Paul L. Caron
Dean




Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the largest projected decreases among those schools:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The backlash was intense.

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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

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

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

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

2. Constitutional Links between Equality and Taxation ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journal of legal educationFrom the Editors

Articles

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

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

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

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

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

ABA Takes Another Step Toward Fully Online Law Schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 20, 2024

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

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

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

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

Legal Ed News Roundup

The Kinder, Gentler IRS? Where?

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

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

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

ABA Endorses Licensing Of Attorneys Without Bar Exams

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

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

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

Reuters, Bar Exam Alternatives Gain American Bar Association Backing:

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

A Future for Carbon Taxation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer 2024 – Spring 2025:

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

Tax Prof Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 19, 2024

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

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

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

I don’t do that anymore (very often).

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

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

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

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May 19, 2024 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Dallas Mavericks: The NBA Basketball Team Created To Represent God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 19, 2024 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Hasen: Taxation Of Work In Christian Theology

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

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

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

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

NYU Graduation   NYU Law Facebook page

NYU Law Purple Logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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

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

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

Saturday, May 18, 2024

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top 10 Taxprof Blog Posts - LinkedinLegal Education: 

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

Tax: 

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

Faith:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hatfield: Safeguarding Taxpayer Data

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

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

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

Friday, May 17, 2024

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

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

Roberts (2020)

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

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Week’s Tax Workshop

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

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

Thursday, May 16, 2024

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

Update:

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

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

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

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

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

Parsons: Cryptocurrency, Legibility, And Taxation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Family Plan: Parents Attend Law School With Their Children

Mother and Son Navigate the Law School Experience:

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

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

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

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

Estate Tax Consequences Of Redeeming Stock With Life Insurance Proceeds

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

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

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

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

Private College Tuition Discount Rate Hits All-Time High Of 56.1%

NACUBO, Annual NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study Finds Financial Aid Awards and Undergraduate Enrollment on the Rise at Private Colleges and Universities:

In the 2023 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study, 325 private, nonprofit colleges and universities reported an estimated 56.1 percent average institutional tuition discount rate for first-time, full-time, first-year students in academic year (AY) 2023-24 and 51.9 percent for all undergraduates – both new highs. By providing grants, fellowships, and scholarships, these institutions forgo more than half the revenue they would collect if they charged all students the tuition and fee sticker price.

NACUBO

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Grewal: The Mandatory Repatriation Tax Is Not A Tax

Andy Grewal (Iowa; Google Scholar), The Mandatory Repatriation Tax Is Not a Tax:

In Moore v. United States, the Supreme Court has agreed to address whether the Sixteenth Amendment allows Congress to tax unrealized sums. The case arises over Section 965(a). Under that section, taxpayers with substantial equity interests in a foreign corporation must immediately include in income their shares of the corporation’s accumulated earnings. The parties and commentators frequently say that Section 965(a) establishes a “Mandatory Repatriation Tax.”

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May 15, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Mississippi College School Of Law Professor Killed In Triple Homicide

ABA Journal, Clinical Law Prof Who Worked For Social Justice Killed in Triple Murder:

WelchAn associate clinical professor at the Mississippi College School of Law died over the weekend in a fatal shooting that also claimed the lives of her mother and sister.

The lawyer, Crystal Lynn Welch, 42, had devoted her life to social justice work, according to the Mississippi Free Press. She also helped lead a successful effort in 2020 to replace the Mississippi state flag, which had incorporated the Confederate flag in its design.

Welch died along with her mother, Ida Thomas Welch, 76, and her sister, Vicky Renee Welch, 56.

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May 15, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times: Was The 401(k) A Mistake?

New York Times Magazine, Was the 401(k) a Mistake?:

Work Retire RepeatHow an obscure, 45-year-old tax change transformed retirement and left so many Americans out in the cold.

With pensions, otherwise known as defined-benefit plans, your employer invests on your behalf, and you are promised a fixed monthly income upon retirement. With 401(k)s, which are named after a section of the tax code, you choose from investment options that your company gives you, and there is no guarantee of what you will get back, only limits on what you can put in. This is why they are known as defined-contribution plans. Pensions still exist but mainly for unionized jobs. In the private sector, they have largely been replaced by 401(k)s, which came along in the early 1980s. Generally, contributions to 401(k)s are pretax dollars — you pay income tax when you withdraw the money — and these savings vehicles have been a bonanza for a lot of Americans.

Not all companies offer 401(k)s, however, and millions of private-sector employees lack access to workplace retirement plans. Availability is just one problem; contributing is another. Many people who have 401(k)s put little if any money into their accounts. With Americans now aging out of the work force in record numbers — according to the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a nonprofit founded by a group of financial-services companies, 4.1 million people will turn 65 this year, part of what the AARP and others have called the “silver tsunami” — the holes in the retirement system are becoming starkly apparent. U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that in 2017 49 percent of Americans ages 55 to 66 had “no personal retirement savings.” 

The savings shortfall is no surprise to Teresa Ghilarducci, an economist at the New School in New York. She has long predicted that the shift to 401(k)s would leave vast numbers of Americans without enough money to retire on, reducing many of them to poverty or forcing them to continue working into their late 60s and beyond. That so many people still do not have 401(k)s or find themselves, like Jen Forbus, in such tenuous circumstances when they do, is proof that what she refers to as this “40-year experiment with do-it-yourself pensions” has been “an utter failure.”

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May 15, 2024 in Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News | Permalink

Law School Entry-Level Faculty Hiring Is Down 26%; FAR Applicants Are Up 28%

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Lawsky Entry Level Hiring Report 2023:

Lawsky 3

There are four entry-level tax hires:

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May 15, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Step-Up In Basis: Policy Perspectives On A Longstanding Policy Loophole

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace; Google Scholar), Crystal Lichtenberger (Pace), Kaitlyn Maguire (Pace) & Gigi McQuillan (Pace), Step-Up in Basis: Policy Perspectives on a Longstanding Policy Loophole, 7 Bus. & Fin. L. Rev. __ (2024):

This essay offers three different and conflicting perspectives on the income tax step-up in basis for property acquired from a decedent under IRC § 1041. Arguments in favor of repealing this longstanding tax loophole include increased revenue, elimination of the tax preference for income from capital versus labor, and minimizing tax considerations on economic investment decisions. Arguments against repeal include political infeasibility, administrative convenience, and incentives for middle class investment. These divergent perspectives are concrete examples of robust tax policy analysis guided by commitments to multiple principles at the same time. Those commitments include familiar ones like efficiency, equity, and administrability, but also equity and the real-world human consequences of tax rules.

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May 15, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Students Sue CUNY Law School Over Ban On Commencement Speakers, Claiming Move Is Anti-Palestinian

New York Post, Students Sue CUNY Law School Over Ban on Commencement Speakers, Claiming Move Is Anti-Palestinian:

CUNYEight CUNY Law School students are suing the embattled institution claiming it violated federal censorship rules by nixing student-selected speakers, who have recently been anti-Israel, at commencement.

The left-leaning institution’s ban was imposed after graduate Fatima Mousa Mohammed gave a hate-filled speech last spring bashing Israel, “white supremacy” in America and the “fascist” NYPD.

The students’ suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, alleges the “repression” of free speech and “unlawful termination” of two customs for the publicly funded City University of New York’s law-school commencement: the student-elected speakers and the live-streaming and recording of the event.

The plaintiffs allege that CUNY is censoring speech that supports “Palestinian freedom.”

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May 15, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

University Of North Carolina Tax Profs Receive Awards For Teaching And Scholarship

Unc faculty awards
Kathleen Thomas
and Leigh Osofsky received awards for excellence in teaching and scholarship from the University of North Carolina School of Law:

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May 14, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink

A Liberal Theory Of Legal Education

Eli Wald (Denver), A Liberal Theory of Legal Education, 75 Ala. L. Rev. 563 (2024): 

Alabama law reviewLaw schools have a reputation, and are often criticized, for being liberal. Yet, their reputation notwithstanding, law schools are traditional, orthodox institutions, teaching and instilling in students a version of the law devoid of justice and morality. One might be tempted to assume law schools merely reflect the conservatism of the legal profession, which generally serves the interests of powerful clients and sustains the status quo, but this account does not withstand scrutiny. Law schools and law professors are relatively insulated from the intense competitive pressures of the market for legal services. Whatever the explanatory power of lawyers’ usual excuses for ignoring justice and morality—“the adversary system made me do it,” or “clients made me do it”—they do not apply to and do not explain the conduct of law professors. 

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May 14, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

April's Tax Reflections With Reuven Avi-Yonah

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar):

Avi-YonahIs Treasury Bound by the Arm’s-Length Standard?, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 109 (Apr. 1, 2024):

Avi-Yonah examines the history of the arm’s-length standard and considers whether Treasury can deviate from it if it is necessary to clearly reflect related taxpayers’ income.

Can the United States Curb Its Debt?, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 515 (Apr. 15, 2024):

Avi-Yonah argues that because digital services taxes are used to offset the taxation impediment that “digital giants” cannot be taxed under permanent establishment rules, they should qualify as an in-lieu-of tax and therefore be creditable.

Corporate Taxpayers and Frivolous Arguments, Part 1, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 671 (April 22, 2024):

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May 14, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

ABA: Biggest Law School Scholarships Disproportionately Go To White Students

Reuters, Biggest Law School Scholarships Disproportionately Go to White Students, ABA Finds:

White law students are more likely to land full scholarships and less likely to receive scholarships covering less than half their tuition compared with their non-white classmates, according to new data from the American Bar Association.

White students were awarded 70% of the full-tuition scholarships given by law schools this year but comprise about 61% of the national pool of full-time law students, the new data show.

ABA Data

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May 14, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times & ProPublica: Trump May Owe $100 Million From Double-Dip Tax Breaks

Trumpo CHicago

New York Times, Trump May Owe $100 Million From Double-Dip Tax Breaks, Audit Shows:

Former President Donald J. Trump used a dubious accounting maneuver to claim improper tax breaks from his troubled Chicago tower, according to an Internal Revenue Service inquiry uncovered by The New York Times and ProPublica. Losing a yearslong audit battle over the claim could mean a tax bill of more than $100 million.

The 92-story, glass-sheathed skyscraper along the Chicago River is the tallest and, at least for now, the last major construction project by Mr. Trump. Through a combination of cost overruns and the bad luck of opening in the teeth of the Great Recession, it was also a vast money loser.

But when Mr. Trump sought to reap tax benefits from his losses, the I.R.S. has argued, he went too far and in effect wrote off the same losses twice.

The first write-off came on Mr. Trump’s tax return for 2008. With sales lagging far behind projections, he claimed that his investment in the condo-hotel tower met the tax code definition of “worthless,” because his debt on the project meant he would never see a profit. That move resulted in Mr. Trump reporting losses as high as $651 million for the year, The Times and ProPublica found.

There is no indication the I.R.S. challenged that initial claim, though that lack of scrutiny surprised tax experts consulted for this article. But in 2010, Mr. Trump and his tax advisers sought to extract further benefits from the Chicago project, executing a maneuver that would draw years of inquiry from the I.R.S. First, he shifted the company that owned the tower into a new partnership. Because he controlled both companies, it was like moving coins from one pocket to another. Then he used the shift as justification to declare $168 million in additional losses over the next decade.

The issues around Mr. Trump’s case were novel enough that, during his presidency, the I.R.S. undertook a high-level legal review before pursuing it. The Times and ProPublica, in consultation with tax experts, calculated that the revision sought by the I.R.S. would create a new tax bill of more than $100 million, plus interest and potential penalties. ...

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May 14, 2024 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Big Law Recruiting Rush Puts More Pressure On Diverse Students

Bloomberg Law, Big Law Recruiting Rush Puts More Pressure on Diverse Students:

Big Law’s race to snatch up summer associates poses hurdles for diverse students.

Leading firms are now urging students to apply for coveted summer jobs before they finish their first year in law school, often as they’re juggling classes and preparing for finals. Several give candidates as little as two weeks to decide on offers that can chart the course of their careers.

The accelerated recruiting process gives students less time to adjust to the rigors of law school, let alone consider what they want to do after graduation. It forces firms to vet candidates based on just one semester of law school performance.

That’s particularly bad news for students who are the first in their families to attend law school, and who may be less prepared for what to expect in law school early on. ...

More than half (53%) of all Hispanic law students are the first in their families to attend law school, according to a survey by Indiana University. The share of first-generation students is also higher among Black (36%) and Asian (28%) students than their White counterparts (21%).

Bloomberg  Big Law

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May 14, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, May 13, 2024

Smith Presents Taxing Business Owner-Managers Today At Oxford

Kate Smith (London School of Economics and Political Science; Google Scholar) presents It’s All About the Base: Taxing Business Owner-Managers (with Helen Miller (Institute for Fiscal Studies)) at Oxford today as part of its Centre for Business Taxation Seminar:

Kate smithBusiness owner-managers form an important part of the workforce in many countries, including the US and UK. We develop an empirical dynamic model to study the taxation of this group, who commonly benefit from preferential tax rates aimed at boosting entrepreneurship and investment. We study all UK owner-managed businesses, explicitly accounting for heterogeneity in their activities and traits, and allow for a wide range of responses to tax, including avoidance margins. We model a rich set of policy instruments, including tax rates, bases and loans, accounting for how their interaction affects inter- and intra-temporal incentives. Increasing capital gains tax (CGT) rates on business owners raises revenue in a progressive manner and leads to a small drop in aggregate owner-managed business investment. There are large declines in investment for some high income incorporated businesses, because higher rates increase the cost of capital associated with new equity investments. 

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May 13, 2024 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup