Paul L. Caron

Thursday, September 23, 2021

WSJ: A Generation Of American Men Give Up On College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’

Wall Street Journal, A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’:

Men are abandoning higher education in such numbers that they now trail female college students by record levels.

At the close of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students, an all-time high, and men 40.5%, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group. U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline.

This education gap, which holds at both two- and four-year colleges, has been slowly widening for 40 years. The divergence increases at graduation: After six years of college, 65% of women in the U.S. who started a four-year university in 2012 received diplomas by 2018 compared with 59% of men during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man, if the trend continues, said Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse.

No reversal is in sight. Women increased their lead over men in college applications for the 2021-22 school year—3,805,978 to 2,815,810—by nearly a percentage point compared with the previous academic year, according to Common Application, a nonprofit that transmits applications to more than 900 schools. ...

American colleges, which are embroiled in debates over racial and gender equality, and working on ways to reduce sexual assault and harassment of women on campus, have yet to reach a consensus on what might slow the retreat of men from higher education. Some schools are quietly trying programs to enroll more men, but there is scant campus support for spending resources to boost male attendance and retention.

The gender enrollment disparity among nonprofit colleges is widest at private four-year schools, where the proportion of women during the 2020-21 school year grew to an average of 61%, a record high, Clearinghouse data show. Some of the schools extend offers to a higher percentage of male applicants, trying to get a closer balance of men and women. ...

The college gender gap cuts across race, geography and economic background. For the most part, white men—once the predominant group on American campuses—no longer hold a statistical edge in enrollment rates, said Mr. Mortenson, of the Pell Institute. Enrollment rates for poor and working-class white men are lower than those of young Black, Latino and Asian men from the same economic backgrounds, according to an analysis of census data by the Pell Institute for the Journal. ...

Social science researchers cite distractions and obstacles to education that weigh more on boys and young men, including videogames, pornography, increased fatherlessness and cases of overdiagnosis of boyhood restlessness and related medications.

Men in interviews around the U.S. said they quit school or didn’t enroll because they didn’t see enough value in a college degree for all the effort and expense required to earn one. Many said they wanted to make money after high school. ...

Men dominate top positions in industry, finance, politics and entertainment. They also hold a majority of tenured faculty positions and run most U.S. college campuses. Yet female college students are running laps around their male counterparts.

The University of Vermont is typical. The school president is a man and so are nearly two-thirds of the campus trustees. Women made up about 80% of honors graduates last year in the colleges of arts and sciences.

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why Men Are Disappearing on Campus, by Richard Vedder & Braden Colegrove (Ohio University):

The Journal reported recently that men now make up only about 40% of college students. ... Between 1959 and 2021, the number of male students for every 100 women fell by an extraordinary 62%. ...

Why has this been happening? Here are four reasons. ...

America today is still largely led by college educated males. We looked at 200 corporate and political leaders—CEOs of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune 500 and the 100 U.S. senators. About 71.5% of them are men with a college education. Throughout history mostly educated men have run America—the last U.S. president without a college degree, Harry Truman, left office 60 years ago.

It’s great news that more women are going to college and entering positions of leadership in business, politics—including the vice presidency—and every imaginable corner of the culture. A woman will one day be elected president. That milestone, when it happens, should be celebrated. But men adrift—not keeping up in school, struggling to form families and succeed—will eventually have profound consequences on the nation’s economic prospects and political leadership.

(Hat Tip: Barry McDonald)

September 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Student Debt: The Holistic Impact On Today’s Young Lawyer

ABA Young Lawyers Division & AccessLex Institute, Student Debt: the Holistic Impact on Today’s Young Lawyer:

Student Debt 2Executive Summary
In Spring 2020, the ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and ABA Media Relations launched a survey to understand the impact of student loan debt on the personal and professional lives of relatively new lawyers—ABA members who had been licensed or graduated law school in the last 10 years. The results were illuminating—roughly half of the respondents indicated postponing or foregoing investing in their local community through purchasing a home and starting a family due their debt, over half reported having accumulated more than $150,000 in debt upon graduating law school, and 40 percent reported their student loan debt balance had actually increased since graduation, despite payments. The report revealed several other key insights, but also raised additional questions about the impact of student loan debt on the overall financial and emotional well-being of young lawyers.

To pursue these additional questions, we collaborated with AccessLex Institute to conduct another ABA YLD member survey in May 2021, targeting members under age 36 who earned a law degree or who were licensed in the last 10 years. Over 1,300 members representing attorneys and law school graduates in big law, solo practice, government, industry, non-profit settings, and JD-advantage positions, among others, completed the 44-item questionnaire. In addition to seeking information about the impact of student loan debt on their ability to reach traditional life milestones that previous generations regularly attained, we also posed questions meant to assess how student loan debt influences career decisions, overall financial stability, and emotional well-being. Additionally, we examined young lawyers’ experiences and satisfaction with seeking financial advice and support, as well as their pre-law awareness of the cost and potential value of J.D. attainment.

In contrast to the 2020 survey, this year’s survey was administered against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent and ongoing efforts to rebound from its negative impacts, and related events such as the temporary suspension of student loan payments, distance learning and remote bar examinations, as well as the reopening of businesses and other operations. Although the survey does not directly address or measure the impact of these events, it is likely they influenced the mindset of those responding to the questionnaire. Our analysis of the results showed that:

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September 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Despite What The WSJ Says, MBA Applications Are Up Again At Most Top Business Schools

Wall Street Journal, M.B.A. Applications at Some of the Country’s Best Colleges Fell This Year:

The pandemic-prompted surge of interest in the management degree in 2020 looks to be a passing fad.

Some of the best known M.B.A. programs in the U.S. registered precipitous drops or sluggish interest from prospective candidates this year, following a 2020 admissions cycle in which applications soared.

Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management reported a 20% drop in applications to its M.B.A. program for the incoming fall of 2021 class. Columbia Business School reported a 6% decline. ...

This year was expected to be a banner one for applications to top-tier M.B.A. programs. In 2020, application volumes surged for the first time in five years, thanks in part to loosened standardized testing requirements and extended admissions deadlines that let students seeking to ride out a shaky job market apply for many months beyond the normal admissions time frame. Instead, this year’s results are mixed and admissions experts say the pandemic-spurred interest in the degree could further evaporate by next year.

Poets & Quants, The Wall Street Journal Is Missing The Big Picture On MBA Applications:

The Wall Street Journal‘s story that ran on Monday, September 20 is misleading at best. That’s clear from the data. ...

Poets&Quants has reviewed the 2020-2021 application data by comparing peer schools with each and comparing historical data. At the 15 top-25 schools for which we have data, only Northwestern Kellogg School of Management (-20.3%) and Columbia Business School (-6.3%) saw declines. For the other 13 schools, apps were up — and in some cases, up big.

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September 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Treasury To Eye ‘Clawback’ Of Estate And Gift Taxes From Trusts Used By The Wealthy

Lynnley Browning (Financial Planning), Treasury to Eye ‘Clawback’ of Estate and Gift Taxes From Trusts Used by the Wealthy:

Financial advisors know by now that Democrats’ proposed tax increases would prevent affluent investors from using trusts to pass on major wealth to their heirs.

What most advisors and even estate planners don’t know: There’s a separate existential threat to investors who use trusts to move assets out of their estate free of estate and gift taxes.

The threat doesn’t come from Congressional tax writers, who are fighting over how to raise taxes to pay for the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion spending plan. Instead, it comes via a nearly unnoticed sentence in an obscure Treasury Department document released by the agency earlier this month.

Treasury is looking at whether the IRS could “claw back” taxes on gifts that investors have made under the higher estate and gift tax exemption levels in place since 2018, according to a little-noticed remark in the agency's priority guidance plan released on Sept. 9. The recapture would come once those higher thresholds expire come 2026.

The agency’s flagging of the issue “has the potential to claw back into a taxable estate transfers into trusts that were made when exemptions were higher,” said Michael Repak, a vice president and senior estate planner at wealth management firm Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

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September 23, 2021 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Mason & Knoll Present Unbundling Undue Burdens Today At UC-Irvine

Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar) & Michael Knoll (Penn) present Unbundling Undue Burdens virtually at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium:

Mason-knollCriticizing dormant Commerce Clause doctrine for, among other reasons, involving arbitrary distinctions and inviting judicial legislation, jurists and commentators have advocated for its abandonment or severe curtailment. This Article shows that when dormant Commerce Clause cases are divided by the type of burden they impose on interstate commerce, the need for different approaches to different types of cases emerges. Unbundling the doctrine helps explain the Supreme Court’s various doctrinal approaches in the cases, making it less ad hoc and haphazard and more connected to its justifications, which lie in federalism and the need to preserve a smoothly functioning national market.

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September 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Davis Presents Tax Narratives: A Critical Tax Perspective On The Biden Tax Plan Today At Copenhagen

Tessa Davis (South Carolina) presents Tax Narratives: A Critical Tax Perspective on the Biden Tax Plan virtually at Copenhagen today as part of its Tax Colloquium:

DavisTax is storytelling. And the Biden Administration is elevating different narratives as it weaves its own story of the tax changes the country needs and how those changes will strengthen the fabric of American society.  As of August 2021, portions of the Administration’s proposals have become law.  Others face an uncertain path to enactment.  A rare bipartisan spirit emerged in the same month in the U.S. Senate’s passing of a significant infrastructure bill. But legislation to advance the Administration’s other goals—particularly tax changes and spending programs targeted toward benefiting low- and middle-income individuals and families—may be a harder lift. In “Tax Narratives: A Critical Tax Perspective on the Biden Tax Plan,” I situate the Administration’s proposals that aim to address childcare, healthcare, and education access within domestic and international contexts.

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September 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Lower The Bar For Legal Eagles Who Don’t Go To Law School

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Lower the Bar for Legal Eagles Who Don’t Go to Law School, by Clifford Winston (Brookings Institution; Co-Author, Trouble at the Bar: An Economics Perspective on the Legal Profession and the Case for Fundamental Reform (2021)):

Trouble at the BarCNN anchor Poppy Harlow recently took a leave of absence from the network to attend a one-year master’s degree program for nonlawyers at Yale Law School. By drawing attention to Yale’s M.S.L. program, Ms. Harlow helps shed light on the absurdity of the legal profession’s time-consuming and expensive requirements to be licensed as a lawyer, which primarily serve to raise lawyers’ earnings and limit access to justice.

If Ms. Harlow wanted to practice law after completing the M.S.L. program, she wouldn’t be able to do so. Instead, she would have to be accepted by a law school with a three-year program accredited by the American Bar Association, and pass a state bar exam. The ABA and state bar examiners maintain that these requirements establish a minimum standard of quality for lawyers and protect clients from incompetent representation.

However, their rationale doesn’t withstand scrutiny. Legal advice is what economists call a “credence good” because, like auto repairs and medical procedures, its quality is difficult for consumers to evaluate accurately, even after purchase. Thanks to technological advances, many industries have made strides toward reducing the cost of imperfect information associated with credence goods. Websites like Angie’s List (now Angi) and Yelp, as well as social media platforms, inform consumers about the quality, reputation, and performance of service providers, such as plumbers, electricians and landscapers. Similar websites, such as Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell, let consumers search for lawyers.

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September 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

San Diego Seeks To Hire An Entry Level Or Lateral Tax Prof

USD (2016)The University of San Diego School of Law invites applications from entry-level and lateral candidates for full-time tenure-track and tenured positions beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year. We seek applications from candidates with scholarly distinction or promise and a commitment to excellence in teaching.

Applicants should have a J.D., a Ph.D., or an equivalent degree, as well as a record of high academic achievement. We welcome candidates with teaching and research interests in all areas of law, and we have a particular interest in applicants able to teach Tax, Corporations, and/or Corporate Finance.

Law schools looking to hire Tax Profs to start in the 2022-23 academic year:

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September 22, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

Does Tenure Impede Diversity?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Does Tenure Impede Diversity?:

Does tenure increase or decrease racial diversity in the faculty ranks? The question is imbued with fresh urgency on the heels of recent controversies involving Nikole Hannah-Jones and Cornel West.

Pose the question to some scholars, however, and they tend to bristle, but for starkly different reasons.

Peony Fhagen, senior associate dean of equity, inclusion, and faculty development at Colorado College, thinks it’s somewhat insidious to ask the question now, just as a critical mass of diverse academics are making professional progress. “You’re going to take this away when we come on board?” she asks.

In contrast, Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, cringes at the question because he doesn’t think it’s relevant. “Racial diversity should have no bearing on tenure decisions,” says Wood, a former tenured anthropologist, associate provost, and president’s chief of staff at Boston University. “Anyone who owes his or her tenure to such considerations has advanced in the academic world via racial discrimination and is rightly to be looked upon by colleagues as having vitiated academic standards.”

Some observers look to statistics for an answer.

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September 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Stiglitz, Tucker & Zucman: The Global Minimum Tax Deal Is About More Than Fairness

Foreign Affairs: Ending the Race to the Bottom: The Global Minimum Tax Deal Is About More Than Fairness, by Joseph E. Stiglitz (Columbia; Google Scholar), Todd N. Tucker (Roosevelt Institute; Google Scholar) & Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley; Google Scholar):

Foreign AffairsThe year is 2100. Humanity has averted the worst impacts of climate change, as economies around the world decarbonized by 2050 and even went “carbon negative” in the decades that followed. Since the end of the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, there has not been a major war, and after initial escalation of tensions between the United States and China earlier in the century, there was no new Cold War. Instead of the competition for resources that characterized earlier periods of humanity’s history, an ethos of cooperation emerged.

Historians debate when the turning point occurred, but the leading school of thought pinpoints 2021 as the moment of change. Prior to that point, it was seen as acceptable and even smart economic policy to charge little to no tax on society’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. Countries even competed with one another so that if one nation raised taxes to tackle inequality’s corrosive effects on economic growth and democracy, its neighbor would respond by cutting taxes. This engendered a shift of profits on paper from the first to the second country, even if no actual productive activity shifted its location. In this world, wealth was unmoored from the communities that helped produce it, spawning a global elite that plundered with impunity. This helped spark populist and authoritarian movements around the world.

There was no way to accomplish the big transformations humanity needed without redirecting resources away from ultrawealthy individuals and massively profitable firms and toward investments in the common good. Disrupting this extractive pattern required governments to make it harder for corporations to move money and economic activity across borders for the purpose of minimizing their tax bills. The key was setting a global minimum tax rate, which countries finally achieved in 2030, inaugurating a new form of globalization in which international cooperation prevailed, wages rose with productivity, and inequality receded.

This speculative future is not implausible. It is, in fact, a potential outcome of the historic tax agreement in July among more than 130 countries. As we explained in Foreign Affairs in 2020, squashing the global tax-avoidance industry is not only vital to establishing a sense of fairness in the international economic system; it is also an important tool for coping with climate change and addressing the myriad other issues facing the world today. Warming temperatures are disrupting food supply systems, infrastructure, and global health. Governments need revenue to deal with these changes. Whether the new global tax deal helps provide countries with the resources they need will depend in part on whether they can summon the political will to finalize it and rigorously enforce it. ...

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September 22, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Judge Delays Katherine Magbanua's Trial To February 14 — 2,768 Days After Florida State Law Prof Dan Markel's Murder

Tallahassee Democrat, Dan Markel Murder: Judge OKs Delay in Magbanua Trial Until February 2022:

Magbanua MarkelA judge on Monday postponed the next trial of Katherine Magbanua on charges she was involved in coordinating the murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel.

Circuit Judge Robert Wheeler cited a mountain of evidence and depositions her defense team needed to wade through as well as current COVID conditions in Tallahassee.

After a mistrial two years ago, the 36-year-old Magbanua now will face trial again on Feb. 14 on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder.

WCTV, Judge Delays Katherine Magbanua’s Trial

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September 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ProPublica: House Bill Would Blow Up The Massive IRAs Of The Superwealthy

ProPublica, House Bill Would Blow Up the Massive IRAs of the Superwealthy:

Pro PublicaLegislation currently making its way through Congress would take a sledgehammer to the massive individual retirement accounts built up tax-free by a select group of the ultrawealthy.

The proposal, which is part of the infrastructure and tax package advancing in the House, targets the jaw-dropping IRAs accumulated by multimillionaires and billionaires such as tech investor Peter Thiel, which were first reported by ProPublica earlier this year. Those accounts — Thiel’s alone was worth $5 billion in 2019 — have allowed some super-wealthy Americans to turn their Roth IRAs, tools meant to incentivize middle-class retirement saving, into supersized tax shelters.

The proposed reform, put forward by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., would effectively cap the total amount someone could hold in a Roth at $20 million and compel the holders of the giant accounts to withdraw anything over that limit.

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September 22, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

McCormack Presents The American Rescue Plan Act And Caregiving Today At UC-Hastings

Shannon Weeks McCormack (Washington) presents The American Rescue Plan Act and Caregiving: What Will (and Should) Come Next virtually at UC-Hastings today as part of its 2021 Tax Speaker Series hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

Shannon-weeks-mccormackThe COVID-19 pandemic amplified and exemplified many of the inequities working parents have long faced in America, but which Congress has been historically reluctant to address in the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”), and otherwise. I have chronicled this in a recently published Essay, Caregivers and Tax Reform: Before and After Snap Shots. Recently, however, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (the “ARPA”), which provided a spate of temporary measures to benefit parents until (one can only hope) the dangers of the pandemic substantially subside. My current project seeks to place the relevant provisions of the ARPA in their historical context. While still in its infancy, in many ways this project will supplement (and I believe culminate) my previous work on the taxation of the family.

The ARPA has been considered by many to be a “monumental action” not only because of its fiscal impact (its price tag is $1.9 trillion dollars) but also because of the substantive moves it makes. As one commentator put it, “the American Rescue Plan has the potential to be the most effective social care package since the 1960s.” I agree. But such claims may obscure the historical mark a bit.

As someone who has studied the taxation of the family, including its history, the package of benefits provided to parents in the ARPA stunned me. 

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September 21, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Pepin Presents A Permanently Refundable Child And Dependent Care Credit Today At Georgetown

Gabrielle Pepin (Upjohn Institute; Google Scholar) presents How Would a Permanently Refundable Child and Dependent Care Credit Affect Eligibility, Benefits, and Incentives? virtually at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop:

Gabrielle_Pepin_2The federal Child and Dependent Care Credit (CDCC) subsidizes child care costs for working families. Before 2021, the CDCC was nonrefundable, so only families with positive tax liability after other deductions benefited. I estimate how CDCC eligibility, benefits, and marginal tax rates would change if the credit were made permanently refundable, relative to 2020 CDCC parameters set to be restored in 2022. Under refundability, some 5 percent of single parents gain eligibility and receive on average over $1,000 annually. Eligibility increases are largest among Black and Hispanic households. Increases in marginal tax rates among moderate-income taxpayers are small.

In this paper, I show that making the CDCC permanently refundable would increase eligibility and benefits among low-income taxpayers, who do not tend to benefit from other child care subsidy programs, such as dependent care FSAs. Furthermore, refundability would lead to particularly large increases in eligibility among Black and Hispanic households, which are relatively unlikely to qualify for the nonrefundable CDCC. Turning to intensive margin labor supply incentives, refundability would decrease marginal tax rates with respect to income among very-low-income taxpayers. Moderate-income taxpayers would experience small increases in marginal tax rates with respect to income but decreases in marginal tax rates with respect to child care expenditures.

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September 21, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

How A Key Biden Tax Idea Got Crushed

Alan Cole (Full Stack Economics), How a Key Biden Tax Idea Got Crushed:

President Joe Biden came into office planning to tax intergenerational wealth more heavily. He had several policy ideas to do this, and the most intellectually defensible of these was to change a capital gains tax provision called “step-up basis.”

Under current law, when you sell an asset, you pay capital gains tax on the amount the asset appreciated. The appreciation is calculated by subtracting the acquisition price—known as the basis—from the sale price. However, there is an exception when you inherit an asset: the basis is the value of the asset at the time you inherited it, not the value at the time it was originally acquired. The capital gains between acquisition and inheritance are lost to the income tax system, as the Treasury Department explained in a recent report supporting Biden’s plan.

Biden had hoped to address this issue in upcoming legislation. But that plan is now in shambles after a public revolt and a decisive push from lobbyists like former senator Heidi Heitkamp. Step-up repeal has been entirely removed from the latest plans released by House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal.

“Frankly this is a humiliating climbdown from the administration’s posture,” Capital Alpha Partners’ James Lucier told the Financial Times.

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September 21, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Florida Seeks To Hire An Entry Level Or Pre-Tenure Lateral Tax Prof

Florida Logo (2017)University of Florida Levin College of Law seeks to hire multiple professors, across an array of fields, over the next several years as part of the university’s quest to become a top five public research institution. The University of Florida, located in Gainesville, FL, is currently the sixth best public research institution in the nation and the flagship university of the third largest state. ... The Appointments Committee welcomes applications from entry-level and pre-tenure lateral candidates writing in all areas of law. Successful candidates will have publication records, strong scholarly potential, commitment to excellence in teaching, and enthusiasm for creating inclusive environments for all students. Candidates must also have a JD, PhD, or equivalent degree in a related field. In reviewing applications, the Appointments Committee will consider long-term teaching needs in required and large enrollment classes, health law, tax, commercial law, election law, law and technology, and race and the law.

For further information, applicants may contact Professors Peter Molk and Wentong Zheng at

Law schools looking to hire Tax Profs to start in the 2022-23 academic year:

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September 21, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

July 2021 Florida Bar Exam Results: Florida International Is #1 For 7th Year In A Row

Florida Bar 2The July 2021 Florida bar passage rates by school are out. The overall pass rate for first-time takers is 71.6%, down 0.1 percentage point from last year. For the seventh year in a row, Florida International is #1. Here are the results for the 11 Florida law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (Florida and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

FL (Overall)

1 (88.8%)

Florida Int'l

4 (88)

2 (82.5%)


3 (72)

3 (81.3%)


1 (21)

4 (78.8%)


5 (111)

5 (73.9%)

Florida State

2 (48)

6 (67.6%)

Ave Maria

Tier 2

7 (66.7%)


Tier 2

8 (59.2%)


Tier 2

9 (56.8%)

Florida A&M

Tier 2

10 (53.3%)

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

11 (50.8%)

St. Thomas

Tier 2

Miami Herald, Want to Attend Law School in Florida? These Have the Highest Bar Passage Rates:

FIU, the largest public university in the South Florida, led the rankings of Florida’s 11 law schools with a whopping 88.8% passing rate. ... “I’m just so very proud and impressed by our Bar takers,” said FIU law dean Anthony Page. “They have shown an enormous amount of resilience and persistence and legal skill given all of the travails of the last year.” ... This marks the seventh consecutive year that FIU has come out on top in the larger fall administration of the exam. ...

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September 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times: Tax Lawyers At Top Accounting Firms Cycle In And Out Of Top Treasury Posts And Reap Huge Reward For Their Clients And Themselves

New York Times, How Accounting Giants Craft Favorable Tax Rules From Inside Government:

Big 5For six years, Audrey Ellis and Adam Feuerstein worked together at PwC, the giant accounting firm, helping the world’s biggest companies avoid taxes.

In mid-2018, one of Mr. Feuerstein’s clients, an influential association of real estate companies, was trying to persuade government officials that its members should qualify for a new federal tax break. Mr. Feuerstein knew just the person to turn to for help. Ms. Ellis had recently joined the Treasury Department, and she was drafting the rules for this very deduction.

That summer, Ms. Ellis met with Mr. Feuerstein and his client’s lobbyists. The next week, the Treasury granted their wish—a decision potentially worth billions of dollars to PwC’s clients.

About a year later, Ms. Ellis returned to PwC, where she was immediately promoted to partner. She and Mr. Feuerstein now work together advising large companies on how to exploit wrinkles in the tax regulations that Ms. Ellis helped write.

Ms. Ellis’s case — detailed in public records and by people with direct knowledge of her work at the Treasury and at PwC — is no outlier.

The largest U.S. accounting firms have perfected a remarkably effective behind-the-scenes system to promote their interests in Washington. Their tax lawyers take senior jobs at the Treasury Department, where they write policies that are frequently favorable to their former corporate clients, often with the expectation that they will soon return to their old employers. The firms welcome them back with loftier titles and higher pay, according to public records reviewed by The New York Times and interviews with current and former government and industry officials.

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September 21, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

PAC-12 Law Schools Weekly Zoom Series On Access To Justice


The law schools in the PAC-12 are hosting a free Zoom 10-week lecture series on Tuesdays on Access to Justice (Sept. 21 - Nov. 30 schedule) Jody Armour (USC) kicks off the series today with Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law:

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September 21, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times: Why Taxing Stock Buybacks Is The Wrong Fix For Excessive Executive Pay

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  New York Times DealBook:  Why Taxing Stock Buybacks Is the Wrong Fix for Executive Pay:

NY Times Dealbook (2013)Corporate share buybacks have been a boogeyman on the left ever since Senator Bernie Sanders attacked them during his presidential run in 2016.

Now the cause has been taken up by Senate Democrats, who want to tax corporations on their stock repurchases. The stated reason is that companies should use their cash to increase wages rather than goose their stock prices and reward their chief executives.

But the truth is that taxing or restricting share buybacks won’t end corporate greed, or excessive compensation.

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September 21, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, September 20, 2021

Book, Fogg & Olson Present Reducing Administrative Burdens To Protect Taxpayer Rights Today At Loyola-L.A.

Leslie Book (Villanova; Google Scholar), T. Keith Fogg (Harvard), & Nina Olson (Center for Taxpayer Rights) present Reducing Administrative Burdens to Protect Taxpayer Rights virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium:

Book-fogg-olsonThe tax system designed by Congress imposes significant administrative burdens on taxpayers. IRS decisions regarding how it administers tax laws can add to congressionally imposed burdens. The administrative burdens are consequential and hurt some people, especially lower- or moderate-income individual taxpayers, more than others. While the IRS strives to measure and reduce the time and money taxpayers spend to comply with their tax obligations, it does not consider the effect administrative burdens have on taxpayer rights, including the right to be informed, the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax, and the right to a fair and just tax system.

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September 20, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

WSJ: How A Tech Mogul Pushed Through The Opportunity Zones Tax Break

Wall Street Journal Essay:  How a Tech Mogul Pushed Through a Tax Break, by David Wessel (Brookings Institution; Author, Only the Rich Can Play: How Washington Works in the New Gilded Age (Oct. 2021)):

Only the RichSean Parker lobbied to create Opportunity Zones to encourage development in low-income areas, but so far the main beneficiaries are investors wanting lower taxes.

The U.S. tax code is larded with provisions that the wealthy use to reduce their taxes. Some get a lot of attention, while some are inserted into tax bills very quietly—like Opportunity Zones, or OZs.

Six pages tucked into the sprawling 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act led to the creation of 8,764 of these tax havens across the U.S., ostensibly to lure private capital to poor neighborhoods. Anyone can invest capital gains from a previous investment in a building or business in a census tract designated as an OZ by a state’s governor, defer and reduce taxes on that initial gain, and then pay zero capital-gains tax on any profits from that OZ investment, provided that they stick with it for 10 years. Other than holding on to an appreciated asset until you bequeath it to your children, there aren’t many other ways to avoid capital-gains taxes altogether. This one has a huge advantage: “You don’t have to die,” says Brad Cohen, a Los Angeles tax lawyer.

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September 20, 2021 in Book Club, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Five Ways To Make A Real Improvement In Hiring Black Professors

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  5 Ways to Make a Real Improvement in Hiring Black Professors, by J. Luke Wood (Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, Chief Diversity Officer, and Distinguished Professor of Education, San Diego State):

At San Diego State University, we had 25 tenured and tenure-track Black faculty members in the fall of 2017. This fall, thanks to significant policy and process changes and cross-divisional partnerships, we have 42 — a 68-percent increase in a span of only four years. Since the summer of 2020, we’ve hired nine Black faculty members in academic departments. An additional three hires have faculty status but are in student-affairs offices (such as counseling and campus cultural centers).

In four short years, we have made important and noticeable improvements in the Black community on our campus. These faculty members are introducing new courses, overseeing student-retention and -success programs, and offering our students crucial and much-needed one-on-one connections. Certainly we have more to do, but we’ve laid the foundation to ensure that the number of Black faculty members at the university will continue to rise over time.

How did we do it? Here are some strategies we used and lessons learned along the way.

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September 20, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Baylor Seeks To Hire An Entry Level Or Lateral Tax Prof

Baylor Law (2018)Baylor Law will be interviewing to fill multiple tenure- track positions to provide coverage in a variety of curricular areas based upon Baylor Law’s curricular needs and applicant’s experience. Possible courses include criminal law (first-year, required Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure), white collar crime, juvenile justice, military justice, real estate finance, debt financing, construction, energy/natural resources, international trade and business transactions, digital/cybersecurity, elder law/special needs, retirement, nonprofit, income taxation, consumer protection, bankruptcy, creditors remedies, negotiable instruments/payment systems, franchising, healthcare, sports law, patent law and litigation, client counseling, municipal government, poverty, family law and family law advocacy and procedure. For more information. please go here.

Law schools looking to hire Tax Profs to start in the 2022-23 academic year:

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September 20, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: Failure To Understand Issue Preclusion May Trigger Sanctions

Camp (2021)Some people just cannot take no for an answer.  That is one of the reasons §6673 permits the Tax Court to impose a penalty of up to $25,000 on taxpayers who stubbornly present either frivolous or groundless arguments.

It is sometimes difficult, however, to distinguish a “no” from a “not now.”  Karson C. Kaebel v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2021-109 (Sept. 9, 2021) (Judge Halpern), teaches a good lesson about issue preclusion, which is the important legal doctrine that tells us when “no” means “no.”  The taxpayer there asked the Tax Court to make the IRS take back a certification it had sent to the State Department.  But the reasons the taxpayer offered had already been rejected by both the Tax Court and the Court of Appeals in prior cases brought by the taxpayer about different subjects.  Judge Halpern explains why those no’s were really and truly no’s.  He also considers imposing §6673 penalties for the taxpayer’s intransigence.  So this will be a good lesson to learn, if for no other reason than to avoid penalties!   Details below the fold.

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September 20, 2021 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Tax Section Virtual 2021 Fall Meeting

This week's ABA Tax Section virtual 2021 Fall Meeting (program) kicks off today. The highlight is:

ABA Fall Meeting CoverTeaching Taxation: Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Tax: Ideas and Resources for Mentoring Diverse Students and Leading Discussions of DEI in Tax (Wednesday, 12:30 - 2:00 PM ET):

This panel will document the need for greater diversity in the field of tax law − in practice and in Academia – and share ideas to promote this goal, with a focus on law students and recent law school graduates. The panelists will (1) provide information about existing programs to promote DEI in the tax profession, (2) discuss ways to build the tax profession pipeline, to recruit and retain diverse tax attorneys, and to provide strong platforms for professional success, and (3) solicit audience participation and ideas for new initiatives. 

  • Alice Abreu (Temple)
  • Caroline Ciraolo (Kostelanetz & Fink; Inaugural Vice Chair, Membership, Diversity, and Inclusion, Tax Section Council, ABA)
  • Steven Dean (Brooklyn)
  • Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) (moderator)
  • Juan Vasquez (Judge, U.S. Tax Court)
  • Lany Villalobos (Kirkland & Ellis; Assistant Secretary, Tax Section Council, ABA; Immediate Past-Chair, ABA Tax Section Diversity Committee

Other Tax Profs with speaking roles include:

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September 20, 2021 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink

Katherine Magbanua's Attorneys Seek To Delay October 4 Dan Markel Murder Trial

Tallahassee Democrat, Judge Will Hear Arguments Over Evidence, COVID Safety in Request to Continue Katherine Magbanua Trial:

Magnauba (2021)A judge is set to weigh requests by Katherine Magabunua’s attorneys to disqualify prosecutors and continue her trial on charges she was involved in coordinating Dan Markel’s murder.

Her attorneys in the past week have leveled accusations prosecutors intentionally provided the jury misleading evidence and left out information that was exculpatory during her first trial in 2019.

They also have concerns about health safety after Magbanua, 36, unbeknownst to her attorneys Christopher DeCoste and Tara Kawass, both cancer survivors, was brought into court late last month with COVID-19.

Magbanua is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder in Markel's July 2014 shooting at his home on Trescott Drive.

The hearing in front of Circuit Judge Robert Wheeler is set for Monday morning in Tallahassee, with a trial in the high-profile case set for Oct. 4.

WCTV, ‘Unconstitutional, Unfair, Unsafe’: Attorneys for Katherine Magbanua Claim She Was COVID Positive Prior to August Court Hearing:

Katherine Magbanua’s attorneys are asking a judge to delay her October trial, saying they have “zero confidence that the court system can ensure safety during the retrial.” ...

The request to delay the trial comes just days after Magbanua’s defense team asked a judge to disqualify the State Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case. It accuses prosecutors of “intentionally presenting misleading evidence” and “substantial misconduct.”

Magbanua is scheduled to be retried on Oct. 4 after her first trial ended in a hung jury. She’s accused of conspiracy and murder in the 2014 murder of FSU professor Dan Markel. Two other co-defendants — Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera — are already serving time in prison for the crime. ...

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September 20, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Evangelical Christian Case For COVID-19 Vaccinations

New York Times op-ed:  I’m a Former Pastor, and I Don’t Believe in ‘Religious Exemptions’ to Vaccine Mandates, by Curtis Chang (co-founder, Christians and the Vaccine):

ChangReligious exemptions to employer mandates are a precious right in our democracy. This is why it is especially important not to offer such exemptions to coronavirus vaccine mandates. They make a mockery of Christianity and religious liberty. ...

My plea to my fellow Christians: If you insist on refusing the vaccine, that is your right. But please do not bring God into it. Doing so is the very definition of violating the Third Commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” ...

Vaccine hesitancy has never been a core religious belief of evangelical Christians. The vast majority of evangelicals have historically chosen to be immunized against polio, measles, tetanus and other diseases. As a child, I attended evangelical summer camps that required vaccinations, and as an adult, I worked for ministries with similar mandates. Some conservative evangelicals just don’t like the political taste of this particular vaccine on the menu. ...

[R]eligious leaders will need to join with secular institutions in opposing exemptions. Pastors are already being inundated with requests for letters supporting exemptions. As a former pastor of an evangelical church, I know it will be difficult to say “no.” But my colleagues should do the right thing and refuse such requests. Refuse to mislead our secular neighbors. Refuse to abuse our precious religious liberty. Refuse to be complicit in putting our neighbors at risk. ...

The vaccine effort has been plagued by falsehoods of all kinds. The religious exemption from vaccine mandates for Christians is the latest lie. All of us should stand together for the truth.

David French (The French Press), It’s Time to Stop Rationalizing and Enabling Evangelical Vaccine Rejection:

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September 19, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

Why God Created Dogs

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why God Created Dogs, by Karl Rove:

Little BitJust after 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4, Little Bit Rove, the world’s greatest dog, passed from this life to the next. She apparently had an arrhythmia from birth and despite the best efforts of Dr. Julie Page of Palisade, Colo., and her Valley Emergency Pet Care colleagues in Basalt, Little Bit’s loving heart gave out. She’d have been three in November.

My wife Karen and I had been without a dog since our border collie Nan died in August 2015. On Christmas 2019, Karen decided it was time. Her gift was a promise: I could pick out a dog from a nearby hunting preserve.

When we arrived at Joshua Creek Ranch, the cages on the hunting trucks were filled with a dozen or more dogs that the guides let out so we could see them all in action. From the scrum of animals, a sleek black English cocker spaniel emerged, running straight for us. She jumped on me, her little white tail wagging eagerly, as if to say “Nice to meet you! We’ll have fun today! If the rumors are true you’re looking for a dog, keep me in mind!” The issue was settled. ,,,

She appeared in videos we shared with friends marking holidays or offering invitations to parties and ranch weekends. She even had her portrait painted by a former president, who captured her regal bearing, penetrating eyes and long ears.

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September 19, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

Natt Gantt (Regent) Named Executive Director, Program On Biblical Law And Christian Legal Studies At Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School Program on Biblical Law and Christian Legal Studies:

Harvard Program BibleWe would like to welcome and introduce you to our new full-time Executive Director for the Program on Biblical Law and Christian Legal Studies, Prof. Natt Gantt. Prof. Gantt's duties will also include the role of Lecturer on Law. We are excited for Prof. Gantt to lead our program in this next phase of our development.

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September 19, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #3:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [493 Downloads]  Federal Tax Procedure (2021 Practitioner Ed.), by John Townsend (Houston)
  2. [356 Downloads]  Serenity Now! The (Not So) Inclusive Framework and the Multilateral Instrument, by Yariv Brauner (Florida; Google Scholar)
  3. [304 Downloads]  Mega-IRAs, Mega-401(k)s, and Other Mega-Retirement Accounts: Statement for the Record, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar) & Steven Rosenthal (Tax Policy Center)
  4. [292 Downloads]  State Aid Prohibition — The New GAAR in Town, by Joachim Englisch (Muenster)
  5. [166 Downloads]  New Puzzles In International Tax Agreements, by Wei Cui (British Columbia; Google Scholar)

September 19, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, September 18, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Why Are Some Law Teachers Called 'Instructor' Rather Than 'Professor'?

ABA Journal, At Some Law Schools, Why Are Those Who Teach Called 'Instructor' Rather Than 'Professor'?:

At Rutgers, everyone who teaches law is called a professor, but that is not true at many other institutions, where faculty who teach topics including legal writing, academic success and clinical work are often given titles including “instructor” or “director.” They are usually paid less than tenure-track professors and sometimes have little if any job security, according to academics interviewed by the ABA Journal.

According to 2019 article by Renee Nicole Allen, Alicia Jackson and DeShun Harris, men traditionally occupying faculty seats at law schools, while women work in skills positions, including libraries, legal writing, clinics, academic success. The article, titled “The ‘Pink Ghetto’ Pipeline: Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Legal Education,” states that women often enter legal education work through nontenured skills-based teaching jobs, which frequently are done on a contract basis and pay poorly, with heavy workloads.

Besides gender disparities, racial disparities exist, too, says says Rachel López, a professor at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University, who also directs its Andy and Gwen Stern Community Lawyering Clinic. “In the legal academy, so many who dispel racism and inequality in scholarship for some reason are blind to it at their own institution,” she adds.

López wrote an article, Unentitled: the Power of Designation in the Legal Academy, which is scheduled for publication in the Rutgers University Law Review. Law school titles can cement disparities for people who teach but are not given the professor title, according to the article.

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September 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Early Signs Point To Lower July 2021 Bar Exam Pass Rates

Karen Sloan (Reuters), Ominous Early Signs Emerge For July 2021 Bar Exam Pass Rates:

Data from the July 2021 bar exam is starting to roll in, and test-takers' performance isn't looking great.

The average score on the Multistate Bar Exam, the 200-question multiple-choice portion of the test, fell to 140.4. That's a decrease of 0.7 from July 2019, which is the last time a national cohort of examinees took the same test, the National Conference of Bar Examiners announced Wednesday.

But more alarmingly for test takers and legal educators, pass rates are down year-over-year in all but one of the nine states that have announced results, some by large margins.

NCBE Releases National Means for July MBE, August MPRE:

MBEThe national MBE mean scaled score for July 2021 was 140.4, a decrease of 0.7 points compared to the national mean of 141.1 in July 2019, the most recent previous July administration when a full national group was tested. 45,872 examinees from 53 jurisdictions took the MBE in July 2021, a slight increase over the 45,334 examinees from 54 jurisdictions who took the exam in July 2019. ...

Jurisdictions have begun reporting their July 2021 results; bar examination pass rates as reported by jurisdictions are available on the NCBE website. Many jurisdictions are still in the process of grading the written components of the bar exam; once this process is completed, bar exam scores will be calculated and passing decisions reported by those jurisdictions.

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September 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Christians & Lederman Launch Season 2 Of Break Into Tax

Allison Christians (McGill) and Leandra Lederman (Indiana) introduce Season 2 of their YouTube series, Break Into Tax (BiT):

Professors Leandra Lederman & Allison Christians summarize Season 1 & bring Break Into Tax into Season 2! Prof. Lederman will run Season 2, and it will feature some guest co-hosts. Prof. Christians will make some cameo appearances here and there!

Break Into Tax series is intended for anyone learning about tax, anywhere in the world. For more about our backgrounds, see the Season 1 Intro video

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September 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, September 17, 2021

Mason & Knoll Present Unbundling Undue Burdens Today At Florida

Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar) & Michael Knoll (Pennsylvania) present Unbundling Undue Burdens virtually today at Florida as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by David Hasen:

Mason-knollCriticizing dormant Commerce Clause doctrine for, among other reasons, involving arbitrary distinctions and inviting judicial legislation, jurists and commentators have advocated for its abandonment or severe curtailment. This Article shows that when dormant Commerce Clause cases are divided by the type of burden they impose on interstate commerce, the need for different approaches to different types of cases emerges. Unbundling the doctrine helps explain the Supreme Court’s various doctrinal approaches in the cases, making it less ad hoc and haphazard and more connected to its justifications, which lie in federalism and the need to preserve a smoothly functioning national market.

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September 17, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Kim Presents A New Framework For Digital Taxation Today At Boston College

Christine Kim (Utah; Google Scholar) presents A New Framework for Digital Taxation (with Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar) & Karen Sam)) virtually at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Collaborative:

Christine-kimThe international tax regime has wide implications for business, trade, and the international political economy. Under current law, multinational enterprises do not pay their fair share of taxes to market countries where profits are generated because market countries are only allowed to tax companies with a physical presence there. Digital companies, like Google and Amazon, can operate entirely online, thereby avoiding market country taxes. Multinationals can also exploit existing tax rules by shifting their profits to low-tax jurisdictions, thereby avoiding taxes in the residence country where their headquarters are located.

Recently, a proposal to tackle these issues was announced, endorsed by more than 130 countries. This “Inclusive Framework” proposal sets forth two Pillars to reform the outdated international tax regimes by addressing digital taxation (Pillar One) and global minimum tax (Pillar Two). However, it is doubtful that the Inclusive Framework will reach a consensus, especially on Pillar One. As the details of Pillar One have become increasingly complex and degraded by political compromises and carve-outs, it risks being a framework without substance. Also, countries are unlikely to repeal an established tax instrument, Digital Services Taxes (DSTs), which is an adamant requirement of the United States in adopting Pillar One.

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September 17, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Monday, September 20: Leslie Book (Villanova; Google Scholar), T. Keith Fogg (Harvard), & Nina Olson (Center for Taxpayer Rights) will present Reducing Administrative Burdens to Protect Taxpayer Rights virtually at Loyola as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please RSVP here

Tuesday, September 21: Gabrielle Pepin (Upjohn Institute; Google Scholar) will present How Would a Permanently Refundable Child and Dependent Care Credit Affect Eligibility, Benefits, and Incentives? virtually at Georgetown as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop. If you would like to attend, please contact Brian Galle

Wednesday, September 22: Tessa Davis (South Carolina) will present Tax Narratives: A Critical Tax Perspective on the Biden Tax Plan virtually at Copenhagen as part of its Tax Colloquium Seminars. If you would like to attend, please register here

Wednesday, September 22: Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar) & Michael Knoll (Penn) will present Unbundling Undue Burdens virtually at UC-Irvine as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact

Thursday, September 23: Francine Lipman (UNLV; Google Scholar) will present Tax Audits, Economics, and Racism virtually at Indiana as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman

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September 17, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Brown: Congress Is Passing Up A Chance To Close A Tax Loophole — And The Racial Wealth Gap

Washington Post op-ed:  Congress Is Passing Up a Chance to Close a Tax Loophole — and the Racial Wealth Gap, by Dorothy Brown (Emory; Visiting at Georgetown):

The ‘step-up in basis’ rule benefits a small, mostly White, group of Americans.

The United States has a huge racial wealth gap: The median wealth of White families is almost eight times that of Black families and five times that of Hispanic families. One of the hidden drivers of this gap is tax policy, which has accelerated wealth-building by White families, while excluding most Black families. Congress recently had an opportunity to reform at least one lever of that inequality — only to reject it.

Earlier this year, as part of the American Families Plan, the Biden administration proposed closing a nearly century-old loophole called “step-up in basis,” saying it is “exacerbating inequality.” While many can take advantage of that rule, those who benefit the most are in the top 1 percent of income earners (earning more than $1 million of income). That group is disproportionately White: While 15 percent of White Americans are millionaires, only 2 percent of Black Americans are millionaires. complete repeal of the stepped-up basis rule would raise an estimated $505 billion over 10 years. This week, though, the House Ways and Means Committee released its tax package, which drops that proposed reform. ...

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September 17, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

The Data Is In: Trigger Warnings Don’t Work

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  The Data Is In — Trigger Warnings Don’t Work, by Amna Khalid (Carleton College) & Jeffrey Aaron Snyder (Carleton College):

The original proponents of trigger warnings on campus argued that they would empower students suffering from trauma to delve into difficult material. “The point is not to enable — let alone encourage — students to skip readings or our subsequent class discussion,” the philosopher Kate Manne wrote in The New York Times. “It’s about enabling everyone’s rational engagement.”

Now, about a decade after trigger warnings arrived on college campuses, it’s clear that an avoidance rationale is officially competing with the original lean-in logic.

A recent Inside Higher Ed piece by Michael Bugeja, an Iowa State journalism professor, is emblematic of this shift. In light of the tumultuous times (a “mental-health pandemic,” ongoing sexual violence and racism, the anxiety of returning to in-person instruction), Bugeja says that trigger warnings are needed now more than ever. All faculty members should follow his lead, he argues, and include detailed trigger warnings on their syllabi accompanied by the following note: “You don’t have to attend class if the content elicits an uncomfortable emotional response.”

Bugeja’s article prompted us to review the latest research on the efficacy of trigger warnings. We found no evidence that trigger warnings improve students’ mental health. What’s more, we are now convinced that they push students and faculty members alike to turn away from the study of vitally important topics that are seen as too “distressing.” ...

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September 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Mark-To-Market (Or Wealth) Taxation In The U.S.: Evidence From Options

Paul Mason (Baylor) & Steven Utke (Connecticut; Google Scholar), Mark-to-Market (or Wealth) Taxation in the U.S.: Evidence from Options:

Recent U.S. tax proposals under various names (e.g., wealth taxes, estate tax reform, etc.) center on mark-to-market (MTM) taxation, which eliminates investors’ ability to defer or avoid capital gains taxes. To provide insight on potential effects of these tax proposals, we exploit a unique U.S. setting where “index” options on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) face MTM taxation whereas nearly identical “non-index” options on the exchange traded fund (ETF) tracking the S&P 500 Index (SPY) do not.

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September 17, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Avi-Yonah: The International Tax Regime At 100 — Reflections On The OECD's BEPS Project

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar), The International Tax Regime at 100: Reflections on the OECD's BEPS Project:

This essay will consider the outcome of Pillars One and Two in light of the history of international taxation since the foundation of the international tax regime in 1923. Specifically, it will consider how Pillar One fits with efforts to redefine the source of active income in light of the digital revolution, and the ways in which Pillar Two implements the single tax principle, which can be traced back to the first model treaty from 1927. Both of those ideas were already articulated and developed in my own early writing on international taxation from the 1990s, when the Internet was in its infancy.

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September 16, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

How Does Removing The Tax Benefits Of Debt Affect Firms? Evidence From The 2017 U.S. Tax Reform

Ali Sanati (American; Google Scholar), How Does Removing the Tax Benefits of Debt Affect Firms? Evidence from the 2017 US Tax Reform:

Despite extensive efforts, the relation between tax incentives and corporate capital structure is an open question. The 2017 US tax reform creates an opportunity to directly estimate this relation. The reform limits the tax advantage of debt for all firms except for small businesses with average sales below $25 million. I use the exception threshold in a regression discontinuity design and show that corporate debt declines nearly dollar for dollar as the present value of the tax benefits of debt shrinks. Treated firms do not raise equity to replace debt, and they decrease investments and hiring, consistent with a rise in the cost of external financing. Confirming the tax channel, treatment effects are stronger in firms with more profits and smaller non-debt tax shields. Comparing the size of the debt tax shield across the firm size distribution suggests that the estimates likely provide a lower bound for the effects in large corporations.

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September 16, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Saying the Quiet Parts Out Loud: Teaching Students How Law School Works

Alexa Chew (North Carolina; Google Scholar) & Rachel Gurvich (North Carolina), Saying the Quiet Parts Out Loud: Teaching Students How Law School Works:

Like the law we teach our students, legal education itself isn’t neutral. It is the product of both structural forces and individual decisions. Hierarchy and structural inequality permeate our society, so of course they permeate the institutions within our society, including law schools. But law schools are not only passive recipients of these permeating atoms of injustice. They have some agency in determining which inequities to nurture (or not) in the learning environment. As it stands, though, the environment that students learn the law in can be an incubator of inequality.

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September 16, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Take Note: Teaching Law Students To Be Responsible Stewards Of Technology

Kristen E. Murray (Temple; Google Scholar), Take Note: Teaching Law Students to Be Responsible Stewards of Technology, 70 Cath. U. L. Rev. 201 (2021):

The modern lawyer cannot practice without some deployment of technology; practical and ethical obligations have made technological proficiency part of what it means to be practice-ready. These obligations complicate the question of what constitutes best practices in law school. Today’s law schools are filled with students who are digital natives but who do not necessarily leverage technology in maximally efficient ways, and faculty who span multiple generations, with varying amounts of skepticism about modern technology. Students are expected to use technology to read, prepare for class, take notes, and study for and take final exams. Professors might use technology to teach or assess student work, but students are often asked to leave technology out of the classroom because of professor expectations about distraction and notetaking. All of this is happening as we attempt to prepare students to enter a profession that is infused with both technological capabilities and obligations, including the rules of professional conduct. These capabilities and obligations will continue to evolve, grow, and change alongside companion changes in technologies.

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September 16, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Tax Prof Donald Tobin To Step Down After Seven Years As Maryland Dean

For the second time in a month, a Tax Prof is stepping down after a successful 7-year deanship:

TobinDonald B. Tobin, who has served as dean of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law since 2014, announced his decision to step down at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year and return to full-time teaching as a member of the Maryland Carey Law faculty.

“Serving as dean of Maryland Carey Law has been the greatest honor of my life,” says Tobin. “I will be forever grateful to this wonderful community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who entrusted me with leading this fantastic law school over the past seven years.”

Beginning his tenure as dean in the wake of the Great Recession, Tobin is credited with uniting the law school community to achieve a full financial recovery while simultaneously expanding student opportunities and community engagement.

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September 16, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Frye: Letter To The Yale Law Journal Forum

Brian Frye (Kentucky; Google Scholar), Letter to the Yale Law Journal Forum:

Yale Law Journal Logo (2018)This essay is a legal scholarship in the form of a letter to the Yale Law Journal Forum, reflecting on the nature of the market for legal scholarships. ...

I want to tell you about my scholarship. Every year I write another article about the same thing, just like everyone else. It’s a drag, but the summer bonus makes it worth the effort, and at this point, the articles almost write themselves. Recycling the literature review sure helps!

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September 16, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink