TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hasen:  A Partnership Mark-To-Market Tax Election

David Hasen (Colorado), A Partnership Mark-to-Market Tax Election:

The rules of subchapter K of the Internal Revenue Code impose substantial compliance burdens on partnerships and substantial administrative burdens on the government. These burdens could make the option to have periodic deemed realizations of gains and losses on partnership assets attractive to many partnerships. Although deemed realizations would impose valuation costs and a slightly higher expected tax liability for partners than they bear under current law, for many partnerships, the tradeoff likely would prove worthwhile, especially if partners could continue to take advantage of the long-term capital gain preference for gains that would be taxed at preferential rates in the absence of deemed realizations.

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

Nurturing The Law Student’s Soul: Law Schools Struggle To Teach Professionalism In an Age of Consumerism

Elizabeth Adamo Usman (Belmont), Nurturing the Law Student’s Soul: Why Law Schools Are Still Struggling to Teach Professionalism and How to Do Better in an Age of Consumerism, 99 Marq. L. Rev. 1021 (2016):

The pronounced increase over the past few decades of the role of consumerism in higher education in general and in law schools specifically, in which schools and students view themselves, respectively, as consumers and sellers of an educational product, has only been accelerated in recent years with the competition over the declining number of potential entering law students. With no end to this trend in site, consumerism appears to have become a part of the reality of legal education.

This Article explores the intersection of consumerism and professionalism in the law school setting with a specific focus on the “Millennial” law student. This Article first explores the contours of what constitutes “professionalism,” concluding that at essence it involves aspirational values of the legal profession. The Article also delineates the unique characteristics of law students from the Millennial generation, focusing on Millennials’ penchant for service and desire for greater meaning through work.

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January 12, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

At The Universities Of Michigan And Virginia, Faculty Salaries Are Tied To Research Productivity, Not The Number Of Students Taught—And That's A Good Thing

Inside Higher Ed, Study Explores How Universities Deploy Faculty and Link Professor Pay:

A common criticism of the faculty reward system is that it tends to value research over teaching. A just-released working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research offers new evidence in support of that contention, suggesting that the number of students a professor teaches has relatively little to do with their compensation [Paul N. Courant (Michigan) & Sarah Turner (Virginia), Faculty Deployment in Research Universities].

Disciplines with bigger class sizes do tend to offer better pay. But the highest-paid faculty members within departments tend to teach fewer undergraduates and fewer undergraduate courses than their lower-paid colleagues. The paper also suggests that changes in faculty pay over time have more to do with discipline than number of students taught, and that universities adjust to various cost pressures by increasing class size and other means.

Yet the paper asserts that universities behave “rationally” in making such decisions, and suggests that prizing research output over teaching doesn’t necessarily affect educational quality. Over all, the paper seems to dispute assertions that higher education spending -- at least on instruction -- is wasteful or inefficient.

Figure 5A

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January 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Course Source: The Casebook Evolved

Stephen Johnson (Mercer), The Course Source: The Casebook Evolved, 44 Cap. U. L. Rev. 591 (2016)

Psychologist Abraham Maslow once noted that “it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” Law students are changing, law schools are criticized for failing to prepare practice-ready lawyers, and there is nearly universal consensus that legal education must transform. However, the principal tool that many faculty rely on to prepare their courses, the Langdellian casebook, is ill-suited for the transformation. The prototypical casebook that is still the standard for many courses today was designed for the Socratic dialogue and case method mode of instruction. While there is still a place for that method of instruction in legal education, other methods of instruction, the carriage bolts and lag screws of modern legal education, cannot be hammered down with the traditional casebook.

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January 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Nguyen & Maine:  Branding Taxation

Xuan-Thao Nguyen (Indiana-Indianapolis) & Jeffrey A. Maine (Maine), Branding Taxation, 50 Ga. L. Rev. 399 (2016):

Brand advertising and enforcement represent a significant investment by most firms. Yet, surprisingly, little scholarship is devoted to the ideal tax regime that should govern investments in both brand building and brand enforcement. Current tax rules governing branding evolved in the absence of an appropriate legal framework. The result is a regime with incoherent tax distinctions that lack theoretical justification, suggesting that legislative or administrative changes are warranted. This Article concludes that the current tax treatment of ordinary brand advertising (expensing) serves legitimate goals--expensing stimulates economic growth, furthers administrative efficiency, and creates an even playing field between businesses that advertise their own brands and businesses that choose instead to license from others the right to use well-known trademarks.

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January 11, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

White:  Cost Sharing Agreements And The Arm's Length Standard

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Sienna Carly White (Jones Day, Cleveland), Cost Sharing Agreements & The Arm's Length Standard: A Matter of Statutory Interpretation?, 19 Fla. Tax Rev. 191 (2016):

The arm’s length standard has been the touchstone of international transfer pricing and Internal Revenue Code Section 482 for the better part of a century, but its relevance is under scrutiny. A growing consensus among the international community suggests the arm’s length standard is no longer adequate to accurately and fairly tax the multinational enterprises that make up the modern global economy. In this paper, I examine the implications of the Xilinx saga and conclude that both the Ninth Circuit and the IRS were incorrect: the arm’s length standard should function as a legal principle, with explicit exceptions, rather than as a legal rule.

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January 10, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brooks:  Quasi-Public Spending

John R. Brooks (Georgetown), Quasi-Public Spending, 104 Geo. L.J. 1057 (2016):

The United States has increasingly designed certain public spending programs not as traditional tax-financed programs, but rather as mixtures of private expenditures, subsidies, and limited taxes. Thus part of what could have gone to the government as a tax is instead used to purchase the good or service directly, with only incremental taxes and subsidies to manage distributional goals. This Article terms this “quasi-public spending,” and argues that it is descriptive of our evolving approaches to both health care and higher education.

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January 10, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Merritt:  What Happened To The Law School Class Of 2010?

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), What Happened to the Class of 2010? Empirical Evidence of Structural Change in the Legal Profession, 2015 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1043:

Poor employment outcomes have plagued law school graduates for several years. Legal scholars have debated whether these outcomes stem from macroeconomic cycles or from fundamental changes in the market for legal services. This Article examines that question empirically, using a database of employment outcomes for more than 1,200 lawyers who received their JDs in 2010. The analysis offers strong evidence of structural shifts in the legal market. Job outcomes have improved only marginally for the Class of 2010, those outcomes contrast sharply with results for earlier classes, and law firm jobs have dropped markedly. In addition to discussing these results, the Article examines correlations between job outcomes and gender, law school prestige, and geography. In a concluding section, it offers four predictions about the future of the legal market and the economics of legal education.

Table 4A

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January 10, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Intersection Of EU State Aid And U.S. Tax Deferral

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Romero Tavares, Bret Bogenschneider & Marta Pankiv (Vienna University), The Intersection of EU State Aid and U.S. Tax Deferral: A Spectacle of Fireworks, Smoke, and Mirrors, 19 Fla. Tax Rev. 121 (2016):

The Advance Pricing Agreements or transfer pricing rulings granted to U.S. multinationals by Ireland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg were principally designed to achieve U.S. tax deferral and not EU tax avoidance. Adverse BEPS effects within the European Union would be immaterial in comparison to the deferral of U.S. tax on residual IP related profits, and would have occurred primarily in countries other than those charged with the granting of unlawful State aid. The Irish, Dutch, and Luxembourgish treasuries have not foregone tax revenues in favor of the U.S. multinationals they allegedly aided, which is a requirement for a finding of prohibited State aid.

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

The Most Downloaded Tax Professors Of 2016

SSRN Logo

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)

10,604

2

Lily Batchelder (NYU)

6851

3

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)

5016

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

4069

5

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

2585

6

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2539

7

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2464

8

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

2372

9

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

2234

10

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

2205

11

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

2155

12

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1854

13

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1823

14

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1808

15

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1775

16

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1636

17

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1626

18

Brian Galle (Georgetown)

1517

19

Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)

1507

20

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1490

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1484

22

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1471

23

Michael Graetz (Columbia)

1469

24

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1450

25

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1442

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January 9, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

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 paper debuting on the list at #5:

  1. [489 Downloads]  Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Kimberly A. Clausing (Reed College)
  2. [322 Downloads]  IRS Issues Final and Temporary Debt-Equity Regulations Under Section 385, by David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York) & Janicelynn Asamoto Park (Proskauer, New York)
  3. [195 Downloads]  Is Something Rotten in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg?, by Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)
  4. [136 Downloads]  Protecting Trump's $916 Million of NOLs, by Steve Rosenthal (Tax Policy Center)
  5. [135 Downloads]  The Right Tax at the Right Time, by Edward Kleinbard (USC)

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

Friday, January 6, 2017

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Erin Scharff (ASU) reviews a new paper by Jeffrey L. Hoopes (UNC), Leslie A. Robinson (Dartmouth), and Joel B. Slemrod (Michigan), Public Tax-Return Disclosure.

Scharff (2017)Calls for corporations to pay their fair share of taxes assume that corporations aren’t ponying up the way they should. But when it comes to individual companies, it can be hard to know what they are paying at all.

As a step toward reforming the system, reformers have called for increasing the public disclosure of corporate tax-return information. Jeffrey Hoopes, Leslie Robinson, and Joel Slemrod suggest reformers hope disclosure will achieve two goals. First, making this information public might limit tax evasion. Second, such disclosures might also provide information useful to investors.

As a result of reforms enacted in 2013, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) began releasing tax-return data (total income, taxable income, and tax payable) for about two thousand of Australia’s largest firms, as defined by income in 2015. The initial disclosures were all released on two specific dates. For large multinational corporations and Austrialian-owned public corporations, the ATO released tax information on December 17, 2015.

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

Rethinking Faculty Hiring At Fourth-Tier Law Schools

Meat MarketPhilip L. Merkel (Western State), Scholar or Practitioner? Rethinking Qualifications for Entry-Level Tenure-Track Professors at Fourth-Tier Law Schools, 44 Cap. U. L. Rev. 507 (2016):

[M]any fourth-tier law schools have lost their way. Rather than embracing their responsibility to educate practitioners, they are trying to look, act, and spend like elite schools. They operate as if they are research centers whose purpose is to produce academic scholarship, not places where future lawyers learn their trade. The research center model creates costs for fourth-tier law schools that ultimately fall on the students. Because most fourth-tier schools rely on tuition for operating expenses and capital budgets, students are paying more tuition and taking on more debt to support their professors’ scholarship. Students subsidize these activities but receive little benefit. They are further short-changed when they graduate and discover their professors taught them little about the actual practice of law.

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January 6, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (12)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Chicago-Kent Symposium:  Nonprofit Oversight Under Siege

Chicago-KentSymposium, Nonprofit Oversight Under Siege, 91 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 843-1114 (2016) (table of contents and abstracts):

Dana Brakman Reiser (Brooklyn), Introduction, 91 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 843 (2016)

The View from the U.S.:

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January 5, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Yoon:  Law Profs Continue To Publish After Tenure, But In Less Competitive Outlets

Albert Yoon (Toronto), Academic Tenure, 13 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 428 (2016):

In academia, a subset of faculty has tenure, which allows its beneficiaries to retain their professorships without mandatory retirement and with only limited grounds for revocation. Proponents of tenure argue it protects intellectual freedom and encourages investment in human capital. Detractors contend it discourages effort and distorts the academic labor market. This Article develops a framework for examining academic tenure in the context of U.S. law schools. We construct a unique dataset of tenured U.S. law professors who began their careers between 1993 through 2002, and follow their employment and scholarship for the first ten years of their career. Across all journal publications, tenured faculty publish more frequently, are cited with roughly the same frequency, and place in comparable caliber of journal. These productivity gains, however, largely disappear when excluding solicited publications. These results suggest that legal academics continue to produce after tenure, but channel more of their efforts towards less competitive outlets.

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January 4, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Weisbach:  A Guide To The GOP Tax Plan — The Way To A Better Way

House Better WayDavid Weisbach (Chicago), A Guide to the GOP Tax Plan – the Way to a Better Way:

The tax reform plan — A Better Way — put forward by the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady and the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan would be the most substantial tax reform in the United States since the enactment of the income tax in 1913. At the corporate level, the reform would allow immediate expensing of investments, deny deductions for net interest expense, and eliminate the taxation of income from sales in foreign countries while taxing the full value of imports (together shifting the tax base to a destination basis). At the individual level, the system would tax capital income including interest, dividends, and capital gains at half the rate that wages and salaries are taxed. It would also repeal the estate and generation skipping taxes. These changes would go a long way toward shifting the tax system to taxing consumption rather than income.

This paper considers the implementation of the House GOP tax plan and addresses issues that will need to be resolved if the plan is to work as intended. The plan is based on, and builds off of, a long history of thinking about consumption taxes. To understand the basic choices made in the plan, it is helpful to understand this history and how consumption taxes work in general.

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

Grinberg:  The New International Tax Diplomacy

Itai Grinberg (Georgetown), The New International Tax Diplomacy, 104 Geo. L.J. 1137 (2016):

International tax avoidance by multinational corporations is now frontpage news. At its core, the issue is simple: the tax regimes of different countries allow multinational corporations to book much of their income in low-tax or no-tax jurisdictions, and many of their expenses in high-tax jurisdictions, thereby significantly reducing their tax liabilities. In a time of public austerity, citizens and legislators around the world have been more focused on the resulting erosion of the corporate income tax base than ever before. In response, in 2012, the G-20—the gathering of the leaders of the world’s twenty largest economies—launched the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, the most extensive attempt to change international tax norms since the 1920s.

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

Sunday, January 1, 2017

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 paper debuting on the list at #5:

  1. [361 Downloads]  Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Kimberly A. Clausing (Reed College)
  2. [313 Downloads]  IRS Issues Final and Temporary Debt-Equity Regulations Under Section 385, by David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York) & Janicelynn Asamoto Park (Proskauer, New York)
  3. [209 Downloads]  Apple State Aid Ruling: A Wrong Way to Enforce the Benefits Principle?, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. 2017, Michigan)
  4. [187 Downloads]  Is Something Rotten in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg?, by Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)
  5. [129 Downloads]  Protecting Trump's $916 Million of NOLs, by Steve Rosenthal (Tax Policy Center)

January 1, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Daniel Hemel (Chicago) reviews a new paper by Eric J. Allen (Southern California) and Susan C. Morse (Texas), The Effective Income Tax Experience of U.S. and Non-U.S. Multinationals.

HemelAs our incoming President likes to remind us, the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Well, not quite the highest—the United Arab Emirates beats us with a 55% rate. But according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. corporate income tax rate is approximately 15 percentage points above the average among other OECD member countries.

Yet as readers of this blog no doubt know, statutory rates can be misleading measures of true tax burdens. In a newly posted paper, Eric Allen and Susan Morse seek to determine whether U.S. multinational corporations actually pay more than their foreign counterparts—and if so, how much more. Allen and Morse focus on multinational firms that have a “material U.S. presence” (e.g., more than a quarter of sales in the United States). Allen and Morse ask: Controlling for the location of sales (among other factors), what is the effect of having a non-U.S. parent on the multinational firm’s effective tax rate? They separately analyze firms in profit years and firms in loss years.

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December 30, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hoopes, Robinson & Slemrod:  The Impact Of Public Tax-Return Disclosure

Jeffrey L. Hoopes (North Carolina), Leslie Robinson (Dartmouth) & Joel Slemrod (Michigan), The Impact of Public Tax-Return Disclosure:

We investigate the effect of public disclosure of information from corporate tax returns filed in Australia on consumers, investors, and the corporations themselves that were subject to disclosure. Supporters of more disclosure argue that increased transparency will improve tax compliance, while opponents argue that it will divulge sensitive information that is, in many cases, misunderstood. Our results show that large private companies are likely to experience consumer backlash and are also, perhaps as a consequence, more likely to act to avoid disclosure. We also fail to detect any material increase in tax payments, one objective of legislating the disclosure regime. Finally, we find that investors react negatively to anticipated and actual disclosure of tax information, most likely due to anticipated policy backlash than the revelation of negative tax information.

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Marian:  Private Investment Funds, International Tax Avoidance, And Tax-Exempt Investors

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine), The Other Eighty Percent: Private Investment Funds, International Tax Avoidance, and Tax-Exempt Investors, 2016 BYU L. Rev. ___ :

The taxation of private equity managers’ share of funds’ profits—the twenty percent “carried interest”—received much attention in academic literature and popular discourse. Much has been said and written about the fact that fund managers’ profits are taxed at preferred rates. But what about the other eighty percent of funds’ profits? This Article theorizes that the bulk of such profits are never taxed. This is a result of a combination of three factors:

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December 29, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Northwestern Law Review Exclusive Submission Window

Northwestern

The Northwestern University Law Review has announced an exclusive submissions window:

We are accepting exclusive submissions for Volume 112 through January 28, 2017 11:59 PM Central Time. For all pieces submitted in accordance with the instructions outlined below, the Law Review guarantees Articles Board consideration and publication decision by February 17, 2017. Furthermore, articles receiving a publication offer via the exclusive submission track will be published in one of the first two Issues of Volume 112. 

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December 29, 2016 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 December 1, 2016) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

61,433

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

10,340

2

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

34,707

Lily Batchelder (NYU)

6477

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

29,037

Michael Simkovic (S.Hall)

4927

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

28,494

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3961

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

26,971

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2522

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

23,210

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2433

7

James Hines (Michigan)

22,368

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

2389

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

21,494

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

2249

9

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

21,486

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

2180

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

21,459

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

2143

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

19,544

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1892

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

19,247

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1852

13

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

18,276

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1820

14

Brad Borden (Broklyn)

17,641

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1776

15

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

17,498

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1718

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

17,420

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1610

17

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

17,052

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1568

18

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

17,017

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1544

19

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

16,737

Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)

1531

20

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

16,452

Brian Galle (Georgetown)

1441

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

16,355

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1440

22

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

16,279

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1421

23

David Walker (Boston Univ.)

15,405

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1417

24

Steven Bank (UCLA)

14,250

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1401

25

Gregg Polsky (Georgia)

13,378

Michael Graetz (Columbia)

1391

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 29, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Clarke Reviews Zucman's The Hidden Wealth Of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens

HiddenConor Clarke (Ph.D. Candidate, Yale Law School), What Are Tax Havens and Why Are They Bad, 95 Tex. L. Rev. 59 (2016) (reviewing Gabriel Zucman, The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (University of Chicago Press, 2015)):

This essay reviews Gabriel Zucman's The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens. Zucman's important new book brings clarity to a confusing subject -- but occasionally does so at the expense of nuance. My review has three goals. First, I summarize and appraise Zucman's central findings, and re-estimate his revenue-loss totals for the United States using tax-rate assumptions that I believe are more realistic. Second, I position Zucman's findings against the backdrop of the wider literatures on tax havens and inequality, and attempt to answer the two questions in this essay's title. Third, I comment on Zucman's call for a global registry covering the ownership of financial securities. I argue that such a proposal must contend with the fact that there is no international legal consensus on what constitutes ownership.

Prior reviews of The Hidden Wealth of Nations:

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December 28, 2016 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [306 Downloads]  Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Kimberly A. Clausing (Reed College)
  2. [298 Downloads]  IRS Issues Final and Temporary Debt-Equity Regulations Under Section 385, by David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York) & Janicelynn Asamoto Park (Proskauer, New York)
  3. [195 Downloads]  Were Trump's Fake Losses Legal as Tax Deductions?, by Calvin H. Johnson (Texas)
  4. [193 Downloads]  Apple State Aid Ruling: A Wrong Way to Enforce the Benefits Principle?, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. 2017, Michigan)
  5. [174 Downloads]  Is Something Rotten in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg?, by Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

December 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, David Gamage (UC-Berkeley, moving to Indiana) reviews a new article by Reuven Avi-Yonah (UC-Irvine) and Kimberly A. Clausing (Reed), Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint.

Gamage (2017)The House Republicans’ plans to reform the U.S. corporate tax have been the talk of tax policy town, as of late.  Based to at least some extent on the work of my soon-to-be-former colleague Alan Auerbach, the reforms being discussed would transform the corporate tax into a destination-based cash-flow form of taxation.   

Avi-Yonah and Clausing’s draft article critiques these plans.  As they conclude (p. 16):

“The Ryan Blueprint destination based cash-flow tax is not ready for prime-time. No other country had adopted a similar tax, and as the above analysis makes clear, there are myriad issues that would need to be worked through before any such tax were adopted. These issues are not small: the plan is incompatible with trade rules in a manner which harms our trading partners, it is incompatible with our treaty obligations, it is unlikely to put an end to income shifting, it generates political problems due to large numbers of companies that would experience adverse tax treatment changes, and it is likely to generate large revenue losses. In addition, there are important issues surrounding how exporters with losses would be handled (which could lead to inefficient mergers, etc.), how financial firms would be handled, and how U.S. state corporate tax systems would be affected.”  

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December 23, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Estate Planning After The Repeal of The Estate Tax

Kevin T. Keen (Baker & McKenzie, Zurich), The Only Thing Certain Is Uncertainty: The Future Of Estate Planning Without The Federal Estate Tax, 51 Real Prop. Tr. & Est. L.J. 129 (2016):

Given the current political environment, the possibility of a federal estate tax repeal has seemingly become more likely. The effect of a possible near-term repeal of the federal estate tax creates further uncertainty in a field that is constantly evolving. This uncertainty is nothing new. However, taking into consideration the substantial and cascading changes of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, focusing on current proposed legislation to repeal the estate tax is important to present estate planning efforts. ...

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

Hayes Holderness (Illinois VAP) Accepts Tenure Track Position At Richmond

Holderness (2017)Hayes Holderness (Visiting Assistant Professor, Illinois) has accepted an entry-level tenure track position at Richmond:

Professor Holderness received his J.D., cum laude, and LL.M. in Taxation from the New York University School of Law. Before entering law teaching, he served as a Tax Policy Fellow for the United States Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, where he assisted in the drafting and analysis of proposed federal tax legislation. Professor Holderness was also a practicing attorney as a member of the state and local tax group of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, where he worked on a variety of tax matters. ...

Professor Holderness focuses his scholarship on issues of state and local taxation. Specifically, he is interested in the interaction between multiple overlapping levels of governmental jurisdiction and the effect of emerging technologies and means of doing business on current models of taxation.

His two most recent articles are:

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December 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Grewal:  The Un-Precedented Tax Court

Tax Court Logo 2Andy Grewal (Iowa), The Un-Precedented Tax Court, 101 Iowa L. Rev. 2065 (2016):

Around the turn of this century, a "highly-charged" debate erupted over unpublished federal appellate court opinions. Some argued that the common prohibition against citation to those opinions posed no constitutional problems, while others argued that no-citation rules improperly eliminated a significant check on the judicial power.

This debate might have been expected to reach, but has not yet reached, issues related to the purportedly nonprecedential nature of most Tax Court opinions. Under court practices, Memorandum Opinions nominally lack precedential value. And by Congressional fiat, Summary Opinions cannot be cited as precedent.

This Article explores the constitutional and practical problems raised by non-precedential Tax Court opinions.

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

A Practitioner's Guide To Section 2036

Leslie M. Levy, Section 2036 of the Internal Revenue Code: A Practitioner's Guide, 51 Real Prop. Tr. & Est. L.J. 75 (2016):

This Article summarizes the current law and issues surrounding section 2036 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). Specifically, this Article examines retained rights that trigger section 2036. It also addresses the issues surrounding the definition of a “bona fide sale” and the different tests employed by different courts. Lastly, this Article examines the definition of “adequate and full consideration in money or money’s worth” and two highly debated issues in that area.

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

Monday, December 19, 2016

Women Receive Lower Grades Than Men In Large Law School Classes

Daniel E. Ho (Stanford) & Mark G. Kelman (Stanford), Does Class Size Affect the Gender Gap? A Natural Experiment in Law, 43 J. Legal Stud. 291 (2014):

We study a unique natural experiment in which Stanford Law School randomly assigned first year students to small or large sections of mandatory courses from 2001 to 2011. We provide evidence that assignment to small sections closed a slight (but substantively and highly statistically significant) gender gap existing in large sections from 2001 to 2008; that reforms in 2008 that modified the grading system and instituted small graded writing and simulationintensive courses eliminated the gap entirely; and that women, if anything, outperformed men in small simulation-based courses. Our evidence suggests that pedagogical policy—particularly small class sizes—can reduce, and even reverse, achievement gaps in postgraduate education.

Figure 1

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December 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the 2016 tax writing competition:

First Prize $5,000:
Jesse Boretsky (Yale), Redefining a Blurry Line: A Proposal to Reform the Taxation of Pension Fund Business and Investment Income
Faculty Sponsor:  Yair Listokin

Second Prize (tie, $2,000):

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December 18, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 list:

  1. [670 Downloads]  Aggressive Tax Planning & the Ethical Tax Lawyer, by Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings)
  2. [344 Downloads]  The Up-C Revolution, by Gregg D. Polsky (Georgia) & Adam H. Rosenzweig (Washington University)
  3. [312 Downloads]  Estate Planning for Digital Assets: Assigning Tax Basis and Value to Digital Assets, by Elizabeth Ruth Carter (LSU)
  4. [289 Downloads]  IRS Issues Final and Temporary Debt-Equity Regulations Under Section 385, by David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York) & Janicelynn Asamoto Park (Proskauer, New York)
  5. [193 Downloads]  Were Trump's Fake Losses Legal as Tax Deductions?, by Calvin H. Johnson (Texas)

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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Osofsky Reviews Satterthwaite's Tax Elections As Screens

Jotwell (2016)Leigh Osofsky (Miami), Real-World Tax Screening (JOTWELL) (reviewing Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto), Tax Elections as Screens, 42 Queen’s L.J. ___ (2016)):

The concept of “screening” taxpayers is theoretically appealing. According to optimal tax theory, our tax system should impose tax liability based on ability, which is a characteristic that reflects relative well-being. However, since ability cannot be directly observed, the tax system has to rely largely on income, a presumed surrogate of ability, as a tax base. The problem is that income is easily manipulable, making the tax system an inefficient tax on ability. Screening is a potential, partial solution to this problem.

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December 17, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new article by Donald Marron (Urban Institute), Goldilocks Meets Private Equity: Taxing Carried Interest Just Right, 31 Tax Policy and the Economy (Urban Institute & Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, 2016).

Glogower (2016)Policy debates over carried interest reform generally focus on the benefits to the carry recipient: the fund manager.  Marron’s article takes a fresh look at the issue by instead considering the tax consequences of the carried interest payment to the fund’s other investors.  

Like other advocates of carried interest reform, Marron argues that current law, which taxes carried interest at a preferential rate to the extent paid from the fund’s capital gains and qualified dividends, undertaxes managers for their labor on behalf of the fund (in Marron’s terminology, the “Labor Services View”).  The preferential treatment of carried interest also presents an arbitrage game, whereby a fund’s nontaxable investors can pass the benefits of preferential tax rates to the managers, while capturing a portion of this benefit by paying the managers less (the “Joint Tax View”). 

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December 16, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (2)

Crane Reviews Kleinbard's The Trojan Horse Of Corporate Integration

Jotwell Charlotte Crane (Northwetsern), Trojan Horse, or Merely a Mask for the Costume Ball? (JOTWELL) (reviewing Edward Kleinbard (USC), The Trojan Horse of Corporate Integration, 152 Tax Notes 957 (Aug. 15, 2016)):

Edward Kleinbard’s The Trojan Horse of Corporate Integration critiques the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s current proposal for corporate integration. This is an important read for those who have not yet come to grips with the forces at play in contemporary tax policy. Kleinbard refers to these forces as the “political economy agenda” behind the proposal. That agenda has as much to do with appearances relating to tax liabilities as it does with any cash actually being paid. ...

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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Buchanan Reviews Phillips' Registered Savings Plans And Middle Class Canada: A Performative Theory Of Tax Policy

Jotwell (2016)Neil H. Buchanan (George Washington), Telling the Middle Class How to Be Middle-Class: Tax Incentives for Saving (JOTWELL) (reviewing Lisa Philipps, Registered Savings Plans and the Making of Middle Class Canada: Toward a Performative Theory of Tax Policy, 84 Fordham L. Rev. 2677 (2016)):

Analyses of tax policy are typically based on a familiar cost-benefit framework. There are important debates about which costs and benefits should be included (and which are measurable), but the standard formula is simple: (1) Describe the policy goal; (2) Present the costs and benefits of a policy that is meant to achieve that goal; and (3) Conclude that the policy is good or bad, depending on whether benefits exceed costs or vice versa.

In her important new article, Professor Lisa Philipps uses a Canadian tax policy debate to show that this approach is fundamentally misleading.

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December 15, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

This Is Your Brain on Law School

BrainAbigail A. Patthoff (Chapman), This is Your Brain on Law School: The Impact of Fear-Based Narratives on Law Students, 2015 Utah L. Rev. 391:

Law students regularly top the charts as among the most dissatisfied, demoralized, and depressed of graduate student populations. As their teachers, law professors cannot ignore the palpable presence of this stress in our classrooms – unchecked, it stifles learning, encourages counterproductive behavior, and promotes illness. Yet, in the name of persuasion, professors frequently, and perhaps unwittingly, introduce additional fear into the classroom as a pedagogical tool via a common fear-based narrative: the cautionary tale. By taking lessons from existing social science research about “fear appeals” – scare tactics designed to frighten the listener into adopting a particular behavior – this article suggests that we can actively manage one source of law student anxiety by more thoughtfully using cautionary tales.

December 13, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list:

  1. [652 Downloads]  Aggressive Tax Planning & the Ethical Tax Lawyer, by Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings)
  2. [339 Downloads]  The Up-C Revolution, by Gregg D. Polsky (Georgia) & Adam H. Rosenzweig (Washington University)
  3. [302 Downloads]  Estate Planning for Digital Assets: Assigning Tax Basis and Value to Digital Assets, by Elizabeth Ruth Carter (LSU)
  4. [280 Downloads]  IRS Issues Final and Temporary Debt-Equity Regulations Under Section 385, by David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York) & Janicelynn Asamoto Park (Proskauer, New York)
  5. [185 Downloads]  Were Trump's Fake Losses Legal as Tax Deductions?, by Calvin H. Johnson (Texas)

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

Friday, December 9, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Daniel Hemel (Chicago) reviews a new paper by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC), The Right Tax at the Right Time.

HemelEdward Kleinbard’s newest paper lays out the case for a “Dual Business Enterprise Income Tax,” or “Dual BEIT,” as an alternative to the existing patchwork of federal taxes on business income. Readers familiar with Kleinbard’s past work know that he is a powerful analyst and a crystal-clear writer, and this paper is no exception. For reasons I explain below, I am not sure that a Dual BEIT is the “right tax” for our time, but all can agree that Kleinbard’s proposal is an important contribution to the business tax policy debate.

In a prior paper, Kleinbard explained why he thinks the United States should tax capital income annually at a flat rate; the latest installment explains why he thinks a Dual BEIT is the best way to achieve that result. In brief, a Dual BEIT would consist of a flat-rate entity-level tax on profits and a flat-rate investor-level tax on “normal returns.”

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Grinberg Presents Issues To Consider In The EU State Aid Investigations Today At Pennsylvania

GrinbergItai Grinberg (Georgetown) presents Issues to Consider in the EU State Aid Investigations at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

  • Washington Will Not Let Brussels Have the Last Word on Apple, Financial Times op-ed, Sept. 1, 2016
  • EU State Aid Investigations Demand an Aggressive Response, 83 Tax Notes Int'l 611 (Aug. 15, 2016) (Abstract: This article is the first in a multi-part series addressing the concerns raised by the European Commission’s state aid investigations. In this installment, the authors provide background on the state aid investigations and describe the ways in which these investigations represent a sharp departure from past commission practice. Subsequent pieces will respectively address the tax, investment law, and trade law concerns raised by the commission’s investigations.)

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

Kleinbard:  The Why And How Of The Dual Business Enterprise Income Tax ('Dual BEIT')

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

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

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December 7, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Amiram Presents Tax Avoidance At Public Corporations Driven By Shareholder Taxes Today At Columbia

AmiranDan Amiram (Columbia) presents Tax Avoidance at Public Corporations Driven by Shareholder Taxes: Evidence from Changes in Dividend Tax Policy (with Andrew M. Bauer (Illinois) & Mary Margaret Frank (Virginia)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

We exploit exogenous changes in country-level corporate-shareholder tax integration systems to identify the effect of investor-level taxes on corporate tax avoidance. Specifically, we rely on the elimination of imputation systems by European countries in different years, in response to supranational judicial rulings. Under an imputation system, lowering corporate tax payments does not increase the cash flows available to shareholders after dividend taxes, but it does so after their elimination. Using a difference-in-difference model with fixed effects, we find that the average firm affected by the change reduces its cash effective tax rate by 17% relative to the eliminating group’s average statutory tax rate. Additional placebo tests provide evidence that supports this effect is present only in the countries and years in which the elimination occurs. Our results are partially driven by shifting income to foreign countries. Lastly, as expected, our results are more pronounced in closely held firms, firms with lower foreign income and firms with higher dividend payout.

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December 6, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hemel & Herzig:  The Art Of The (Budget) Deal—Using Reconciliation To Repeal ObamaCare And Pass Tax Reform

Daniel Hemel (Chicago) & David Herzig (Valparaiso), The Art of the (Budget) Deal, Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (Dec. 2, 2016):

Republicans on Capitol Hill are reportedly planning to use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process to repeal the Affordable Care Act and overhaul the tax code. Against that background, Sam Wice says that “the most powerful person in America” in 2017 will be Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, the nonpartisan official who will “determine” how much of their agenda Republicans can pass through reconciliation. This, of course, is an exaggeration: like it or not, the most powerful person in America in 2017 will be Donald J. Trump, who will wield all the power of the imperial presidency. But Wice’s post helpfully directs our attention to the budget reconciliation process, the rules of which quite likely will determine whether the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill can repeal the ACA and reform the tax laws.

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December 6, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Business Income And Business Taxation: How The U.S. Could Kill The Corporate Tax

Conor Clarke (Ph.D. 2017, Yale) & Wojciech Kopczuk (Columbia), Business Income and Business Taxation in the United States Since the 1950s:

In theory, the U.S. tax system aims to attribute and tax all business income to individuals. But the tax treatment of this income varies. Pass-through income is taxed when earned; capital-gains income is taxed when realized; dividends when distributed; other forms of business income may escape taxation entirely. Business owners often have control over the timing and character of their income: They can often choose, for example, between reporting business income or deducting it as wages or fringe benefits. And laws change, changing the incentive and ability to shift income between the individual and corporate sectors.

We integrate a wide variety of tax data to document the large long-run changes in the structure of business income and business taxation in the United States. These changes include the degree to which business incomes are taxed on a realization versus an accrual basis, the extent to which taxation is deferred, and the share of business income that is ultimately subject to taxation. We highlight the evolving relevance of retained earnings in the changing corporate sector and their relationship to equity values and unrealized capital gains. We also document the evolution of individual income components — profits of pass-through entities, dividends, and capital gains (both taxable gains and those escaping taxation through step-up). As a result of these changes, business incomes are increasingly taxed through personal income taxes instead of a combination of corporate and personal taxes. In particular, this implies that the observability of business incomes on personal income tax returns has improved over time, a fact that has implications for measuring and understanding the income distribution

Bloomberg View: How the U.S. Could Kill the Corporate Tax, by Leonid Bershidsky:

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December 6, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Markovits Presents Meritocracy And Its Discontents Today At NYU

MarkovitsDaniel Markovits (Yale) presents Meritocracy and Its Discontents at NYU today as part of its High-End Inequality Colloquium Series (more here) hosted by Robert Frank (Cornell) and Dan Shaviro (NYU):

Aristocracy and meritocracy are commonly considered opposed, even opposite, ideals. According to the common view, where aristocracy entrenches fixed accidents of birth, meritocracy promotes equality of opportunity. And where aristocracy allocates advantage according to morally arbitrary heredity, meritocracy allocates advantage to track morally meaningful contributions to the social product, or common good.

In fact, the meritocratic achievement that we celebrate today, no less than the aristocratic virtue acclaimed in the ancien régime, is again a sham. What is conventionally called merit is actually an ideological conceit, constructed to launder a fundamentally unjust allocation of advantage.

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December 5, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [623 Downloads]  Aggressive Tax Planning & the Ethical Tax Lawyer, by Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings)
  2. [323 Downloads]  The Up-C Revolution, by Gregg D. Polsky (Georgia) & Adam H. Rosenzweig (Washington University)
  3. [293 Downloads]  Estate Planning for Digital Assets: Assigning Tax Basis and Value to Digital Assets, by Elizabeth Ruth Carter (LSU)
  4. [266 Downloads]  IRS Issues Final and Temporary Debt-Equity Regulations Under Section 385, by David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York) & Janicelynn Asamoto Park (Proskauer, New York)
  5. [181 Downloads]  Were Trump's Fake Losses Legal as Tax Deductions?, by Calvin H. Johnson (Texas)

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

Friday, December 2, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, David Gamage (UC-Berkeley, moving to Indiana) reviews a new article by Walter Hellerstein (Georgia), Taxing Remote Sales in the Digital Age: A Global Perspective, 65 American University Law Review 1195 (2016).

Gamage (2017)Walter Hellerstein’s new article represents comparative legal scholarship at its best.  Hellerstein’s article analyzes the OECD’s recently issued International VAT/GST Guidelines so as to discuss the lessons for the design and reform of U.S. state-level retail sales taxes.  In doing so, the article argues that U.S. retail sales taxes (RSTs) should tax remote sales and should do so based on the destination principle.  The article then analyzes how RSTs should be reformed so as to best accomplish these goals.

Hellerstein is persuasive in arguing that RSTs should tax remote sales. His article offers important guidance for how RSTs should ideally be reformed. But how can we get there in light of the politically and judicially imposed constraints that currently confront U.S. state governments? I would rank the most plausible paths to reform as follows:

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

Harrison:  Normative Legal Scholarship Is An Oxymoron

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), Scholarship, Rush, and Still Waters:

I ran across the term "normative scholarship" in an article in the Journal of Legal Education by Robin West [The Contested Value of Normative Legal Scholarship, 66 J. Legal Educ. 6 (2016)]. It is, of course, and I think she would admit, an oxymoron. I've looked up every definition of scholarship I could find and no where is there any mention of normativity. Scholars search for information, inconvenient and otherwise, and report it. When they do, it is scholarship.

When they add the "should" element, it stops being scholarship and it becomes advocacy. This is not true just of your run of the mill article in which someone tries to convince you that the position they hold is the "right" one (usually by reporting what others have written that supports that position and not reporting what does not.) It also applies to any empirical work in which the author interprets the results with a certain "correct" spin without coming clean about other possible interpretations.

This is not to say no law professors produce scholarship. Some do. And, this is not to say all normative scholarship is bad. But it is to say that it is not scholarship, it is advocacy. Why don't more law professors do scholarship? The easy answer is they do not know how. They were not trained to be scholars. ...

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December 2, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (8)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

University Of Basel Conference:  Global Histories of Taxation And State Finances Since The Late 19th Century

BaselThe three-day conference on Global Histories of Taxation and State Finances Since the Late 19th Century kicks off today at the University of Basel Institute for European Global Studies:

Taxation has wide-ranging implications for global as well as domestic orders, ranging from budgets and public finances to inequality, the social fabric of societies, and worldwide competition for corporate profits. Since the global financial crisis of 2008 in particular, taxation and the reform of tax systems have become talking points in many parts of the North Atlantic world. The current interest in taxation is welcome, but many of the issues raised more recently have long histories that deserve to be studied in their own right. This international symposium calls on historians and historically-minded sociologists and political scientists with different geographical specializations to engage with the topic of taxation from a wide variety of angles.

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December 1, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)