Paul L. Caron
Dean




Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Tax Policy Design With Low Interest Rates

Alan J. Auerbach (UC-Berkeley; Google Scholar) & William G. Gale (Tax Policy Center; Google Scholar), Tax Policy Design with Low Interest Rates, Tax Policy and the Economy (University of Chicago Press): 

Interest rates on government debt have fallen in many countries over the last several decades, with markets indicating that rates may stay low well into the future. It is by now well understood that sustained low interest rates can change the nature of long-run fiscal policy choices. In this paper, we examine a related issue: the implications of sustained low interest rates for the structure of tax policy. We show that low interest rates (a) reduce the differences between consumption and income taxes; (b) make wealth taxes less efficient relative to capital income taxes, at given rates of tax; (c) reduce the value of firm-level investment incentives, and (d) substantially raise the valuation of benefits of carbon abatement policies relative to their costs.

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October 27, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Hemel: A Wealth Tax Is A Good Idea — If We Had A Different Supreme Court

Washington Post op-ed:  A Wealth Tax Is A Good Idea — If We Had a Different Supreme Court, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar):

Senate Democrats and the Biden administration are reportedly nearing a deal on a new “billionaire tax” to pay for the package of spending programs that is stalled in Congress. The tax — which would apply annually to the increase in the value of stocks and other assets held by taxpayers with a net worth of $1 billion or more — appears to be one of the few revenue-raising measures that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a key swing vote, is willing to countenance. But there is a potentially fatal flaw in the proposal that should cause progressives to view it as a Trojan horse: The current Supreme Court is quite likely to strike it down as unconstitutional.

To be sure, the constitutional case against the proposed billionaire tax isn’t open and shut. If I were on the Supreme Court, I would say that the tax is constitutional and ought to be upheld. But I’m not on the Supreme Court — and six conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents are. Faced with a genuinely unresolved legal question for which there are plausible arguments on both sides, those justices would not have a hard time saying that the billionaire tax flunks the constitutional test.

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October 27, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

NALP: Jobs For First-Gen Students Lag Their Peers, Disparities By Race/Ethnicity Persist

NALP, Employment Outcomes for First-Generation College Students Fall Below Those of Their Peers, and Disparities in Outcomes by Race/Ethnicity Persist:

NALPFor the first time, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has measured the law school employment outcomes for graduates who do not have at least one parent/guardian with a bachelor’s degree or higher degree and the new data show that these students fare less well than their peers in the competition for jobs. Graduates with a parent or guardian who held a JD degree had a higher employment rate and were employed in bar passage required jobs at a rate 11 percentage points above that of first-generation college students. Outcomes on these measures were also higher, but to a lesser degree, for continuing-generation college students (students with at least one parent or guardian with a bachelor’s degree or higher but lacking a JD degree) as compared to first-generation college students. In addition, stark and persistent disparities in outcomes by race/ethnicity continued to be evident this year. Notably, Black and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander law school graduates had the lowest overall employment rates and were employed in bar passage required jobs at rates 16 and 21 percentage points below that of white graduates. ...

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October 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Latest Shortage In Texas: Lawyers; Law Firms Offer $205,000 Staring Salaries, Mid-Year And Year-End Bonuses

Houston Chronicle, The Latest Shortage in Texas: Lawyers:

TexasThe market for corporate lawyers in Texas has never been this hot or intense - not back in the technology boom of the late 1990s or even during the shale explosion of the past decade.

Texas businesses have so much legal work for lawyers that law firms are stretched thin and fear their attorneys are being overworked and in danger of burnout.

Leaders at more than two-dozen corporate law firms interviewed say they need to hire more attorneys — in some cases, a couple dozen — to handle the mergers, acquisitions, capital markets, real estate deals and complex commercial disputes facing their clients, but that they face a major roadblock.

There just aren’t enough lawyers in Texas. Not enough qualified and experienced business attorneys, anyway. ...

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October 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

U.S. Tax Court's Tax Trailblazers: George Yin

U.S. Tax Court's Diversity & Inclusion Series, Tax Trailblazers: Mentoring the Next Generation:

Yin (2019)Please join the United States Tax Court for the next in its Tax Trailblazers Series. Judge Albert G. Lauber will interview George K. Yin about his path to—and success in—the field of tax law. Today at 7:00-8:15 PM EST (register here).

George K. Yin is the Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law and Taxation Emeritus at the University of Virginia School of Law. He attended the Bronx High School of Science in New York City, graduated from the University of Michigan’s honors program with a degree in mathematics and economics, earned his JD with honors from the National Law Center at George Washington University, and holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Florida, Gainesville.

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October 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly ranking 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 October 1, 2021) 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 (Michigan)  203,021 1 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) 8,169
2 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 123,632 2 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 4,631
3 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 122,814 3 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 4,249
4 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 121,537 4 David Kamin (NYU) 4,208
5 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 119,865 5 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 4,106
6 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 112,892 6 Kim Clausing (UCLA)     3,968
7 David Kamin (NYU) 110,570 7 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 3,483
8 Cliff Fleming (BYU)    106,449 8 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 3,301
9 Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings) 103,339 9 Richard Ainsworth (Boston U.) 2,700
10 Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 102,432 10 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 2,506
11 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 101,619 11 Zachary Liscow (Yale) 2,474
12 Michael Simkovic (USC) 45,935 12 Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indy)   2,377
13 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 45,534 13 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 2,278
14 Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 38,734 14 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)  2,229
15 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 35,749 15 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 2,144
16 Richard Ainsworth (Boston U.) 33,420 16 Yariv Brauner (Florida) 2,141
17 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 29,103 17 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 2,013
18 Ed Kleinbard (USC) 28,021 18 Hugh Ault (Boston College) 1,923
19 Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine) 27,793 19 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 1,780
20 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 27,160 20 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 1,614
21 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 26,944 21 Francine Lipman (UNLV) 1,482
22 Jim Hines (Michigan) 26,139 22 Diane Ring (Boston College) 1,467
23 Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.) 25,211 22 Gregg Polsky (Georgia) 1,460
24 Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) 24,769 24 Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College)  1,455
25 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 24,675 25 Michael Simkovic (USC) 1,411

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October 27, 2021 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

NY Times: To Get Ahead At Work, Young Lawyers Find It Helps To Actually Be At Work

New York Times, To Get Ahead at Work, Lawyers Find It Helps to Actually Be at Work:

The generational divide on returning to the office is not neatly drawn. For some young professionals, even in a pandemic, showing up is more than half the battle. ...

Since the beginning of the year, as mass vaccinations loomed and “return to office” became an incantation so popular it earned its own abbreviation, workers under 40 have been notably resistant.

But what the stories of uprisings and generational conflict, even a trying-too-hard office mixer, don’t entirely capture is this: Amid the ranks of 20- and 30-somethings is a large and growing group of employees who, for reasons part careerist and part emotional, increasingly crave the office as well. ...

Partners and more senior associates seemed to regard personal interaction as a kind of workplace luxury good that the firm had purchased for them through its safety policies. ... There was, however, one group for whom the benefits of face time were not merely social but exceedingly concrete — the first- and second-year associates. ...

As it happens, the most valuable currency for any associate are hours spent working on client business, which are both a measure of productivity and a way for young lawyers to learn their trade.

At most large firms, associates have formal quotas for billable hours, typically 1,800 to 2,000 per year. Those who want to be promoted tend to focus on accumulating these hours, which they track with time-keeping software, sometimes monomaniacally. (At Dickinson Wright, the required minimum is 1,850 hours for the first few years.)

The catch is that few first-year associates enter a firm with work awaiting them. For this, they are largely at the mercy of the senior associates and partners who dispense it.

And how, exactly, does one land assignments from these colleagues? It turns out there is no more reliable way than, well, showing up.

“People give work to people they think of,” said Amanda Newman, a senior associate in Dickinson Wright’s Phoenix office, who serves as a liaison between associates and management. “If they’re seeing you every day, they think of you.” ...

I began to wonder if there might be a more relaxed way to train young lawyers — one that didn’t require the same accumulation of office hours, the same anxious petitioning for work and for help. By the standards of Big Law, an industry known for workaholism and burnout, Dickinson Wright seemed humane. 

(Hat Tip: Jason Jarvis)

October 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tax Policy Center Hosts Virtual Conference Today On U.S. Energy Tax Policy And Climate Change

Us-energy-tax-policy-and-climate-change
The Tax Policy Center hosts a virtual conference on US Energy Tax Policy And Climate Change today at 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EDT (registration): 

The Biden administration has committed to reducing US greenhouse gas emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2030. To help meet that goal, the Democratic fiscal strategy relies heavily on increased infrastructure spending financed by higher corporate and individual income taxes. This proposed policy focuses on subsidizing alternative energy sources and conservation rather than relying on carbon pricing. What are the pros and cons of this approach, and is the strategy adequate to achieve targeted emissions reductions?

On October 27, ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (October 31 to November 12), the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Brookings Institution Center on Regulation and Markets will bring together climate and tax policy experts to examine recent proposals for US energy tax policy. Catherine Wolfram, deputy assistant secretary for climate and energy economics at the US Department of the Treasury, will share her perspective on the Biden administration’s climate strategy. Following her keynote, an expert panel consisting of Gilbert Metcalf, Carole Nakhle, Sanjay Patnaik, and Kurt Van Dender and moderated by Thornton Matheson will further discuss the United States’ approach to energy tax policy.

Speakers:

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October 27, 2021 in Conferences, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Viswanathan Presents Retheorizing Progressive Taxation Today At NYU

Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) presents Retheorizing Progressive Taxation at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium hosted by Daniel Shaviro:

Manoj-viswanathanTax progressivity is undeniably central to both the detailed analytics of tax policy and the rhetorical arguments commonly used in public discourse. Yet there are surprisingly inconsistent and inaccurate uses of this seemingly objective term. By theorizing progressivity’s constitutive elements and identifying its shortcomings, this Article offers a novel taxonomy of how progressivity is assessed and why contradictory assessments are common.

This Article argues that, as a theoretical matter, accurately characterizing tax provisions as progressive (or regressive) requires assessing their burdens beyond simply the tax payments remitted. By failing to account for effects such as economic incidence and inefficiency costs, traditional progressivity analyses are incomplete. Relatedly, since the spending side of the budget process is functionally indistinguishable from taxation, accurate progressivity analyses must also consider where tax revenues are spent. This Article suggests that earmarked tax assessments—taxes allocated to specific purposes—could overcome some of these challenges.

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October 26, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Manoli Presents The Effects Of EITC Correspondence Audits On Low-Income Earners Today At Georgetown

Day Manoli (Georgetown; Google Scholar) presents The Effects of EITC Correspondence Audits on Low-Income Earners (with John Guyton, Kara Leibel, Mark Payne, Brenda Schafer (IRS) & Ankur Patel (US Treasury)) at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop hosted by Brian Galle:

Day-manoliThis paper studies the impacts of IRS EITC correspondence (mail) audits on taxpayer behaviors. The analysis documents widespread disallowance of EITC benefits due to nonresponse and insufficient response. Relative to similar nonaudited taxpayers, audited taxpayers over the years after being audited are less likely to claim EITC benefits and file tax returns, and qualifying children claimed on their returns are more likely to be claimed by other taxpayers. Audited taxpayers also appear less likely to have third-party and self-reported wages, with larger decreases for self-reported wages and for wage levels in the maximum EITC benefit region.

Conclusion
This paper presents an empirical analysis of the impacts of EITC correspondence audits on taxpayers. The primary goal of EITC correspondence audits is revenue protection by stopping erroneous EITC claims. Do EITC correspondence audits achieve this goal?

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October 26, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Black Lives Matter: On Challenging The Soul Of Legal Education

Phil Lord (Lakehead; Google Scholar), Black Lives Matter: On Challenging the Soul of Legal Education, 54 Tex. Tech L. Rev. ___ (2022):

Black Lives MatterIn 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement moved to the fore. Many Americans understood for the first time that racism persists in countless aspects of American society and that the legacy of our past is deep and structural. The legal academy, and higher education more broadly, responded by hiring more racialized scholars and making curricular changes. While I salute this effort, I argue that law schools chose to take the easiest path, instead of seizing the opportunity to question, and challenge, the structure and nature of legal education. I consider the structural characteristics of legal education that contribute to the exclusion of racialized and historically marginalized groups.

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October 26, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Being A 'First' — Over And Over Again

Nancy B. Rapoport (UNLV; Google Scholar), Being a 'First' — Over and Over Again, 1 Denver L. Rev. F. ___ (2021):

For the first time in its history, Yale Law School will have a woman at the helm: Law professor Heather Gerken will succeed Robert Post … as the school’s 17th dean.

The origins of Yale Law School trace to the earliest days of the 19th century[,] when law was  earned by clerking as an apprentice in a lawyer’s office. The first law schools, including the one that became Yale, developed out of this apprenticeship system and grew up inside law offices.

What do you mean, “Yale just named its first woman dean?” It’s 2017, for goodness’s sake. 

I’ve been a “first” several times over. I was the first woman law dean at the University of Nebraska College of Law, the first woman law dean at the University of Houston Law Center, the first woman law dean at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and possibly the first woman serving as (acting) provost at UNLV. I may also have been one of the first women at my law firm to wear pants to work, way back in the mid-1980s. Here’s what I’ve noticed about being a “first.”

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October 26, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Admissions Data At 90% Of The U.S. News Top 50: Higher LSATs, UGPAs, And Enrollment

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  with Spivey Consulting reporting the admissions statistics for 90% of the U.S. News Top 50 law schools, LSAT (+1.5) and UGPA (+0.3) medians are up, as well as enrollment (+27.0). (Yellow shading indicates law schools added since my September 15 post): 

US News Top 50 Admissions

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October 26, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Deeks & Hayashi: Tax Law As Foreign Policy

Ashley Deeks (Virginia; Google Scholar) & Andrew T. Hayashi (Virginia; Google Scholar), Tax Law as Foreign Policy:

The use of economic statecraft is at a high-water mark. The United States uses sanctions, tariffs, and import and export controls more than ever before. But these tools have problems. They impose financial costs on domestic interests. They can induce retaliation by target states. And overuse of these tools could drive the United States from its central position in the global financial and economic system, undermining the effectiveness of U.S. economic statecraft in the long run. But there is a different and underappreciated tool that could perform valuable foreign policy work: tax law. We argue that tax law holds promise to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and that it is especially important to deploy tax tools now. Tax law has distinctive features that make it both a partial substitute and a partial complement to other tools of economic coercion, which means that it can extend the influence of U.S. economic power while reducing the risk of overusing other economic tools.

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October 26, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The 2L At The Center Of The Yale Email Controversy: 'We Must End The Culture Of Performative Repentance'

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Trent Colbert (Yale 2L), Why I Didn’t Apologize For That Yale Law School Email:

ColbertWe must end the culture of performative repentance. ...

I don’t believe that the now-common ritual of compelled apology, complete with promises to “grow” and “do better” (their words, but ones I’m sure you’ve seen many times before) helps anyone, or is even intended to. If we continue to indulge this culture of performative denunciation, the very idea of an apology will lose its meaning.

It might be tempting to view my story as one about conservatives being discriminated against and prevented from sharing ideas freely in elite educational spaces. After all, Eldik explicitly identified my “association with FedSoc” as an especially “triggering” factor for students. But I believe this diminishes the full significance of what happened.

The important questions are about the wider culture that made the administration's intervention possible in the first place. Before they ever step inside a classroom to learn torts or contracts, first-year students are required to attend diversity and inclusion training which teaches us to see racism all around us in the form of microaggressions and implicit bias, prioritize lived experience, and engage in the confessional sacrament of acknowledging one’s privilege.

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October 26, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Hidden Ways The Ultrarich Pass Wealth To Their Heirs Tax-Free

Bloomberg Businessweek, The Hidden Ways the Ultrarich Pass Wealth to Their Heirs Tax-Free:

An inside look at how Nike founder Phil Knight is giving a fortune to his family while avoiding billions in U.S. taxes.

Sitting in the bleachers by the University of Oregon’s running track, Nike Inc. founder Philip Knight offered the sort of lofty promise many other super rich Americans have made over the past decade. The bulk of his money, he told CBS News that day in 2016, would be given away—eventually. “By the time the lives of my children and their kids run out, I will have given most of it to charity,” he said. What Knight didn’t mention was that, for years, he’d been using a range of legal techniques to ensure his heirs keep control of most of his assets and profit from them in the process, quietly transferring vast piles of money in a textbook example of how the rich avoid taxes.

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October 26, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, October 25, 2021

Taite Presents The Impact Of Tax Code Bias On The Racial Wealth Gap Today At Loyola-L.A.

Phyllis Taite (Oklahoma City) presents Inequality by Unnatural Selection: The Impact of Tax Code Bias on the Racial Wealth Gap at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium:

Phyllis-taiteOne of the underlying principles of social Darwinism is the belief that people are inherently strong or weak and those strengths and weaknesses determine their fate in life through the process of natural selection.  Wealthy taxpayers support the ideals of social Darwinism because it maintains the class divide and strengthens the racial divide through oppressive acts, particularly toward Black people.   Others likely support the principles based on their perceptions that everyone would start at the same position and competitors would face similar obstacles.  Based on the belief that the strongest will, and should survive, it is easy to promote the ideals of social Darwinism because fair competition should yield a just outcome.  Even when two people are planted in the same location, their backgrounds will likely determine their respective readiness for competition.  America has a history of deeply rooted racial oppression that built the foundation for one community and destroyed the foundation of others.  It is inherently unfair to place obstacles in the path of one group, and not the other, and expect the same level of performance.

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October 25, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Soled: Workplace Transformation And Its Tax Compliance Implications

Jay A. Soled (Rutgers; Google Scholar), Workplace Transformation and Its Tax Compliance Implications, 66 Vill. L. Rev. 575 (2021):

Due to technological advances and the COVID-19 pandemic, taxpayers are increasingly utilizing their homes as a focal point from which to conduct their business affairs. On the one hand, the nation should applaud this workplace transformation insofar as it may enhance job performance and efficiency, reduce product cost and overhead, and improve work–life balance. On the other hand, this transformation process may open the door to rampant tax abuse as taxpayers alone or in collusion with their employers seek to transform home usage into a tax shelter refuge.

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October 25, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Women Law Deans, Gender Sidelining, And Presumptions Of Incompetence

Laura M. Padilla (California Western), Women Law Deans, Gender Sidelining, and Presumptions of Incompetence, 35 Berkeley J. Gender L. & Just. 1 (2020):

In 2007, I wrote A Gendered Update on Women Law Deans: Who, Where, Why, and Why Not? [hereinafter A Gendered Update], which examined the number of women law deans, including women of color, their paths to deanships, and what the future might hold for decanal leadership from a gendered and racialized lens. A Gendered Update reported that in the 2005-2006 period, thirty-one law deans at the 166 Association of American Law Schools (“AALS”) member schools were women (18.7%). Only three of the thirty-one women law deans were women of color (1.8%).

Much new scholarship concerning women in leadership has emerged since I wrote A Gendered Update. One book and one article in particular prompted me to return to the topic of women law deans. In 2012, the University Press of Colorado published the groundbreaking book, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia [hereinafter Presumed Incompetent]. Presumed Incompetent is a powerful collection of essays that explore presumptions of incompetence that haunt women of color in the Academy. It noted, “[a]lthough intellectually we understand institutionalized systems of domination, study them, and teach their details and histories, in our hearts and innermost selves we may also—at the same time—somehow internalize the ideas about our presumed incompetence that are so pervasive in our everyday lives.” The same presumptions of incompetence that accompany women when they enter the Academy often follow them up the career ladder through the tenure process. These presumptions are even present when women are appointed as deans, sowing seeds of doubt about their competence and undermining what may appear from the outside to be enviable careers.

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October 25, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Protecting Future Generations: A Global Survey Of Legal Academics

Eric Martínez (MIT) & Christoph Winter (Harvard), Protecting Future Generations: A Global Survey of Legal Academics:

The laws and policies of today may have historically unique consequences for future generations, yet their interests are rarely represented in current legal systems. The climate crisis has shed light on the importance of taking into consideration the interests of future generations, while the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we are not sufficiently prepared for some of the most severe risks of the next century. What we do to address these and other risks, such as from advanced artificial intelligence and synthetic biology, could drastically affect the future. However, little has been done to identify how and to what degree the law can and ought to protect future generations. To respond to these timely questions of existential importance, we sought the expertise of legal academia through a global survey of over 500 law professors (n=516).

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October 25, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Backlash Against Media Coverage Of The Yale Law School 'Trap House' Email

Update: Trent Colbert (Yale 2L), Why I Didn’t Apologize For That Yale Law School Email: 'We Must End The Culture Of Performative Repentance' (Oct. 26, 2021)

My seven previous posts (links below) on the "Trap House" controversy have criticized Yale's treatment of 2L Trent Colbert, a member of the Native American Law Students Association and Federalist Society, who sent the email. Today's post covers the backlash against this media narrative:

Washington Free Beacon, Yale Law School Students to Media: ‘What the Actual F—!’:

Yale Law School's Asian-American student group has a message for the media: "What the actual f—!"

In the wake of widespread coverage of the law school's treatment of Trent Colbert, the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association on Oct. 19 sent a law school-wide email that blasts the "people in the media who chose to write stories painting the Federalist Society — a multi-million dollar organization — as a victim instead of centering the pain experienced by Black students [emphasis original]."

Especially offensive, the email said, was media coverage that compares "[Yale Law School] to Maoist reeducation camps"—a jab at the Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus, who joked that such camps "have nothing on Yale Law School."

"What the actual f—k!" the email exclaimed. "Not only is this offensively racist in and of itself to [Asian Pacific American Law Student Association] members, especially those of us with direct family who lived through the Cultural Revolution, it also distracts from and misleadingly reframes the core problem as one of ‘free speech.' The problem is not free speech."

The email is the latest in a series of statements by Yale Law School student groups, many of which have condemned Colbert by name. ...

All of the statements have praised Yaseen Eldik, the Yale Law School diversity director who implied that Colbert could have trouble with the bar's "character and fitness" investigations if he didn't apologize. "We especially want to uplift the work that Yaseen Eldik has undertaken to attempt to call Trent into a productive and critical discussion," the Asian-American student group said. During that discussion, Eldik told Colbert his membership in the Federalist Society had "triggered" his peers.

Above the Law, Yale Law School Students Ask ‘What The Actual F***!’ And It’s A Very Good Question:

The media really should be ashamed of themselves for how they've covered this.

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October 25, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: Of Distributive Shares And The CDP Mashup

Camp (2021)Sometimes our biggest problems are self-created. In Taryn L. Dodd v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2021-118 (Oct. 5, 2021) (Judge Lauber), the taxpayer was attempting to repudiate a tax liability she had self-reported but had not paid.  Her multi-year slog through Collection Due Process (CDP) involved three trips to the Tax Court.  Only in the third trip do we learn this basic lesson about passthrough entities: a partner must report as income her distributive share of partnership income, whether or not that share is actually received.  So now Ms. Dodd not only has her 2013 liability to pay off, she also has all the additions to tax and interest that continues to accrue.

We also learn a second lesson, a lesson about the structure of CDP.  The difference between Appeals Officers (AOs) and Settlement Officers (SOs) is more than just the title.  Each has different subject matter competencies but only SO's conduct CDP hearings, which are generally all about collection issues.  Sometimes, however, taxpayers can raise substantive tax issues, creating a CDP mashup.  When a taxpayer uses CDP to contest the merits of a liability, the lesson here is to be sure to ask the SO to confer with an AO.  Otherwise you get stuck like Ms. Dodd.  Details below the fold.   

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October 25, 2021 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Former Advocacy Director Claims Law School Fired Her After 16 Years Following Her Complaint To ABA About Discrimination During Accreditation Site Visit

ABA Journal, Moot Court Teacher Claims Her Law School Position Was Terminated Following Complaints to the ABA:

LoweryThe former director of advocacy at the Mississippi College School of Law claims in a recent federal court filing she was constructively terminated from the position, partially because of what she said about job security for non-tenure track faculty during an ABA site evaluation.

Victoria Lowery Leech, who is white, also claims the law school was obligated to offer her an available position after it terminated her program, but instead a Black candidate was recommended. She alleges ABA concern about the law school’s commitment to diversity figured in with the school’s decision.

Her complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on Oct. 8, alleges wrongful termination, as well as gender and race discrimination. ...

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October 25, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 24, 2021

NY Times Op-Ed: How I Learned That Jesus Is Black

New York Times op-ed:  How I Learned That Jesus Is Black, by Danté Stewart (Author, Shoutin’ in the Fire: An American Epistle (2021)):

Shoutin in the FireFor years, I made my home with white people in white churches. I knew how to run and to hide and to move my body in ways that made white people feel more safe and less racist and more godly and less violent. Whether on the football field or in the pulpit, my performance gave them what they never deserved: confidence that the world was OK.

It started in college at Clemson University, where I played on the nationally ranked football team. Many young Black athletes like me left home and quickly found ourselves around white Christians because they were the ones who had greatest access to us. Between Bible studies and church outings, our worlds became white, our Jesus became a blond-haired and blue-eyed savior. This Jesus cared about touchdowns and Bible verses written in white letters underneath our eyes over the black paint.

As the weeks and months and years went by, I found myself closer and closer to white people. After graduating from college, I joined a white evangelical church and entered seminary in the hopes of becoming a pastor there. In my pursuit to be a better person and a better athlete and a better Christian, I viewed Black sermons and Black songs and Black buildings and Black shouting and Black loving with skepticism and white sermons and white songs and white buildings and white clapping with sacredness.

But before long, images of Black people dying started appearing all over our televisions and newspapers and newsfeeds. And too many of the nice white people around me just didn’t seem to care. And I knew: I had to find a way to get free and survive. ...

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October 24, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: What I Believe About Life After Death

New York Times Op-Ed:  What I Believe About Life After Death, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life (Christianity Today's 2018 Book of the Year)):

My friend Thomas died in August. His death was sudden and tragic. He and his 22-year-old child were killed in a car accident. ...

It feels to me like something went wrong. He can’t die, I think. He’d made plans. He had so much left to do. A journey interrupted. ...

There is something deep within us that rejects the idea that the road just stops. We feel there must be more. We must be made for more: more conversations, more laughter, more breaths to take, more miles to walk along the trail.

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October 24, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ Op-Ed: Are Internet Services As Good As Church?

Following up on my previous post, What We Lose When We Livestream Church:  Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Are Internet Services as Good as Church?, by Paul Glader & John Semakula:

Last year Pastors Henry Fuhrman and Jerry O’Sullivan of Shelter Rock Church in Nassau County, N.Y., began working as TV preachers. For months they livestreamed sermons as Covid-19 ravaged the leafy communities of Long Island, where their church has several campuses. After overcoming the hurdles of digital worship, they now have a new problem: how to wean the congregation off the convenience of online church.

They aren’t alone. Seventy-five percent of evangelical Protestants in the U.S. have attended church online during the pandemic, according to a recent survey by Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research. “We found that 45% of those who experienced online church services now believe that worship online is equal or superior to the in-person experience,” said Mark Dreistadt, president and founder of Infinity Concepts. Only 44% want to return exclusively to in-person worship, according to the report, which surveyed more than 1,000 evangelical Protestants.

Although Pew Research found in April 2020 that a quarter of U.S. adults said their faith had become stronger because of the pandemic, some pastors are skeptical about the long-run effects of online worship. “People tend to try to multitask when they are watching online. The result is that they are not focused on God or the worship at times,” says Mr. O’Sullivan, a pastor of the Shelter Rock campus in Syosset, N.Y. “We are trying to keep them engaged.”

The Infinity Concepts report also found that many American evangelicals used the pandemic lockdowns to “digitally visit” new churches—another cause for concern among some pastors. “One has to wonder whether this will ultimately lead to church nomads, who surf the internet for new church experiences rather than putting down roots and becoming part of a church community,” Ron Sellers, president of Grey Matter, says. ...

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October 24, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [589 Downloads]  Federal Tax Procedure (2021 Practitioner Ed.), by John Townsend (Houston)
  2. [413 Downloads]  Mega-IRAs, Mega-401(k)s, and Other Mega-Retirement Accounts: Statement for the Record, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar) & Steven Rosenthal (Tax Policy Center)
  3. [266 Downloads]  Has Cross-Border Arbitrage Met Its Match?, by Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar) & Pascal Saint-Amans (OECD) (reviewed by Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah; Google Scholar) here)
  4. [230 Downloads]  Closing Gaps in the Estate and Gift Tax Base, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar) & Robert Lord (Americans for Tax Fairness)
  5. [181 Downloads]  The Inequity of Informal Guidance, by Joshua D. Blank (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) & Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina; Google Scholar) (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado) here)

October 24, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, October 23, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Dayton Provides Two Full-Ride Scholarships, $15,000 Annual Stipends, Guaranteed Associate Positions During Summers And After Graduation At Top Law Firms

Dayton Law School, Flyer Legal Promise Provides Full Law School Tuition, $15,000 Stipend, Job After Graduation:

Dayton LogoDayton law firms Thompson Hine and Taft Law are teaming with the University of Dayton School of Law to recruit underrepresented and underserved students to law school and the legal profession. The Flyer Legal Promise Program will provide two students full law school tuition, a $15,000 stipend for living expenses, mentors, summer clerkships and a job at one of the firms following graduation. 

"Rather than wait for diverse talent to apply to law school and then later to elite law firms, the Flyer Legal Promise Program proactively seeks, recruits and invests in academically talented undergraduates with capacity to excel in the legal profession," said Andrew Strauss, UD School of Law dean.

Reuters, Law Firms Promise Jobs Before Law School in New Diversity Push

Many law firms have summer associate programs for diverse law students and so-called pipeline programs to get underrepresented students interested in law school and help them apply. But Dayton Law Dean Andrew Strauss said he doesn’t know of any other firms offering permanent jobs to would-be law students so early on.

“It’s the Moneyball of legal education,” said Strauss, who is looking to sign up more firms. “We’re going back in and we’re trying to figure out who has that raw talent—before they may even know themselves that they want to apply.”

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October 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

A Worrisome Peek Inside Yale Law’s Diversity Bureaucracy

Update:

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  The Atlantic, A Worrisome Peek Inside Yale Law’s Diversity Bureaucracy:

Yale Law Logo (2020)Have you ever wondered what deans of diversity do behind closed doors? Until last week, the public had little visibility into their methods. Then covertly recorded audio emerged of Yaseen Eldik, Yale Law School’s director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and Ellen Cosgrove, an associate dean, pressuring a student to issue a written apology for emailing out a party invitation that offended some of his classmates.

The Yale Law student in question, Trent Colbert, belongs to two student groups, the Native American Law Students Association, or NALSA, and the conservative Federalist Society. He emailed members of the former group that “we will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House … by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc,” adding that refreshments would include “Popeye’s chicken, basic-bitch-American-themed snacks (like apple pie, etc.),” and various beverages. That is what offended some of Colbert’s peers, including the president of the Black Law Students Association, who reportedly likened Colbert’s references to “Trap House” and Popeyes to blackface.

A dispute over a party invitation—even an arguably offensive one—may sound more like a matter for a high-school vice principal than one for Ivy League deans. Nevertheless, the diversity administrators spent many hours on this low-stakes drama among high-IQ adults, affording outsiders an unusual peek at their methods and a related series of crucial mistakes, most stemming from an inability or unwillingness to see how the interests of students diverge from the interests and incentives of their office. Irrespective of whether the invitation was racially offensive, the behavior of Yale Law’s diversity bureaucrats was unethical, discreditable, and clearly incompatible with key values that the elite law school purports to uphold.

Similar diversity offices are now operating at institutions around the country, but their inner workings remain mysterious to many faculty members and students. The Yale Law controversy raises the underexamined question of what it actually means for diversity offices to ethically fulfill their mission, and whether choices made behind closed doors would retain support if exposed to sunlight. ...

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October 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Break Into Tax: Tax Papers Unlocked — Victoria Haneman

Tax Papers Unlocked offers a "micro-workshop," breaking down current tax scholarship. This video, the fifth in this series, features Prof. Victoria Haneman from Creighton Law School. The featured paper is Prepaid Death, 59 Harv. J. on Legis. ___ (2022).

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October 23, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Friday, October 22, 2021

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Speck Reviews Two New Papers By Kleiman And Widiss

This week, Sloan Speck (Colorado; Google Scholar) reviews new works by Ariel Jurow Kleiman (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar), Revolutionizing Redistribution: Tax Credits and the American Rescue Plan, 131 Yale L.J. F. __ (2021) and Deborah A. Widiss (Indiana; Google Scholar), Chosen Family, Care, and the Workplace, 131 Yale L.J. F. __ (2021).

Sloan-speckHistorically, the American legal system has struggled to adequately recognize and accommodate individuals’ lived experiences of family and care relationships. Over the last two decades, however, there has been a veritable revolution in legislative, regulatory, and judicial positions regarding “nontraditional” family structures. In many ways, public and private responses to the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated and intensified this shift. In separate essays, Ariel Kleiman and Deborah Widiss explore and evaluate pandemic-era government actions in taxation and workplace leave (respectively) that implicate families and care, situating these most recent changes within larger narratives of social provisioning and asking how these changes should influence future policy. Both authors are optimistic but cautionary: we collectively face a tremendous opportunity to advance and cement more inclusive understandings of family and care. How this opportunity unfolds may establish the American welfare state’s trajectory for years to come.

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October 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Sloan Speck, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Next Week’s Tax Workshops

Monday, October 25: Phyllis Taite (Oklahoma City) will present Inequality by Unnatural Selection: The Impact of Tax Code Bias on the Racial Wealth Gap as part of the Loyola-L.A. Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please RSVP here.

Tuesday, October 26: Day Manoli (Georgetown; Google Scholar) will present The Effects of EITC Correspondence Audits on Low-Income Earners (with John Guyton, Kara Leibel, Mark Payne, Brenda Schafer (IRS) & Ankur Patel (US Treasury)) as part of the Georgetown Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop. If you would like to attend, please contact Brian Galle.

Tuesday, October 26: Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) will present Retheorizing Progressive Taxation as part of the NYU Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Daniel Shaviro.

Thursday October 28: Alice Abreu (Temple) & Richard Greenstein (Temple; Google Scholar) will present Beyond Binary: The Normative Perfect Should Not Be The Enemy Of The Demonstrably Good as part of the Indiana Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman

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October 22, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Volokh: Lawyers, Law Students, Law School Administrators, And Language

Update:

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Eugene Volokh (UCLA), Lawyers, Law Students, Law School Administrators, and Language:

Yale Law Logo (2020)The associate dean and the "diversity and inclusiveness director" called the author of the e-mail in to discuss the controversy—itself perhaps an overreaction, but perhaps justifiable. But rather than framing it as "here's how we can all learn to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings," they called him with a message labeling this a "deeply concerning and problematic incident." And, to quote the liberal Northwestern professor Andrew Koppelman,

Then came this disastrous blunder: "The email's association with FedSoc was very triggering for students that already feel like FedSoc belongs to political affiliations that are oppressive to certain communities through policies. … That of course obviously includes the LGBTQIA community and black communities and immigrant communities." …

This may have truthfully reported how some students feel. But [the director] should have distanced the law school from those feelings.

When the student declined to apologize, they sent out this e-mail:

Yale Trap House

To quote Koppelman again,

Here mediation has ceased. The law school has taken it upon itself to declare who is right and who is wrong. Colbert was publicly branded as "racist" before his peers.

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October 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Kentucky Hosts Virtual Symposium Today On The Racial Wealth Gap

The Kentucky Law Journal hosts a symposium today on The Racial Wealth Gap (register here): 

KentuckyThe topic is The Racial Wealth Gap and will focus on the legal and historical factors that have contributed to the current state of wealth disparity in the United States that falls largely along racial lines.

This disparity has been increasingly the focus of academic and policy research, and this Symposium aims to bring together practitioners, policy researchers, and scholars to explore this issue. In particular, the KLJ symposium seeks to address how tax law, property law, and other legal systems that have created and reinforced the conditions that lead to White families having median wealth of approximately $188,000, while Black families have median wealth of only 15% of that amount, or approximately $24,000. In addition to exploring the evolution of the problem, the KLJ symposium will explore possible solutions or proposals that would ameliorate the disparity.

8:30 AM: Opening Remarks

  • Mary Davis (Dean, Kentucky)
  • Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky; Google Scholar)

9:00 AM: Real Estate, Housing, and Blockbusting

  • Richard Winchester (Seton Hall; Google Scholar)
  • Daniel Murphy (Kentucky)
  • Dillon Curtis (Kentucky Law Journal Staff Editor) (moderator)

10:00 AM: Implications of Tax Code Bias

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October 22, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Some Thoughts On The Corona Semester

Shivangi Gangwar (Jindal Global; Google Scholar), Some Thoughts on the Corona Semester, 65 St. Louis U. L.J. ___ (2021):

The COVID-19 pandemic presented educators across the world with a unique set of challenges. In this Article, I reflect on my experience of transitioning to the online medium mid-semester without much preparation. I compare the vastly dissimilar experiences of conducting classes “physically” and remotely, highlighting the difficulties I experienced in translating, to the online realm, the pedagogical methods I usually employed while teaching Contract law to first-year students.

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October 22, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Top Wealth In America: New Estimates And Implications For Taxing The Rich

Matthew Smith (U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Tax Analysis), Owen Zidar (Princeton; Google Scholar) & Eric Zwick (Chicago; Google Scholar), Top Wealth in America: New Estimates and Implications for Taxing the Rich:

This paper uses administrative tax data to estimate top wealth in the United States. We assemble new data that links people to their sources of capital income and develop new methods to estimate the degree of return heterogeneity within asset classes. Disaggregated fixed income data reveal that rich individuals earn much more of their interest income in higher-yielding forms, and have much greater exposure to credit risk. Consequently, in recent years, the interest rate on fixed income at the top is approximately three times higher than the average. Using firm-level characteristics to value firms, we find that twenty percent of total pass-through business wealth accrues to those with losses. We combine this new data on fixed income and pass-through business returns with refined estimates of C-corporation equity, housing, and pension wealth to deliver new capitalized wealth estimates. Our approach—which builds on Saez and Zucman (2016) and Bricker, Henriques, and Hansen (2018)—reduces bias because wealth and rates of return are correlated. From 1989 to 2016, the top 1%, 0.1%, and 0.01% wealth shares increased by 7.6, 5.1, and 3.0 percentage points, respectively, to 31.5%, 15.0%, and 7.0%. While these changes are less dramatic than some prior estimates, wealth is very concentrated: the top 1% holds nearly as much wealth as either the bottom 90% or the "P90-99" class. We discuss implications for income inequality measures, capital tax policy, and savings behavior.

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October 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Cauble: Time For A Tax Return Filing Fee

Emily Cauble (DePaul), Time for a Tax Return Filing Fee, 58 Harv. J. on Legis. 103 (2021):

The IRS faces the monumental task of verifying, to the extent possible, the tax consequences reported on the hundreds of millions of tax returns filed each year. It does so with meager and shrinking resources. Some taxpayers burden the filing system more than others. At one extreme, a taxpayer who earns only income that is subject to third-party reporting and withholding and who claims the standard deduction adds very little to the IRS’s burden. At the other end of the extreme, a large business engaged in numerous complex transactions the tax treatment of which are not free from doubt demands significant resources if that taxpayer’s claimed tax outcomes are fully examined. In light of this landscape, this Article makes the novel proposal that Congress require payment of a tax return filing fee by some taxpayers. The amount of the fee would vary based on some of the factors that make each taxpayer more or less difficult to audit, with carve-outs for difficult-to-audit items that are disproportionately claimed by lower-income individuals.

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October 21, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

A Constitutional Moment In Cross-Border Taxation

Steven Dean (Brooklyn), A Constitutional Moment in Cross-Border Taxation, 1 J on Fin. for Dev. ___ (2021):

To show why the taxation of cross-border transactions has remained largely unaltered across a century of upheaval, this article reveals a steady hand in control. To explain how those complex rules have changed—and could change in more profound ways—it does the same. Demonstrating how cross-border taxation has been shaped by the preferences and the intellectual habits of the United States, it highlights an unexpected opportunity for marginalized states to seize control of its future.

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October 21, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Perceiving Discrimination: Race, Gender, And Sexual Orientation In The Legal Workplace

Robert L. Nelson (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Ioana Sendroiu (Toronto, PhD Candidate), Ronit Dinovitzer (Toronto; Google Scholar) & Meghan Dawe (American Bar Foundation; Google Scholar), Perceiving Discrimination: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in the Legal Workplace, 44 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1051 (2019):

Using quantitative and qualitative data from a large national sample of lawyers, we examine self-reports of perceived discrimination in the legal workplace. Across three waves of surveys, we find that persons of color, white women, and LGBTQ attorneys are far more likely to perceive they have been a target of discrimination than white men. These differences hold in multivariate models that control for social background, status in the profession and the work organization, and characteristics of the work organization.

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October 21, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Professor, Please Help Me Pass The Bar Exam: #NEXTGENBAR2025/26

Melissa Shultz (Mitchell Hamline), Professor, Please Help Me Pass the Bar Exam: #NEXTGENBAR2025/26, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2022):

For students who begin law school in 2022, the final hurdle that they must clear to use their hard-earned degrees—the bar exam—will be substantively and structurally distinct from all bar exams previously administered. Although (with rousing support from law school graduates) this so-called NextGen bar exam reduces the breadth of legal knowledge examinees must memorize, it is novel in its breadth of skills testing and its requirement that examinees engage in practice-skills not previously tested on the bar exam, including client counseling, negotiation, and legal research. Moreover, the NextGen bar exam will no longer be anchored by 200-multiple-choice questions, but it will require students to grapple with various subjects in multiple ways moving from multiple-choice questions to short answer questions to essay questions to task-based performance exercises.

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October 21, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Deans' Leadership In Legal Education Symposium

Toledo Logo15th Deans' Leadership in Legal Education Symposium, 50 U. Tol. L. Rev. 189-333 (2019):

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October 21, 2021 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

The Effects Of Taxes On Innovation: Theory And Empirical Evidence

Stefanie Stantcheva (Harvard; Google Scholar), The Effects of Taxes on Innovation: Theory and Empirical Evidence:

Income taxes are typically set to raise revenues and redistribute income at the lowest possible efficiency costs, which result from the distortions in individual behaviors that taxes entail. Individuals can respond along many margins, such as labor supply, tax avoidance and evasion, and geographic mobility. But one margin that taxes may affect — innovation — is less frequently considered. Conceptually, taxes reduce the expected net returns to innovation inputs and can reduce innovation. Much like other margins of responses to taxes, this efficiency cost must be taken into account. Innovation is done by a relatively small number of people, but it is nevertheless likely to have widespread benefits. While inventors may have divergent motivations, such as social recognition or the love of discovery, they also face an economic reality. How strongly innovation responds to taxes is an empirical question that has been the subject of a growing body of recent work. In this paper, I study how to account for innovation when setting personal income and capital taxation. 

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October 21, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Federal Judge Rules That Vermont Law School Can Cover Underground Railroad Murals Despite Artist's Objection

Vermont Mural

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Bloomberg Law, Vermont Law School Thwarts Claim It Can’t Hide Slavery Murals:

Vermont Law School can permanently cover controversial murals depicting the Underground Railroad without violating an artists rights law, a Vermont federal court said.

Artist Samuel Kerson argued the school’s plans to hide his murals behind bolted-in acoustic sheetrock panels violated the Visual Artists Rights Act, which conditionally restrains parties from destroying or modifying works without artist permission.

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October 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Enjoined And Incarcerated: Complications With Incarcerated People Seeking Economic Relief Under The CARES Act

Mitchell Caminer (Chicago), Enjoined and Incarcerated: Complications with Incarcerated People Seeking Economic Relief under the CARES Act:

Congress passed the first round of checks as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) in late March 2020 to infuse more than $2 trillion into the national economy and address the overlapping medical and economic emergencies stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. But incarcerated individuals were initially excluded from receiving stimulus checks, despite being eligible to receive them. This delay in delivering immediate cash assistance through the CARES Act to incarcerated individuals exposes the inadequacy of the tax administrative doctrine in resolving emergency relief disputes and how exclusionary measures embedded in the tax system and other economic policies inhibit the rehabilitation prospects of incarcerated people. 

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October 21, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Gamage Presents Political Optionality And Current-Assessment Tax Reform Today At UC-Irvine

David Gamage (Indiana; Google Scholar) presents Tax Now or Tax Never: Political Optionality and the Case for Current-Assessment Tax Reform (with John Brooks (Georgetown; Google Scholar)) at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium:

Gamage-davidThe U.S. income tax is broken. Due to the realization doctrine and taxpayers’ consequent ability to defer taxation of gains, taxpayers can easily minimize or avoid the taxation of investment income, a failure that is magnified many times over when considering the ultra-wealthy. As a result, this small group of taxpayers commands an enormous share of national wealth yet pays paltry taxes relative to the economic income their wealth produces—a predicament that this Article condemns as being economically, politically, and socially harmful.

The conventional view among tax law experts has assumed that the problems created by the realization doctrine can be fixed on the back end by adjusting the rules that govern taxation at the time of realization. Specifically, most tax scholars have favored reform proposals that would retain the realization doctrine, while aiming to impose taxes in a way that would erase or reduce the financial benefits of deferral. Examples include retrospective capital gains tax reforms, progressive consumption tax reforms, and more incremental reforms such as ending stepped-up basis.

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October 20, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Barbieri: Opportunism Zones

Edward W. De Barbieri (Albany; Google Scholar), Opportunism Zones, 39 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 82 (2020):

In 2017, Congress adopted the Opportunity Zone, an unheralded yet powerful place-based economic development tool, as part of tax re-form. Place-based economic development tools and strategies provide incentives to attract jobs and capital to areas where jobs and capital have fled. Investors in state-designated Opportunity Zone districts are able to (1) defer capital gains on qualified investments, and (2) reduce their tax bills when selling qualifying real estate or business property. Proponents of the bipartisan Opportunity Zone argue that tax incentives are an efficient way to direct investment dollars to poor areas. Critics, however, point out that such government interventions in the economy are stricken by corruption, abuse, and waste.

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October 20, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink