Paul L. Caron

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Call For Proposals: Association For Mid-Career Tax Law Professors

The Association for Mid-Career Tax Law Professors (“AMT”) has issued a Call for Proposals:

Mid-CareerThe unvaccinated but optimistic 2021 AMT organizing committee—Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Emily Cauble, Brian Galle, Ben Leff, and Leigh Osofsky—welcomes proposals for our annual conference.

AMT is a recurring conference intended to bring together relatively recently tenured professors of tax law for frank and free-wheeling scholarly discussion. Our sixth (*: not counting last year’s summer Zoom series) annual meeting will be held virtually over two to three dates this summer: June 9, June 30, and July 21. We expect to convene for about 4 hours each day, not including the cocktail hours that Shu-Yi will inevitably organize. Presenters are asked to commit to attending at least 2/3 of the session hours; non-presenting guests (in addition to pets, inquisitive children, and in-home contractors) are welcome.

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March 4, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The IRS Paid $3 Billion In Interest To Taxpayers Because It Failed To Get Refunds Out On Time

Washington Post, The IRS Paid $3 Billion in Interest to Taxpayers Because It Failed to Get Refunds Out on Time:

The IRS penalizes taxpayers who don’t pay their tax bills on time, but the agency’s own delays are costing taxpayers billions of dollars as well.

The IRS paid $3.03 billion — yes that’s with a “b” — in interest on delayed refunds to taxpayers for fiscal 2020 because it didn’t get the payments to them in time, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office this week [Actions Needed to Address Processing Delays and Risks to the 2021 Filing Season (GAO-21-251) (Mar. 1, 2021)]. That’s almost a 50 percent increase compared with the $2.06 billion paid in interest on refunds in fiscal 2019.


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March 4, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Academic Freedom Is Withering On College Campuses

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Academic Freedom Is Withering, by Eric Kaufmann (Birkbeck College, University of London):

Academic freedom is in crisis on American campuses. Last year, the National Association of Scholars recorded 65 instances of professors being disciplined or fired for protected speech, a fivefold increase from the year before. Yet many of academia’s defenders brush aside worries about dismissal campaigns and the lack of ideological diversity as little more than a collection of anecdotes cherry-picked to feed a right-wing moral panic.

My new report for the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology gives the lie to these claims. Based on eight comprehensive surveys of academic and graduate-student opinion across the U.S., Canada and Britain, it buttresses the findings of numerous studies to provide hard data on the absence of viewpoint diversity and presence of discrimination against conservative and gender-critical scholars. ...

Some 75% of American and British conservative academics in social sciences and humanities say their departments offer a hostile climate for their beliefs. Nearly 4 in 10 American centrist faculty concur.


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March 4, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tax Profs: Senator Warren's Wealth Tax Is Constitutional

Following up on Tuesday's post, Warren Revives Wealth Tax, Citing Pandemic InequalitiesLetter To Senator Elizabeth Warren (Feb. 25, 2021):

Dear Senator Warren,
Your proposed wealth tax reform would impose a federal tax of 2% on taxpayers’ accumulation of net assets in excess of $50 million, and a 3% tax on net assets in excess of $1 billion. The 3% tax would increase to 6% if legislation establishing universal healthcare is in effect.

Article I Section 8 of the Constitution allows Congress to implement your proposed wealth tax reform as an exercise of the congressional taxing power. Some have suggested that a federal wealth tax would be a “direct tax” subject to the “apportionment rule” in Article I Section 2, which provides that “direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States … according to their respective Numbers.” A tax on an individual’s net wealth, however, is not a direct tax, and need not be apportioned among the states according to their population.

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March 4, 2021 in Congressional News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Sanchirico Presents Why The Optimal Tax Rate On Capital Is Zero … Or Very High Virtually Today At Oxford

Chris Sanchirico (Pennsylvania; Google Scholar) presents Why the Optimal Long-Run Tax Rate on Capital is Zero…or Very High: The Missing Explanation virtually at Oxford's Centre for Business Taxation today:

CsanchirJudd’s (1985) finding that the optimal long-run rate of tax on capital is zero—even if equity is an important social objective—has exerted substantial influence in academic and policy circles over the last quarter century [Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model]. Only very recently has it become clear that Judd’s zero-tax result rests on an implicitly adopted assumption about how savings responds to taxation. Working within the very same model structure, Straub and Werning (2020) demonstrate that the optimal long-term tax rate is positive and potentially large under an alternative equally plausible assumption. This paper attempts to fill a remaining gap in the literature by providing a clear explanation of what is driving results in both variants of Judd’s original model [Positive Long Run Capital Taxation: Chamley-Judd Revisited]. 

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March 3, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Hemel: Regulation And Redistribution With Lives In The Balance

Daniel J. Hemel (Chicago), Regulation and Redistribution with Lives in the Balance, 88 U. Chi. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

A central question in law and economics is whether non-tax legal rules should be designed solely to maximize efficiency or whether they also should account for concerns about the distribution of income. This question takes on particular importance in the context of cost-benefit analysis. Federal agencies apply cost-benefit analysis when writing regulations that generate multibillion dollar impacts on the US economy and profound effects on millions of Americans’ lives. In the past, agency cost-benefit analyses typically have ignored the income-distributive consequences of those regulations. That may soon change: On his first day in office, President Biden instructed his Office of Management and Budget to propose procedures for incorporating distributive considerations into cost-benefit analysis, thus bringing renewed relevance to a long-running law-and-economics debate.

This article explores what it might mean in practice for agencies to incorporate distributive considerations into cost-benefit analysis.

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March 3, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Law School Rankings By Female Enrollment (2020)

Law School Rankings by Female Enrollment (2020):

Women outnumbered men in law school classrooms across the United States in 2020 for the 5th year in a row.

Here at Enjuris, we've spent 5 years tracking gender enrollment in law schools because studies show that female representation is important in the legal field.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at the gender composition of law schools in 2020 based on the most recent data released by the American Bar Association (ABA), as well as how gender demographics have changed since we first started tracking the data and what the future might look like. ...

[W]omen have been making steady gains in top-ranked law schools. Thirteen of the top 20 law schools in 2020 increased the percentage of female attendees from 2019. What's more, 13 of the top 20 law schools had more female attendees than male attendees. ...

Overall law school rankings by female enrollment:

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March 3, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

AccessLex Law School Scholarship Databank: 800 Scholarships Totaling $300 Million

AccessLex Law School Scholarship Databank:

AccessLex (2020)With rising tuition rates and student loan debt at an all-time high, about 73% of students now depend on scholarships to help cover the cost of law school. However, weeding through the hundreds of scholarships available and finding the right one for you, can be a difficult and overwhelming task.

Today, AccessLex, a non-profit dedicated to increasing access to legal education, has launched their Law School Scholarship Databank to help law students find the right scholarship for them. This interactive page will allow students to filter through nearly 800 incoming and returning student scholarships and writing competitions totaling almost $300 million in aid.

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March 3, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

Higher Ed’s Misguided Purging Of Trump Supporters

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Higher Ed’s Misguided Purging of Trump Supporters, by Jonathan Zimmerman (Pennsylvania):

In 1948, President Edmund Ezra Day of Cornell explained why his institution would never hire a Communist on its faculty. “It is a part of the established technique of Communistic activity to resort to deceit and treachery,” Day wrote. “A man who belongs to the Communist Party and who follows the party line, is thereby disqualified from participating in a free, honest inquiry after truth, and from belonging on a university faculty devoted to the search for truth.”

Plug in “Trump supporter” for “Communist,” and you get a pretty good sense of what’s happening on our campuses right now. Students and faculty are demanding that universities sever ties with anyone who worked in the Trump administration or backed President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And the rationale is the same one that was used against Communists and so-called fellow travelers during the Cold War: They don’t believe in democracy, so they don’t belong at a university devoted to it.

But that perverts the democratic ideal, all in the guise of preserving it. The real threat isn’t a horde of evil Trumpers clamoring at our gates. It’s our quest to root out the enemies of democracy, which never ends well for the university. ...

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March 3, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tax Prof Presentations At Today's Florida Tax Institute

Tax Prof presentations at the two-day Florida Tax Institute:

Cassady V. Brewer (Georgia State) & Bruce A. McGovern (South Texas), Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation:

This session will review the most significant statutory enactments, judicial decisions, IRS rulings, and Treasury regulations promulgated during the last twelve months that affect general domestic income taxation, corporate taxation, partnership taxation, and tax procedure.

Samuel A. Donaldson (Georgia State), Transfer Tax Update:

Stay up to date with this informative and entertaining recap of the important cases, rulings, regulations, and legislation from the past 12 months related to federal income, estate, and gift taxes.

Charlene Luke (Florida), Proposed Partnership Regulation Projects: Where Do They Stand? How Should They Be Handled?:

This presentation will provide an overview of the current state of U.S. Treasury partnership regulation projects and consider potential future approaches in light of a new tax administration.

Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah), Trying Times: Conservation Easements and Federal Tax Law (207 pages):

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March 3, 2021 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Crespi: Teaching A Class On Income And Wealth Inequality

Gregory S. Crespi (SMU), Teaching a Class on Income and Wealth Inequality:

I am offering a course on “Income and Wealth Inequality” for the first time during this spring, 2021 semester at the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, and the course is going well. I am here discussing my choice of materials and providing my course syllabus and my weekly reading assignment list for use by anyone else who is considering offering such a course at the college or graduate or law school level.

March 3, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Johnson: Taxing Meals And Civic Virtue

Calvin H. Johnson (Texas), Return to Civic Virtue: Tax Meals, 170 Tax Notes Fed. 1105 (Aug. 15, 2021):

Tax Notes Federal (2020)Excluding meals from taxation, when other forms of compensation are taxed, inevitably causes a loss of value — a waste — that economists call deadweight loss. The exclusion for meals causes a shift from cash to meals, until in equilibrium, the loss of value from the meals is just short of the tax avoided. In equilibrium, the loss is a tax-caused destruction of resources — not physically, but by value. The recent Consolidated Appropriations Act decreased the tax on meals by allowing a 100 percent deduction for some business meals, repealing the prior law’s 50 percent deduction, which is the wrong direction to go. The end of the limited deduction was instigated by former President Trump himself and was a high priority for the Trump Treasury in its negotiations with Congress over the appropriations bill. Trump personally takes advantage of tax-exempt meals and has interests in restaurants selling meals. Thus, the change in law was narcissistic and a betrayal of civic virtue.

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March 3, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Cauble Presents Questions The IRS Will Not Answer Virtually Today At Florida State

Emily Cauble (DePaul) presents Questions the IRS Will Not Answer virtually at Florida State today as part of its Tax Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Jeffrey Kahn:

CaubleWhen a taxpayer plans to undertake a transaction and its tax consequences are unclear, the taxpayer can request a letter ruling from the IRS. The IRS issues numerous letter rulings each year. In 2020, for instance, the IRS issued 777 letter rulings. The IRS refrains from issuing letter rulings on certain topics. At the beginning of each year, the IRS publishes an updated list of the topics on which it will not rule. Many of the topics on which it will not rule arise in areas of tax law governed by standards where the tax outcome depends heavily on each transaction’s specific facts. This pattern is consistent with the IRS’s stated position that it ordinarily does not rule in certain areas because of the factual nature of the matter involved.

This Article suggests that a policy against ruling on fact-specific topics sacrifices an opportunity to rule on many of the very topics for which a letter ruling could be particularly useful. Because the fact-specific nature of a topic makes it ill-suited for generally applicable guidance, such a topic is a particularly good candidate for a letter ruling.

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March 2, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Cockfield: International Tax Transparency

Arthur J. Cockfield (Queen's University Faculty of Law), International Tax Transparency:

An imbalance exists between tax authorities and taxpayers when it comes to the latter’s financial information. Taxpayers have the information they need to calculate their tax liabilities and file their returns. Tax authorities, on the other hand, tend to have little beyond what is in the tax return. Thus it can be hard for tax authorities to detect non-compliance. The solution? Pass laws to force the taxpayer (or a third party) to provide more and better information to tax authorities. In other words, increase tax transparency.

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March 2, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Rise Of The Mega-University

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Rise of the Mega-University:

At a time when many colleges are struggling with shrinking enrollment and tighter budgets, Southern New Hampshire is thriving on a grand scale, and it’s not alone. Liberty, Grand Canyon, and Western Governors Universities, along with a few other nonprofit institutions, have built huge online enrollments and national brands in recent years by subverting many of traditional higher education’s hallmarks. Western Governors has 88,585 undergraduates, according to U.S. Education Department data, more than the top 14 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings combined.


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March 2, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Inoculating Law Schools Against Bad Metrics

Kimberlee G. Weatherall (University of Sydney Law School; Google Scholar) & Rebecca Giblin (University of Melbourne Law School; Google Scholar), Inoculating Law Schools Against Bad Metrics:

Law schools and legal scholars are not immune to the expanding use of quantitative metrics to assess the research of universities and of scholars working within universities. Metrics include grant and research income, the number of articles produced in journals on ranked lists, and citations (by scholars, and perhaps courts). The use of metrics also threatens to expand to measure other kinds of desired activity, with various metrics suggested to measure the impact of research beyond scholarly circles, and even more amorphous qualities such as leadership and mentoring.

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March 2, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

ABA Seeks Comments On Proposed Changes To Accreditation Standards Relating To Professional Formation, Mental Health And Substance Abuse

ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Notice and Comment: Standards 303 and 508 and Rules 2 and 13 (Mar. 1, 2021):

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)At its meeting held on February 18-19, 2021, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved for Notice and Comment proposed revisions to Standards 303 and 508 and Rules 2 and 13 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools.

We solicit and encourage written comments on all the proposals listed above. Due to COVID-19, there will not be an open hearing, only a written comment period. Please address all written comments on the proposals to Scott Bales, Council Chair. Please send comments to Fernando Mariduena by March 31, 2021. Written comments received after March 31, 2021, may not be included in the materials considered by the Council at its May 2021 meeting.

Explanation of Changes

Standard 303: Development of professional identity was added to this Standard since activities that help in the development of professional identity must take place at multiple points over the course of a student’s time in law school, including as part of the law school curriculum. Interpretation 303-5 allows flexibility so that law schools can incorporate opportunities for student professional identity development into the curriculum, co-curricular activities, and professional development activities in meeting this part of the Standard while also defining “professional identity.”

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March 2, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

Lazerow: Income Tax Planning For Visual Artists, Their Dealers, Investors, And Collectors

Herbert I. Lazerow (San Diego), Income Tax Planning for Visual Artists, Their Dealers, Investors, and Collectors, 170 Tax Notes Fed. 923 (Feb. 8, 2021):

Tax Notes Federal (2020)The tax issues of visual artists, art dealers, art investors, and art collectors all revolve around the same type of property: artwork. Be it a painting, drawing, print, sculpture, photograph, fabric, or glass art, that property raises tax issues for which advance planning can be useful. Some tax problems are shared by artists, dealers, investors, and collectors alike, such as the necessity to prove a profit motive in order to deduct expenses. However, those four categories of taxpayers face different tax results for the same activity in some cases, such as when artwork is sold or donated. This report explores those similarities and differences and suggests steps advisers can take to maximize tax benefits for their clients. It occasionally questions whether the similarities and differences — or the rules applied by the IRS — make sense.

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March 2, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Legislation Would Force Iowa Universities To Hold In-Person Graduation

The Gazette, Republican Bill Would Force Iowa Universities to Hold In-Person Graduation:

IowaAlthough the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa already announced their upcoming commencement ceremonies will be virtual — and are well into planning them — a Republican lawmaker is sponsoring a bill requiring Iowa’s public universities to hold in-person spring graduations.

House Study Bill 246, proposed this week by Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, would force the regent universities to hold traditional in-person spring commencement ceremonies during the regularly scheduled times in May and June — two and three months from now.

The bill requires the campuses allow at least two guests per graduate — which could mean many thousands at some of the larger ceremonies, like for undergraduates of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. ...

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March 2, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times: Warren Revives Wealth Tax, Citing Pandemic Inequalities

New York Times, Warren Revives Wealth Tax, Citing Pandemic Inequalities:

A tax on the net worth of America’s wealthiest individuals remains popular with voters, but has yet to be embraced by President Biden.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, introduced legislation on Monday that would tax the net worth of the wealthiest people in America, a proposal aimed at persuading President Biden and other Democrats to fund sweeping new federal spending programs by taxing the richest Americans.

Ms. Warren’s wealth tax would apply a 2 percent tax to individual net worth — including the value of stocks, houses, boats and anything else a person owns, after subtracting out any debts — above $50 million. It would add an additional 1 percent surcharge for net worth above $1 billion. ..,

The latest version, which would begin to apply in 2023 to net worth as calculated in 2022, would raise $3 trillion, Mr. Saez and Mr. Zucman calculate. Other economists, including Natasha Sarin of the University of Pennsylvania and Lawrence H. Summers of Harvard, estimate the tax would raise significantly less.

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March 2, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, March 1, 2021

Liscow: Redistribution For Realists

Zachary D. Liscow (Yale; Google Scholar), Redistribution for Realists:

Inequality is a defining issue of our time. Nevertheless, the longstanding economic orthodoxy for addressing inequality is that we should redistribute solely through tax and transfer policies because those are the most efficient means for doing so.

While the orthodoxy holds in theory, it fails in practice because of the public’s psychology about redistribution. New evidence shows that individuals silo their policy views: many are reluctant to redistribute through taxes and transfers but are willing to do so in other policy domains, like provision of necessities such as transportation, food, and housing. The orthodoxy thus restricts redistribution efforts to a policy domain where the public resists redistribution while neglecting the many policy domains where the public embraces redistributive policies. The current orthodoxy may be more efficient, but it is also a prescription for widespread inequality.

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March 1, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Cotropia: Law’s Ability To Further The 'Menstrual Movement'

Christopher Anthony Cotropia (Richmond; Google Scholar), Law’s Ability to Further the 'Menstrual Movement', 41 Colum. J. Gender & L. __ (2021):

The current menstrual movement calls for overcoming the cultural stigma associated with menstruation and achieving “menstrual equity” and “period poverty”. The movement seeks to increase awareness of menstruation by rectifying and removing discrimination against those who menstruate and providing greater access to menstrual hygiene products (“MHPs”), particularly for the homeless and those with lower incomes. To achieve these goals, the movement is advocating for the elimination of the “tampon tax” and requiring schools provide MHPs to students for free. There are also lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the tampon tax. Advocates view these legal changes as instrumental in furthering the goals of equity and access to MHPs underlying the movement. This essay discussions whether these legal changes achieve the movement’s goals and also explores their expressive effects.

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March 1, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

'Old Codgers' Mark Tushnet & Louis Seidman Reflect On Their 50 Years In Legal Education

Paul Horwitz (Alabama) flagged this "charming, useful, and insightful" dialogue between Mark Tushnet (Harvard) & Louis Michael Seidman (Georgetown), On Being Old Codgers: A Conversation about a Half Century in Legal Education

The conversation that follows, conducted over three evenings, captures some of our thoughts about the last half century of legal education as both of us near retirement. We have edited the conversations so as to eliminate verbal stumbles and present our ideas more coherently, slightly reorganized a small part of the conversation, and added a few explanatory footnotes. However, we have attempted to keep the informal tone of our discussions. ...

Seidman: ... I reject the idea that only students at elite institutions would benefit from this tension — the unique tension — stemming from the fact that law schools are situated between practice and theory, between academic institutions and the real world. That is what makes law schools on the one hand different from philosophy departments and on the other hand different from vocational training. It is a unique and important role. As you say, the boom years demonstrated that nonelite institutions could serve their students in that way also.

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March 1, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

The Bob Morse Milestone: 45 Years At U.S. News

U.S. News & World Report, The Bob Morse Milestone: 45 Years at U.S. News:

Morse (Robert)The average American high school student probably doesn't know who Bob Morse is, what he does or the outsize impact he has had on the lives of countless college-bound teenagers. On the flip side, Morse is a familiar figure to college and university leaders across the U.S., known for his work on the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings since 1987.

Morse joined U.S. News & World Report in 1976 as a member of the now-defunct economic unit. Morse, who remembers being the youngest member of his team then, conducted research that helped inform weekly features for the print magazine. In the years since, he experienced the company's shift online and has helmed various rankings franchises for decades.

Morse recently marked his 45th anniversary with U.S. News and spoke about his time at the company and the evolution of the rankings. Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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March 1, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: No Second Bite In CDP For Rejected OIC

Tax Court (2020)One overarching theme of my Tax Procedure course is that tax collection is a process, not an event.  Many events occur during the time between assessment of a liability and the collection of that liability, and it is easy to fixate on them in isolation, forgetting their place in the process.  One important event can be a Collection Due Process hearing and subsequent appeal to Tax Court.  Since I started writing these posts (back in September 2017) we’ve learned a lot of lessons from the Tax Court about the shape and scope of CDP.  In Craig L. Galloway v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2021-24 (Feb. 24, 2021) (Judge Urda), we learn that what a taxpayer can do in a CDP hearing may be limited by earlier events in the collection process.  Details below the fold.

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

Two-Thirds Of The Way Through The Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Cycle: Applications Are Up At 97% Of Law Schools, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands

We are now two-thirds of the way through Fall 2021 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is up 20.9% compared to last year at this time.


193 of the 200 law schools are experiencing an increase in applications. Applications are up 50% or more at 23 law schools, and 30% or more at 89 law schools:


Applicants are up the most in New England (28.6%), Mountain West (24.2%), and Northwest (23.6%); and up the least in the Great Lakes (16.6%), South Central (18.3%), and Other (19.1%):


Applicants' LSAT scores are up 63.4% in the 170-180 band, 26.0% in the 160-169 band, 9.7% in the 150-159 band, and 4.7% in the 120-149 band:

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March 1, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

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March 1, 2021 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

ABA: Four Law Schools Are Back In Compliance With 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement

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March 1, 2021 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 28, 2021

BigLaw Eschews Recruiting At Lower Ranked HBCU Law Schools Despite Pledge To Hire More Black Associates

Law360, BigLaw Eyes HBCUs, But Rankings Mindset Still Prevails:

US News HCBULast year's widespread cries for racial justice in the U.S. resulted in an outpouring of commitment from law firms both to the advancement of racial justice and to their own, internal diversity and inclusion efforts.

That appears to have translated into more BigLaw recruiting activities at some of the nation's six law schools [District of Columbia, Florida A&M, Howard, North Carolina Central, Southern, Texas Southern] within historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. But the interest appears to have been limited, and increased recruiting activity did not always translate into jobs.

Experts say most BigLaw firms are missing out as they eschew the HBCUs — with the exception of Howard University School of Law, the highest ranked among them — in favor of the handful of top-ranked law schools where they have historically recruited.

Jean Lee, president and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, says she has long publicly lamented large law firms' preoccupation with recruiting at only a dozen or so top-ranked schools.

"All of the talented Black lawyers do not reside in the top 5% of law schools," Lee said. "It's a missed opportunity."

According to Carmia Caesar, Howard Law School assistant dean of career services, most large law firms, including 48 of the 50 largest in the U.S. by revenue, regularly recruit at her school.

Nonexhaustive law firm-reported data collected by the National Association for Law Placement, primarily capturing large firms, showed that 88 firms reported recruiting at Howard during the most recent on-campus season, while no more than four reported recruiting at each of the remaining five HBCU law schools. ...

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February 28, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

First Circuit Dismisses Former Miami Law Student's Libel Claim Against Above The Law For Unflattering Blog Post

ABove the LawThe U.S. Court if Appeals for the First Circuit on Friday affirmed a district court's dismissal [433 F.Supp.3d 102 (2020)] of former University of Miami law student's libel claim against Above the Law. See coverage by Eugene Volokh (UCLA):

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February 28, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Seven Deadly Sins And Lawyer Misconduct

Tory L. Lucas (Liberty), Greed and the Seven Deadly Sins: Treacherous for the Soul and Legal Ethics, 34 Regent U. L. Rev. 113 (2020):

As religious, philosophical, and cultural ideas, the Seven Deadly Sins occupy a common understanding of the worst behaviors that plague human relationships. Pride. Greed. Lust. Envy. Gluttony. Wrath. Sloth. Not exactly the traits that you seek in mutually beneficial relationships! Striving for universal appeal, this novel Article presents the Seven Deadly Sins as a useful construct to explain why lawyers commit major ethical violations. The underlying premise is that one or more of the Seven Deadly Sins lies behind every major ethical violation.

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February 28, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

This week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list. The #1 paper is #303 among 15,769 tax papers in all-time downloads:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [1,229 Downloads]  The Impact of Public Perceptions on General Consumption Taxes, by Rita de la Feria (University of Leeds; Google Scholar) & Michael Walpole (University of New South Wales; Google Scholar)
  2. [466 Downloads]  A Critical Assessment of the Originalist Case Against Administrative Regulatory Power: New Evidence from the Federal Tax on Private Real Estate in the 1790s, by Nicholas Parrillo (Yale)
  3. [462 Downloads]  Tax Complexity and Transfer Pricing Blueprints, Guidelines, and Manuals, by Jean-Edouard Colliard (HEC Paris; Google Scholar), Lorraine Eden (Texas A&M; Google Scholar) & Co-Pierre Georg (University of Cape Town; Google Scholar)
  4. [364 Downloads]  Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits after the SECURE Act, by Richard Kaplan (Illinois; Google Scholar)
  5. [240 Downloads]  Inter-Nation Equity Revisited, by Ivan Ozai (McGill; Google Scholar) (reviewed by David Elkins (Netanya) here)

February 28, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, February 27, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

California Joins Seven Other Jurisdictions (Thus Far) In Holding Online July 2021 Bar Exam

NCBE July 2021 Bar Exam

Supreme Court of California, Administrative Order 2021-02-26 (En Banc Feb. 26, 2021):

The circumstances surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in California continue to severely limit the State Bar's ability to administer the General Bar Examination in the traditional mass, in-person format. Accordingly, the court hereby approves modifications to the standard schedule for the General Bar Examination as set out below.

The General Bar Examination will be administered online as a mostly remotely delivered exam over two consecutive days on Tuesday, July 27 and Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Utilizing reasonable pandemic-related precautions, the General Bar Examination will be administered in-person at the discretion of the State Bar to those applicants granted testing accommodations that cannot be effectively provided and securely administered in a remote environment, and for those with other extenuating circumstances that require them to take the test in-person rather than remotely.

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

Tobin: The Tax Code Can Save The $15 Minimum Wage

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  The Tax Code Can Save the $15 Minimum Wage, by Donald Tobin (Dean, Maryland):

Tobin (2020)The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that minimum wage legislation cannot be included in the President’s COVID relief package because it does not meet requirements under the Congressional Budget Act. While I think there is a strong argument that minimum wage legislation meets the Budget Act’s requirements, it is clear that Congress could pass the equivalent of a minimum wage through the tax code in a way that clearly satisfies the Budget Act.

The Congressional Budget Act created a procedure for reconciling the budget when it is not in balance.  This procedure, termed “reconciliation,” provides for an expedited procedure for approval of certain bills related to the budget.

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February 27, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

The Pandemic Threatens Summer Associate Programs—Again, Pandemic Puts Summer Associate Programs Into Question—Again:

Am Law 200 firm leaders say they’re capable of adapting their summer associates program to a virtual format in 2021, many for the second time, if too few people have received the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the summer to allow a safe return. But virtual is not their first choice.

Some large firms have committed to holding at least part of their program in the office. Others are still waiting to make a decision on format, and one large firm committed to holding no summer program at all. ...

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

Friday, February 26, 2021

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Kim Reviews The IRS's Decisive Transfer Pricing Victory In Coca Cola By Avi-Yonah & Mazzoni

This week, Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar) & Gianluca Mazzoni (Michigan SJD), Coca Cola: A Decisive IRS Transfer Pricing Victory, at Last, 169 Tax Notes Fed. 1739 (2020).


Coca-Cola has offshore manufacturing facilities that produce beverage concentrate in low tax countries, such as Brazil, Ireland, and Egypt. Because the beverage concentrate is a Coca-Cola product, though it is not a final product, the US Parent co. licenses its intangibles, such as trademarks and secret formulas, and the manufacturing facilities pay royalties and dividends. But the role of offshore manufacturing facilities stops there. The final products are made by third party entities, called “Bottlers,” and the marketing activities of the Coca-Cola brand and the final products are conducted by another foreign subsidiary (ServCos). Given such a limited role of offshore manufacturing facilities, called "Supply Points," what portion of profits under the transfer pricing rules should be allocated to those Supply Points compared to the US Parent co.? Probably not much.

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February 26, 2021 in Christine Kim, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Thursday, March 4: Eleanor Wilking (Cornell) will present Does It Matter Who Remits? Evidence from U.S. States’ Voluntary Collection Agreements (with Yeliz Kacamak (Boğaziçi University; Google Scholar) and Tejaswi Velayudhan (Ohio State; Google Scholar)) virtually at Duke as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact  Richard Schmalbeck or Lawrence Zelenak.

Thursday, March 4: Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar) will present A New Corporate Tax virtually at Indiana as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman.

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February 26, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs: Tax Meets Non-Tax


Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs: Tax Meets Non-Tax:

In an environment of increasing academic specialization, Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs seeks to build bridges across academic disciplines by introducing a new kind of workshop. For each session, a tax scholar will select a non-tax, but legal, work that is prominent in its own field and explain how the work is relevant to the study of taxation. The author of the work will then respond before we open the session to questions and discussion by workshop attendees.

All sessions will take place on Zoom, unless otherwise indicated, and the work to be discussed will be distributed on this page in advance of the session.

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February 26, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Dean Presents Ten Truths About Tax Havens Virtually Today At British Columbia

Steven Dean (Brooklyn) presents Ten Truths About Tax Havens: Inclusion and the 'Liberia Problem' (with Attiya Waris (University of Nairobi; Google Scholar)) virtually at Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:

Dean_Steven_Portrait_002There has been a decades-long effort to repair an increasingly fragile international tax system. One reason it has foundered has been what we identify as the ‘Liberia problem’. In 2000, the powerful Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development identified Liberia—but not Switzerland—as a tax haven and targeted it for sanctions.  It did not go well. During the two decades since, everything has changed yet seemingly from this lens of inclusion nothing has changed at all. Awkwardly similar “blacklists” still target ‘Black’ and ‘Brown’ jurisdictions despite the fact that experts mean something quite different when they speak of the harms caused by secrecy jurisdictions. We think differently in important respects, but we share a conviction that a more inclusive and more level playing field in the international tax arena would benefit all states.

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

Amar: What Accounts For The Increase In Law School Applications This Year?

Vikram David Amar (Dean, Illinois), What Accounts for the Increase in Law School Applications This Year?:

As we head into the latter part of this year’s admissions cycle, the number of applicants to law schools around the country is up over 21%. The increase in applicants varies across regions, but in no area is it up less than 17% compared to this time last year. ...

What could account for such a development? It’s hard to say for sure, but there are several possibilities that are obvious enough to warrant exploration.

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February 26, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

American Taxation Association Outstanding Paper Award

Doron Narotzki (Akron; Google Scholar) & Melanie McCoskey (Akron; Google Scholar) received the Best Paper Award at last week's 33rd Annual American Taxation Association Midyear Meeting for their article, Code Section 304: The Gift That Keeps on Giving, 17 ATA J. Legal Tax Res. 25 (2019):

One central focus of the TCJA was to encourage U.S. international firms to "bring back earnings to the U.S." In an attempt to achieve this goal, the legislation enacted Section 245A, which provides a 100% DRD to U.S. corporations for certain foreign-sourced distributions. Section 304 requires the reclassification of stock sales between affiliated corporations as dividends. However, for many years, Code Section 304 was not fulfilling the original "anti-avoidance" tax policy that was behind its legislation, as is explained in this paper. Currently, the TCJA has created an opportunity to utilize Section 304 and Section 245A via a much more powerful tax planning tool. By utilizing the rules related to redemptions by related corporations under the (purportedly) anti-abuse provisions of Section 304 combined with the new 100% DRD of Section 245A, extracting earnings from affiliated foreign corporations tax-free has never been easier. This paper will discuss these two Code Sections and the micro-policy behind them.

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February 26, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bearer-Friend Presents Tax Without Cash Virtually Today At Duke

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents Tax Without Cash virtually at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

Bearer Friend (2021)This Article documents and evaluates tax obligations paid without cash, referred to as “in-kind tax paying.” Such forms of tax paying include paying federal income taxes by remitting a used, flatbed truck to the IRS, paying local property taxes by working a few hours a month answering phones at city hall, and paying state excise taxes by conveying a proportion of all seashells farmed within a state to that state. These are not just hypotheticals, but forms of in-kind tax paying that occur in the United States throughout periods when many taxes are also paid in cash. Nevertheless, despite its long history and prevalence, in-kind tax paying has been underexplored as a viable, and potentially appealing, form of tax remittance.

By providing an original taxonomy of in-kind tax paying within a cash economy, this Article makes three contributions. First, it improves our definition of tax paying by identifying the wide variety of in-kind remittances that occur in our current tax system. Second, it refutes the tacit presumption that in-kind remittance of tax obligations is not viable, thus expanding the tax tools available to local, state, and federal governments and demonstrating how narrow presumptions about tax remittance have predetermined core tax policy choices. Third, it confronts the substantial dangers of in-kind tax paying, using these risks to propose new principles for limiting the design and administration of in-kind tax paying.

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

Book: Tax Administration And Racial Justice

Leslie Book (Villanova), Tax Administration and Racial Justice: The Illegal Denial Of Tax Based Pandemic Relief To The Nation's Incarcerated, 72 S.C. L. Rev. ___ (2021) (Symposium on Taxation, Finance, And Racial (in)Justice):

In the midst of a devastating pandemic that would sicken millions, kill hundreds of thousands, and cause widespread financial distress, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. CARES provided for the IRS to deliver up to $1,200 for adults and $500 for dependent children. It was ostensibly structured as a refundable credit to be claimed on a 2020 tax return, but with a twist. The statute authorized the IRS to pay it in advance, even to those who did not have a tax return filing obligation, and to do so as “rapidly as possible.” While there were some problems, the IRS generally did remarkably well, and within six months it had delivered about 160 million payments totaling over $270 billion.

This Essay addresses one of those exceptional problems: it involves the IRS’s unexplained change in position on the eligibility of those incarcerated in our nation’s federal, state, and local prisons and jails.

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

2020 IFA International Tax Student Writing Award; Call For Entrants In 2021 Competition

The winner of the International Fiscal Association's 2020 International Tax Student Writing Competition is Shay Moyal (S.J.D. 2020, Michigan; Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York), Don’t Stop the Beat, 166 Tax Notes Fed. 721 (Feb. 3, 2020).
Faculty Sponsor: Reuven Avi-Yonah

IFA Logo (2015)The recent addition to the Internal Revenue Code, the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT), is a subject of concern for many tax scholars and practitioners. This new provision joins a large family of measures that have been adopted worldwide and in the U.S.; however, unlike the other new International Tax provisions from the 2017 reform, the BEAT has neither a predecessor in prior laws nor in former proposals. To start, the phrase “Base Erosion” itself lacks clarity. Furthermore, the relatively short amount of time lawmakers took to enact the addition and the lack of any stated objectives require an inquiry into the objectives and original intent of this complex section of the code. This paper seeks to illuminate the original intent of the BEAT and the expansive language of its provisions by examining multiple factors such as its structure, legislative history, other International Tax principles, and the BEAT’s similarities to recent international tax trends – like Pillar II of the OECD BEPS or the Digital Services Minimum Taxes around the globe.

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February 25, 2021 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Conflict Surrounds Charleston Law School Land Deal, With $13 Million At Stake

Post and Courier, Conflict Surrounds Charleston School of Law Land Deal, With Nearly $13M at Stake:

Charleston Logo (2017)When Charleston sold land to the for-profit Charleston School of Law 16 years ago, at a discount, the plan was for CSOL to build a school there, not flip the property to a hotel developer for a huge profit.

Now, with a $12,850,000 sale pending and a nine-story hotel planned on the property at Meeting and Woolfe streets, City Council has been delaying the sale. CSOL President Ed Bell calls it a “shakedown” and warns that the city could be sued.

“The city has lots of risks from being cute and smart about this,” said Bell, a Georgetown lawyer. “If you’re going to do a shakedown, you’d better be right.”

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