the audit rate and any underreporting is perhaps intentional. A positive correlation suggests underreported tax is more a result of ignorance or mistake due to a complex tax code and its administration. At a system (non-individual) level, audits appear to matter for certain categories of tax return filers. For other categories, audits appear to have no effect on voluntary compliance rates.

These results can be instructive for tax administration policymakers. For example, as increased investment in enforcement against the categories of returns that suggest underreporting might be intentional could yield more significant compliance effects than enforcement against those categories that contain underreporting as a result of mistake or ignorance. At the same time, an investment in taxpayer education could possibly yield more significant compliance effects for taxpayers in the latter category.

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

California Offers Budgetary Lessons For U.S. Government

Stanford Report, California Offers Budgetary Lessons For U.S. Government, Stanford Professor Says:

Once the fodder of late-night comedians, California's budgetary strategy is actually one that national lawmakers might emulate, a Stanford tax scholar says.

Just two years ago, California's budget situation was among the worst in the nation, wrote Joseph Bankman, a law professor at Stanford University, in a new journal article [California Dreamin': Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis, 48 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 405 (2014):]. The Golden State's annual budget deficits soared past $20 billion, its net asset deficit was more than $127 billion, and the state legislature seemed dysfunctional.

Then, pushed to the brink with very real fears of cutbacks in state services, schools and escalating college tuition, California voters approved Proposition 30 in November 2012.

"California voters defied the conventional political wisdom in resoundingly embracing Prop. 30 by an over-10 percent point margin, 55.4 percent to 44.6 percent," wrote Bankman and his co-author Paul Caron, a law professor at Pepperdine University. ...

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December 9, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Raskolnikov: Law and Economics of Variable Sanctions

Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia), Six Degrees of Graduation: Law and Economics of Variable Sanctions:

From parking tickets to tax fines and punitive damages, legal sanctions matter in people’s lives. Yet neither the legal nor the economics literature offers a comprehensive treatment of sanctions. Their practical complexity is not well-understood and their theoretical analysis is fragmented. This essay prepared for an edited volume addresses both limitations. On the practical side, I highlight the complexity of sanctions using tax law as a primary example. The complexity exists because sanctions may (and do) vary along six different dimensions: aggressiveness, magnitude, culpability, effort to comply, likelihood of detection, and offense history. These six degrees of sanctions graduation are distinct, potentially independent, but often intertwined in obscure and perplexing ways. On the theoretical side, I review the economics literature in search of the reasons underlying each degree (or axis) of graduation. I conclude that three graduation axes of great practical significance — aggressiveness, culpability, and offense history — are the least developed theoretically. Two other dimensions — the likelihood of detection and the effort to comply with the law — are more conceptually advanced, although the theory is still fairly removed from the enforcement realities. In contrast, economic analysis reveals a good grasp of the magnitude axis and a clear path to modeling the real-life features that have remained overlooked thus far. By highlighting the complexity of sanctioning regimes and emphasizing the related theoretical successes and shortcomings, this essay identifies fruitful areas of future research, some of which I pursue in related work.

December 8, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Manhire: Reconsidering the Tax Compliance Puzzle

Florida Tax ReviewJ. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department), There Is No Spoon: Reconsidering the Tax Compliance Puzzle, 17 Fla. Tax Rev. 1 (2014):

For over 40 years theorists have sought the effects of tax audits on voluntary compliance rates by studying individual taxpayer motivations. Yet no single theory has produced a taxpayer incentive model that both comports with experience and explains the effects of audits on compliance. This quandary is often termed the “tax compliance puzzle.” Consequently, some theorists have called for more capacious models that make room for the panoply of individual compliance motivations. This Article proposes that a more complex model is unnecessary. To the contrary, complex compliance and enforcement data can result from extremely simple behavioral rules of individual taxpayers and government examiners interacting over time.

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

Sunday, December 7, 2014

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 paper debuting on the list at #5. The #1 paper is now #101 in all-time downloads among 10,560 tax papers:

  1. [1281 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [395 Downloads]  Obama Care Fails the Origination Clause: Why Sissel and Hotze Should Be Reversed, by Steven J. WIllis (Florida) & Hans G. Tanzler (Florida)
  3. [386 Downloads]  Trying Times 2014: Important Lessons to Be Learned from Recent Federal Tax Cases, by Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah) & Steven J. Small (Law Office of Stephen J. Small, Newton, MA)
  4. [262 Downloads]  A World Turned Upside Down: Reflections on the 'New Wave' Inversions and Notice 2014-52, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  5. [219 Downloads]  Piketty in America: A Tale of Two Literatures, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

December 7, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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December 5, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

December 5, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Newsweek Names Kleinbard's We Are Better Than This One of the Top Books of 2014

We Are Better Than This (2014)Newsweek,  Our Favorite Books of 2014: Newsweek Staff Picks:

We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money by Edward D. Kleinbard (Oxford University Press)

Americans feel the pain of an income tax system that raises twice as much as it actually does because of hidden spending through tax favors. This masterpiece on how we tax ourselves, and how Congress spends our money, explains why the mostly lightly taxed modern country feels so heavily burdened while offering workable solutions.

Drawing on insights from Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, lawyer Edward D. Kleinbard shows how applying ancient financial and moral principles would make America happier, healthier and wealthier. Kleinbard spent two decades designing sophisticated tax avoidance strategies for rich clients before becoming a law school professor on a mission to expose the tax system’s flaws.

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December 5, 2014 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Barton: The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession

GlassBenjamin H. Barton (Tennessee), Glass Half Full The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession (Oxford University Press, 2014):

The hits keep coming for the American legal profession. Law schools are churning out too many graduates, depressing wages, and constricting the hiring market. Big Law firms are crumbling, as the relentless pursuit of profits corrodes their core business model. Modern technology can now handle routine legal tasks like drafting incorporation papers and wills, reducing the need to hire lawyers; tort reform and other regulations on litigation have had the same effect. As in all areas of today's economy, there are some big winners; the rest struggle to find work, or decide to leave the field altogether, which leaves fewer options for consumers who cannot afford to pay for Big Law.

It would be easy to look at these enormous challenges and see only a bleak future, but Ben Barton instead sees cause for optimism. Taking the long view, from the legal Wild West of the mid-nineteenth century to the post-lawyer bubble society of the future, he offers a close analysis of the legal market to predict how lawyerly creativity and entrepreneurialism can save the profession.

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December 5, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)