Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Many Public Universities Refuse To Reveal Professors’ Conflicts Of Interest

Chronicle of Higher Education, Many Public Universities Refuse to Reveal Professors’ Conflicts of Interest:

All too often, what’s publicly known about faculty members’ outside activities, even those that could influence their teaching, research, or public-policy views, depends on where they teach. Academic conflicts of interest elude scrutiny because transparency varies from one university and one state to the next. ProPublica discovered those inconsistencies over the past year as we sought faculty outside-income forms from at least one public university in all 50 states.

About 20 state universities complied with our requests. The rest didn't, often citing exemptions from public-information laws for personnel records, or offering to provide the documents only if ProPublica first paid thousands of dollars. And even among those that released at least some records, there’s a wide range in what types of information are collected and disclosed, and whether faculty members actually fill out the forms as required. Then there's the universe of private universities that aren't subject to public-records laws and don't disclose professors’ potential conflicts at all. While researchers are supposed to acknowledge industry ties in scientific journals, those caveats generally don’t list compensation amounts.

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December 11, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blouin & Robinson: How Much Profit Of Multinational Enterprises Is Really In Tax Havens?

Jennifer Blouin (Penn) & Leslie A. Robinson (Dartmouth), Double Counting Accounting: How Much Profit of Multinational Enterprises Is Really in Tax Havens?:

Putting an end to the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) activity of multinational enterprises (MNEs) is on the national agenda of nearly every country in the world. While many influential papers suggest that the scope and magnitude of the BEPS problem is quite large, we show that these magnitudes are likely overstated due to the accounting treatment of indirectly-owned foreign affiliates in the BEA’s U.S. international economic accounts data. We explain how this accounting treatment leads to double counting of foreign income and to misallocations to the incorrect jurisdiction. We demonstrate an appropriate correction, and show that the correction significantly reduces the magnitude of the BEPS estimates.

Tax Havens

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December 11, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yale Prof Estimates Faculty Political Diversity At 0%

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Yale Prof Estimates Faculty Political Diversity at ‘0%’, by James Freeman:

Yale University LogoNobody looks to the Ivy League for balanced political discourse. But a new report suggests that on at least one campus, the stifling of conservative views among faculty members is nearly complete.

Valerie Pavilonis and Matt Kristoffersen report in the Yale Daily News:

According to computer science professor David Gelernter ‘76, faculty political diversity at Yale is low: “0%,” he wrote in an email. He added that while there are a “few conservatives, including prominent ones,” their numbers are not high enough to have a significant impact on campus culture.

Readers might assume that Mr. Gelernter, an occasional contributor to the Journal, is poking fun at the school’s overwhelming leftism rather than expressing mathematical precision. But via email, another Yale faculty member who chooses to remain anonymous tells this column, “I agree with the calculation.”

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December 11, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Massive Triumph Of The Rich, Illustrated By Stunning New Data

Washington Post, The Massive Triumph of the Rich, Illustrated By Stunning New Data:

WaPoThe triumph of the rich, which is one of the defining stories of our time, is generally described as largely the reflection of two factors. The first, of course, is the explosion of income among top earners, in which a tiny minority has vacuumed up a ballooning share of the gains from the past few decades of economic growth.

The second factor — which will be key to the 2020 presidential race — has been the hidden decline in the progressivity of the tax code at the top, in which the wealthiest earners have over those same decades seen their effective  tax rates steadily fall.

Put those two factors together, and they tell a story about soaring U.S. inequality that is in some ways even more dramatic than each is on its own.

A new analysis prepared at my request by Gabriel Zucman — the French economist and "wealth detector" who has become famous for tracing the hidden wealth of the super-rich — illustrates that dual story in a freshly compelling way.

The top-line finding: Among the bottom 50 percent of earners, average real annual income even after taxes and transfers has edged up a meager $8,000 since 1970, rising from just over $19,000 to just over $27,000 in 2018.

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December 11, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ari Glogower's Tenure Approved By Ohio State Law Faculty


Ari's recent publications include

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December 11, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Finland Is A Capitalist Paradise — High Taxes Are Good For Business

New York Times, Finland Is a Capitalist Paradise: Can High Taxes Be Good For Business? You Bet.:

Finland FlagTwo years ago we were living in a pleasant neighborhood in Brooklyn. We were experienced professionals, enjoying a privileged life. We’d just had a baby. She was our first, and much wanted. We were United States citizens and our future as a family should have seemed bright. But we felt deeply insecure and anxious.

Our income was trickling in unreliably from temporary gigs as independent contractors. Our access to health insurance was a constant source of anxiety, as we scrambled year after year among private employer plans, exorbitant plans for freelancers, and complicated and expensive Obamacare plans. With a child, we’d soon face overwhelming day-care costs. Never mind the bankruptcy-sized bills for education ahead, whether for housing in a good public-school district or for private-school tuition. And then there’d be college. In other words, we suffered from the same stressors that are swamping more and more of Americans, even the relatively privileged.

As we contemplated all this, one of us, Anu, was offered a job back in her hometown: Helsinki, Finland.

Finland, of course, is one of those Nordic countries that we hear some Americans, including President Trump, describe as unsustainable and oppressive — “socialist nanny states.” As we considered settling there, we canvassed Trevor’s family — he was raised in Arlington, Va. — and our American friends. They didn’t seem to think we’d be moving to a Soviet-style autocracy. In fact, many of them encouraged us to go. Even a venture capitalist we knew in Silicon Valley who has three children sounded envious: “I’d move to Finland in a heartbeat.”

So we went.

We’ve now been living in Finland for more than a year. The difference between our lives here and in the States has been tremendous, but perhaps not in the way many Americans might imagine. What we’ve experienced is an increase in personal freedom. Our lives are just much more manageable. To be sure, our days are still full of challenges — raising a child, helping elderly parents, juggling the demands of daily logistics and work.

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December 11, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

USC Is First Business School To Reach Gender Parity

Poets&Quants, USC Marshall Reaches Gender Parity:

USC MarshallThe University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business has become the first major business school in the U.S. to reach gender parity in its full-time MBA program. The school reported that 52% of its incoming MBA students this fall will be women, a whopping 20-point percentage jump from just 32% last year.

Many of the top schools have been working hard to increase the women in their MBA programs in recent years but have fallen far short of the 50-50 mark. Last year, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business were at the high end, both with women making up 44% of the Class of 2019. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the Yale School of Management followed closely with 43% each.

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December 11, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Slemrod: Tax Compliance And Enforcement

Joel Slemrod (Michigan), Tax Compliance and Enforcement, 57 J. Econ. Lit. 904 (2019):

This paper reviews recent economic research in tax compliance and enforcement. After briefly laying out the economics of tax evasion, it focuses on recent empirical contributions. It first discusses what methodologies and data have facilitated these contributions, and then presents critical summaries of what has been learned. It discusses a promising new development—the analysis of randomized controlled trials mostly delivered via letters from the tax authority—and then reviews recent research using various methods about the impact of the principal enforcement tax policy instruments: audits, information reporting, and remittance regimes. I also explore several understudied issues worthy of more research attention. The paper closes by outlining a normative framework based on the behavioral response elasticities now being credibly estimated that allow one to assess whether a given enforcement intervention is worth doing.

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December 11, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Tax Lawyer Publishes New Issue

The Tax Lawyer has published Vol. 73, No. 1 (Fall 2019):

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December 10, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the  2019 tax writing competition:

First Prize ($5,000):
Christine Davis (Florida), More Anti-Simplification: PTI and GILTI After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Faculty Sponsor:  Mindy Herzfeld

Second Prize ($2,000):
Alexandra Ferrera (NYU), Incentivizing the Care of Adult Family Members Through a Two-Part Tax Credit
Faculty Sponsor:  Lily Batchelder

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December 10, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bader: How To Cope With Your Law Prof’s Left Wing Bias

Hans Bader (Competitive Enterprise Institute), How to Cope With Your Prof’s Left-wing Bias:

To get the best possible grade, students may need to pander to their professors’ left-wing ideology.

Professors are much more likely to be progressives than they are to be moderate or conservative. Law professors are no exception. Progressive professors view progressive views as a sign of intelligence, and conservatism as a sign of stupidity. For example, Prof. Robert Brandon, head of Duke University’s philosophy department, argued that conservatives are rare in academia because they are stupid.

So to get a good grade, moderate or conservative law students should pretend to be progressives when taking their final exam. That will make them seem more intelligent to their left-wing professors. They should echo their professor’s left-wing ideology in answering exam questions — such as questions about what a vague provision of the Constitution means, or about who should win a lawsuit where both sides have a plausible legal argument.

Parroting my professors’ left-wing ideology worked for me at Harvard Law School. For example, I got a good grade in my tort law class, because I parroted the professor’s male-bashing and left-wing extremism. I got a high grade even though I did not understand tort law as well as most of my classmates. When I failed to pander to my left-wing professors’ ideology, I got lower grades. I received only a B- in property law, which I understood better than many classmates. Why? Perhaps because I did not echo the anti-property-rights mindset of the left-wing professor.

Moderate and conservative law professors themselves have advised students to parrot their progressive professors’ views to get a good grade on their final exam. Law professor Robert Anderson advises,

Law students: Remember to echo your professor’s ideology on your final exams! If you haven’t noticed this on Twitter, many profs are incapable of separating “is” from “ought,” acknowledging trade-offs, or recognizing the validity of counterarguments.

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December 10, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly ranking of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  This ranking includes downloads from two 30- and 35-page papers by 12 tax professors on the 2017 tax legislation that garnered a lot of media attention (including the New York Times and Washington Post) and generated a massive amount of downloads (the papers are the most downloaded tax papers of all-time by over 200%).  See Brian Leiter (Chicago), 11 Tax Profs Blow Up The SSRN Download Rankings. (For some reason, Mitchell Kane (NYU) — the twelfth academic co-author of the two papers — is not included in the SSRN download rankings (although the downloads are included on his individual author page)).  Here is the new list (through December 1, 2019) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

    All-Time   Recent
1 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)  187,160 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) 8,109
2 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 119,716 David Kamin (NYU) 5,766
3 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 115,552 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 5,753
4 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 114,993 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 5,600
5 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 114,323 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 4,260
6 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 109,145 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 4,084
7 Cliff Fleming (BYU) 104,102 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)  3,784
8 David Kamin (NYU) 103,554 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 3,632
9 Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) 101,342 Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) 3,544
10 Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 100,266 Cliff Fleming (BYU) 3,186
11 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 98,966 Rebecca Kysar (Fordham)  3,180
12 Michael Simkovic (USC) 43,708 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 3,056
13 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 37,884 Richard Ainsworth (BU) 2,472
14 Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 36,173 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 2,399
15 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 32,498 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 2,167
16 Richard Ainsworth (BU) 28,689 Michael Simkovic (USC) 2,103
17 Ed Kleinbard (USC) 26,261 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 1,998
18 Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine) 25,827 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 1,941
19 Jim Hines (Michigan) 24,786 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 1,936
20 Gladriel Shobe (BYU) 24,093 Kyle Rozema (Chicago) 1,868
21 Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.) 23,853 Hugh Ault (Boston College) 1,847
22 Richard Kaplan (Illinois) 23,556 Yariv Brauner (Florida) 1,675
23 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 23,693 Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indy) 1,316
24 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 23,365 Paul Caron (Pepperdine)   1,304
25 Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) 22,751 George Yin (Virginia) 1,233

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December 10, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Academia's Day Care Caste System Prices Out Students And Staff At $3,000+/Month

Boston Globe, In Academia, There’s a Caste System For Parents and It Could Backfire:

Boston University is spending $10 million to upgrade its child care center, moving and expanding operations to a freshly-renovated historic home that will offer staffing levels well above state requirements.

With three times the capacity of the current facility, a high-level child care center right near campus in Brookline’s leafy Cottage Farm neighborhood should be a powerful perk for BU employees. But the eye-popping tuition for the new facility — $2,500 a month for infants and $2,250 for toddlers — has created a firestorm on campus. ...

The child care crunch in academia is not unique to BU. Costs are so hefty at many schools that it has created a kind of day care caste system in academia. Lower-paid employees and grad students at many local colleges, eking out a living on stipends and grants, can’t begin to afford day care at some of the Boston area’s top universities, where the monthly cost of caring for an infant can exceed $3,000. ...

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December 10, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

OECD: Trump’s Tax Cuts Push U.S. Tax Burden To Near World's Lowest

Wall Street Journal, Trump’s Tax Cuts Push U.S. Burden Lower in World:

President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts reduced the U.S. tax burden to one of the lowest among major world economies, according to a Thursday report [Revenue Statistics 2019] by an intergovernmental organization.

U.S. tax burdens dropped by the largest amount among those countries in 2018, and the U.S. now has lower taxes than all but three countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the report said.


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December 10, 2019 in Gov't Reports, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Debt-To-Income Ratios Among The Top 14, 21 California, And 15 New York Law Schools

Following up on my previous post, Is Your Law School Worth It? Which Law Schools Have the Best and Worst Debt-to-Income Ratios Among Recent Graduates?

Karen Sloan (, Here's a Look at Debt-to-Earnings Ratios for Grads From Top Law Schools:

Which law schools send graduates on to the highest-paying jobs with the lowest amount of debt? New data from the U.S. Department of Education offers a comprehensive look at law graduate debt levels and first-year earnings—a new tool that can help aspiring lawyers get an idea of the costs of law school and their probable earning potential upon leaving campus.

Today, we’re looking at the so-called T-14—that is, the top 14 schools in the country as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. ... At nine of these schools, graduates on average made more right out of law school than they borrowed to finance their legal educations. (The figures don’t include any undergraduate debt.)

Karen Sloan (The Recorder),  Which California Law School Provides the Best Debt-to-Earnings Ratio for Grads? Find Out Here:

[W]e’ve got the debt-to-earnings ratios for the 21 law schools in California accredited by the American Bar Association. ... At all but one campus, graduates on average made less right out of law school than they borrowed to finance their legal educations. ... At the other 19 schools, graduates borrowed more than they made initially. That’s generally on par with legal education as a whole, where median debt exceeded first-year earnings at 94% of law schools. At seven schools in the state, median debt loads were three times or more than average starting salaries.

Karen Sloan (New York Law Journal), Which Law School in NY Provides the Best Debt-to-Earnings Ratio for Grads? Take a Look:

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December 10, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Prof Sharyn Fisk Named Director Of IRS Office Of Professional Responsibility

IR-2019-202, IRS Selects Longtime Tax Professional, Sharyn Fisk, to Lead the Office of Professional Responsibility (Dec. 9, 2019):

FiskThe Internal Revenue Service today announced the selection of Sharyn M. Fisk to lead the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

Fisk has most recently been a professor of tax at the College of Business Administration at Cal Poly Pomona and active in the nation’s tax community in a variety of roles. She will assume leadership of OPR in early 2020.

“This is a critical position for the nation’s tax community. Sharyn Fisk is extremely well respected both internally at the IRS and throughout the tax professional communities. She has a strong set of skills and experience in many different settings that will serve the IRS well in this role,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Taxpayers, the IRS and the tax community rely on this office to help uphold strong professional standards among tax professionals. We look forward to Ms. Fisk providing meaningful, fair and equitable guidance while also strengthening the oversight of tax professionals.”

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December 10, 2019 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 9, 2019

Blank And Osofsky Present Automated Legal Guidance Today At Boston University

Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine) and Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina) present Automated Legal Guidance at Boston University today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by David Walker:

Blank OsofskyThe use of artificial intelligence as an aid to law enforcement has received significant attention from legal scholars.  For instance, the introduction of machine learning to identify likely crime hot spots has caused scholars to consider questions such as how to apply Fourth Amendment standards, how to prevent racial discrimination and how to preserve transparency and accountability.  On the other hand, scholars have not addressed the government’s increasing use of artificial intelligence for another purpose—providing guidance to the public regarding legal entitlements and obligations.  For example, the Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers to seek answers regarding various tax credits and deductions not from human IRS representatives, but rather from its online “Interactive Tax Assistant.”  Likewise, the U.S. Army directs individuals with questions about enlistment to its virtual guide, “Sgt. Star,” and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests that potential green card holders and citizens speak with its interactive chatbot, “Emma.”

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December 9, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oh Presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons From Estate Tax Avoidance At San Diego

Jason Oh (UCLA) presented Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance (with Eric Zolt (UCLA)) last Thursday at San Diego as part of its Tax Law Speaker Series hosted by Jordan Barry and Miranda Perry Fleischer:

OhPresidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both proposed ambitious new annual wealth taxes based on academic work by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. They project these proposals to raise trillions of dollars over the next ten years. Some critics challenge the Saez-Zucman approach to measuring wealth concentration. Other critics including Larry Summers and Natasha Sarin have used data from estate tax returns and the relatively small amount of revenue the estate tax raises to question the revenue projections of these proposals. This comparison can be useful only if one thinks carefully about specific estate tax strategies and how these strategies translate to an annual wealth tax. This article engages in that exercise. When one takes a closer look at estate tax avoidance and how it maps onto an annual wealth tax, a much more complex narrative emerges.

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December 9, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top Law Schools: Business Law

Business LawTop Law Schools: Business Law, preLaw, Vol. 23, No. 2, Fall 2019, at 41:

preLaw magazine graded law schools based on the breadth of their curricular offerings. The scores were weighted as follows: 30% for a concentration, 24% for a clinic, 12% for a center, 12% for an externship, 9% for a journal, 8% for a student group, 5% for a certificate and added value for other offerings.

13 schools [got] an A+ in our roundup of Top Schools for Business Law. Many schools were honored for exceptional offerings in this area. Thirty-two schools earned an A grade, while another 41 earned an A-. That is more than any other specialty.

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December 9, 2019 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should AALS Use QR-Coded Badges At The 2020 Annual Meeting?

Inside Higher Ed, Scholars Object To Coded Conference Badges:

QR CodeBeing scanned in to scholarly meetings? Religious studies and biblical literature scholars said a loud, quick no to the idea last week upon learning via email that name badges for their upcoming annual meeting would include QR codes.

The American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature, which will gather at the end of the month in San Diego, responded to the criticism quickly, saying Friday that they would distribute badges with no codes instead. In so doing, meeting planners said they had been trying to encourage “fair use” of conference badges.

But scholars have lingering questions as to why and how the QR code plan took shape in the first place.

Common concerns include those about surveillance and tracking, and the disparate impact that enforcing a badge policy might have on racial, ethnic and sexual minorities. Elsewhere, policing of scholarly meeting attendance -- sometimes by hotel or conference hall staff members -- has led to instances of apparent racial profiling.

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December 9, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lesson From The Tax Court: Taxpayers Behaving Badly (2019)

Santa ClausThis will be my last post until January.  I will be spending my days (except for Christmas Day) grading exams.  Grades are due Friday January 3rd so I hope to have my next post done for January 6th. 

For the second year, my last blog of the year is a roundup of the cases I read during 2019 where something in the facts made me just shake my head (SMH in texting parlance).  I present them to you now, in chronological order, and I invite you to consider which of the following cases may be examples of just an empty head and which are examples of something worse. [Lesson From The Tax Court: Taxpayers Behaving Badly (2018)]

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December 9, 2019 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure | Permalink | Comments (1)

Over 750 Law Profs (And 10 Tax Profs) Declare Trump's Conduct 'Clearly Impeachable'

National Law Journal, Hundreds of Law Profs Declare Trump's Conduct 'Clearly Impeachable':

Hundreds of law professors from schools across the country published an open letter Friday declaring President Donald Trump’s conduct involving Ukraine as “clearly impeachable,” an assertion that comes after a daylong hearing earlier this week at which Republicans and Democrats sharply divided over their assessment of the president’s actions.

The letter, posted on the website Medium and sponsored by the government watchdog Protect Democracy, had been signed by [over 750 professors as of Monday morning].

The letter begins:

We, the undersigned legal scholars, have concluded that President Trump engaged in impeachable conduct.

We do not reach this conclusion lightly. The Founders did not make impeachment available for disagreements over policy, even profound ones, nor for extreme distaste for the manner in which the President executes his office. Only “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” warrant impeachment. But there is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress. His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution.

Tax Prof signatories are:

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December 9, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (3)

NY Times: Democrats Say Tax Increases Will Boost Economic Growth

New York Times, Could Tax Increases Speed Up the Economy? Democrats Say Yes:

Elizabeth Warren is leading a liberal rebellion against a long-held economic view that large tax increases slow economic growth, trying to upend Democratic policymaking in the way supply-side conservatives changed Republican orthodoxy four decades ago.

Generations of economists, across much of the ideological spectrum, have long held that higher taxes reduce investment, slowing economic growth. That drag, the consensus held, would offset the benefits to growth from increased government spending in areas like education.

Ms. Warren and other leading Democrats say the opposite. The senator from Massachusetts, who is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, contends that her plans to tax the rich and spend the revenue to lift the poor and the middle class would accelerate economic growth, not impede it. Other Democratic candidates are making similar claims about their tax-and-spend proposals. Some liberal economists go further and say that simply taxing the rich would help growth no matter what the government did with the money.

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December 9, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Close The Tax Gap By Ensuring Pass-Throughs Pay More Taxes They Owe

Samantha Jacoby (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities), Policymakers Should Ensure Pass-Throughs Pay More of Taxes They Owe:

High-income taxpayers drive much of the “tax gap” — the gap between what taxpayers owe and what they voluntarily pay on time — finds a new paper from Professor Natasha Sarin and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers [Shrinking the Tax Gap: Approaches And Revenue Potential], citing new IRS data for 2011 to 2013. That’s unsurprising, because the tax gap’s single largest source is the underreporting of pass-through income (income from sources such as S corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships), which overwhelmingly flows to wealthy households. IRS auditors looking to curb tax evasion as well as policymakers looking to close tax loopholes should make pass-throughs a prime target. ...

Taxpayers who didn’t file a return and those underpaying the IRS accounted for 20 percent of the gross tax gap, and income underreporting the other 80 percent, the latest IRS data show. Pass-throughs accounted for nearly half (44 percent) of the underreporting gap, counting both underreported income and self-employment taxes.


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December 8, 2019 in Tax, Tax Scholarship, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (2)

NY Times: California’s Cannabis Churches — From The Virgin Mary To Mary Jane As A Sacrament

New York Times, Inside the War for California’s Cannabis Churches:

Jah Healing ChurchEvery Sunday, about two dozen people gather at a green cabin along the main drag of Big Bear, Calif., a small mountain town known for its namesake lake. They go there for Jah Healing Church services, where joints are passed around.

April Mancini, a founder of the church, said she was drawn to the idea of cannabis as a religious sacrament back in 2013, after she met a Rastafarian who was running the place as an unlicensed medicinal dispensary.

“I’m a Christian, so I wasn’t sure in the beginning,” Ms. Mancini said. “I didn’t want to go against God.”

But she said she studied the Bible for references to cannabis, and believed she found them in scriptures that mentioned kaneh bosem oil. (English-language Bibles usually render the term “kaneh bosem,” a component of an anointing oil mentioned in Exodus, as “fragrant cane” or “sweet calamus.”)

In October 2017, Ms. Mancini filed paperwork with the state to incorporate the Jah Healing Kemetic Temple of the Divine. The newly registered church stopped requiring medical cards for marijuana for people 21 and over. Its teachings are largely Christian but borrow from a grab bag of religious traditions as varied as Rastafarianism, Buddhism and Judaism.

But before the year was up, the county sent the church a notice, accusing it of operating a dispensary. In April 2018, the county raided the church, confiscating the congregation’s sacrament in all its forms.

The resulting and continuing legal battle led Jah to ramp up efforts to establish itself as a church in the eyes of the law. ...

At the heart of this matter is a possibly unanswerable question: What is religion? And how do you prove faith?

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December 8, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Forgiveness: Law, Faith, Christmas, And Hamilton

Martha Minow (Harvard), When Should Law Forgive? (2019):

When Should Law ForgiveThe potential power of forgiveness in an age of resentment.

Crimes and violations of the law require punishment, and our legal system is set up to punish, but what if the system was recalibrated to also weigh grounds for forgiveness? What if something like bankruptcy―a fresh start for debtors―were available to people convicted of crimes? Martha Minow explores the complicated intersection of the law, justice, and forgiveness, asking whether the law should encourage people to forgive, and when courts, public officials, and specific laws should forgive.

Who has the right to forgive? Who should be forgiven? And under what terms? Minow tackles these foundational issues by exploring three questions:

What does the international response to child soldiers teach us about the legal treatment of juvenile offenders in the United States?

  • Why are the laws surrounding corporate debt more forgiving than those governing American student and consumer debt, and sovereign debt in the developing world?
  • When do law’s tools of forgiveness, amnesties, and pardons strengthen justice, peace, and democracy (think South Africa), and when do they undermine law’s promise of fairness (think Joe Arpaio)?

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December 8, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [344 Downloads]  The Arm's Length Standard Is Not the Problem, by Lorraine Eden (Texas A&M)
  2. [301 Downloads]  Boiling Starbucks’ Roasting Down to the Essence of its Residual, by William Byrnes (Texas A&M)
  3. [221 Downloads]  Implications for Apple in the Lower Court Rulings in Starbucks and Fiat, by Ruth Mason (Virginia)
  4. [191 Downloads]  2018 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law, by Jeffrey Cooper (Quinnipiac) & John Ivimey (Reid and Riege, Hartford)
  5. [151 Downloads]  Taxing Tech: The Future of Digital Taxation, by Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown)

December 8, 2019 in Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Measuring The 1%: Economists Are Rethinking The Numbers On Inequality

The Economist, Measuring the 1%: Economists Are Rethinking the Numbers on Inequality:

Economist Logo (2015)An academic disagreement has big real-world implications

Over a decade before thousands of protesters gathered in Zuccotti Park in New York in 2011, a little-known researcher in France sat down to write about income inequality in a new way. “The focus of our study consists in comparing the evolution of the incomes of the top 10%, the top 1%, the top 0.5%, and so on,” Thomas Piketty wrote in a paper in 1998. With his long-term co-author, Emmanuel Saez, Mr Piketty pioneered the use of tax data over survey data, thereby doing a better job of capturing the incomes of the richest. He revealed that “the 1%” had made out like bandits at the expense of “the 99%”. His research gave Occupy Wall Street its vocabulary.

What followed was an explosion of research into the causes and consequences of a surge in inequality across the rich world. In “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, a bestseller first published in 2013, Mr Piketty argued that under capitalism rising inequality was the normal state of affairs.

Mr Piketty’s research, and more like it, became part of the political discourse in America and much of the West. Two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for the American presidency, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have proposed taxes on wealth to tackle inequality—pledges cheered on by Mr Saez and Mr Piketty’s other co-author, Gabriel Zucman. In a new book, “Capital and Ideology” (currently available only in French) Mr Piketty calls for a 90% tax on wealth, such is the scale of the inequality crisis. ...

Yet just as ideas about inequality have completed their march from the academy to the frontlines of politics, researchers have begun to look again. And some are wondering whether inequality has in fact risen as much as claimed—or, by some measures, at all.

It is fiendishly complicated to calculate how much people earn in a year or the value of the assets under their control, and thus a country’s level of income or wealth inequality. Some people fail to complete government surveys; others undercount income on their tax returns. And defining what counts as “income” is surprisingly difficult, as is valuing assets such as unquoted shares or artwork. Legions of academics, not to mention government officials and researchers in think-tanks, are devoted to unpicking these problems.

The conventional wisdom to have emerged from these efforts revolves around four main points. First, over a period of four to five decades the incomes of the top 1% have soared. Second, the incomes of middle-earners have stagnated. Third, wages have barely risen even though productivity has done so, meaning that an increasing share of gdp has gone to investors in the form of interest, dividends and capital gains, rather than to labour in the form of wages. Fourth, the rich have reinvested the fruits of their success, such that inequality of wealth (ie, the stock of assets less liabilities such as mortgage debt) has risen, too.

Each argument has always had its doubters. But they have grown in number as a series of new papers have called the existing estimates of inequality into question.

Start with top incomes. ... [A] recent working paper by Gerald Auten and David Splinter, economists at the Treasury and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, respectively, reaches a striking new conclusion [Income Inequality in the United States: Using Tax Data to Measure Long-term Trends (presentation here)]. It finds that, after adjusting for taxes and transfers, the income share of America’s top 1% has barely changed since the 1960s (see chart 1) [more here].


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December 7, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Harvard To Pay $50 Million Tax Due To Trump Tax Reform

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Inside Higher Ed, $50 Million Tax Bill for Harvard:

Harvard 1Harvard University expects to pay $49.8 million in federal taxes as a result of the tax reform package passed in 2017.

Most of the tax bill, $37.7 million, comes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s new tax on net investment income -- the so-called endowment tax. The other $12.1 million is from a net investment income tax on operational revenues, unrelated business taxable income and excise taxes on executive compensation.

The nearly $50 million tax bill is still an estimate, Harvard said in its annual financial report for the fiscal year ending in June 2019, which the university released Thursday. The federal government hasn’t issued final guidance that would allow the exact amount of tax to be calculated, but accounting principles require Harvard to book expenses in the year they were incurred. ...

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December 7, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (4)

ProPublica: How A Tax Break To Help The Poor Went To NBA Owner Dan Gilbert

ProPublica, How a Tax Break to Help the Poor Went to NBA Owner Dan Gilbert:

Pro PublicaAfter a lobbying effort, Dan Gilbert, billionaire founder of Quicken Loans, won special tax status for wealthy areas of downtown Detroit where he owns billions worth of property.

Billionaire Dan Gilbert has spent the last decade buying up buildings in downtown Detroit, amassing nearly 100 properties and so completely dominating the area, it’s known as Gilbertville. In the last few years, Gilbert, the 57-year-old founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has also grown close to the Trump family.

Quicken gave $750,000 to Trump’s inaugural fund. Gilbert has built a relationship with Ivanka Trump, who appeared at one of his Detroit buildings in 2017 for a panel discussion with him. And, last year, he watched the midterm election returns at the White House with President Donald Trump himself, who has called Gilbert “a great friend.”

Gilbert’s cultivation of the Trump family appears to have paid off: Three swaths of downtown Detroit were selected as opportunity zones under the Trump tax law, extending a valuable tax break to Gilbert’s real estate empire.

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December 7, 2019 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, December 6, 2019

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Kim Reviews Sutherland's Cryptocurrency Economics And The Taxation Of Block Rewards

This week, Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) reviews a new work by Abraham Sutherland (Virginia), Cryptocurrency Economics and the Taxation of Block Rewards, Part 1 in 165 Tax Notes 749 (Nov. 4, 2019), Part 2 in 165 Tax Notes 953 (Nov. 11, 2019).

6a00d8341c4eab53ef022ad3a74c80200d-300wi (1)Blockchain, which is the technology behind cryptocurrency, is gradually achieving mainstream adoption. On October 28, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission authorized a blockchain startup's pilot project where blockchain will be used to settle trades in stock such as GE and AT&T. This project may challenge the securities trading system for clearing and settlement that has been monopolized by the U.S. Central Depository Agency (DTCC). However, the tax community still has a long way to go in the realm of cryptocurrency, not to mention the underlying blockchain technology, because there are many unresolved issues related to the tax consequences of cryptocurrency. IRS Notice 2014-21 provides that cryptocurrency is not currency—rather, it would be taxed as intangible property and should be included in gross income when received. Recently, IRS Rev. Rul. 2019-24 and FAQ on virtual currency transactions clarify the tax treatment of hard forks and airdrops. To be specific, the splitting of a cryptocurrency under a "hard fork" does not create taxable income if no new cryptocurrency is received, but taxable income is generated by "airdrops" that deliver new cryptocurrency. Nonetheless, the IRS has again punted other long-awaited issues, such as the valuation of cryptocurrency and the foreign reporting requirement.

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December 6, 2019 in Christine Kim, Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Trump's Taxes And Tax Returns

Are 'Transformative' Law School Naming Gifts Really Transformative?

Brian Leiter (Chicago), Are "Transformative Gifts" Really Transformative?: has a list of naming gifts to law schools over the last few decades, with the majority coming in the last two decades.  Here are the biggest gifts, by year:

    1998:    $115 million to the University of Arizona
    2001:    $30 million to Ohio State University
    2008:    $35 million to Indiana University, Bloomington
    2011:    $30 million to the University of Maryland
    2013:    $50 million to Chapman University
    2014:    $50 million to Drexel University
    2015:    $100 million to Northwestern University
    2016:    $30 million to George Mason University
    2019:    $50 million to Pepperdine University
    2019:    $125 million to the University of Pennsylvania ...

It remains to be seen whether any of these gifts will really change the strength and status of any of these schools. In ten years, we'll probably have a clearer idea of the impact given how recent many of the largest gifts are. 

Robert Anderson (Pepperdine):

Today, @BrianLeiter asks whether "transformative" law school gifts are really transformative, with examples. My guess is the reason they're not is (1) much of the money isn't "real" (2) deans [spend] it on pet programs (3) Univ admin "steals" it through overhead.

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), What Makes a Donation to a Law School a "Transformative" Gift? One Idea Might Be Free Tuition For All Students:

[T]he single most dramatic thing a school could attempt to do? Make it free.

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December 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Lawsky's Free Income Tax Problem Generator

Sarah Lawksy (Northwestern) has created a great free website that generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems in a variety of subject areas.  From the FAQ page:

Lawsky (2017)Q: What does this website do?
A: It generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems. The problems are a random selection of facts, names, and randomly (but thoughtfully) generated numbers about a range of basic tax topics. You can pick a particular topic, or you can have the website to pick both a topic and problem at random.

Q: Are the answers also random?
A: Mostly, no. The multiple-choice answers are based on mistakes people commonly make (though one random answer is usually thrown in there).

Q: What happens once I pick an answer?
A: If you pick a wrong answer, the website usually provides a substantive hint about what you did wrong. A right answer usually returns a full explanation. In many of the explanations of answers both right and wrong, there is a link to the relevant code section.

Q: Do the questions repeat?
A: Eventually--there are not an infinite number of problems--but there are a lot of different problems. Setting aside the numbers' changing, which doesn't necessarily provide conceptually different questions, different types of problems toggle a bunch of different facts and relationships between the numbers, all of which change the problem conceptually. For example, for like-kind exchanges, there are five different facts than can toggle (asset is personal use or business use, whether there is debt relief and whom that debt relief favors (someone who provides boot or not), etc.) and four different questions. For installment sales there are even more toggles; for unrestricted property as compensation, many fewer.

Q: What is this for?
A: Whatever you want. A professor can use to generate problems for teaching or to give students direct access to it; a student can use it to practice for tax class--whatever works for you. The website is free and is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license, which means, roughly, that you can share this or use it for any purpose, just so long as you give appropriate credit, distribute the material so other people can use it under the same terms, and don't create any additional restrictions.

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December 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Capital Gains Taxation And Investment Dynamics

Sungki Hong (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis) & Terry S. Moon (University of British Columbia), Capital Gains Taxation and Investment Dynamics:

This paper quantifies the long-run effects of reducing capital gains taxes on aggregate investment. We develop a dynamic general equilibrium model with heterogeneous firms, which face discrete capital gains tax rates based on their firm size. We calibrate our model by targeting relevant micro moments as well as the difference-in-differences estimate of the capital elasticity based on the institutional setting and a policy reform in Korea. We find that the firm-size reform that reduced the capital gains tax rates from 24 percent to 10 percent for the affected firms increased aggregate investment by 2.6 percent and 1.7 percent in the short-run and in the steady state, respectively. Additionally, in a counterfactual analysis where we set the uniformly low tax rate of 10 percent, the aggregate investment rose by 6.8 percent in the long-run.

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December 6, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Number Of College Students Seeking Mental Health Services Has Soared 35% In Five Years

Register-Guard, As Stigma Ebbs, College Students Seek Mental Health Help:

More college students are turning to their schools for help with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, and many must wait weeks for treatment or find help elsewhere as campus clinics struggle to meet demand, an Associated Press review of more than three dozen public universities found.

On some campuses, the number of students seeking treatment has nearly doubled over the last five years while overall enrollment has remained relatively flat. The increase has been tied to reduced stigma around mental health, along with rising rates of depression and other disorders. Universities have expanded their mental health clinics, but the growth is often slow, and demand keeps surging.

Long waits have provoked protests at schools from Maryland to California, in some cases following student suicides. Meanwhile, campus counseling centers grapple with low morale and high burnout as staff members face increasingly heavy workloads. ...

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December 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Satterthwaite: Gender Belongs At The Center Of Tax Policy Debates About Inequality

Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto), A Do-Over For The Tax Unit (JOTWELL) (reviewing Margherita Borella (University of Torino), Mariacristina De Nardi (University College London) & Fang Yang (Louisiana State University), Are Marriage-Related Taxes and Social Security Benefits Holding Back Female Labor Supply?):

Jotwell (2020)There has been a surge in empirical literature examining gendered patterns of behavior and outcomes across numerous economic contexts, especially choices within and across families. Relatively little of it has focused explicitly on how the basic structure of our tax laws interacts with and influences such choices. Encouragingly, a recent working paper by Margherita BorellaMariacristina De Nardi, and Fang Yang does exactly that.

Borella, De Nardi, and Yang (BD&Y) study two key policies within the U.S. tax-transfer system: joint income tax filing for married couples and access to Social Security benefits for spouses. The joint income tax filing rule means that a married secondary earner will owe income tax at the marginal rate established by “stacking” her income on her spouse’s income, which generally is a higher rate than would apply if the secondary earner was single. Social Security benefits also increase to account for an earner’s spouse, but do not increase to account for an earner’s unmarried partner.

Both of these policies are gender-neutral on face; however, the background conditions under which they operate are not. ...

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December 5, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Levy: Why I Resigned In Protest From Penn Law's Board When A Conservative Professor Was Punished

Following up on my previous post, Wall Street Journal op-ed, University of Pennsylvania Trustee and Penn Law Overseer Resigns Over Treatment Of Amy Wax:  The Daily Signal op-ed:  Why I Resigned in Protest When a Conservative Professor Was Punished, by Paul Levy:

Penn Law (2020)In 2018, I resigned as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and an overseer of its law school to protest the shameful treatment of law professor Amy Wax.

Her sin, in the eyes of her detractors, was to question the wisdom of racial preference policies that brought to the law school, in her estimation, black students who did not rise to the top half of the class.

Her challenge to campus orthodoxy led to a firestorm. ...

In 1967, the University of Chicago’s widely respected Kalven Committee—which was assembled to explore the university’s role in political action—warned:

There is no mechanism by which [the university] can reach a collective position without inhibiting that full freedom of dissent on which it thrives. … The neutrality of the university … arises out of respect for free inquiry and the obligation to cherish a diversity of viewpoints. ...

I now look upon a once-beloved campus and see oppression the likes of which I did not think possible.

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December 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Brooks: The Ethical Tax Judge

Kim Brooks (Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law), The Ethical Tax Judge, in Ethics and Taxation (Robert van Brederode ed., Springer 2020):

Ethics TaxThis chapter advances the claim that judges have an ethical obligation of competence that requires them to enhance their knowledge about language (in the context of statutory interpretation) and income tax law design and policy. It articulates some of the foundational understandings that support that competence and provides a simple hierarchy of approaches to interpreting income tax law. It concludes by contending that greater competence is not only more ethical but also advances other important societal goals fulfilled by the imposition of income tax systems. ...

Ultimately, judges should seek to interpret income tax legislation in a fashion that respects our interdisciplinary understanding of how words are used to express ideas and supports the effective functioning of income tax legislation.

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December 5, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Something Borrowed: Interdisciplinary Strategies For Legal Education

Deborah L. Borman (Arkansas) & Catherine Haras (Cal State-L.A.), Something Borrowed: Interdisciplinary Strategies for Legal Education, 68 J. Legal Educ. 357 (2019):

The focus of this article is “Borrowed Strategies,” education theories and techniques from other disciplines that encourage faculty and students to achieve better learning in law school to ultimately become better practitioners. We address some of the faulty learning theory that pervades the legal academy, i.e., neuromyths, dismissing learning styles as unsupported scientifically. We provide healthy recommendations for teaching and learning based on techniques both inside and outside of legal education.

Conclusion.  To achieve progress in learning in legal education, we need to abandon tired neuromyths about learning styles, multiple intelligences, multitasking, left-brain and right-brain theories of personality, and other fallacies that do not advance teaching or learning in law classrooms. These neuromyths stymie law education at a crucial time in the academy Instead, law andragogy, which embodies the Socratic method of dialogue, can and should leverage this powerful self-regulating practice to enhance law learning. Law can also adopt the literature on cognitive psychology and institute an evidence-based teaching and learning focus on the following concepts explored in detail above:

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December 5, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Prof Mildred Robinson, UVA's First Black Female Faculty Member, To Retire


Professor Mildred Robinson Set To Retire:

Professor Mildred Robinson, a groundbreaking tax law instructor whose scholarship and community service have emphasized equity, will teach her last class at the University of Virginia School of Law at the end of this semester. She will retire this spring after almost 35 years on the faculty.

Robinson was UVA Law’s first African American female tenured professor. She was hired with tenure in 1985 from Florida State University.

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December 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Herzfeld: US Tax Reform And EU ATAD: Can GILTI + BEAT = GLOBE?

Mindy Herzfeld (Florida), Debate on the US Tax Reform and the EU ATAD: Can GILTI + BEAT = GLOBE?, 49 Intertax 504 (2019):

The OECD is moving forward with consideration of a minimum tax as part of its solution to taxation of the digital economy. Part of a template for such a minimum tax may be the version enacted by the United States in 2017 as an expansion of its Controlled Foreign Corporation (CFC) regime, known as Global Intangible Low Taxed Income (GILTI). But the OECD version will undoubtedly be different from the US iteration. It’s likely that it would also include some aspects of a minimum tax being proposed by other OECD members such as Germany and France, namely a tax on outbound payments, in addition to a CFC-type regime. The United States also enacted an outbound minimum tax in 2017, known as Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT). The two-part minimum tax being pursued by the OECD — a minimum tax based on a CFC regime plus an outbound minimum tax that’s a variation on the BEAT — has been referred to as GLOBE (global anti erosion) (See S. Soong Johnston, Germany, France Explore GLOBE Proposal to Tax Digital Economy, 92 Tax Notes Int’l 782 (2018)).

This article summarizes the two features of the US 2017 tax reform (known as the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) ... that may be incorporated into a global minimum tax, namely GILTI and BEAT, from the perspective of how such provisions might be adapted to work in a global setting.

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December 5, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 2019 New York Bar Exam Results: Columbia #1

NYSBA (2017)The July 2019 New York bar passage rates by law school are out. Here are the results for first time test takers for the 15 New York ABA-approved law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (New York and overall).

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

NY (Overall)

1 (96.9%)


1 (5)

2 (95.8%)


2 (6)

3 (93.8%)


3 (13)

4 (91.0%)


4 (39)

5 (88.9%)

St. John's

7 (77)

6 (87.7%)


8 (91)

7 (86.4%)


5 (52)


Statewide Average

8 (81.5%)


6 (71)

9 (78.5%)

New York Law School

13 (117)

10 (75.5%)


12 (115)

11 (74.8%)


11 (108)

12 (73.4%)


14 (122)

13 (72.5%)


10 (104)

14 (65.3%)


9 (100)

15 (63.4%)


15 (Tier 2)

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December 5, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shanske & Gamage: States Should Conform To GILTI, Part 3

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) & David Gamage (Indiana), States Should Conform to GILTI, Part 3: Elevator Pitch and Q&A, 94 State Tax Notes 121 (Oct. 14, 2019):

This essay argues that the states should conform to the post-2017 federal tax law's provision for Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (or “GILTI”). This essay is directed at state legislators and their staffs and presents the argument as succinctly as possible. Our argument can be summarized in three sentences. First, states should conform to GILTI because there is significant evidence that profit shifting is substantially eroding their corporate tax bases. Second, GILTI is a tool for identifying shifted profits. Third, there are many legally and analytically sound ways to apportion GILTI income to a state. We also — briefly — counter the standard objections to state conformity with GILTI.

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December 5, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Schizer Presents Getting More Out Of Nonprofit Subsidies: Measuring Success And Better Disclosure Today At Penn

David M. Schizer (Columbia) presents Getting More out of Nonprofit Subsidies: Challenges in Measuring Success and the Need for Better Disclosure at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

Schizer (2016)The U.S. nonprofit sector spends $2.54 trillion each year, and benefits from billions of dollars in tax subsidies. If this sector was a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world — behind Britain and France, and ahead of Brazil, Italy, Canada, and Russia. How can we encourage nonprofits to allocate resources more efficiently, so they pursue socially valuable missions with impactful and cost-effective programs? To answer these questions, this Article makes two contributions to the literature.

First, this Article breaks new ground in explaining why efficient resource allocation is harder at nonprofits. To account for this inefficiency, the literature invokes their inability to distribute profits; if no one can keep these profits, no one is motivated to maximize them. In contrast, this Article argues that inefficiencies can arise at nonprofits not only because charities cannot distribute profits but, more fundamentally, because they are not trying to earn profits to begin with. So instead of measuring success with profitability, which is fairly straightforward, nonprofits have to use proxies for social return that are hard to measure or unreliable (or both). This difficulty in tracking progress is familiar, but it has an important implication for governance that is new to the literature: when success is hard to measure, inefficient practices are less visible, and thus are harder to stop.

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December 4, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

2L In Harvard Tax Clinic Argues Case In U.S. Court Of Appeals For The 7th Circuit

Harvard Law Today, Clinic Stories: Prepping for the U.S. Court of Appeals:

HarvardThrough Harvard Law School’s Federal Tax Clinic, students have the unique opportunity represent low-income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS, both before the IRS and in federal court. Working individually and in teams, they represent taxpayers involving examinations, administrative appeals collection matters, and cases before the United States Tax Court and federal district courts.

In this video, we follow Adeyemi “Yemi” Adediran ’21, a second year student in the Clinic, as he prepares to argue an appeal on behalf of a military veteran with PTSD in the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago. The veteran’s appeal to the Seventh Circuit centered on his eligibility for innocent spouse relief under the Internal Revenue Code. Over a three year period, the veteran’s wife embezzled $500K from the Appleton, Wisconsin Blood Bank—where she worked as a bookkeeper. She was arrested and sentenced to jail, but because the couple filed taxes jointly and embezzled money is taxable, they were both legally responsible for back taxes on the money.

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December 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)