Paul L. Caron
Dean




Friday, May 24, 2024

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Layser Reviews Cowing's Equity And Ownership In Affordable Housing

This week, Michelle Layser (San Diego; Google Scholar) reviews Adam Cowing (UC-Irvine), Equity and Ownership in Affordable Housing, 2024 U. Ill. L. Rev. 399.

Michelle-layser

In the U.S., homeownership is often essential for wealth building. For middle-income households, “home equity is the largest single financial asset,” and it accounts for 50-70% of net wealth. In 2022, the wealth gap between homeowners and renters reached a historic high, as the median wealth of homeowners rose to $85,000 and the median wealth of renters remained stable at $950. Tax-based homeownership subsidies are common (the mortgage interest deduction is one, and the exclusion of imputed rent is another), but none aim to make home ownership attainable for low-income families. Instead, tax subsidies like the Low-Income Housing Tax (LIHTC) credit (and proposed renters’ tax credits) have focused on providing affordable rental housing. Nevertheless, a new article by Professor Adam Cowing argues that the LIHTC has untapped potential to transform low-income tenants into homeowners.

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May 24, 2024 in Michelle Layser, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

A BigLaw Suicide Survivor's Prescription For The Legal Profession's Mental Health Crisis

ABA Journal Op-Ed:  A BigLaw Suicide Survivor's Prescription for the Legal Profession's Mental Health Crisis, by Kent Halkett:

HalkettI was young, single, healthy, confident and “bulletproof” when I entered law school immediately after college in 1978. I did not have any personal experience with anyone suffering mental health challenges. Mental health education and services were the furthest things from my mind.

My blissful ignorance of the life and death issues presented by mental health came crashing down on me in the mid-1990s when, as a young partner in a BigLaw firm [Sidley Austin, Los Angeles], I was diagnosed with clinical depression. My condition drastically altered the arc of my career and, ultimately, culminated in my suicide attempt in mid-2015, as shared in “A BigLaw partner’s journey through clinical depression.”

I was completely blindsided by my clinical depression. At the outset, I did not have any idea what was happening to me. I did not know that help was available.

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May 24, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Alfani Presents Economic Inequality in Preindustrial Times Today At The Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs

Guido Alfani (Bocconi University; Google Scholar) presents Economic Inequality in Preindustrial Times: Europe and Beyond, 59 J. Econ. Lit. 3 (2021), today as part of the Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs hosted by Tsilly Dagan and Ruth Mason: 

Guido alfaniRecent literature has reconstructed estimates of wealth and income inequality for a range of preindustrial, mostly European, societies covering medieval and early modern times, occasionally reaching back to antiquity and even prehistory. These estimates have radically improved our knowledge of distributive dynamics in the past. It now seems clear that in the period circa 1300–1800, inequality of both income and wealth grew almost monotonically almost everywhere in Europe, with the exception of the century-long phase of inequality decline triggered by the Black Death of 1347–52. Regarding the causes of inequality growth, recent literature ruled out economic growth as the main one. Other possible factors include population growth (also as mediated by inheritance systems) and especially regressive fiscal institutions (also as connected to the unequal distribution of political power). The recently proposed theoretical framework of the inequality possibility frontier (IPF) lends a better understanding of the implications of the reconstructed trends. This article concludes by showing how connecting preindustrial trends to modern ones changes our perception of long-term inequality altogether.

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May 24, 2024 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Sullivan & Cromwell's New Hiring Policy Is Problematic

Sullivan & Cromwell

Following up on my previous post, Sullivan & Cromwell To Ramp-Up Vetting Of New Hires Amid Wave Of Pro-Palestinian Protests:  Vivia Chen, Sullivan & Cromwell's New Hiring Policy Is Polarizing and Worrisome:

The esteemed law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell recently issued a statement about how it will vet prospective hires, and it is both curious and troubling.

Alarmed by the spread of student protests over Israel’s military actions in Gaza, the Wall Street firm said it will “review resumes for participation in pro-terrorist groups and other similar activities” and conduct a “thorough review of the candidate’s online presence, school website [and] news reports,” according to The American Lawyer.

What’s more, S&C will require submission of “lists of all campus organizations the student has been or is currently a part of and monitor activities from those groups that do not align with our ethical standards.” The firm also plans to hire third-party specialists to do background checks.

The firm’s chair Joe Shenker told Am Law: “What we have seen on campuses is antisemitic behavior, both physical and verbal. And that behavior doesn’t require context, just like a lynching doesn’t require context. It’s wrong, and we won’t tolerate it.” He added, “what is new is that there is a view that if that hate is directed at Jews, then it is different somehow. It is not.” 

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a terrorist group?

There’s a lot to unpack here but what got my immediate attention was the part about listing “all campus organizations the student has been or is currently a part of ....” It reminded me of Sen. Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare when he badgered Americans by asking: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?”

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May 24, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Delmotte: Beyond The Wealth Tax

Charles Delmotte (Michigan State; Google Scholar), Beyond the Wealth Tax, 76 Ala. L. Rev. __ (2024):

Alabama law reviewThe increased emphasis on economic equality has led to a consensus on the desirability of a federal wealth tax. Prominent tax scholars and economists advocate imposing a 1% or 2% levy on households with assets exceeding a net worth of $50 million. A wealth tax attempts to tax capital owners on the market value of their assets and businesses in the absence of transactions that determine such value. The proposal thus rests upon a dominant underlying assumption: that determining the market value of assets worth trillions of dollars is a surmountable and administrable task. Yet in reality, wealth taxes fail to satisfy the goals of tax policy, namely administrability, efficiency, and equity.

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May 23, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Blackman: Judicial Boycotts Of Non-Elite Schools

Josh Blackman (South Texas; Google Scholar), Judicial Boycotts of Non-Elite Schools:

In April 2009, a law student at American University asked Justice Scalia how a student from her school could become "outrageously successful" without "connections and elite degrees." (The clip begins around 52:00.) Scalia laughed out loud. He answered, "Just work hard and be very good." But then he digressed to a story about Judge Jeff Sutton.

Let me tell you a story. By and large, unless I have a professor on the faculty who is a good friend and preferably a former law clerk of mine whose judgment I can trust–I'm going to be picking for Supreme Court law clerks, I can't afford a miss. I just can't. So I'm going to be picking from the law schools that are the hardest to get into, they admit the best and the brightest. They may not teach very well, but you can't make a sow's ear purse out of a silk purse. If they come in the best and the brightest, they are probably going to leave the best and the brightest. One of my former clerks [Judge Jeff Sutton] who I am the most most proud of, now sits on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  And I always refer to him as one of my former law clerks. He wasn't one of my former law clerks. [Sutton] was Lewis Powell's clerk. After Lewis took senior status, Lewis didn't have much work. [Sutton] worked full time for me. So I couldn't tell the difference between [Sutton] and my other clerks. But I wouldn't have hired Jeff Sutton. For God's sake, he went to Ohio State. [Scalia laughs.] And he is one of the very best law clerks I've ever had. He is just a brilliant guy. So don't tell me this stuff about "what do you have to do to be successful." You have to be good. I think we're done.

Scalia relayed this story several times over the years, and he was fond of telling it. The upshot is that under his own policy, he would have never hired one of his favorite law clerks.

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May 23, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ: The IRS Money Hole Gets Deeper

Wall Street Journal Editorial, The IRS Money Hole Gets Deeper:

IRS Logo (2023)The Internal Revenue Service can’t write its own checks, which means it has to ask Congress for funding like any other agency. But if lawmakers have been tracking its misspending, they’ll turn down the tax collectors’ new $104 billion budget request and demand an audit instead.

Commissioner Danny Werfel appeared before the House Appropriations Committee recently and told legislators that the IRS faces financial collapse. “Resources are limited,” he said, and the agency “will likely use them entirely before the funding expires.” In other words, the IRS doesn’t think the $60 billion bonus it received from Congress in 2022 is enough, though it is supposed to last through 2031.

The IRS has a brilliant solution for this cash burn: Add more to the pile. Instead of explaining where the money went, Mr. Werfel asked the House to look away and grant his team another massive funding boost, this time through 2034. The extended bonus he seeks would bring total supplementary funding to $104 billion over 10 years. ...

Missing from the IRS’s request was an accounting of how its last round of funding has been run down so quickly. The money it received in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was meant to fund a strategic overhaul, but not much of the plan has been carried out. ...

[T]he agency ... howled in protest when House Republicans clawed back $20 billion from the original $80 billion Democrats gave the agency in the 2022 IRA. Despite his pleas, Mr. Werfel is making a strong case for stripping the remainder instead of adding another cent of additional cash.

May 23, 2024 in Congressional News, IRS News, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News | Permalink

Students And Alumni Seek Court-Appointed Receiver In Last Ditch Effort To Save Golden Gate Law School

Reuters, Golden Gate Law School Needs a Receiver to Save It, Say Students and Alumni:

Golden Gate (2022)Beleaguered Golden Gate University School of Law could be saved under the control of a court-appointed receiver, a group of students and alumni argue in a new court filing, challenging the school’s planned closure.

The law school’s alumni association and four current students on Monday asked a San Francisco judge not to throw out their lawsuit against Golden Gate University, noting that Western State College of Law was poised to shut down in 2019 until a receiver secured a sale that saved the Southern California school.

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May 23, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

9th Annual Texas Tax Faculty Workshop

Tax workshop photoSMU hosted the 9th Annual Texas Tax Faculty Workshop on Monday:

Christopher Hanna (SMU), Taxing Carried Interest: A Reappraisal (with David Elkins (Netanya; Google Scholar)
Commenter: Susan Morse (Texas; Google Scholar)

Gary Lucas (Texas A&M; Google Scholar), Shaping Preferences with Pigouvian Taxes
Commenter: Johnny Buckles (Houston; Google Scholar)

Orly Mazur (SMU; Google Scholar), Beyond ChatGPT: Responsible AI and Government Innovation, 92 Tenn. L. Rev. __ (2025) (with Adam Thimmesch (Nebraska; Google Scholar))
Commenter: William Byrnes (Texas A&M; Google Scholar

Susan Morse (Texas; Google Scholar), The Truth About Safe Harbors, 92 Tenn. L. Rev. __ (2025)
Commenter: Dennis Drapkin (SMU)

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May 23, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Daily, Tax Profs, Tax Workshops | Permalink

LSAC Offers New Admissions Tool To Measure Socioeconomic Hurdles Overcome By Law School Applicants

Reuters, Law School Applicants' Socioeconomic Hurdles Measured by New Metric:

LSAC (2023)Law schools may soon have more information about the educational and economic challenges applicants have faced on their path to a law degree.

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is developing a new “environmental context” metric pertaining to colleges and universities based on factors such as institutional student spending, graduation rates, and the percentage of undergraduates who received federal need-based Pell Grants.

Officials at the LSAC, which administers the Law School Admission Test and maintains the central application system used by law schools, unveiled the project on Friday during a meeting of the American Bar Association’s legal education body. It is a collaboration with The College Board, which develops the SAT and now offers colleges a similar tool, contextualizing applicants’ neighborhoods and high schools.

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May 23, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Equity And Ownership In Affordable Housing

Adam Cowing (UC-Irvine), Equity and Ownership in Affordable Housing, 2024 U. Ill. L. Rev. 399: 

Illinois law reviewThe Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) is the nation’s largest affordable housing development program. From its inception, policymakers have seen the program’s potential path to homeownership as one of its advantages. In fact, the Internal Revenue Code anticipates tenant and cooperative purchases of LIHTC-financed affordable housing. But the program has never achieved significant homeownership for low-income families. Meanwhile, residents in increasing numbers of LIHTC developments face instability related to investor acquisitions of rental housing and the expiration of restrictions that keep rents affordable—instability that resident ownership could prevent. 

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May 22, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Big Law Recruiting Confronts Rising Student Activism

National Law Journal, Big Law Recruiting Confronts Rising Student Activism:

Student activism has surged in 2024 as pro-Palestine protests erupt on college campuses from Columbia University to UCLA. The Israel-Hamas war and the resulting death toll have now drawn more students out to protest than any event this century, according to several history professors interviewed for this article.

Count some law students among the activists. From Harvard Law students grilling Big Law partners about commitments to diversity and inclusion to a law student disrupting the dinner of a law school dean, the legal sector hasn’t been immune from the uproar.

Large law firms, each hiring dozens of first-year associates a year, are now confronting a young generation that feels more obligated to stand up to authority than its predecessors. Could that become an issue for an industry looking to hire professionals who can put their personal beliefs aside for the good of a firm and its clients?

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May 22, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Constitutional Meaning Of Financial Terms

Tomer Stein (Tennessee; Google Scholar) & Shelby Ponton (Stetson), The Constitutional Meaning of Financial Terms, 2025 Utah L. Rev. ___:

Utah law reviewThe Constitution has sixty-three financial terms. These financial terms include, for instance, “compensation,” “expenditures,” “debt,” “coin,” “revenue,” “securities,” and “bankruptcies”—all of which determine the elementary building blocks of our governmental makeup. When the Supreme Court interprets the meaning of these financial terms, it does so in isolation and without a consistent framework. This Article proposes a unified framework for the interpretation of financial terms in the Constitution, comprising of two fundamental canons of construction.

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May 22, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Projected 2025-26 U.S. News Law School Rankings: The Biggest Winners And Losers

Derek Muller (Notre Dame; Google Scholar), Projecting the 2025-2026 USNWR Law School Rankings (To Be Released March 2025 Or So)

US News (2023)Fifty-eight percent of the new USNWR law school rankings turn on three highly-volatile categories: employment 10 months after graduation[33%], first-time bar passage [18%], and ultimate bar passage [7%]. USNWR has tried to smooth these out by using a two-year average of these scores. (Next year, it might well use a three-year average or three-year weighted average.)

Because USNWR releases its rankings in the spring, at the same time the ABA releases new data on these categories, the USNWR law school rankings are always a year behind. This year’s data include the ultimate bar passage rate for the Classes of 2019 and 2020, the first-time bar passage rate for the Classes of 2021 and 2022, and the employment outcomes of the Classes of 2021 and 2022.

Derek projects the Top 100 schools in next year's 2025-26 rankings. Here are the largest projected increases among those schools:

Rank School Projected 2025-26 Rank Current  2024-25 Rank Difference
1 Maine 84 120 +36
2 Pittsburgh 65 91 +26
3 Catholic 71 94 +23
4 Penn State-Dickinson 58 75 +17
5 San Diego 56 68 +12
6 Florida State 37 48 +11
6 Louisiana State 80 91 +11
6 Nebraska 71 82 +11
9 Chapman 98 108 +10
9 Dayton 98 108 +10
9 Penn State-Univ. Park 58 68 +10
9 SUNY-Buffalo 98 108 +10
13 UC-Irvine 33 42 +9

Here are the largest projected decreases among those schools:

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May 22, 2024 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Lawsky: Reasoning With Formalized Statutes — The Case Of Capital Gains And Losses

Sarah B. Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Reasoning with Formalized Statutes: The Case of Capital Gains and Losses, 43 Va. Tax Rev. 361 (2024):

Virginia tax reviewThis article formalizes sections of the Internal Revenue Code — that is, represents them symbolically — and then reasons with these formalizations algebraically, graphically, and, in a novel approach for U.S. legal scholar-ship, using a computer program that proves theorems. Reasoning with the formalizations reveals previously overlooked errors in the statute, demonstrates equivalence between the actual law and facially dissimilar administrative implementations of the law, and uncovers technical corrections in these administrative implementations that the Internal Revenue Service has not openly acknowledged. The article thus shows how reasoning with formalized statutes leads to insights that may be otherwise obscured by the law’s complexity.

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May 22, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

NY Times: CUNY Law School Cancels Student's Commencement Speech

Following up on my previous post, Students Sue CUNY Law School Over Ban On Commencement Speakers, Claiming Move Is Anti-Palestinian:  New York Times, After Anti-Israel Speeches, a Law School Curtails Graduation Traditions:

CUNYFor the past two years, commencement speakers at the City University of New York School of Law have made support for Palestinians and opposition to Israel a focus of their speeches.

The backlash was intense.

So this year, well before other campuses across the United States faced upheaval over pro-Palestinian student demonstrations, the CUNY law school administration took a new tack. In September, before the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7, the school announced that there would be no student speaker at all at this year’s commencement ceremony.

The choice is now drawing its own backlash and has brought more controversy to the event.

This spring, several students at the school sued university officials, saying that the school was suppressing speech and infringing on their First Amendment rights by not allowing a student-elected speaker to give an address. Two guests who had been scheduled to speak — Deborah N. Archer, a civil rights lawyer and president of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Muhammad U. Faridi, a litigator — recently withdrew from the event.

The ceremony will now have no outside speakers and no keynote address, the law school said.

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May 22, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Bearer-Friend & Satterthwaite: Taxation & Inequalities—USA National Report

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington; Google Scholar) & Emily A. Satterthwaite (Georgetown; Google Scholar), Taxation & Inequalities: USA National Report:  

EATLP Logo (2013)As the U.S. Report for the 2024 Congress of the European Association of Tax Law Professors, this draft manuscript provides a survey of US tax law as it pertains to the conference theme, “Taxation and Inequalities.” The report is divided into three sections: constitutional underpinnings of taxation and inequality (Section I); national tax policy and inequality (Section II); and tax enforcement and inequality (Section III).

I. Taxation and Inequalities: Constitutional Underpinnings
1. Equality and Non-Discrimination Law in the United States ...

2. Constitutional Links between Equality and Taxation ...

II. Tax policy and income inequality
1. Tax Policy and Other Inequalities ...
2. Tax Competition and Inequality ...

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May 21, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Straight, White Female Alleges King & Spalding's Summer Associate Diversity Fellowship Violated Title VII

ABA Journal, Straight, White Female Alleges BigLaw Firm’s Job Ad For Diversity Program Violated Title VII:

Sarah SpitalnickKing & Spalding is the latest law firm targeted for a diversity fellowship alleged to discriminate against white heterosexual candidates.

In a May 9 lawsuit, plaintiff Sarah Spitalnick alleges she was deterred from applying for a summer-associate diversity fellowship at King & Spalding in February 2021 because of a job ad that restricted applicants.

The ad said candidates “must have an ethnically or culturally diverse background or be a member of the LGBT community,” according to the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Maryland.

At the time, Spitalnick was a first-year law student at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is white and heterosexual. The summer internship paid $4,135 a week.

Law360, King & Spalding Accused Of Anti-White, Pro-LGBTQ Bias:

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May 21, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Brooks: The (Non)Taxation Of Student Debt Cancellation: Statutory Misinterpretation And Normative Conflict

John R. Brooks (Fordham; Google Scholar), The (Non)Taxation of Student Debt Cancellation: Statutory Misinterpretation and Normative Conflict, 77 Nat’l Tax J. __ (2024):

National tax journalStudent debt cancellation is an increasingly important form of subsidy for higher education and reflects a shift toward financing higher education with income-contingent loans. But the legal formalities of debt cancellation expose borrowers to the risk of taxation, especially after 2025. This paper shows that the IRS and Treasury's position that student debt cancellation is sometimes taxable is based on a misreading of the tax code and its history. I further argue that this misreading arises in part because of the conflicting norms of tax policy and non-tax social policy, a conflict that arises in other transfer contexts as well.

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May 21, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Journal Of Legal Education Publishes New Issue: International Perspectives On Legal Education

The Journal of Legal Education has published Vol. 72, No. 1 & 2 (Fall 2022-Winter 2023):

Journal of legal educationFrom the Editors

Articles

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May 21, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Kemker: Do Black Taxpayers Matter? A Critical Tax Analysis Of IRS Audit Practices

Diane Kemker (Southern; Google Scholar), Do Black Taxpayers Matter? A Critical Tax Analysis of IRS Audit Practices, 20 Stan. J. C.R. & C.L. 133 (2024):

Stanford journal of civil rights and civil libertiesThe Earned Income Tax Credit, a federal anti-poverty program administered through the tax system, provides a total of about $65 billion a year in “refundable credits” (a payment in excess of tax liability) to more than 25 million working low-income taxpayers, who receive an average of about $2000 (the precise amount depends on their number of dependents).  Its complex eligibility rules produce persistently high error rates, which are in turn used to justify high audit rates and a grossly disproportionate share of IRS enforcement activity.  

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May 21, 2024 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

ABA Takes Another Step Toward Fully Online Law Schools

ABA Journal, Journey Toward Fully Online Law Schools Inches Forward After ABA Legal Ed Council Vote:

ABA Legal Ed (2023)After receiving pushback from law school deans and with many logistical questions looming, the council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted to continue examining what standards are necessary to start fully accrediting online-only law schools at its May 17 meeting in Chicago.

Currently, ABA standards state that only law schools with brick-and-mortar campuses can become accredited, and only fully accredited schools can apply to offer a fully online JD programs. That excludes online law schools starting from scratch.

In January, proposed revisions to Standards 102 and 306 drew the ire of 26 law school deans, including those from the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, the University of California at Berkeley School of Law and Penn State Dickinson Law, saying more information was needed regarding bar passage and employment rates of online law school graduates before moving forward.

Faculty and students at Purdue Global Law School, an online-only law school, however, had written in support. Proponents say fully online law schools could offer cheaper tuition than for online programs connected to a traditional school. The lower price plus flexibility would help create a more diverse student body and allow students in remote areas to attend, they say.

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May 21, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, May 20, 2024

Kysar: The Global Tax Deal And The New International Economic Governance

Rebecca M. Kysar (Fordham; Google Scholar), The Global Tax Deal and the New International Economic Governance, 77 Tax L. Rev. __ (2024):

NYU Law (2016)The ethos of economic integration and trade liberation no longer reigns supreme. Instead of multilateral trade agreements, nations are turning towards protectionism and unilateralism. Yet in late 2021, nearly 140 countries agreed to a new global tax deal that is aimed at coordinating their tax systems to curtail tax competition and corporation profit shifting to tax havens, as well as constructing a new allocation of taxing rights among nations.

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May 20, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

The Kinder, Gentler IRS? Where?

Harvey Gilmore (Hartford), The Kinder, Gentler IRS? Where?, 21 DePaul Bus. & Com. L.J. 31 (2022): 

IRS Logo 2I was a practicing accountant for the better part of ten years. I prepared income tax returns, sales tax returns, property tax returns, payroll tax returns, and New York City Commercial Rent tax returns. Over the years, I’ve also prepared my own tax returns as well as those of friends, relatives, and other paying clients. Academically, I am in my twenty-fifth year as an undergraduate tax law professor. I have a Master of Science Degree in Taxation and a Master of Law in Taxation. What’s the point of all that? Not much, really, except to say that I know a little something about taxes. The most important thing is this: generally, tax authorities and in particular, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is NOT the friend of the taxpayer.

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May 20, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

ABA Endorses Licensing Of Attorneys Without Bar Exams

ABA Journal, ABA Legal Ed Council Gives Its Blessing to Alternative Licensing:

ABA Legal Ed (2023)With more states leaning toward alternative attorney licensing, the council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on Friday approved a policy shift that now allows states to use methods of licensure beyond the bar exam. ...

The policy change mostly follows a task force recommendation for jurisdictions to create assessments to enable license portability and “innovate in the development of pilot programs, and new competency assessment formats.”

Reuters, Bar Exam Alternatives Gain American Bar Association Backing:

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May 20, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

A Future for Carbon Taxation?

Myanna Dellinger (EinStrong Foundation),  A Future for Carbon Taxation?, 46 Fordham Int'l L.J. 659 (2023): 

Fordham international law journalCarbon taxation has been the topic of academic and political discussions for quite some time. With the exception of some Northern European countries, far too few states or nations have adopted taxation in amounts likely to impact climate change mitigation positively. However, simply writing off a potential governmentally imposed price on carbon as not feasible is not warranted. First, in a world where we need urgent action from all angles, a carbon tax could prove to be one of several inroads on climate change. There is no one “silver bullet” in this area. Second, since the mere phrasing of the issue as one of “taxation” nearly always elicits negativity in the United States, something as simple as reframing the issue in ways palatable to a broader political spectrum could garner more support. Third, as a younger and more environmentally conscious generation comes into voting age and power, opinions about carbon pricing are shifting. 

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May 20, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

#12 Ranked Alabama Graduate Tax Program Will Not Offer Courses After Spring 2025

University of Alabama Law School Graduate Degree Programs, Tentative LL.M./JM Course Teach-Out Schedule:

Alabama Law (2024)By decision of the Law School Faculty, the LL.M. concentration in Business Transactions and the Juris Masters have been discontinued and the LL.M. in Tax has been placed on inactive status.

Courses will no longer be offered after the Spring 2025 term.

Summer 2024 – Spring 2025:

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May 20, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Tax Prof Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 19, 2024

WaPo Op-Ed: Lifelong Lessons In Coping With Fear And Humiliation

Washington Post Op-Ed:  Lifelong Lessons in Coping With Fear and Humiliation, by Anne Lamott (Author, Somehow: Thoughts on Love (2024)):

Somehow 2As a woman of faith and cranky optimism, I am usually afraid of only a dozen or so things at any given time, which is a major improvement since childhood. I was the single most scared child on Earth in the 1950s. For instance, I was habitually afraid of being murdered while I slept, so I’d practice looking dead. Then the murderer would peek in my room and think, Hmmm, no one to kill in here; the little girl is already dead.

I don’t do that anymore (very often).

Now I am mostly afraid of my son and grandchild dying before me, beside which all other fears pale. I do worry about falling and breaking my hip. Gravity is a killer. I am, as we speak, on a long airplane flight, hearing a loud mechanical rattle, such as what a wing might make as it works itself off toward freedom. Also, I fear inheriting my mother’s Alzheimer’s, my father’s brain cancer, snakes, the election and the guy behind me coughing. ...

They say that babies are born cute so that their fathers won’t eat them, and I think a similar thing takes place when we age. As we look older and somewhat more frail, we have a last chance to coax forth compassion and kindness from the world. As we surrender to the reality that, as we age, most of the systems of body and mind start to go on the fritz, we invite humility into our lives. There is no greater strength.

I am definitely running out of time, and I have (mostly) made peace with that.

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May 19, 2024 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Dallas Mavericks: The NBA Basketball Team Created To Represent God

Christianity Today:  The Basketball Team Created to Represent God, by Paul Putz (Faith & Sports Institute, Baylor Truett Seminary; Author, The Spirit of the Game: American Christianity and Big-Time Sports (2024)):

Mavs PlayoffsThe Dallas Mavericks were intended to be the first Christian team in the NBA.

At the time, 1980 did not seem like a great year to launch a new professional sports franchise. Interest rates were high. The Iranian hostage crisis dominated national attention. A presidential election loomed. There was a general feeling of pessimism and uncertainty for many Americans.

But Norm Sonju had a vision—inspired by God, perhaps, but also from data and market analysis that showed Dallas had untapped potential as a National Basketball Association (NBA) city.

For two years, Sonju had worked to make his dream a reality. Now, in 1980, when his plans looked like they might be crumbling, he turned to two Bible verses he had learned from his mother as a child: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jer. 33:3), and “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).

“The truth of God’s Word made such a difference in my attitude in those hectic days of starting the franchise,” Sonju would write a decade later. “I knew that God was in control even when things looked hopeless.”

Sonju’s Christian faith was more than a source of comfort. It was the central force behind his efforts to bring the NBA to Dallas, fueling his hopes for what the team could become and providing the point of connection with the owner who had the money to animate his vision. ...

[T]he origin of the Dallas Mavericks was not just an effort to create and build an NBA franchise that included Christian players. It was also an effort guided by Christian values. ...

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May 19, 2024 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Hasen: Taxation Of Work In Christian Theology

David Hasen (Florida; Google Scholar), Taxation of Work in Christian Theology:

How should Christian theological principles inform rules for the taxation of work? The answer to this question is ambiguous because work plays an ambiguous role in the life of the believer. Scripture accords dignity to work, but work, like almost any activity, can become an idol; depending on its content, work also can be harmful to the worker or to others. Similarly, work, or certain kinds of work, may be systematically underpaid or overpaid. For these reasons, recommendations about the optimal taxation of work in any given case depend on the larger tax system and indeed on the larger economic, social and political conditions in which the tax system operates.

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May 19, 2024 in Faith, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

6-Year-Old Girl Bravely Saves NYU Law Commencement With Hand-Drawn Purple Heart For Dean After Anti-Israel Protesters Disrupted Ceremony

NYU Graduation   NYU Law Facebook page

NYU Law Purple Logo

New York Post, 6-Year-Old Girl Bravely Saves NYU Law Commencement With Hand-Drawn Heart After Anti-Israel Protesters Refuse to Leave Stage: ‘She Got the Biggest Applause’:

A 6-year-old child taught thousands of adults this week a lesson in love and respect.

NYU School of Law’s commencement Thursday in Madison Square Garden was marred by hateful chants and Palestinian flag-waving protesters who refused to leave the stage, but there was one shining light during the chaotic ceremony — little Eden Rose Neiger.

She bravely walked on stage with her graduating mom and raised a picture of a heart she drew while sitting in the crowd amid the despicable din.

The daughter of Devorah Neiger, flanked on stage by her two siblings, then handed the heart — drawn in the school color, purple — to law school Dean Troy McKenzie.

“The mood and energy completely changed – she got the biggest applause of the whole ceremony,” said proud dad Edward Neiger.

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May 19, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

This week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list.

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [879 Downloads]  Don't Blame the Victims: Individuals and the MRT, by Karen Alpert (FixTheTax Treaty.org), John Richardson (TaxResidentAbroad.com) & Laura Snyder (Association of Americans Resident Overseas)
  2. [569 Downloads]  No More Tax-Free Lunch for Billionaires: Closing the Borrowing Loophole, by Edward Fox (Michigan; Google Scholar) & Zachary Liscow (Yale; Google Scholar)
  3. [507 Downloads]  Taxing People, Not Residents, by Yariv Brauner (Florida, Google Scholar) (reviewed by Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama; Google Scholar) here)
  4. [410 Downloads]  Combining VPFs and Tax-Aware Strategies to Diversify Low-Basis Stock, by Joseph Liberman & Nathan Sosner (AQR Capital Management)
  5. [324 Downloads]  Money Moves: Taxing the Wealthy at the State Level, by Brian Galle (Georgetown; Google Scholar), David Gamage (Missouri-Columbia; Google Scholar) & Darien Shanske (UC-Davis; Google Scholar)

May 19, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, May 18, 2024

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top 10 Taxprof Blog Posts - LinkedinLegal Education: 

  1. National Law Journal, Sullivan & Cromwell To Ramp-Up Vetting Of New Hires Amid Wave Of Pro-Palestinian Protests 
  2. Michael Simkovic (USC), Columbia Law Professor Says Columbia University Violated Federal Laws, Fostered A ‘Hostile Environment’ On Campus 
  3. ABA Journal, Mississippi College School Of Law Professor Killed In Triple Homicide 
  4. ABA, Biggest Law School Scholarships Disproportionately Go To White Students 
  5. Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), Law School Entry-Level Faculty Hiring Is Down 26%; FAR Applicants Are Up 28% 
  6. New York Post, Students Sue CUNY Law School Over Ban On Commencement Speakers, Claiming Move Is Anti-Palestinian 
  7. Eli Wald (Denver), A Liberal Theory Of Legal Education 
  8. Dan Rodriguez (Northwestern), Cash-Strapped California Bar May Drop NCBE And Hire Kaplan To Create New Test 
  9. Bloomberg Law, Big Law Recruiting Rush Puts More Pressure On Diverse Students
  10. Bloomberg Op-Ed (William Treanor (Dean, Georgetown) & Amy Mattock (Georgetown), Early Big Law Recruiting Is Ruining The First Year Of Law School 

Tax: 

  1. Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego), Taxing Old Money: Considerations In Crafting A Rignano Tax
  2. New York Times, Was The 401(k) A Mistake?
  3. White House, President Biden Nominates Three Tax Court Judges
  4. New York Times & ProPublica, Trump May Owe $100 Million From Double-Dip Tax Breaks
  5. Andy Grewal (Iowa), The Mandatory Repatriation Tax Is Not A Tax
  6. Xavier Oberson (University of Geneva), Taxing Artificial Intelligence
  7. Timothy Todd (Liberty) & Philip Manns (Liberty), Estate Tax Consequences Of Redeeming Stock With Life Insurance Proceeds
  8. Kristin Hickman (Minnesota) & Bridget C.E. Dooling (Ohio State), Competing Narratives In OIRA Review Of Tax Regulations
  9. SSRN, The Top Five New Tax Papers
  10. University of North Carolina, Tax Profs Receive Awards For Teaching And Scholarship

Faith:

  1. Wall Street Journal Op-Ed (Ralph Reed), The Smear Campaign Against ‘Christian Nationalists’
  2. New York Times Op-Ed (Ross Douthat), Can Conservative And Liberal Catholics Coexist?
  3. Robert George (Princeton) & John Inazu (Washington University), On Antisemitism And The Campus Protests
  4. Pepperdine Caruso Law Surf Report, Religious Diversity At Pepperdine Caruso Law
  5. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Pepperdine Caruso Law 3L Commissioning Service

May 18, 2024 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink

What Law Students Should Know About Generative AI Before Their Summer Jobs

Legal Tech News:  What Law Students Should Know About Generative AI Before Their Summer Jobs, by Nick Hafen (BYU):

Open AI ChatGPTFor law school students preparing to start their summer jobs, internships, externships and clerkships, now is the time to get up to speed on the latest in legal technology: generative AI (GenAI).

Your employer may be excited about, opposed to, or oblivious to this relatively new and rapidly evolving technology. In any of those cases, you can impress your employer and distinguish yourself from other job candidates by being familiar with the basics of GenAI technology, how it can empower legal professionals and potential hazards to watch out for. ...

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May 18, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education | Permalink

Hatfield: Safeguarding Taxpayer Data

Michael Hatfield (University of Washington; Google Scholar), Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, 26 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2023):

Florida tax reviewThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects more information on more individuals than any other government agency. The information is not only financial but personal, potentially including information about health care needs and decisions; the caregivers, disabilities, and foreign birth of children; the educational progress and felony convictions of students; and one’s religious and charitable associations. In acknowledging the vast quantity of information held by the IRS, and the necessity of taxpayers trusting tax administrators with their information, Congress provided greater protection for taxpayer information under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) than it was provided under the Privacy Act. Congress obligated IRS employees to keep taxpayer information confidential, and authorized felony charges and damages suits, including punitive damages for inappropriate disclosures of taxpayer information. 

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May 18, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, May 17, 2024

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Roberts Reviews The Missing “T” in ESG By Chaim & Parchomovsky

This week, Tracey M. Roberts (Cumberland; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Danielle A. Chaim (Bar-Ilan; Google Scholar) and Gideon Parchomovsky (Penn; Google Scholar), The Missing “T” in ESG, 77 Vanderbilt L. Rev. 789 (2024).

Roberts (2020)

In The Missing T in ESG, Danielle Chaim and Gideon Parchomovsky take a magnifying glass to ESG investing and the large asset management firms that have been promoting it in recent years. Environmental Social and Governance or “ESG” standards describe a broad array of criteria. Environmental factors examine environmental impacts (such as waste management and greenhouse gas production). Social factors focus on human rights violations and violations of labor laws (such as human trafficking and child labor in the supply chains), among other things. Governance factors consider longer-term value, positive and negative spillover effects, and whether a corporation has implemented structures and personnel with diverse perspectives to avoid the kinds of group-think that led to the mortgage crisis and Great Recession. Ultimately, ESG ratings allow investors, with an aversion to longer-term risks and with preferences beyond short term profit, to pick and choose where they invest their money.

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May 17, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Georgetown Deans: Early Big Law Recruiting Is Ruining The First Year Of Law School

Bloomberg Law Op-Ed:  Early Big Law Recruiting Is Ruining the First Year of Law School, by William M. Treanor (Dean, Georgetown) & Amy Mattock (Assistant Dean of Career Strategy, Georgetown):

Bloomberg Law (2021)Law firms traditionally have interviewed students for summer jobs at the start of the second year of law school, known as 2L, or in the weeks before the 2L year starts. This schedule has been in place for generations, and it worked both for the firms and for the future lawyers.

But in the last two years, the timing of the process has shifted, with some firms competing to be first movers, even considering applications early in the second semester of the 1L year. This race to the bottom is harmful to everyone involved.

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May 17, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Volokh: Nonprofits That Help Organize Protests That Break The Law Can Lose Their Tax Exemptions

Eugene Volokh (UCLA; Google Scholar), Can Nonprofits That Help Organize Protests Lose Their Tax Exemptions?:

Senate Republicans have called on the IRS to investigate various nonprofits that have helped organize university protests, and see if they should be stripped of their tax exemptions. Would that be permissible?

[1.] The government can't strip groups of nonprofit status based on their ideological viewpoints. This was first made clear in Justice Brennan's opinion in Speiser v. Randall (1958), which struck down a denial of a property tax exemption to people and organizations that "advocate[] the overthrow of the Government of the United States … by … violence … or who advocate[] the support of a foreign government against the United States in the event of hostilities" ...

[2.] But nonprofits' right to express viewpoints doesn't extend to a right to violate valid laws (such as content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions). IRS Revenue Ruling 75-384 deals specifically with that. ...

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May 17, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News | Permalink

Next Week’s Tax Workshop

Next Week's Tax Workshops - twitterFriday, May 24: Guido Alfani (Bocconi University; Google Scholar) will present Economic Inequality in Preindustrial Times: Europe and Beyond, 59 J. Econ. Lit. 3 (2021), as part of the Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs. If you would like to attend, please RSVP

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May 17, 2024 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Cash-Strapped California Bar May Drop NCBE And Hire Kaplan To Create New Test

Update:

ABA Journal, Cash-Strapped California Bar Weighs Cutting Ties With NCBE, Teaming With Kaplan on Test-Writing:

California Bar (2021)Driven by money problems, the State Bar of California will decide this week if it will shift test-writing duties from the National Conference of Bar Examiners to Kaplan Test Prep for a Multistate Bar Exam replacement starting in February 2025.

Dan Rodriguez (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Bar Reform in California. A Promising Start:

The Golden State is eschewing its cooperation with the Nat'l Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), the organization based in Madison, Wisconsin — peculiarly, given that this is the state that grants the diploma privilege to state law school grads, but I digress.  The NCBE has had an iron death-grip on the content, and many elements of administration, of the bar exams of states around the country.  The organization has not had a reputation for being especially innovation minded; nor has it been, in my experience, a constructive cooperator. ...

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May 16, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Parsons: Cryptocurrency, Legibility, And Taxation

Amanda Parsons (Colorado; Google Scholar), Cryptocurrency, Legibility, and Taxation, 72 Duke L.J. Online 1 (2022):

Duke Law Journal (2022)In Jarrett v. United States, a taxpayer in Tennessee is arguing that staking cryptocurrency did not result in him earning “income” under federal income tax law. This case illustrates the fundamental challenge that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology present for tax law. Wealth creation in the crypto space is not readily legible to the state. This absence of legibility threatens tax law’s reliance on placing economic activities into categories to determine how they should be taxed. Furthermore, this case highlights the harms Congress and Treasury are risking by not taking action on cryptocurrency taxation. The uncertainty and lack of guidance on the appropriate taxation of cryptocurrency is opening the door for a critical juncture in tax law to be decided via strategic litigation. This threatens a jurisprudential evasion of the democratic and administrative process in a high-stakes moment for tax law.

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May 16, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Hayashi & Deeks: Tax Sanctions And The Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Andrew T. Hayashi (Virginia; Google Scholar) & Ashley Deeks (Virginia; Google Scholar), Tax Sanctions and the Russia-Ukraine Conflict, 48 N.C. J. Int'l L. 433 (2023):

North carolina journal of international lawThe Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 provoked the imposition of economic sanctions that are unprecedented in their swiftness, severity, and novelty. In this essay, we evaluate the possible role of tax law as another sanctions tool for addressing the Russia-Ukraine conflict and discuss a recent legislative proposal to impose tax sanctions.

Conclusion
When we wrote about the need for tax sanctions in January 2022, our primary concern was the need to find alternative points of leverage over foreign targets that would broaden the reach of U.S. sanctions and reduce the pressure being exerted through traditional financial sanctions, which risked divestment from the U.S. financial system and currency over the long term. More generally, we saw the possibility of making more favorable tradeoffs between foreign policy goals and domestic concerns through tax sanctions and through sanctions rules that allowed for finer calibration. 

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May 16, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

The Family Plan: Parents Attend Law School With Their Children

Mother and Son Navigate the Law School Experience:

Miami Photo (May 2024)For graduating third-year Josh Benzadon, everything crystalized his sophomore year at the University of Texas at Austin. He took a couple of business law classes, and "it was the first time I read a textbook cover to cover."

For his mother, Jessica Knopf, law school was a long-held goal, and with her youngest leaving to begin college, "it just felt like the right time for me."

When Knopf arrived at Miami Law, Benzadon already had his first year in his rearview mirror.

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May 16, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Estate Tax Consequences Of Redeeming Stock With Life Insurance Proceeds

Timothy M. Todd (Liberty; Google Scholar) & Philip Manns (Liberty), Seeing Through the Sleight of Hand: Estate Tax Consequences of Redeeming Stock With Life Insurance Proceeds, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 437 (Apr. 15, 2024): 

Tax-notes-federalThe Supreme Court granted certiorari in Connelly v. United States to resolve a circuit court split concerning the federal estate tax valuation of shares in a closely held corporation when that corporation uses life insurance proceeds to satisfy its obligation to redeem the decedent-shareholder’s shares.

We argue that treating the insurance proceeds as suddenly appearing and then quickly disappearing is akin to the magician’s “now you see it, now you don’t” sleight of hand. 

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May 16, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink