Paul L. Caron
Dean




Thursday, February 2, 2023

Lat: Big Law’s Cancel Culture

The Boston Globe Op-Ed:  Big Law’s Cancel Culture, by David Lat:

Ideological uniformity in Big Law, whether on the right or the left, is not a good thing — not for lawyers, law firms, and the rule of law.

On the morning of June 23, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen holding that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home. You might have expected the lawyers who won the case, celebrated Supreme Court litigators Paul Clement and Erin Murphy, to receive congratulations within their firm for such a major victory.

Instead, they received walking papers. That afternoon, Clement and Murphy announced in The Wall Street Journal that they were leaving Kirkland & Ellis, the nation’s highest-grossing law firm. Why? Because Kirkland presented them with an ultimatum: withdraw from representing clients in Second Amendment cases, including existing clients in ongoing representations, or withdraw from the firm.

It’s not just representing unpopular clients; even articulating an unpopular opinion might be a fireable offense today in the world of large law firms (aka “Big Law”). Take support for the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and sent abortion back to the states. At least two antiabortion women partners allege — one in The Wall Street Journal and one in Original Jurisdiction, my newsletter about the legal profession — that their support for Dobbs played a major role in their being forced out of their firms. ...

Continue reading

February 2, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Kaplan: The Declining Appeal Of Inherited Retirement Accounts

Richard L. Kaplan (Illinois; Google Scholar), The Declining Appeal of Inherited Retirement Accounts, 42 Va. Tax Rev. __ (2023): 

Virginia Tax Review (2021)As retirement accounts proliferate and grow in value, American retirees are increasingly leaving substantial balances in these accounts to their adult children, siblings, and other relatives. Until recently, these new owners were able to withdraw funds from these tax-favored accounts over their lifetimes as their personal circumstances dictated. 

Continue reading

February 2, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

WaPo: Want To Be Happy? Don’t Be A Lawyer.

Washington Post Op-Ed:  Want to be Happy? Then Don’t Be a Lawyer., by Kathleen Parker:

It might surprise few that lawyers are the unhappiest people on the planet, at least when it comes to their jobs. This is according to lawyers themselves and is the conclusion of a recent analysis by The Post of data on America’s happiest and unhappiest workers [The Happiest, Least Stressful, Most Meaningful Jobs in America].

Chalk up lawyers’ malaise to high levels of stress and a lack of “meaningfulness” in their work. This doesn’t mean all lawyers dislike their jobs, but data doesn’t lie (even if some lawyers sometimes do). I should mention that a significant number of my family members have been and are attorneys. ...

Continue reading

February 2, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Clausing Presents Capital Taxation And Market Power Today At Toronto

Kimberly Clausing (UCLA; Google Scholar) presents Capital Taxation and Market Power at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Benjamin Alarie:

Kim-clausingIn recent decades, market power has increased substantially, as shown by measures that include industry concentration, mark-ups, and business profitability. While market power can generate benefits, it also raises vexing policy concerns, including the potential for adverse effects on labor markets, income inequality, and the dynamism of market competition. The concept of market power also has implications for how we conceptualize capital income, making it important to distinguish between normal and above-normal returns to capital. The tax system taxes both types of returns to capital, but often imperfectly and incompletely. 

Continue reading

February 1, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Drexel Seeks To Hire An Entry Level Or Lateral Tax Prof

Drexel Law Faculty Posting:

Drexel kline school of lawThe Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law invites applications from entry-level and pre-tenure lateral candidates for a full-time, tenure-track position teaching and researching in the area of tax law. Candidates must have a demonstrated record of significant scholarly achievement and a demonstrated commitment to excellent teaching. Because the law school is part of an R1 research university, tenure stream faculty are expected to engage in significant research and demonstrate educational, methodological, or practice backgrounds that add vitality to their work.

Applications are particularly encouraged from people of color, individuals with disabilities, people of all sexual and gender identities, and anyone whose background, experience or viewpoint will contribute to the diversity of the faculty.

Continue reading

February 1, 2023 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

Morse Presents APA Challenges To Old Tax Guidance And The Six-Year Default Limitations Period Today At Northwestern

Susie Morse (Texas; Google Scholar) presents Out of Time: APA Challenges to Old Tax Guidance and the Six-Year Default Limitations Period at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Colloquium hosted by Gregg Polsky:

Susan morseOld regs should not be subject indefinitely to administrative procedure challenge. Instead, we should leave them alone. The consensus case law view that applies the six-year limitations period under 28 U.S.C. § 2401(a) with accrual at the time of promulgation, strikes the right balance between accuracy and repose. It correctly reflects that all of the elements of the administrative procedure claim are in place at the time of the alleged error, when the regulation was promulgated. When -- as in tax -- claims can be delayed through no fault of any plaintiff, the solution is to make appropriate administrative and equitable adjustments.

Conclusion
The puzzle presented by administrative procedure challenges to old regs amounts to a classic tension in law: the tradeoff between accuracy and repose. The puzzle is solved by the default six-year limitations period of 28 U.S.C. § 2401(a), which, under a case law consensus, begins to run when the final agency rulemaking action is taken for administrative procedure claims. Tax provides a good text case for this argument because it is a somewhat more difficulty case, due to the fact that most opportunities to raise administrative procedure claims arise not as facial challenges, bur rather in enforcement cases – whether deficiency or refund -- where the pre-litigation tax procedure can be lengthy. 

Continue reading

February 1, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

2nd Circuit To Decide Whether Vermont Law School Can Cover Underground Railroad Murals Against Artist's Wishes

Vermont MuralFollowing up on my previous posts (links below), Bloomberg Law, Law School’s Covering of Slavery Murals Probed by 2nd Cir.:

Vermont Law School found a somewhat receptive Second Circuit as it defended a ruling allowing it to permanently cover murals depicting the Underground Railroad without violating an artists’ rights law.

Artist Samuel Kerson argued that the school hiding his two 1994 murals behind bolted-in acoustic panels violated the Visual Artists Rights Act, or VARA, during Friday’s oral argument at the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. But the school says it complied with the law when it hid murals that students complained about for decades as “cartoonish” depictions of slaves and promotion of the “white savior complex.”

The dispute raises questions regarding how far VARA limits the property rights of the owners of their physical art, and the reach of exceptions written into the law. The US District Court for the District of Vermont’s ruling said that “no court has ruled that VARA protects the artist’s interest in keeping his art visible or on display.”

Continue reading

February 1, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, New Cases | Permalink

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

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

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

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

  • FeedBlitz:  Enter your email address here to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email, delivered to you either daily, every 12 hours, every 8 hours, every 4 hours, or hourly (at your option).
  • TaxProf Blog Email Service:  Email me to be added to my daily email with titles and links to all TaxProf Blog posts.
  • TaxProf Blog Legal Education Email Service:  Email me to be added to my daily email with titles and links to TaxProf Blog posts on legal education topics.
  • TaxProf Blog Faith Email Service:  Email me to be added to my Sunday email with titles and links to TaxProf Blog posts on faith topics.

February 1, 2023 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

NY Times: Black Americans Are Much More Likely To Face Tax Audits, Study Finds

New York Times, Black Americans Are Much More Likely to Face Tax Audits, Study Finds:

AuditA new report documents systemic discrimination in how the I.R.S. selects taxpayers to be audited, with implications for a debate on the agency’s funding.

Black taxpayers are at least three times as likely to be audited by the Internal Revenue Service as other taxpayers, even after accounting for the differences in the types of returns each group is most likely to file, a team of economists has concluded in one of the most detailed studies yet on race and the nation’s tax system.

The findings do not suggest bias from individual tax enforcement agents, who do not know the race of the people they are auditing. They also do not suggest any valid reason for the I.R.S. to target Black Americans at such high rates; there is no evidence that group engages in more tax evasion than others.

Instead, the findings document discrimination in the computer algorithms the agency uses to determine who is selected for an audit, according to the study by economists from Stanford University [Hadi Elzayn, Daniel Ho], the University of Michigan [Evelyn Smith], the University of Chicago [Jacob Goldin, Arun Ramesh] and the Treasury Department [Robin Fisher, Thomas Hertz] [Measuring and Mitigating Racial Disparities in Tax Audits]:

Continue reading

February 1, 2023 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Support TaxProf Blog By Shopping On Amazon

Amazon-associatesTaxProf Blog participates in the amazon.com affiliate program. You can help support TaxProf Blog at no cost to you by making purchases through Amazon links on the blog and through the search box in the right column of the blog:

Amazon Search

February 1, 2023 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Ryznar: Exams In The Time Of ChatGPT

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-McKinney), Exams in the Time of ChatGPT, 80 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online __ (2023):

Open AI ChatGPTThis article offers various methods to administer assessments while maintaining their integrity—after asking artificial intelligence writing tool ChatGPT for its views on the matter. The sophisticated response of the chatbot, which students can use in their written work, only raises the stakes of figuring out how to administer exams fairly.

Continue reading

February 1, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Doran Presents Executive Compensation And Corporate Governance Today At Columbia

Michael Doran (Virginia; Google Scholar) presents Executive Compensation And Corporate Governance (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado; Google Scholar) here) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by David Schizer, Michael Love, Wojciech Kopczuk, and Alex Raskolnikov. 

Michael-doranOver the past four decades, Congress has repeatedly used tax policy to address executive-compensation practices, most notably through golden-parachute penalty taxes (enacted in 1984), a $1 million cap on compensation deductions (enacted in 1993 and expanded in 2017), and penalty taxes on nonqualified deferred compensation (enacted in 2004). The critical assumptions underlying these efforts are, first, that certain features of executive pay represent a failure of corporate governance and, second, that tax policy can correct that failure. The first assumption may or may not be correct; the theoretical and empirical arguments about it remain unresolved. But the second assumption is increasingly untenable. Penalty taxes have been largely ineffective in changing executive-compensation practices in the ways that legislators intend; in many instances, they actually exacerbate the features of executive pay that concern Congress in the first place. 

Continue reading

January 31, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Princeton Review's Best 168 Law Schools (2023 Edition)

Princeton-reviewThe Princeton Review has published the 2023 edition of The Best 168 Law Schools (press release) (FAQs) (methodology):

The company reports its annual law school rankings in 14 categories: each one lists the top 10 ranking schools. ...

The Princeton Review’s law school rankings are uniquely based on data the company gathers from surveys of administrators at the law schools as well as surveys of students attending the schools who rate and report on their experiences at them. The rankings for 2023 are based on surveys of administrators at 168 law schools in 2021-22 and surveys of 17,000 students enrolled in the schools [an average of 101 per school] over the past three academic years.

More than 60 data points are factored into the company’s ranking list tallies. Of the 14 categories of ranking lists, six lists are based on student- and administrator-reported data. Five are based solely on student data, and three are based solely on administrator data.

Best Quality of Life: Based on student answers to survey questions on: whether there is a strong sense of community at the school whether differing opinions are tolerated in the classroom, the location of the school, the quality of social life at the school, the school's research resources (library, computer and database resources). 

  1. Virginia
  2. Florida State
  3. Vanderbilt
  4. UCLA
  5. Penn

Best Professors:  Based on student answers to survey questions concerning how good their professors are as teachers and how accessible they are outside the classroom.

  1. Chicago
  2. Duke
  3. Stanford
  4. Virginia
  5. Vanderbilt

Continue reading

January 31, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Goldin Presents Measurement And Mitigation Of Racial Disparities In Tax Audits Today At Georgetown

Jacob Goldin (Chicago; Google Scholar) presents Measurement and Mitigation of Racial Disparities in Tax Audits at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop hosted by Emily Satterthwaite and Dayanand Manoli. 

Jacob-goldinGovernment agencies around the world use data-driven algorithms to allocate enforcement resources. Even when such algorithms are formally neutral with respect to protected characteristics like race, there is widespread concern that they can disproportionately burden vulnerable groups. We study differences in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit rates between Black and non-Black taxpayers. Because neither we nor the IRS observe taxpayer race, we propose and employ a novel partial identification strategy to estimate these differences. Despite race-blind audit selection, we find that Black taxpayers are audited at 2.9 to 4.7 times the rate of non-Black taxpayers. The main source of the disparity is differing audit rates by race among taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Using counterfactual audit selection models for EITC claimants, we find that maximizing the detection of underreported taxes would not lead to Black taxpayers being audited at higher rates. In contrast, in these models, certain policies tend to increase the audit rate of Black taxpayers: (1) designing audit selection algorithms to minimize the “no-change rate”; (2) targeting erroneously claimed refundable credits rather than total under-reporting; and (3) limiting the share of more complex EITC returns that can be selected for audit. 

Continue reading

January 31, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Lat: A Controversial Speaker Returned To Yale Law—You Won't Believe What Happened Next

Following up on my previous post, Yale Law School Restricts Access To FedSoc Free Speech Panel Today To Avoid Repeat Of Last Year's Controversy:  David Lat (Original Jurisdiction), A Controversial Speaker Returned To Yale Law—You Won't Believe What Happened Next:

Yale Law Logo (2020)Kristen Waggoner of the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom spoke at YLS on Tuesday; how was she received?

This past Tuesday, January 24, Kristen Waggoner returned to Yale Law, this time to discuss 303 Creative LLC v. Eleniswhich she argued before the Supreme Court in December. Waggoner’s client in 303 Creative is a Colorado website designer who doesn’t want to design websites for same-sex weddings, and the case presents the following question: “Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.”

303 Creative is one of the most interesting, important, and high-profile cases of the current Term, so it’s obvious why a law student group might want to host an event with one of the lawyers who argued it. In other words, I don’t consider the invitation to Waggoner to be “trolling” by the Yale Federalist Society, i.e., something done for the sole purpose of antagonizing the left.

In addition, Yale FedSoc arranged for Waggoner to be joined by two other speakers: Professor Nadine Strossen of New York Law School, who served as president of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991 to 2008, and Professor Robert Post of Yale Law School, which he led as Dean from 2009 to 2017. Professors Post and Strossen are two of the nation’s leading scholars of the First Amendment, so an event featuring them plus Kristen Waggoner is impressive. ...

So how did Tuesday’s YLS event with Kristen Waggoner go?

Continue reading

January 31, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ: Whose Name Goes First On Your Joint Tax Return? Probably Not The Woman's.

Wall Street Journal, Who Goes First on Your Joint Tax Return? Probably Not the Woman.:

1040The IRS doesn’t care, so why do most people put the man first on the 1040? Even Kamala Harris goes second to the second gentleman.

When calculating federal income taxes, it makes absolutely no difference which spouse is listed first on a joint tax return. An opposite-sex couple can put the man’s name first, start with the woman’s name, list them in order of income, go alphabetically or begin with the spouse who woke up earlier last Tuesday. It literally doesn’t matter one cent.

But there are two lines for names on Form 1040. Somebody has to go first, and somebody has to go second. ... According to a first-of-its-kind assessment from researchers from the U.S. Treasury Department and the University of Michigan, men’s names were listed first on 88% of joint returns filed by opposite-sex married couples in 2020. That figure has trickled down a little since 1996, when nearly all returns—97%—listed the man’s name first.

Continue reading

January 31, 2023 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Case Against Commercial Casebooks

W. David Ball (Santa Clara; Google Scholar) & Michelle Oberman (Santa Clara; Google Scholar), The Case Against Commercial Casebooks, 71 J. Legal Educ. __ (2023):

CasebooksOpen-source, online casebooks are a free alternative to the for-profit commercial casebooks that dominate the legal academy. They offer a host of benefits for students and professors alike. Online casebooks are surprisingly easy to create: literally the click of a button allows you to “clone” existing open-source casebooks, many of which closely track the cases and flow of the most popular commercial casebooks. Once “cloned,” it is simple to incorporate your own or others’ material, enabling professors to center their personal pedagogical goals and values as they train the next generation of lawyers.

Open-source casebooks are also free, permitting professors to meaningfully offset some of the educational costs incurred by our students. As law schools reflect on how they might build institutions that are more diverse, equitable and inclusive, open-source casebooks stand out as an obvious, attainable way to make meaningful progress towards those goals.

Continue reading

January 31, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Monday, January 30, 2023

Clausing Delivers Pugh Lecture Today At San Diego On The Future of International Tax Cooperation

Kimberly Clausing (UCLA; Google Scholar) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on The Future of International Tax Cooperation:

Kim-clausingKimberly Clausing holds the Eric M. Zolt Chair in Tax Law and Policy.

During the first part of the Biden Administration, Clausing was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis in the US Department of the Treasury, serving as the lead economist in the Office of Tax Policy. Prior to coming to UCLA, Clausing was the Thormund A. Miller and Walter Mintz Professor of Economics at Reed College.

Her research studies the taxation of multinational firms, examining how government decisions and corporate behavior interplay in the global economy. She has published numerous articles in this area, and she is the author of Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press, 2019).

Continue reading

January 30, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

WSJ Op-Ed: The Ninth Circuit Upholds A Wealth Tax

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  The Ninth Circuit Upholds a Wealth Tax, by Christopher Cox (Former Rep. (1989-2005) & SEC Chair (2005-2009)) & Hank Adler (Chapman):

The 16th Amendment authorizes the federal government only to tax income, but some members of Congress would love to tax wealth as well. That is widely understood to be unconstitutional, but a recent ruling from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a form of wealth tax could upend that conventional wisdom if it is allowed to stand.

The case, Moore v. U.S., involves a unique provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which imposed a one-time retroactive tax applicable to individual U.S. shareholders of foreign corporations. Under previous law, U.S. taxpayers had to pay taxes on overseas corporate income when that income was repatriated to the U.S. in the form of dividends. The 2017 act abolished the tax on overseas income, bringing the U.S. tax system into line with those of most other developed countries. But it also created a “mandatory repatriation tax” on the corporation’s undistributed income since 1986, payable not by the corporation but its shareholders.

The result was that without selling their stock or receiving a dividend, U.S. investors were deemed to have received “income” and suddenly became liable for the new tax. ...

Continue reading

January 30, 2023 in New Cases, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

WSJ: Rebellion Over U.S. News Rankings Seems Likely To Fail

Wall Street Journal, Rebellion Over College Rankings Seems Likely to Fail:

WSJIn the past two weeks, Harvard, Stanford and Columbia universities, the University of Pennsylvania and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said they would stop cooperating with U.S. News & World Report’s medical-school rankings.

That followed the decision last year by universities including Yale, Georgetown, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and California, Berkeley to quit cooperating on the publication’s law-school rankings.

Critics are cheering the exodus from a process they say leads students to focus on external prestige rather than education quality and encourages schools to game rankings at the expense of students. The schools that are withdrawing say the rankings are elitist, and penalize institutions that admit strong candidates without high test scores.

“In the 40 years of rankings, this is the biggest shock to the system—that gives me hope,” said Colin Diver, a former president of Reed College, which has long abstained from the U.S. News ranking. Mr. Diver is the author of “Breaking Ranks: How the Rankings Industry Rules Higher Education and What to Do About It.”

But hopes that this marks the death knell for college rankings are likely to be in vain. The reality is that what the schools themselves contribute to the rankings is relatively small: The data includes test scores, alumni giving, financial information and so on. But most of the data used to determine the rankings can be derived from publicly available information, or surveys conducted by U.S. News itself. Indeed, U.S. News has revised the survey over the years in response to criticism. There is a case to be made that the less the schools contribute, the more objective the rankings might become, in some respects. ...

Continue reading

January 30, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: Corporations In The Bardo

Lincoln 2Lincoln in The Bardo is not a book for everyone.  It’s main characters (none of whom are Lincoln) are caught in the bardo, an indeterminate space between death and final after-life, whatever one conceives that to be.  But they are slow to realize it, clinging to a belief in their continued existence as they were.  Filled with unreliable narrators and casually vacillating in time and space, the novel is not an easy read.  But it is well worth the effort, being a lovely meditation on the meaning of life and the meaning of death.

