Paul L. Caron

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. ...

Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

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 (, 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. ...

Continue reading

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.


Continue reading

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.


Continue reading

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

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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

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 (, 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

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

October 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

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.

Continue reading

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. ...

Continue reading

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

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

Karen Sloan (, 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. ...

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.


Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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)

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Meet The Excel Warriors Saving The World From Spreadsheet Disaster

Wired, Meet the Excel Warriors Saving the World From Spreadsheet Disaster:

ExcelDavid Lyford-Smith is an expert at solving spreadsheet mysteries. Once, in a previous job, he was sent a payroll form to look over for a new starter. It had the number 40,335 in a random box, and payroll wasn’t clear why it was there. “So they assumed it was a joining bonus for the employee and drew up a draft pay slip with a £40,335 bonus,” he says. But, when it comes to spreadsheets, assumptions can be costly.

Lyford-Smith isn’t just a spreadsheet enthusiast. He’s the technical manager for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), running its Excel community group — and as such has always been suspicious of numbers in that range. “That’s how Excel stores dates, as serial numbers,” he says. He was right: that wasn’t a generous signing bonus, but the new hire’s starting date.

Lyford-Smith is part of a community of accountants, auditors and Excel power users who have joined forces in a quiet battle against illogical formulas, copy-and-paste errors, and structural chaos that cause data carnage.

Last week, the government stumbled into its own spreadsheet nightmare when it admitted contact-tracing efforts were stymied by a simple data processing mistake. They’re not the first to fall victim to the curse of Excel – and they won’t be the last either. ...

Research suggests more than 90 per cent of spreadsheets have errors, and half of spreadsheet models used in large businesses have “material defects”. Given some 750 million people use Excel globally, there are plenty of errors needing attention. One prominent researcher calls spreadsheets the dark matter of corporate IT. And that’s why people like Lyford-Smith have become defenders of the spreadsheet, mitigating the risks by fixing everyone else’s mistakes. ...

Continue reading

October 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hamilton And The Law

Hamilton and the Law: Reading Today's Most Contentious Legal Issues through the Hit Musical (Lisa Tucker (Drexel) ed., Cornell University Press 2020):

Hamilton and the LawLawyers and legal scholars, recognizing the way the musical speaks to some of our most complicated constitutional issues, have embraced Alexander Hamilton as the trendiest historical face in American civics. Hamilton and the Law offers a revealing look into the legal community's response to the musical, which continues to resonate in a country still deeply divided about the reach of the law.

A star-powered cast of legal minds―from two former U.S. solicitors general to leading commentators on culture and society―contribute brief and engaging magazine-style articles to this lively book. Intellectual property scholars share their thoughts on Hamilton's inventive use of other sources, while family law scholars explore domestic violence. Critical race experts consider how Hamilton furthers our understanding of law and race, while authorities on the Second Amendment discuss the language of the Constitution's most contested passage. Legal scholars moonlighting as musicians discuss how the musical lifts history and law out of dusty archives and onto the public stage. This collection of minds, inspired by the phenomenon of the musical and the Constitutional Convention of 1787, urges us to heed Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Founding Fathers and to create something new, daring, and different.

Continue reading

October 20, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

For Minority Law Students, Learning The Law Can Be Intellectually Violent

ABA Journal op-ed:  For Minority Law Students, Learning the Law Can Be Intellectually Violent, by Shaun Ossei-Owusu (Penn):

Apologies to minority law students feel necessary. ... 

I’m a Black criminal law professor who studies inequality in the legal profession. Because of my work, I am in contact with law students across the country. Many are trying to make sense of the disconnect between the law on the books and what they see in the criminal justice system.

I feel compelled to apologize, not because of some personal responsibility, but because the learning of law—particularly for racial minorities—can be intellectually violent. It pales in comparison to the structural and physical violence that people experience outside the ivory tower, but it is also unforgiving, can feel unrelenting and often goes unnamed. ...

Continue reading

October 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Economic Impact Of Biden's Tax Policy

Hoover Institution Study:  An Analysis of Vice President Biden’s Economic Agenda: The Long Run Impacts of Its Regulation, Taxes, and Spending, by Timothy Fitzgerald (Texas Tech), Kevin Hassett (Hoover Institution), Cody Kallen (Wisconsin) & Casey Mulligan (Chicago):

HooverStanfordWe estimate possible effects of Joe Biden’s tax and regulatory agenda. We find that transportation and electricity will require more inputs to produce the same outputs due to ambitious plans to further cut the nation’s carbon emissions, resulting in one or two percent less total factor productivity nationally. Second, we find that proposed changes to regulation as well as to the ACA increase labor wedges. Third, Biden’s agenda increases average marginal tax rates on capital income. Assuming that the supply of capital is elastic in the long run to its after-tax return and that the substitution effect of wages on labor supply is nontrivial, we conclude that, in the long run, Biden’s full agenda reduces fulltime equivalent employment per person by about 3 percent, the capital stock per person by about 15 percent, real GDP per capita by more than 8 percent, and real consumption per household by about 7 percent.

Continue reading

October 20, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Dan Markel's Murder Trial: A Video Recap

Trump’s Taxes Were Not A Flaw In The System

Trump Tax Return (2020)

New York Times op-ed:  Trump’s Taxes Were Not a Flaw in the System, by Veronique de Rugy (George Mason):

When Americans recently learned how little President Trump has paid in taxes in the past 15 years and how he benefited from financial maneuvers, it reinforced the widespread belief that the rich don’t pay their fair share. Lost in the outrage is the fact that the tax provisions that allowed Mr. Trump to trim his tax bill were probably not illegal or the results of tax schemes concocted by anti-tax legislators.

Those provisions, and many others like them, delivered exactly what their drafters intended: They are engineered to benefit certain kinds of taxpayers — and most Americans are not among them. ...

[I]f your vision is for a more equitable system that can actually be enforced by the I.R.S., what we really need is a simpler and fairer tax code. Some of the current rules are good, but many are political giveaways to special interests. Telling those rules apart is actually harder than it seems, but there are some obvious places to start.

Continue reading

October 20, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Wilking Presents Employees v. Independent Contractors: Evidence From U.S. Tax Returns Virtually At Michigan

Eleanor Wilking (Cornell) presented Independent Contractors in Law and in Fact: Evidence from U.S. Tax Returns virtually at Michigan yesterday as part of its Law and Economics Workshop Series hosted by J.J. Prescott & Veronica Santarosa:

WilkingFederal tax law divides workers into two categories depending on the degree of control exercised over them by the service purchaser (i.e. the firm): employees, who are subject to direct supervision; and independent contractors, who operate autonomously. Worker classification is consequential, determining how the income tax is administered and what it subsidizes, as well as which non-tax regulations pertain, such as workplace safety and anti-discrimination protections. The Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies have codified common law agency doctrine into multi-factor balancing tests that are challenging to apply and costly to enforce. Yet almost nothing is known about how firms actually classify workers, and how such classification relates to the control they exercise. To bridge this gap between legal principles and legal practice, this Article introduces a novel empirical analysis using a comprehensive data source—all digitized U.S. income tax filings. This analysis establishes several new empirical facts.

Continue reading

October 19, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dharmapala Presents Do Multinational Firms Use Tax Havens To The Detriment Of Other Countries? Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Dhammika Dharmapala (Chicago) presents Do Multinational Firms Use Tax Havens to the Detriment of Other Countries? virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Dharmapala_dhammika1The use of tax havens by multinational corporations (MNCs) has attracted increasing attention and scrutiny in recent years. This paper provides an exposition of the academic literature on this topic. It begins with an overview of the basic facts regarding MNCs’ use of havens, which are consistent with the location of holding companies, intellectual property, and financial activities in havens. However, there is also evidence of significant frictions that limit MNCs’ use of havens. These limits can be attributed to non-tax frictions (such as the legal and business environment in different jurisdictions), to tax law provisions limiting profit shifting, and to the costs of tax planning. There is evidence consistent with the relevance of each of these channels. The paper also argues that non-haven countries have available a range of powerful tax law instruments to neutralize the impact of MNCs’ use of havens. To the extent that it is not due to political dysfunction, their failure to deploy these instruments more extensively can be viewed as a deliberate policy choice, attributable either to collective action problems among non-havens or to the possibility that in certain circumstances MNCs’ use of havens increases the welfare of non-haven countries. In either case, MNCs’ use of havens is facilitated in crucial respects by the laws of non-haven countries.

Continue reading

October 19, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Reckoning Over Law Faculty Inequality

Melanie D. Wilson (Former Dean, Tennessee), A Reckoning Over Law Faculty Inequality, 90 Denver U. L. Rev. Online (2020):

UnequalIn this review, I examine Dr. Meera E. Deo’s book, Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia, published last year by Stanford University Press. In Unequal Profession, Deo, an expert on institutional diversity, presents findings from a first-of-its-kind empirical study, documenting many of the challenges women of color law faculty confront daily in legal academia. Deo uses memorable quotes and powerful stories from the study’s faculty participants to present her important work in 169 readable and revealing pages. Unequal Profession begins by outlining the barriers women of color face when entering law teaching and progresses through the life cycle of the law professor (including the treacherous tenure process). It covers leadership, before concluding with work-life balance.

Unequal Profession is especially timely and important. In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the national outrage it ignited, law schools denounced racism and vowed to take concrete, anti-racist steps to improve society, the legal profession, and law schools themselves. Many law faculties committed to hiring and retaining more underrepresented faculty colleagues and, correspondingly, to attracting a more diverse student body.

Continue reading

October 19, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chronicle Of Higher Education Debate: Is Academe Awash In Liberal Bias?

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed (Sept. 14, 2020):  Is Academe Awash in Liberal Bias?, by Naomi Oreskes (Harvard) & Charlie Tyson (Harvard):

Is academe dominated by liberals? Most people think so. And why wouldn’t they? It’s what we hear all the time on social media, in newspaper and magazine articles, and even in academe itself. Conservatives routinely call out higher education’s “liberal bias,” and sometimes insist that something should be done to ensure that conservative voices are heard within the ivory tower. ...

The most comprehensive study to date of American faculty politics found a much more centrist professoriate than is alleged in conservative discourse. In that 2006 study, the sociologists Neil Gross and Solon Simmons found that some 44 percent of professors described themselves as “extremely liberal” (9 percent) or “liberal” (35 percent); 46 percent described themselves in centrist terms (18 percent as “slightly liberal,” 17 percent as “middle of the road,” and 11 percent as “slightly conservative”); 8 percent described themselves as “conservative” and 1 percent as “extremely conservative.” In other words, liberals outnumber conservatives, but the largest cohort of faculty — 46 percent — are moderates, spanning the terrain between center-left and center-right.

As academics, it behooves us to be receptive to ideas, open to evidence, and willing to listen. But we should not succumb to stereotype threat and rush to “remedy” a problem of liberal bias that exists primarily in the anxieties of some conservative commentators. And it certainly does not behoove us, as William F. Buckley famously exhorted, to stand astride history — or, for that matter, science — yelling, “Stop!”

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed (Sept. 24, 2020):  Tenured Radicals Are Real,, by Phillip W. Magness (American Institute for Economic Research):

In their recent essay “Is Academe Awash in Liberal Bias?,” Naomi Oreskes and Charlie Tyson seek to dispute the increasingly common perception of the American university system as a hostile environment for viewpoints that stray from a left-leaning orthodoxy. Though their analysis acknowledges that the professoriate falls somewhat to the left of the general public, they nonetheless argue that academe is still firmly anchored at the middle of the political spectrum. Conservative talking points about “liberal bias” in the university system, it follows, are overblown and reveal their own unacknowledged biases under the guise of a corrective. 

This political culture-wars debate is unlikely to be resolved by editorial analysis, yet one dimension of Oreskes and Tyson’s argument warrants scrutiny: its empirical claims. ... Liberal and far-left faculty numbers swelled from 44.8 percent in 1998 to a clear majority of 59.8 percent in 2016-17, 


Digging deeper into the surveys, we find that one of the primary drivers of the leftward shift is the rapid growth of faculty members who identify on the far left.

Continue reading

October 19, 2020 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Freshmen Enrollment Is Down 16% This Fall

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, Fall 2020 Enrollment (Oct. 15, 2020):

Roughly one month into the fall semester, undergraduate enrollment is running 4.0 percent below last year’s level, and the upward trend for graduate enrollment has slipped to 2.7 percent. Overall postsecondary enrollment is down 3.0 percent as of September 24. Most strikingly, first-time students are by far the biggest decline of any student group from last year (-16.1% nationwide and -22.7% at community colleges).


Continue reading

October 19, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Lesson From The Tax Court: §6662 Penalties Treated As One For Supervisory Approval Requirement

Tax Court (2020)Last week, the Tax Court issued an important opinion on the §6751(b)(1) supervisory review requirements.  In Jesus R. Oropeza v. Commissioner, 155 T.C. No. 9 (Oct. 13, 2020) (Judge Lauber), held that the 20% penalty under §6662(b)(6) is the same as the 40% penalty under §6662(i) and therefore the failure to secure proper approval for assertion of the former in an RAR precludes assertion of the latter in a later NOD.  The latter subsection simply “enhances” the amount of §6662(b)(6) penalty and does not impose a separate penalty.

The path of the law is not linear. Doctrinal development sometimes involves two steps forward, one step backwards, and maybe even a step or two sideways.  In Oropeza the Tax Court took what some may view as a step sideways, and what the government will likely view as a step backwards.  The decision seems in tension with prior Tax Court opinions that treat §6662 as containing multiple penalties for supervisory approval purposes, including an opinion by the same judge about the same taxpayer!  The upshot of today’s opinion is that practitioners need to read NODs very carefully. Details below the fold.

Continue reading

October 19, 2020 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Denies Pre-Trial Release Of Dan Markel Murder Suspect Katherine Magbanua

WTXL Tallahassee, Judge Denies Katherine Magbanua's Pre-trial Release Motion:

MagnaubaA Leon County judge has denied Katherine Magbanua's second motion for pretrial release.

Magbanua is one of three suspects facing charges for the murder of Florida State law professor, Dan Markel.

Judge Robert Wheeler submitted a three-page order Friday, saying "the proof is evident or the presumption is great as to the defendant's guilt for first-degree murder." Magbanua's lawyers filed the motion, reasoning that since her last case was declared mistrial, and the coronavirus pandemic risks her health, is grounds for a pretrial release.

Continue reading

October 19, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Black Lawyers Matter

Houston Chronicle op-ed:  Black Attorneys Matter. We Must Diversify Texas Law Firms., by Leonard M. Baynes (Dean, Houston) & Jennifer Collins (Dean, SMU):

Black Lawyers Matter ConferencePrior to 1950, if a Black Texas resident wanted to become a lawyer, they had to leave the state and study at a Northern law school or serve as an apprentice under a willing white Texas lawyer in order to become licensed. They had to do this because, at that time, none of the Texas law schools admitted Black students no matter their qualifications.

This year, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court opinion Sweatt v. Painter, the case that led to the desegregation of Texas law schools. We feel the best way to honor Heman Marion Sweatt is to continue to expand the number of students of color who are ready to be trained and join the ranks of practicing attorneys in Texas — a state that sorely needs to bolster that racial diversity. Co-hosting the Black Lawyers Matter Conference on Oct. 30, a Zoom-style webinar, will allow us to take stock of this challenge and share best practices to solve them. ...

Continue reading

October 18, 2020 in Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Intersection Of Race And Taxes

The Philadelphia Bar Association Tax Section hosted a webcast on Friday on The Intersection of Race and Taxes:

Philadelphia Bar AssociationAmid a renewed focus on racial justice in our society, this CLE program will address the scholarship and client-facing work on issues related to our tax system and its impact on racial inequality. The panelists share their insights and perspectives on how different aspects of international, federal, state and local tax structures effect racial inequities. Join your colleagues in the Tax Section for this fascinating examination of the intersection of racial diversity and federal, state and local tax policy.

  • Alice Abreu ( Temple)
  • Steven Dean (NYU)

Continue reading

October 18, 2020 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)