Paul L. Caron
Dean




Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Case Against Commercial Casebooks

W. David Ball (Santa Clara; Google Scholar) & Michelle Oberman (Santa Clara; Google Scholar), The Case Against Commercial Casebooks, 71 J. Legal Educ. __ (2023):

JournaloflegaleducationOpen-source, online casebooks are a free alternative to the for-profit commercial casebooks that dominate the legal academy. They offer a host of benefits for students and professors alike. Online casebooks are surprisingly easy to create: literally the click of a button allows you to “clone” existing open-source casebooks, many of which closely track the cases and flow of the most popular commercial casebooks. Once “cloned,” it is simple to incorporate your own or others’ material, enabling professors to center their personal pedagogical goals and values as they train the next generation of lawyers.

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January 31, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Monday, January 30, 2023

Clausing Delivers Pugh Lecture Today At San Diego On The Future of International Tax Cooperation

Kimberly Clausing (UCLA; Google Scholar) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on The Future of International Tax Cooperation:

Kim-clausingKimberly Clausing holds the Eric M. Zolt Chair in Tax Law and Policy.

During the first part of the Biden Administration, Clausing was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis in the US Department of the Treasury, serving as the lead economist in the Office of Tax Policy. Prior to coming to UCLA, Clausing was the Thormund A. Miller and Walter Mintz Professor of Economics at Reed College.

Her research studies the taxation of multinational firms, examining how government decisions and corporate behavior interplay in the global economy. She has published numerous articles in this area, and she is the author of Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press, 2019).

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January 30, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

WSJ Op-Ed: The Ninth Circuit Upholds A Wealth Tax

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  The Ninth Circuit Upholds a Wealth Tax, by Christopher Cox (Former Rep. (1989-2005) & SEC Chair (2005-2009)) & Hank Adler (Chapman):

The 16th Amendment authorizes the federal government only to tax income, but some members of Congress would love to tax wealth as well. That is widely understood to be unconstitutional, but a recent ruling from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a form of wealth tax could upend that conventional wisdom if it is allowed to stand.

The case, Moore v. U.S., involves a unique provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which imposed a one-time retroactive tax applicable to individual U.S. shareholders of foreign corporations. Under previous law, U.S. taxpayers had to pay taxes on overseas corporate income when that income was repatriated to the U.S. in the form of dividends. The 2017 act abolished the tax on overseas income, bringing the U.S. tax system into line with those of most other developed countries. But it also created a “mandatory repatriation tax” on the corporation’s undistributed income since 1986, payable not by the corporation but its shareholders.

The result was that without selling their stock or receiving a dividend, U.S. investors were deemed to have received “income” and suddenly became liable for the new tax. ...

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January 30, 2023 in New Cases, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

WSJ: Rebellion Over U.S. News Rankings Seems Likely To Fail

Wall Street Journal, Rebellion Over College Rankings Seems Likely to Fail:

WSJIn the past two weeks, Harvard, Stanford and Columbia universities, the University of Pennsylvania and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said they would stop cooperating with U.S. News & World Report’s medical-school rankings.

That followed the decision last year by universities including Yale, Georgetown, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and California, Berkeley to quit cooperating on the publication’s law-school rankings.

Critics are cheering the exodus from a process they say leads students to focus on external prestige rather than education quality and encourages schools to game rankings at the expense of students. The schools that are withdrawing say the rankings are elitist, and penalize institutions that admit strong candidates without high test scores.

“In the 40 years of rankings, this is the biggest shock to the system—that gives me hope,” said Colin Diver, a former president of Reed College, which has long abstained from the U.S. News ranking. Mr. Diver is the author of “Breaking Ranks: How the Rankings Industry Rules Higher Education and What to Do About It.”

But hopes that this marks the death knell for college rankings are likely to be in vain. The reality is that what the schools themselves contribute to the rankings is relatively small: The data includes test scores, alumni giving, financial information and so on. But most of the data used to determine the rankings can be derived from publicly available information, or surveys conducted by U.S. News itself. Indeed, U.S. News has revised the survey over the years in response to criticism. There is a case to be made that the less the schools contribute, the more objective the rankings might become, in some respects. ...

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January 30, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: Corporations In The Bardo

Lincoln 2Lincoln in The Bardo is not a book for everyone.  It’s main characters (none of whom are Lincoln) are caught in the bardo, an indeterminate space between death and final after-life, whatever one conceives that to be.  But they are slow to realize it, clinging to a belief in their continued existence as they were.  Filled with unreliable narrators and casually vacillating in time and space, the novel is not an easy read.  But it is well worth the effort, being a lovely meditation on the meaning of life and the meaning of death.

XC Foundation v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2023-2 (Jan. 5, 2023) (Judge Lauber), is an easy read about a corporation in the bardo.  It teaches a practical lesson: always ensure that your corporate client is fully alive and well under state law before you try to file a petition.  There, a corporation attempted to file a petition to contest an IRS decision to revoke its 501(c)(3) status.  Well, actually, the corporation did not file the petition.  It couldn’t.  It was caught in a kind of bardo, an indeterminate space between corporate life and permanent corporate death.  California, the state that had given it life, had suspended its charter, killing its capacity to sue and be sued.  But like the characters in the novel, it ignored its own death and tried to convince the Tax Court to do so as well.  It turns out that taxpayers in the bardo cannot file petitions that the Tax Court can hear, just as Lincoln could not hear the pleas of the novel's characters.  They are the pleas of ghosts.  Details below the fold.

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January 30, 2023 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Columbia Law Professor's 'F--k You' To Student Question Caught On Video

Law.com, Columbia Law Professor's 'F--k You' to Student Question Caught on Video:

"I am ashamed of my conduct," Professor Daniel Capra said in an email to Law.com on Friday. "I apologized to the student and to my class. I have devoted my career to serving and helping students and I am mortified that I acted here the way I did,” he said.

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January 30, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 29, 2023

David French: Faith, Not Politics, Can Heal Lonely Hearts And A Nation

David French, Can More Church Heal What Ails the Lonely Heart?:

[I want to talk about] the decline in church attendance, deaths of despair, and the necessity of community for hope and purpose.

Last week, my little corner of the online world lit up with people sharing a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper tying America’s ongoing decline in religious practice to the increase in “deaths of despair”—ones involving suicide, alcohol abuse, and drug overdose [Opiates of the Masses? Deaths of Despair and the Decline of American Religion].

The study, by Tyler Giles [Wellesley College], Daniel M. Hungerman [Notre Dame], and Tamar Oostrom [Ohio State], found that a “large decline in religious practice was driven by the group experiencing subsequent increases in mortality: white middle-aged Americans without a college degree.” And that’s not all:

We also show that there is a strong negative relationship across states between religiosity and mortality due to deaths of despair. We further find that states that experienced larger declines in religious participation in the last 15 years of the century saw larger increases in deaths of despair. Both the decline in religiosity and the rise in deaths of despair were driven by the same group of individuals in the same places.

French 2

To demonstrate the connection between declining religiosity and rising deaths, the authors examined the link between the repeal of blue laws (laws which regulate commerce on Sabbath days, traditionally Sunday), subsequent decreases in church attendance, and the rise in suicides, overdoses, and alcohol deaths. ...

It’s hard to think of an institution that can better provide hope and purpose than a well-functioning church. There is a reason John 3:16 is one of the most remembered verses in scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

There is a reason Jeremiah 29:11 is framed in countless American homes: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

These verses provide a combination of eternal and temporal assurance of God’s loving nature. That doesn’t mean Christianity can’t be incredibly demanding (Jesus urged his disciples to take up their cross to follow him), but a demanding life is a purposeful life. ...

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January 29, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: The Americanization Of Religion

New York Times Op-Ed:  The Americanization of Religion, by Ross Douthat:

In September the Pew Research Center modeled four potential futures for American religion, depending on different rates of conversion to and disaffiliation from the nation’s faiths. In three of the four projections, the Christian percentage of the U.S. population, which hovered around 90 percent in the 1970s and 1980s, drops below 50 percent within the next half-century. In two scenarios, the Christian share drops below 50 percent much sooner, sometime around 2040, and then keeps on falling.

Pew

This is a potentially epochal transition, but a transition of what kind? Toward a truly secular America, with John Lennon’s “Imagine” as its national anthem? Or toward a society awash in new or remixed forms of spirituality, all competing for the souls of lapsed Catholics, erstwhile United Methodists, the unhappily unchurched?

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January 29, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

WaPo Op-Ed: Think America Is A ‘Christian Nation’? George Washington Didn’t.

Washington Post Op-Ed:  Think America Is a ‘Christian Nation’? George Washington Didn’t., by Jennifer Rubin:

The Jewish community in the United States is as old as its democracy. In August 1790, George Washington sent a letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, R.I., thanking them for their well wishes.

He wrote: “The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.” He added, “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

To a people long denied citizenship in the Old World, kept as a people apart from Christian neighbors, Washington was explaining something quite revolutionary: The United States does not simply forbear Jews; Jews are part of the United States. As the Touro Synagogue in Newport explains on its website: “The letter reassured those who had fled religious tyranny that life in the new nation would be different, that religious ‘toleration’ would give way to religious liberty, and that the government would not interfere with individuals in matters of conscience and belief.” ...

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January 29, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [520 Downloads]  Pillar 2, Fiat, and the EU Unanimity Rule on Tax Matters, by Rita de la Feria (Leeds)
  2. [337 Downloads]  State Strategic Responses to the GloBE Rules, by Heydon Wardell-Burrus (Oxford) (reviewed by David Elkins (Netanya; (Google Scholar) here)
  3. [190 Downloads]  Textualism, The Role And Authoritativeness Of Tax Legislative History, And Stanley Surrey, by George Yin (Virginia) (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado; Google Scholar) here)
  4. [102 Downloads]  Multistate Business Entities, by Andrew Appleby (Stetson; Google Scholar) & Tomer Stein (Stetson)
  5. [91 Downloads]  The (Uncertain) Future of Corporate Tax Shelters, by Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) & Ari Glogower (Northwestern; Google Scholar) (reviewed by Michelle Layser (San Diego; Google Scholar) here)

January 29, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, January 28, 2023

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top Ten 2Legal Education:

  1. Daily Pennsylvanian, Facing Major Sanctions, Amy Wax Files Grievance Against Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger
  2. NY Times Op-Ed, What If Diversity Trainings Are Doing More Harm Than Good?
  3. Jonathan Choi, Kristin Hickman, Amy Monahan & Daniel Schwarcz, ChatGPT Gets C+ Grade On Four Minnesota Law School Exams
  4. Christian Terwiesch, ChatGPT Gets B|B- Grade On Wharton MBA Exam
  5. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), The 50 Most Downloaded U.S. Law Professors Of 2022
  6. Law.com, Seattle Law School Responds To 'Incendiary Allegations' Of Discrimination Against Visiting Professor
  7. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Updated U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard
  8. Bryce Clayton Newell (Oregon), 2022 Meta-Ranking Of Flagship U.S. Law Reviews
  9. Washington Free Beacon, Yale Law School Restricts Access To FedSoc Free Speech Panel Today To Avoid Repeat Of Last Year's Controversy
  10. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Summary Of Changes To The Forthcoming U.S. News Law School Rankings

Tax:

  1. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Meaning Of 'Business Premises' In §119
  2. Benjamin Alarie (Toronto), The Rise Of The Robotic Tax Analyst
  3. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), The 50 Most Downloaded U.S. Tax Law Professors Of 2022
  4. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Unforeseen Circumstances Rule For §121 Home Sale Exclusions
  5. Wall Street Journal, The Myth Of American Income Inequality
  6. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Tax Policy in the Biden Administration
  7. Lily Batchelder (Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy) & Greg Leiserson (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis), Disparities In The Benefits Of Tax Expenditures By Race And Ethnicity
  8. Christine Kim (Cardozo), Review Of Brian Galle (Georgetown), David Gamage (Indian) & Darien Shanske (UC Davis), Solving The Valuation Challenge: The ULTRA Method For Taxing Extreme Wealth
  9. Wall Street Journal, Why So Many Accountants Are Quitting
  10. David Weisbach, Three New Tax Papers On SSRN

Faith

  1. David French (The Dispatch), How A Great American Victory Altered American Faith

January 28, 2023 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink

With Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Tulane, And Creighton, 40 Law Schools Are Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings

US News (2023)

  U.S. News Rank
Boycott (40)
Yale 1
Stanford 2
Columbia 4
Harvard 4
Penn 6
NYU 7
Virginia 8
UC-Berkeley 9
Michigan 10
Duke 11
Northwestern 13
Georgetown 14
UCLA 15
Vanderbilt 17
Fordham 37
UC-Davis 37
UC-Irvine 37
Wisconsin 43
Maryland 47
University of Washington 49
UC-San Francisco 51
Tulane 55
Penn State-Dickinson 58
Penn State-Univ. Park 64
St. John's 84
Rutgers 86
New Hampshire 105
Gonzaga 116
Seattle 116
Creighton 139
Idaho 142
Cal-Western 147-192
Campbell 147-192
John Marshall (GA) 147-192
Quinnipiac 147-192
Roger Williams 147-192
San Francisco 147-192
South Texas 147-192
Southwestern 147-192
Western Michigan 147-192
No Boycott (53)
Chicago 3
Cornell 12
Washington Univ. 16
Florida 21
Georgia 29
George Mason 30
Arizona 45
Colorado 49
SMU 58
San Diego 64
Kentucky 67
Seton Hall 73
Case Western 78
South Carolina 84
Cincinnati 88
Louisville 94
Indiana (McKinney) 98
Louisiana State* 105
Texas Tech 105
Washburn 105
Drake 111
Mississippi 111
Stetson 111
Missouri-Kansas City* 114
Chapman 118
Hofstra 118
West Virginia 118
Baltimore 122
Mercer 122
Suffolk 122
Cleveland-Marshall 127
Willamette 129
Wyoming 129
Pacific 133
South Dakota 133
Regent 142
Akron 147-192
Arkansas-Little Rock 147-192
Ave Maria 147-192
Elon 147-192
Faulkner 147-192
John Marshall (IL) 147-192
Liberty 147-192
Lincoln Memorial 147-192
Mississippi College 147-192
North Dakota 147-192
Nova 147-192
Ohio Northern* 147-192
Oklahoma City 147-192
Southern Illinois 147-192
St. Mary's 147-192
Toledo 147-192
Western New England 147-192

*Will answer some but not all questions

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January 28, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Jan Brueckner And Blaine Saito Present Tax Papers At UCLA

Jan Brueckner (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) presented Taxes and Telework: The Impacts of State Income Taxes in a Work-from-Home Economy (with David R. Agrawal (Kentucky; Google Scholar)) at UCLA this week as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Kirk Stark and Jason Oh:

Jan bruecknerThis paper studies the interstate effects of decentralized taxation and spending when individuals can work from home (WFH). Because WFH decouples population and employment, the analysis of tax impacts on state populations, employment levels, wages and housing prices is radically different than in the standard model where individuals live and work in the same state. Which state can tax teleworkers—leading to either source or residence taxation—matters for tax impacts under WFH. Our main findings, which pertain to the employment and wage effects of WFH, show that a shift from a non-WFH economy to WFH reduces employment and raises the wage in high-tax states, with larger effects under source taxation. Once WHF is established, an increase in a state’s tax rate either reduces employment further while raising the wage (source taxation) or leaves the labor market unaffected (residence taxation). We show that only the residence-taxation equilibrium is efficient.

Blaine Saito (Northeastern; Google Scholar) presented Public Tax Actors at UCLA last week:

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January 28, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Justice Kavanaugh Says U.S. News Law School Rankings Are 'Very Problematic'; Peer Reputation Is 'Kind Of A Joke'

Reuters, Justice Kavanaugh Rips U.S. News Rankings As 'Highly Problematic' At Law School Talk

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has joined the growing chorus of U.S. News & World Report law school rankings critics, saying during a talk this week at the University of Notre Dame Law School that the annual list fails to accurately gauge which schools are providing the best legal education.

“I think they’re based on things, from what I understand, that are very amorphous, very subjective, very word of mouth factors that don’t correlate well with the education that you’re actually receiving, and I find them highly problematic,” Kavanaugh said during a Monday panel with law dean Marcus Cole, a video of which the school released on Thursday. ...

U.S. News has said it will continue to rank law schools despite the boycott and that is modifying its methodology to rely only on publicly available data supplied annually by the American Bar Association, which accredits law schools. It will no longer include expenditures-per-student, a metric that has been criticized as rewarding schools for driving up tuition, among other changes.

But the revamped rankings will still assign each school a “reputation score” derived from surveys of legal academics, judges and practicing lawyers. Kavanaugh called the reputation scores “kind of a joke,” adding that most people don’t have enough knowledge about different law schools to effectively rank them. He added that he does not consider law school rank when hiring clerks.

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January 28, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, January 27, 2023

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Roberts Reviews Trade, Leakage, And The Design Of A Carbon Tax By Weisbach et al.

This week, Tracey Roberts (Cumberland; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by David A. Weisbach (Chicago; Google Scholar), Samuel S. Kortum (Yale; Google Scholar), Yujia Yao (IMF) and Michael Wang (Northwestern), Trade, Leakage, and the Design of a Carbon Tax (Jan. 20, 2023):

Roberts (2020)

Communities throughout the world are facing extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts, wildfires, severe storms events, tornados, hurricanes/ tropical cyclones, storm surges and floods. Important and unique ecosystems are suffering irreparable harm, including polar and high mountain areas, tropical systems, and coral reefs. The risks of large-scale climate shifts, such as deglaciation, ice sheet loss, rapid sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and changes in thermohaline circulation system are rising. We are currently witnessing secondary effects of these processes including biodiversity loss, fishery collapse, deforestation, conflicts over natural resources, global migration, and threats to economic, social and political stability. All countries have a stake in these outcomes. Ideally, all countries would coordinate their efforts to address climate change.

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January 27, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tracey Roberts, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Next Week’s Tax Workshops

Tax Workshops (Big)Monday, January 30: Kimberly Clausing (UCLA; Google Scholar) will present The Future of International Tax Cooperation as part of the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego. If you would like to attend, please RSVP here.

Tuesday, January 31: Jacob Goldin (Chicago; Google Scholar) will present Measurement and Mitigation of Racial Disparities in Tax Audits as part of the Georgetown Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop. If you would like to attend, please contact Emily Satterthwaite and Dayanand Manoli.

Tuesday, January 31: Michael Doran (Virginia; Google Scholar) will present Executive Compensation And Corporate Governance (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado; Google Scholar) here) as part of the Columbia Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact David Schizer

Wednesday, February 1: Susan Morse (Texas; Google Scholar) will present Out of Time: APA Challenges to Old Tax Guidance and the Six-Year Default Limitations Period as part of the Northwestern Advanced Topics in Taxation Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Gregg Polsky

Wednesday, February 1: Kimberly Clausing (UCLA; Google Scholar) will present Capital Taxation and Market Power as part of the Toronto James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Benjamin Alarie

Thursday, February 2: Juliana Londoño-Vélez (UCLA; Google Scholar) will present Behavioral Responses to Wealth Taxation: Evidence from Colombia (with Javier Avila-Mahecha (DIAN; Google Scholar)) as part of the UCLA Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance. If you would like to attend, please contact Kirk Stark and Jason Oh.

Friday, February 3: Nyamagaga Gondwe (Wisconsin; Google Scholar) will present Emergency Exit: The Life-Saving Potential of Direct Public Financial Assistance to Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence as part of the Indiana Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman.

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January 27, 2023 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Facing Major Sanctions, Amy Wax Files Grievance Against Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger

Alarie: The Rise Of The Robotic Tax Analyst

Benjamin Alarie (Toronto; Google Scholar; CEO, Blue J Legal), The Rise of the Robotic Tax Analyst, 178 Tax Notes Fed. 57 (Jan. 2, 2023):

Open AI ChatGPTAs a bold taxwriting experiment, this installment of Blue J Predicts has been generated with the help of an AI assistant, OpenAI’s “Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3” (GPT-3). GPT-3 is a large language model developed by OpenAI and backed by Microsoft. It is an inexhaustible generator of text and can write with accuracy in English about almost any topic. It has performed its duty, with my human companionship, indefatigably.

This isn’t the first time that a legal academic has invoked a robotic coauthor, and I expect that these kinds of tools will become increasingly commonplace. I expect that eventually they will be about as remarkable as using a spelling or grammar checker. At this moment, however, before the rise of the robotic tax analyst, using GPT-3 to help write this article is likely to raise some eyebrows.

In October 2021 I produced a peer-reviewed law review article with my academic colleague, the late (and great) tax law professor Arthur Cockfield of Queen’s University. The article was notable for being the first peer-reviewed law review article to extensively leverage GPT-3 in its production. In that article — after a short introduction penned by us, Benjamin Alarie and Cockfield — we gave GPT-3 control of the metaphorical keyboard and allowed it to produce its textual analysis uninterrupted and unedited.

The results were mixed and intriguing, and certainly pointed in the direction of future possibility. In our view, GPT-3 had potential. In the article, we speculated on the future of AI in legal scholarship and asked provocatively in the title, “Will Machines Replace Us?” Cockfield and I concluded that “although GPT-3 is not up to the task of replacing law review authors currently, we are far less confident that GPT-5 or GPT-100 might not be up to the task in future.”

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January 27, 2023 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Mason Presents Bibb Balancing Today At The OMG Transatlantic Tax Talks

Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar) presents Bibb Balancing, 91 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. __ (2023) (with Michael S. Knoll (Penn)) today as part of the OMG Transatlantic Tax Talks Series (OMG = Oxford-Michigan-MIT-Munich-Georgetown):

Ruth masonCourts and commentators have long understood dormant Commerce Clause doctrine to contain two types of cases: discrimination and undue burdens. This Article argues for a more nuanced understanding that divides undue burdens into single-state burdens—which arise from the application of a single state’s law alone—and mismatch burdens, which arise from legal diversity. Although the Supreme Court purports to apply Pike balancing in all undue-burden cases, we show that the Court’s approach in mismatch cases differs substantially. Specifically, unlike in single-state cases, balancing in mismatch cases involves an implicit and potentially problematic comparison by the Court between the challenged state’s regulation and those of other states. We label analysis in mismatch cases “Bibb balancing,” after the famous mudflaps case, and we show that mismatch cases present the Court with a more challenging set of issues than do other types of dormant Commerce Clause cases.

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January 26, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Seattle Law School Responds To 'Incendiary Allegations' Of Discrimination Against Visiting Professor

Law.com, Seattle U Law Responds to 'Incendiary Allegations' of Discrimination Against Visiting Professor:

Seattle U (2018)Seattle University School of Law Dean Anthony Varona wrote in an email to students and faculty Monday that the school is conducting an internal probe into allegations of racism against a visiting professor that were made public by the university’s student newspaper.

In a Jan. 18 article, The Seattle Spectator, Seattle University’s undergraduate student newspaper, reported that students had alleged “racially discriminatory treatment” by a visiting professor at the law school.

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January 26, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Brauner Presents Taxation Of Information And The Data Revolution Today At Florida

1-26-23 Brooks and Brauner revised
Yariv Brauner
(Florida; Google Scholar) presents Taxation of Information and the Data Revolution at Florida today as part of a celebration of his academic contribution and appointment to the Hugh Culverhouse Eminent Scholar Chair in Taxation hosted by Charlene Luke:

The digital revolution has put enormous demands on the law due to the huge, quick-moving social changes it has created. The reason tax law hasn't advanced as much as other legal fields in responding to these demands is likely because it combines the problem of taxing information with the more general issue of taxing intangibles. This essay makes the case that information is distinct and necessitates a distinctive policy and analysis. It initially argues that information cannot be taxed under the current international tax rules. Therefore, reform is required, and the paper demonstrates why it is vital right now. Finally, the article makes the case that reform is also feasible by outlining three potential reform routes and contrasting their benefits and drawbacks.

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January 26, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

With Gonzaga, Quinnipiac, Rutgers, And Seattle, 36 Law Schools Are Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings

Updated U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard

US News (2023)

  U.S. News Rank
Boycott (36)
Yale 1
Stanford 2
Columbia 4
Harvard 4
Penn 6
NYU 7
Virginia 8
UC-Berkeley 9
Michigan 10
Duke 11
Northwestern 13
Georgetown 14
UCLA 15
Fordham 37
UC-Davis 37
UC-Irvine 37
Maryland 47
University of Washington 49
UC-San Francisco 51
Penn State-Dickinson 58
Penn State-Univ. Park 64
St. John's 84
Rutgers 86
New Hampshire 105
Gonzaga 116
Seattle 116
Idaho 142
Cal-Western 147-192
Campbell 147-192
John Marshall (GA) 147-192
Quinnipiac 147-192
Roger Williams 147-192
San Francisco 147-192
South Texas 147-192
Southwestern 147-192
Western Michigan 147-192
No Boycott (53)
Chicago 3
Cornell 12
Washington Univ. 16
Florida 21
Georgia 29
George Mason 30
Arizona 45
Colorado 49
SMU 58
San Diego 64
Kentucky 67
Seton Hall 73
Case Western 78
South Carolina 84
Cincinnati 88
Louisville 94
Indiana (McKinney) 98
Louisiana State* 105
Texas Tech 105
Washburn 105
Drake 111
Mississippi 111
Stetson 111
Missouri-Kansas City* 114
Chapman 118
Hofstra 118
West Virginia 118
Baltimore 122
Mercer 122
Suffolk 122
Cleveland-Marshall 127
Willamette 129
Wyoming 129
Pacific 133
South Dakota 133
Regent 142
Akron 147-192
Arkansas-Little Rock 147-192
Ave Maria 147-192
Elon 147-192
Faulkner 147-192
John Marshall (IL) 147-192
Liberty 147-192
Lincoln Memorial 147-192
Mississippi College 147-192
North Dakota 147-192
Nova 147-192
Ohio Northern* 147-192
Oklahoma City 147-192
Southern Illinois 147-192
St. Mary's 147-192
Toledo 147-192
Western New England 147-192

*Will answer some but not all questions

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January 26, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Christians & Shay: The Consistency Of Pillar 2 UTPR With U.S. Bilateral Tax Treaties

Allison Christians (McGill; Google Scholar) & Stephen E. Shay (Boston College; Google Scholar), The Consistency of Pillar 2 UTPR With U.S. Bilateral Tax Treaties, 178 Tax Notes Fed. 499 (Jan. 23, 2023):

Tax Notes Federal (2022)In this report, Christians and Shay explain why the pillar 2 undertaxed profits rule would be consistent with U.S. bilateral income tax treaties, and they explore some of the reasons underlying claims that the UTPR is incompatible with those treaties.

Conclusion
The UTPR is not a tax on income, nor is it likely to be characterized as in lieu of a tax on income. Instead, it is a cash tax expense that can be collected in any manner and most probably is in the nature of an excise tax. Contrary to the claims of GOP lawmakers and other commentators, the better view is that the UTPR is not covered by existing tax treaties at all, so it cannot be said to conflict with their terms.

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January 26, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

How Diversity Is Lingering Over The LSAT And U.S. News Law School Rankings

How Diversity Is Lingering Over the LSAT and U.S. News & World Report Rankings, Nat'l Jurist, Winter 2023, at 4:

An ABA committee has recommended that standardized tests — most notably the LSAT — be optional for law school admission. Critics say schools place too much emphasis on it, and Black and Hispanic test-takers don’t perform as well on it as their white counterparts. ...

At the same time, a number of the nation’s most prestigious law schools are opting out of the much-hyped U.S. News & World Report rankings, blasting the assessment for a host of wrongs. Some say schools are boosting their positions in the rankings by admitting top students at the expense of those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Love ’em or hate ’em, the ranking affects both school and student behavior. ...

What’s caused such upheaval in such a short time?

Some say law schools are preparing for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down — or seriously weaken — the ability of schools to use affirmative action practices in their admissions decisions. If that happens, schools will need to pivot and not be as dependent on such concrete metrics as the LSAT. If they continue the current course, it could gut diversity. The high court, which heard arguments last October, is expected to rule in June.

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January 26, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

U.S. Treasury Department: Disparities In The Benefits Of Tax Expenditures By Race And Ethnicity

Lily Batchelder (Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy) & Greg Leiserson (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis), Disparities in the Benefits of Tax Expenditures by Race and Ethnicity:

This analysis, the subject of a new Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) working paper [Tax Expenditures by Race and Hispanic
Ethnicity: An Application of the U.S. Treasury Department's Race and Hispanic Ethnicity Imputation], finds disparities in the benefits of some tax expenditures among White, Black, and Hispanic families. Tax expenditures are provisions of federal law that allow a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or which provide a special credit, a preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability for certain activities. Examples include the preferential rates for capital gains, the home mortgage interest deduction, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. OTA working papers are works in progress intended to generate discussion and critical comment.

Researchers frequently analyze the distributional effects of tax policies across an array of demographic information, including income, family structure, age, and geography. However, it is challenging to perform such analysis by race and ethnicity because there is no single data source with both tax and race/ethnicity information. Tax liability does not depend on race or ethnicity, and this information is not collected on tax returns.

To overcome this challenge, Treasury researchers have developed a method to impute race and ethnicity in tax data. Under this method, researchers estimate the probability that the primary filer—the person listed first on the tax return—is Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, White, or multiple race based on other information available in the tax data. These probabilities are then used as weights to construct estimates for different groups. ...

The new working paper on the distribution of tax expenditures, by Julie-Anne Cronin, Portia DeFilippes, and Robin Fisher of OTA, examines eight of the largest individual income tax expenditures. It estimates the distribution of benefits for certain racial and ethnic groups first on an overall per capita basis, and then within income deciles (tenths of the income distribution).

On an overall per capita basis, the paper finds that the preferential rates for capital gains and dividends, deduction for pass-through income, charitable deduction, home mortgage interest deduction, and deduction for employer-provided health insurance disproportionately benefit White families. In contrast, Black and Hispanic families, who make up a disproportionate share of low-wage workers, disproportionately benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is designed to help low- to moderate-income workers and their families. Hispanic families, who have comparatively low rates of employer-sponsored health insurance, also disproportionately benefit from the Premium Tax Credit, which provides assistance for the purchase of health insurance through the Marketplaces. Finally, Hispanic families disproportionately benefit from the Child Tax Credit. The current analysis focuses on Black, White, and Hispanic people due to high levels of uncertainty in estimates for other groups.

Treasury 1

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January 25, 2023 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Clash And The U.S. News Law School Rankings: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Lolita Buckner Inniss (Dean, Colorado), Should I Stay or Should I Go?, 26 Green Bag 2D 19 (2023):

US News (2023)During the fall and winter of 2022-2023, several United States law schools withdrew from participation in the U.S. News & World Report survey of law schools. For over three decades the survey ranked law schools, and in doing so, has become an increasingly influential arbiter of law school quality. Law schools, however, have argued that the survey fails to assess the nature and quality of schools fully or accurately, and for that reason many have ceased to participate--they are the “goers.” Other schools have chosen to continue participating; these are the “stayers.” While goers seem to have garnered news headlines as heroic, autonomy-embracing figures, it is worth considering whether the choice of going, or staying for that matter, will meaningfully alter how law schools are viewed. The world of law, and law schools, has long been governed by entrenched hierarchies and markers of status that exist well beyond the U.S. News & World Report survey.

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January 25, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

UC-San Francisco Seeks To Hire A Clinical Tax Professor

UC-San Francisco Law Faculty Posting:

Uc sf lawUniversity of California, College of the Law, San Francisco (“UC Law SF,” formerly, “UC Hastings Law”), located in San Francisco, California, has one of the top-ranked clinical programs in the country, and currently operates a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) in which students take lead responsibility to directly represent low-income taxpayers with tax controversies with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and/or the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

UC Law SF is looking to hire a full-time Long-Term Contract Faculty member (“Associate Clinical Professor”) to serve as a member of the Faculty and Clinic Director of the LITC. The faculty position for which UC Law SF is hiring is partly funded by UC Law SF but contingent on continued receipt of additional funds via an IRS grant.

In addition to supervising students in their legal representation, LITC Clinic Director duties also include managing other tax pro bono projects at UC Law SF, ensuring compliance and renewal of the IRS grant, and active participation in tax-related programming of the UC Law SF Center on Tax Law. ...

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January 25, 2023 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

The 50 Most Downloaded U.S. Law Professors Of 2022

Ssrn

Rank Name School Downloads
1 Cass Sunstein Harvard 43,282
2 Daniel Solove George Washington 28,479
3 Lucian Bebchuk Harvard 27,727
4 Mark Lemley Stanford 21,131
5 Orin Kerr UC-Berkeley 19,608
6 Roberto Tallarita Harvard 15,229
7 Brian Frye Kentucky 14,991
8 Bernard Black Northwestern 13,599
9 Brandon Hasbrouck Washington & Lee 13,456
10 Danielle Keats Citron Virginia 13,417
11 Greer Donley Pittsburgh 12,490
12 Herbert Hovenkamp Penn 12,086
13 Rachel Rebouché Temple 11,833
14 Reuven Avi-Yonah Michigan 11,679
15 David Cohen Drexel 11,670
16 Brian Leiter Chicago 11,411
17 J. Mark Ramseyer Harvard 10,743
18 Stephen Bainbridge UCLA 10,708
19 Dan Kahan Yale 10,527
20 Mitu Gulati Virginia 10,472
21 Michael Klausner Stanford 10,252
22 Adrian Vermeule Harvard 9,420
23 Michael Ohlrogge NYU 9,375
24 Woodrow Hartzog Boston University 9,236
25 Wulf Kaal St. Thomas-MN 9,202
26 Eric Posner Chicago 8,967
27 Eric Goldman Santa Clara 8,819
28 Richard Albert Texas 8,522
29 Kevin Tobia Georgetown 8,160
30 Richard Leo San Francisco 8,154
31 David Kopel Denver 8,023
32 Neil Richards Washington University 7,890
33 Chris Brummer Georgetown 7,886
34 Hilary Allen American 7,588
35 Peter Menell UC-Berkeley 7,584

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January 25, 2023 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

The 50 Most Downloaded U.S. Tax Law Professors Of 2022

Ssrn

Rank Name School Downloads
1 Reuven Avi-Yonah Michigan 11,679
2 Daniel Hemel NYU 4,980
3 Bridget Crawford Pace 4,235
4 Robert Sitkoff Harvard 3,074
5 Zachary Liscow Yale 2,780
6 Dhammika Dharmapala Chicago 2,745
7 Ruth Mason Virginia 2,693
8 Richard Ainsworth Boston University 2,674
9 Darien Shanske UC-Davis 2,617
10 David Gamage Indiana 2,595
11 Louis Kaplow Harvard 2,535
12 Kyle Rozema Washington University 2,498
13 Kimberley Clausing UCLA 2,270
14 Michael Doran Virginia 2,154
15 Lily Batchelder NYU 2,069
16 Brad Borden Brooklyn 1,991
17 Young Ran (Christine) Kim Cardozo 1,917
18 Dan Shaviro NYU 1,849
19 David Kamin NYU 1,726
20 Victoria Haneman Creighton 1,687
21 Margaret Ryznar Indiana-Indianapolis 1,557
22 Edward McCaffery USC 1,454
23 Chris Sanchirico Penn 1,432
24 Francine Lipman UNLV 1,369
25 Michael Simkovic USC 1,364
26 Paul Caron Pepperdine 1,312
27 Victor Fleischer UC-Irvine 1,305
28 Jeremy Bearer-Friend George Washington 1,304
29 Omri Marian UC-Irvine 1,296
30 Ari Glogower Ohio State 1,291
31 Brian Galle Georgetown 1,230
32 Hugh Ault Boston College 1,227
33 David Weisbach Chicago 1,194
34 Kristin Hickman Minnesota 1,146
35 Nancy McLaughlin Utah 1,130

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January 25, 2023 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

After Katie Magbanua Flips On Charlie Adelson, He Asks Judge To Keep Her Statements To Investigators Under Wraps Until April Trial In Dan Markel's Murder

Following up on my previous post, The Dan Markel Murder Case: Katie Magbanua Flips On Charlie Adelson:  Tallahassee Democrat, Charlie Adelson's Attorneys Want Magbanua's Statements Private Until Trial:

Magbanua AdelsonAttorneys for accused Dan Markel murder suspect Charlie Adelson are asking a Leon County judge to keep any statements made to investigators by his one-time girlfriend secret until after she testifies.

The protective order filed Tuesday in Leon County Circuit Court asks that the statements made by Katherine Magbanua — convicted of Markel’s murder last year — to investigators late last year be kept from the public to minimize the level of pretrial publicity.

Adelson is set to go to trial in connection with his ex-brother-in-law’s 2014 murder on charges of first-degree murder and related conspiracy and solicitation charges in late April.

His arrest last year signaled that after two convictions and more than eight years, investigators had gathered enough evidence to arrest the man they say was behind Markel’s murder-for-hire. 

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January 25, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Parsons Presents The Shifting Economic Allegiance Of Capital Gains Today At Columbia

Amanda Parsons (Colorado; Google Scholar) presents The Shifting Economic Allegiance Of Capital Gains, 26 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2023), at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Wojciech Kopczuk, Michael Love,  Alex Raskolnikov, and David Schizer:

Amanda parsonsTechnological advances and the digitalization of the global economy have created an economic environment beyond the imagination of the original designers of the international tax system. Much scholarly attention has been paid to the question of how these economic transformations should affect which country is able to tax a multinational company’s income. But which country should be able to tax capital gains income from the sale of that company’s shares is an important and overlooked question.

This Article answers this question. It concludes that taxing authority over capital gains income must be reallocated to the countries in which companies conduct business. In our modern, digitalized economy, this reallocation is necessary to align international sourcing rules with international tax law’s underlying principles.

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January 24, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Yale Law School Restricts Access To FedSoc Free Speech Panel Today To Avoid Repeat Of Last Year's Controversy

Following up on my previous post:  Kristen Waggoner (General Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom), 'Keep the Faith': How A Hostile Encounter With Yale Law Students Emboldened Me To Speak The Truth With Kindness:  Aaron Sibarium (Washington Free Beacon), Looking To Tamp Down Controversy, Yale Law School Restricts Access to Free Speech Panel:

Yale Law Logo (2020)In March 2022, hundreds of students at Yale Law School disrupted a panel with Kristen Waggoner, a conservative lawyer who has argued religious liberty cases before the Supreme Court, arguing that her presence was a "slap in the face" to "queer students." Yale's response to the incident left the school with egg on its face: Though the protest clearly violated Yale's free speech policies, which do not allow protesters to disrupt speakers, not a single student was disciplined.

Now Waggoner is returning to Yale Law for another talk. And this time, administrators aren't leaving anything to chance, banning press and anyone without a Yale Law School ID, including undergraduate students, from the event. They are also trying to prohibit covert cell phone recordings, which picked up audio of last year's disruption. It is not clear whether the ban on media includes the Yale Daily News, Yale's flagship student paper, whose editor in chief, Lucy Hodgman, did not respond to a request for comment.

The event, scheduled for noon on Tuesday and hosted by the Federalist Society, will also feature Nadine Strossen, the first female president of the American Civil Liberties Union. Yale's draconian measures aren't sitting well with her. She is calling the school's decision to ban the press "unjustifiable," telling the Washington Free Beacon, "For an event that is discussing important First Amendment issues—and is designed to illustrate Yale Law School's announced recommitment to free speech—it is sadly ironic that elementary freedom of speech principles are being violated."

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January 24, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Sarkar Presents Capital Migration Today At UC-San Francisco

Shayak Sarkar (UC-Davis; Google Scholar) presents Capital Migration at UC-San Francisco today as part of its Center on Tax Law' Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

Shayak sarkarMoney moves, while migrants linger. If humans face borders, capital and corporations are purportedly “borderless.” Yet what precisely renders capital and reliant businesses foreign, the designation underlying migration?

This Article unpacks capital migration and the responses it elicits. It does so by parsing capital and corporate migration’s intersection with human migration as well as identifying conceptual parallels. As a first parallel, the citizenship binary is insufficient to understand both human and capital migration, as international tax law illustrates. Second, on the recurrent question of federalism, states, alongside the federal government, possess tax authority over foreign capital and corporations. As I argue, just as immigration tax federalism permits nonuniformity, so might capital and corporate tax federalism under the Foreign Commerce Clause.

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January 24, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

ChatGPT Gets C+ Grade On Four Minnesota Law School Exams (C- In Tax)

Following up on this morning's post, ChatGPT Gets B|B- Grade On Wharton MBA Exam:  Jonathan Choi (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Kristin Hickman (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Amy Monahan (Minnesota) & Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota; Google Scholar), ChatGPT Goes to Law School:

Open AI ChatGPTHow well can AI models write law school exams without human assistance? To find out, we used the widely publicized AI model ChatGPT to generate answers on four real exams at the University of Minnesota Law School. We then blindly graded these exams as part of our regular grading processes for each class. Over 95 multiple choice questions and 12 essay questions, ChatGPT performed on average at the level of a C+ student, achieving a low but passing grade in all four courses. After detailing these results, we discuss their implications for legal education and lawyering. We also provide example prompts and advice on how ChatGPT can assist with legal writing.

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January 24, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Weisbach Posts Three Tax Papers On SSRN

David A. Weisbach (Chicago; Google Scholar) has posted three tax papers on SSRN:

SSRN Logo (2018)Against Anti-Tax Exceptionalism:

This paper examines the arguments found in what has become known as the anti-tax exceptionalism literature. That literature seeks to apply the rules of administrative law to tax procedures. The core claim is that the procedures used by the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury routinely violate the requirements of administrative law. Secondarily, that literature argues that this is normatively bad: the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service should not be treated differently from other administrative agencies because the tax system is not exceptional. Promoting the goals of administrative law, that literature argues, requires that the tax system conform to standard procedures.

This paper addresses both claims. First, it shows that the procedures used by tax administrators substantially comply with administrative law requirements. The central doctrinal claim of the anti-tax exceptionalism literature is incorrect. Second, the paper considers normative concerns of the anti-tax exceptionalism literature, focusing on three: (i) uniformity versus exceptionalism, (ii) information flows, and (iii) accountability. Regarding uniformity, even assuming that current tax procedures do not comply with administrative law requirements, uniformity would not be a desirable goal. Administrative law is, and should remain, flexible, adapting to the needs of widely varying agencies. Moreover, the goal of reforms to tax procedures should be to improve the operation of the system, not conform it to procedures used by agencies that operate in different contexts. The framing of uniformity versus exceptionalism misstates the issue. Regarding information flows and accountability, the remedies suggested by the anti-tax exceptionalism literature, notably greater use of notice and comment procedures and more supervision of tax administration by courts, are not good ways of meeting those goals. The paper offers alternative, better methods of improving information flows and accountability. The paper concludes that we should reject the claims of the anti-tax exceptionalism literature on both positive and normative grounds. 

Constrained Income Redistribution and Inequality: Legal Rules Compared to Taxes and Transfers:

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January 24, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

ChatGPT Gets B|B- Grade On Wharton MBA Exam

Following up on this morning's post, ChatGPT Gets C+ Grade On Four Minnesota Law School Exams:  Christian Terwiesch (Wharton; Google Scholar), Would Chat GPT3 Get a Wharton MBA?:

Open AI ChatGPTOpenAI’s Chat GPT3 has shown a remarkable ability to automate some of the skills of highly compensated knowledge workers in general and specifically the knowledge workers in the jobs held by MBA graduates including analysts, managers, and consultants. Chat GPT3 has demonstrated the capability of performing professional tasks such as writing software code and preparing legal documents. The purpose of this paper is to document how Chat GPT3 performed on the final exam of a typical MBA core course, Operations Management. Exam questions were uploaded as used in a final exam setting and then graded.

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January 24, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, January 23, 2023

Choi Presents Subjective Costs Of Taxation Today At Florida

Jonathan choi florida
Jonathan H. Choi
(Minnesota; Google Scholar) presents Subjective Costs of Taxation at Florida today as part of its Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Faculty Workshop:

This Article introduces and estimates “subjective costs” of tax compliance, which are costs of tax compliance that people experience directly and individually. To measure these costs, we conducted a survey experiment assessing how much taxpayers would pay to reduce the unpleasantness associated with filing a tax return. The experiment revealed that taxpayers are more concerned about inadvertent mistakes in their tax filings than by the time spent on compliance. Respondents also only ascribed meaningful value to eliminating all tax compliance work; they ascribed essentially no value to marginal time savings. Additionally, eliminating tax compliance time for high-income taxpayers and taxpayers with complex returns is not worth much more than eliminating tax compliance time for low-income taxpayers with simple returns.

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January 23, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

Nam Presents Just Taxation Of Crime: Should The Commission Of Crime Change One's Tax Liability? At Indiana

Jeesoo Nam (USC; Google Scholar) presented Just Taxation of Crime: Should the Commission of Crime Change One's Tax Liability? at Indiana-Maurer last Friday as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Jeesoonam1The tax law treats criminals differently from non-criminals. Should it? Under the public policy doctrine, for example, various tax deductions are disallowed if they are closely tied to criminal activity. Criminal activity is, in multiple ways, tax disadvantaged compared to non-criminal activity.

This Article considers a variety of possible justifications. (1) The tax disadvantage provides an incentive not to commit crime. (2) The tax disadvantage helps to bring deserved punishment to the criminal. (3) Criminals have given up their right not to be taxed. (4) Criminals have taken an unfair advantage and so must be stripped of that unfair advantage. (5) Criminals deserve to bear the costs that they culpably and wrongfully created.

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January 23, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard (Updated)

Updated U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard

ABA Journal, US News Extends Rankings Survey Deadline; Which Law Schools Will File?:

After years of complaints about the U.S. News & World Report’s law school rankings, some deans started announcing in November that they would not respond to the publication’s annual survey. And they were not swayed to opt back in when methodology changes were shared this month.

U.S. News recently extended the survey deadline to Jan. 27. The ABA Journal asked all ABA-accredited law schools whether they planned to submit the survey. Out of the 110 schools that responded, 25 said they would not, and 22 were undecided. A chart with the information can be seen here.

The table below includes the responses to the ABA Journal as well as public announcements by law schools:

  U.S. News Rank
Boycott (32)
Yale 1
Stanford 2
Columbia 4
Harvard 4
Penn 6
NYU 7
Virginia 8
UC-Berkeley 9
Michigan 10
Duke 11
Northwestern 13
Georgetown 14
UCLA 15
Fordham 37
UC-Davis 37
UC-Irvine 37
Maryland 47
University of Washington 49
UC-San Francisco 51
Penn State-Dickinson 58
Penn State-Univ. Park 64
St. John's 84
New Hampshire 105
Idaho 142
Cal-Western 147-192
Campbell 147-192
John Marshall (GA) 147-192
Roger Williams 147-192
San Francisco 147-192
South Texas 147-192
Southwestern 147-192
Western Michigan 147-192
No Boycott (53)
Chicago 3
Cornell 12
Washington Univ. 16
Florida 21
Georgia 29
George Mason 30
Arizona 45
Colorado 49
SMU 58
San Diego 64
Kentucky 67
Seton Hall 73
Case Western 78
South Carolina 84
Cincinnati 88
Louisville 94
Indiana (McKinney) 98
Louisiana State* 105
Texas Tech 105
Washburn 105
Drake 111
Mississippi 111
Stetson 111
Missouri-Kansas City* 114
Chapman 118
Hofstra 118
West Virginia 118
Baltimore 122
Mercer 122
Suffolk 122
Cleveland-Marshall 127
Willamette 129
Wyoming 129
Pacific 133
South Dakota 133
Regent 142
Akron 147-192
Arkansas-Little Rock 147-192
Ave Maria 147-192
Elon 147-192
Faulkner 147-192
John Marshall (IL) 147-192
Liberty 147-192
Lincoln Memorial 147-192
Mississippi College 147-192
North Dakota 147-192
Nova 147-192
Ohio Northern* 147-192
Oklahoma City 147-192
Southern Illinois 147-192
St. Mary's 147-192
Toledo 147-192
Western New England 147-192

*Will answer some but not all questions

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January 23, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: The Meaning Of 'Business Premises' In §119

Camp (2021)It’s a new year.  And what better way to start than with the fundamental lesson I teach my students in our first few classes:  “Everything is income.  Everything including all your non-cash receipts.”  Yeah, I actually sing that to the class, to the tune of Everything is Awesome from the Lego movie.  It scans.  Treas. Reg. 1.61-1(a) emphasizes that point when it tells us that “Gross income includes income realized in any form, whether in money, property, or services.”

So employer-provided housing is income to an employee, just as if the employer paid the employee cash and the employee spends that cash to rent a house.  But we all know that Congress also permits taxpayers to exclude certain types of income from taxation.  Part of the art of tax practice is to try and find applicable exclusions to reduce the gross income that must be reported.  One such exclusion is §119 which sometimes permits an exclusion for the value of housing provided by an employer to an employee.

In Cory H. Smith v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2023-12 (Jan. 12, 2023) (Judge Toro), we learn a useful lesson about the scope of the business premises requirement in §119: housing that is not within the physical boundaries of the employer’s facilities is highly unlikely to qualify for the §119 exclusion.  Mr. Smith’s employer hired him to work in Pine Gap, Australia.  It provided a house for him to live in about 11 miles away from his office, in a small city outside of Pine Gap.  While Mr. Smith initially properly reported the provided housing as income, he later got mixed up with some super aggressive tax advisors who convinced him to amend his returns to exclude the housing.  His tax advisors told him he could do that under §911, even though that reneged a Closing Agreement he had signed.  That bum advice gave us Lesson From The Tax Court: The Finality Of Closing Agreements, TaxProf Blog (Sept. 12, 2022).  Today, Judge Toro examines and rejects Mr. Smith’s alternative loser argument that he could exclude housing allowance payments under §119.  Details below the fold.

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January 23, 2023 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Will The U.S. News Law School Rankings Arms Race Resume In Three Years?

ABA Journal, US News Extends Rankings Survey Deadline; Which Law Schools Will File?:

US News (2023)U.S. News posted a letter Jan. 2 explaining that schools not submitting surveys would still be included in the rankings. Those metrics will focus on public data from the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which is responsible for law school accreditation. Schools that submit surveys will have more detailed profiles, the letter said.

Last week, the publication informed deans about further modifications, including eliminating employment rates, average debt at graduation and spending on instruction from rankings criteria, according to a Jan. 13 letter shared on TaxProf Blog. ...

People may care less about the rankings this year because of the methodological changes, says Mike Spivey, a law school admissions consultant.

“But I’d bet that three years from now, we’re right back to the rankings arms race. As much as people want to say the rankings are horrible and flawed, academics and prospective students are very much interested in what their schools ranked,” he adds.

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January 23, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 22, 2023

How A Person Of Faith Can Overcome Imposter Syndrome In Law School

David Grenardo (St. Thomas-Minnesota), How A Person of Faith Can Address Imposter Syndrome in Law School, 37 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y ___ (2023):

Notre Dame JLEPPImposter syndrome makes people feel as if they are frauds and others will soon find out that they do not belong. Imposter syndrome typically affects high achievers, which includes law students and lawyers. Law schools can provide resources and tools for law students to address imposter syndrome, but a person of faith can approach imposter syndrome in unique ways. This Article sets forth the various ways a law student of faith can confront and overcome imposter syndrome.

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January 22, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

David French: How A Great American Victory Altered American Faith

David French (The Dispatch), How a Great American Victory Altered American Faith:

NonvertsLast week I read a tweet that led me to a book I’m now devouring at record speed. The tweet was from my friend Skye Jethani, and it referred to a potential link between the end of the Cold War and the rise of America’s religious nones. I’ve been thinking about the continuing influence of the Cold War on American life for a very long time. Our nation spent generations defined by the struggle against Soviet communism, and that struggle (along with its rather abrupt end) was bound to have profound effects on our national life.

The book is called Nonverts: The Making of Ex-Christian America, by a British sociologist named Stephen Bullivant. It’s not just an important book, it’s the best-written and most readable work of religious sociology that I’ve read in a very long time.

At the risk of over-simplification, Bullivant’s book attempts to explain the ... remarkable rise of religious “nones” in the United States:

French 3Source: Grid, A Mass Exodus From Christianity Is Underway in America. Here’s Why.

... In the chart above, a distinct data point stands out—the sharp rise of young “nones” begins in the early 1990s. Why? That’s when the Cold War ended, and Bullivant argues convincingly that the end of the Cold War marked the beginning of a new era of American religion.

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January 22, 2023 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain Of Loss And The Comfort Of God

Tim Challies, Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God (2022):

Season of SorrowOn November 3, 2020, Tim and Aileen Challies received the shocking news that their son Nick had died. A twenty-year-old student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, he had been participating in a school activity with his fiancée, sister, and friends, when he fell unconscious and collapsed to the ground.

Neither students nor a passing doctor nor paramedics were able to revive him. His parents received the news at their home in Toronto and immediately departed for Louisville to be together as a family. While on the plane, Tim, an author and blogger, began to process his loss through writing. In Seasons of Sorrow, Tim shares real-time reflections from the first year of grief—through the seasons from fall to summer—introducing readers to what he describes as the “ministry of sorrow.”

Seasons of Sorrow will benefit both those that are working through sorrow or those comforting others:

  • See how God is sovereign over loss and that he is good in loss
  • Discover how you can pass through times of grief while keeping your faith
  • Learn how biblical doctrine can work itself out even in life’s most difficult situations
  • Understand how it is possible to love God more after loss than you loved him before

Matt McCullough (Christianity Today; Author, Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope), ‘I Will Grieve but not Grumble, Mourn but not Murmur, Weep but not Whine’: What Tim Challies Resolved in the Wake of His Son’s Sudden Death:

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January 22, 2023 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink