Paul L. Caron
Dean


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Oh Presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons From Estate Tax Avoidance Virtually Today At UC-Hastings

Jason Oh (UCLA) presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance (with Eric M. Zolt (UCLA)) virtually at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

OhIn a remarkably short time period, the wealth tax has evolved from a fringe idea to a major policy option. Two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, included wealth taxes in their policy platforms. To the surprise of many, strong support exists for imposing wealth taxes on the ultra-wealthy, even among Republican voters. The fiscal devastation of the coronavirus pandemic has swollen already huge federal deficits and likely will increase levels of inequality. Given concerns of revenue shortfalls and increasing inequality, the wealth tax merits serious consideration.

The potential revenue is eye-popping. Various projections have suggested that Warren and Sanders proposals would raise several trillion dollars over the next ten years. Critics including Larry Summers and Natasha Sarin have used data from estate tax returns and the relatively small amount of revenue the estate tax currently raises to question these revenue projections. This comparison can be useful only if one carefully considers how specific estate tax strategies translate to an annual wealth tax. This article engages in that exercise. When one takes a closer look at estate tax avoidance and how it maps onto an annual wealth tax, a much more complex narrative emerges.

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October 27, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rosenthal & Burke Present Taxation Of Corporations And Their Shareholders Virtually Today At NYU

Steve Rosenthal and Theo Burke (Tax Policy Center) present Who’s Left to Tax? US Taxation of Corporations and Their Shareholders virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

BurkeWe usually say that corporate earnings are subject to two levels of income tax: first, the corporation pays an income tax on earnings and, second, the shareholders pay an income tax on the dividends they receive and capital gains they realize. The story now is illusory: We tax earnings twice, but badly.

A half century ago, the US corporate income tax was a major source of revenue. Since then, the corporate tax base has eroded and, in 2017, the corporate tax rate was cut sharply from 35 to 21 percent. As a result, corporate tax receipts dropped from 3.6 percent of GDP in 1965 to 1.5 percent in 2017 to 1.1 percent in 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resultant economic collapse, corporate tax receipts fell further, finishing below 0.8 percent of GDP for the fiscal year 2020, which ended on September 30 (and will finish lower still for the calendar year 2020).

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October 27, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Over 600 U.S. Business School Professors Sign Open Letter Declaring President Trump Is A 'Threat To The Republic'

Deepak Malhotra (Harvard Business School), It’s Time for America’s Business Leaders to Speak Out Against the Threat Trump Poses to Our Republic:

An Open Letter & Call for Action — Signed by Business School Professors from Across America

Polarization in American politics is at record highs, with Republicans and Democrats disagreeing strongly on many issues. But the American people—although disheartened by politics, divided on policy, and deadlocked on ideology—are still able to find common ground where it matters most. Indeed, an unprecedented streak of bipartisanship has emerged in recent weeks, with throngs of prominent citizens—representing a wide range of institutions and professions—speaking out against what they consider an existential threat to our Republic.

Large groups of veterans, generals, soldiers, politicians, scientists, doctors, ambassadors, civil servants, lawyers, journalists, and others have now come out against a President who denigrates science, peddles in lies, incites violence, attempts to delegitimize the press, politicizes everything from the justice department to the CDC to the postal service, and seeks to undermine the integrity of American elections. These bipartisan groups—who disagree on many things—now agree that no positive vision for our country can be realized under the continued presidency of Donald Trump.

It is time for business leaders to follow suit and speak out against the threat Trump poses to our country. For a profession that incessantly proclaims the importance of corporate values, makes much ado about CSR initiatives, and proudly embraces a commitment to everything from sustainability, to inclusion, to ethical business practices, it is unacceptable and immoral to remain silent at this time. As the growing list of open letters and editorial statements from other groups makes clear, publicly supporting the Democratic candidate in this election is not a political act. It is an act of conscience. ...

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October 27, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Colorado Seeks To Hire An Entry Level Or Junior Lateral Tax Prof

Colorado Logo (2016)The University of Colorado Law School seeks applications and nominations to fill tenure-track or tenured positions (entry-level or lateral). For the current hiring cycle we plan to focus on candidates with an interest and expertise in tax law or race and the law (including critical race theory).

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October 27, 2020 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Columbia Journal Of Tax Law Publishes Tax Matters: Taxing Remote Workers

The Columbia Journal of Tax Law has published a new issue of its Tax Matters feature, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Oct. 21, 2020):

Columbia Journal of Tax Law Logo (2020)Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), Remote Workforce Doctrine and Policy: Short-Term and Long-Term Considerations

The challenge of how to tax employees who commute or work between states did not arise with the current pandemic. A leading state and local tax professor challenged New York’s approach to the issue in 2003, pursuing his claim to the New York Court of Appeals. Congress has been considering bills on the issue for at least ten years. The Multistate Tax Commission, an intergovernmental agency that promotes uniform state tax law (among other things), approved model legislation for a mobile workforce statute in 2011.

Yet, without a doubt, the current crisis has made these issues more pressing, as many more employees are working at home in one state where once they commuted into a neighboring state for work. Some states that stand to lose taxes paid by those employees who are no longer commuting have taken the position that the tax employees would have paid is still due. 

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October 27, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Faculty Joined A Day Of Action To Protest Racial Inequality. Now 2 Are In Hot Water.

Following up on my previous post, State Auditor Tries To Fire Tenured Professor Who Participated In #ScholarStrike:

Chronicle of Higher Education, Faculty Members Joined a Day of Action to Protest Racial Inequality. Now 2 Are in Hot Water.:

ScholarStrikeTwo tenured professors at different universities are in hot water after participating in the Scholar Strike, a national action meant to call awareness to police brutality against Black people.

At the University of Mississippi, the state auditor, Shad White, told the university to pursue terminating James M. Thomas after the associate professor of sociology engaged, according to White, in an illegal work stoppage. White’s targeting of Thomas — first reported by the Clarion Ledger — has been criticized by other scholars as intimidation and an attempt to score political points in a red state. (White did not respond to a request for comment but said on Twitter that people want him to “give this professor a pass” because they agree with the professor’s politics. “No,” he concluded.)

And at Texas A&M University, the dean reported Wendy Leo Moore, an associate professor of sociology, to the provost after Moore indicated she would participate in a work stoppage. For several days, Moore told The Chronicle, she thought she was going to lose her job.

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October 27, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

2020 Has Been A Hard Year For Higher Ed With 337,000 Jobs Lost. Could 2021 Be Worse?

Chronicle of Higher Education, 2020 Has Been a Hard Year for Higher Ed. Could 2021 Be Worse?:

Colleges are now starting to calculate the full costs of the coronavirus, including the fallout from declining enrollments and rising operating costs.

At places like Ithaca College, the impact of the pandemic is accelerating plans for major cuts in faculty jobs and academic programs. Beginning this spring, the college will begin to cut nearly a quarter of its 547 faculty members, said La Jerne T. Cornish, Ithaca’s provost.

The college’s undergraduate enrollment is 4,785 full-time studentsmore than 900 students fewer than a year ago, a decline of more than 16 percent, according to the college’s figures. At the same time, the college has a budget shortfall of $8 million because of increased operating costs — an amount that could grow before the end of the academic year, Cornish said.

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October 27, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Love is Free. Guac is Extra.: How Vulnerability, Empowerment, And Curiosity Built An Unstoppable Team

We held a wonderful virtual event yesterday with our alum Monty Moran ('93) on his just-released book, Love is Free. Guac is Extra.: How Vulnerability, Empowerment, and Curiosity Built an Unstoppable Team (2020):

Moran 2Imagine you’re one of 75,000 people working in a huge company, and the CEO wants to talk to you, one-on-one, to get to know and understand you. That’s what Monty Moran did 20,000 times as he built the extraordinary culture that took Chipotle Mexican Grill from a regional burrito chain to a Fortune 500 superstar. 

In Love Is Free, Guac Is Extra, Monty shows how he used curiosity, vulnerability, love, and a unique understanding of the true meaning of empowerment to build a distinctive and wildly effective culture. From his teenage days befriending homeless people at a Colorado Dairy Queen to his nuanced navigation of a complex co-CEO relationship, Monty demonstrates a relentless humility and desire to understand the person across from him.

This is not your average leadership book. This is a book about business leadership executed in a way you’ve never encountered before, by becoming the best version of yourself.

Drew Kellogg (CEO, Oath Pizza), Monty Taught Chipotle How To Cultivate Confidence:

Monty is a rare individual with extraordinary presence. A personality that fills the room. When you meet him and shake his hand, he looks you in the eye and within a couple of minutes you are at ease and sharing your life story. The "why are you here's?" and the "what do you want to do's?", big questions. Monty presents them with an approachability as if they are part of every day conversations. In short, Monty's gift is his ability to connect, make you feel part of something special and inspire you. Monty taught Chipotle how to cultivate confidence. On a foundation of Steve's culinary brilliance, Monty's approach fueled Chipotle's meteoric growth and sustained success.

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October 27, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Mason & Delaney Present Solidarity Federalism Virtually Today In California

Ruth Mason (Virginia) & Erin Delaney (Northwestern) present Solidarity Federalism virtually today as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series:

Mason and delaneyStudies of federalism, especially in the United States, have largely focused on the important role that state autonomy plays in federations, emphasizing what we refer to as the “traditional” values of federalism—diversity, experimentation, pluralism, and competition. This Essay argues that this focus misses an important aspect of Our Federalism; maintaining a federal form of government requires both state autonomy and state solidarity. We therefore introduce a sometimes complementary, and sometimes opposing, set of federalism values, which we call solidarity values, including duties of reciprocity, good faith, and trust. Solidarity federalism operationalizes these values and contributes to our understanding of federation by expanding the notion of a state's self-interest beyond its borders, to include a crucial measure of regard for the whole union. 

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October 26, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bearer-Friend Presents In-Kind Tax Paying: Lessons And Risks Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents In-Kind Tax Paying: Lessons and Risks virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Bearer Friend (2021)This Article documents and evaluates noncash remittance of tax obligations, referred to as “in-kind tax paying.” Such forms of tax paying include: paying a federal income tax bill by remitting a used, flatbed truck to the IRS; paying a property tax bill by working a few hours a month answering phones at city hall; and, conveying a proportion of all seashells farmed within a state to that state. These are not just hypotheticals, but forms of in-kind tax paying that occur in the United States throughout periods when many taxes are also paid in cash. Nevertheless, despite its long history and prevalence, in-kind tax paying has consistently been overlooked.

By providing a comprehensive account of in-kind tax paying within a cash economy, this Article makes three contributions. First, it improves our definition of tax paying by identifying the wide variety of in-kind remittances that already occur in our current tax system and offering a taxonomy for how to understand in-kind remittances within an economy that relies primarily on cash taxes. Second, it refutes the presumption that in-kind remittance of tax obligations is not viable, thus expanding the tax tools available to local, state, and federal governments and demonstrating how narrow presumptions about tax remittance have predetermined core tax policy choices.

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October 26, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Still More NY Times Coverage Of Trump’s Taxes

Following up on my previous posts:

New York Times, Trump’s Philanthropy: Big Tax Write-Offs and Claims That Don’t Always Add Up:

In President Trump’s telling, he is a committed philanthropist with strong ties to many charities. “If you don’t give back, you’re never ever going to be fulfilled in life,” he wrote in “Trump 101: The Way to Success,” published at the height of his “Apprentice” fame.

And according to his tax records, he has given back at least $130 million since 2005, his second year as a reality TV star.

But the long-hidden tax records, obtained by The New York Times, show that Mr. Trump did not have to reach into his wallet for most of that giving. The vast bulk of his charitable tax deductions, $119.3 million worth, came from simply agreeing not to develop land — in several cases, after he had shelved development plans.

Three of the agreements involved what are known as conservation easements — a maneuver, popular among wealthy Americans, that typically allows a landowner to keep a property’s title and receive a tax deduction equal to its appraised value. In the fourth land deal, Mr. Trump donated property for a state park.

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October 26, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Prof Michelle Drumbl Named Interim Dean At Washington & Lee (Succeeding Tax Prof Brant Hellwig)

Michelle Lyon Drumbl Appointed Interim Dean of the Washington and Lee School of Law:

Drumbl (2020)Michelle Lyon Drumbl, Robert O. Bentley Professor of Law and director of the Tax Clinic at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been appointed to a one-year term as interim dean of the law school effective July 1, 2021.

Drumbl succeeds Brant Hellwig, who has served as dean since 2015 and recently announced his intention to step down at the end of the current academic year.

W&L President William C. Dudley and Interim Provost Elizabeth Goad Oliver announced Drumbl’s appointment, noting that a national search for a new law dean will take place during the 2021-22 academic year.

“I am pleased that Michelle has agreed to serve in this critical role,” said Dudley. “Her clinical and teaching experience and wide-ranging service to the university will be invaluable in her leadership of the law school during this time of transition. I look forward to working with her next year as we search for our next law dean.”

Drumbl joined the law school faculty in 2007. She holds a B.A. in political science from Emory University, a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law, and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law.

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October 26, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lesson From The Tax Court: Losing Gambler Gets Twice Lucky In Tax Court

Tax Court (2020)Taxpayers rarely walk away from casinos richer than when they entered.  The odds are not in their favor.  If a slot machine pays out $1,200 or more, however, the casino will still report that win on a W-2G, even if the taxpayer loses all of it before leaving the casino.  The theory is that $1,200 is income to the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s choice to use it for more gambling is no different than the taxpayer’s choice to use that $1,200 for other consumption.

The IRS recognizes that the reality is different from theory and so it permits taxpayers to net their gambling gains and gambling losses for each visit to---or session at---a casino.  In the unlikely event they leave the casino a net winner, those wagering gains are gross income which must be reported.  If they leave a net loser, they may be able to deduct those wagering losses against wagering gains up to the amount of wagering gains.  Tax Court precedents uphold this per-session method of accounting for gambling gains and losses.  In addition, plenty of precedent requires taxpayers to substantiate their wagering losses for each session.

In John M. Coleman v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2020-146 (Oct. 22, 2020), Judge Lauber bucked both sets of precedents to allow the taxpayer a gambling loss deduction equal to over $350,000 of gambling wins reported on various W-2Gs.  There are good reasons for why Judge Lauber did this, but the bottom line is that this taxpayer got twice lucky.  It helped that he was represented pro bono by two high-powered tax attorneys from Morgan Lewis.  Let's look at what we can learn from them and from this case.  Details below the fold.

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October 26, 2020 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

University Of Missouri President Admits He Didn't Read Promotion & Tenure Committee's Recommendations, But Stands By Rejection Of 7 Faculty Candidates

Columbia Daily Tribune, Choi Admits Mistake In Not Reading Tenure Recommendations:

Missouri Logo (2020)[Chancellor Mun] Choi didn't apologize, but he did admit to a mistake in not noticing a folder with recommendations of the Campus Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee when making decisions on faculty promotion and tenure.

The comments from the University of Missouri System president and MU chancellor were made at Wednesday's virtual general faculty meeting. ... "It was my mistake in not recognizing there was not a folder" for the committee recommendations, Choi said. "I did not realize. Of course, going forward, I will read the letter."

It was an oversight and unintentional, he said. ...

The MU Faculty Council last week voted to censure Choi for not following procedures for promotion and tenure of faculty members.

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October 26, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Lawyers Campaign Contributions: 94% Biden, 6% Trump (99.9% / 0.1% At Jones Day)

Reuters, Lawyers Spurn Trump Campaign in Individual Donations, Including From Jones Day:

Lawyers at Jones Day, which has earned millions as outside counsel to U.S. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, have donated nearly $90,000 to the campaign committee of Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden. Contributions to the Trump campaign by Jones Day lawyers totaled just $50, records show.

A Reuters analysis of Federal Election Commission records shows a wide gulf between individual lawyer donations to the candidates, with nearly $29 million going directly to Biden’s campaign and just under $1.75 million to Trump’s between Jan. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2020. Lawyers at several other law firms representing Trump or his campaign also heavily favored Biden.

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October 26, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Dean: The Truth About Taxes — George Floyd Died, Donald Trump Got Millions

Steven Dean (NYU), The Truth About Taxes: George Floyd Died, Donald Trump Got Millions:

This year, each of us has lost something. I am fortunate that my biggest loss has been my faith in our tax system.

In 2014, Eric Garner died at the hands of police officers after being suspected of evading taxes by selling cigarettes without tax stamps. That same year, Donald Trump was also suspected of evading income taxes. But unlike Garner, who was killed by police, Trump reached a favorable legal settlement with the IRS.

The New York Times recently revealed that Trump had not engaged in “smart” tax planning as he had boasted during his 2016 presidential campaign but seems to have simply lied to secure a $72.9 million refund. And, thanks to a highly successful effort by Republicans to weaken the IRS, Trump has gotten away with it for years.

Tax law has long been more a secular religion than a job for me. It embodies the commitment we make to one another as Americans to support our shared values by funding our schools and our troops and caring for our most vulnerable. ...

Among all the horrors we have seen in recent months, I am embarrassed to say that a trivial detail has haunted me. George Floyd’s death came after he fell under suspicion of spending a counterfeit $20 bill. ... We all witnessed the swift, ruthless response to George Floyd’s $20 bill and to Eric Garner’s cigarettes. But after years of controversy, almost nothing seems to have been done about Trump’s suspected multimillion-dollar heist. ...

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October 25, 2020 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (3)

Christians Do Not Fit Into The Two-Party System. And That's A Good Thing.

New York Times op-ed:  How Do Christians Fit Into the Two-Party System? They Don’t, by Timothy Keller (Founder, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York):

What should the role of Christians in politics be? More people than ever are asking that question. Christians cannot pretend they can transcend politics and simply “preach the Gospel.” Those who avoid all political discussions and engagement are essentially casting a vote for the social status quo. American churches in the early 19th century that did not speak out against slavery because that was what we would now call “getting political” were actually supporting slavery by doing so. To not be political is to be political. ...

[M]ost political positions are not matters of biblical command but of practical wisdom. This does not mean that the church can never speak on social, economic and political realities, because the Bible often does. Racism is a sin, violating the second of the two great commandments of Jesus, to “love your neighbor.” The biblical commands to lift up the poor and to defend the rights of the oppressed are moral imperatives for believers. For individual Christians to speak out against egregious violations of these moral requirements is not optional.

However, there are many possible ways to help the poor. Should we shrink government and let private capital markets allocate resources, or should we expand the government and give the state more of the power to redistribute wealth? Or is the right path one of the many possibilities in between? The Bible does not give exact answers to these questions for every time, place and culture. ...

Another reason Christians these days cannot allow the church to be fully identified with any particular party is the problem of what the British ethicist James Mumford calls “package-deal ethics.” Increasingly, political parties insist that you cannot work on one issue with them if you don’t embrace all of their approved positions.

This emphasis on package deals puts pressure on Christians in politics. For example, following both the Bible and the early church, Christians should be committed to racial justice and the poor, but also to the understanding that sex is only for marriage and for nurturing family. One of those views seems liberal and the other looks oppressively conservative. The historical Christian positions on social issues do not fit into contemporary political alignments.

So Christians are pushed toward two main options. One is to withdraw and try to be apolitical. The second is to assimilate and fully adopt one party’s whole package in order to have your place at the table. Neither of these options is valid.

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October 25, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Christian College Faculty Aren't Lining Up For Trump

Inside Higher Ed, Christian College Faculty Aren't Lining Up for Trump:

[W]hile recent polls show Trump continues to hold a wide lead over Democrat Joe Biden among religious voters, a bad sign for the president is that some of his support is slipping, including among white evangelicals who, like the faculty at Christian colleges, have a college education.

At the nation’s Christian colleges, a number of professors described in interviews this week their struggle to reconcile their support for a president moving toward ending abortion with their discomfort, and even spiritual revulsion, over him.

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October 25, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

There is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper and new papers debuting on the list at #3 and #4:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018)[281 Downloads]  Good Tax Governance: International Corporate Tax Planning and Corporate Social Responsibility – Does One Exclude the Other?, by Ave-Geidi Jallai (Tilburg)
  2. [253 Downloads]  The Rise of Cooperative Surplus Taxation, by Allison Christians (McGill) & Tarcisio Diniz Magalhaes (McGill)
  3. [214 Downloads]  Federal Tax Procedure (2020 Practitioner Ed.), by John Townsend
  4. [151 Downloads]  Intangibles and the Transfer Pricing Reconstruction Rules: A Case Study of Amazon, by Antony Ting (Sydney)
  5. [144 Downloads]  Why Is So Much Redistribution In-Kind and Not in Cash? Evidence from a Survey Experiment, by Zachary Liscow (Yale) & Abigail Pershing (J.D. 2020, Yale)

October 25, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

2020 Law360 Glass Ceiling Report: 'Minimal Progress'

2020 Law360 Glass Ceiling Report:

Law 360The Law360 2020 Glass Ceiling Report shows that law firms continue to make only minimal progress in their efforts to dispel the barriers women face, especially as they move up the ranks.

Our rankings of firms, organized by head count, register incremental progress with respect to the percentage of female attorneys and of female equity partners. Roughly 40% of attorneys and about 25% of all partners are women, the data said.

This year, we expanded the survey to include measures such as partner promotions, executive committees and the types of policies that firms have in place specifically for women as part of promoting diversity and inclusion overall. The results provide a benchmark of how female attorneys were faring at U.S. law firms at the end of 2019.

Our detailed breakdown of where they place throughout their firms shows a picture that has barely changed from the previous year, with women representing around 25% of partners, 22% of equity partners and 28% of executive committees.

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October 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Connecticut, Maryland, New York, And Pennsylvania To Give Online Bar Exams In February

Karen Sloan (Law.com), New York Joins 3 Other States in Giving February Bar Exam Online:

New York’s February bar exam will be online.

The New York State Court of Appeals announced Wednesday that the upcoming exam would not be offered in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making it among the first jurisdictions to commit to another online test in February. That decision came just two weeks after the state administered its first-ever remote exam, which earned mixed reviews. The court and the New York State Board of Law Examiners have deemed the test a success, while many test takers said it was unfair and riddled with glitches.

“While the Board of Law Examiners continues to gather and study the data, our preliminary assessment is that, despite the novel procedure, this was a very successful administration of the bar examination,” reads the court’s Wednesday announcement. “Of the 5,167 applicants who downloaded the exam software and were scheduled to take the remote exam on October 5 and 6, 2020, all but 17 successfully completed the entire exam.” ...

PennsylvaniaConnecticut and Maryland have also announced this week that they will give online bar exams in February. ...

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October 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Changing The Face Of College Sports One Tax Return At A Time

Kathryn Kisska-Schulze (Clemson) & Adam Epstein (Central Michigan), Changing The Face of College Sports One Tax Return At a Time, 73 Okla. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

On September 30, 2019 California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act (FPTPA), allowing student-athletes to hire agents and financially benefit from their college sports activities by permitting commercialized use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). California’s law circumvented the NCAA’s historic injunction on student-athletes receiving compensation outside scholarships; however, after its passage the NCAA reformed its stance to allow student-athletes to profit from the use of their NIL. With the NCAA’s approval, and with numerous states pushing forth similar legislation to that of the FPTPA, the face of college sports is changing. However, as quickly as the NCAA transformed its posture on student-athletes being compensated, the term tax emerged. Once student-athletes earn income under the FPTPA, they must become familiar with complicated tax filing and payment obligations that may result in adverse and unexpected consequences.

This article provides a history of the pay-for-play debate in college sports, analyzes the intricacies of the FPTPA, introduces applicable tax considerations at the federal and state levels that may impact student-athletes, and makes recommendations to better educate and protect student-athletes’ financial interests.

October 24, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Roberts Reviews Holderness's Insidious Regulatory Taxes

This week, Tracey Roberts (Cumberland) reviews a recently posted work by Hayes Holderness (Richmond), Insidious Regulatory Taxes.

Roberts (2020)In Insidious Regulatory Taxes, Hayes Holderness takes issue with state legislatures’ use of taxes to regulate individual behavior. He clarifies that regulatory taxes are “insidious” when a state legislature chooses to use a tax in order to avoid the level of state and federal constitutional scrutiny imposed on direct regulation. Federal and state courts have generally deferred to legislatures on tax matters because the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions grant legislature the “power of the purse.” Judicial attempts to curtail this power may be viewed as a violation of the separation of powers doctrine. Holderness argues that while judicial deference may be appropriate when the legislators’ goals are to raise revenue, that deference is not justified when legislators are acting with a regulatory purpose and when their goal in using a tax is to skirt the level of scrutiny applied to direct regulation.

 

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October 23, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Faculty Confidence In Online Learning Grows

Inside Higher Ed, Faculty Confidence in Online Learning Grows:

For years, advocates for online learning have bemoaned the fact that even as more instructors teach in virtual settings, professors' confidence in the quality and value of online education hasn't risen accordinglyInside Higher Ed has documented this trend in its annual surveys of faculty attitudes on technology going back over most of the 2010s.

Some hoped that by thrusting just about every faculty member into remote teaching, the pandemic might change that equation and help instructors see how virtual learning might give students more flexibility and diminish professors' doubts about its efficacy.

new survey finds that COVID-19 has not produced any such miracles: fewer than half of professors surveyed in August agree that online learning is an "effective method of teaching," and many instructors worry that the shift to virtual learning has impaired their engagement with students in a way that could exacerbate existing equity gaps.

But the report on the survey, Time for Class COVID-19 Edition Part 2: Planning for a Fall Like No Other, from Every Learner Everywhere and Tyton Partners, also suggests that instructors' increased — if forced — experience with remote learning last spring has enhanced their view of how they can use technology to improve their own teaching and to enable student learning. The proportion of instructors who see online learning as effective may still be just under half - — 49 percent — but that's up from 39 percent who said so in a similar survey in May.

IHE

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October 23, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Faculty And Staff Find Silver Linings Amid Loss And Isolation During COVID-19

The Graphic, Faculty and Staff Find Silver Linings Amid Loss and Isolation During COVID-19:

Caron Graphic PhotoThe pandemic and social distancing precautions bleed into all aspects of life for University members. Health concerns, COVID-19 related deaths in the community and fully remote instruction continue to impact faculty and staff.

Within the Pepperdine community, the University reported 58 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths since March. Pepperdine decided to conduct classes completely online this semester due to continuing health concerns and restrictions.

Pepperdine faculty and staff struggle with feelings of isolation, adjusting to an online format and the loss of loved ones due to COVID-19. Amid the adverse effects of the pandemic, certain silver linings have emerged — more time with immediate family, improved connections with distant friends and peers and a greater sense of gratitude for in-person time with students, friends and coworkers. ...

The Pepperdine community also faced loss during this time, including the death of Professor of Law James M. McGoldrick on May 16 due to COVID-19 complications. Dean of the Caruso School of Law Paul L. Caron said McGoldrick was “an institution at the law school” as the longest-serving faculty member, and his death greatly impacted students, faculty and staff.

“He contacted me on a Saturday right before they were going to be putting him on a ventilator,” Caron said. “He wanted to talk about how he would assign other faculty to finish his course. That story just really hit the faculty — that at that moment, his concern was for his students.”

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October 23, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Dynamics Of Taxation: Essays in Honour of Judith Freedman

The Dynamics of Taxation: Essays in Honour of Judith Freedman (Oct. 15, 2020):

The Dynamics of Taxation 2This book brings together a landmark collection of essays on tax law and policy to celebrate the legacy of Professor Judith Freedman. It focuses on the four areas of taxation scholarship to which she made her most notable contributions: taxation of SMEs and individuals, tax avoidance, tax administration, and taxpayers' rights and procedures.

Professor Freedman has been a major driving force behind the development of tax law and policy scholarship, not only in the UK, but worldwide. The strength and diversity of the contributors to this book highlight the breadth of Professor Freedman's impact within tax scholarship. The list encompasses some of the most renowned taxation experts worldwide; they include lawyers, economists, academics and practitioners, from Britain, Canada, Portugal, Australia, Germany, Italy, Malta, Ireland, and Ukraine.

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October 23, 2020 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Supreme Court Approves Provisional License Program For Law Grads

The Recorder, California Supreme Court Approves Provisional License Program for Law Grads:

California Bar ExamCalifornia’s Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Thursday to a provisional licensing program for 2020 law school graduates.

Justices approved Rule of Court 9.49, which allows anyone who became, or will become, eligible to sit for the bar exam between Dec. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2020, to temporarily practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney until June 21, 2022. The new rule goes into effect Nov. 17, and state bar officials say they expect to begin accepting applications that day.

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October 23, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oren-Kolbinger: The Error Cost Of Marriage

Orli Oren-Kolbinger (Villanova), The Error Cost of Marriage:

Since its inception in 1918, the joint filing election has been one of the U.S. tax system’s most controversial concepts. This tax election allows married taxpayers to file a joint tax return or file two separate returns. Some err, either because they do not know they have a choice or simply because they choose unwisely and elect the less beneficial filing status.

The writers of the Code acknowledged taxpayers may need to correct a filing status error. Married taxpayers filing separately can retroactively amend their filing status for a previous year to joint filing under certain circumstances at no cost. Surprisingly, joint filers do not enjoy this opportunity to amend prior returns to filing separately in any circumstance. Scholars have extensively argued for and against treating married taxpayers as a single economic unit rather than on an individual basis. But they have yet to notice this asymmetric amendment rule. This Article is the first to examine the overlooked problem of the asymmetric treatment of married taxpayers who wish to amend their initial filing status election.

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October 23, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Daly & Mason: The Apple State Aid Case

Stephen Daly (King's College London) & Ruth Mason (Virginia), State Aid: The General Court Decision in Apple, 168 Tax Notes Fed. 1791 (2020):

Tax Notes FederalIn this article, the authors analyze the Apple state aid case, concentrating on its implications for state aid analysis and use of the arm’s-length standard, and they consider the drawbacks of using state aid to prevent corporate tax abuse as well as the broader implications of the case.

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October 22, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

What’s Wrong With A Wealth Tax

Allison Schrager & Beth Akers (Manhattan Institute), What’s Wrong with a Wealth Tax:

In the coming months, Americans can expect calls to tax the wealth of the richest citizens. There are four oft-cited justifications for such a measure: inequality is rising, and there is a need to restore fairness; more revenue is necessary to bring exploding deficits under control, and taxing the wealthy is the least harmful way to do so; extreme wealth disparities harm economic growth; and the rich use their wealth to rig the political system, so democracy requires leveling the playing field.

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October 22, 2020 in Tax, Tax Scholarship, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (2)

A Five-Year Retroactive Analysis Of Cut Score Impact: California’s Proposed Supervised Provisional License Program

Following up on last week's post, California's Bar Exam Cut Score: Minimum Competency, Public Protection, Disparate Impact, And National Standards:

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Study: Lower Bar Exam Cut Score Won't Solve California's Attorney Diversity Problem:

California Bar ExamCalifornia’s newly lowered bar exam cut score won’t do much to bolster pass rates among minority test-takers.

An extensive new study finds that the California Supreme Court’s July decision to lower the cut score from 1440 to 1390 will reduce the disparity in pass rates between white and minority bar takers a mere 2.7 percentage points. A reduction to 1350—which is the national average—would go much further in narrowing that achievement gap, reducing it by 19.4 percentage points. ... The study confirms long-held suspicions that California’s historically high cut score has had a disparate impact on minority law graduates and impeded the flow of diverse attorneys into the state’s bar. California’s population is 60% minority, yet 68% of the state’s licensed attorneys are white.

Mitchel Winick (Dean, Monterey), Victor D. Quintanilla (Indiana), Sam Erman (USC), Christina Chong-Nakatsuchi (Monterey) & Michael Frisby (Michigan), A Five-Year Retroactive Analysis of Cut Score Impact: California’s Proposed Supervised Provisional License Program:

A five-year cohort of 39,737 examinees who sat for the California Bar Exam (“CBX”) between 2014-18 was analyzed using a simulation model based on actual exam results to evaluate how the minimum passing scores (“cut score”) of 1440, 1390, 1350, 1330, and 1300, if used as qualifying scores for a provisional licensing program, would affect the number of previous examinees, by race and ethnicity, who would qualify to participate within retroactive groupings of five-year, four-year, three-year, two-year, and one-year examinee cohorts.

The result of the simulation models indicated that selecting a qualifying score lower than the current California cut score of 1390 will significantly increase both the overall number of eligible participants and the diversity of the group eligible to participate in the proposed alternate licensing program.

Chart 3

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October 22, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NALP: Bar Passage Required Jobs Rate Of 80% For Whites Compared To 62% For Blacks Shows 'Systemic Preference' For White Law Grads Over Black Law Grads

Following up on my previous post, NALP: Law School Class Of 2019 Attains Highest Employment Rate (90.3%) In 12 Years:

NALP’s New Employment and Salary Report Highlights Disparities in Outcomes by Race and Ethnicity:

Jobs & JDsNew employment findings from the National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) show that Black and Native American law school graduates had the lowest overall employment rates, and Black graduates were employed in bar passage required jobs at a rate 17 percentage points lower than white graduates.

NALP today released its Jobs & JDs, Employment and Salaries of New Graduates, Class of 2019. Jobs & JDs is NALP’s hallmark annual research report that presents a comprehensive analysis of the types of employment and salaries obtained by the Class of 2019. How are law firm opportunities changing for new law graduates? Which geographic markets provided the most jobs? Where did the graduates who are not practicing law find jobs? How do employment findings vary by gender and race/ethnicity? Jobs & JDs presents the most comprehensive analysis of the types of employment and salaries obtained by the Class of 2019, with data on over 97% of Class of 2019 graduates from ABA-accredited law schools. The publication includes over 110 detailed tables and charts with data by geography, graduate demographics, and law school characteristics.

This year’s report shows that the Class of 2019 experienced the highest employment rate in the dozen years since the start of the Great Recession, as the overall employment rate for the Class of 2019 was up 0.9 percentage points to 90.3% of graduates for whom employment status was known, compared to 89.4% for the Class of 2018. This marks the highest employment rate recorded since the 91.9% rate for the Class of 2007.

“I find it particularly discouraging this year to have to report employment findings that highlight stark disparities by race and ethnicity, among other demographic markers, but this should serve as a wake-up call to everyone involved in legal education and the legal profession,” said NALP Executive Director James Leipold. “In a year when the overall class secured jobs and salaries at higher rates than we have seen since before the Great Recession, many subsets of graduates, but especially Black law school graduates, still meet with lower levels of success in the job market than the rest of the graduate pool.”

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October 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Chief Justice Roberts' Rules For Leading In Polarized Times

In Polarized Times, Lead Like a Chief Justice, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Captain ClassFor leaders, holding the center without compromising your authority, your relationships or your principles is a daunting challenge. It requires a delicate balance of aggression and restraint, hard work and tactical savvy, personal charisma and alligator skin.

There’s only one manager I know who has been trying to thread this needle for well over a decade. It’s John Roberts, the 65-year-old chief justice of the United States. ...

Since his 2005 appointment by President George W. Bush, the chief justice’s reliably conservative judicial record hasn’t won many admirers from the left. That said, he has also sided with the court’s liberal wing often enough to become a target for the right. President Donald Trump once called him “an absolute disaster.” ...

By my count, there are four “Roberts Rules” of leadership.

1. Muscular Messaging
Since his confirmation hearings, when he famously likened the role of a judge to that of an umpire, Chief Justice Roberts has consistently expressed support for the court’s political independence. The more polarized we become, the more aggressive he gets. ... In divided times, it’s tempting to strike a measured tone. But that’s not a particularly useful way to defend your integrity. ...

2. Practical Gradualism
Great leaders, as a rule, never surrender moral authority. You can’t give people the impression that you stand for nothing. Sometimes, however, holding the center means making decisions that don’t align with your principles.

In several closely watched cases, Chief Justice Roberts has protected the court’s independence by breaking ranks with fellow conservatives, even when his judicial record suggested he wouldn’t.

In June, for example, he voted to strike down a Louisiana law that placed some restrictions on doctors who perform abortions, even though he had ruled the opposite way, in dissent, on a similar case in 2016. ... A better example is the decisive vote he cast in 2012, under enormous public scrutiny, to uphold President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. ...

The lesson is this: When all eyes are on you and the center is vulnerable, leaders should resist the urge to act boldly on principle. A better approach is to imagine that you’re trying to ride a bike as slowly as possible. You need to look down, not up: to focus on the small maneuvers that keep you from falling over.

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October 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

28,000 Charities Had Their Tax-Exempt Status Revoked After Trump Administration ‘Error,’ Democratic Lawmakers Say

Forbes, 28,000 Charities Had Tax-Exempt Status Revoked After Trump Administration ‘Error,’ Lawmakers Say:

More than 30,000 nonprofit organizations in the U.S. have had their tax-exempt status automatically revoked by the Internal Revenue Service since May, Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, after an “apparent error” by the IRS may have erroneously revoked thousands of organizations’ tax-exempt status. ...

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October 22, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Harvard Will Remain Online in the Spring. Will Other Law Schools Follow?

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Harvard Law Will Remain Online in the Spring. Will Others Follow?:

Harvard ZoomHarvard law students won’t be returning to campus in the spring.

Harvard Law School Dean John Manning announced Tuesday that the school will remain fully remote in the winter and spring semesters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard is among the first law schools to unveil concrete plans to stay remote after a fully online fall.

“Though we had very much hoped to be able to resume teaching and learning on campus, we have with great disappointment concluded that it is neither prudent nor equitable for us to resume in-person instruction,” Manning wrote in a message to students. “We miss seeing you all in person tremendously. And we understand and regret that today’s decision will land hard with many of you.”

Harvard was also a trailblazer this summer when it announced in June that the fall semester would be fully remote. About 30 other law schools later followed suit, though many waited until July or later to unveil those plans. ...

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October 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Guide To Election Year Activities Of § 501(c)(3) Organizations

PLI (2018)Continuing a TaxProf Blog tradition, Steven H. Sholk (Gibbons, Newark, NJ) has made available to readers the annual update of his wonderful 568-page Guide to Election Year Activities of Section 501(c)(3) Organizations (PLI 2020).

October 22, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Dean Presents A Constitutional Moment In Cross-Border Taxation Virtually Today At Oregon

Steven Dean (NYU) presents A Constitutional Moment in Cross-Border Taxation virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0263e95a0f83200b-250wiThe Classification and Assignment Constitution has shaped cross-border policymaking for a century. Two global crises in quick succession have created both an opportunity and an urgent need to remake that material constitution, altering its substantive rules by transforming the processes that shape them. In tax, just as in trade and investment law, critics find “not a borderless market without states but a doubled world kept safe from mass demands for social justice and redistributive equality by the guardians of the economic constitution.” In order to rewrite the protective algorithm at the core of the Classification and Assignment Constitution to provide all states—and developing states in particular—with access to the revenues they desperately need, a more inclusive cast of constitutional actors must be empowered.

Over the last decade, during what the ongoing pandemic has revealed to be merely the eye of a fiscal storm, persistent inequality and austerity attracted an unprecedented level of attention to the way states collect revenues to meet their growing needs. A window of time that might have witnessed a restructuring of global tax policy instead culminated in an internecine struggle over how—and whether—the profits of digital giants such as Amazon and Google fit within its rigid numerus clausus algorithm. The arrival of COVID has only exacerbated those unresolved tensions.

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October 21, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yin: Repairing The Tax Privacy Rules

George K. Yin (Virginia), Repairing the Tax Privacy Rules:

This brief essay, adapted from remarks delivered to the Tax Policy and Simplification Committee of the ABA Tax Section on October 2, 2020, describes needed changes in three tax privacy areas: access and disclosure of presidential tax information, civil enforcement of congressional subpoenas, and confidentiality protections for tax return information obtained by subpoena.

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October 21, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pounded In The Butt By My Self-Plagiarized Tingler Negging Legal Scholarship

Brian L. Frye (Kentucky), Pounded in the Butt by My Self-Plagiarized Tingler Negging Legal Scholarship:

This article is a legal scholarship that takes the form of a tingler reflecting on the meaning of legal scholarship.

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October 21, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

ABA Tax Section Hosts Free Webinar Today On The Tax System and Social Policy

The ABA Tax Section hosts a free webinar today on The Tax System and Social Policy at 1:00 ET:

ABA TaxThe tax system has been used with increasing frequency as a social policy tool to administer social programs. From the Earned Income Tax Credit to the recent Economic Impact Payments, the IRS has been asked to do more with an ever decreasing budget. While the tax system may be an attractive vehicle to administer certain payments or benefits, it can also pose challenges. Panelists will examine the history of the tax code as a way to administer social programs. Panelists will then evaluate certain programs and discuss some advantages and disadvantages of administering these programs through the tax code. In particular, panelists will discuss the recent Economic Impact Payments and some of the challenges with administering these payments successfully. Lastly, panelists will propose some changes and alternatives to the way programs are administered to better serve the communities that are most in need of these benefits.

Speakers:

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October 21, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly ranking of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through October 1, 2020) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

    All-Time   Recent
1 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)  193,644 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) 7,672
2 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 121,471 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 4,492
3 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 118,169 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 4,194
4 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 117,337 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 4,050
5 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 117,219 David Kamin (NYU) 3,780
6 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 110,644 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 3,475
7 David Kamin (NYU) 106,364 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 3,252
8 Cliff Fleming (BYU)    105,240 Diane Ring (Boston College) 3,139
9 Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings) 102,274 Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College)  3,046
10 Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 101,172 Hugh Ault (Boston College) 2,782
11 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 100,006 Richard Ainsworth (BU) 2,420
12 Michael Simkovic (USC) 44,741 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 2,246
13 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 42,038 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 2,207
14 Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 37,416 Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indy)    2,152
15 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 33,734 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 1,846
16 Richard Ainsworth (BU) 30,711 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)  1,840
17 Ed Kleinbard (USC) 27,177 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 1,833
18 Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine) 26,388 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 1,553
19 Jim Hines (Michigan) 25,307 Paul Caron (Pepperdine)   1,480
20 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 25,161 Cliff Fleming (BYU) 1,404
21 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 24,987 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 1,359
22 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 24,876 Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings) 1,341
23 Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.) 24,569 Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) 1,310
24 Gladriel Shobe (BYU) 24,217 Michael Simkovic (USC) 1,264
25 Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) 23,838 Yariv Brauner (Florida) 1,197

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October 21, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mark Zuckerberg Has Spent Over $10 Million To Overhaul California's Proposition 13 Tax Law

Vox, Mark Zuckerberg Is Spending Millions Like Never Before to Overhaul a Landmark Law:

[Mark] Zuckerberg has chosen to embark on a decidedly dicey political crusade: an attempt to touch the so-called third rail of California politics — the state’s 40-year-old landmark tax law — in the most expensive electoral play of the billionaire’s career.

Zuckerberg has been waging a costly and risky political battle for more than a year against California’s Proposition 13, the law that critics say has hamstrung the state’s economy by capping its property taxes, and thus underfunding two priorities of Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan: schools and housing. While other tech leaders have conspicuously avoided weighing in until the very last minute, if at all, Zuckerberg stuck his neck out early and has now spent almost $11 million — including $4.5 million more just this month — on the cause, raising the stakes for Election Day.

Zuckerberg is backing what is called the “split roll” reform measure through his and his wife’s philanthropy, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. For the past year, he has been a key player behind the scenes and the only major Silicon Valley leader who has publicly endorsed it. And because he has been so alone in this effort, the vote on Prop 13 reform in some ways serves as a test of his and his ambitious philanthropy’s political muscle. ...

[W]hat Zuckerberg is attacking isn’t just a California tax law. It’s the nucleus of the modern, national anti-tax movement.

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October 21, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (4)

2021 U.S. News Global Universities Rankings

U.S. News & World Report, 2021 Best Global Universities Rankings:

U.S. News Global Universities Rankings 2These institutions from the U.S. and more than 80 other countries have been ranked based on 13 indicators that measure their academic research performance and their global and regional reputations. Students can use these rankings to explore the higher education options that exist beyond their own countries' borders and to compare key aspects of schools' research missions. These are the world's nearly 1,500 top universities.

1.   Harvard (100.0)
2.   MIT (97.9)
3.   Stanford (95.3)
4.   UC-Berkeley (89.8)
5.   Oxford (87.0)
6.   Columbia (86.7)
7.   Cal-Tech (86.3)
8.   U. Washington (86.0)
9.   Cambridge (85.8)
10. Johns Hopkins (85.1)
11.  Princeton (85.0)
11.  Yale (85.0)
13.  UCLA (84.3)
14.  Pennsylvania (84.2)
15.  UC-San Francisco (84.1)
15.  Chicago (84.1)
17.  Michigan (83.5)
17.  Toronto (83.5)
19.  University College London (83.4)
20.  Imperial College London (83.3)
21.  UC-San Diego (83.1)
22.  Cornell (81.9)
23.  Duke (81.6)
24.  Northwestern (80.4)
25.  Melbourne (79.7)

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October 21, 2020 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saez & Zucman: Trends In US Income And Wealth Inequality

Emmanuel Saez (UC-Berkeley) & Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley), Trends in US Income and Wealth Inequality: Revising After the Revisionists:

Recent studies argue that US inequality has increased less than previously thought, in particular due to a more modest rise of wealth and capital income at the top (Smith et al., 2019; Smith, Zidar and Zwick, 2020; Auten and Splinter, 2019). We examine the claims made in these papers point by point, separating genuine improvements from arguments that do not appear to us well grounded empirically or conceptually. Taking stock of this body of work, and factoring in other improvements, we provide a comprehensive update of our estimates of US income and wealth inequality. Although some of the points raised by the revisionists are valuable, the core quantitative findings of this literature do not appear to be supported by the data. The low capital share of private business income estimated in Smith et al. (2019) is not consistent with the large capital stock of these businesses. In Smith, Zidar and Zwick (2020), the interest rate assigned to the wealthy is higher than in the datasets where both income and wealth can be observed, leading to downward biased top wealth shares; capitalizing equities using almost only dividends dramatically underestimates the wealth of billionaires relative to the Forbes 400. In Auten and Splinter (2019), business profits earned by the top 1% but not taxable (due in particular to generous depreciation rules) are classified as tax evasion; tax evasion is then allocated to the bottom 99% based on an erroneous reading of random audit data.

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October 21, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Layser Presents How Place-Based Tax Incentives Can Reduce Economic Inequality Virtually Today At NYU

Michelle Layser (Illinois) presents How Place-Based Tax Incentives Can Reduce Economic Inequality, 74 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2020), virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Michelle-LayserPlace-based tax incentives are frequently used by governments to encourage investment in low-income areas. But no standard exists to describe the ideal place-based tax incentive, making evaluation of these programs nearly impossible. This Article provides the necessary baseline by explaining when, where, and how to design place-based tax incentives that can benefit low-income communities by reducing geographic inequality. Using Geospatial Information System (GIS) mapping methods, this Article demonstrates how lawmakers can use public data to map spatial disadvantage. It then draws on tax theory to show how to design place-based tax incentives to reduce geographic inequality in targeted areas. The result is not a one-size-fits-all prescription, but a place-specific approach that can help place-based tax incentives become an effective vehicle for reducing underlying, geographic causes of neighborhood disadvantage.

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October 20, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thomas Presents Taxing Nudges Virtually Today At UC-Hastings

Kathleen Delaney Thomas (UNC) presents Taxing Nudges 106 Va. L. Rev. ___ (2020), virtually at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

Thomas-Kathleen-VERTICAL-844A8567-e1569848371875Governments are increasingly turning to behavioral economics to inform policy design in areas like health care, the environment, and financial decision-making. Research shows that small behavioral interventions, referred to as “nudges,” often produce significant responses at a low cost. The theory behind nudges is that, rather than mandating certain behaviors or providing costly economic subsidies, modest initiatives may “nudge” individuals to choose desirable outcomes by appealing to their behavioral preferences. For example, automatically enrolling workers into savings plans as a default rather than requiring them to actively sign up has dramatically increased enrollment in such plans. Similarly, allowing individuals to earn “wellness points” from attendance at a gym, redeemable at various retail establishments, may improve exercise habits.

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October 20, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)