TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

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)

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)

WSJ:  IRS Steps Up Fight To Access Coinbase Data On Bitcoin Virtual Currency Transactions

CoinbaseWall Street Journal Law Blog: IRS Defends Effort to Examine Coinbase Records, by Jacob Gershman:

Coinbase customers have no legal basis to try to stop the IRS from collecting their digital currency transactions, according to government lawyers.

The agency’s argument laid out in a new court filing counters an effort by a Los Angeles class-action lawyer to quash the IRS’s sweeping summons on the leading bitcoin company.

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

The IRS Scandal, Day 1330:  House Republicans And Democrats Forge Rare Bipartisan Agreement To Block Impeachment Of IRS Commissioner

IRS Logo 2Breitbart News, House Republicans Join Democrats to Block Impeachment of IRS Commissioner:

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, House Republicans and House Democrats came together to block a privileged motion by members of the House Freedom Caucus aimed at forcing the whole House to vote on the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

From the House floor, Rep. Jim Jordan (R.-Ohio), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, forcefully called for the House to hold the commissioner accountable by passing House Resolution 828, calling for the impeachment of Koskinen for high crimes and misdemeanors.

As the Ohio congressman began to speak, House Democrats began to clamor in disapproval. Turning to his colleagues on the other side of the aisle, Jordan said: “You might want to listen to what we have to say first and then you can moan and groan.” ...

Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) made the motion to table consideration of the bill, which would have effectively killed the bill, given that there are fewer than 10 business days left on the session’s calendar. That motion failed, 180-to-230.

Then, it was time for the Republicans to kill their own proposal. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R.-Va.) offered a motion to table to his committee, which passed 342-to-72.

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December 29, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

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)

Popularity Of Donor-Advised Funds Soars With Bull Market And Looming Trump Tax Changes

DAFWall Street Journal Tax Report: Charity Accounts Become the Hot Holiday Must-Have: Rising Markets and Fears About Possible Tax Overhaul Fuel the Rush, by Laura Saunders:

American taxpayers are pouring money into charitable-giving accounts before year-end, prompted by rising markets and fears that a tax overhaul could trim the popular strategy of donation deductions.

At Schwab Charitable, the giving-fund associated with Charles Schwab Corp., donors put more than $693 million into new and existing giving accounts between Thanksgiving and Dec. 18, a 20% increase over the same period in 2015. Spokespeople for Vanguard Charitable, Fidelity Charitable, and National Philanthropic Trust said donations to their giving funds have recently jumped by double- or triple-digit percentages compared with last year, although they declined to provide dollar amounts.

The biggest drivers lately are proposals by President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress to limit the value of charitable deductions, either by lowering tax rates or cutting the deductible amount. In addition, markets rose to highs recently, and there are tax benefits for donating appreciated assets rather than cash.

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

NY Times Debate:  Should Prenups Cover Intellectual Property Rights?

NY Times Room for DebateNew York Times Room for Debate, Should Couples Get Prenups for Their Ideas?:

The number of 18- to 35-year-olds seeking prenups is on the rise nationwide, but many millennials are more interested in protecting intellectual property — such as films, songs, software and even apps that haven’t been built yet — than cash. What does this shift mean for marriage and divorce?

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

The IRS Scandal, Day 1329:  Did The IRS's Targeting Of Conservative Groups Lead It To Grant Tax-Exempt Status To 'Hate Groups'?

IRS Logo 2Chronicle of Philanthropy, Dozens of ‘Hate Groups’ Have Charity Status, Chronicle Study Finds:

The federal government has granted tax-exempt status to more than 60 controversial nonprofits branded by critics as "hate groups," including anti-immigrant and anti-gay-rights organizations, white nationalists, and Holocaust deniers, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy analysis.

The issue is a thorny one for the Internal Revenue Service, which must balance First Amendment rights against concerns that it is essentially granting government subsidies to groups holding views that millions of Americans may find abhorrent. Complicating matters, the IRS is already under fire from critics who say the agency has discriminated against conservative political organizations. ...

Still shaken by the revelation that agency leaders had singled out conservative advocacy groups’ applications for tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny, the IRS has little incentive to investigate organizations based on the content of their messages.

The Surly Subgroup:  White Nationalists Groups are Charitable? Apparently so According to IRS, by Phillip Hackney (LSU):

How do [hate groups] qualify [for tax exempt status]? ... There are two answers. ...

Reason 2: The IRS is afraid. This seems like a reasonable argument after all the Tea Party difficulties that the IRS experienced, BUT . . . the IRS has denied other controversial groups tax exemption who are ostensibly educating as well. See: Principle Voices of Polygamy private letter ruling where the IRS denied a group advocating for polygamy on the basis that what it violated public policy by advocating for something that is illegal. The point is that the IRS went after an advocacy group in 2013. With that said, the Tea Party controversy occurred in 2013 and so maybe this is a reason it would not go after such groups now.

Salon, White Nationalists Have Raised Millions Thanks to Tax-Exempt Charities:

Some tax experts said the IRS is still feeling the sting from conservative critics over its 2013 concession that it unfairly gave extra scrutiny to tea party groups seeking tax exemptions. “I don’t think they’re feeling very brave right now,” said Ellen Aprill, a tax law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

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December 28, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

NY Times:  Family Cemeteries Bind Generations, For Remembrance And Tax Reasons

HeintzNew York Times Wealth Matters:  Family Cemeteries Bind Generations, for Remembrance and Tax Reasons, by Paul Sullivan:

As much as their personal relationships, it is the family cemetery that binds the descendants — not merely to honor and remember their forebears but also for tax reasons. ... Family cemeteries, a relic of another age, continue to bind relatives in ways that today’s wealthy might wish for. ... Some cemeteries have also become the connective tissue for families of far more modest means.

Part of this results from rules of the Internal Revenue Service, which grants nonprofit status to these cemeteries under section 501(c)13 of the Internal Revenue Code. The rules require families to maintain a detailed list of all descendants eligible to be buried there. ...

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December 27, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Role Of State Estate And Inheritance Taxes After Repeal Of The Federal Estate Tax

Institute  on Taxation and Economic Policy, State Estate and Inheritance Taxes:

For much of the last century, estate and inheritance taxes have played an important role in fostering strong communities by promoting equality of opportunity and helping states adequately fund public services. While many of the taxes levied by state and local governments fall most heavily on low-income families, only the very wealthy pay estate and inheritance taxes.

Changes in the federal estate tax in recent years, however, caused states to reevaluate the structure of their estate and inheritance taxes. Unfortunately, the trend of late among states has tended toward weakening or completely eliminating them.

ITEP

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December 27, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chronicle:  The IRS Has Granted Tax-Exempt Status To More Than 60 'Hate Groups'

IRS Logo 2Chronicle of Philanthropy, Dozens of ‘Hate Groups’ Have Charity Status, Chronicle Study Finds:

The federal government has granted tax-exempt status to more than 60 controversial nonprofits branded by critics as "hate groups," including anti-immigrant and anti-gay-rights organizations, white nationalists, and Holocaust deniers, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy analysis.

The issue is a thorny one for the Internal Revenue Service, which must balance First Amendment rights against concerns that it is essentially granting government subsidies to groups holding views that millions of Americans may find abhorrent. Complicating matters, the IRS is already under fire from critics who say the agency has discriminated against conservative political organizations.

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December 27, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Volokh:  Punishment Of Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz Means The End Of Free Speech At The University of Oregon

Shurtz

Following up on my previous posts (links below);  Washington Post (The Volokh Conspiracy): At the University of Oregon, No More Free Speech for Professors on Subjects Such as Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, by Eugene Volokh (UCLA):

Last week, the University of Oregon made clear to its faculty: If you say things about race, sexual orientation, sex, religion and so on that enough people find offensive, you could get suspended (and, following the logic of the analysis) even fired. This can happen even to tenured faculty members; even more clearly, it can happen to anyone else. It’s not limited to personal insults. It’s not limited to deliberate racism or bigotry. ...

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December 27, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1328:  House's Referral Back To Judiciary Committee Is Likely To Kill Koskinen Impeachment

IRS Logo 2Forbes: House Says No To Renewed Efforts To Impeach IRS Commissioner, by Kelly Phillips Erb:

A motion to table the measure failed while a motion to simply refer the matter back to the Judiciary Committee passed with a 342-72 vote. The final tally showed 166 Republicans joining 176 Democrats to vote yes, 72 Republicans voting no, and 19 members who did not vote. You can see how your Representative voted here.

If that sounds like progress, it's not: it's a step backward. Earlier this year, the House sidestepped a similar resolution introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to move impeachment proceedings forward; yet another resolution from the fall of 2015 also failed

Since impeachment is a legal proceeding, while anyone can make a motion to start the process, the Judiciary Committee determines whether there are sufficient grounds for impeachment. With respect to this matter, Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) scheduled hearings to investigate the matter: the third was held in September. Following those hearings, the Judiciary Committee did not bring a resolution or recommendation to the floor, and there is no reason to believe that the result will be any different this time.

In fact, this week, Goodlatte indicated that there were differences of opinion in the House regarding the measure to impeach Koskinen. The House would need a majority of votes to impeach the Commissioner and move the measure to the Senate. All 183 Democrats in the House are expected to vote against impeachment, and a number of Republicans will likely follow suit.

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December 27, 2016 in Congressional News, IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, December 26, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

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)

Donald Trump Vows To Close His Charitable Foundation, Democrats Say It Isn't Enough

Trump (President Elect)Washington Post:  Donald Trump Plans to Shut Down His Charitable Foundation, Which Has Been Under Scrutiny for Months, by Mark Berman & David A. Fahrenthold:

President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to shut down his charitable foundation, a decision that comes after repeated controversies over how it collected and disbursed funds. In a statement Saturday, Trump offered no timeline for when his foundation would close down, but said he had directed his attorney to take the steps needed to close the charity.

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December 26, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1327:  Delay In Koskinen Impeachment Is Discordant Note In Kumbaya Between Trump And GOP Congress

IRS Logo 2Washington Post, It’s Mostly Kumbaya So Far for Trump and GOP in Congress:

President-elect Donald Trump is signaling a cease-fire in his battle with the Republican leadership in Congress, which he repeatedly skewered during his election-season attacks on the Washington establishment.

Trump has, by all accounts, patched up his once-turbulent relationship with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). To fill top jobs in his administration, Trump has chosen five sitting lawmakers, as well as the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). And he has passed up opportunities to meddle in congressional business in ways that might have pleased his populist base but frustrated Republican leaders.

The detente in Trump’s war on GOP leaders reflects the unifying power of victory, the moderating influence of Vice President-elect Mike Pence and incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, and, most of all, a shared desire to make good on years of Republican campaign promises. ...

But it is clear that the members of Trump’s inner circle often are not on the same page, which could spell trouble for his legislative agenda.

For instance, members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus claimed to have Trump’s backing when they defied Ryan and launched an early-December bid to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen.

Priebus intervened in an attempt to halt a floor vote, as reported by Politico, but conservatives forced one anyway. The Freedom Caucus was emboldened — and encouraged behind the scenes — by Bannon, whose former website, Breitbart News, wrote favorably about it, and by Bossie, who supported the impeachment push as president of Citizens United. Impeachment was effectively buried in the end, handing GOP leaders the win.

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December 26, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Hallelujah Christmas

In Hoc Anno Domini

The Wall Street Journal has published this wonderful editorial each Christmas since 1949, In Hoc Anno Domini:

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression -- for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

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December 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Prof Op-Ed:  How An Atheist Celebrates Christmas — 'True Believers Owe Jesus A Profound Spiritual Debt; We All Owe Him A Profound Intellectual Debt'

Cockfield (2016)The Globe and Mail Op-Ed: How An Atheist Celebrates Christmas, by Arthur Cockfield (Queen's University Faculty of Law):

As an atheist, I have to admit that I have not always had a stellar relationship with Jesus. Still, as much of the world sets to celebrate his alleged birth on Dec. 25, I will also reflect on this icon and the lasting and positive impression he’s had on my heritage and value system.

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December 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times Op-Ed:  Why It’s Not Wrong To Wish Muslims Merry Christmas

Islamic JesusNew York Times op-ed:  Why It’s Not Wrong to Wish Muslims Merry Christmas, by Mustafa Akyol (Author, The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims):

Billions of Christians around the world are excited to celebrate Christmas this weekend. Those in the world’s second-largest religious community, Muslims, don’t share quite the same excitement. In a few Muslim-majority countries, like Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Somalia, Christmas celebrations are banned. In Turkey, my country, they are not illegal, but some Islamist groups still organize annual protests against Christmas trees and Santa Claus costumes, which they consider Western impositions.

Meanwhile, many other Muslims around the world are rightly respectful to their Christian neighbors and even share in their holy day. They include the owners of a Turkish restaurant in London that decided to offer a free Christmas meal to the homeless and the elderly, and a Muslim businessman in Baghdad who erected a Christmas tree in solidarity with Christians persecuted by the self-declared Islamic State.

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December 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ Op-Ed:   Why This Rabbi Loves Christmas

Wall Street Journal op-ed: Why This Rabbi Loves Christmas: Christians and Jews Await the Messiah. The Only Debate Is If He’s Been Here Before, by Rabbi Michael Gotlieb (Santa Monica, CA):

Christmas fascinates me. I’m drawn to its history, its color, its atmosphere, its music. And, of course, I’m drawn to the fact that Jesus was a Jew. He was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew. If for nothing else, I can appreciate Christmas as the celebration of one Jew’s epic birthday.

The 20th century philosopher and theologian Martin Buber would often begin lectures to ecumenical gatherings by stating that a key difference separating Jews and Christians is whether Jesus was the messiah. Christians believe he was, and they are awaiting his return. Jews believe that the messiah hasn’t yet come. His suggestion: Let’s all pray for the messiah—Christians and Jews alike. When he arrives, we’ll ask if he’s been here before.

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December 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1326: Only 72 House Republicans Voted Against Delay In Impeachment Of IRS Commissioner

IRS Logo 2Atlanta Journal Constitution, House Refuses to Move Forward on Impeachment of IRS Chief:

A last minute effort in Congress to push for an impeachment vote against the head of the Internal Revenue Service fell far short of the votes needed for victory, leaving more conservative Republicans fuming about the message and the lack of support to further investigate the Obama Administration’s Tea Party targeting scandal.

Republicans led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) argued IRS Commissioner John Koskinen had deliberately refused to turn over documents to Congress, accusing him of actively impeding the Congressional investigation into the targeting of more conservative groups by the tax agency.

“Koskinen has gotten away with stonewalling Congress, obstructing justice, breaching public trust,” Jordan said. “It’s time Congress held him accountable.” ...

The final roll call though was not close, as the House voted 342-72 to send the matter to the Judiciary Committee, where it may simply die a quiet death. ... Here are the 72 Republicans who voted against delay on the IRS impeachment resolution:

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December 25, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Twas The Night Before Christmas (Legal Edition)

Twas 6

Check out the original and legal versions of the classic poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas [click on chart to enlarge]:

Twas_the_night_before_christmas_pag

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December 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz Blasts University Of Oregon For Improperly Releasing Error Filled Report As 'Public Retaliation And Shaming'

Shurtz

Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz has released this statement in response to the University of Oregon's release of a report concluding that she violated the university's anti-discrimination policy by wearing blackface to a Halloween party at her home:

STATEMENT FROM UO LAW PROFESSOR NANCY SHURTZ REGARDING IMPROPER RELEASE OF INFORMATION CONCERNING AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION ABOUT A HALLOWEEN PARTY HOSTED IN HER HOME

On Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, the University of Oregon improperly released a flawed investigative report into events surrounding a Halloween party that I hosted in my home. This release violated rights of employees to confidentiality guaranteed by law. In addition, the report contains numerous mistakes, errors and omissions that if corrected would have put matters in a different light. For example, it ignored the anonymous grading process, the presence of many non-students as guests, and the deceptive emails that created a firestorm in the law school.

I, and my legal advisers, were preparing a response to the draft report. Although the University was aware of our intention to submit our corrections by noon (local time) yesterday and to deal with its errors in-house, the Provost’s office or its advisers cynically decided to try to publicly shame me instead.

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December 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Merry Christmas From Tax Prof And City Council Member John Plecnik

Cleveland State Tax Prof and Willoughby Hills City Council Member John Plecnik (Cleveland State) has released this Christmas video:

December 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1325: House Impeachment Leader Grills Witness Over Giving Koskinen 'Excellence In Public Service' Award

IRS Logo 2Government Executive, Lawmaker Seeking to Impeach IRS Chief Targets Public Service Award:

[A] House oversight hearing was supposed to address time-and-attendance troubles at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But one congressman actively seeking the impeachment of the Internal Revenue commissioner used his time to question a good-government nonprofit for having given IRS chief John Koskinen a public service award.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, acted a day after the full House voted 342-72 to refer an impeachment motion favored by the Freedom Caucus to the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, where observers expect it to die. (House leaders have expressed fears that the resolution would only tie up the Senate.)

At the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subcommittee hearing on the Patent Office, Jordan reiterated his central complaint about Koskinen: that 422 backup tapes under congressional subpoena that may have contained 24,000 emails involving Lois Lerner, who was at the center of the dispute over alleged IRS bias against conservative nonprofits, were destroyed “on his watch.”

Jordan then zeroed in on David Chu, the president of the Institute for Defense Analyses who, separately, chaired the independent panel for the National Academy of Public Administration that performed a key study of Patent Office teleworking. “What does NAPA stand for?” Jordan asked. “Do you know who it gave the Elliot Richardson award to?” Chu did not recall. Jordan then stated it was Commissioner Koskinen who won the award last spring. “How was he chosen? Did he give money to NAPA?” Jordan asked Chu to speculate on “who was passed over” so Koskinen could get the award, but he declined.

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December 24, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

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)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

McDonald’s To Move Non-U.S. Tax Base From Luxembourg To U.K. Amid EU Tax Probe

McDonaldsWall Street Journal, McDonald’s to Move Non-U.S. Tax Base to the U.K.:

McDonald’s on Thursday said a large portion of its non-U.S. income would be taxed in the U.K. following a restructuring that shifts operations away from Luxembourg amid a probe by the European Union competition authority over its tax arrangements.

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December 23, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1324: Ways & Means Committee Seeks Information From IRS About Continued Targeting Of Organizations Based On Political Beliefs — This Time, Pro-Israel Groups

IRS Logo 2House Ways & Means Committee Press Release, Brady, Roskam Send Letter Expressing Concern Over Continued IRS Targeting of Pro-Israel Groups:

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting information regarding the agency’s practice and policies when reviewing an organization’s application for tax-exempt status, specifically when the organization expresses support for the State of Israel. This letter is another part of the Committee’s aggressive oversight to hold the IRS accountable to the American taxpayer.

Despite the IRS’s assurances that it has ceased its targeting of people based on their political or ideological beliefs, Chairmen Brady and Roskam are concerned about recent reports suggesting the Obama Administration has directed the agency to discriminate against organizations supporting the State of Israel. These reports are especially concerning in light of the IRS’s previous practice of giving special scrutiny to pro-Israel applications for tax-exempt status.   The Chairmen expressed their displeasure with the IRS’s discriminatory actions, writing:

“It is distressing that the United States government subjected Americans to discriminatory treatment because of their political and religious beliefs. It is more distressing that it took seven years for one such group to get fair treatment by the IRS, even as the IRS told Congress that it no longer discriminated against such groups. And perhaps most alarmingly, recent press accounts suggest that even after all of this history, the IRS might even be pursuing new discriminatory policies … Despite the IRS’s claim to Congress that it stopped political targeting in 2013, the IRS and Administration’s actions over the past seven years lend credibility to these reports.”

The Chairmen request that the IRS respond with its tax-exempt review policies and procedures by January 11, 2017.

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December 23, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Estate Planning Practice Will Boom If Estate Tax Is Repealed

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer, Lawyers for the Wealthy Await Trump's Estate Tax Plan:

Donald Trump vowed to eliminate the estate tax during his presidential campaign, calling the 100-year-old tax "a disaster" and "a horrible weapon that has destroyed many families." If there are such families, the number is likely small, since very few Americans pay an estate tax. Last year only 4,918 estates owed money under the law, according to the Internal Revenue Service. That's because anyone with an estate worth less than $5.34 million, or $10.68 million for a couple, is exempt.

With Trump soon to take office, trust and estate lawyers who help rich clients minimize or avoid estate taxes don't appear panicked that a revenue stream for their practices is about to dry up. In fact, most anticipate being busier than ever.

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December 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Google Lowered 2015 Taxes by $3.6 Billion Using 'Double Irish With A Dutch Sandwich' Tax Structure

AlphabetBloomberg, Google Lowered 2015 Taxes by $3.6 Billion Using ‘Dutch Sandwich’:

Alphabet’s Google saved $3.6 billion in worldwide taxes in 2015 by moving 14.9 billion euros ($15.5 billion) to a Bermuda shell company, new regulatory filings in the Netherlands reveal.

The amount the company shifted through its Dutch subsidiary, Google Netherlands Holdings BV, and then on to a Bermuda mailbox was 40 percent greater than in 2014, according to filings the company made with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 12 and which were made available online Tuesday. ...

Alphabet moves the bulk of its non-U.S. profits through this Dutch subsidiary, which has no employees. The company has used the Netherlands company since 2004 as part of a tax structure dubbed a "Double Irish" and a "Dutch sandwich." By moving most of its international profits to Bermuda, the company was able to reduce its effective tax rate outside the U.S. to 6.4 percent in 2015, according to Alphabet’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ...

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December 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

University Of Oregon Report: Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz Violated Anti-Discrimination Policy By Wearing Blackface To Halloween Party; Any Disciplinary Action Is Confidential

Shurtz

University of Oregon, Provost Issues Statement and Report Regarding Investigation:

Dear members of the University of Oregon campus community,

A decision by Professor Nancy Shurtz to wear a Halloween costume that included black makeup on her face and hands at a party she hosted for UO law students, former students, and faculty members forced our campus to face some very difficult truths about racism, ignorance, and the state of inclusivity on our campus. Her costume mimicked the historic stereotype of blackface, and caused offense to many who witnessed it.

Today, I write with news of the disposition of the investigation led by the UO Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity as a result of complaints made to the law school following the event at her home on October 31. The investigation into whether Professor Shurtz violated any law or university policy was conducted by the Barran Liebman LLP law firm in Portland under the direction and guidance of the AAEO office and UO general counsel Kevin Reed.

Although the findings of such investigations are not usually released, in this case the public nature of the act, the resulting public outcry, its impact on campus climate, and the fact that Professor Shurtz already released a letter that identifies herself and her intentions, the university has determined that it best serves the public interest to release a redacted version of the report. A copy has been posted online.

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December 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Minnesota Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinician

Minnesota LogoPosition Description: Visiting Assistant Professor of Clinical Law:

University of Minnesota Law Clinics, the clinical program of the University of Minnesota Law School, welcomes applicants for a visiting assistant professor position in its Ronald M. Mankoff Tax Clinic. The Tax Clinic is an in-house clinic partially subsidized with a grant from the IRS. The position is a 12-month, full-time position, and the entire position is contingent on funding through the IRS LITC program. The Tax Clinic enrolls twelve students and is a 7-credit course that runs Fall through Spring.

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December 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1323:  Tea Party Group Decries IRS's 'Latest Bob And Weave To Avoid Accountability'

IRS Logo 2Following up on yesterday's post, The IRS Scandal, Day 1322: Government Denies That It Continues To Harass Tea Party Group:  

Plaintiff Texas Patriots Tea Party’s Reply in Support of its Motion to Clarify Preliminary Injunction:

In its response, the IRS again reverses position. Three weeks ago, after it insisted it would deny TPTP unless it responded within 30 days, emergency relief was needed just to allow the current motion. Yet now, the IRS professes bewilderment: had TPTP only asked, its request would have been granted. This claim is stunning. Just a week before TPTP moved for relief, TPTP stated its position in a conference with the Court. A far from “amenable” IRS adamantly opposed it. The IRS rewrites history, perhaps, to obscure the true reason for its last-minute change of heart: it wants this Court to pronounce that the IRS’s new position is a benevolent accommodation of TPTP, outside of the “ordinary course.” This plea for the Court’s blessing is the sole remaining issue now that the IRS agrees to TPTP’s request, but this Court should deny it. The IRS’s latest bob and weave is another effort to avoid accountability. It cynically trades “accommodation” of TPTP for judicial approval of its continuing use of “neutral” policies that exacerbate the targeted groups’ injuries. Most depressingly, it shows that 42 months into this case, the IRS remains more focused on saving face than unwinding the harms it has caused.

Previous TaxProf Blog posts:

 

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December 22, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

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)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1322: Government Denies That It Continues To Harass Tea Party Group

IRS Logo 2Following up on my previous posts on NorCal Tea Party Patriots v. IRS, No 1:13-cv-00341 (S.D. Ohio):

United States' Response to Plaintiff's Motion to Clarify Preliminary Injunction (Dec. 14, 2016) (citations & footnotes omitted):

In its Motion, Plaintiff Texas Patriots Tea Party states that the relief it seeks is for the IRS to “finish developing TPTP as it was prepared to do in 2013 with any additional inquiry limited to (1) what the IRS had then identified as new issues raised in, or still to be clarified from, TPTP’s response to the second development letter; and (2) facts regarding TPTP’s activities on or before March 2013.” Prior to the filing of this Motion, TPTP did not inform the United States of the relief sought. Had TPTP done so, the United States would have been amenable to that relief and the parties likely would have been able to resolve the issue extra-judicially. In fact, on November 14, 2016, during a meet-and-confer telephone call regarding the TPTP development questions, counsel for the United States inquired whether TPTP’s concerns may be addressed by limiting the time frame of the questions to lessen the burden on TPTP. TPTP’s counsel dismissed the suggestion and, prior to the filing of the Motion, did not indicate any renewed interest in pursuing that avenue of resolution. However, the United States is still amenable to resolving this issue by limiting the requested information to the time period prior to March 2013. The United States is also amenable to resolving this matter by agreeing to allow TPTP to submit the additional information it believes would be relevant to establish whether it is entitled to tax exempt status. While the IRS issued the development letter in the ordinary course, TPTP can decide whether to respond fully, incompletely, or with different information. However, the United States requests that any Court order along those lines clarify that it is not in the ordinary course but is an accommodation for TPTP and require that any additional information be submitted within 30 days.

In the event TPTP is not amenable to the accommodations the United States is willing to make to resolve this Motion, the IRS is justified in pursuing answers to the questions it has posed to TPTP. TPTP argues that, by seeking additional information, the IRS is not processing its application in the “ordinary course,” but this argument rests on two faulty assumptions: (1) that TPTP’s application was complete and “on the path to approval” in August 2013 and (2) that the IRS does not ordinarily ask applicants to provide information about their activities covering a time frame of more than six to nine months. Neither of these assumptions is correct. Prior to the stay requested by TPTP, the IRS was processing its application in the ordinary course, and contrary to TPTP’s assertions, TPTP now seeks extraordinary treatment.

TPTP also seeks to poison the well by misrepresenting the facts of its case and falsely implying, without any basis, that Department of Justice (DOJ) counsel and IRS Chief Counsel (IRS Counsel) attorneys improperly influenced the processing of TPTP’s application. Plaintiff’s allegations break down under the weight of false assumptions and misleading recitations. Specifically, whether by design or mistake, TPTP makes two fundamentally incorrect factual assertions in telling its story. First, TPTP erroneously claims that it was “on the path to approval” in August 2013. This claim is based on a mischaracterization of the roles of Tax Law Specialist Emily Mangrum and IRS Counsel Preston Quesenberry in processing TPTP’s application and ignores the then-current process used to review applications. Second, and more disturbingly, TPTP makes false assumptions regarding material withheld under the attorney-client and work product privileges, incorrectly filling in the gaps to infer that the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and the Department of Justice inappropriately attempted to influence the processing of TPTP’s application. These inferences are demonstrably false. As a result of the severity of these accusations, the United States is compelled to release the unredacted documents, as the actual redacted text is both banal and consistent with the government’s position throughout this litigation. Reviewing these materials in their entirety establishes that TPTP’s interpretation of the timeline is without any basis in fact. Furthermore, TPTP’s argument that it was “on the path to approval” does not withstand scrutiny in light of the merits of TPTP’s application under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(4). Simply put, TPTP has not met its burden of showing that its campaign intervention activity falls within permissible limits, and that it qualifies for tax exempt status under § 501(c)(4). As a result, the IRS is within its rights to seek additional information to determine whether TPTP qualifies for tax exempt status. Finally, both the scope of the development questions and the nature of the timeframe are adapted from the template questions that the IRS uses for all organizations that raise issues similar to those raised by TPTP’s application. The IRS is processing TPTP’s application in the ordinary course and in compliance with this Court’s Order on TPTP’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction. No further “clarification” is needed. ...

TPTP bases its arguments on false assumptions bolstered by improper and demonstrably false insinuations of inappropriate involvement by DOJ and IRS counsel attorneys. However, the facts show that the IRS’s development questions are in the ordinary course. Accordingly, the IRS is in the process of complying with this Court’s Order to process TPTP’s application in the ordinary course. The United States is amenable to resolving this issue by limiting the time period of the information requested. The United States is also amenable to resolving this matter by agreeing to allow TPTP to submit the additional information it believes would be relevant to establish whether it is entitled to tax exempt status. While the IRS issued the development letter in the ordinary course, TPTP can decide whether to respond fully, incompletely, or with different information. However, the United States requests that any Court order along those lines clarify that this is an accommodation for TPTP, not the ordinary course, and require that TPTP submit any additional information within 30 days.

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December 21, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

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)

Apple Hits Back Over EU Irish-Tax Decision

Apple EUWall Street Journal, Apple Hits Back Over EU Irish-Tax Decision:

The European Commission, which released the details of its decision on Monday, says that Ireland was “inconsistent” in applying tax laws.

Apple on Monday fought back against the European Union’s decision that €13 billion ($13.6 billion) in tax breaks the company received from Ireland were illegal, as the feuding sides dug in for a protracted legal battle.

The iPhone maker filed its appeal on the day the European Commission disclosed new details of the 130-page decision from August, which ordered Ireland to recoup the allegedly unpaid taxes from Apple.

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

The IRS Scandal, Day 1321: Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump, And The IRS Scandal

IRS Logo 2New York Times:  Election Therapy From My Basket of Deplorables, by Maureen Dowd:

My little basket of deplorables, as I call my conservative family, gloated with Trump toasts galore, and [my brother] Kevin presented me with his annual holiday column with an extra flourish. ... [H]ere is what Kevin, an affluent, educated suburbanite, has to say in his column, titled an “Election Therapy Guide for Liberals”:

Donald Trump pulled off one of the greatest political feats in modern history by defeating Hillary Clinton and the vaunted Clinton machine.

The election was a complete repudiation of Barack Obama: his fantasy world of political correctness, the politicization of the Justice Department and the I.R.S., an out-of-control E.P.A., his neutering of the military, his nonsupport of the police and his fixation on things like transgender bathrooms. Since he became president, his party has lost 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 14 governorships. ...

As Eddie Murphy so eloquently stated in the movie “48 Hrs.”: “There’s a new sheriff in town.” And he is going to be here for 1,461 days. Merry Christmas.

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December 20, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Senate Uncovers 'Troubling' Aspects Of IRS Travel Policy

A Review of IRS Employee TravelSenate Finance Committee Majority Staff Report, A Review of IRS Employee Travel: Reductions in IRS Long-Term Travel Spending Needed:

The Committee’s review of IRS travel policies as well as the actual long-term travel habits of some of its employees have led to a number of troubling findings. The number of employees who travel more than half of the year and the cost at which they do so is simply unacceptable. These findings also raise questions about the travel habits of other IRS employees who were outside the scope of this review but who may have had longer travel assignments. More troubling is that the IRS has the tools within its grasp to significantly reduce travel per diem rates and yet it elects not to do so. While the IRS believes that it cannot limit payments to employees for travel expenses to levels below the per diem amount solely to reduce administrative costs, the Committee strongly disagrees with this assertion. The Committee urges the IRS to consider further internal guidance better defining long-term travel (not just for taxable purposes) and instructing approving officials to routinely reduce per diem rates for long-term travel in accordance with Section 301-11.200, Subpart C – Reduced Per Diem of the FTR and Section 1.32.11.8.2.1, Reduced Per Diem of the IRM.

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December 19, 2016 in Congressional News, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Grewal:  Should Congress Impeach President Obama For His Emoluments Clause Violations?

Following up on my previous post, Trump’s Emolument Tax Problem:  Andy Grewal (Iowa), Should Congress Impeach Obama for His Emoluments Clause Violations?, Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (Dec. 13, 2016):

My prior post explained how ordinary business transactions between foreign governments and Trump businesses do not create violations of the foreign Emoluments Clause. That post concluded that the term “emolument” refers only to payments made in connection with the holding of an office, and does not refer to any conceivable foreign government payment. The prior post relied on Supreme Court opinions, Office of Legal Counsel opinions, definitions in legal dictionaries, and so on.

However, some commentators, most notably Professor Richard Painter (Minnesota) and Norm Eisen (Brookings Institution), have argued for a much broader definition of emolument. The legal basis for their interpretation remains unclear  because they make no mention of Supreme Court opinions, OLC opinions, or other legal authorities, but their article in The Atlantic defines emoluments as reaching anything of value.” (Their longer Brookings Institution report, co-authored with Larry Tribe, takes a similarly broad approach without citing relevant authorities. See page 11.) This post explains how their interpretation, if accepted, would support the impeachment of President Obama. ...

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December 19, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

The IRS Scandal, Day 1320:  How The GOP Establishment Teamed With Nancy Pelosi To Table Impeachment Vote On IRS Commissioner

IRS Logo 2Conservative Review, How the GOP Establishment Teamed With Nancy Pelosi to Save the Corrupt IRS Chief:

The last nail in the coffin went in handily.

After Rep. Jim Jordan R-Ohio, Freedom Caucus’ outgoing chairman, invoked a privileged resolution on Tuesday to force an impeachment vote on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the House voted 342-72 to refer the measure back to the Judiciary Committee, where it will gather dust for the indefinite future.

It was the last maneuver available to the House Freedom Caucus’s hopes of impeaching Koskinen, who they say has lied to Congress about the targeting of conservative groups.

Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Tim Huelskamp posted an instructive timeline of events on Facebook, outlining just how GOP leaders worked with Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca.  to kill the impeachment effort:

After learning of conservatives [sic] plans to force the House to take a recorded vote on the impeachment resolution, GOP leaders responded by making a deal with Nancy Pelosi to use a procedural gimmick to effectively kill the effort. The little-used ‘motion to refer’ sent the impeachment resolution back to committee where it is unlikely to ever see the light of day again.” Instead of waiting for a vote on the privileged resolution on Thursday —when lawmakers intended to vote on it — Pelosi led the House Democrats in a move to table the motion. The move failed 180 to 235.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte R-Va. then offered a motion to refer the resolution back to the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment hearings. Privileged resolutions must be voted on within two days of being offered, but Pelosi’s move to table the motion on Tuesday ensured an even swifter end to the impeachment measure. ...

This week’s defeat of the effort to impeach John Koskinen is the end of the line for the many Freedom Caucus members who’ve slaved away trying to do right by their constituents, for justice.

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December 19, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

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)