TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

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.

Buffett

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

SubscribeWe offer three ways to have TaxProf Blog content automatically delivered to your computer, tablet, or smart phone:

RSS Feeds:  You can subscribe to one of three different feeds to receive TaxProf Blog posts via your RSS reader:

Email:  You can subscribe to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email through one of three approaches:

  • FeedBlitz:  Enter your email address here to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email, delivered to you either daily, every 12 hours, every 8 hours, every 4 hours, or hourly (at your option).
  • TaxProf Blog Tax Email Service:  Email me to be added to my twice daily (during the week) and once daily (on the weekend) emails to the TaxProf Discussion Group with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on tax topics.
  • TaxProf Blog Legal Education Email Service:  Email me to be added to my email distribution list with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on legal education topics.

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.”

Continue reading

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

Support TaxProf Blog By Shopping On Amazon

Amazon-associatesTaxProf Blog participates in the amazon.com affiliate program. You can help support TaxProf Blog at no cost to you by making purchases through Amazon links on the blog and through the "Shop Amazon" tab on the header at the top of the blog:

Header

and the search box in the right column of the blog:

Amazon Search

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.

Continue reading

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):

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

62,680

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

10,604

2

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

35,095

Lily Batchelder (NYU)

6851

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

32,563

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

5016

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

29,385

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

4069

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

27,407

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

2585

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

23,323

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2539

7

James Hines (Michigan)

22,532

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2464

8

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

21,773

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

2372

9

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

21,585

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

2234

10

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

21,566

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

2205

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

19,646

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

2155

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

19,520

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1854

13

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

18,414

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1823

14

Brad Borden (Broklyn)

17,779

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1808

15

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

17,705

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1775

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

17,549

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1636

17

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

17,178

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1626

18

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

17,095

Brian Galle (Georgetown)

1517

19

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

16,921

Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)

1507

20

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

16,609

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1490

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

16,482

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1484

22

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

16,324

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1471

23

David Walker (Boston Univ.)

15,460

Michael Graetz (Columbia)

1469

24

Steven Bank (UCLA)

14,367

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1450

25

Ed McCaffery (USC)

13,510

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1442

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Monday, January 30, 2017

Gergen Presents How To Tax Global Capital Today At NYU

Gergen (2017)Mark Gergen (UC-Berkeley) presents How to Tax Global Capital, 69 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2016), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

In an earlier paper I proposed a new approach to taxing capital owned by U.S. households and nonprofits. The heart of the new approach is a flat annual tax on the market value of publicly traded securities with a rate of around .8 percent (80 basis points) that is remitted by the issuer. A security issuer gets a credit for publicly traded securities it holds so that wealth that is represented by a string of publicly traded securities is taxed once. For example, a mutual fund remits the tax based on the market or redemption value of interests in the fund and gets a credit based on the market value of publicly traded securities it holds.

Income producing capital that is not subject to the securities tax, such as an interest in a closely held business or in a private equity fund, is covered by a complementary tax with the same rate as the securities tax.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Oei Presents The Law of the Leak Today At Washington & Lee

OeiShu-Yi Oei (Tulane; moving to Boston College) presents The Law of the Leak (with Diane Ring (Boston College)) at Washington & Lee today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series hosted by Michelle Drumbl:

Over the past decade, a number of well-publicized data leaks concerning the secret offshore holdings of high-net-worth individuals and multinational taxpayers have reverberated through tax circles worldwide, leading to a sea change in cross-border tax enforcement. Spurred by leaked data, tax authorities have prosecuted offshore tax cheats, attempted to recoup lost revenues, enacted new laws, and signed international agreements that promote “sunshine” and exchange of financial information between countries.

The conventional wisdom is that data leaks enable tax authorities to detect and punish offshore tax evasion more effectively, and that leaks are therefore socially beneficial from an economic welfare perspective. This Article argues, however, that the conventional wisdom is too simplistic.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hackney Presents Labor Unions And Tax Exemption Today At UC-Irvine

HackneyPhilip Hackney (LSU) presents Subsidizing the Heavenly Chorus: Labor Unions and Tax Exemption at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

Labor interests are historically politically weak in our U.S. democracy. Laborers who desire to form an organization to advance their political interests face classic collective action problems. This presents a significant challenge for a modern democratic state that depends upon organized interests to represent the political voice of its citizens. This Article examines the impact of our federal income tax system on labor interests. It focuses upon the provision of tax exemption to labor unions and the deduction of labor union dues. I adopt a model that presumes in a democracy we should aim for one person one political voice. By political voice I mean more than the concept of one person one vote; it refers to the ability of citizens to participate in setting the political agenda and to vote on any final decision.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Role Of State And Local Taxes In Income Inequality

Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Fairness Matters: A Chart Book on Who Pays State and Local Taxes:

There is significant room for improvement in state and local tax codes. Income tax laws are filled with top-heavy exemptions and deductions. Sales tax bases are too narrow and need updating. And overall tax collections are often inadequate in the short-run and unsustainable in the long-run. In this light, the growing interest in tax reform among state lawmakers across the country is welcome news.

Too often, however, would-be tax reformers have proposed policy changes that would worsen one of the most undesirable features of state and local tax systems: their lopsided impact on taxpayers at varying income levels. Nationwide, the bottom 20 percent of earners pay 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes each year. Middle-income families pay a slightly lower 9.4 percent average rate. But the top 1 percent of earners pay just 5.4 percent of their income in such taxes. This is the definition of regressive, upside-down tax policy.

Inequality

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hickman:  Thoughts On Statutory Interpretation—For Tax Specialists, Too

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Kristin Hickman (Minnesota), Thoughts On Statutory Interpretation—For Tax Specialists, Too, JOTWELL (2017) (reviewing Brett M. Kavanaugh (Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit), Fixing Statutory Interpretation, 129 Harv. L. Rev. 2118 (2016) and Robert A. Katzmann (Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit), Response to Judge Kavanaugh’s Review of Judging Statutes, 129 Harv. L. Rev. F. 388 (2016)):

Tax specialists are no strangers to the exercise of statutory interpretation. The Internal Revenue Code is an enormously complex statute, with all of the overlapping provisions, competing goals, and specificity interspersed with ambiguity that one would expect to accompany that complexity. And mastering the tax policy aspects of the Code is hard enough that tax specialists might be forgiven for reducing the exercise of statutory interpretation to short statements about considering the Code’s text, history, and purpose, or the “spirit” of the tax laws. A recent exchange between two prominent federal judges — Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the Second Circuit and Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit — and the lengthier books highlighted within their exchange offer a highly readable reminder of the parallel complexity of statutory interpretation theory and jurisprudence. Tax specialists interested in seeing their policy preferences succeed in the real world would do well to take note.

Although tax specialists often like to think of the tax laws as unique, judges in tax cases routinely rely upon and debate about the same tools of statutory construction that they apply and discuss in interpreting other statutes. ...

Continue reading

January 29, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Taxing Citizens: Socio-legal Constructions Of Late Antique Muslim Identity

Lena Salaymeh (Tel Aviv University), Taxing Citizens: Socio-legal Constructions of Late Antique Muslim Identity, 23 Islamic L. & Soc'y 333 (2016):

The regulations pertaining to Islamic charity taxation illuminate underappreciated dimensions of how Muslims de󰁦􀁩ned identity boundaries in late antiquity. To demarcate the contours of a historical process of Muslim identity construction, I analyze Islamic jurisprudential debates about who is and who is not obligated to pay the charity tax. Most late antique and medieval jurists made the charity tax incumbent on minors or others lacking full legal capacity, even though these groups were exempt from “for-the-divine” practices. I suggest Muslim citizenship as a framework for understanding late antique Muslim identity.

Continue reading

January 29, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [1,561 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. [411 Downloads]  A Guide to the GOP Tax Plan — The Way to a Better Way, by David A. Weisbach (Chicago)
  3. [221 Downloads]  Destination-Based Cash-Flow Taxation: A Critical Appraisal, by Wei Cui (British Columbia)
  4. [188 Downloads]  The Right Tax at the Right Time, by Edward Kleinbard (USC)
  5. [150 Downloads]  The Other Eighty Percent: Private Investment Funds, International Tax Avoidance, and Tax-Exempt Investors, by Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

January 29, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Defending Churches By Narrowing The Definition Of 'Church' For Tax Purposes

Lidiya Mishchenko (J.D. 2016, George Washington), In Defense of Churches: Can the IRS Limit Tax Abuse by “Church” Impostors?, 84 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1361 (2016):

A large gap in our Tax Code allows certain religious organizations to amass extraordinary riches while preying on the faithful. Their conduct is causing damage to the church as an institution and is inconsistent with the purpose of tax exemptions—to provide a public good. This Essay proposes that the IRS create a narrower, more specific definition of what constitutes a “church” for tax purposes. This change would force more religious entities to file annual returns with the IRS, and would better define the IRS threshold for auditing such organizations.

Continue reading

January 29, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

The IRS Scandal, Day 1360: VP Pence, GOP House And Senate Push Trump To Fire Koskinen

IRS Logo 2Newsmax, Pence Will Urge Trump to Sack IRS Boss:

Responding to the urging of House Republicans, Vice President Mike Pence will soon call on President Trump to fire or force the resignation of controversial Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. Newsmax learned this Thursday afternoon from several lawmakers at the House Republican Retreat in Philadelphia. ...

Emerging from a closed-door meeting with the vice president Thursday morning at the House Republican Retreat in Philadelphia, Rep,. Chris Collins (R.-N.Y.) confirmed that the subject of sacking Koskinen was raised. "[Pence] said 'I can hear you,'" said Collins, who said the vice president "promised us" he would share with President Trump the strong belief of Republicans in Congress that "Koskinen must go."

Washington Examiner, Led by Republican Study Committee, 50 House GOPers Tell Trump to Fire IRS Chief:

A faction of conservatives is circumventing leadership brass and calling directly on President Trump to tell IRS Chief John Koskinen, "You're fired."

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., will make the ask. The chairman of the Republican Study Committee has quietly but urgently been circulating a letter inside the GOP conference to build support. He's now got 50 congressmen signed onto the letter. 

The Hill, McConnell: Trump Should Replace IRS Commissioner:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says President Trump should replace John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner who faced an impeachment vote in the House last year. “I think he’s been a disaster and I’d be shocked if we don’t have a new one,” McConnell told The Hill on Friday. ...

The Trump transition team said in December that the then-president-elect had not yet made a decision on whether to replace Koskinen immediately or allow him to serve out the remaining year of his term.

Politico, GOP Airs Old Grievances in Private Pence Meeting:

Congressional Republicans used a private audience with Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday to rehash years-old political controversies — even suggesting Pence fire the IRS commissioner, according to sources in the room.

Continue reading

January 28, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (12)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) describes a recent Tax Court decision rejecting the IRS's attempt to attribute wages to an attorney from his failing S corporation law firm.

KristanS corporation doesn’t have to pay salary for its destruction

If Judge Holmes is to be believed, a Minnesota attorney mismanaged his law firm into oblivion and tax disaster. It hardly seems fair to make the firm pay him a salary for doing that.

That’s how Judge Holmes ruled in a Tax Court opinion issued yesterday. I’ll alter the attorney’s name to “Mr. G” when quoting from the opinion. Much of the opinion is about issues arising from chaotic management practices. For example:

Mr. G had a clear vision of the type of law he wanted to practice, but he was a self-proclaimed micromanager without the know-how to manage. He testified that he had “no personal experience, education or background in accounting or the operation of a business or financial background.” He “micromanaged virtually about everything and * * * did not have the clarity of vision to * * * try to see how things should run.” He did not keep sufficient accounting records, and for the first four months of G&A’s existence, he didn’t even keep company funds in a corporate account. He kept track of cashflow and expenses on a legal pad, but the legal pads would pile up.

Continue reading

January 27, 2017 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Daniel Hemel (Chicago) reviews a new article by Michael Doran (Virginia), Uncapping Executive Pay, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2017).

HemelMichael Doran’s scholarship on the taxation of executive pay is consistently insightful, and his latest article on section 162(m) is no exception. That provision, enacted in 1993, disallows a deduction for amounts paid to CEOs and other top officers of publicly traded corporations in excess of $1 million unless such compensation is “performance-based.” Doran convincingly argues that section 162(m) has done little to stem the rise of CEO compensation and that it has not caused corporations to tie pay to performance in a meaningful way. And while I am less sure than Doran that section 162(m) should be scrapped, Doran certainly makes a strong case for getting rid of the provision.

According to Doran, section 162(m) has proven to be a failure for at least three reasons. First, firms can skirt the $1 million limit by paying CEOs in stock options or by tying compensation to performance goals that are easily met. Second, the provision applies only to current employees—and so does not impose any constraints on nonqualified deferred compensation paid out to former CEOs. And third, corporations can ignore the cap, pay their CEOs more than $1 million outright, and simply forgo the deduction for amounts over $1 million paid. Indeed, more than a quarter of publicly traded corporations in 2013 blew through the cap and gave up the deduction.

Continue reading

January 27, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Will Donald Trump Finally End The 100 Year War Over The Estate Tax?

Estate Tax LogoThe Hill op-ed: Trump vs. the Democrats: Is This the End of the 100-Year War over the Estate Tax?, by Darren T. Case (Tiffany & Bosco, Phoenix):

[The] 45th President of the United States will soon embark upon his descent into the battlefield on Capitol Hill to potentially end a century long war regarding the estate tax. Standing in opposition to Donald Trump’s political army, presently in firm control of the Executive and Legislative branches, is a Democratic Party that was severely wounded by the 2016 election. With the morale amongst Democrats arguably being at an all-time low, many may assume that the white flag will be raised in regard to the so-called “death tax.”

However, considering what is at stake while we’re in the midst of the greatest wealth transfer in human history, with over $30 trillion dollars set to transfer over the next few decades, and with the estate tax believed by some to be one of the most quintessential weapons against the growing wealth inequality in the United States, it would be foolish to assume that the Democrats will not attempt to go down fighting with vigor and valor. For a nation essentially founded upon a war over taxation, ultimately ending in 1776, perhaps this final battle over the estate tax should come as no surprise. ...

Throughout its 100 year history, liberal economists and academics have published considerable amounts of analysis arguing in favor of the estate tax, especially in regard to the economic principle of inequality.  Economic inequality, generally defined as the difference found in various measures of economic well-being, is believed by liberal schools of thought to be one of the greatest economic ills plaguing fairness in American society.  A recent work on the topic of the estate tax and inequality is that of Pepperdine University School of Law Professor and Editor of the most popular tax law blog on the Internet, Paul L. Caron, and Boston College Law School Professor James Repetti.

Continue reading

January 27, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Columbia Journal Of Tax Law Publishes New Tax Matters:  Country By Country Reporting And Corporate Privacy

Columbia Journal of Tax Law LogoThe Columbia Journal of Tax Law has published a new issue of its Tax Matters feature, with three short pieces by tax practitioners responding to a specific cutting-edge tax law issue posed by a tax academic. Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Country by Country Reporting and Corporate Privacy: Some Unanswered Questions , 8 Colum. J. Tax L. Tax Matters 1 (2016):

Continue reading

January 27, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mehrotra Presents Japanese And U.S. Resistance To The VAT Today At Duke

Mehrotra (2017)Ajay Mehrotra (American Bar Foundation & Northwestern) presents The VAT Laggards: A Comparative History of Japanese and U.S. Resistance to the Value-Added Tax (with Hiroyasu Nomura (Dokkyo University, Japan)) at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Since 1945 the fiscal histories of Japan and the United States have had a great deal in common. Not only have these two advanced industrial nations relied for decades on progressive income taxes as their main source of national revenue; in the process, both countries resisted for many years the global trend towards broad-based consumption taxes. Indeed, until the 1980s, Japan and the United States were among a very small group of highly developed and industrialized nations that avoided the worldwide embrace of the value-added tax (VAT) — one of the most popular forms of broad-based consumption taxes. The Japanese resistance to the VAT ended in 1989. In that year, Japan enacted a VAT and participated in the third and perhaps most widespread phase of VAT adoption across the globe. Yet, the United States has continued to resist this global trend.

Continue reading

January 26, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Section 1043 + Estate Tax Repeal = Hundreds Of Millions In Tax Savings To Trump Appointees (Including Jared + Ivanka)

TrumpWashington Post, For Trump’s Wealthy Appointees, Death May Be Certain But Taxes Aren’t:

There are times when two seemingly unrelated tax policies intersect to create windfalls for fortunate people who are in the right place at the right time.

That is likely to be the case when it comes to calculating the tax benefits that will go to the billionaires and other very rich people joining the Trump administration. Among those who stand to benefit but haven’t been identified until now is Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, even though he’s not taking a formal government job.

Continue reading

January 26, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Morse:  Important Developments In Federal Income Taxation

Edward A. Morse (Creighton), Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation (80 pages):

This outline covers significant developments in federal income taxation along with a few other interesting or noteworthy tax topics. It offers a selective treatment of items likely to interest practitioners and advisors within a broad range of professional practices and is not intended to provide comprehensive coverage.

Continue reading

January 26, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Walker:  The Stages Of Tax Exceptionalism

The Surly Subgroup:  The Stages of Administrative Law Exceptionalism, by Christopher J. Walker (Ohio State):

At the American Bar Association’s annual Administrative Law Conference in December, I had the privilege of moderating a panel entitled Your Agency Is Not That Special: The Decline of Administrative Law Exceptionalism. The panel consisted of leading experts on administrative law exceptionalism from three distinct regulatory fields: Jill Family for immigration, Kristin Hickman for tax, and Melissa Wasserman for patent law. ...

Continue reading

January 26, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1358: More Reflections On The End Of My Daily Coverage

IRS Logo 2

William Jacobson (Cornell), TaxProf Ends Daily Coverage of IRS Scandals:

After 1352 days, thank you for your service, Sir.

Pepperdine Law Professor Paul Caron, also known as TaxProf at the TaxProf blog, started daily coverage of the IRS scandal(s) several years ago. The College Fix has some good background on the endeavor.

TaxProf probably didn’t think it would last this long. But once you start to cover something daily, it’s hard to stop.

After 1352 days, Tax Prof stopped daily coverage. ...

Thank you for your service, Sir.

Mark Meckler, the man behind the Convention of States movement, writes that monitoring the IRS can’t stop, TaxProfBlog stops daily blog about IRS harassment of conservative groups, so now we need to do this:

Just because Donald Trump is now in office doesn’t mean conservatives can take their eyes off the federal government.

On this blog, I’ve written extensively about the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups and have often linked to Paul Caron who has kept a daily update on the scandal at the TaxProfBlog. Unfortunately, his coverage has come to an end ….

…. thank you for the amazing service you provided. But in the meantime, we can’t let up and allow this corruption to go unpunished and allow the tax agency to walk away free from its responsibility. Trump vowed to remove corruption from Washington, and we look forward to watching him make good on his promise.

I agree with Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit who wrote, “There hasn’t been sufficient accountability for the IRS’s gross misbehavior here, but I think that Caron has done a tremendous service by keeping the issue alive for so long. I remain deeply disappointed at how many of his fellow tax professors criticized him for doing so, because they didn’t want Obama and the Democrats to look bad.”

We must stay the fight.

Continue reading

January 26, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chodorow Presents The Parsonage Exemption Today At Pepperdine

Chodorow (2014)Adam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents The Parsonage Exemption at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

The parsonage exemption allows “ministers of the gospel” to exclude the value of housing benefits from income, whether received in-kind or as a cash allowance. Critics argue that the provision is unconstitutional, and the dispute is likely to make it to the Supreme Court. This Article fills an important gap in the debate over the parsonage exemption by offering a nuanced explanation of how it and other housing provisions function within the tax code. Placing the parsonage exemption in its proper tax context makes clear that (1) other tax-free housing provisions and exemptions for religious organizations cannot provide the parsonage exemption constitutional cover; (2) the parsonage exemption involves significantly more entanglement than would the generally applicable housing provision; (3) permitting ministers to receive tax-free housing violates the core tax principles of horizontal and vertical equity; and (4) other exemptions for religious organizations cannot justify the parsonage exemption.

January 25, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stewart Presents Transnational Tax Law And The Future Of The Tax State Today At Toronto

StewartMiranda Stewart (Australian National University & University of Melbourne) presents Transnational Tax Law and the Future of the Tax State at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

There is a growing contemporary literature about transnational law. Until recently this has not been a concept adopted in the tax law context, although there is a substantial literature on international tax law, including in bilateral and multilateral treaties and even suggested as international customary law (Avi-Yonah 2006). Tax law has been a bastion and expression of national sovereignty, funding public goods in the nation state, which developed through the 20th century in many countries as a "tax state". Recently, Genschel and Rixen (2015) proposed and analysed the strengths and limitations of a “transnational legal order” of international tax. This paper asks whether transnational tax law really exists and if so, what does it mean for the tax state? What is the authority and legitimacy of transnational tax law? Who are its legislators, subjects, agents, interpreters and enforcers in national or international spheres?

Continue reading

January 25, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Field:  Fostering Ethical Professional Identity In Tax

Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings), Fostering Ethical Professional Identity in Tax: Using the Traditional Tax Classroom, 8 Colum. J. Tax. L. ___ (2017):

Will a tax lawyer in private practice help taxpayers comply or help taxpayers cheat? Will a government tax lawyer respect or abuse taxpayer rights? Answers to these questions turn, at least in large part, on the lawyer’s ethical professional identity—the lawyer’s philosophy of lawyering, which reflects her values, her sense of responsibility to others, and her self-concept of who she is (and wants to be) as a member of the legal profession. According to recent reports on legal education reform, commentators, and the ABA, law schools must do more to help students develop their ethical professional identities. This is particularly important in tax law, where lawyers’ ethical professional identities can affect compliance and revenue collection, tax morale and taxpayer rights, and the reputation of the tax profession.

Continue reading

January 25, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Speck:  The Social Boundaries Of Corporate Taxation

Sloan G Speck (Colorado), The Social Boundaries of Corporate Taxation, 84 Fordham L. Rev. 2583 (2016):

Historically, the tax law distinction between corporate and conduit treatment drew primarily on doctrinal understandings, treating state-law corporations as corporate for tax purposes and classifying unincorporated legal entities based on their resemblance to conventional state-law corporations. More recently, commentators and Treasury have abandoned these doctrinal touchstones in favor of efficiency, broadly construed, as the guiding principle in determining an entity’s tax classification. This Article argues that, while important, efficiency considerations should not function as the sole arbiter of the boundary between corporate and conduit tax treatment.

Continue reading

January 25, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

CBO Projects Federal Debt To Grow 50% ($10 Trillion) Over Next Decade

New York Times, Federal Debt Projected to Grow by Nearly $10 Trillion Over Next Decade:

After seven years of fitful declines, the federal budget deficit is projected to begin swelling again, adding nearly $10 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that reveal the strain that government debt will have on the economy as President Trump embarks on plans to slash taxes and ramp up spending.

Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027:

Table 1

Continue reading

January 25, 2017 in Congressional News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Batchelder Presents Accounting For Behavioral Biases In Business Tax Reform At NYU

BatchelderLily Batchelder (NYU) presented Accounting for Behavioral Biases in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing at NYU yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

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. 

Continue reading

January 24, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speck Presents Expertise And International Tax Norms Today At Georgetown

SpeckSloan Speck (Colorado) presents Expertise and International Tax Norms at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

This paper explores how a particular framework for understanding international taxation — a framework driven by so-called international tax neutrality norms — developed among economists and legal academics in the 1960s and subsequently became entrenched among public-sector policymakers. The neutrality norm framework marks a turn from the instrumental use of international taxation in the 1950s toward an efficiency-oriented approach towards international taxation. Although some scholars question the usefulness of this turn towards efficiency, the neutrality norm framework continues to dominate discussions about international tax policy today. This paper traces the intellectual history of the neutrality norm framework: how it emerged in the late 1950s, and how it became a durable framework for understanding international tax policy.

Continue reading

January 24, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Havens And The Transparency Wave Of International Tax Legislation

Robert T. Kudrle (Minnesota), Tax Havens and the Transparency Wave of International Tax Legislation, 37 U. Pa. J. Int'l L. 1153 (2016):

Tax havens have posed an increasingly important challenge to the world economy, yet they receive little attention in the international economic law and policy literature. This relative neglect springs largely from taxation’s tangential connection with the major structures of international economic governance. But a highly developed treaty regime has been in place for decades. The first wave of legalization aimed at relief from double taxation grew from an influential template for bilateral tax treaties promulgated by the League of Nations and the OECD. Developments outside that regime, particularly the growth of tax havens, generated the need for a second wave that began with a 1998 OECD report proposing cooperative action to combat both tax avoidance and evasion.

Continue reading

January 24, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speck:  Tax Planning And Policy Drift

Sloan G. Speck (Colorado), Tax Planning and Policy Drift, 69 Tax L. Rev. 549 (2016):

This Article proposes a framework for analyzing how private-sector legal interpretations influence public policy. Political scientists and legal scholars use the terms “bureaucratic drift” and “legislative drift” to describe how administrative agencies and future legislative coalitions affect public policy enacted by Congress. This Article identifies a third category of policy drift: “planning drift.” Planning drift describes deviations from an enacting legislature’s policy preferences that result from private experts’ interpretations of existing law. After Congress enacts a statute, the first people to interpret and apply the new legislation generally are not regulators or judges, but instead are private experts, such as lawyers, acting in the service of their clients. Although these experts’ interpretations do not have legal authority in a formal sense, this Article elaborates mechanisms through which these interpretations shape the course of public policy. Specifically, these interpretations give private experts a first-mover advantage in the interpretation of new legislation and affect the substance of subsequent legislative and bureaucratic interventions. Where private experts’ legal interpretations distort legislative policy preferences, Congress may have an incentive to limit planning drift. From Congress’s perspective, however, planning drift is not always undesirable.

Continue reading

January 24, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Columbia Journal Of Tax Law Publishes New Issue

Columbia Journal of Tax Law LogoThe Columbia Journal of Tax Law has published Vol. 8, No. 1:

Continue reading

January 24, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The U.K.'s Threat To Weaponize Tax Is No Bluff

Bloomberg View:  The U.K.'s Threat to Weaponize Tax Is No Bluff, by Mark Gilbert:

The U.K. government is threatening to give its post-Brexit economy a shot in the arm by reducing corporate taxes to become a sort of "Singapore-on-Thames," a tax haven on the perimeter of the European Union. EU officials are dismissive of the idea; but they may be whistling past a graveyard.

At a rate of 20 percent, the U.K. currently ranks in the 11th lowest tax bracket in the EU, level with Finland and Estonia, lower than France or Germany but higher than Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic:

Bloomberg

Continue reading

January 24, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1356: Reflections On The End Of My Daily Coverage

IRS Logo 2

Peter J. Reilly (Forbes), TaxProf Calls An End To Day By Day IRS Scandal Coverage:

Paul Caron, the TaxProf, dean of the tax blogosphere has called the end of an era.  We were all distracted with the inauguration, an admittedly important even, but given the number of peaceful transitions of power we have had since 1800, well 1860 anyway, not really that remarkable.  Professor Caron declared that he was ending daily coverage of the IRS scandal with Day 1352.

His announcement is particularly meaningful to me. Check out the lead paragraph:

In response to inquiries from Peter J. Reilly (Forbes) and Brian Leiter (University of Chicago Law School), I previously discussed when I would stop my daily coverage of the IRS Scandal.

Professor Caron explained

My answer is the same as it has been throughout the scandal: I will stop when the daily commentary in the press and blogosphere on the scandal (from both the right and the left) ends. At several points in the scandal, as I was running out of content, a new chapter would unfold and my daily coverage would continue.

At any rate, his mention of me in this context gives me a sense of having really arrived in the tax blogosphere after over seven years since my very first post. ...

I remain the last IRS scandal agnostic. Frankly, I don't think you needed a big conspiracy to account for the IRS getting its works gummed with exempt applications from groups calling themselves a party but claiming they were mostly not political.  On the other hand, both Joe Kristan and George Will think there is a scandal and that is a tough pair to be dismissive of. ...

In October 2015 I wrote two posts in which I indicated that the quality of the TaxProf's series was being diluted, by the addition of extraneous matter. ... The core scandal had been about difficulties processing applications for exempt status. Conservative groups were not getting their exempt status revoked for single statements.

There were quite a few strands of stories that were legitimately connected to the core scandal. Lois Lerner's emails, the congressional investigations, emails lost on servers, how quickly Koskinen moved the investigation on are examples. But extraneous material started creeping in. ...

It seems that the IRS Scandal even more than usual is something that is viewed through ideological glasses. ...

I reached out for some comments on the closing of the day by day scandal coverage.  Joe Kristan refereed me to his post, which ironically became Day 1353.

Thanks to TaxProf Paul Caron for staying on this undercovered story. The IRS and Lois Lerner admitted the targeting on Day 1. People have been trying to walk that back ever since, either by moving the goal posts (“the President was never implicated”) or by pretending the targeting never happened. The tax agency taking on itself the task of targeting political organizations is scarier than it doing so at the bidding of the White House.

Now we wait to see whether the new President will disarm the IRS, or wield it.

Robert Flach, the Wandering Tax Pro wrote me:

I did not follow the professor's coverage. I agreed with you that he "jumped the shark" way back. I felt he was truly beating a dead horse.

I personally strongly oppose the Tea Party and the religious right - but I am also no fan of the Commissioner and felt he mismanaged the IRS. ...

Paul Streckfus of the EO Tax Journal wrote me:

It's probably time, even if Lois Lerner is the gift that keeps on giving. What's interesting is whether Trump wants to keep the scandal alive. The wild card is the House Freedom Caucus. They probably expect Sessions to open another investigation of Lois Lerner. If so, Caron may have stopped his countdown too soon!

The scandal has really devastated the IRS exempt function.  The groundwork for the next scandal has been laid in this one. The next scandal will be about how nobody is watching exempt organizations creating a playground for scoundrels.

Continue reading

January 24, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 23, 2017

A 'Snow Day' In Malibu

Snow DayAfter a weekend of historic rains in Southern California, Pepperdine cancelled classes today, throwing a monkey wrench into the planned inaugural presentation by Adam Chodorow in our 2017 Tax Policy Workshop Series.  Since my wife and I had already purchased the food for the post-presentation lunch, we opened up our home for lunch with hardy students who ventured to campus and faculty who live on campus.  We ended up having a delightful break in our workdays, reminiscent of the glorious "snow" days of a boy growing up in Boston and of a father raising two children in Cincinnati.  I previously blogged how the wonder of snow days gives way as we grow older, captured by my amazing daughter in this touching article for her high school newspaper:

I almost wish I didn't have these snow days off school.  It was depressing sitting in my house all day, working away to meet adult-like goals rather than simply enjoying the unexpected free time to play in the snow or sled like I did when I was younger. ...

And so the sleds lay dormant in our garage.  Each member of the family worked quietly and separately in different rooms.  Our driveway even lacked the telltale crunched-in snow footprints left by excited children running around in the snow.  Now, the snow seems more of a nuisance than an actual blessing. ...

Continue reading

January 23, 2017 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trump Won't Release Tax Returns, Despite Online Petition With Over 275,000 Signatures; WikiLeaks Hopes To Acquire And Publish Them