Paul L. Caron
Dean




Monday, November 28, 2022

Call For Papers: 2023 Tax Notes Student Writing Competition

Tax Notes Student Writing Competition:

Student writing competition 2023The 2023 submission period for the Tax Notes Student Writing Competition is now open! Each year we recognize superior student writing on unsettled questions in tax law or policy. Learn more about the competition guidelines:

  • Eligibility: The competition is open to any student enrolled in a law, business, or public policy program during the 2022-2023 academic year. Each student may submit only one paper. Coauthored papers will be accepted. 
  • Format: Entries should be a minimum of 2,500 words and a maximum of 12,000 words, including footnotes. Citations should be formatted as footnotes in accordance with the latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. Bibliographies and reference lists are prohibited. Articles should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents.

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November 28, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink

Yale Law School’s Revolt Of The Elites

The New Republic, Yale Law School’s Revolt of the Elites:

Yale Law Logo (2020)Yale University has the most elite law school in America, an institution so central to the production of future Supreme Court clerks and legal bigwigs that, in the space of a few months last year, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker all published lengthy features about whether one of its professors served drinks to students at a dinner party. So it made the news last week when Yale Law School Dean Heather K. Gerken issued a public statement declaring that the school would no longer willingly participate in the influential U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, setting off a mini-cascade of righteous quitting as Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, Stanford, Georgetown, and Columbia quickly followed suit.

But there was something strange about the spectacle of Dean Gerken denouncing as “profoundly flawed” a rankings system that identifies Yale itself as the #1 law school in the country—an evaluation with which, one would assume, she wholeheartedly agrees. The other quitters share rarefied air as well: All are in the U.S. News top 14 [except for UCLA and UC-Irvine].

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November 28, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Satterthwaite: Understanding Self-Employment Trends In Tax Data

Emily Satterthwaite (Georgetown; Google Scholar), What's Going on With Self-Employment? (JOTWELL) (reviewing Andrew Garin (Illinois; Google Scholar), Emilie Jackson (Michigan State; Google Scholar) & Dmitri Koustas (Chicago; Google Scholar), New Gig Work or Changes in Reporting? Understanding Self-Employment Trends in Tax Data):

Jotwell (2023)Are there more self-employed people, or not? IRS data shows a significant increase in the portion of the workforce reporting positive net income from self-employment on their tax returns. It rose by about 20 percent after 2000, peaking in 2014 at just under 12 percent. However, annual labor force surveys suggest that the self-employment rate has been flat since 2000. How can these two results be reconciled? This question motivates a terrific new paper by Andrew Garin, Emilie Jackson, and Dmitri Koustas entitled, New Gig Work or Changes in Reporting? Understanding Self-Employment Trends in Tax Data. ...

The correlation between reporting more self-employment income and eligibility for larger refundable tax credits could mean either a real labor supply response (individuals actually working more in a self-employed capacity) or a pure reporting response, whether related to fake or real self-employment income.

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November 28, 2022 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Here’s Why Top Law Schools May Be Pulling Out Of The U.S. News Rankings

Following up on Saturday's post, Law School Admissions Without LSATs, Race, And Rankings:  The Daily Caller, ‘Writing On The Wall’: Here’s Why Top US Universities May Be Pulling Out Of High-Profile Ranking System:

U.S. News LogoTop law school[s] ... may be dropping out of the rankings ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action because they plan to deemphasize standardized tests in the admissions process and preserve diversity, but do not want to fall in the rankings process, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“If affirmative action falls, we can expect to see a lot of educational institutions drop objective standards from their admissions practices,” John Sailer, fellow at the National Association of Scholars, told the DCNF. “This allows them to continue race-conscious admissions by other means. Already, we see schools embracing this workaround. These top law schools probably have that in mind as they back out of the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Ranking requires clear, objective standards, and if law schools hope to go test-optional, the ranking system presents an obvious problem.” ...

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November 28, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 27, 2022

David French: An Open Letter To Those Who Think I’ve Lost My Christian Faith Because I Support The Respect For Marriage Act

Following up on last Sunday's post, Christian Colleges And Universities Support Senate-Passed Bipartisan Respect For Marriage Act With Protections For Both LGBTQ Rights And Religious Freedom:  David French (The Dispatch), An Open Letter to Those Who Think I’ve Lost My Christian Faith:

FrenchIt’s been an interesting few days. Ever since I wrote (first in The Atlantic and then on Sunday here in The Dispatch) in support of the Senate version of the Respect for Marriage Act, I’ve been subject to an absolute torrent of online criticism, mainly from fellow Christians. The culmination of the critiques came from Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who took to the pages of World Magazine to pen a piece called “The Parable of David French.” 

“This is how conservatism dies,” he wrote. “This is how marriage is surrendered.”

That’s dramatic! But it’s not as extreme as other critiques, including those who questioned whether I am truly a Christian, who told me I should face church discipline, and who compared my support for the Respect for Marriage Act to support for slavery. I kid you not.

Whew. That’s a lot. It’s always a struggle to know when to keep addressing an argument and when to just move on, but given the continued attacks—now running into their sixth day—I think it’s important to go one more round. And this time I’m going to take a bit of a different approach. I’m going to address directly, from the ground up, why the debate is so confused and why the distinctions between Christian marriage (what I’ll call “covenant marriage”) and civil marriage matter so very much.

I’m particularly interested in the various allegations of apostasy, especially given my agreement with the orthodox creeds and confessions of the church, including doctrines relating to sex, sexuality, and sexual morality. In fact, in 2019, I signed the controversial Nashville Statement, in large part because I thought it was important for Christians to offer a clear statement of orthodox Christian theology on matters of sexual controversy.

The intent of the Nashville Statement, as I understood it, was not to write a model law for a secular state, but rather to clear up confusion in Christian churches about the basics of Christian doctrine. Despite its explicitly religious purpose, it is still very helpful to the debate because it clarifies where I think discussions over marriage often go so very wrong. 

Here’s the definition of marriage taken directly from the statement itself: Marriage is the “covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.” Other faiths might have other definitions of marriage, but this is among the best Christian definitions I’ve read.

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November 27, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Bono: 'Too Christian For The Mainstream, Too Mainstream For Christians?'

Christianity Today, Bono’s Punk-Rock

BonoGrief and God have been part of U2’s story from the start.

We got this invitation once,” Bono tells me. He speaks the next sentence with a tone of reverence: “The Reverend Billy Graham would love to meet the band and offer a blessing.”

We’re on a video call, and the frontman for U2 is sitting on the floor in front of a green couch, his computer on the coffee table in front of him. It’s golden hour in Dublin, and the just-setting sun makes the room glow. It’s almost theatrical. There’s a twinkle in his eye, too. He knows he has a good story.

“He’s the founder of Christianity Today,” he reminds me, grinning. “I didn’t know that then, but I still wanted the blessing. And I was trying to convince the band into coming with me, but for various reasons they couldn’t. It was difficult with the schedule, but I just found a way.”

This was in March 2002, just a few weeks after U2 played their legendary Super Bowl halftime show and days after their single “Walk On” won the Grammy for Record of the Year.

“His son Franklin picked me up at the airport,” Bono says, “and Franklin was doing very effective work with Samaritan’s Purse. But he wasn’t sure about his cargo.” He laughs. “On the way to meet his father, he kept asking me questions.”

Bono reenacts the conversation for me:

“You … you really love the Lord?”
“Yep.”
“Okay, you do. Are you saved?”
“Yep, and saving.”
He doesn’t laugh. No laugh.
“Have you given your life? Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?”
“Oh, I know Jesus Christ, and I try not to use him just as my personal Savior. But, you know, yes.”
“Why aren’t your songs, um, Christian songs?”
“They are!”
“Oh, well, some of them are.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, why don’t they … Why don’t we know they’re Christian songs?”
I said, “They’re all coming from a place, Franklin. Look around you. Look at the creation, look at the trees, look at the sky, look at these kinds of verdant hills. They don’t have a sign up that says, ‘Praise the Lord’ or ‘I belong to Jesus.’ They just give glory to Jesus.”

For four decades, Bono has found himself in conversations like this one, responding to Christians who aren’t quite sure what to make of him or U2. ...

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November 27, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Auditing Scientology: Reexamining The Church's 501(c)(3) Tax Exemption Eligibility

Taylor C. Holley (J.D. 2022, Texas Tech), Comment, Auditing Scientology: Reexamining the Church's 501(c)(3) Tax Exemption Eligibility, 54 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 345 (2022): 

ScientologyThe Church of Scientology is one of the most discussed religions of the modern era, and its beliefs and practices have been shrouded in controversy since its emergence in the 1950’s. Shortly thereafter, the Internal Revenue Service recognized Scientology as a valid religious organization, thus granting certain governmental protections and benefits afforded to religious organizations in this country, including tax exemption. After a decades-long battle between the Church and the IRS, the IRS eventually granted a blanket tax exemption to all Scientology organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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November 27, 2022 in Faith, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper and a new paper debuting on the list at #4:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [455 Downloads]  Federal Tax Procedure (2022 Practitioner Ed.), by John Townsend (Houston)
  2. [407 Downloads]  Pillar Two and Developing Countries: The STTR and GloBE Implementation, by Heydon Wardell-Burrus (Oxford)
  3. [289 Downloads]  A Wrench in the GLOBE's Diabolical Machinery, by Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar)
  4. [247 Downloads]  Legal Structuring of Web Based Trading and Tax Complexities in Pakistan A Comparative Study, by Shan Ali (Bahria University Islamabad), Asadullah Muhmand (Bahria University Islamabad; Google Scholar) & Faheem Raza Khuhro (Boston University)
  5. [196 Downloads]  VAT Goes Virtual: Security Tokens, by Joachim Englisch (Münster)

November 27, 2022 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, November 26, 2022

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top Ten 2Legal Education:

  1. Law Schools Boycotting U.S. News Rankings:
  2. Law Schools Not Boycotting U.S. News Rankings:
  3. Daniel Crane (Michigan), Antitrust Implications Of The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott
  4. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine),  One-Third Of The Way Through The Fall 2023 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Down -7.5%, With Biggest Decline (-21%) In The 165-169 LSAT Band
  5. Press Release, ABA Legal Ed Council Votes 15-1 To Make LSAT Optional Beginning With Fall 2026 1L Class
  6. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), The U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Like The Hotel California: You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave
  7. Bill Henderson (Indiana), The Dollars And Math Behind Yale Law School's Withdrawal From U.S. News — 'Are Limits on Federal Student Loans The Best Way To End The Rankings Madness?'
  8. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), U.S. News Law School Rankings, ABA Optional LSAT, And Harvard Affirmative Action Supreme Court Case
  9. Dan Solove (George Washington), Slaying The U.S. News Law School Rankings Dragon
  10. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Pepperdine Caruso Law Is Thankful For Greg Ogden

Tax:

  1. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Employer/Employee Gift Rule
  2. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: An Object Lesson For Tax Professionals
  3. Michael Lukacs (EY, New York), Oren Margulies (EY, Washington, D.C.) & Lakshmi Jayanthi (EY Boston), Taxation Of NFT Transactions
  4. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Tax Policy In The Biden Administration
  5. SSRN, The Top Five New Tax Papers
  6. David Elkins (Netanya), Review 0f Victoria Plekhanova (Massey), Taxes Through the Reciprocity Lens
  7. Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan), The Dangers Of Tax Textualism
  8. Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington), Ari Glogower (Northwestern), Ariel Jurow Kleiman (Loyola-L.A.), & Clinton Wallace (South Carolina), Taxation and Law and Political Economy
  9. Charles Delmotte (NYU), The Promises and Pitfalls of a Blockchain Driven Tax System
  10. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Unforeseen Circumstances Rule For §121 Home Sale Exclusions

November 26, 2022 in Legal Education, Tax, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink

Law School Admissions Without LSATs, Race, And Rankings

Wall Street Journal Editorial, Law Schools Without LSATs:

The American Bar Association’s move to discard objective tests won’t enhance diversity.

The flight from merit continues across America, and it’s spreading fast in the legal profession. An arm of the American Bar Association (ABA), which accredits law schools, voted on Nov. 18 to end the requirement that prospective law students take the Law School Admission Test. ...

The vote is pending approval from the ABA House of Delegates in February. If adopted, it would make standardized testing optional in preparation for a career that demands a lot of standardized knowledge.

The LSAT has long been a target of diversity advocates who argue that the use of the test has limited minority enrollment in law schools because the test questions are allegedly biased in favor of white test takers. Detractors also object to the LSAT because affluent students often pay thousands of dollars to prepare for the test that is supposed to predict their first-year law school performance.

The ABA decision is best understood as an attempt to get ahead of a possible Supreme Court decision against the use of racial preferences in school admissions. By making the LSAT optional, schools will be able to admit the students they want without lowering the average LSAT score that is one measure of elite status. But the schools need the ABA to move first.

The irony is that giving up the LSAT is likely to harm students from less privileged backgrounds. In September, 60 law school deans—including Berkeley Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Loyola University Chicago Dean Michèle Alexandre and Boston University’s Angela Onwuachi-Willig—wrote the ABA to oppose making the admissions test optional on grounds that it would damage diversity. ...

Without an LSAT, untested law students will arrive at law school less prepared for the material, as well as less experienced with a rigorous testing format when they have to pass the bar exam in a few years. That is, if critics don’t next target the bar exam for elimination.

Bloomberg Law Op-Ed:  Ending Standardized Law School Tests Could Diminish Diversity, by Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Berkeley) & Daniel Tokaji (Dean, Wisconsin):

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November 26, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Treasury Department Seeks To Hire Deputy Assistant Secretary ($135,468 - $203,700)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is looking to hire a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax, Trade and Tariff Policy (application due November 30, 2022): 

Department of the treasurySummary
The Deputy Assistant Secretary reports to the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy and is responsible for providing oversight, coordination and policy direction for the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

Duties
As the Deputy Assistant Secretary Tax Trade and Tariff Policy, you will:

  • Supervise the TTB Administrator.
  • Provide policy direction to TTB based on input from Treasury leadership, US Government leaders, TTB leaders, federal advisory committees, and external groups.
  • Work with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) leadership to develop customs policies; provide policy guidance to DHS on issues related to revenue and regulation of trade for economic purposes.

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November 26, 2022 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink

Penn Evaluates Whether To Join Boycott Of U.S. News Rankings By Ten Of Top 15 Law Schools

Penn Logo (2022)Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn Carey Law Evaluating Participation in U.S. News & World Report Rankings After Harvard, Yale Pull Out:

Spokesperson Meredith Rovine wrote in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian that Penn Carey Law “applauds Yale Law and Harvard Law for their leadership in raising key questions for all law schools,” and agrees that the rankings are not holistic. ...

“Penn Carey Law has substantially increased financial aid and support for students seeking public interest careers to meet these important needs. We are evaluating this issue and assessing a process for our own decision-making,” Penn Carey Law's statement said.

“The U.S. News algorithm severely undercounts money spent on financial aid for students, while fully rewarding schools for every dollar spent on faculty and administrator salaries,” Penn Carey Law’s statement read.

Philadelphia Inquirer, Penn Will Evaluate U.S. News Rankings in Light of Harvard and Yale’s Decision to Withdraw:

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November 26, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, November 25, 2022

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Next Week’s Tax Workshops

Next Week's Tax Workshops - linkedinMonday, November 28: John Vella (Oxford) will present Pillar 2’s Impact on Tax Competition as part of the UC-Irvine Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Natascha Ryan Fastabend.

Tuesday, November 29: Eleanor Wilking (Cornell) will present Tax Incidence with Heterogeneous Firm Evasion: Evidence from Airbnb Remittance Agreements as part of the Boston College Tax Policy Workshop. If you would like to attend, please contact Jim Repetti.

Tuesday, November 29: Ariel Jurow Kleiman (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar) will these two papers as part of the NYU Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium:

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November 25, 2022 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Is This The Beginning Of The End Of The U.S. News Rankings Dominance?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Is This the Beginning of the End of the 'U.S. News' Rankings Dominance:

U.S. News LogoLess than one week after the dean of Yale Law School announced she would no longer cooperate with U.S. News & World Report on its annual rankings, several of her peers have followed suit. As of Tuesday, deans at 10 of the 15 top-ranked law schools had said they would stop sending their data to U.S. News.

The collective revolt came quickly — and with barbs. In their announcements, the deans criticized the algorithm that U.S. News analysts use to produce the rankings. “The rankings rely on flawed survey techniques and opaque and arbitrary formulas, lacking the transparency needed to help applicants make truly informed decisions,” wrote Kerry Abrams, dean of Duke Law. The methodology creates “perverse incentives,” wrote Jenny Martinez, Stanford Law School’s dean. ...

If the law deans’ criticism sounds familiar, it’s because it echoes the complaints that have been leveled for decades against an even bigger project: the magazine’s ranking of undergraduate colleges and universities. There, too, critics have said the magazine’s metrics are flawed, opaque, and harm equity efforts.

But seldom have institutions acted on their concerns, as Yale and its peers have recently. And if elite colleges are willing to withdraw their support from one U.S. News ranking in the name of equity, why not another? In other words, is the undergraduate ranking the next venue for this kind of protest?

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November 25, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

The New And Decidedly Improved IRS 'Fact Sheet' Frequently Asked Questions

Frank G. Colella (Pace), The New and Decidedly Improved IRS 'Fact Sheet' Frequently Asked Questions, 100 Taxes — The Tax Magazine 49 (Apr. 2022):

TaxesOn October 15, 2021, the IRS issued a News Release that updated its process for the issuance of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on “new tax legislation” and addressed concerns that taxpayers and practitioners had expressed about whether FAQs could be relied upon in the context of penalty relief requests. Had this News Release been issued as recently as two years ago, it may have raises some eyebrows because the number of IRS FAQs was relatively small and most practitioners were generally aware that they could not be cited as “authority” for a given tax position. But, in the post-Coronavirus world of tax practice and procedure, this News Release was a significant event given the sheer number of FAQs issued by the IRS in response to the tax legislation enacted as a result of the pandemic.

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November 25, 2022 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

NYU Seeks To Hire A Tax Law And Policy Fellow ($75,000-$88,000)

New York University School of Law is seeking a full-time Tax Law and Policy Fellow:

NYU Tax Law Center (2022)Description
The Tax Law Center at the New York University School of Law is seeking one full-time Tax Law and Policy Fellow to assist the Executive Director and other senior staff with research, writing, and project management. The fellow will work across subject matter areas in tax, which will include climate tax issues. The fellow will be able to work with senior staff to focus in on any area(s) of specialty in their second year if there is specific subject matter interest and as work needs allow.  

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November 25, 2022 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Chicago And (Maybe) Cornell Are First Elite Law Schools To Refuse To Join U.S. News Rankings Boycott

Thomas J. Miles (Dean, Chicago), Rankings:

Chicago (2022)Many of you are aware that in the past week some law schools have announced that they will no longer participate in the U.S. News rankings. After conferring with University leaders and with some members of our faculty, our administrative team, and our alumni community, I have decided that we will continue to furnish information to U.S. News

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November 24, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: Even Your Political Enemies Deserve A Slice Of Thanksgiving Pie

New York Times Op-Ed:  Even Your Political Enemies Deserve a Slice of Pie, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3Just as some friends have inside jokes, my best friend, Woody, and I have an imaginary holiday. We call it Interdependence Day, an intentional play on Independence Day. The point is to recognize how we are all in this together. We mention it from time to time — things we hope to celebrate on Interdependence Day, people we want to honor on Interdependence Day, how we should get together for Interdependence Day. ...

I think that Thanksgiving, at its best, is something like Interdependence Day. The practice of gratitude asks us to acknowledge how our very existence depends on others. This yearly reminder of that reality is needed now more than ever.

Americans often cling to a myth of utter self-sufficiency. The hero is the self-made man. But if we are truly self-made, gratitude becomes impossible. In the 19th century, while visiting the United States, the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville observed a tendency for Americans to forget their larger community and past. In the now-classic “Democracy in America,” he wrote that the American citizen he saw was “thrown back forever upon himself alone” and confined “entirely within the solitude of his own heart.”

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November 24, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

UC-Irvine Is First Non-Elite Law School To Join U.S. News Rankings Boycott

Austen Parrish (Dean, UC-Irvine), University of California, Irvine School of Law Withdraws From Participating in U.S. News Annual Law School Rankings:

UCI Law (2022)I write to share our decision to withdraw from participating in the U.S. News & World Report annual law school rankings — a decision that we have not reached lightly. Over the last several days, faculty have met to discuss as a group, and I have had conversations and meetings with staff, student leaders, alumni, and others. With thoughtful feedback and strong encouragement within our community, we will not be submitting proprietary data this year to U.S. News for use in its law school rankings.

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November 24, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Pepperdine Caruso Law Is Thankful For Greg Ogden

After 44 years on the Pepperdine Caruso Law faculty, Greg Ogden taught his last class on Monday. We honored him with a clap-out:

On Monday evening, the faculty celebrated Greg with a dinner|roast at one of Pepperdine's beach houses:

Ogden Group

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November 24, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

NY Times: Tax Prof Cruciverbalist

New York Times Crosswords, Collision Courses:

NY TimesSamuel A. Donaldson is a law professor at Georgia State University, where he teaches courses on property, federal taxation and estate planning. He has been making crossword puzzles for The Times since 2008. His grids are typically filled with lively vocabulary, and this one is no different. “Solvers might not realize the theme until after they’re done,” Mr. Donaldson said of this puzzle, “so I wanted the process of getting to the finish line to be as enjoyable as possible.”

Law.com, GSU Law Prof Goes Across and Down to Create NY Times Crosswords:

Getting a crossword puzzle published in The New York Times is "one of the few meritocracies left," says Georgia State law professor Samuel Donaldson.

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November 24, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

A Wall Street Journal Thanksgiving

Wall Street Journal editorial, The Desolate Wilderness:

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love. ...

This editorial has appeared annually since 1961.

Wall Street Journal editorial, And the Fair Land:

Any one whose labors take him into the far reaches of the country, as ours lately have done, is bound to mark how the years have made the land grow fruitful.

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November 24, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Taxation Of NFT Transactions

Michael Lukacs (EY, New York), Oren Margulies (EY, Washington, D.C.) & Lakshmi Jayanthi (EY Boston), ABCs of NFTs: Key Tax Considerations, 177 Tax Notes Fed. 819 (Nov. 7, 2022):

Tax Notes Federal (2022)In this article, the authors explain what nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are, how various parties engage in NFT transactions, and how NFTs are exploited commercially, and they answer common questions about the taxation of NFT transactions — a subject on which there is no direct guidance.

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November 23, 2022 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Will Katherine Magbanua Get 'Unusual' Reduction In Life Sentence For Flipping On Charlie Adelson In Dan Markel Murder Case?

Following up on last week's post, The Dan Markel Murder Case: Katie Magbanua Flips On Charlie Adelson:  Tallahassee Democrat, Could Katherine Magbanua Get an 'Unusual' Deal in Dan Markel Murder Case? Attorneys Weigh In.:

Magbanua AdelsonKatherine Magbanua’s agreement to talk to prosecutors as a state witness after being convicted of Dan Markel’s murder has Tallahassee-area attorneys scratching their heads as to what bearing her cooperation could have on her life sentence.

Magbanua was ordered Wednesday to return to Tallahassee in late November to give a proffer statement during a closed-door meeting with prosecutors at the courthouse. She was found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges during her May trial and sentenced over the summer.

The move comes in the run-up to the murder trial early next year of Charlie Adelson, Markel's ex brother-in-law, Magbanua's one-time boyfriend and the alleged mastermind behind the murder-for-hire plot.

Exactly what she could divulge and whether she will testify against Adelson are just as unclear as whether her life sentence could be reduced for her cooperation.

“This is out there,” said appellate attorney and former 1st District Court of Appeal judge Philip Padovano. “I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it is unusual to say the least. I’ve never seen it.” ...

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November 23, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Delmotte: The Promises And Pitfalls Of A Blockchain Driven Tax System

Charles Delmotte (NYU; Google Scholar), The Promises and Pitfalls of a Blockchain Driven Tax System:

Policymakers and international organizations such as the OECD defend new tax measures to increase tax compliance and decrease tax competition and tax evasion. The proposed new policies often change the nature or distribution of tax liabilities, for instance by changing the rate structure, introducing new taxable events, or redistributing taxing rights. In a divided political landscape, this article suggests another approach to simplify taxes and raise compliance. This article doesn’t intend to touch upon what we owe the government, but only regards how we execute the existing set of tax rules. Moreover, I will explore enhancing tax efficiency by altering the technological design that undergirds the tax system – by relying on blockchain technology.

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November 23, 2022 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Bill Henderson: The Dollars And Math Behind Yale Law School's Withdrawal From U.S. News — 'Are Limits on Federal Student Loans The Best Way To End The Rankings Madness?'

Bill Henderson (Indiana), The Dollars and Math Behind Yale Law’s Withdrawn From USN Rankings:

Yale USNYale Law School’s $1.2 billion share of the Yale University endowment provides approximately $63 million in operating funds, which translates into $106,000 per student. ... To be clear, these are the funds available before Yale Law collects its first dollar of tuition. Nonetheless, as the top-ranked law school in the US News rankings for more than 30 years, Yale has a superabundance of highly credentialed students who would be willing to pay or borrow the current cost of attendance. For the 2021-22 admission cycle, Yale admitted only 5.6% of applicants; of those admitted, 81% enrolled, making Yale the most selective and elite law school in the nation.

Among elite law schools, Yale clearly has the strongest balance sheet. Its closest competitors are Stanford Law ($76,000 in endowment funding per student) and Harvard ($56,000), which typically rank #2 or #3 in any given year. Among the rest of the T-14, endowment funding generates approximately $20,000 per student, with a high of $33,000 and a low of $4,000, albeit these figures, similar to Yale, may go up due to improved endowment performances, as pandemic-related fiscal and monetary policies tended to make the rich richer.

The big news, of course, is that Yale recently announced its withdrawal from the US News rankings, at least as an active participant. This decision, and its likely second-order effects for other law schools, are nearly impossible to accurately grasp without also understanding (1) the technical intricacies of how the US News rankings work, as this creates the underlying incentive structure; and (2) the significant risk that Yale was running by continuing to play the US News game, making it a poor data point for generalizing to other law schools. ...

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November 23, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly ranking of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through November 1, 2022) 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)  214,451 1 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) 11,049
2 Daniel Hemel (NYU) 127,477 2 Daniel Hemel (NYU) 5,104
3 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 125,641 3 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 4,272
4 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 125,185 4 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 2,920
5 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 122,450 5 Zachary Liscow (Yale) 2,761
6 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 115,439 6 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 2,676
7 David Kamin (NYU) 112,636 7 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 2,618
8 Cliff Fleming (BYU)    107,287 8 Kyle Rozema (Washington University) 2,434
9 Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) 104,121 9 Richard Ainsworth (Boston Univ.) 2,411
10 Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 103,236 10 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 2,405
11 Ari Glogower (Northwestern) 103,058 11 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 2,365
12 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 48,388 12 Kim Clausing (UCLA)     2,333
13 Michael Simkovic (USC) 46,746 13 Jordan Barry (USC) 2,183
14 Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 40,043 14 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 2,112
15 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 37,849 15 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 2,031
16 Richard Ainsworth (Boston Univ.) 35,948 16 Michael Doran (Virginia) 1,900
17 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 33,632 17 Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Cardozo) 1,894
18 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 30,198 18 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 1,843
19 Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine) 29,111 19 David Kamin (NYU) 1,812
20 Ed Kleinbard (USC) 28,834 20 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 1,757
21 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 28,791 21 Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indy)   1,703
22 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 27,572 22 Francine Lipman (UNLV) 1,624
23 Jim Hines (Michigan) 26,948 23 Edward McCaffery (USC) 1,366
24 Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.) 25,788 24 Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Wash.) 1,358
25 Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) 25,746 25 Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) 1,347

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November 23, 2022 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Dan Solove: Slaying The U.S. News Law School Rankings Dragon

Daniel Solove (George Washington; Google Scholar), Slaying the US News Law School Rankings Dragon:

US News (2023)The battle against the US News Law School Rankings has finally begun. After decades of groaning and grumbling about how bad the rankings are, many top law schools have said they are withdrawing from the rankings, including 7 out of the top 10. I applaud this move, but I fear that law schools might break out the champagne too early. The battle might be won, but the war might ultimately be lost unless law schools do more than just withdraw.

Law schools aren’t really dropping out of the rankings; they are just pledging to refuse to submit certain data that US News wants. US News issued a statement declaring that it will continue ranking whether law schools cooperate or not. The dragon hasn’t been slain; it’s just not going to get some of the food it wants. ...

Reductive as rankings are, people crave rankings, and there is money in ranking for US News. Thus, don’t expect US News to fold.  Rankers gonna rank.  US News will just use whatever data it can get their hands on. ...

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November 23, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Taxation And Law And Political Economy

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington; Google Scholar), Ari Glogower (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Ariel Jurow Kleiman (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar), & Clinton Wallace (South Carolina; Google Scholar), Taxation and Law and Political Economy, 83 Ohio St. L.J. 471 (2022) (reviewed by Hayes Holderness (Richmond) here and Neil Buchanan (George Washington) here): 

Ohio state college of lawThe Law and Political Economy (LPE) project seeks to reorient legal thought by centering considerations of power, equality, and democracy. This reorientation would supplant approaches to legal thought that prioritize efficiency and neutrality, and that imagine a pre-political market “encased” from legal scrutiny or intervention.

This Article seeks to advance dialogue between LPE and tax scholarship. The Article first describes the areas of intersection between the two literatures and then offers general insights each can learn from the other as a basis for further engagement.

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November 22, 2022 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

UCLA Is Tenth Top 15 Law School To Refuse To Participate In U.S. News Rankings

Russell Korobkin (Interim Dean, UCLA), UCLA Law Will Not Participate in U.S. News & World Report Rankings:

UCLA Law (2022)As many of you know, a number of our peer schools have announced that they will not submit proprietary data this year to U.S. News and World Report for use in its annual law school rankings. After substantial and deliberate consultation with a variety of stakeholders, I write to tell you that, in the absence of significant and meaningful changes to the methodology employed in these rankings, we will also decline to participate this year.

Faced with the choice of where to attend law school, one of the most significant decisions of their lives, students reasonably search for some method of comparing the overall quality of law schools. Third-party rankings can provide a useful service in this regard if their methodology is transparent, if they value features of the schools’ programs that are reasonable proxies for educational quality, and if they provide incentives for schools to compete in ways that improve educational quality and ultimately benefit the legal profession.

Although no rankings can provide a perfect measure of quality, the U.S. News rankings are particularly problematic for a number of reasons:

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November 22, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Colin Diver: Are The U.S. News Rankings Finally Going To Die?

New York Times Op-Ed:  Are the U.S. News College Rankings Finally Going to Die?, by Colin Diver (Former Dean, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Former President, Reed College; Author, Breaking Ranks: How the Rankings Industry Rules Higher Education and What to Do About It (Johns Hopkins University Press 2022) (more here):

Breaking Ranks 6Yale’s law school made the stunning announcement last week that it would no longer participate in the influential rankings published annually by U.S. News & World Report. Given the outsize importance attributed to the rankings by prospective applicants and alumni, Yale’s decision sent shock waves through the legal profession, and indeed all of higher education. Yet the law schools at Harvard, Berkeley, Georgetown, Columbia, Stanford and Michigan [and Duke and Northwestern] quickly followed suit. Will the universities of which they are a part join the boycott? Will other colleges and professional schools do the same? Could this be the beginning of the end for college rankings?

I sure hope so.

Since their emergence in 1983, the U.S. News college rankings have grown into a huge juggernaut. They have withstood decades of withering criticism — from journalistsuniversity presidents and the U.S. secretary of education — that the methodology ignores the distinctive character of individual schools and drives institutions to abandon priorities and principles in favor of whatever tweaks will bump them up a notch or two.

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November 22, 2022 in Book Club, Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

With Duke And Northwestern, Nine Of T14 Refuse To Participate In U.S. News Law School Rankings

Kerry Abrams (Dean, Duke), Withdrawal From U.S. News Rankings:

Duke Law (2022)For more than 30 years, Duke Law School has participated in the annual ranking of law schools published by U.S. News. Although Duke Law has been among the top cohort of institutions in every edition, we have long had serious concerns that the design and influence of these rankings create incentives that are not aligned with our mission and our values. At a time of critical focus on access to legal education and the legal profession, we think it’s important to recognize this unfortunate impact and push for change. Therefore, Duke Law will no longer participate in the U.S. News rankings.

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November 22, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

One-Third Of The Way Through The Fall 2023 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Down -7.5%, With Biggest Decline (-21%) In The 165-169 LSAT Band

We are now 33% of the way through Fall 2023 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is down -7.5% compared to last year at this time:

LSAC 1

129 of the 198 law schools are experiencing a decrease in applications. Applications are down -20% or more at 26 law schools:

LSAC 2

Applicants are down the most in the Northwest (-17.0%), Midsouth (-14.9%), and Northeast (-13.2%); and are up in Other (+22.2%):

LSAC 3

Applicants' LSAT scores are down -8.5% in the 170-180 band, -13.8% in the 160-169 band, -8.8% in the 150-159 band, and -1.3% in the 120-149 band:

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November 22, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Cleveland State Removes John Marshall's Name, Rebrands As CSU College Of Law

Following up on my previous posts (links below): Lee Fisher (Dean, Cleveland State), Law School Name Change: Cleveland State University (CSU) College of Law:

CSU Law (2022) (White)Below is a message from Cleveland State University President Laura Bloomberg announcing that earlier today, the Cleveland State University Board of Trustees voted to remove the name “Cleveland-Marshall” from the College of Law. Our college will now be known as the CSU College of Law.

As President Bloomberg notes, the Board reached its decision following an extensive and comprehensive process that included review by a special University ad hoc committee of the Law School Name Committee Report that I submitted to the University earlier this year. The University ad hoc committee unanimously recommended the removal of the name “Marshall,” and in September President Bloomberg submitted that recommendation to the Board with her endorsement. I also voiced my support of the recommendation.

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November 22, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, November 21, 2022

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

Susan Morse (Texas; Google Scholar) presents Out of Time? APA Challenges to Old Tax Guidance and the Six-Year Default Limitations Period at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium:

Susan-morse  The government has begun to raise the six-year limitations period under 28 U.S.C. § 2401(a) to defend against administrative procedure challenges to old tax regulations. This defense should work. The tradeoff between accuracy and repose in these cases is solved by the six-year limitations period of 28 U.S.C. § 2401(a), which begins to run when guidance issues for such administrative procedure claims. One complication in tax is that most opportunities to raise administrative procedure claims arise in deficiency or refund cases, where the pre-litigation tax procedure can be lengthy and outside the control of the plaintiff. The solution is to make appropriate equitable, administrative and perhaps legislative adjustments to ensure that the limitations period works appropriately in the tax context.

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November 21, 2022 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

Antitrust Implications Of The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott

Daniel A. Crane (Michigan), Antitrust Concerns on Firing U.S. News & World Report:

Yale Notice & CommentMy view on the merits is that the USNWR rankings scheme is bad for legal education, for many of the reasons articulated by Deans Gerken, Manning, and Chemerinksy. It’s not that rankings are necessarily bad—giving students, employers, and others information on law schools is important. The problem is that USNWR places weight on arbitrary and manipulable factors, which in turn pressure schools to allocate resources in ways that are detrimental to legal education, equity, and ultimately society at large. So sign me up for the project of breaking USNWR’s spell.

Ever since yesterday’s announcements, folks have been asking me whether there is a potential antitrust problem with any of this. ...

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November 21, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Michigan Is Seventh T14 Law School To Refuse To Participate In The U.S. News Rankings

Mark D. West (Dean, Michigan), Michigan Law Will Not Participate in U.S. News Rankings:

Michigan Law Logo (2021)After talking with students, faculty, alumni, and staff, I have decided that it no longer makes sense for Michigan Law to participate in the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings process. As a public institution, serving the public interest has always been central to our mission. Over time, I increasingly have come to believe that the U.S. News law school rankings no longer serve the public interest. Although we have had sustained discussion for years within the Quad about parting ways with the rankings, it would have been difficult for us to take this step alone. I applaud Yale Law School (and Dean Heather Gerken, Michigan Law, ’94) for being first mover and share the concerns expressed by Yale and other schools that have withdrawn.

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November 21, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Why Law Schools Outside The T14 (Like UCLA, Wash U, George Mason, Boston University, Pepperdine) May Refuse To Join The U.S. News Rankings Boycott

David Lat (Original Jurisdiction), Yale And Harvard Law To U.S. News: Drop Dead:

US News (2023)In the world beyond YLS and HLS, some have criticized the schools’ withdrawal as threatening the rankings system, which these critics argue has utility for schools beyond the super-elite. The top-14, top-6, and top-3 schools barely change, so one could argue that the U.S. News rankings offered little informational value as to those schools. The entire so-called “T14” could secede, and not much would change; the old advice of “if you get into a T14 school, go” would still apply.

But beyond the T14, some schools have made dramatic jumps over the years, as reflected in their U.S. News rank—e.g., George Mason/Scalia Law or Pepperdine Law, former fourth-tier schools that are now #30 and #52, respectively. If YLS and HLS end up killing the law-school rankings, with U.S. News either leaving the space or making the ranks much more imprecise, how can these other schools demonstrate their progress? And how can law-school applicants make informed decisions when choosing between non-T14 schools?

New York Times, As More Top Law Schools Boycott Rankings, Others Say They Can’t Afford to Leave:

Some law schools — especially those just below the Top 14 — said that despite their qualms about the rankings and the tests, it could be hard to abandon them.

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November 21, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: The Employer/Employee Gift Rule

Camp (2021)Relationships can be messy.  That is true whether they are work relationships or romantic relationships.  But it is especially true for romantic relationships with co-workers.  Throw in a power disparity (in either direction) and the relationship becomes even trickier.  That is why I suspect most readers subscribe to the standard advice to avoid romantic relationships with co-workers—even if they honor that advice in the breach.  After all, the standard advice is often easier said than done. Humans are not little neat boxes where you can separate relationships into “work” and “personal.”  It’s messy.

That messiness invades tax law.  The Supreme Court has said as much in how it tells us to apply the §102(a) exclusion from income for gifts.  Congress has tried to lessen the §102(a) mess with a bright line rule in §102(c) that prohibits the exclusion when a gift is from employer to employee.  Call that the employer/employee gift rule.  In Jennifer Joy Fields and Walter T. Fields v. Commissioner, T.C. Sum. Op. 2022-22 (Nov. 10, 2022) (Judge Panuthos), we see the employer/employee gift rule applied to a CEO’s decision to help an employee buy a home with company money.  Despite their personal relationship, the employer/employee relationship meant there was no exclusion.

Today’s lesson seems especially timely in light of the approaching holiday season with all its messy relationship and gift-giving complexities.  Details below the fold. 

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November 21, 2022 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (9)

U.S. News Law School Rankings, ABA Optional LSAT, And Harvard Affirmative Action Supreme Court Case

US News (2023)Wall Street Journal Editorial, Yale and Harvard Law Unrank Themselves:

Yale and Harvard law schools said this week they will no longer participate in the annual law-school rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. Readers may see no one to root for in a showdown between elite schools and the higher-ed ratings complex, but there’s a point to be made about what appears to be a flight from merit and transparency at these schools. ...

Dean Gerken gave away the game when she wrote: “Today, 20% of a law school’s overall ranking is median LSAT/GRE scores and GPAs. While academic scores are an important tool, they don’t always capture the full measure of an applicant. This heavily weighted metric imposes tremendous pressure on schools to overlook promising students, especially those who cannot afford expensive test preparation courses.”

This sounds like cover for a desire by Yale to be free to admit students with lower test scores in service to diversity, but without taking a hit to its exclusive reputation. Yale has long been No. 1 in the U.S. News rankings.

The LSAT isn’t perfect, but it is a good predictor of success in law school, particularly as grade inflation has rendered GPAs far less meaningful. The LSAT’s influence is also an equalizer. For the price of a prep book, a low- or middle-income applicant can use an excellent score to compete with thousands of affluent applicants with polished resumes or connections. Yet progressives have long hoped to kill the LSAT along with high-school standardized testing.

The timing here is notable given the Supreme Court may soon strike down the use of racial preferences in college admissions. The Yale and Harvard announcements look like attempts to adapt in advance. This is a reminder to the Justices that college administrators will find a way to skirt any three-pronged diversity test they might devise, or some other putative judicial compromise.

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November 21, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Tim Keller: Forgive — Why Should I And How Can I?

John Inazu (Washington University; Google Scholar), Tim Keller on Forgiveness:

ForgiveMy past two newsletters have examined the topic of forgiveness [Pandemic Forgiveness and The Incomprehensible Witness Of Forgiveness]. ... I thought the topic merited one more engagement, so I reached out to my friend, Tim Keller. ...

Tim’s latest book, out just this month, is Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I? [blogged here]. It explores the power of forgiveness and how we can practice it in our lives.

Here are a few highlights from our conversation.

John Inazu: What prompted you to write this book now?

Tim Keller: Two reasons. First, as a pastor I’ve spent decades teaching and counseling about this subject. It is one of the main resources that Christianity provides. But secondly, it seems that forgiveness is “fading” in our society. Some on the Left says that forgiveness is a way for oppressors to stay in power so we shouldn’t grant it to them. Others on the Right are now complaining that we cannot go into the public square with compassion—rather, we should be tougher, less forgiving. But social relationships cannot be sustained without forgiveness. Marriages, families, friendships—they all require forgiveness in one way or another. ...

JI: We know that forgiveness does not always require a Christian or even a theological framework. For example, Nelson Mandela did not base his forgiveness on religious commitments. But your new book argues that the Bible teaches “human forgiveness must be based on an experience of divine forgiveness” and “we must consciously base our forgiveness of others on God’s forgiveness of us.” How do you account for the Mandelas of the world? 

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November 20, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ: Ten Books To Read On Faith In The Modern World

Wall Street Journal Bookshelf, 10 Books to Read on Faith in the Modern World:

A set of recent books—as seen through the eyes of Wall Street Journal reviewers—as fascinating, thought-provoking and various as the shades of contemporary belief.

I have blogged five of these ten books:

WSJ Books

After Disbelief: On Disenchantment, Disappointment, Eternity, and Joy
By Anthony T. Kronman | Yale

America’s Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911
By Mark A. Noll | Oxford

God, Grades, and Graduation: Religion’s Surprising Impact on Academic Success
By Ilana M. Horwitz | Oxford

How God Works: The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion
By David DeSteno | Simon & Schuster

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November 20, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Christian Colleges And Universities Support Senate-Passed Bipartisan Respect For Marriage Act With Protections For Both LGBTQ Rights And Religious Freedom

Carl H. Esbeck (Missouri), Everything You Need to Know About the Respect for Marriage Act:

CCU Logo 0This week, the Senate advanced the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA). The law tries to balance the unquestionable goodness of traditional marriage with America’s changing views on same-sex relationships. Some conservatives will undoubtedly treat the act as a loss. But others will take the view that, in a morally pluralistic society, a few concessions yield a win for the common good. I’m one of them.

The history of RMA goes back to late June, when the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overruled its predecessor Roe v. Wade. Buried in a concurring opinion by justice Clarence Thomas was his suggestion that the court make a clean sweep of things by reconsidering the 2015 Obergefell decision finding a constitutional right to gay marriage. That comment unsettled the tens of thousands of Americans who had entered same-sex unions, which in conservative states are dependent on Obergefell remaining good law.

In response, the US House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, or H.R. 8404. But it failed to safeguard religious liberty for churches, universities, and other institutions that believe in traditional marriage.

Rather than just say no to RMA, a small collective of faith groups moved quickly in the Senate to see if the act could be brought into balance. A few senators from both parties who were keen on doing just that helped. After adding in a measure of religious liberty protections, the Senate substitute of the House bill passed the higher chamber earlier this week, 62–37.

In order of significance, here’s what you need to know about the Respect for Marriage Act:

Section 6(b) of RMA recognizes that religious nonprofits and their personnel have a statutory right to decline any involvement with a marriage solemnization or celebration—including a same-sex one. This federal right would preempt any state or local law to the contrary. It means clergy can refuse to officiate a gay wedding. A church can decline to be the venue for these unions. A Christian college can deny use of its chapel for the same reason, and a Christian summer camp can refuse use of its lake and nearby pavilion, as well. ...

All in all, RMA is a modest but good day’s work. It shows that religious liberty champions and LGBT advocates can work together for the common good. It says to the original House bill, “If a bill is about us, it has to be with us.” And it shows that Congress can still legislate, not just be a gaggle of egos who go to Washington to perform but never fix.

Daily Citizen, Christian Groups Clash Over Religious Freedom Provisions in the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’:

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November 20, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5. The #1 paper is #387 among 17,127 tax papers in all-time downloads:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [1,169 Downloads]  The Perceived (Un)Fairness of the Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate, by Rita de la Feria (Leeds)
  2. [434 Downloads]  Federal Tax Procedure (2022 Practitioner Ed.), by John Townsend (Houston)
  3. [394 Downloads]  Pillar Two and Developing Countries: The STTR and GloBE Implementation, by Heydon Wardell-Burrus (Oxford)
  4. [283 Downloads]  A Wrench in the GLOBE's Diabolical Machinery, by Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar)
  5. [190 Downloads]  VAT Goes Virtual: Security Tokens, by Joachim Englisch (Münster)

November 20, 2022 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, November 19, 2022

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts