TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, May 22, 2017

3rd Annual Mid-Career Tax Professors Workshop Kicks Off Today At Arkansas

Arkansas Fayetteville LogoPanel #1

Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky), Sovereignty, Tax, and BITs
Commentator: David Herzig (Valparaiso)

John Brooks (Georgetown), Income Tax as Wealth Tax
Commentator:  Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn)

Emily Cauble (DePaul), Tax Law’s Inconsistent Treatment of Gains and Losses
Commentator:  Heather Field (UC-Hastings)

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May 22, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ:  The Blind Spot In The Sharing Economy — Tax Collection?

Airbnb uberWall Street Journal Tax Report: The Blind Spot in a Sharing Economy: Tax Collection, by Laura Saunders:

A loophole is helping gig-economy workers, online sellers and home-sharing hosts cheat on their taxes.

Under a law enacted in 2008 and later clarified by the Internal Revenue Service, many online-platform businesses that connect buyers and sellers and take credit-card payments, such as Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Etsy and ride-sharing firms, fall into a special category.

These businesses have to report a provider’s income to the IRS only if that person earns more than $20,000 and has more than 200 transactions. In that case, the company sends both the provider and IRS a Form 1099-K listing gross income.

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May 22, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 21, 2017

John Oliver Property Tax Scam Uses Loophole Created By Donald Trump

John Oliver 2New York Observer, The John Oliver Property Tax Scam: HBO Comedian Secretly Buys Manhattan Mansion; Liberal Deity Avoids Taxes By Using Loophole Created By Donald Trump:

The hypocrisy really gets ratcheted up with John Oliver, the No. 1 darling to so many liberal anti-Trumpies, who regularly attacks GOP tax schemes as giveaways to the rich and detrimental to the poor. ... 

For years, Oliver has criticized the estate tax, which opponents, in a smart linguistic move dreamed up by Frank Luntz, long ago labeled the “death tax”; and the tax code’s raft of loopholes that benefit special interests he identified as oil companies and hedge fund managers. Oliver even briefly established the bogus Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption to draw attention to tax-exempt status granted to churches and charities.

Back in July 2014, in an episode in which he lamented the Wealth Gap in America” (which has resulted in the richest one percent of Americans controlling 20 percent of annual income), Oliver said, “At this point the rich are just running up the score…What sets America apart is that we are actively introducing policies that disproportionately benefit the wealthy,” such as tax cuts and loopholes like trusts.

So it’s a little surprising to discover that just months before, Oliver had a tax attorney set up two revocable trusts, one for him and one for his wife, to hide the couple’s purchase of a $9.5 million Manhattan penthouse. Then he used a tax loophole created by Donald Trump himself back in the 1970s, when the current president was merely a prominent New York real estate developer and aspiring celebrity author.

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May 21, 2017 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #3, #4, and #5:

  1. [306 Downloads]  The Offshore Tax Enforcement Dragnet, by Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane)
  2. [229 Downloads]  BEPS and the New International Tax Order, by Allison Christians (McGill)
  3. [202 Downloads]  Can New York Publish President Trump's State Tax Returns? , by Daniel Hemel (Chicago)
  4. [171 Downloads]  A Global Treaty Override? The New OECD Multilateral Tax Instrument and Its Limits, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Haiyan Xu (Michigan)
  5. [149 Downloads]  Base Erosion by Intra-Group Debt and BEPS Project Action 4's Best Practice Approach: A Case Study of Chevron, by Antony Ting (Sydney)

May 21, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Reinterpreting Corporate Inversions: Non-Tax Competitions And Frictions

Inho Andrew Mun (J.D. 2017, Yale), Note, Reinterpreting Corporate Inversions: Non-Tax Competitions and Frictions, 126 Yale L.J. 2152 (2017)

Corporate inversions have drawn outrage from all segments of society. In an inversion, a company reincorporates abroad to escape its U.S. tax burden. Regulators and academics have typically sought tax law solutions to curb tax inversions. However, the resulting tax regulations have been ineffective, while more radical tax reforms are not politically feasible. This Note argues that inversion is not a tax problem in isolation, but a problem of aligning tax paid with benefits conferred by a given country. By introducing non-tax dimensions into the equation, this Note refines the oft-ignored benefit tax theory. The benefit tax theory proposes that the U.S. corporate tax regime accounts for superior legal and nonlegal benefits that companies enjoy by incorporating or operating in the United States. While paying U.S. tax, corporations receive the benefits of corporate governance, securities regulation, intellectual property law, and other areas of law; furthermore, benefits include many nonlegal business factors such as access to a large consumption market, skilled labor pool, capital markets, and more.

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May 20, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) discusses a recent Tax Court case highlighting the perils of do-it-yourself tax preparation.

KristanThe perils of do-it-yourself tax prep.

I’ve tried to do plumbing myself. I have learned that it is cheaper in the not-very-long run to pay a plumber.

An insurance consultant learned a similar lesson about tax preparation in Tax Court last week. His client specialty was accountants. Whether out of thrift or because he didn’t want to be seen playing favorites, he used TurboTax. It went badly in Tax Court.

The taxpayer claimed disallowed deductions for alimony and for a net operating loss. The court determined that he reported too much Alimony, and that he whiffed entirely on the NOL. The deficiency was big enough to bring the 20% “accuracy related” penalty into play. Judge Holmes considers the issue:

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May 19, 2017 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Erin Scharff (Arizona State) reviews an article by Darien Shanske (Davis), The (Now Urgent) Case for State-Level Monitoring of Local Government Finances (or, One Way to Protect Localities from Trump's 'Potemkin Villages of Nothing'), forthcoming in the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy: 

Scharff (2017)Darien Shanske’s forthcoming article on local government financing suggests reforms that might protect local governments from their own bad decisions.   The fiscal challenges facing local governments are enormous, and Shanske persuasively argues localities are ill equipped to deal with these problems on their own.  And his proposal responds to the variety of fiscal problems facing cities. There are problems both with the ways cities spend their revenue and also their revenue streams.  Too often, we foucs on only one side of this problem.

At the time Shanske wrote the paper, he was particularly worried about the possibility of a federal infrastructure plan that would flood local governments with public-private partnership opportunities that would fail to deliver promised benefits.  As Shanske’s title alludes to, Larry Summers denounced such infrastructure spending as a “Potemkin Village [] of nothing.”

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May 19, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Houston Hosts Third Annual Texas Tax Faculty Workshop

Houston (2017)The University of Houston Law Center hosts the Third Annual Tax Faculty Workshop today:

Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Application of Equitable Principles to Jurisdictional Time Periods
Commentator: Terri Helge (Texas A&M)

Calvin Johnson (Texas), Beckemeyer and the Tax Benefit Rule
Commentator: Johnny Buckles (Houston)

Susan Morse (Texas), The Dark Side of Safe Harbors?
Commentator: Bruce McGovern (South Texas)

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May 19, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Soled & Thomas:  Regulating Tax Return Preparation

Jay A. Soled (Rutgers) & Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), Regulating Tax Return Preparation, 58 B.C. L. Rev. 151 (2017):

Every year the U.S. government collects nearly $3 trillion of income and employment taxes, a large share of which is used to deliver social welfare benefits to the poor. With respect to these collections and deliveries, the Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) seeks to ensure taxpayer accuracy. In the twenty-first century, there are two sets of key players that dominate the Form 1040 preparation and submission process, namely, tax return preparers and tax return preparation software companies. The former hand-hold taxpayers through the entire tax return preparation and submission process while the latter provide taxpayers with the necessary tools to complete and submit tax returns on their own. These two groups – tax return preparers and tax software companies – thus stand as vital intermediaries between the government and taxpayers, assisting in the preparation of over 90 percent of all individual tax returns.

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May 19, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Roin:  Retroactive Taxation, Unfunded Pensions, And Shadow Bankruptcies

Julie Roin (Chicago), Retroactive Taxation, Unfunded Pensions, and Shadow Bankruptcies, 102 U. Chi. L. Rev. 559 (2017):

Academics and journalists criticize politicians for the dismal financial situations of many state and local jurisdictions. And certainly, politicians routinely make inaccurate fiscal claims. However, the voting public bears some of the blame for continuing to vote for politicians peddling what amounts to fiscal “magic.” This Article suggests a mechanism for holding them at least partially accountable for their carelessness: retroactive taxation triggered by objective measures of fiscal distress.

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May 18, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Barry & Pollman:  Regulatory Entrepreneurship

Jordan M. Barry (San Diego) & Elizabeth Pollman (Loyola-L.A.), Regulatory Entrepreneurship, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. 383 (2017):

This Article examines what we term “regulatory entrepreneurship”—pursuing a line of business in which changing the law is a significant part of the business plan. Regulatory entrepreneurship is not new, but it has become increasingly salient in recent years as companies from Airbnb to Tesla, and from DraftKings to Uber, have become agents of legal change. We document the tactics that companies have employed, including operating in legal gray areas, growing “too big to ban,” and mobilizing users for political support. Further, we theorize the business and law-related factors that foster regulatory entrepreneurship. Well-funded, scalable, and highly connected startup businesses with mass appeal have advantages, especially when they target state and local laws and litigate them in the political sphere instead of in court.

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May 18, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Grinberg:  The House GOP Blueprint Can Be Drafted To Comply With WTO Rules

Itai Grinberg (Georgetown), The House GOP Blueprint Can Be Drafted to Comply with WTO Rules:

The House GOP Blueprint can be drafted into legislation in a manner that would comply with the United States’ international trade obligations. This paper presents two alternative approaches that avoid the key WTO discrimination and subsidy issues often raised in discussions of destination-based cash flow tax proposals.

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May 18, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NTA 47th Annual Spring Symposium On Taxation In The Trump Era

NTA

The NTA 47th Annual Spring Sympoisum on Taxation in the Trump Era: Reforms, Revenues and Repercussions kicks off today in Washington, D.C.  Tax Prof speakers include:

Exploring the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax

Organizer: Itai Grinberg, Georgetown University Law Center
Moderator: Lily Faulhaber, Georgetown University Law Center

Destination-Based Cash Flow Taxation
Alan Auerbach, University of California, Berkeley, Michael P. Devereux, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, Michael Keen, International Monetary Fund, and John Vella, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation

Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint
Kimberly Clausing, Reed College and Reuven Avi-Yonah, University of Michigan Law School

Can a Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax be Compatible with the WTO Commitments of the United States?
Itai Grinberg, Georgetown University Law Center

Is the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax Easily Gamed?
John Vella, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation

Using the Tax Code to Support Families: Past, Current and Future Policy

 

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May 18, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hurt:  The Private Ordering Of Publicly Traded Partnerships

Christine Hurt (BYU), The Private Ordering of Publicly Traded Partnerships:

Publicly traded partnerships, or master limited partnerships as they are sometimes called, are hybrid entities. Attempting to achieve the perfect structure for organizing economic activity, new statutes added limited liability to entities that enjoy flow-through taxation. However, because of parallel refinements by federal regulators involving taxation and amendments by state legislatures involving fiduciary duties, a strange genetic mutation flourished: the publicly traded partnership (PTP). The PTP organized as a Delaware limited partnership combines limited liability and tax advantages with elimination of fiduciary duties and free transferability of shares. In what might be the pinnacle of separation of ownership and control, unitholders purchase limited partnership units on a public exchange representing equity interests in an entity whose managers have no fiduciary duties toward the purchasers or their investment. Furthermore, new proposals seek to expand the universe of firms that may choose this structure, creating interesting, or alarming, questions about the future of this once tiny but now growing population of firms.

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May 18, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Watson:  Rethinking The Pell Program And Federal Tax Incentives For Education

Camilla E. Watson (Georgia), The Future of Lower-Income Students in Higher Education: Rethinking the Pell Program and Federal Tax Incentives:

As the costs of higher education have soared, the value of Pell grants has declined, making it more difficult for lower-income students to obtain an education without being hopelessly mired in debt. This article traces the evolution of the Pell program and discusses the diametrically opposed proposals of Presidents Obama and Trump to reform federal funding for higher education. The article proposes an alternative plan that would require a redirection of a portion of the funds from the Pell program and a reshuffling of the current tax incentives for higher education.

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May 17, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sanchirico:  Pass-Through, Public Trading, And The Dubious Obstacle Of Inside Basis Adjustments

Chris Sanchirico (Pennsylvania), Pass-Through, Public Trading, and the Dubious Obstacle of Inside Basis Adjustments (web appendix):

Elective “inside basis adjustments” are a central feature of partnership taxation, and their prospective infeasibility for publicly traded companies has played an important role in shaping leading corporate integration proposals.

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May 17, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Taylor:  The U.S. Rules For Taxing Business Entities

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Willard Taylor (NYU), Can We Clean This Up? A Brief Journey Through the U.S. Rules for Taxing Business Entities, 19 Fla. Tax Rev. 323 (2016):

This article summarizes the 80-plus year history of the U.S. Federal income tax rules for classifying business entities, concluding that they result largely from administrative and/or legislative reactions to specific problems or legislative accommodations to industry lobbying efforts and do not reflect an effort to develop a comprehensive and coherent system for taxing (or not taxing) business income.

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May 17, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Alice Abreu Receives Temple University's Great Teacher Award

Abreu (2017)Temple Law Professor Alice Abreu Honored with Great Teacher Award:

From the volume of letters offered in support of her nomination, it is clear that Temple Law Professor Alice Abreu has been a Great Teacher for a very long time. On April 25th, Temple University made that official by honoring her with the Great Teacher Award, the highest honor bestowed by Temple upon its faculty.

Temple Law Dean Gregory Mandel took the opportunity to heap praise upon Professor Abreu, tempered with light-hearted teasing for her “boundless and infectious passion for tax law.” “Yes, you heard me correctly,” he confirmed to laughter from the faculty in attendance. “I realize that phrase has never before been uttered.” Mandel went on to describe the “universal admiration of all who know Professor Abreu,” not only for her “zeal for tax law,” but also for her “passion for teaching… and her excitement for drawing colleagues into the intersection of tax law and their practice areas.”

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May 16, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chang:  Inequality, Trusts And Estates, And Tax

Felix B. Chang (Cincinnati), Asymmetries in the Generation and Transmission of Wealth,  78 Ohio St. L.J. ___ (2017):

This Article assigns a redistributive role to the legal rules of trusts and estates. Unlike business law, trusts and estates has lagged in articulating a comprehensive theory on inequality. Consequently, income inequality is compounded intergenerationally as wealth inequality, with dire consequences for economic productivity and social stability. To move the discourse on wealth inequality, this Article explores the divergent approaches toward inequality in business law and trusts and estates.

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May 16, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Kleinbard:  Capital Taxation In An Age Of Inequality

Edward Kleinbard (USC), Capital Taxation In An Age Of Inequality, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. 593 (2017):

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

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May 16, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Manolakas:  The Mortgage Interest Deduction And Unmarried Co-Owners

Christine Manolakas (McGeorge), Qualified Residence Interest Deduction: A Win for Unmarried Co-Owners, 17 Nev. L.J. 199 (2016):

Despite the seemingly simple language of the statute, the interpretation of the home mortgage interest deduction has recently garnered much attention as the Internal Revenue Service and the courts grappled with its application to unmarried co-owners of a residence.

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May 16, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Grewal:  Congress Handcuffs The IRS

Andy Grewal (Iowa), The IRS Gets Handcuffed by the Congress, Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (May 3, 2017):

The House and Senate recently reached agreement on a comprehensive spending bill and expect to pass it soon. Regarding the IRS, the bill freezes the agency’s budget at $11.2 billion and thus does not, as some feared, make substantial cuts to its funding. Nonetheless, the IRS may face hardships, because its funding remains significantly below its 2010 level ($13.6 billion) while its responsibilities have greatly expanded in recent years, especially because of the Affordable Care Act.

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May 15, 2017 in Congressional News, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Higher Taxes Lead To Consistently Worse Results In MLB, NBA, NFL, And NHL

SportsMap

New York Times op-ed: Another Terrible Thing About Taxes, by Erik Hembre (University of Illinois at Chicago):

I gathered data on the outcomes of every professional sports game over the past 40 years as well as data on state and local tax rates each team member faces. I then computed how much taxes predict winning for each league in every year while controlling for other factors such as population, income, franchise age and local amenities (i.e., weather).

Results of the analysis [Income Taxes and Team Performance: Do They Matter?] show that higher taxes consistently predict worse performance in every league — not just the N.B.A. but also Major League Baseball, the N.H.L., and the N.F.L. over the past 20 years. The findings do not change if I use championships or finals appearances instead of regular season wins, and no single city, team or year drives the results.

Figure 4

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May 14, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [430 Downloads]  Background and Current Status of FATCA, by William Byrnes (Texas A&M) & Robert J. Munro (Texas A&M)
  2. [380 Downloads]  House Plan's Bad Math: Over-Estimates of Revenue from a Border Adjustment, by David Kamin (NYU) & Brad Setser (Council on Foreign Relations)
  3. [298 Downloads]  The Offshore Tax Enforcement Dragnet, by Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane)
  4. [225 Downloads]  Should Robots Pay Taxes? Tax Policy in the Age of Automation, by Ryan Abbott (University of Surrey) & Bret N. Bogenschneider (University of Surrey)
  5. [215 Downloads]  BEPS and the New International Tax Order, by Allison Christians (McGill)

May 14, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

President Trump Nominates David Kautter To Be Assistant Secretary For Tax Policy

KautterFollowing up on my April 3 post, David Kautter To Be Named Assistant Secretary For Tax Policy: White House Press Release, President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Additions to his Administration:

David J. Kautter of Virginia to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Tax Policy. If confirmed, Mr. Kautter will serve as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy.  Mr. Kautter currently serves as Partner-in-Charge of the Washington National Tax practice for RSM, an audit, tax, and consulting services firm. He was also previously the Managing Director of the Kogod Tax Center and Executive-in-Residence at the Kogod School of Business at American University (AU).

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May 13, 2017 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) discusses another in a long line of bizarre Eighth Circuit ESOP decisions.

KristanAnother 8th Circuit ESOP debacle.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has seen more than its share of cases involving Employee Stock Ownership Plans. That’s because Iowa is in the Eight Circuit, and Iowa was the home of practitioners whose creative use of ESOPs often led to unfortunate tax results.

The Eighth Circuit yesterday upheld another bad ESOP, in a case involving a Kansas orthopedic surgeon. The ESOP had an Iowa address, so we can add it to the roster of bad Iowa ESOPs.

The Tax Court had disallowed the ESOP on the grounds that it allocated shares to an owner with no compensation — a violation of the plan document — and that it failed to get the required annual appraisals. Either item standing alone is enough to disqualify the ESOP.

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May 12, 2017 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Daniel Hemel (Chicago) reviews a new paper by Fabio Gaertner (Wisconsin), Jeffrey Hoopes (North Carolina), and Edward Maydew (North Carolina), Shareholder Wealth Effects of Border Adjustment Taxation.

HemelWho wins and who loses from a border-adjusted cash flow tax like the one proposed by House Republicans? Fabio Gaertner, Jeffrey Hoopes, and Edward Maydew seek to shed light on that question by examining stock market reactions to news about the House Republicans’ plan. Their topline result is that on days when news events make a border-adjusted cash flow tax look more likely, share prices of firms in high-import industries perform worse than the rest of the market.

Gaertner, Hoopes, and Maydew contribute to a fast-growing literature on the trade balance effects of border-adjusted cash flow taxation. I imagine that most readers of this blog have been following that debate, but for those who haven’t, a brief primer: A pure cash flow tax would tax businesses on revenues minus expenses. A border-adjusted cash flow tax allows an exemption for revenues from exports but denies a deduction for the cost of imports. 

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May 12, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Herzig:  The Distributive Effects Of The House GOP's Destination Based Cash Flow Tax

David Herzig (Valparaiso), The Potential Distributive Effects of the Proposed Destination Based Cash Flow Tax (DBCFT):

The House GOP Blueprint for tax reform is the most ambitious corporate tax reform since the 1930s. It cuts business tax rates and allows immediate expensing of capital outlays. It accomplishes these goals by replacing the current corporate income tax which taxes profits to a destination based cash flow tax that taxes cash flow. The tax is a move from origin or production based to destination or consumption based. As Alan Auerbach said rather than figuring out “how do you measure income ... with cash flow you just follow the money.” The cash flow tax is designed to accomplish a couple big goals. First, stop the gaming done by companies like Facebook to reduce their corporate tax burden. Second, encourage equity investment over borrowing. Finally, encourage exports while increasing the tax burden on imports. To put it mildly, the plan has caused quite a reaction.

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May 11, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Tax Section May Meeting

ABAThe ABA Tax Section May Meeting kicks off today in Washington, D.C. The full program is here. Tax Profs with speaking roles include:

  • Diversity: Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh),  Jacqueline Lainez (UDC), Francine Lipman (UNLV)
  • Employee Benefits:  Jon Forman (Oklahoma), Kathryn Kennedy (John Marshall)
  • Fiduciary Income Tax:  Jerome Hesch (Miami)
  • Financial Transactions:  Itai Grinberg (Georgetown)

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May 11, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Presentations At The Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum

MAJFFMid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum:

  • Jonathan Grossberg (American), A Proposal for a Residency Dividend
  • Hayes Holderness (Richmond), Questioning Quill
  • James Puckett (Penn State), Temporary Treasury Regulations: A Tax Exceptionalist Perspective

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May 11, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Prof Beau Baez Launches Learn Law Better

BaezH. Beau Baez, a Georgetown Law and Tax LL.M. graduate, was a Tax Prof for seventeen years at three law schools before being fired by Charlotte Law School in its January purge of faculty.  Beau has dusted himself off and launched Learn Law Better, LLC, with a website and YouTube channel dedicated  to helping students thrive in law school and pass the bar exam:

Law school is difficult. Professors don’t tell you what they expect on an exam and when you get your grades back you don’t really know why you received that grade, let alone understand how to improve. But we can help you on your journey.

Most law schools do a poor job at providing students with the detailed help they need to get good grades and pass the bar exam.  Learn Law Better is here to be your guide so that you can follow the right path. It is hard work–as anything worth having is — but now you have someone to show you how to work smarter so that you can achieve your life goals.

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May 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sanchirico:  Optimal Redistributional Instruments In Tax Policy And Law & Economics

Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania), Optimal Redistributional Instruments in Tax Policy and Law & Economics: Survey and Assessment:

The literature on optimal redistributional instruments begins with the assumption that society has some preference for equality, leaving the precise degree unspecified. It then asks: How should society pursue that preference? More specifically, what kinds of policy instruments — whether categorized as “taxes,” “transfers,” “public goods,” “government programs,” “regulations,” or “legal rules” — should be informed by society’s distributional objectives? This paper reviews and assesses three strands of the literature on optimal redistributional instruments.

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May 10, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hemel:  How The States Can Make President Trump’s Taxes Public

Trump Tax ReturnsVox:  How the States Can Make President Trump’s Taxes Public, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago):

The Trump administration’s release of a tax plan — or, at least, a one page summary of its goals for tax policy — has drawn renewed attention to the president’s refusal to release his own tax returns. How much would the president personally benefit from his proposal to abolish the Alternative Minimum Tax? How much does he stand to gain from a reduced 15 percent rate on certain business income?

House Democrats have proposed a number of measures that would make the president’s tax returns public, but the Republican majority has blocked these efforts (despite defections by two of their members). With the president unlikely to release his returns and Congress unlikely to force him to, state lawmakers are looking for creative ways to compel disclosure of the president’s tax filings.

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May 10, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

David Hasen Leaves Colorado For Florida

HasenDavid Hasen, Professor of Law at Colorado, has accepted a tenured lateral offer from Florida, beginning in Fall 2017.  Here are David's recent publications:

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May 10, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2017)

Thanks to the faculty and students who made our Spring 2017 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series such a rousing success:

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

Liscow:  Do Court Mandates Change The Distribution Of Taxes And Spending?

Zachary D. Liscow (Yale), Do Court Mandates Change the Distribution of Taxes and Spending? Evidence from School Finance Litigation:

Little is known about whether court mandates ultimately affect the distribution of taxes and spending or whether legislatures offset the distributional consequences of those court orders with other changes. To offer insight into this question, I use an event-study methodology to show how state revenues and expenditures respond to court orders to increase funding for schools for low-income students.

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May 9, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Field:  A Taxonomy For Tax Loopholes

Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings), A Taxonomy for Tax Loopholes, 55 Hous. L. Rev. ___ (2018):

Democrats, Republicans, media commentators and even academics denounce “tax loopholes.” Speakers may think that they are talking about the same things, but this article demonstrates that people have widely divergent views about what tax loopholes are. Thus, people criticizing loopholes often talk past each other and engage in the tax equivalent of schoolyard name-calling. The response to this problem is not, however, to try to define the concept of “tax loopholes” with precision. Such an endeavor is pointless. Instead, this article provides a taxonomy for translating the rhetoric of “tax loopholes” into meaningful tax policy discourse. This taxonomy posits that any reference to a “tax loophole” should be understood in two dimensions — the tax policy objection and the target of the criticism. Using numerous examples from the popular/political discourse and the academic literature, this article catalogs alternatives on each dimension. Categorizing any purported “tax loophole” using this taxonomy provides a more productive framing of whatever critique is implied by any use of the “loophole” label, thereby enabling the elevation of the quality of the conversation about the individual tax preference. This taxonomy may be particularly useful now, as our political leaders embark on efforts to reform the tax law, because the taxonomy can help us better understand and advance the debate that will certainly surround those reform efforts.

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May 9, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wanted For LL.M. Programs:  Tax Nerds

LLMLLM Guide, Wanted for LL.M. Programs: Tax Nerds:

Richard Ainsworth, director of Boston University's Graduate Tax Program, is looking for one trait in applicants to his program.

"We're looking for tax geeks," Ainsworth says. "You have to show us that you like numbers.”

Common wisdom holds that the tax LL.M. is one of the most valuable post-J.D. law degrees, and the numbers tend to back that up. The median salary for a lawyer is just over $80,000, according to PayScale, a site that tracks average salaries for various professions, while the median salary for a tax lawyer hovers around $100,000.

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May 9, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Why Don't White Supremacists Pay Taxes?

NPIEric Franklin Amarante (UNLV), Why Don't White Supremacists Pay Taxes?:

Many white supremacist groups enjoy tax-exempt status. As such, these hate groups do not have to pay federal taxes and people who give money to support these groups may take deductions on their personal taxes. This recognition not only results in potential lost revenue for government programs, but it also serves as a public subsidy of racist propaganda and operates as the federal government’s imprimatur of white supremacist activities. This is all due to an unnecessarily broad definition of “educational” that somehow encompasses the activities of universities, symphonies, and white supremacists. This Essay suggests a change in the Treasury regulations to restrict the definition of educational organizations to refer only to traditional, degree-granting institutions, distance learning organizations, or certain other enumerated entities.

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May 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 7, 2017

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. [413 Downloads]  Background and Current Status of FATCA, by William Byrnes (Texas A&M) & Robert J. Munro (Texas A&M)
  2. [367 Downloads]  House Plan's Bad Math: Over-Estimates of Revenue from a Border Adjustment, by David Kamin (NYU) & Brad Setser (Council on Foreign Relations)
  3. [292 Downloads]  The Offshore Tax Enforcement Dragnet, by Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane)
  4. [205 Downloads]  The First McGee Annual Report on the Best and Worst States for Business, by Robert W. McGee (Fayetteville State University)
  5. [201 Downloads]  BEPS and the New International Tax Order, by Allison Christians (McGill)

May 7, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Prof Baby: Eva Rana-Gamage

Eva Rana-Gamage, daughter of David Gamage (Indiana) and Shruti Rana (Indiana), was born on April 28 and weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces:

Gamage

 

May 7, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Roberts Presents Environmental Opportunities In Tax Reform At Columbia

RobertsTracey M. Roberts (Cumberland) presented Environmental Opportunities in Comprehensive Tax Reform at Columbia yesterday as part of its Fourth Annual Sabin Colloquium on Innovative Environmental Scholarship:

In addition to the many anticipated benefits associated with recent proposals for tax reform such as improved administration, increased saving, and higher growth, there may be one more: environmental protection. This article examines a recent proposal for corporate tax reform, identifies potential environmental benefits associated with that reform and discusses ways that the tax regime may be modified to further environmental goals. The article makes two contributions.

First, the article identifies the environmental benefits of tax reform in and of itself — the elimination of existing subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and other tax expenditures that support electricity generation, transportation, and housing development patterns that have significant adverse environmental impacts.

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