XC Foundation v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2023-2 (Jan. 5, 2023) (Judge Lauber), is an easy read about a corporation in the bardo.  It teaches a practical lesson: always ensure that your corporate client is fully alive and well under state law before you try to file a petition.  There, a corporation attempted to file a petition to contest an IRS decision to revoke its 501(c)(3) status.  Well, actually, the corporation did not file the petition.  It couldn’t.  It was caught in a kind of bardo, an indeterminate space between corporate life and permanent corporate death.  California, the state that had given it life, had suspended its charter, killing its capacity to sue and be sued.  But like the characters in the novel, it ignored its own death and tried to convince the Tax Court to do so as well.  It turns out that taxpayers in the bardo cannot file petitions that the Tax Court can hear, just as Lincoln could not hear the pleas of the novel's characters.  They are the pleas of ghosts.  Details below the fold.

Continue reading

January 30, 2023 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Columbia Law Professor's 'F--k You' To Student Question Caught On Video

Law.com, Columbia Law Professor's 'F--k You' to Student Question Caught on Video:

"I am ashamed of my conduct," Professor Daniel Capra said in an email to Law.com on Friday. "I apologized to the student and to my class. I have devoted my career to serving and helping students and I am mortified that I acted here the way I did,” he said.

Continue reading

January 30, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 29, 2023

David French: Faith, Not Politics, Can Heal Lonely Hearts And A Nation

David French, Can More Church Heal What Ails the Lonely Heart?:

[I want to talk about] the decline in church attendance, deaths of despair, and the necessity of community for hope and purpose.

Last week, my little corner of the online world lit up with people sharing a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper tying America’s ongoing decline in religious practice to the increase in “deaths of despair”—ones involving suicide, alcohol abuse, and drug overdose [Opiates of the Masses? Deaths of Despair and the Decline of American Religion].

The study, by Tyler Giles [Wellesley College], Daniel M. Hungerman [Notre Dame], and Tamar Oostrom [Ohio State], found that a “large decline in religious practice was driven by the group experiencing subsequent increases in mortality: white middle-aged Americans without a college degree.” And that’s not all:

We also show that there is a strong negative relationship across states between religiosity and mortality due to deaths of despair. We further find that states that experienced larger declines in religious participation in the last 15 years of the century saw larger increases in deaths of despair. Both the decline in religiosity and the rise in deaths of despair were driven by the same group of individuals in the same places.

French 2

To demonstrate the connection between declining religiosity and rising deaths, the authors examined the link between the repeal of blue laws (laws which regulate commerce on Sabbath days, traditionally Sunday), subsequent decreases in church attendance, and the rise in suicides, overdoses, and alcohol deaths. ...

It’s hard to think of an institution that can better provide hope and purpose than a well-functioning church. There is a reason John 3:16 is one of the most remembered verses in scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

There is a reason Jeremiah 29:11 is framed in countless American homes: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

These verses provide a combination of eternal and temporal assurance of God’s loving nature. That doesn’t mean Christianity can’t be incredibly demanding (Jesus urged his disciples to take up their cross to follow him), but a demanding life is a purposeful life. ...

Continue reading

January 29, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: The Americanization Of Religion

New York Times Op-Ed:  The Americanization of Religion, by Ross Douthat:

In September the Pew Research Center modeled four potential futures for American religion, depending on different rates of conversion to and disaffiliation from the nation’s faiths. In three of the four projections, the Christian percentage of the U.S. population, which hovered around 90 percent in the 1970s and 1980s, drops below 50 percent within the next half-century. In two scenarios, the Christian share drops below 50 percent much sooner, sometime around 2040, and then keeps on falling.

Pew

This is a potentially epochal transition, but a transition of what kind? Toward a truly secular America, with John Lennon’s “Imagine” as its national anthem? Or toward a society awash in new or remixed forms of spirituality, all competing for the souls of lapsed Catholics, erstwhile United Methodists, the unhappily unchurched?

Continue reading

January 29, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

WaPo Op-Ed: Think America Is A ‘Christian Nation’? George Washington Didn’t.

Washington Post Op-Ed:  Think America Is a ‘Christian Nation’? George Washington Didn’t., by Jennifer Rubin:

The Jewish community in the United States is as old as its democracy. In August 1790, George Washington sent a letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, R.I., thanking them for their well wishes.

He wrote: “The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.” He added, “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

To a people long denied citizenship in the Old World, kept as a people apart from Christian neighbors, Washington was explaining something quite revolutionary: The United States does not simply forbear Jews; Jews are part of the United States. As the Touro Synagogue in Newport explains on its website: “The letter reassured those who had fled religious tyranny that life in the new nation would be different, that religious ‘toleration’ would give way to religious liberty, and that the government would not interfere with individuals in matters of conscience and belief.” ...

Continue reading

January 29, 2023 in Faith, 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 #1:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [520 Downloads]  Pillar 2, Fiat, and the EU Unanimity Rule on Tax Matters, by Rita de la Feria (Leeds)
  2. [337 Downloads]  State Strategic Responses to the GloBE Rules, by Heydon Wardell-Burrus (Oxford) (reviewed by David Elkins (Netanya; (Google Scholar) here)
  3. [190 Downloads]  Textualism, The Role And Authoritativeness Of Tax Legislative History, And Stanley Surrey, by George Yin (Virginia) (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado; Google Scholar) here)
  4. [102 Downloads]  Multistate Business Entities, by Andrew Appleby (Stetson; Google Scholar) & Tomer Stein (Stetson)
  5. [91 Downloads]  The (Uncertain) Future of Corporate Tax Shelters, by Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) & Ari Glogower (Northwestern; Google Scholar) (reviewed by Michelle Layser (San Diego; Google Scholar) here)

January 29, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, January 28, 2023

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top Ten 2Legal Education:

  1. Daily Pennsylvanian, Facing Major Sanctions, Amy Wax Files Grievance Against Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger
  2. NY Times Op-Ed, What If Diversity Trainings Are Doing More Harm Than Good?
  3. Jonathan Choi, Kristin Hickman, Amy Monahan & Daniel Schwarcz, ChatGPT Gets C+ Grade On Four Minnesota Law School Exams
  4. Christian Terwiesch, ChatGPT Gets B|B- Grade On Wharton MBA Exam
  5. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), The 50 Most Downloaded U.S. Law Professors Of 2022
  6. Law.com, Seattle Law School Responds To 'Incendiary Allegations' Of Discrimination Against Visiting Professor
  7. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Updated U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard
  8. Bryce Clayton Newell (Oregon), 2022 Meta-Ranking Of Flagship U.S. Law Reviews
  9. Washington Free Beacon, Yale Law School Restricts Access To FedSoc Free Speech Panel Today To Avoid Repeat Of Last Year's Controversy
  10. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Summary Of Changes To The Forthcoming U.S. News Law School Rankings

