TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News & World Report) announced today that the new 2020 law school rankings will be released on Tuesday, March 12. Here is my coverage of the current 2019 law school rankings:

February 19, 2019 in Law Review Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Papers: UC-Davis/ACTEC Symposium On Empirical Analysis Of Wealth Transfer Law

ACTEC UCD (2019)UC-Davis Law School and The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel have issued a Call for Papers for a symposium on Empirical Analysis of Wealth Transfer Law to be held at UC-Davis Law School on Friday, October 11, 2019, with papers to be published in the UC Davis Law Review:

The event’s goals are to bring together established and emerging scholars and to foster discussion about empirical scholarship about wills, nonprobate transfers, intestacy, inheritance taxation, and related issues.

If you would like to be considered to present a paper, please email an abstract of no more than two pages to Professor David Horton by March 1, 2019. The Law Review will notify those selected by March 15, 2019. Please be aware that speakers must submit drafts that are ready for the editing stage of the production process by mid-November 2019.

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February 19, 2019 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof Commentary On The U.S. News Faculty Scholarly Impact Rankings

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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February 19, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hemel & Polsky: There’s A Problem With Buybacks, But It’s Not What Senators Think

Daniel Hemel (Chicago) & Gregg Polsky (Georgia), There’s a Problem With Buybacks, but It’s Not What Senators Think, 162 Tax Notes 765 (Feb. 18, 2019):

In a deeply divided Washington, one of the few issues on which leading lawmakers on both sides of the aisle appear to agree is that corporations should be discouraged from buying back their stock from shareholders. Earlier this month, top-ranking Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, along with Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, unveiled the outline of a proposal that would bar companies from buying back their shares until they pay all workers at least $15 an hour and offer a suite of healthcare, sick leave, and retirement benefits. On February 12, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — who has criticized buybacks in the past — announced that he wants to change the tax treatment of buybacks as part of a plan to make U.S. industry more competitive.

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February 19, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller: Law School Ruin Porn Hits USA Today

USA TodayFollowing up on my previous post, Eighteen Law Schools Would Fail ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Within 2 Years Accreditation Standard: Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Law School Ruin Porn Hits USA Today:

I actually laughed out loud when I started reading this “yearlong investigation” by four USA Today journalists on the state of legal education. I call the genre, “law school ruin porn.” ...

The piece is reminiscent of a genre of journalism that peaked in 2011 in a series of pieces by David Segal in the New York Times. ...

The fundamental problem with a piece like this one in USA Today is how it treats the outlier as the norm. The vast majority of law students do pass the bar exam on the first attempt. The vast majority of law schools are at no risk of failing to meet the ABA’s standards. But the piece is framed in quite a different fashion. ...

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February 19, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 18, 2019

Maynard Presents Legislating Tax Cuts With Tall Tales Today At Pepperdine

Maynard (2018)Goldburn P. Maynard Jr. (Louisville) presents Legislating Tax Cuts With Tall Tales at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Part I provides a brief introduction to the work of philosophers Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel on everyday libertarianism. This part shows how the narratives of hard work and just desert along with stories of government oppression have been used to support policies that harm those who vote against them. System Justification Theory helps to explain the counterintuitive notion that the disadvantaged have a need to defend the status quo.

Part II proceeds by exploring three tax reform battles from different decades: 1986, 2001, 2017. By comparing the three, this part shows that there was a narrative element to each. Yet, the importance of data decreased across each tax fight. In 1986 there was a genuine commitment to thorough data collection. By 2017, reformers were dodging the data and questioning its effectiveness.

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February 18, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Davis Presents Elective Egg Freezing And The Limits Of The Medical Expense Deduction At SMU

DavisTessa R. Davis (South Carolina) presented Freezing the Future: Elective Egg Freezing and the Limits of the Medical Expense Deduction, 106 Ky. L. Rev. ___ (2019), last week at SMU as part of its Faculty Forum Series:

Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) allows a deduction for unreimbursed expenses for medical care. To qualify as medical care, an individual’s outlay must meet the statutory definition of “medical care” set forth in § 213. Specifically, an outlay must be for care that is either for “the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body.” Many costs raise few interpretive challenges. When an individual receives chemotherapy, for example, the costs tied to that care clearly satisfy the disease prong of §213. But as medicine advances, emerging technologies test the breadth of the Code’s concept of medical care. 

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February 18, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

L.A. And NYC Are Hot Lateral Legal Markets, New York and Cali Are Hot. But Lateral Hiring Is Big In Texas, Too:

Breaking down all the lateral move activity in 2018 by region, we see some things we might expect. Hiring at Am Law 200 firms is high in cities like New York and Los Angeles. But in the top 20 most active markets  — measuring by partner hires at Am Law 200 firms — there were also three cities in Texas: Houston, Dallas, and Austin.


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February 18, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Public's Unmet Need For Legal Services And What Law Schools Can Do About It

Andrew M. Perlman (Dean, Suffolk), The Public's Unmet Need for Legal Services & What Law Schools Can Do About It:

Civil legal services in the United States are increasingly unaffordable and inaccessible. Although the causes are complex, law schools can help in three ways beyond simply offering free legal clinics staffed by lawyers and students. Law schools can teach the next generation of lawyers more efficient and less expensive ways to deliver legal services, ensure that educational debt does not preclude lawyers from serving people of modest means, and conduct and disseminate research on alternative models for delivering legal services. These strategies will not solve all of the problems that exist, but they hold the promise of meaningfully improving the affordability and accessibility of civil legal services.

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February 18, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lesson From The Tax Court: Jurisdiction To Determine Jurisdiction

Tax Court (2017)Last week’s case of Steven Samaniego v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2019-7 (Feb. 6, 2019) (Judge Lauber) teaches a great (and short) lesson about the Tax Court’s subject matter jurisdiction.  Mr. Samaniego had asked for a CDP hearing but the Office of Appeals thought his request was untimely.  So it gave him an Equivalent Hearing and issued a Determination Letter to reflect its decision.  Mr. Samaniego petitioned the Tax Court.  Problem: the Tax Court does not have jurisdiction to review an Equivalent Hearing.  Solution: Judge Lauber treated the hearing as a CDP hearing because he found that the Office of Appeals had miscounted the applicable time period.  Hey Presto! Jurisdiction.  But getting Tax Court review turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory for the taxpayer, because Judge Lauber found no error. 

As we gear up for post-shutdown litigation over late-filed petitions this case is a useful lesson about how the Tax Court will take seriously its obligation to determine the scope of its own jurisdiction.  The case also shows the Court's willingness to look through form to substance when doing so.  I see the case as a direct descendant of Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 138 (1803).  Details below the fold.

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February 18, 2019 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0)

Anderson: Some Contrarian Thoughts On The U.S. News Faculty Scholarly Impact Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), Some Preliminary Contrarian Thoughts on the US News Proposal to Rank Based on Scholarly Impact:

There are several lines of criticism. One group worriesthat releasing such a ranking will create incentives for law schools to focus too much on scholarship as opposed to teaching or cutting tuition. I don't have much to say to this group in this post, because that's a broader debate. Another group worries not about placing greater priority on scholarship, but about the idea of quantifying scholarly impact. Although there are real problems with quantifying scholarly impact, that too is a different debate. Scholarly impact or reputation is already quantified, it's just quantified through the use of a somewhat haphazard survey distributed by US News.

In this post, I want to focus on the line of criticism from a third group, those who value scholarship and accept at least in principle the idea of quantifying scholarly impact, but worry about the narrow focus of using law review citations. One of the most common critiques that surfaced on the day of the announcement is that the proposed methodology will undervalue interdisciplinary work. Interdisciplinary work often appears outside of law reviews and is cited by publications other than law reviews.  The concern is that if US News undervalues interdisciplinary work, then because of the sway that US News holds, it may even reduce the incentives for interdisciplinary work.

As an interdisciplinary scholar myself, this critique concerns me. I do almost no "traditional" or "doctrinal" work in my scholarship, although I have done some. However, I think there are several reasons why the concerns might be overblown even for someone like me. In addition, there are actually some advantages to the proposed methodology over one that included interdisciplinary materials more broadly. Let me explain. ...

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February 18, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

After Failed Dean Search, North Dakota Law School Turns To Internal Candidates

North Dakota Law School (2019)Grand Forks Herald, UND Law School Looks Internally After Failed Dean Search:

Although an external search for a new UND School of Law dean was not successful, faculty, staff and students say an internal candidate could end up being a better option in the long run.

Brad Myers has been serving as interim dean since August. He took over from Kathryn Rand, who had served as dean since 2009 and chose to step down from the position to return to the law school faculty.

A search committee, made up of professors, alumni and others, was working to fill the position since July. The committee was recently disbanded following the unsuccessful external search.

In November, four finalists for the dean's position visited campus. Ultimately, Elizabeth Ann Warner who had served as acting dean of the University of Kansas Law School in 2016 and Brian Gallini, who serves as professor and senior associate dean for faculty at the University of Arkansas School of Law, were each offered the dean's position and each turned it down. Warner declined to comment on the reason she turned down the job. Gallini did not return a request for comment.

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February 18, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 17, 2019

2019 Religious Law School Rankings

Most Devout Law Schools

The Most Devout Law Schools (preLaw Winter 2019):

We gathered detailed information from the religiously-affiliated schools and from other sources. From that data, we compiled a ranking based on: percentage and activity of students who belong to the faith; percentage and activity of faculty who belong to the faith; number of religion-focused courses and other ways the school incorporates the faith into the curricula; religion-related journals, centers and clinics; religious services and clergy at the law school; mission of the law school.

Most Devout Christian Law Schools:

  1. Liberty
  2. Regent
  3. Trinity
  4. BYU
  5. Pepperdine
  6. Baylor
  7. Faulkner
  8. Belmont
  9. Campbell
  10. Concordia

Here is the description of Pepperdine's #5 ranking:

At Pepperdine, social events and official ceremonies begin with prayer. That’s a significant part of the school’s culture. “It is not unusual that business meetings will likewise be convened with a request to God for prudence, understanding and guidance,” the school’s website notes. “Many of Pepperdine’s professors and administrators take the time to spiritually encourage and pray with students and others who need the care that those who profess faith are called to give.” Pepperdine is affiliated with Churches of Christ, but students of all faiths are welcome.

Most Devout Catholic Law Schools:

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February 17, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ: The New World Of Taxes: 2019

WSJ TaxWall Street Journal, The New World of Taxes: 2019 (73 pages):

A year has passed since the Trump administration enacted the biggest tax overhaul in 30 years. Since then, the laws have evolved further, leaving many Americans wondering how to navigate the new changes. 

To help you through this year's filings and returns, The Wall Street Journal has updated our in-depth e-book with key insights on what families, homeowners, retirees, investors, and small-business owners need to know.

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February 17, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

How One Lawyer Overcame Living With Depression In Big Law

Reed SmithFollowing up on my previous post, 'Big Law Killed My Husband': An Open Letter From A Sidley Partner's Widow:  American Lawyer op-ed, 'Scared. Ashamed. Crippled.': How One Lawyer Overcame Living With Depression in Big Law:, by Mark S. Goldstein (Counsel, Reed Smith, New Yoek):

It was Oct. 16, 2017. A Monday. My wife’s 32nd birthday. A day after the Jets blew a 14-point lead to the Patriots. It was also what I thought would be the last time I would ever walk through the halls of Reed Smith, the law firm at which I had spent the past four-plus years.

Roughly six weeks earlier, I had been diagnosed with severe depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety. I felt scared. Ashamed. Crippled. As if I was going to die. Perhaps most of all, I felt alone, particularly in a profession that often stigmatizes mental health disorders. A profession that tends to label them, instead, as “burnout,” or sweep them under the rug. The symptoms of my conditions, which had likely been percolating for some time, came on suddenly and swiftly over Labor Day weekend 2017. These symptoms included not only mentally crippling cognitions, but also physically impairing side effects as well. By early the following week, I knew that this was no mere passing phase; it could not be ignored.

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February 17, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN Logo (2018)There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5:

  1. [551 Downloads]  Spiritus Ex Machina: Addressing the Unique BEPS Issues of Autonomous Artificial Intelligence by Using 'Personality' and 'Residence', by Lucas de Lima Carvalho (University of Sao Paulo)
  2. [424 Downloads]  Ten Reasons to Prefer Tax Partnerships Over S-Corporations, by Bradley Borden (Brooklyn)
  3. [321 Downloads]  The Impact of Soda Taxes: Pass-through, Tax Avoidance, and Nutritional Effects, by Stephen Seiler (Stanford), Anna Tuchman (Northwestern) & Song Yao (Minnesota)
  4. [317 Downloads]  The Proposed Section 163(j) Regulations, by David Miller, Sejin Park, Mani Kakkar & Sean Webb (Proskauer)
  5. [278 Downloads]  A Constitutional Wealth Tax, by Ari Glogower (Ohio State)

February 17, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Is Email Making Professors Stupid — 'Digital Torture For Serious Scholars'?

GmailChronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Is Email Making Professors Stupid?, by Cal Newport (Georgetown; author, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (2016)):

Email used to simplify crucial tasks. Now it’s strangling scholars’ ability to think.

Donald Knuth is one of the world’s most famous living computer scientists. He’s known for his pioneering efforts to bring rigorous mathematical analysis to the design of computer algorithms. An emeritus professor at Stanford University, he’s currently writing the fourth volume of his classic book series, The Art of Computer Programming, which he’s been working on since the early 1960s.

Given Knuth’s renown, many people seek him out. If you’re one of those people, however, you’ll end up disappointed. On arriving at Knuth’s homemade Stanford homepage, you’ll notice that no email address is provided. If you dig deeper, you’ll eventually find a page named email.html which opens with the following statement:

I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I’d used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime.

Knuth does provide his mailing address at Stanford, and he asks that people send an old-fashioned letter if they need to contact him. His administrative assistant gathers these letters and presents them to Knuth in batches, getting urgent correspondence to him quickly, and putting everything else into a “buffer” that he reviews, on average, “one day every three months.”

Knuth’s approach to email prioritizes the long-term value of uninterrupted concentration over the short-term convenience of accessibility. Objectively speaking, this tradeoff makes sense, but it’s so foreign to most tenured and tenure-track professors that it can seem ludicrous — more parody than pragmatism. This is because in the modern academic environment professors act more like middle managers than monastics. A major factor driving this reality is the digital communication Knuth so carefully avoids. Faculty life now means contending with an unending stream of electronic missives, many of which come with an expectation of rapid reply.

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February 16, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

WSJ: The Next Tax Revolution?

Wall Street Journal, The Next Tax Revolution?:

WSJNew Democratic proposals aim to overhaul tax system in the name of fighting inequality, but history suggests that big hikes win support only in times of national crisis.

For decades, the debate in the U.S. over taxing the rich has been a familiar game of tug of war. Republican presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump pushed top tax rates down. Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama pushed them back up.

Back and forth, up and down, the discussion remained within fairly narrow bounds. Republicans made the case for lower taxes and economic growth, Democrats argued for higher taxes and economic fairness, and since 1986, the top individual rate has stayed between 28% and 39.6%.

The tax debate emerging today is a different game altogether, and it may provide the biggest jolt to the American tax system in a generation. Emboldened by poll numbers showing public sympathy for their views, Democrats are proposing a range of ambitious tax hikes on the rich. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has floated a top rate of 77% on estates. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass) has suggested a new annual levy on fortunes exceeding $50 million. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) is urging the party to support a tax rate of 70% on income over $10 million.

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February 16, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

NY Times: Everyone Needs Legal Help. That Doesn’t Mean Everyone Needs A Lawyer.

New York Times, Everyone Needs Legal Help. That Doesn’t Mean Everyone Needs a Lawyer.:

Rebecca Sandefur, a sociologist and researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has spent years considering a question that’s central to the American legal system: Does everyone facing legal issues need a lawyer?

She has found that, especially for everyday matters, many people would benefit more from what she likes to call the “just resolution” of legal problems. “Across a number of common justice problems,” she wrote in a recent article, “nonlawyer advocates and unrepresented lay people have been observed to perform as well or better than lawyers.”

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February 16, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Layser Reviews The Constitutionality Of A National Wealth Tax

This week, Michelle Layser (Illinois) reviews Dawn Johnsen (Indiana–Bloomington) & Walter E. Dellinger III (Duke), The Constitutionality of a National Wealth Tax, 93 Ind. L.J. 111 (2018).

Layser (2018)Presidential Candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren recently proposed a wealth tax on household net worth over $50 million, prompting observers from across the political spectrum to question whether the proposed tax was constitutional (see here, here and here). Critics point to a constitutional requirement that would be impossible to satisfy without serious geographic inequities. But Professors Dawn Johnsen and Walter Dellinger argue that a national wealth tax may not trigger such requirements after all—precisely because they would be impossible to satisfy without such inequities.

The requirement at issue is the “apportionment requirement” imposed by Article I, § 2 of the U.S. Constitution. That provision states that “direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States . . . according to their respective Numbers.” In other words, “direct taxes” must be apportioned among the states based on population size. For example, consider two states with the same population but residents with different net worth. The first state has a large number of wealthy residents, and the second has only a few. An apportioned wealth tax would require both states to render the same aggregate amount of tax. So the few wealthy residents of the poorer state would be unfairly burdened, forced to pay proportionately more than the wealthy taxpayers in the wealthier state.

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February 15, 2019 in Michelle Layser, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

More Coverage Of The U.S. News Law Faculty Scholarly Impact Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)Following up on my previous posts:, U.S. News to Launch New Way to Rank Law Schools:

University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Gregory Sisk ... said on Wednesday that U.S. News’ entrance into the scholarly impact picture is evidence that citations are a useful measure of law faculty performance and law school quality. But he cautioned that many of the details of how the ranking will be compiled are unclear. “As with any such project, the proof will be in the pudding,” Sisk said. “We may not know for a couple of years how it is coming together, how it relates to the general U.S. News ranking system, and whether the approach and results are reliable.” ...

Pepperdine University Law Dean Paul Caron, who closely follows the U.S. News rankings on his TaxProf Blog, said Thursday that he thinks the publication’s push to evaluate the scholarly impact of law faculties is a positive development. Tracking citations isn’t a perfect method, but it’s the best objective way to measure legal scholarship, he said.

“The simple fact is that law schools vigorously compete to hire the best faculty, and research is far and away the most important determinant,” Caron said. “Prospective law students properly care very much about a law school’s reputation, so it make sense for U.S. News to rank law schools on this objective measure.”

Brian Leiter (Chicago), to Start "Scholarly Impact" Rankings:

knows it has been repeatedly burned by misleading self-reporting by schools that it never carefully audits, so switching to non-manipulable metrics no doubt seems preferable. And since their academic reputation surveys are now just echo chambers of recent overall rankings, adding in an impact/productivity component would be a slight corrective to that. ...

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February 15, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Florida Tax Review Publishes New Issue

Florida Tax Review (2018)The Florida Tax Review has published Vol. 22, No. 1:

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February 15, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

International Graduate Student Enrollments And Applications Drop For 2nd Year In A Row

Chronicle of Higher Education, International Graduate-Student Enrollments and Applications Drop for 2nd Year in a Row:

International graduate enrollment and applications have declined for the second year in a row, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools. ...

China and India still lead the way in the number of international graduate applications and first-time enrollments. Chinese applicants and enrollments did not drop, but first-time enrollments by students from India dropped 2 percent, and applications fell 12 percent, according to the report.

Inside Higher Ed, New International Graduate Applications Decline 4%:

New enrollments of international students at U.S. graduate schools fell for the second year in a row, according to a survey from the Council of Graduate Schools.

First-time international enrollments fell by 1 percent from fall 2017 to fall 2018, following on a 1 percent decline the year before that.

First-Time International Enrollments at U.S. Graduate Schools, by Region or Country of Origin

  Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 Fall 2013 to Fall 2014 Fall 2014 to Fall 2015 Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 Fall 2016 to Fall 2017 Fall 2017 to Fall 2018
Overall +10% +8% +5% +5% -1% -1%

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February 15, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Preservation Of NOLs Of Bank Holding Companies

Vijay Sekhon & Ryan Hicks (Sidley Austin, Los Angeles), Preservation of Net Operating Losses of Bank Holding Companies, 37 Rev. Banking & Fin. L. 267 (2017):

[B]ecause the preservation of NOLs benefits companies with significant NOLs and their shareholders, permitting bank holding companies to implement NOL “poison pills” and transfer restrictions does not (contrary to the assertions in SR 15-15) benefit certain shareholders at the expense of others. Furthermore, because companies in other industries are able to use NOL “poison pills” and transfer restrictions to protect these valuable tax assets, permitting bank holding companies to take the same reasonable measures would make it easier for bank holding companies to attract capital (especially distressed bank holding companies that need the most capital).

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February 15, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Light Touch' Targeted Feedback To Students Improves Their Performance

Inside Higher Ed, Can Light Touch Targeted Feedback To Students Improve Their Performance?:

Students benefit from increased faculty engagement. Yet many professors still resist more student-centered teaching.

Part of the problem is that graduate schools are slow to adopt pedagogical training, meaning that some professors may want to up their interaction with students but don’t know how. Another part of the problem is that becoming a better teacher takes time, an increasingly scarce faculty resource.

What if engagement wasn’t complicated and didn’t take that much time? Preliminary research called My Professor Cares: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Faculty Engagement, presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Economics Association, suggests that even “light touch” interventions can make a difference to students.

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February 15, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Zelenak Presents The Intersection Of College Sports And The Federal Income Tax Today At Indiana

Zelenak (2016)Larry Zelenak (Duke) presents The NCAA and the IRS: Life at the Intersection of College Sports and the Federal Income Tax, 92 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2019) (with Richard Schmalbeck (Duke)) (reviewed by Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama) here) at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by David Gamage:

Few organizational acronyms are more familiar to Americans than those of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Although neither organization is particularly popular, both loom large in American life and popular culture. Because there is a tax aspect to just about everything, it should come as no surprise that the domains of the NCAA and the IRS overlap in a number of ways. For many decades, the strong tendency in those areas has been for college athletics to enjoy unreasonably generous tax treatment—sometimes because of the failure of the IRS to enforce the tax laws enacted by Congress, sometimes because Congress itself has conferred dubious tax benefits on college sports. In just the past year, however, there have been signs of what may be a major attitudinal shift on the part of Congress—although so far there have been no signs of a corresponding change at the IRS. This article offers an in-depth look at the history and current status of four areas of intersection between the federal tax laws and college sports.

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February 14, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

University Of Virginia Law School Class Of 1990 Reports 91% Life Satisfaction

Virginia Law (2019)Grads Report 91% Life Satisfaction:

Graduates of the University of Virginia School of Law reported 91 percent career and life satisfaction in a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies [Lawyers at the Peak of Their Careers: A 30‐Year Longitudinal Study of Job and Life Satisfaction].

Law Professor John Monahan, the John S. Shannon Distinguished Professor of Law, has tracked the progress of members of the Law School’s Class of 1990 for almost 30 years.

In his most recent installment of the longitudinal study, a total of 91 percent of respondents said they felt satisfied with their lives, ranging from “average satisfaction” to “very highly satisfied.” What’s more, their happiness has risen over time. In 2007, 86 percent reported feeling satisfied. The average age of participants in 2017 was 53.

The findings cut against the image — cast by popular culture and, Monahan suggests, some suspect high-profile research — that lawyers are a largely unhappy bunch, relatively more prone than other similar professionals to depression, substance abuse and suicide. ...

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February 14, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Jim Gash Named President Of Pepperdine University

GashJames A. Gash, associate dean for strategic planning and external relations and professor of law at the Pepperdine School of Law, has been named the eighth president and CEO of Pepperdine University. Gash is a renowned education administrator, legal scholar, global justice advocate, and attorney. He was selected by the Board of Regents Wednesday afternoon and will succeed Andrew K. Benton on August 1, 2019. Benton announced last March that he planned to step down at the end of the 2018–2019 academic year after 19 years as president.

“The board’s selection of Jim Gash to serve as the next president of Pepperdine is an auspicious moment in the history of this remarkable university,” said Ed Biggers, chair of the Board of Regents. “Throughout his venerable career at Pepperdine and beyond, Jim follows in the footsteps of Pepperdine presidents before him who have demonstrated the kind of inspiration, integrity, strength, and measured leadership that have made this university into the elite academy it is today. We will be fortunate to have Jim’s guiding vision for Pepperdine as we write our next chapter and continue to be a leading university in Christian higher education.”

Biggers also praised the robust participation from the Pepperdine community throughout the search and the work of the Presidential Search Committee, which was led by regent Dale Brown (’64) and committee vice chair Harold Smethills.

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February 14, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tax Prof Presentations At The Right to Bequeath Conference In Germany

TUTax Prof presentations at the The Right to Bequeath conference at TU Braunschweig (Germany):

Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky), Taxing Inherited Wealth in the Twenty-First Century:

The concentration of wealth in the hands of the wealthiest is growing around the world, but, at the same time, taxes on the transfer of wealth, at least in the United States, are shrinking. In light of this growing inequality, and the seeming public objections to the resulting stratification of society, might it be time to reconsider the taxes imposed on the transfer of wealth? And, if so, what method of taxing transfers of wealth best matches the desired social outcomes? Should taxation of wealth transfers focus primarily on the total wealth of the transferor, or instead on the amount received by the transferee? This project considers these questions, in particular with an eye towards the evolving wealth transfer taxation in place in a variety of tax systems.

David Duff (British Columbia), Wealth Transfers, Distributive Justice and Taxation:

Among the causes of increased economic inequality and a growing concentration of income and wealth among the top 1%, the intergenerational transfer of wealth is a major factor, which is expected to become even more significant in the coming years. This article reviews normative arguments for and against gratuitous transfers of wealth, and develops proposals for the design of a tax on the transfer of wealth to facilitate or encourage normatively attractive aspects of gratuitous wealth transfers while discouraging normatively unattractive results.

Miranda Perry-Fleischer (San Diego), Death and Charity:

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February 14, 2019 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

U.S. News FAQ: Law School Scholarly Impact Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)Following up on yesterday's post, U.S. News To Publish Law Faculty Scholarly Impact Ranking Based On 2014-2018 Citations:

U.S. News FAQ: Law School Scholarly Impact Rankings:

What are the Law School Scholarly Impact Rankings?
U.S. News is considering expanding its law school rankings to evaluate each law school’s scholarly impact. This will measure a school’s faculty’s impact in terms of scholarly productivity and impact by using citations, publications and other accepted bibliometric measures. U.S. News is working with William S. Hein & Co., Inc. to complete this effort.

What is U.S. News asking of law schools, and what role will U.S. News and Hein each play in the analysis?
U.S. News is asking each law school to provide U.S. News with the names of its fall 2018 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty. Each law school’s participation in the law school faculty survey is voluntary.

U.S. News will then share each school’s faculty name and other faculty profile data with Hein, who will use this information to link each individual law school’s faculty names to citations and publications that were published in the previous 5 years and which are available in HeinOnline. Using this data, Hein will compile faculty scholarly impact indicators for each law school. This will include such measures as mean citations per faculty member, median citations per faculty member, and total number of publications. Those measures will then be provided to U.S. News for use in creating a comprehensive scholarly impact ranking.

Will scholarly impact indicators factor into the next law schools rankings from U.S. News?
Scholarly impact will not be a factor in the overall law schools rankings published by U.S. News in the late winter or early spring 2019. Rather, U.S. News is considering publishing a separate law school scholarly impact ranking during the 2019 calendar year.

Will U.S News publish a methodology on its new scholarly impact ranking?
In collaboration with Hein, U.S. News would produce a detailed methodology at the time of publication on how the rankings were calculated, how the faculty scholarly impact indicators were calculated and weighted, a description of the legal periodicals and publications used in the analysis, and other pertinent details about how the rankings were developed.

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February 14, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Virginia Tax Review Publishes New Issue

Virginia Tax Review (2016)The Virginia Tax Review has published Vol. 38, No. 1 (Fall 2018):

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February 14, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

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

Mid-CareerThe 2019 AMT organizing committee—Michelle Drumbl (Washington & Lee), Heather Field (UC-Hastings), Miranda Fleischer (San Diego), Brian Galle Georgetown), Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College), and Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)—welcomes proposals for our annual conference.

AMT is a recurring conference intended to bring together relatively recently tenured professors of tax law for frank and free-wheeling scholarly discussion. Our fifth (!) annual meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday, June 13 and 14, 2019, at the lovely & temperate campus of the University of San Diego. We’ll begin early on Thursday and adjourn by noon on Friday. Sunscreen is not provided but strongly recommended.

2015 Conference at Ohio State (Day 1Day 2)
2016 Conference at UC-Davis (Day 1Day 2)
2017 Conference at Arkansas (Day 1, Day 2)

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February 14, 2019 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to Congress, Releases 'Purple Book'

NTAIR-2019-11, National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to Congress: Addresses Impact of Shutdown; Urges More Funding for IT Modernization (Feb. 12, 2019):

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson today released her 2018 Annual Report to Congress, describing challenges the IRS is facing as a result of the recent government shutdown and recommending that Congress provide the IRS with additional multi-year funding to replace its core 1960s-era information technology (IT) systems. The release of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s report was delayed by a month because of the government shutdown.

Olson also released the second edition of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s “Purple Book,” which presents 58 legislative recommendations designed to strengthen taxpayer rights and improve tax administration. ...

Related Items:

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February 14, 2019 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

U.S. News To Publish Law Faculty Scholarly Impact Ranking Based On 2014-2018 Citations

U.S. News Law (2019)Robert Morse (U.S. News Chief Data Strategist), U.S. News Considers Evaluating Law School Scholarly Impact:

U.S. News & World Report is expanding its Best Law Schools data collection with the goal of creating a new ranking that would evaluate the scholarly impact of law schools across the U.S.

The intent is to analyze each law school’s scholarly impact based on a number of accepted indicators that measure its faculty’s productivity and impact using citations, publications and other bibliometric measures.

U.S. News is collaborating with William S. Hein & Co. Inc., the world's largest distributor of legal periodicals, to complete this analysis.

To begin the process, U.S. News is asking each law school to provide U.S. News with the names and other details of its fall 2018 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty.

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February 13, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

LaLumia Presents Tax-Motivated Timing Of Charitable Giving Today At UCLA

LaLumia PhotoSara LaLumia (Williams College) presents Tax-Motivated Timing of Charitable Giving at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh:

Gifts to charity are tax deductible for filers who itemize but not for filers who take the standard deduction. This paper investigates whether households that are likely switching from taking the standard deduction to itemizing change the timing of charitable donations, postponing gifts from December of the year in which they take the standard deduction to January of the year in which they newly itemize.

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February 13, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Historian Lays Into Billionaires At Davos: 'We've Got To Talk About Taxes; All The Rest Is Bullshit'

Huffington Post, Historian Lays Into Billionaires At Davos For Dodging The 1 Thing To Solve Inequality:

A historian’s remarks at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, have gone viral after he told billionaires if they want to solve inequality, all they need to do is pay their taxes.

In a video posted by Now This and viewed more than 5 million times, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman heavily criticizes billionaires who talk about solving inequality, but fail to actually do the main thing he says will help.

“I hear people talking the language of participation and justice and equality and transparency, but then, almost no one raises the real issue of tax avoidance, right? And of the rich just not paying their fair share,” Bregman said last week at the forum, which typically draws the world’s elite.

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February 13, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

South Dakota Law School Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinic Director

South Dakota Law School LogoThe University of South Dakota School of Law invites applications for the position of Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Director, to begin in July 2019:

The position is non-tenure track and paid out of a federal grant. Continued employment is contingent on the availability of grant funding. The grant period ends on December 31, 2019, but is expected to be renewed. Applicants may be eligible for a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer position, dependent upon qualifications.

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February 13, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Great Disappearing Teaching Load: From 3-3, To 3-2, To 2-2, To 2-1; 1-1 Is The Next Maginot Line

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Great Disappearing Teaching Load: How Few Courses Are Too Few?:

Course ReliefYale has gone 2-1," a faculty member in political science told me, in the tone he presumably used in the classroom when discussing the perils of nuclear proliferation.

It became a refrain. During my 10 years as dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame, the question of teaching schedules — a phrase I unsuccessfully tried to substitute for "teaching loads" — hovered in the periphery of my day-to-day life. Sometimes it occupied center stage. At times I wondered if the question — "Could I have a course off for that?" — would be chiseled on my tombstone.

It’s a "first-world problem," as the kids say, and I hasten to acknowledge that deans or department chairs struggling with collapsing budgets, or faculty members routinely teaching four courses per semester, may want to proceed to the next article in The Chronicle Review.

For the rest of you, a question: How many courses per semester should a faculty member at a major research university teach?

The question is rarely asked — because it’s in no one’s interest to ask it. Not presidents, since in public institutions they, unlike faculty members, have to answer questions from more or less curious and informed state legislators about how professors use their time. Not provosts, deans, and department chairs, struggling to sustain the Maginot Line of standard teaching schedules while also competing to hire faculty members. Not graduate students, whose courses are typically taught by tenure-line faculty members anyway. And not professors, eager to conduct more research, certainly, but also craving the flexibility of a schedule not burdened by the day-to-day rhythm of class meeting times.

It’s actually in the interest only of innocent undergraduates, who don’t realize that the tenure-line faculty members supported by their tuition dollars may be teaching a decreasing number of courses. And although they don’t know it, it’s in the long-term interest of faculty members themselves. ...

John Boyer’s absorbing recent history of the University of Chicago is one of the few places where the topic is discussed. (Not coincidentally, Boyer is a longtime dean.) I suspect that the pattern he outlines there is typical: Tenure-line faculty members taught six courses per year (that is, two per quarter) through the 1960s, then five, and now, at most, four. Over time, teaching schedules, like salaries, began to vary a good deal by department or program.

Dame’s pattern was similar: Faculty members in the humanities, social sciences, and arts moved from 3-3 on a semester system in the 1970s to 3-2 and then 2-2 in the late 1980s. When I started as dean, in 2008, tenure-line faculty members in science and engineering taught 1-1, with the expectation that they would be running funded labs; those in business taught 3-0. The "0" came about when the business school identified a semester without teaching, remarkably, as the uniform policy at the top business schools. Humanities, social-science, and arts faculty members taught two courses per semester.

The first strike came in economics. "We need to go 2-1," the chair politely explained, "because otherwise we can’t hire anyone." He was right, and so we did, with the proviso that teaching would be more than 2-1 for faculty members without strong research programs. Economics at Notre Dame had a spectacular decade, zipping up the rankings. Now I’m warned, somberly, that "some faculty at Duke are 1-1." ...

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February 13, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (10)

Johnson: The Founding Fathers Believed In A Wealth Tax

The Hill op-ed:  The Founding Fathers Believed in a Wealth Tax, by Calvin Johnson (Texas):

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has proposed a tax on wealth. It would be constitutional. Opponents claim a wealth tax is unconstitutional because it is a direct tax that must be apportioned among the states by population.

Apportionment by state for a wealth tax is a fatal requirement. Tax rates on wealth of Mississippi residents would have to be twice as high as tax rates on Connecticut residents because Connecticut citizens have twice the wealth of Mississippi residents.

The result is forced because Mississippi has too small of a tax base over which to spread its quota. The opponents of a wealth tax cackle at the absurdity, but it is not what the Founding Fathers intended. ...

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February 13, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Applications Surge 47% (142% Among African-Americans) After NYU Med Goes Tuition-Free

NYUFollowing up on my previous post, NYU Medical School Goes 100% Tuition-Free; $450m Has Been Raised Toward $600m Endowment:  Inside Higher Ed, Admissions Surge After NYU Med Goes Tuition-Free:

New York University's medical school in August stunned the world of medical education with the news that it had raised enough money to offer full-tuition scholarships to all students (more than 400 across classes) going forward.

While other medical schools have been moving to reduce tuition paid by students (and the debt many of them accrue), the NYU effort was the largest and most dramatic to date. With the tuition sticker price at NYU topping $55,000 (similar to the tuition of other top private medical schools), the question for many was whether NYU, already seen as a leading medical school with no shortage of applicants, would see significant gains in its applicant pool.

The answer is an unqualified yes.

Total applications to NYU's medical school increased by 47 percent, to 8,932. ... NYU Med saw a 102 percent increase, to 2,020, in applications from those who are a member of a group that is underrepresented in medicine (including black, Latino and Native American students). The largest percentage increase was among those who identify as African American, black, or Afro-Caribbean. Applications from this group went up 142 percent, to 1,062. ...

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February 13, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Wars: The Battle Over Taxing Global Digital Commerce

Arthur J. Cockfield (Queen's University), Tax Wars: The Battle over Taxing Global Digital Commerce, 161 Tax Notes 1331 (Dec. 10, 2018):

This Article discusses the emergence of an international tax “war” and provides an overview of global digital taxation reform efforts. Governments have been unable to attain consensus surrounding how to tax cross-border digital transactions. As a result, dozens of governments are now pursuing uncoordinated reforms -- including digital services taxes, economic presence tests, withholding taxes and equalization levies -- that will encourage international double taxation and inhibit cross-border trade and investment. The global digital tax conflict masks a growing dissatisfaction with how to tax value associated with global transactions.

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February 13, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Roemer Presents Cooperation, Socialism, Altruism, And Economic Theory Today At NYU

RoemerJohn Roemer (Yale) presents A Theory of Cooperation in Games With an Application to Market Socialism and Cooperation, Altruism and Economic Theory at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

A Theory of Cooperation in Games With an Application to Market Socialism:

Economic theory has focused almost exclusively on how humans compete with each other in their economic activity, culminating in general equilibrium (Walras-ArrowDebreu) and game theory (Cournot-Nash). Cooperation in economic activity is, however, important, and is virtually ignored. Because our models influence our view of the world, this theoretical lacuna biases economists’ interpretation of economic behavior. Here, I propose models that provide micro-foundations for how cooperation is decentralized by economic agents. It is incorrect, in particular, to view competition as decentralized and cooperation as organized only by central diktat. My approach is not to alter preferences, which is the strategy behavioral economists have adopted to model cooperation, but rather to alter the way that agents optimize. Whereas Nash optimizers view other players in the game as part of the environment (parameters), Kantian optimizers view them as part of action. When formalized, this approach resolves the two major failures of Nash optimization from a welfare viewpoint — the Pareto inefficiency of equilibria in common-pool resource problems (the tragedy of the commons) and the inefficiency of equilibria in public-good games (the free rider problem). An application to market socialism shows that the problems of efficiency and distribution can be completely separated: the dead-weight loss of taxation disappears.

Cooperation, Altruism and Economic Theory:

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February 12, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Grewal Presents The Charitable Contribution Strategy Is An Ineffective SALT Substitute Today At Georgetown

Grewal (2019)Andy Grewal (Iowa) presents The Charitable Contribution Strategy: An Ineffective SALT Substitute, 38 Va. Tax Rev. 203 (2018), at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Lilian Faulhaber:

Various states have proposed or enacted laws designed to circumvent the new $10,000 federal limit on state and local tax deductions. The new laws generally contemplate that taxpayers will substitute their tax payments with charitable contributions to state-controlled funds. This Article explores whether that strategy works and concludes that it does not.

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February 12, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kysar Presents Unravelling The Tax Treaty At Duke

Kysar (2018)Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presented Unravelling the Tax Treaty at Duke as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Coordination among nations over the taxation of international transactions rests on a network of some 2,000 bilateral double tax treaties. The double tax treaty is, in many ways, the roots of the international system of taxation. That system, however, is in upheaval in the face of globalization, technological advances, taxpayer abuse, and shifting political tides. In the academic literature, however, scrutiny of tax treaties is largely confined to the albeit important question of whether tax treaties are beneficial for developing countries. Surprisingly little consideration has been paid to whether developed countries, like the United States, should continue to sign tax treaties with one another, and no formal revenue or economic analyses of the treaties has been undertaken by the United States government. In fact, little evidence or theory exists to support entrance into tax treaties by the United States, and examination of investment flows indicates the treaties likely lose significant U.S. revenues. Additionally, they enable taxpayer abuse, stagnate domestic policy, and thwart reforms of the antiquated international tax system. These consequences are particularly problematic for the United States. Other nations, after all, have been able to supplement their revenues and pursue destination-based taxation through treaty-friendly VATs.

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February 12, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Negotiated Tax Havens

Kevin Markle (Iowa) & Leslie Robinson (Dartmouth), Negotiated Tax Havens:

Recently, the intersection of state aid and international tax has acquired a high profile in the European Union. In response, important tax and accounting policy changes are being proposed or implemented. However, these changes are predicated on rhetoric that unfair tax ruling practices by host country governments are pervasive, and significantly benefit foreign-owned companies. Yet, there is no empirical evidence as to whether this is the case. Using several novel data sources on tax concessions granted in the EU, we find that both domestic- and foreign-owned companies receive economically significant tax benefits from state aid.

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February 12, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kleiman: Tax Limits And The Future Of Local Democracy

Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego), Tax Limits and the Future of Local Democracy:

Property tax limits are state-level laws that place caps on local governments’ tax rates and revenue. These statutory limits, which put pressure on already strapped cities and counties in forty-six states, present an inexorable dilemma for local policymakers. On the one hand, they may cause cuts to vital services, bankruptcy, and reliance on regressive revenue sources. At the same time, however, tax limits may reflect genuine concerns about government profligacy and nonresponsiveness. While much research has focused on the first side of the dilemma—examining the laws’ fiscal consequences—this Article explores the second, probing how tax limits affect the distribution of political power between local voters and policymakers.

The Article makes three contributions. First, it argues that property tax limits have focused too strongly on a tax reduction goal to the exclusion of other potential objectives. Instead, tax limits can improve local public control and oversight of government fiscal decisions. Prioritizing public control would increase voter satisfaction and expand opportunities for taxpayer voice.

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February 12, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)