TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Walker Presents The Practice And Tax Consequences Of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Today At Duke

Walker (2016)David Walker (Boston University) presents The Practice and Tax Consequences of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Although nonqualified deferred compensation plans lack explicit tax preferences afforded qualified plans, it is well understood that nonqualified deferred compensation results in a joint tax advantage when employers earn a higher after-tax return on deferred sums than employees could achieve on their own. Several commentators have proposed tax reform aimed at leveling the playing field between cash and nonqualified deferred compensation, but reform is not easily achieved. This Article examines the stakes.

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

Florida Names Mindy Herzfeld Professor Of Tax Practice And International Tax Program Director

FMDean Laura Rosenbury has announced that Mindy Herzfeld (right) will join the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law as a Professor of Tax Practice and Director of the LL.M. in International Tax Program:

Since 2014, Professor Herzfeld has been a Contributing Editor for Tax Analysts, authoring weekly columns on international tax policy developments and cross-border transactions in Tax Notes International. Prior to that, Professor Herzfeld worked as an international tax advisor for Deloitte Tax LLP, based in its Washington D.C. and New York offices. She began her career at Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York City and has also worked as tax counsel at Ford Motor Company. Professor Herzfeld received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. She has published over 100 articles in Tax Notes International and Tax Notes, many of which have been cited in law review articles by the leading international tax scholars, in Congressional Research Service Reports and in Treasury Department studies.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number Of Americans Renouncing Their U.S. Citizenship Hit All-Time High In 2016 (Up 26% From 2015)

International Tax Blog, 2016 Fourth Quarter Published Expatriates — New Annual Record:

Today the Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency (“expatriated”) during the fourth quarter of 2016. The number of published expatriates for the quarter was 2,365, bringing the total number of published expatriates in 2016 to 5,411.  The total for the year breaks last year’s record number of 4,279 published expatriates.  The number of expatriates for 2016 is a 26% increase over 2015 and a 58% increase over 2014 (2,999).


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February 9, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Liscow Presents Innovation And Climate Law Today At Toronto

Liscow (2017)Zachary Liscow (Yale) presents Innovation and Climate Law (with Quentin Karpilow (Yale)) at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

A common view in environmental law is that the government should not pick certain technologies over others. Rather, in the context of climate policy, this view suggests that the government should impose a carbon tax and let that induce innovation in private sector through the patent system. We offer a qualified defense of the government “picking winners”: directly encouraging innovation in cleantech over dirtytech and even within cleantech. Our argument is largely based on recent research in economics showing “path dependence” in the development of energy technology, suggesting that a big push in cleantech innovation can lead to a permanent reorientation of the energy sector and lead to more emissions reductions at lower cost.

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February 8, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Impact Of The Possible Repeal Of The Charitable Deduction On Law School Deans

Law Deans on Legal Education Blog: How Would Nuking the Charitable Tax Deduction Affect Higher Ed (and Law Deaning)?, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

According to Forbes (Ashlea Ebeling, This May Be The Last Year You Get A Charitable Tax Deduction), via Dean Dad, the tax deduction for charitable contributions may be history.  This could be devastating for higher education. ... 

The Forbes article suggests that charitable giving would plummet absent the deduction. What would this mean for the typical law school dean? Ten years ago, fundraising was the coin of the decanal realm. Today, fundraising is still important, but developing donors is a long-term commitment (it can take 3-5 years to establish the kind of relationship/trust that results in major gifts, and even then bequests may not "mature" for decades). Fundraising is critical to a school's long-term future; many struggling schools are surviving thanks to endowments created by decanal fundraising decades ago. However, short-term enrollment crises pose existential threats at many law schools, and immediate existential threats always trump long-term investments, so my guess is that fundraising already is getting less decanal attention than it did several years ago. Moreover, donors give to opportunities, not need, so fundraising is almost never a solution to current budget challenges.

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February 8, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

McLaughlin:  Conservation Easements And The Valuation Conundrum

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah), Conservation Easements and the Valuation Conundrum, 19 Fla. Tax Rev. 225 (2016):

For more than fifty years, taxpayers have been able to claim a federal charitable income tax deduction under Internal Revenue Code § 170(h) for the donation of a conservation easement or a façade easement. For just as long, the deduction has been subject to abuse, including valuation abuse. Dismayed by the expenditure of significant judicial and administrative resources to combat abuse in the easement donation context, the Treasury Department recently proposed reforms, including reforms to address valuation abuse. The reforms were proposed in somewhat of an analytical vacuum, however, because there has been no comprehensive analysis of the easement valuation case law. This article fills that void.

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February 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  ‘A Conservative Climate Solution’ — Republican Group Calls For Carbon Tax

New York Times, ‘A Conservative Climate Solution’: Republican Group Calls for Carbon Tax:

A group of Republican elder statesmen is calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change.

The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is “a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles. ...

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February 8, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Oxford Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

OxfordUniversity of Oxford, Associate Professorship of Taxation Law:

The University proposes to appoint an Associate Professor of Taxation Law. The MSc Taxation is a Law Faculty degree that is organised and taught jointly with the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, based in the Saïd Business School (the Tax Centre). The appointed person will teach tax law at graduate level, especially on the part-time MSc in Taxation, and also at undergraduate level, they will engage in research at the highest level and supervise graduate students in the field of Taxation Law and in such other areas of research as may be appropriate. The postholder will have excellent opportunities to engage with the interdisciplinary tax research and policy work at the Tax Centre. The person appointed will be offered a non-tutorial fellowship at Harris Manchester College.

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February 8, 2017 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kaye:  Tax Transparency— A Tale Of Two Countries

Tracy A. Kaye (Seton Hall), Tax Transparency: A Tale of Two Countries, 39 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1153 (2016):

On April 4, 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists announced their access to the “Panama Papers,” 11.5 million documents comprising forty years of emails, bank accounts and client records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. This latest public disclosure reveals the offshore accounts of individuals and corporations from over 200 countries and demonstrates that the movement toward global transparency is inevitable. The Panama Papers are also a powerful reminder that transparency matters greatly in the war on tax evasion.

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February 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Batchelder Presents Accounting For Behavioral Biases In Business Tax Reform Today At Georgetown

BatchelderLily Batchelder (NYU) presents Accounting for Behavioral Biases in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

One of the fundamental questions in business tax reform is whether to allow firms to immediately expense investments or require economic cost recovery. The conventional view is that expensing would generate stronger growth effects holding revenues constant. This view is rooted in traditional models of corporate finance that assume firms look at the net present value of expected tax payments when incorporating taxes into investment decisions. But this traditional view ignores the possibility that firms focus on more salient measures of taxes as well. If so, they may respond less to expensing than this theory suggests because expensing does not lower their financial accounting tax liability and, all else equal, requires a higher statutory rate.

This paper considers whether firms undervalue expensing due to a focus on these non-economic tax metrics and, if so, what this implies about business tax reform if the goal is to increase US investment. It develops a framework for what cost recovery rules are optimal, and then uses new and existing data to parameterize this framework, holding constant long-run revenues and the relative tax treatment of debt and equity. 

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February 7, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Tax Section Names 2017 Nolan Fellows

ABA Tax Section (2017)The ABA Tax Section announced the recipients of its 2017 Nolan Fellowships at its midyear meeting in Orlando:

  • Elizabeth K. Blickley (Washington, D.C.)
  • Matthew Cooper (Ernst & Young, Washington, D.C.)
  • Nikki J. Hasselbarth (Venable, Baltimore)
  • Vanessa C. Lafleur (Louisiana Department of Revenue, Baton Rouge)
  • Rafi W. Mottahedeh (Jenner & Block, Chicago)
  • Susanna W. Ratner (SeniorLAW Center, Philadelphia)

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February 7, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Theft Loss Deductions, Restitution, And Public Policy

Steven Friedell (Rutgers), Confidence Schemes: Theft Loss Deductions, Restitution, and Public Policy, 90 St. John's L. Rev. 25 (2016):

May courts legitimately impose their public policy views to override statutory commands? This article focuses on some of these problems in the field of federal income tax. Part I of the article focuses on theft losses suffered by confidence-scheme victims who thought they would profit from counterfeiting or other illegal activity. Courts usually disallow these deductions so as to discourage illegal activity. This article criticizes this rationale and offers a better one. It suggests that a tax deduction would be contrary to state policy in those situations where states in effect penalize victims by denying them restitution from the thieves. Part II discusses the cases that have denied deductions for fines and civil penalties and explores how these apply to the denial of restitution.

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February 7, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pratt Presents The IRS's Startling Attempt To Deny Medical Expense Deduction For Cost Of Male-To-Female Transition Today At Pepperdine

Pratt (2016)Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) presents The Tax Definition of “Medical Care:” A Critique of the Startling IRS Arguments in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, 23 Mich. J. Gender & L. 313 (2016), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

This Article critiques the startling arguments made by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, a case in which the issue was whether a person diagnosed with gender identity disorder (“GID”) could take a federal tax deduction for the costs of male-to-female medical transition, including hormone treatment, genital surgery, and breast augmentation.

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February 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Auerbach Presents U.S. Inequality, Fiscal Progressivity, And Work Disincentives Today At NYU

AuerbachAlan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley) presents U.S. Inequality, Fiscal Progressivity, and Work Disincentives: An Intra-generational Accounting (with Laurence Kotlikoff (Boston University) & Darryl Koehler) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

This study combines the 2013 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances data and the Fiscal Analyzer, a highly detailed life-cycle consumption-smoothing program, to a) measure ultimate economic inequality – inequality in lifetime spending power – within cohorts, b) assess fiscal progressivity within cohorts, c) calculate marginal remaining lifetime net tax rates, taking into account all major federal and state tax and transfer policies, d) evaluate the ability of current income to correctly classify households as rich, middle class, and poor, e) determine whether current-year average net tax rates accurately capture actual fiscal progressivity, and f) determine whether current-year marginal tax rates on labor supply accurately capture actual remaining lifetime marginal net tax rates.

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February 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Olson Presents Tax Policy In The New Administration Today At Minnesota

Olson (2017)Pam Olson (PricewaterhouseCoopers) presents Tax Policy in the New Administration at the University of Minnesota Law School Corporate Institute Forum on Taxation and Regulation today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series:

The start of a new presidential administration is always an interesting time for reflecting on tax policy. What are the new administration’s tax policy goals? Where does tax policy fall on the new administration’s list of priorities? What tax legislation might Congress consider?

The Honorable Pam Olson is the U.S. Deputy Tax Leader and Washington National Tax Services Practice Leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, heading a team that includes many former senior government officials and policy advisors. Before joining PwC, she retired from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where she was the leader of the Washington office tax practice.

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February 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Graetz:  Business Tax Reforms In The House GOP Blueprint

Michael J. Graetz  (Columbia), The Known Unknowns of the Business Tax Reforms Proposed in the House Republican Blueprint:

This set of slides raises important issues and questions concerning the potential effects of a border-adjusted destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT) as proposed in the 2016 House Blueprint “A Better Way.” This will form the basis for an article forthcoming in the Columbia Tax Journal. Citations have been omitted here.

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February 6, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sanchirico:  Business Investment In The House GOP Tax Reform Blueprint

Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania), Business Investment in the Tax Reform Blueprint:

November’s election thrust to the fore the tax reform Blueprint released last June by House GOP leaders. One of the plan’s key features, which has received surprisingly little attention, is its treatment of business investment. Outlays for plant, equipment and other business assets would be immediately deductible, rather than depreciated over time, while interest costs would be deductible only to the extent of interest income. This plan to replace net interest deductions with expensing of capital outlays is likely to hurt most businesses — some significantly — and so is likely to face a growing chorus of objections in coming months as this becomes clear to business leaders.

Moreover, claims made about this part of the Blueprint’s positive impact on the economy — that it will reduce distortion and encourage investment — are subject to significant caveats and are, in some cases, contradicted by the conceptual understructure of the plan itself.

February 6, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Tax Implications Of Super Bowl LI

Super BowlForbes, Super Bowl Bet That's A Sure Thing:

It's also almost tax time, and we should all remember who gets a piece of every bet: the IRS. The IRS gets a piece, whether sports betting, rolling the dice, playing cards, or betting on the ponies. All gambling winnings are taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. And the IRS doesn't allow you to automatically reduce your winnings by your losses either. Here are 7 tips for casual gamblers.

Sports Illustrated, The Super Bowl May Be in 'Tax-Free' Houston, But Most of its Players' Pay Will Still be Taxed:

As Super Bowl LI nears, much has been made of Texas being a state without an income tax. The common refrain is that Super Bowl LI is a tax-free Super Bowl.

Not so fast. Taxes have a way of extending far and wide, and that is true for Super Bowl LI.

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February 5, 2017 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ:  Taming IRS Imperialism

FATCAWall Street Journal editorial, Taming IRS Imperialism: A Foreign Leader Asks President Trump If He Will Keep a Promise:

In the tiny Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the leader of the opposition coalition in parliament, recently did something no other world leader has done: She read the U.S. Republican Party platform.

There she discovered that the GOP had called for repeal of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, which is best understood as a license for IRS imperialism. The Treasury Department has used the law to demand that foreign countries change their own laws so their financial institutions report information on their American account holders. Upon discovering the Republican call for Fatca’s repeal, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar wrote Donald Trump in January asking if he will keep this promise.

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February 5, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [1,833 Downloads]  Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Kimberly Clausing (Reed College)
  2. [547 Downloads]  A Guide to the GOP Tax Plan — The Way to a Better Way, by David Weisbach (Chicago)
  3. [256 Downloads]  Destination-Based Cash-Flow Taxation: A Critical Appraisal, by Wei Cui (British Columbia)
  4. [205 Downloads]  Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation, by Edward Morse (Creighton)
  5. [201 Downloads]  Accounting for Behavioral Considerations in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing , by Lily Batchelder (NYU)

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Tax Court Upholds President Trump's Authority To Fire Judges

Tax Court (2017)Battat v. Commissioner, 148 T.C. No. 2 (Feb. 2, 2017):

Ps filed a motion to disqualify all Tax Court Judges and to declare unconstitutional I.R.C. sec. 7443(f), which authorizes the President to remove Tax Court Judges “after notice and opportunity for public hearing, for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office, but for no other cause.”

In the Tax Reform Act of 1969 (1969 Act), Pub. L. No. 91-172, sec. 951, 83 Stat. at 730, Congress deleted from I.R.C. sec. 7441 the designation of the Tax Court as an independent agency within the executive branch. In 1971 we said that under the 1969 Act the Tax Court is no longer within the executive branch. Burns, Stix Friedman & Co. v. Commissioner, 57 T.C. 392 (1971). Ps also adopt the view that the Tax Court is not within the executive branch and contend that, as a result, the President’s limited removal authority violates separation of powers principles. In Kuretski v. Commissioner, 755 F.3d 929 (D.C. Cir. 2014), the Court of Appeals held that the Tax Court is within the executive branch. The following year Congress amended I.R.C. sec. 7441 because of concerns about statements made by the Court of Appeals in Kuretski.

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February 4, 2017 in New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1367:  White House Mum On Fate Of IRS Boss Koskinen

IRS Logo 2Newsmax, White House Mum on Fate of IRS Boss Koskinen:

The fate of controversial Internal Revenue Commissioner John Koskinen at the hands of President Donald Trump remained uncertain as of Thursday.

At the regular briefing for reporters at the White House, Newsmax reminded Press Secretary Sean Spicer numerous House Republicans recently met with Vice President Mike Pence and urged him to tell the President to sack the controversial IRS boss.

"Had Pence brought their intentions to the president and, if so, what was the fate of Koskinen?" we asked.

"I have nothing to update you on," replied the president's top spokesman.

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February 4, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup: Mary Tyler Moore And The IRS

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) reminisces about a 1970 episode of The Mary Tyler Moor Show involving an IRS audit.

The bewitching glamor of the 1970s IRS.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a Saturday night childhood staple in the days of three TV channels. Through the miracle of Amazon, I revisited my 10-year-old viewing habits by downloading an episode from Season 1, 1040 or Fight, in which the heroine gets examined by the IRS.

The fictional tax world of 1970 is a fabulous place. For example, the IRS does evening house calls, scheduling the exam in Mary’s bachelorette pad at 8:03 p.m. The IRS agent shows up right on time with his calculator.


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February 3, 2017 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Erin Scharff (ASU) reviews reviews a new essay by Sas Ansari (Osgoode Hall) and Lorne Sossin (Osgoode Hall), Legitimate Expectations in Canada:  Soft Law and Tax Administration

Scharff (2017)How exactly do non-experts understand tax law, and what is the role of the tax administrator in disseminating information about the law to (non-expert) taxpayers?  These are two critically important questions for tax administration.  While tax lawyers pride themselves on their mastery of the complex, often highly technical language of the Internal Revenue Code, lawyers are typically the last line of defense when it comes to income tax compliance.  Most taxpayers won’t even consult an accountant for tax advice. 

Recent work has brought renewed attention to these questions. For example, Shu-Yi Oei and Diane Ring have explored how Uber and Lyft drivers navigate tax questions, and Josh Blank and Leigh Osofsky have criticized the ways IRS taxpayer publications describe tax law.  

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February 3, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Georgetown Hosts Conference Today On Tax Competition

GUThe Georgetown Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL) and International Tax Policy Forum (ITPF) host a conference today on Tax Competition (program):

Unlike the United States―which currently has the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the developed world―other countries have been lowering corporate tax rates and increasing reliance on consumption taxes. Recently, various multilateral and unilateral efforts to limit income tax competition have reshaped the international tax landscape. In response to these developments, the United States is now considering major tax reforms to restore American competitiveness, such as the destination-based cash flow tax proposed in the House Republican Blueprint.

This conference brings together experts from a variety of backgrounds to share their views on international tax competition and U.S. tax policy. A series of panels will consider the global trend towards consumption taxation, how recent efforts to curtail income tax avoidance interact with tax competition, and the economic effects of international tax competition. The closing panel will consider how the United States should respond.

Panel #1:  BEPS and Tax Competition

  • James R. Hines (Michigan) (moderator)
  • Lilian V. Faulhaber (Georgetown)
  • Michael Smart (Toronto)

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

IBM Gives Watson A New Challenge: Your Tax Return

IBMHRNew York Times, IBM Gives Watson a New Challenge: Your Tax Return:

In its first steps toward commercialization, IBM’s Watson took on grand, science-laden challenges like helping doctors diagnose cancer. But that is changing as IBM strives to build its artificial intelligence technology into a multibillion-dollar business.

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February 3, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Vows To ‘Destroy’ Law Banning Political Endorsements By Tax-Exempt Churches: One of His 'Least Objectionable Policies'?

IRS ChurchNew York Times, Trump Vows to ‘Destroy’ Law Banning Political Endorsements by Churches:

President Trump vowed on Thursday to overturn a law restricting political speech by tax-exempt churches, a potentially huge victory for the religious right and a gesture to evangelicals, a voting bloc he attracted to his campaign by promising to free up their pulpits.

Mr. Trump said his administration would “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status.

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February 3, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thomas Presents Taxing The Gig Economy Today At Duke

Thomas (2017)Kathleen Delaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents Taxing the Gig Economy at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Due to advances in technology like mobile applications and online platforms, millions of American workers now earn income through “gig” work, which allows them the flexibility to set their own hours and choose which jobs to take. To the surprise of many gig workers, the tax law considers them to be “business owners,” which subjects them to onerous recordkeeping and filing requirements, along with the obligation to pay quarterly estimated taxes. This Article proposes two reforms that would drastically reduce tax compliance burdens for this new generation of small business owners, while simultaneously enhancing the government’s ability to collect tax revenue.

First, Congress should create a “non-employee withholding” regime that would allow online platform companies such as Uber to withhold taxes for their workers without being classified as employers. Second, the Article proposes a “standard business deduction” for gig workers equal to 80 percent of their gross receipts, which would eliminate the need to track and report business expenses.

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February 2, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kysar Presents Automatic Legislation Today At Indiana

KysarRebecca Kysar (Brooklyn) presents Automatic Legislation at Indiana-Bloomington today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

To compensate for the status quo bias in the legislative process, lawmakers have developed devices that, under certain conditions, provide easier paths to policy refreshment. Procedural mechanisms, like the reconciliation process, may eliminate barriers to legislating (“veto bridges”). Laws may prompt Congress to act through sunset dates or penalties like sequestration or other undesirable policy outcomes (“prompting legislation”). Or the legislative product itself may automatically update without further action by Congress (“automatic legislation”). It is this last, underutilized category, I contend, that best overcomes policy stasis while also avoiding the pathologies presented by the other two. Specifically, automatic legislation is preferable along several different axes: interaction with the administrative state, entrenchment effects, political economic and democratic concerns, and the budget process.

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February 2, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney In IRS Office Of Professional Responsibility (Columbia J.D., NYU Tax LL.M., Georgetown Adjunct Tax Prof) Busted For Dealing Crystal Meth

The IRS Scandal, Day 1365:  55 GOP Members Of Congress Ask Trump To Fire Koskinen

IRS Logo 2Letter to President Trump (Jan. 30, 2017):

Dear President Trump,

The consideration of the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in the House in late 2016 was a clear indication that Congress and the American people have no confidence in Commissioner Koskinen or his ability to discharge his duties.

The IRS, through its targeting of citizens for their political beliefs, has forfeited the trust of a free people. The IRS has admitted to improperly targeting conservative groups, delaying applications for tax-exempt status from 2010-2012, with at least 75 groups selected for extra scrutiny. Moreover, in August 2016, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the IRS had yet to demonstrate that officials have definitively ceased targeting conservative groups. The ruling came at the heels of evidence that two targeted conservative groups continued to have delayed applications for tax-exempt status pending at the IRS.

Congressional investigations, hearings, and actions have shown that Commissioner Koskinen misled Congress, obstructed investigations into the IRS, and failed to comply with Congressional subpoenas. Commissioner Koskinen's willful deception and obstructionism has only further eroded any remaining confidence.

Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7803, you have the authority to remove Commissioner Koskinen. We encourage you to dismiss him in the most expedient manner practicable. Such an action would restore the credibility of our Federal tax authority and the faith the American people have in their Constitutional rights to free speech and association.

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February 2, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Oregon Seeks To Hire A Tax Visitor

Oregon (2017)The University of Oregon School of Law is seeking to hire a tax visitor for one or two semesters for the 2017-18 academic year.  Courses that are likely to be needed are Federal Income Taxation, Business Entity Taxation, and Tax Policy.  Oregon is open to considering applicants at all ranks, including VAPs, tenure-track faculty, and tenured faculty.

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February 1, 2017 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (1)

How Donald Trump Can Keep His Campaign Promises, Grow The Economy, Cut Tax Rates, Repatriate Offshore Earnings, Reduce Income Inequality, Keep Jobs In The U.S., And Reduce The Deficit

David S. Miller (Proskauer, New York), How Donald Trump Can Keep His Campaign Promises, Grow the Economy, Cut Tax Rates, Repatriate Offshore Earnings, Reduce Income Inequality, Keep Jobs in the United States, and Reduce the Deficit:

This paper discusses President Trump's tax proposals and the House Republicans' Blueprint, and makes a number of suggestions that would allow President Trump to keep all of his tax policy campaign promises and some others.


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February 1, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Case Against Income Tax Exemption For Nonprofits

Michael Fricke (Illinois), The Case Against Income Tax Exemption for Nonprofits, 89 St. John's L. Rev. 1129 (2016):

[T]he time has come to end income tax exemption for nonprofit organizations. The arguments for exempting nonprofits are—and have always been—shaky, at best,12 and there are better methods for achieving our societal goals. Expanding the definition of a business expense and eliminating the income tax exemption for nonprofits would incentivize charitable organizations to use their funds currently instead of propping up their endowments at the expense of their programs.

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February 1, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Call For Tax Papers: Stanford/Yale/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum

Stanford Yale HarvardStanford/Yale/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum: Request For Submissions:

Stanford, Yale, and Harvard Law Schools announce the 18th session of the Junior Faculty Forum to be held at Stanford Law School on June 6-7, 2017 and seek submissions for its meeting.

The Forum's objective is to encourage the work of scholars recently appointed to a tenure-track position by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship and the nature of the scholarly exchange. Meetings are held each spring, rotating at Yale, Stanford, and Harvard. Twelve to twenty scholars (with one to seven years in teaching) will be chosen on a blind basis from among those submitting papers to present. One or more senior scholars, not necessarily from Yale, Stanford, or Harvard, will comment on each paper. The audience will include the participating junior faculty, faculty from the host institutions, and invited guests. The goal is discourse both on the merits of particular papers and on appropriate methodologies for doing work in that genre. We hope that comment and discussion will communicate what counts as good work among successful senior scholars and will also challenge and improve the standards that now obtain. The Forum also hopes to increase the sense of community among American legal scholars generally, particularly among new and veteran professors.

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February 1, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reading The Tax Tea Leaves On Judge Gorsuch

GorsuchTax Foundation, Potential Supreme Court Nominees on State Taxes and Interstate Commerce:

Judge Gorsuch appears to share Justice Scalia’s criticism of the Dormant Commerce Clause. He acknowledges Supreme Court precedent on the Dormant Commerce Clause but refuses to expand its breadth.

Bloomberg BNA, Trump Picks Scalia-Like Neil Gorsuch for High Court Seat:

An appointment of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court could benefit taxpayers through a narrower reading of the tax code and further limit the IRS’s rulemaking leeway when the agency is already defending anti-corporate inversion and transfer pricing rules that were arguably not authorized by the tax code.

“No question about it, Gorsuch is a take-the-language-of-the-statute-seriously kind of guy regardless of the policy,” Steve Johnson, a tax law professor at Florida State University College of Law, told Bloomberg BNA. “Gorsuch isn’t big on legislative history or policy intent, and he tends to find statutes more clear than others might,” he added.

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February 1, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

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February 1, 2017 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joint Tax Committee Releases Tax Expenditure Estimates For 2016-2020

Joint Tax Committee (2016)

Joint Committee on Taxation, Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2016-2020 (JCX-3-17):

Tax expenditure analysis can help both policymakers and the public to understand the actual size of government, the uses to which government resources are put, and the tax and economic policy consequences that follow from the implicit or explicit choices made in fashioning legislation. This report on tax expenditures for fiscal years 2016-2020 is prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (“Joint Committee staff”) for the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. The report also is submitted to the House and Senate Committees on the Budget.

As in the case of earlier reports, the estimates of tax expenditures in this report were prepared in consultation with the staff of the Office of Tax Analysis in the Department of the Treasury (“the Treasury”). The Treasury published its estimates of tax expenditures for fiscal years 2015-2025 in the Administration's budgetary statement of February 9, 2016. The lists of tax expenditures in this Joint Committee staff report and the Administration's budgetary statement overlap considerably; the differences are discussed in Part I of this report under the heading “Comparisons with Treasury.”

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February 1, 2017 in Congressional News, Gov't Reports, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Support TaxProf Blog By Shopping On Amazon

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February 1, 2017 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Shaheen Presents Treaty Aspects Of The McDonald's State Aid Investigation Today At Georgetown

Shaheen (2017)Fadi Shaheen (Rutgers) presents Treaty Aspects of the McDonald's State Aid Investigation at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

On December 3, 2015, The European Commission decided to initiate an official investigation into whether Luxemburg has selectively granted McDonald’s advantageous tax treatment in breach of EU state aid rules. The Commission’s decision is based on its conclusion that Luxembourg’s treaty-based exemption of the income attributable to the U.S. branch of a McDonald’s Luxembourgian subsidiary is contrary to the Luxembourg-U.S. treaty because that income was not taxable in the United States. This paper demonstrates that while the Commission’s conclusion and recourse to conflicts of qualification principles are correct, both the Commission’s reasoning on the one hand and Luxembourg’s and McDonald’s position on the other hand misapply the treaty.

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January 31, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NYU Tax Law Review Symposium:  Tax And Entrepreneurship

NYU TaxSymposium, Tax and Entrepreneurship, 69 Tax L. Rev. 311-457 (2016):

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January 31, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mazur:  Taxing Social Impact Bonds

SIBOrly Mazur (SMU), Taxing Social Impact Bonds, 20 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2017):

An exciting new way to fund social services has recently emerged. This new financing mechanism, called a social impact bond (SIB), has the potential to help us tackle some of our nation’s most challenging social problems. Broadly speaking, a SIB is a type of “pay for success” contract where private investors provide the upfront capital to finance a social program, but only recoup their investment and realize returns if the program is successful. Like any new financing instrument, SIBs create numerous regulatory challenges that have not yet been addressed. One unresolved issue is the tax implications of a SIB investment. This Article argues that the current law allows for multiple possible characterizations of the SIB arrangement for tax purposes.

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January 31, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

2017 ABA Tax Section Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award

HallPress Release,  Wells Hall Receives 2017 ABA Section of Taxation Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award:

The American Bar Association Section of Taxation presented its annual Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award to C. Wells Hall III of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, during the Section’s Plenary Luncheon on January 21, 2017. ...

Wells served as Section Vice-Chair, Pro Bono and Outreach, from 2013 to 2016. During his tenure in that position, Wells championed programs to increase pro bono participation among Section membership and to increase access to tax assistance for low-income and underserved populations.

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January 31, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through January 1, 2017) 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):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



James Hines (Michigan)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


William Byrnes (Texas A&M)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


David Weisbach (Chicago)



Brad Borden (Broklyn)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Steven Bank (UCLA)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Yariv Brauner (Florida)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Brian Galle (Georgetown)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Bridget Crawford (Pace)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Richard Kaplan (Illinois)



David Walker (Boston Univ.)


Michael Graetz (Columbia)



Steven Bank (UCLA)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)



Ed McCaffery (USC)


Jordan Barry (San Diego)


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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January 31, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

David Hubbert Named Acting Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department Of Justice Tax Division

DOJ (2017)David A. Hubbert has been named Acting Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division:

Mr. Hubbert was named Acting Assistant Attorney General in January 2017. He was appointed Tax Division’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) for Civil Trial Matters in September 2012. As DAAG, Mr. Hubbert oversees the litigation functions and other operations of the six regional Civil Trial Sections, the Court of Federal Claims Section, and the Office of Civil Litigation for the Division.

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January 31, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NYU International Tax Program 20th Anniversary

NYUCelebrating Twenty Years of the International Tax Program of the New York University School of Law (562 pages):

Introduction, by H. David Rosenbloom (Faculty Director, International Tax Program), pp. 1-8:

This Volume marks the 20th year of the International Tax Program at New York University School of Law. The first academic year of the one-year Master of Laws program commonly referred to as the ITP was 1996-97. I succeeded the late Paul McDaniel for the academic year 2002-03, and have had the immense privilege and pleasure of serving as Director of the ITP for the following thirteen years. It is with pride and a sense of accomplishment that I introduce this Volume and provide a few observations about the Program.

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January 31, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1363:  The Final Chapter On The End Of My Daily Coverage

IRS Logo 2Peter J. Reilly (Forbes), IRS Scandal Daily Coverage The Final Chapter:

Last week, Paul Caron, the TaxProf, dean of the tax blogosphere, called an end to daily coverage of "The IRS Scandal" on Day 1352.  This was 552 days beyond the point that I had opined that the series had "jumped the shark". To be clear, I was not suggesting that the Prof stop covering the scandal, just that there be an occasional day here and there on which there was nothing to report.  So it just took another 552 posts for that to happen.  It is worth noting that there were more Happy Days episodes after Fonzie jumped the shark than before, so maybe it was not such a bad call on my part.

Regardless, in order to make case for shark jumping I went through the series in two posts which are here and here.  For the sake of completeness I thought it would be nice to go through the rest of the series to see how it is that the Prof managed to keep it going for over a year after my shark jumping call.  Over a year ago, on Day 943, Professor Caron indicated that he was running out of material and it might be ending soon.  Things changed on Day 984.  He had thought that it might end at 1,000, but the certification of a class action lawsuit - NorCal Tea Party Patriots v IRS  promised significant material for some time to come.

Just as a reminder.  Day 1, May 10, 2013, is where the TaxProf count starts with the headline - IRS Admits to Targeting Conservative Groups in 2012 Election. ...

Day 1024 is in a class all by itself as we learn that Donald Trump has been audited so many times perhaps because he is such a strong Christian. ...

Scattered among the days are full scale commentary pieces about the scandal.  I'm not going to give you a lot of links, but instead am putting out the three pieces that lay out the two extreme positions and a more intermediate one.  On Day 1008 in recognition of the scandal millennium (by TaxProf day count) Jennifer Kabbany wrote in the National Review one of the best summaries of the scandal true believer creed. ...

The series also contains reference to the counter narrative.  On Day 1144, we hear from Ralph Nader. ...

A more nuanced view, one that I find interesting although not persuasive, is put out by Joe Kristan. He believes what happens was a form of self-weaponization on the part of the IRS.

The self-weaponization of the bureaucracy against its political opponents is hugely depressing. The government workforce is overwhelmingly on the side of the political party that favors an ever-larger state. There are plenty of Lois Lerners in the IRS and throughout the Leviathan. The Tea Party scandal, and the complete lack of accountability for its perpetrators, gives no reason to hope those who don’t share that worldview can expect a fair shake. That’s especially true when the sitting president (referring to President Obama) shows no interest in discouraging such behavior

This view is buttressed by an entry on Day 965 with reports about federal employees giving more political donations to Democrats than Republicans.  ...

Most of the commenters on the coverage tended to support the anti-IRS narrative.  When I showed up, there would often be a brickbat thrown.  My favorite was from somebody who goes by Porkypine:

Peter J. Reilly's writings on this matter in Forbes have tended to be IRS/Administration apologias, under a thin cloak of reasonableness. Too thin to cover the way he hovers between disingenuousness and mendacity in these efforts, however.

There was one though who joined me in scandal skepticism. That is Publius Novus whose last supportive comment was:

I am a Reilly Agnostic. I too would like to see what's under the rocks. Specifically, I would like to hear testimony from LLerner after an immunity grant. And if the Republicons were honest about pursuing this mess, they would grant immunity. Why not Mr. Chaffetz?

It is interesting to note that Paul Caron himself called for Lerner immunity in a piece on USA Today which was featured way back on Day 369.  I have not had any luck in figuring out who Publius Novus actually is,  Paul Caron has told me that he doesn't know.  Joe Kristan suggested Judge Crater, a joke that was too obscure for me to get.  Well, he or she should not have any trouble finding me.

And those comments are probably an indication of one of the best things about the TaxProf's chronicle.  It took the people who follow it out of their bubbles.  It will be interesting to see whether the crusade picks up again.  I can see in the coming weeks as the practicality of the Obamacare replacement or the wall building becomes challenging, that representatives of the Trump administration and the Republican congressional majority will start pining for the days when the buck did not stop with them. Then they will recall that Lois Lerner was probably the best enemy that they ever had and the scandal will get another lease on life.

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January 31, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)