Tax:

  1. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Meaning Of 'Business Premises' In §119
  2. Benjamin Alarie (Toronto), The Rise Of The Robotic Tax Analyst
  3. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), The 50 Most Downloaded U.S. Tax Law Professors Of 2022
  4. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Unforeseen Circumstances Rule For §121 Home Sale Exclusions
  5. Wall Street Journal, The Myth Of American Income Inequality
  6. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Tax Policy in the Biden Administration
  7. Lily Batchelder (Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy) & Greg Leiserson (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis), Disparities In The Benefits Of Tax Expenditures By Race And Ethnicity
  8. Christine Kim (Cardozo), Review Of Brian Galle (Georgetown), David Gamage (Indian) & Darien Shanske (UC Davis), Solving The Valuation Challenge: The ULTRA Method For Taxing Extreme Wealth
  9. Wall Street Journal, Why So Many Accountants Are Quitting
  10. David Weisbach, Three New Tax Papers On SSRN

Faith

  1. David French (The Dispatch), How A Great American Victory Altered American Faith

January 28, 2023 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink

With Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Tulane, And Creighton, 40 Law Schools Are Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings

US News (2023)

  U.S. News Rank
Boycott (40)
Yale 1
Stanford 2
Columbia 4
Harvard 4
Penn 6
NYU 7
Virginia 8
UC-Berkeley 9
Michigan 10
Duke 11
Northwestern 13
Georgetown 14
UCLA 15
Vanderbilt 17
Fordham 37
UC-Davis 37
UC-Irvine 37
Wisconsin 43
Maryland 47
University of Washington 49
UC-San Francisco 51
Tulane 55
Penn State-Dickinson 58
Penn State-Univ. Park 64
St. John's 84
Rutgers 86
New Hampshire 105
Gonzaga 116
Seattle 116
Creighton 139
Idaho 142
Cal-Western 147-192
Campbell 147-192
John Marshall (GA) 147-192
Quinnipiac 147-192
Roger Williams 147-192
San Francisco 147-192
South Texas 147-192
Southwestern 147-192
Western Michigan 147-192
No Boycott (53)
Chicago 3
Cornell 12
Washington Univ. 16
Florida 21
Georgia 29
George Mason 30
Arizona 45
Colorado 49
SMU 58
San Diego 64
Kentucky 67
Seton Hall 73
Case Western 78
South Carolina 84
Cincinnati 88
Louisville 94
Indiana (McKinney) 98
Louisiana State* 105
Texas Tech 105
Washburn 105
Drake 111
Mississippi 111
Stetson 111
Missouri-Kansas City* 114
Chapman 118
Hofstra 118
West Virginia 118
Baltimore 122
Mercer 122
Suffolk 122
Cleveland-Marshall 127
Willamette 129
Wyoming 129
Pacific 133
South Dakota 133
Regent 142
Akron 147-192
Arkansas-Little Rock 147-192
Ave Maria 147-192
Elon 147-192
Faulkner 147-192
John Marshall (IL) 147-192
Liberty 147-192
Lincoln Memorial 147-192
Mississippi College 147-192
North Dakota 147-192
Nova 147-192
Ohio Northern* 147-192
Oklahoma City 147-192
Southern Illinois 147-192
St. Mary's 147-192
Toledo 147-192
Western New England 147-192

*Will answer some but not all questions

Continue reading

January 28, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Jan Brueckner And Blaine Saito Present Tax Papers At UCLA

Jan Brueckner (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) presented Taxes and Telework: The Impacts of State Income Taxes in a Work-from-Home Economy (with David R. Agrawal (Kentucky; Google Scholar)) at UCLA this week as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Kirk Stark and Jason Oh:

Jan bruecknerThis paper studies the interstate effects of decentralized taxation and spending when individuals can work from home (WFH). Because WFH decouples population and employment, the analysis of tax impacts on state populations, employment levels, wages and housing prices is radically different than in the standard model where individuals live and work in the same state. Which state can tax teleworkers—leading to either source or residence taxation—matters for tax impacts under WFH. Our main findings, which pertain to the employment and wage effects of WFH, show that a shift from a non-WFH economy to WFH reduces employment and raises the wage in high-tax states, with larger effects under source taxation. Once WHF is established, an increase in a state’s tax rate either reduces employment further while raising the wage (source taxation) or leaves the labor market unaffected (residence taxation). We show that only the residence-taxation equilibrium is efficient.

Blaine Saito (Northeastern; Google Scholar) presented Public Tax Actors at UCLA last week:

Continue reading

January 28, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Justice Kavanaugh Says U.S. News Law School Rankings Are 'Very Problematic'; Peer Reputation Is 'Kind Of A Joke'

Reuters, Justice Kavanaugh Rips U.S. News Rankings As 'Highly Problematic' At Law School Talk

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has joined the growing chorus of U.S. News & World Report law school rankings critics, saying during a talk this week at the University of Notre Dame Law School that the annual list fails to accurately gauge which schools are providing the best legal education.

“I think they’re based on things, from what I understand, that are very amorphous, very subjective, very word of mouth factors that don’t correlate well with the education that you’re actually receiving, and I find them highly problematic,” Kavanaugh said during a Monday panel with law dean Marcus Cole, a video of which the school released on Thursday. ...

U.S. News has said it will continue to rank law schools despite the boycott and that is modifying its methodology to rely only on publicly available data supplied annually by the American Bar Association, which accredits law schools. It will no longer include expenditures-per-student, a metric that has been criticized as rewarding schools for driving up tuition, among other changes.

But the revamped rankings will still assign each school a “reputation score” derived from surveys of legal academics, judges and practicing lawyers. Kavanaugh called the reputation scores “kind of a joke,” adding that most people don’t have enough knowledge about different law schools to effectively rank them. He added that he does not consider law school rank when hiring clerks.

Continue reading

January 28, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, January 27, 2023

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Roberts Reviews Trade, Leakage, And The Design Of A Carbon Tax By Weisbach et al.

This week, Tracey Roberts (Cumberland; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by David A. Weisbach (Chicago; Google Scholar), Samuel S. Kortum (Yale; Google Scholar), Yujia Yao (IMF) and Michael Wang (Northwestern), Trade, Leakage, and the Design of a Carbon Tax (Jan. 20, 2023):

Roberts (2020)

Communities throughout the world are facing extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts, wildfires, severe storms events, tornados, hurricanes/ tropical cyclones, storm surges and floods. Important and unique ecosystems are suffering irreparable harm, including polar and high mountain areas, tropical systems, and coral reefs. The risks of large-scale climate shifts, such as deglaciation, ice sheet loss, rapid sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and changes in thermohaline circulation system are rising. We are currently witnessing secondary effects of these processes including biodiversity loss, fishery collapse, deforestation, conflicts over natural resources, global migration, and threats to economic, social and political stability. All countries have a stake in these outcomes. Ideally, all countries would coordinate their efforts to address climate change.

Continue reading

January 27, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tracey Roberts, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Next Week’s Tax Workshops

Tax Workshops (Big)Monday, January 30: Kimberly Clausing (UCLA; Google Scholar) will present The Future of International Tax Cooperation as part of the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego. If you would like to attend, please RSVP here.

Tuesday, January 31: Jacob Goldin (Chicago; Google Scholar) will present Measurement and Mitigation of Racial Disparities in Tax Audits as part of the Georgetown Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop. If you would like to attend, please contact Emily Satterthwaite and Dayanand Manoli.

Tuesday, January 31: Michael Doran (Virginia; Google Scholar) will present Executive Compensation And Corporate Governance (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado; Google Scholar) here) as part of the Columbia Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact David Schizer

Wednesday, February 1: Susan Morse (Texas; Google Scholar) will present Out of Time: APA Challenges to Old Tax Guidance and the Six-Year Default Limitations Period as part of the Northwestern Advanced Topics in Taxation Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Gregg Polsky

Wednesday, February 1: Kimberly Clausing (UCLA; Google Scholar) will present Capital Taxation and Market Power as part of the Toronto James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Benjamin Alarie

Thursday, February 2: Juliana Londoño-Vélez (UCLA; Google Scholar) will present Behavioral Responses to Wealth Taxation: Evidence from Colombia (with Javier Avila-Mahecha (DIAN; Google Scholar)) as part of the UCLA Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance. If you would like to attend, please contact Kirk Stark and Jason Oh.

Friday, February 3: Nyamagaga Gondwe (Wisconsin; Google Scholar) will present Emergency Exit: The Life-Saving Potential of Direct Public Financial Assistance to Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence as part of the Indiana Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman.

Continue reading

January 27, 2023 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Facing Major Sanctions, Amy Wax Files Grievance Against Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger

Alarie: The Rise Of The Robotic Tax Analyst

Benjamin Alarie (Toronto; Google Scholar; CEO, Blue J Legal), The Rise of the Robotic Tax Analyst, 178 Tax Notes Fed. 57 (Jan. 2, 2023):

Open AI ChatGPTAs a bold taxwriting experiment, this installment of Blue J Predicts has been generated with the help of an AI assistant, OpenAI’s “Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3” (GPT-3). GPT-3 is a large language model developed by OpenAI and backed by Microsoft. It is an inexhaustible generator of text and can write with accuracy in English about almost any topic. It has performed its duty, with my human companionship, indefatigably.

This isn’t the first time that a legal academic has invoked a robotic coauthor, and I expect that these kinds of tools will become increasingly commonplace. I expect that eventually they will be about as remarkable as using a spelling or grammar checker. At this moment, however, before the rise of the robotic tax analyst, using GPT-3 to help write this article is likely to raise some eyebrows.

In October 2021 I produced a peer-reviewed law review article with my academic colleague, the late (and great) tax law professor Arthur Cockfield of Queen’s University. The article was notable for being the first peer-reviewed law review article to extensively leverage GPT-3 in its production. In that article — after a short introduction penned by us, Benjamin Alarie and Cockfield — we gave GPT-3 control of the metaphorical keyboard and allowed it to produce its textual analysis uninterrupted and unedited.

The results were mixed and intriguing, and certainly pointed in the direction of future possibility. In our view, GPT-3 had potential. In the article, we speculated on the future of AI in legal scholarship and asked provocatively in the title, “Will Machines Replace Us?” Cockfield and I concluded that “although GPT-3 is not up to the task of replacing law review authors currently, we are far less confident that GPT-5 or GPT-100 might not be up to the task in future.”

Continue reading

January 27, 2023 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Mason Presents Bibb Balancing Today At The OMG Transatlantic Tax Talks

Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar) presents Bibb Balancing, 91 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. __ (2023) (with Michael S. Knoll (Penn)) today as part of the OMG Transatlantic Tax Talks Series (OMG = Oxford-Michigan-MIT-Munich-Georgetown):

Ruth masonCourts and commentators have long understood dormant Commerce Clause doctrine to contain two types of cases: discrimination and undue burdens. This Article argues for a more nuanced understanding that divides undue burdens into single-state burdens—which arise from the application of a single state’s law alone—and mismatch burdens, which arise from legal diversity. Although the Supreme Court purports to apply Pike balancing in all undue-burden cases, we show that the Court’s approach in mismatch cases differs substantially. Specifically, unlike in single-state cases, balancing in mismatch cases involves an implicit and potentially problematic comparison by the Court between the challenged state’s regulation and those of other states. We label analysis in mismatch cases “Bibb balancing,” after the famous mudflaps case, and we show that mismatch cases present the Court with a more challenging set of issues than do other types of dormant Commerce Clause cases.

Continue reading

January 26, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Seattle Law School Responds To 'Incendiary Allegations' Of Discrimination Against Visiting Professor

Law.com, Seattle U Law Responds to 'Incendiary Allegations' of Discrimination Against Visiting Professor:

Seattle U (2018)Seattle University School of Law Dean Anthony Varona wrote in an email to students and faculty Monday that the school is conducting an internal probe into allegations of racism against a visiting professor that were made public by the university’s student newspaper.

In a Jan. 18 article, The Seattle Spectator, Seattle University’s undergraduate student newspaper, reported that students had alleged “racially discriminatory treatment” by a visiting professor at the law school.

Continue reading

January 26, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Brauner Presents Taxation Of Information And The Data Revolution Today At Florida

1-26-23 Brooks and Brauner revised
Yariv Brauner
(Florida; Google Scholar) presents Taxation of Information and the Data Revolution at Florida today as part of a celebration of his academic contribution and appointment to the Hugh Culverhouse Eminent Scholar Chair in Taxation hosted by Charlene Luke:

The digital revolution has put enormous demands on the law due to the huge, quick-moving social changes it has created. The reason tax law hasn't advanced as much as other legal fields in responding to these demands is likely because it combines the problem of taxing information with the more general issue of taxing intangibles. This essay makes the case that information is distinct and necessitates a distinctive policy and analysis. It initially argues that information cannot be taxed under the current international tax rules. Therefore, reform is required, and the paper demonstrates why it is vital right now. Finally, the article makes the case that reform is also feasible by outlining three potential reform routes and contrasting their benefits and drawbacks.

Continue reading

January 26, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

With Gonzaga, Quinnipiac, Rutgers, And Seattle, 36 Law Schools Are Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings

Updated U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard

US News (2023)

  U.S. News Rank
Boycott (36)
Yale 1
Stanford 2
Columbia 4
Harvard 4
Penn 6
NYU 7
Virginia 8
UC-Berkeley 9
Michigan 10
Duke 11
Northwestern 13
Georgetown 14
UCLA 15
Fordham 37
UC-Davis 37
UC-Irvine 37
Maryland 47
University of Washington 49
UC-San Francisco 51
Penn State-Dickinson 58
Penn State-Univ. Park 64
St. John's 84
Rutgers 86
New Hampshire 105
Gonzaga 116
Seattle 116
Idaho 142
Cal-Western 147-192
Campbell 147-192
John Marshall (GA) 147-192
Quinnipiac 147-192
Roger Williams 147-192
San Francisco 147-192
South Texas 147-192
Southwestern 147-192
Western Michigan 147-192
No Boycott (53)
Chicago 3
Cornell 12
Washington Univ. 16
Florida 21
Georgia 29
George Mason 30
Arizona 45
Colorado 49
SMU 58
San Diego 64
Kentucky 67
Seton Hall 73
Case Western 78
South Carolina 84
Cincinnati 88
Louisville 94
Indiana (McKinney) 98
Louisiana State* 105
Texas Tech 105
Washburn 105
Drake 111
Mississippi 111
Stetson 111
Missouri-Kansas City* 114
Chapman 118
Hofstra 118
West Virginia 118
Baltimore 122
Mercer 122
Suffolk 122
Cleveland-Marshall 127
Willamette 129
Wyoming 129
Pacific 133
South Dakota 133
Regent 142
Akron 147-192
Arkansas-Little Rock 147-192
Ave Maria 147-192
Elon 147-192
Faulkner 147-192
John Marshall (IL) 147-192
Liberty 147-192
Lincoln Memorial 147-192
Mississippi College 147-192
North Dakota 147-192
Nova 147-192
Ohio Northern* 147-192
Oklahoma City 147-192
Southern Illinois 147-192
St. Mary's 147-192
Toledo 147-192
Western New England 147-192

*Will answer some but not all questions

Continue reading

January 26, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Christians & Shay: The Consistency Of Pillar 2 UTPR With U.S. Bilateral Tax Treaties

Allison Christians (McGill; Google Scholar) & Stephen E. Shay (Boston College; Google Scholar), The Consistency of Pillar 2 UTPR With U.S. Bilateral Tax Treaties, 178 Tax Notes Fed. 499 (Jan. 23, 2023):

Tax Notes Federal (2022)In this report, Christians and Shay explain why the pillar 2 undertaxed profits rule would be consistent with U.S. bilateral income tax treaties, and they explore some of the reasons underlying claims that the UTPR is incompatible with those treaties.

Conclusion
The UTPR is not a tax on income, nor is it likely to be characterized as in lieu of a tax on income. Instead, it is a cash tax expense that can be collected in any manner and most probably is in the nature of an excise tax. Contrary to the claims of GOP lawmakers and other commentators, the better view is that the UTPR is not covered by existing tax treaties at all, so it cannot be said to conflict with their terms.

Continue reading

January 26, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

How Diversity Is Lingering Over The LSAT And U.S. News Law School Rankings

How Diversity Is Lingering Over the LSAT and U.S. News & World Report Rankings, Nat'l Jurist, Winter 2023, at 4:

An ABA committee has recommended that standardized tests — most notably the LSAT — be optional for law school admission. Critics say schools place too much emphasis on it, and Black and Hispanic test-takers don’t perform as well on it as their white counterparts. ...

At the same time, a number of the nation’s most prestigious law schools are opting out of the much-hyped U.S. News & World Report rankings, blasting the assessment for a host of wrongs. Some say schools are boosting their positions in the rankings by admitting top students at the expense of those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Love ’em or hate ’em, the ranking affects both school and student behavior. ...

What’s caused such upheaval in such a short time?

Some say law schools are preparing for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down — or seriously weaken — the ability of schools to use affirmative action practices in their admissions decisions. If that happens, schools will need to pivot and not be as dependent on such concrete metrics as the LSAT. If they continue the current course, it could gut diversity. The high court, which heard arguments last October, is expected to rule in June.

Continue reading

January 26, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

U.S. Treasury Department: Disparities In The Benefits Of Tax Expenditures By Race And Ethnicity

Lily Batchelder (Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy) & Greg Leiserson (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis), Disparities in the Benefits of Tax Expenditures by Race and Ethnicity:

This analysis, the subject of a new Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) working paper [Tax Expenditures by Race and Hispanic
Ethnicity: An Application of the U.S. Treasury Department's Race and Hispanic Ethnicity Imputation], finds disparities in the benefits of some tax expenditures among White, Black, and Hispanic families. Tax expenditures are provisions of federal law that allow a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or which provide a special credit, a preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability for certain activities. Examples include the preferential rates for capital gains, the home mortgage interest deduction, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. OTA working papers are works in progress intended to generate discussion and critical comment.

Researchers frequently analyze the distributional effects of tax policies across an array of demographic information, including income, family structure, age, and geography. However, it is challenging to perform such analysis by race and ethnicity because there is no single data source with both tax and race/ethnicity information. Tax liability does not depend on race or ethnicity, and this information is not collected on tax returns.

To overcome this challenge, Treasury researchers have developed a method to impute race and ethnicity in tax data. Under this method, researchers estimate the probability that the primary filer—the person listed first on the tax return—is Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, White, or multiple race based on other information available in the tax data. These probabilities are then used as weights to construct estimates for different groups. ...

The new working paper on the distribution of tax expenditures, by Julie-Anne Cronin, Portia DeFilippes, and Robin Fisher of OTA, examines eight of the largest individual income tax expenditures. It estimates the distribution of benefits for certain racial and ethnic groups first on an overall per capita basis, and then within income deciles (tenths of the income distribution).

On an overall per capita basis, the paper finds that the preferential rates for capital gains and dividends, deduction for pass-through income, charitable deduction, home mortgage interest deduction, and deduction for employer-provided health insurance disproportionately benefit White families. In contrast, Black and Hispanic families, who make up a disproportionate share of low-wage workers, disproportionately benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is designed to help low- to moderate-income workers and their families. Hispanic families, who have comparatively low rates of employer-sponsored health insurance, also disproportionately benefit from the Premium Tax Credit, which provides assistance for the purchase of health insurance through the Marketplaces. Finally, Hispanic families disproportionately benefit from the Child Tax Credit. The current analysis focuses on Black, White, and Hispanic people due to high levels of uncertainty in estimates for other groups.

Treasury 1

Continue reading

January 25, 2023 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Clash And The U.S. News Law School Rankings: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Lolita Buckner Inniss (Dean, Colorado), Should I Stay or Should I Go?, 26 Green Bag 2D 19 (2023):

US News (2023)During the fall and winter of 2022-2023, several United States law schools withdrew from participation in the U.S. News & World Report survey of law schools. For over three decades the survey ranked law schools, and in doing so, has become an increasingly influential arbiter of law school quality. Law schools, however, have argued that the survey fails to assess the nature and quality of schools fully or accurately, and for that reason many have ceased to participate--they are the “goers.” Other schools have chosen to continue participating; these are the “stayers.” While goers seem to have garnered news headlines as heroic, autonomy-embracing figures, it is worth considering whether the choice of going, or staying for that matter, will meaningfully alter how law schools are viewed. The world of law, and law schools, has long been governed by entrenched hierarchies and markers of status that exist well beyond the U.S. News & World Report survey.

Continue reading

January 25, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

UC-San Francisco Seeks To Hire A Clinical Tax Professor

UC-San Francisco Law Faculty Posting:

Uc sf lawUniversity of California, College of the Law, San Francisco (“UC Law SF,” formerly, “UC Hastings Law”), located in San Francisco, California, has one of the top-ranked clinical programs in the country, and currently operates a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) in which students take lead responsibility to directly represent low-income taxpayers with tax controversies with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and/or the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

UC Law SF is looking to hire a full-time Long-Term Contract Faculty member (“Associate Clinical Professor”) to serve as a member of the Faculty and Clinic Director of the LITC. The faculty position for which UC Law SF is hiring is partly funded by UC Law SF but contingent on continued receipt of additional funds via an IRS grant.

In addition to supervising students in their legal representation, LITC Clinic Director duties also include managing other tax pro bono projects at UC Law SF, ensuring compliance and renewal of the IRS grant, and active participation in tax-related programming of the UC Law SF Center on Tax Law. ...

Continue reading

January 25, 2023 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

The 50 Most Downloaded U.S. Law Professors Of 2022

Ssrn

Rank Name School Downloads
1 Cass Sunstein Harvard 43,282
2 Daniel Solove George Washington 28,479
3 Lucian Bebchuk Harvard 27,727
4 Mark Lemley Stanford 21,131
5 Orin Kerr UC-Berkeley 19,608
6 Roberto Tallarita Harvard 15,229
7 Brian Frye Kentucky 14,991
8 Bernard Black Northwestern 13,599
9 Brandon Hasbrouck Washington & Lee 13,456
10 Danielle Keats Citron Virginia 13,417
11 Greer Donley Pittsburgh 12,490
12 Herbert Hovenkamp Penn 12,086
13 Rachel Rebouché Temple 11,833
14 Reuven Avi-Yonah Michigan 11,679
15 David Cohen Drexel 11,670
16 Brian Leiter Chicago 11,411
17 J. Mark Ramseyer Harvard 10,743
18 Stephen Bainbridge UCLA 10,708
19 Dan Kahan Yale 10,527
20 Mitu Gulati Virginia 10,472
21 Michael Klausner Stanford 10,252
22 Adrian Vermeule Harvard 9,420
23 Michael Ohlrogge NYU 9,375
24 Woodrow Hartzog Boston University 9,236
25 Wulf Kaal St. Thomas-MN 9,202
26 Eric Posner Chicago 8,967
27 Eric Goldman Santa Clara 8,819
28 Richard Albert Texas 8,522
29 Kevin Tobia Georgetown 8,160
30 Richard Leo San Francisco 8,154
31 David Kopel Denver 8,023
32 Neil Richards Washington University 7,890
33 Chris Brummer Georgetown 7,886
34 Hilary Allen American 7,588
35 Peter Menell UC-Berkeley 7,584

Continue reading

January 25, 2023 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

The 50 Most Downloaded U.S. Tax Law Professors Of 2022

Ssrn

Rank Name School Downloads
1 Reuven Avi-Yonah Michigan 11,679
2 Daniel Hemel NYU 4,980
3 Bridget Crawford Pace 4,235
4 Robert Sitkoff Harvard 3,074
5 Zachary Liscow Yale 2,780
6 Dhammika Dharmapala Chicago 2,745
7 Ruth Mason Virginia 2,693
8 Richard Ainsworth Boston University 2,674
9 Darien Shanske UC-Davis 2,617
10 David Gamage Indiana 2,595
11 Louis Kaplow Harvard 2,535
12 Kyle Rozema Washington University 2,498
13 Kimberley Clausing UCLA 2,270
14 Michael Doran Virginia 2,154
15 Lily Batchelder NYU 2,069
16 Brad Borden Brooklyn 1,991
17 Young Ran (Christine) Kim Cardozo 1,917
18 Dan Shaviro NYU 1,849
19 David Kamin NYU 1,726
20 Victoria Haneman Creighton 1,687
21 Margaret Ryznar Indiana-Indianapolis 1,557
22 Edward McCaffery USC 1,454
23 Chris Sanchirico Penn 1,432
24 Francine Lipman UNLV 1,369
25 Michael Simkovic USC 1,364
26 Paul Caron Pepperdine 1,312
27 Victor Fleischer UC-Irvine 1,305
28 Jeremy Bearer-Friend George Washington 1,304
29 Omri Marian UC-Irvine 1,296
30 Ari Glogower Ohio State 1,291
31 Brian Galle Georgetown 1,230
32 Hugh Ault Boston College 1,227
33 David Weisbach Chicago 1,194
34 Kristin Hickman Minnesota 1,146
35 Nancy McLaughlin Utah 1,130

Continue reading

January 25, 2023 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

After Katie Magbanua Flips On Charlie Adelson, He Asks Judge To Keep Her Statements To Investigators Under Wraps Until April Trial In Dan Markel's Murder

Following up on my previous post, The Dan Markel Murder Case: Katie Magbanua Flips On Charlie Adelson:  Tallahassee Democrat, Charlie Adelson's Attorneys Want Magbanua's Statements Private Until Trial:

Magbanua AdelsonAttorneys for accused Dan Markel murder suspect Charlie Adelson are asking a Leon County judge to keep any statements made to investigators by his one-time girlfriend secret until after she testifies.

The protective order filed Tuesday in Leon County Circuit Court asks that the statements made by Katherine Magbanua — convicted of Markel’s murder last year — to investigators late last year be kept from the public to minimize the level of pretrial publicity.

Adelson is set to go to trial in connection with his ex-brother-in-law’s 2014 murder on charges of first-degree murder and related conspiracy and solicitation charges in late April.

His arrest last year signaled that after two convictions and more than eight years, investigators had gathered enough evidence to arrest the man they say was behind Markel’s murder-for-hire. 

Continue reading

January 25, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink