Paul L. Caron
Dean




Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Auerbach Presents Tax Policy Design With Low Interest Rates Today At NYU

Alan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley; Google Scholar) presents Tax Policy Design with Low Interest Rates at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium hosted by Daniel Shaviro:

Alan-auerbachInterest rates on government debt have fallen in many countries over the last several decades, with markets indicating that rates may stay low well into the future. It is by now well understood that sustained low interest rates can change the nature of long-run fiscal policy choices. In this paper, we examine a related issue: the implications of sustained low interest rates for the structure of tax policy. We show that low interest rates (a) reduce the differences between consumption and income taxes; (b) make wealth taxes less efficient relative to capital income taxes, at given rates of tax; (c) reduce the value of firm-level investment incentives, and (d) substantially raise the valuation of benefits of carbon abatement policies relative to their costs.

Conclusion
It is by now generally recognized that the presence of low interest rates – sustained over time and across countries – has important implications for the fiscal stance of the federal government. In this paper, we argue that if low interest rates are expected to persist, there are important implications for the design of tax policy as well.

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November 30, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Dean & Brakman Reiser Present For-Profit Philanthropy Today At Georgetown

Steven Dean (Brooklyn) & Dana Brakman Reiser (Brooklyn; Google Scholar) present For-Profit Philanthropy: Constraining Elite Power in Limited Liability Companies, Donor-Advised Funds and Strategic Corporate Giving (Oxford University Press 2022) at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop hosted by Brian Galle:

Dean-brakmanreiserConclusion
In response to revelations that more than 100 extremely wealthy taxpayers paid no income tax at all (without breaking a single rule) the Tax Reform Act of 1969 created the alternative minimum tax. More than half a century later, the country seems genuinely surprised to find that while they may have traded yachts for spacecraft, the wealthiest Americans still often pay not even one dollar of tax. As was true decades ago, they need not break—or even bend—any laws to do so.

Perhaps doubting its wherewithal to directly turn private wealth into public resources through taxation, the 1969 tax reform also attempted to tame elite power with a strategic Grand Bargain. And for a time, it seemed to have succeeded. Its private foundation regime demanded accountability and a golden age of philanthropy unfolded. Extraordinary public benefits flowed from a partnership between the wealthiest Americans and the most vulnerable.

While other legislative bulwarks of the 1960s have been sunk by devastating broadsides, the Grand Bargain’s slow death has been one of a thousand small cuts. The Supreme Court eviscerated the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s protections against discrimination, dismissing its worries about the disenfranchisement of voters as “based on 40-year-old facts having no logical relationship to the present day.” The unsettling consequences of the Supreme Court’s failure to anticipate a new wave of voting limits have come to dominate our nation’s political discourse.

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November 30, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Steven Dean Named Co-Director Of Block Center For International Studies At Brooklyn Law School

Professor Steven Dean Named Co-Director of Block Center for International Studies:

Dean_steven_blockcenter 500x310Professor Steven Dean, an expert in international tax policy, has been named co-director of the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law, joining co-directors Professors Julian Arato and Robin Effron to lead one of the most active international law institutions in New York. Professor Roberta Karmel, who founded the center with Professor of Law Emeritus Arthur Pinto in 1987, has stepped down from a leadership role.

Dean has previously served as Vice Dean at Brooklyn Law School and, while a Visiting Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, as Faculty Director of its Graduate Tax Program. He is also host of the Tax Maven Podcast.

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November 30, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Former Temple Dean Convicted In U.S. News Rankings Scandal Fraud; AUSA Hopes Case Send A Message To Administrators At Other Schools

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Philadelphia Inquirer, Former Temple Business School Dean Guilty in Rankings Scandal Fraud Case:

Temple University (2018)The rankings scandal cost Porat his job as dean and the university hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal settlements.

The former dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business was convicted Monday of orchestrating a complex fraud scheme to propel his college to the top of national rankings and defraud its students and donors based on that unearned reputation.

Moshe Porat — who led the school for more than two decades until he was fired for the misrepresentations in 2018 — shook his head quietly as the jury announced it had found him guilty of federal conspiracy and wire fraud charges now likely to send him to prison.

It took the panel of eight women and four men less than an hour to conclude that he, along with two of his subordinates, had for years knowingly embellished the data they were sending on Fox’s students to the magazine U.S. News & World Report, allowing its online MBA program to achieve its No. 1 ranking for four straight years.

The distinction helped Fox more than double its enrollment for the program between 2014 and 2017, raking in millions in tuition payments from students and donor dollars.

“The hope is that this case sends a message to other college and university administrators that there are real consequences to making representations that students and applicants rely on,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark B. Dubnoff said. “So many people turn to these rankings … to help them make informed decisions of where to go to college, graduate school, and it’s important that people are honest and fully truthful with the representations they make.”

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November 30, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Law School Applicants Are Down, Breaking Five-Year Streak

Following up on yesterday's post, One-Third Of The Way Through The Fall 2022 Law School Admissions Cycle: Applicants Are Down 4.4% And In All LSAT Bands (Especially 170-180 (-13.6%)), Except 150-159 (+0.3%):

Reuters, Law School Applicants Are Down, Breaking Five-Year Streak:

Is legal education’s pandemic boom beginning to fade?

The number of applicants to law schools nationwide has declined year-over-year for the first time since 2018, according to data from the Law School Admission Council, a nonprofit that administers the Law School Admission Test. As of Nov. 28, 22,662 people had applied to start law school in fall 2022, nearly 5% fewer than this time last year, the council reported.

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November 30, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

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 November 1, 2021) 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)  203,642 1 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) 8,180
2 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 123,837 2 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 4,706
3 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 123,137 3 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 4,658
4 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 122,232 4 David Kamin (NYU) 4,211
5 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 120,170 5 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 4,184
6 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 113,104 6 Kim Clausing (UCLA)     3,944
7 David Kamin (NYU) 110,865 7 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 3,346
8 Cliff Fleming (BYU)    106,579 8 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 3,129
9 Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) 103,426 9 Richard Ainsworth (Boston Univ.) 2,682
10 Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 102,517 10 David Gamage (Indiana-Bloom.) 2,632
11 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 101,869 11 Zachary Liscow (Yale) 2,524
12 Michael Simkovic (USC) 46,038 12 Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indy)   2,390
13 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 45,841 13 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)  2,288
14 Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 38,834 14 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 2,264
15 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 35,870 15 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 2,179
16 Richard Ainsworth (Boston Univ.) 33,587 16 Yariv Brauner (Florida) 2,152
17 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 29,420 17 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 2,005
18 Ed Kleinbard (USC) 28,191 18 Hugh Ault (Boston College) 1,848
19 Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine) 27,859 19 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 1,772
20 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 27,335 20 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 1,759
21 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 27,066 21 Gregg Polsky (Georgia) 1,522
22 Jim Hines (Michigan) 26,180 22 Francine Lipman (UNLV) 1,481
23 Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.) 25,257 22 Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College)  1,457
24 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 24,954 24 Michael Simkovic (USC) 1,416
25 Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) 24,841 25 Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine) 1,398

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November 30, 2021 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

ABA Finds Cleveland-Marshall Law School In Compliance With Accreditation Standards

Following up on my previous post, ABA Finds Cleveland-Marshall Law School Out Of Compliance With Financial Resources Accreditation Standard:  Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Notice of Law School Demonstrating Compliance With Standards 202(a), (c), and (d): Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Nov. 2021):

ABA Legal Ed (2021)Following consideration of the record in the matter and the Law School’s response to the Council’s August 2021 Decision Letter, the Council concluded that the information provided by the Law School is sufficient to demonstrate compliance with Standards 202(a), (c), and (d). Accordingly, the Rule 13(a)(2) hearing is cancelled in accordance with Rule 20(d). Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law remains an approved law school.

ABA Journal, Ohio Law School Back in Compliance With Program Standard, ABA Legal Ed Section's Council Finds:

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November 30, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Avi-Yonah: A Different Way to Tax Stock Buybacks

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan), A Different Way to Tax Stock Buybacks, 173 Tax Notes Fed. 1107 (Nov. 22, 2021):

Tax Notes Federal (2020)In this article, Avi-Yonah reviews the Build Back Better Act, which would impose a 1 percent excise tax on corporate stock buybacks. He argues that while the measure is an effective way to raise revenue from high-income taxpayers, it will not address the main tax problem with buybacks: the tax exemption for foreign shareholders, which Congress should reconsider.

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November 30, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, November 29, 2021

Salib: The Pigouvian Constitution

Peter N. Salib (Houston; Google Scholar), The Pigouvian Constitution, 88 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1081 (2021): 

How can lawmakers reduce the skyrocketing rate of gun deaths in the United States? How can they stymie the spread of viral fake news stories designed to undermine our elections? Certain constitutionally protected activities—like owning a gun or speaking online—can generate social harms. Yet when lawmakers enact regulations to reduce those harms, they are regularly struck down as unconstitutional. Indeed, the very laws designed to most aggressively reduce social harms—like total criminal bans—are the least likely to be upheld. As a result, regulators appear stuck with an unpleasant choice—regulate constitutionally or effectively, but not both.

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November 29, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Mitchell: State Income Tax Rankings

Dan Mitchell, Ranking State Income Taxes:

Motivated in part by an excellent graphic that I shared in 2016, I put together a five-column ranking of state personal income tax systems in 2018.

Given some changes that have since occurred, it’s time for a new version. The first two columns are self explanatory and columns 3 and 5 are based on whether the top tax rate on households is less than 5 percent (“Low Rate”) or more than 8 percent (“Class Warfare”).

Mitchell

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November 29, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Jason Oh Named Lowell Milken Chair In Law At UCLA

Oh Receives Faculty Chair Appointment:

Oh (2021)UCLA School of Law Professor Jason Oh has received a faculty chair appointment in recognition of his substantial contributions to the study of tax law. ...

Faculty chairs acknowledge the distinction of the law school’s outstanding professors and are made possible by the incredible generosity of UCLA Law’s alumni and friends. UCLA Law has 69 full-time faculty members and 35 endowed chairs. ...

Oh has been appointed to the Lowell Milken Chair in Law. A member of the UCLA Law faculty since 2012 and the faculty co-director of UCLA Law’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy, he is an authority in tax policy and public finance. His record of scholarship and policymaking features multiple publications, appearances in the media, and testimonies before Congress. Oh also serves on the board of directors of the National Tax Association. The Lowell Milken Chair in Law was endowed in 2020 with a $1 million gift to support the career development of an emerging leader in the tax or business law areas. ...

Before joining UCLA Law, Oh was a tax attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and an acting assistant professor of tax law at NYU School of Law. He earned his B.A. from Harvard University and J.D. from Harvard Law School.

November 29, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

ETS Establishes Legal Education Advisory Council To Expand And Create New Pathways In Legal Education

ETS Establishes Legal Education Advisory Council to Expand and Create New Pathways in Legal Education:

GREAs ETS continues to pursue its vision of expanding and creating new pathways to and through legal education that prioritize fairness and equity, the organization has announced today the establishment of the Legal Education Advisory Council (LEAC) to help deliver on this vision.

As the pathway from considering law school attendance to obtaining legal employment continues to encounter demands for innovation, legal education — and thus ETS — bears a heavy responsibility to reevaluate how law school aspirants, students and graduates are recruited, prepared, assessed and licensed. The GRE test has brought an innovative approach to law school admissions that has enriched law school communities and has the potential to improve diversity access for years to come. The members of LEAC will play a critical role in helping shape the future of legal education.

“Meaningful innovation in legal education requires the active engagement of all relevant stakeholders, including those centrally involved in the recruitment and admissions pipeline, student services and career strategy professionals, faculty and senior administrators, and employers,” said Alberto Acereda, Associate Vice President of Global Higher Education at ETS. “I am thrilled to have these 10 esteemed members of the legal community join us as we form this new council to further innovation and access in the law school space.”

The Council is being established with 10 initial members but will continue to expand. Those who have joined LEAC include:

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November 29, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

One-Third Of The Way Through The Fall 2022 Law School Admissions Cycle: Applicants Are Down 4.4% And In All LSAT Bands (Especially 170-180 (-13.6%)), Except 150-159 (+0.3%)

We are now 33% of the way through Fall 2022 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is down 4.4% compared to last year at this time.

LSAC 1

122 of the 199 law schools are experiencing an increase in applications. Applications are up 50% or more at 7 law schools, and 30% or more at 25 law schools:

LSAC 2

Applicants are up in only one region: South Central; and are down the most in Midwest (-13.4%), Northeast (-10.7%), and Far West (-9.6%) :

LSAC 3

Applicants' LSAT scores are down -13.6% in the 170-180 band, -5.9% in the 160-169 band, and -10.8% in the 120-149 band; and up +0.3% in the 150-159 band:

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November 29, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: Who Is An IRS Employee's Immediate Supervisor For §6751 Penalty Approval?

Camp (2021)Today’s lesson involves yet more litigation over IRS compliance with the penalty approval process required by the formerly toothless §6751(b)(1).  In Sand Investment Co., LLC, et al. v. Commissioner, 157 T.C. No. 11 (Nov. 23, 2021) (Judge Lauber), the Tax Court continues teaching us the scope and operation §6751(b), a series of lessons it started back in 2017 when its decision in Graev v. Commissioner, 149 T.C. 485 (2017), gave the statute sharp teeth.  Among other requirements, the statute says approval must come from an IRS employee's “immediate supervisor.”  In today’s case, the IRS employee who proposed a bunch of penalties had two supervisors but only one definitely signed timely.  Judge Lauber finds that function trumps form in identifying which of the two supervisors was the right one to approve the proposed penalties.  This is a short lesson, and also one that will may be rendered moot.  Legislation passed by the House and now before the Senate de-fangs §6751(b).  Details below the fold.

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November 29, 2021 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Koppelman On The Yale And UIC Law School Controversies

Following up on my previous posts:

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Review: 'Many Administrators Are Cowards':

Faculty susceptibility to administrative sanction is at the center of the highly politicized culture wars playing out across universities in the last five years or so. Law schools are no exception. In the last year, Northwestern Law’s Andrew Koppelman has emerged as a sort of monitor of what he sees as flagrant instances of administrative overreach. “Many administrators,” he told me, “are cowards who are pre-disposed to grovel before student demands. The way to make cowards behave appropriately is to give them fears in the other direction.” I spoke with Koppelman about recent events at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Law and at Yale Law School. Here’s some of that conversation.

You’ve written two pieces for the Review in relatively short order, the first about the Trent Colbert affair at Yale Law, and the second about Jason Kilborn at UIC. Both cases involve members of the law school, students or faculty, getting in trouble for putatively racist speech — speech which elicited great distress among other students. I’m reminded of a somewhat different but not unrelated dilemma, what Jeannie Suk Gersen at The New Yorker has described as new challenges around teaching rape law because of student sensitivity. What’s happening?

There are two different sets of sensitivities. There are the sensitivities of students, and there are the sensitivities of administrators. It’s important to keep them apart. There are always going to be some students who take offense at things. A teacher always needs to keep that in mind. Part of a teacher’s job is not to lose the room. So teaching is an exercise in rhetoric; rhetoric has a moral dimension. It forces you to learn about your audience, to get outside your own head and into the heads of other people. This is the morally attractive aspect of rhetoric. ...

What I thought happened at Yale was that the administrators were so rigidly attached to a particular narrative that they misunderstood the situation and they made horrible mistakes. The impression I get is of quite possibly well-intentioned people who made really bad judgments.

What you are are seeing at UIC is much worse. It’s positively malevolent — there’s just no excuse for it. ...

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November 29, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 28, 2021

WSJ: Fans Pour Funding—And Faith—Into 'The Chosen': A Hit Drama About Jesus

In July, I blogged The Chosen: Christian America’s Must-See TV Show and shared that I love the show so much that my wife and I were going to host weekly watch parties of Season 1 with lunch on Fridays in the fall semester at Pepperdine Caruso Law School. I am thrilled to report that it was such a success that we will be showing Season 2 in the spring semester. The weekend Wall Street Journal has a fascinating report on the show: Fans Pour Funding—and Faith—Into a Hit Drama About Jesus:

The Chosen 2Crowdfunding has raised millions for ‘The Chosen,’ an ambitious series exploring characters from the New Testament. Fans have already chipped in enough for three seasons—and are driving ticket sales for a Christmas special coming to movie theaters.

Dallas Jenkins, the filmmaker who created “The Chosen,” says the show’s style is modeled more on “Friday Night Lights” than other Christian TV shows and movies. Mary Magdalene relapses into vice. The apostle Matthew is on the autism spectrum. Jesus’ miracles get back stories.

By fleshing out biblical characters across multiple seasons, the show has inspired fan discussion, debate and squabbling on a level more typical of the Marvel or Star Wars series. Except that for “Chosen” fans, the dynamic is fueled by religious faith. ...

The success of the series is a powerful reminder to Hollywood that faith-focused projects can sometimes become breakthrough hits. But what makes “The Chosen” even more of an outlier is the way it is supercharging the crowdfunding model to sustain production through multiple seasons. Though “The Chosen” is free to watch, viewers have poured $40 million and counting into its production budget, enough to pay for three out of a planned seven seasons. The costs of building the new production facilities, on a 1,200-acre camp owned by the Salvation Army, are being covered by a smaller group of the show’s fans.

Producers say viewership was sluggish when the first season premiered for a fee in 2019. But the audience spiked when they made the series free on a “Chosen” app, now the show’s main distribution hub, and viewers continued to multiply during the pandemic’s lockdown months. The show has been translated into 50 languages, and is licensed to video services from Amazon to Peacock. Producers estimate that its 16 episodes have been viewed 312 million times. Now the “Chosen” audience is set to converge in person in movie theaters.

Starting Dec. 1, about 1,700 theaters will feature screenings of a “Chosen” Christmas special, including musical performances and a new episode in which Mother Mary (a series character played by Vanessa Benavente) flashes back to her son’s birth. Distributor Fathom Events, known for one- or two- day releases of classic movies, live opera and other specialty fare, expanded the “Chosen” event to 10 days. Ticket sales are approaching $6 million so far, putting “Christmas with ‘The Chosen’” on track to be Fathom’s bestseller ever, according to chief executive Ray Nutt.

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November 28, 2021 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Dave Chappelle, Reinhold Niebuhr, And The Gospel

Following up on my previous post, Norm Macdonald’s Comedy Was Quite Christian:  Russell Moore (Christianity Today), What Stand-Up Comedians Can Teach the Church:

The CloserGood comedy is strange and surprising. So is the gospel.

Apparently, comedian Dave Chappelle isn’t welcome at his own high school. According to news reports, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts delayed a ceremony to celebrate the renaming of its theater after the famous alum because students threatened to walk out.

Netflix fielded similar threats from its employees after Chappelle’s controversial standup comedy special aired on the streaming service. Many felt it was insulting toward transgender people and others. Chappelle’s special has since prompted a thousand debates about political correctness, cancel culture, and the nature of respect and civility in the public square.

While those debates are important, let’s set them aside for a moment and reflect instead on the question of who was laughing—and why.

As the Chappelle controversy has unfolded, I have found myself in conversations with two specific people on opposite sides of the “love him or hate him” spectrum. Both of these individuals were surprised by their mixed feelings—not about the social commentary or the rhetoric of the comedian but by their own reactions and responses.

One of them is a staunch conservative who’s been concerned about our country entering a “What are your pronouns?” era. He agreed with Chappelle’s arguments on that point but said he never laughed at them. In fact, he cringed several times at the crude language in the routine. “I was with him on the issue,” he said. “It just wasn’t my kind of humor.”

The other person is a committed progressive outraged by what he sees as Chappelle taking cheap shots at a vulnerable population—and yet he had the reverse response. “I hated what he was saying, at least at those parts,” he said, before looking down and wincing. “But I have to admit, he was funny.”

So while the conservative felt obligated to laugh, he felt left out because he didn’t. And although the progressive despised what was said, he felt guilty because he did laugh.

In September, David Sims of The Atlantic profiled another controversial and politically charged comedian, Norm Macdonald, after Macdonald’s death from cancer. As with Chappelle, part of Macdonald’s legacy was that he could prompt people to “laugh and gasp in shock in equal measure.” The key to all of this, Sims argued, was not Macdonald’s place on the political spectrum, which was to the right of most of his cohort. It wasn’t even his comedic material itself, which was often rather coarse. Instead, it was Macdonald’s view of what comedy is meant to do—or, more specifically, of how laughter works.

According to Sims, Macdonald argued that standups should “hunt for laughter, not applause.” The comedian went on to explain, “There’s a difference between a clap and a laugh. A laugh is involuntary, but the crowd is in complete control when they’re clapping. They’re saying, ‘We agree with what you’re saying; proceed!’ … But when they’re laughing, they’re genuinely surprised. And when they’re not laughing, they’re really surprised. And sometimes I think, in my little head, that that’s the best comedy of all.”

This seems to have little to do with the witness of the church. After all, we’re not trying to make people laugh. But that element of surprise—an involuntary reaction that goes beyond our sets of ideologies and expectations—is actually a key part of what we are called to do, and the lack of it partially explains why we so often fail.

In the mid-20th century, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote an essay on the relationship between humor and faith that was utterly humorless but nonetheless insightful. In it, Niebuhr argued that at the core of human existence is a paradox. We see ourselves as insignificant in the broad sweep of space and time, per Psalm 8: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (v. 4). But our very ability to ponder that insignificance seems to place us at the center of the universe: “You have made them a little lower than the angels” (v. 5). ...

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November 28, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

Morse Tan Named Dean Of Liberty University School of Law

Former State Department Ambassador Morse Tan Selected to Head Liberty University School of Law:

Tan (2021)Liberty University has announced that Morse Hyun-Myung Tan has been named the new dean of Liberty University School of Law. Tan will assume his duties on Jan. 1, 2022.

Most recently, Tan served as Ambassador at Large for the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, where he oversaw the indictment, sanctioning, capture, and/or conviction of war criminals in Sri Lanka, Rwanda, the Balkans, and Lebanon. In his professional law career, Tan has served briefly as an attorney and counselor at law for major law firms. He has worked primarily in legal academia and has published numerous law review articles and delivered presentations on bioethics and international human rights, most notably as an expert on North Korea. Tan has served as a law professor or visiting scholar at University of Texas at Austin School of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, Northern Illinois University College of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and Handong International Law School in Pohang, Korea, where he took part in founding the first American J.D. program in Asia. Ambassador Tan authored “North Korea, International Law and the Dual Crises” (Routledge). He has taught courses on North Korean policy, international criminal law, international human rights, bioethics, and constitutional law.

“At Liberty, we look for leaders who not only bring a wealth of experience in their field but are bold about their faith and fully support our Christian mission,” said President Jerry Prevo. “We are excited to welcome Ambassador Tan, who will help train future law professionals with the biblical principles that are so desperately needed in our nation today.”

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November 28, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [296 Downloads]  The Tax Gap's Many Shades of Gray, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar), Janet Holtzblatt (Tax Policy Center) & Steve Rosenthal (Tax Policy Center)
  2. [210 Downloads]  The 2021 Compromise, by Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar) (reviewed by Charlotte Crane (Northwestern; Google Scholar) here)
  3. [194 Downloads]  Implementing an International Effective Minimum Tax in the EU, by Joachim Englisch (Münster) & Johannes Becker (Münster; Google Scholar)
  4. [188 Downloads]  Colorblind Tax Enforcement, by Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington; Google Scholar)
  5. [169 Downloads]  Slicing the Shadow: A Proposal for Updating U.S. International Taxation, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar)

November 28, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, November 27, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Columbia Settles COVID-19 Class Action Tuition Refund Suit For $12.5 Million

Law360, Columbia U. Settles COVID-19 Tuition Refund Suit For $12.5M:

Columbia University Logo (2021)Columbia University has agreed to pay $12.5 million to resolve a lawsuit seeking tuition and fee reimbursements in the wake of coronavirus-spurred campus closures, according to a settlement proposal filed in New York federal court.

Students brought a putative class action last year, alleging the Ivy League school deprived them of in-person instruction, access to campus facilities, student activities and other benefits for which they had paid tuition and fees. Certain refunds the school had already provided were insufficient, according to the complaint filed Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman trimmed the students' tuition claims, but said they were able to reclaim all the fees paid.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, the university will return more than $8.5 million in fees and pay an additional $4 million so the plaintiffs don't seek to revive the tuition claims, according to a lawyer for the students, Roy T. Willey IV.

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November 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Cravath Kicks Off Associate Bonus Season With Payouts Up To $115,000

Cravath (2021)Cravath once again has kicked off associate bonus season:

  • 1st Year Associate (Class of 2021):  $15,000 (prorated)
  • 2nd Year Associate (Class of 2020):  $20,000
  • 3rd Year Associate (Class of 2019:  $30,000
  • 4th Year Associate (Class of 2018):  $57,500
  • 5th Year Associate (Class of 2017):  $75,000
  • 6th Year Associate (Class of 2016):  $90,000
  • 7th Year Associate (Class of 2015):  $105,000
  • 8th Year Associate (Class of 2014): $115,000

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November 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Break Into Tax: Capital Gains & Losses — An Introduction

Learn or review the building blocks of capital gains & losses. This video covers the 3 elements needed for a gain or loss to be "capital" rather than "ordinary," including what constitutes a "capital asset." It also discusses holding period. Professor Lederman & Professor Emily Cauble co-host. Planned future videos will cover the capital gains preference and the limitation on capital losses.

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November 27, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Friday, November 26, 2021

Next Week’s Tax Workshops

Next Week's Tax WorkshopsTuesday, November 30: Steven Dean (Brooklyn) & Dana Brakman Reiser (Brooklyn; Google Scholar) will present For-Profit Philanthropy as part of the Georgetown Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop. If you would like to attend, please contact Brian Galle.

Tuesday, November 30: Alan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley; Google Scholar) will present Tax Policy Design With Low Interest Rates as part of the NYU Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Daniel Shaviro

Wednesday, December 1: Victor Fleischer (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) will present Tax Policy - Legislative Updates on behalf of the UC-Irvine Graduate Tax Program. If you would like to attend, please contact taxpolicy@law.uci.edu

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November 26, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

NY Times Op-Ed: Thanksgiving, Gratitude, And The Shocking Privilege Of Life

New York Times op-ed:  Five Ways to Exercise Your Thankfulness Muscles, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life (Christianity Today's 2018 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3I’m from a family that doesn’t talk much about feelings. We keep it mostly to jokes, sarcasm and sports. When I was growing up, perhaps the biggest perceived sin was being overly earnest and sincere. So all of us kids were shocked when one Thanksgiving, out of nowhere, my parents announced that we’d begin a new ritual. The 20 to 30 of us gathered for the Thanksgiving meal each had to share something we were grateful for.

Over the years, this practice took on the repetitive qualities all liturgies have. Some people expressed gratitude for their health or friends and family. Every year, my great-uncle gave thanks for being a Democrat, and our friend Art strategically positioned himself directly after him in the circle so he could say that he was grateful “for canceling out his vote,” and everyone laughed. My introverted brother-in-law would tease my parents about the horror of the dreaded “circle of thanks.”

But the dreaded circle became part of why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is a day that spotlights the need for gratitude. ...

The practice of gratitude is central to nearly every religious and spiritual tradition. And all of us have much to be grateful for. We get the shocking privilege of living on this planet that is uniquely made so that humans can be born, breathe, grow, work, harvest and create. We have bodies that know the pleasures of strawberries, guacamole and buttery popcorn. We hear laughter and breathe in the steam of hot coffee.

The practice of gratitude teaches us, as the theologian Christine D. Pohl put it, “the giftedness of our total existence.” This posture of receptiveness — living as the thankful beneficiary of gifts — is the path of joy because it reminds us that we do not have to be the makers and sustainers of our life. Gratitude is how we embrace beauty without clutching it so tightly that we strangle it.

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November 26, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, November 25, 2021

WKRP In Cincinnati Thanksgiving Turkey Drop

WSJ Refuses To Cancel Its Annual Thanksgiving Editorials

Wall Street Journal editorial, Censoring the Pilgrims:

WSJ OpinionNo doubt it was only a matter of time. The progressives have come for our annual Thanksgiving editorials. They won’t succeed, but we thought we’d share the tale with readers for an insight into the politicization of everything, even Thanksgiving.

Since 1961 we’ve run a pair of editorials written by our former editor Vermont Royster. The first is a historical account about the Pilgrims in 1620 as related by William Bradford, a governor of Plymouth Colony. The second is a contemporary contrast from the mid-20th century about the progress a prosperous America has made that we can all be thankful for.

The editorials are popular with readers, who tell us they appreciate the sentiments about hardship and gratitude during what should be a unifying national holiday. For decades we’ve run them with nary a discouraging word.

But we live in a new era when the left sees nearly everything through the reductive lens of identity politics. It sees much of American history as a racist project that should be erased. This is the motivation of a petition campaign to censor the Pilgrim editorial.

The effort comes via Change.org, a website that calls itself “the world’s platform for change.” It mobilizes campaigns to promote progressive causes. The petition driver is Randy Kritkausky, an author who writes about Native Americans. His petition has gathered some 50,000 signatures and here’s its argument:

Tell the Wall Street Journal that it’s 2021. It’s time to stop publishing 17th century racism. ...

We don’t mind giving critics a chance to make their case, but we won’t bend to political demands for censorship. We will run the editorials as usual this week.

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Don’t Let Ideologues Steal Thanksgiving, by Melanie Kirkpatrick (Hudson Institute):

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November 25, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Happy Thanksgiving, Pepperdine

Pepperdine

November 25, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Avi-Yonah Posts Three New International Tax Papers On SSRN

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar), Slicing the Shadow: A Proposal for Updating U.S. International Taxation:

This article advances a proposal for market-based formulary apportionment.

Gucci Gulch Redux: The Problems of Wyden Proposal:

This paper addresses the problems of Sen Wyden’s international tax reform proposal.

The New International Tax Regime:

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November 25, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Rosenbloom & Shaheen: Toulouse — No Treaty-Based Credit?

H. David Rosenbloom (Caplin & Drysdale; NYU) & Fadi Shaheen (Rutgers; Google Scholar), Toulouse: No Treaty-Based Credit?, 104 Tax Notes Int'l 417 (Oct. 25, 2021):

Tax Notes Int'lThis article maintains that the U.S. Tax Court’s decision in Toulouse [v. Commissioner, 157 T.C. No. 4 (2021)]— that U.S. tax treaties with France and Italy do not provide a treaty-based foreign tax credit against the net investment income tax — is mistaken.

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November 24, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Kim: Taxing Teleworkers

Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah; Google Scholar), Taxing Teleworkers, 55 U.C. Davis L. Rev. __ (2021):

UC Davis Law ReviewSince COVID-19 has forced many governments to restrict travel and impose quarantine requirements, telework has become a way of life. The shift towards teleworking is raising tax concerns for workers who work for employers located in another state than where they live. Most source states where these employers are located could not have taxed income of out-of-state teleworkers under the pre-pandemic tax rules. However, several source states have unilaterally extended their sourcing rule on these teleworkers, resulting in unwarranted risk of double taxation — once by the residence state and again by the source state. At this time, there is no uniform guideline by state or federal governments.

Recently, New Hampshire, supported by fourteen other states, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to exercise its original jurisdiction challenging Massachusetts’ telecommuting taxes of nonresident teleworkers. Tax commentators believed this case would be one of the most significant tax decisions in recent years, but the Supreme Court declined to hear it. New Jersey also opposes New York’s long-standing telecommuting taxes under the “convenience of the employer” rule. This Article examines the constitutional challenges of maintaining pre-pandemic work arrangements for tax purposes, arguing that a source state’s extraterritorial assertion to tax nonresident teleworkers’ income likely violates the Dormant Commerce and Due Process Clauses. Also, this Article finds the Supreme Court’s decision not to exercise original jurisdiction dissatisfying in light of the substantial increase in remote work.

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November 24, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Table Of U.S. Law School Mission Statements (2019 & 2021); 58 Schools Lack Explicit Mission Statements

Frances Tung (American Bar Foundation) & Elizabeth Mertz (Wisconsin; Google Scholar), Table of U.S. Law School Mission Statements, 2019 & 2021:

This Table continues a data-sharing effort begun by Irene Scharf and Vanessa Merton in 2016, as part of their research on U.S. law schools’ mission statements. They had been inspired, in part, by Jerome Organ’s earlier work on this topic in 2010. Scharf and Merton made their 2016 data publicly available on the University of Massachusetts website; we are following in their footsteps by sharing the results of our own efforts, undertaken in 2019 and 2021, on SSRN and on the American Bar Foundation webpage. In the spirit of open access and collegial cooperation within our scholarly community, we invite readers to send corrections to us c/o ftung@abfn.org. This is part of a larger project on law school education funded by the American Bar Foundation and directed by Elizabeth Mertz. 

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November 24, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Yale Dean Finds 'Something Fishy' In B-School Rankings, Highlights Need For Greater Transparency

Chronicle of Higher Education, Is This College Ranking Faulty?:

Bloomberg Business School Rankings (2021-22)A dean found something fishy in a magazine’s list of business schools. The editors say he’s off base.

There was a lot that Anjani Jain liked about Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of business schools. It was only when the deputy dean at the Yale School of Management dug deeper that it stopped making sense to him.

Like most publications that rate institutions of higher education, this one chose certain categories to evaluate, such as how much money graduates make, and weighted each category based on its importance. But unlike with many other rankings, Businessweek asked students, recent alumni, and recruiters what was important to them, and used their responses to determine how much weight to give to each of the five categories it used to evaluate schools: compensation, learning, networking, entrepreneurship, and diversity. To Jain, this seemed like a good idea.

The dean, who has a background in mathematics, physics, and operations research, began poking around at the numbers, trying to replicate the ranking using the information that was public. He has tinkered with other rankings too; digging into the calculations can be a way for him to procrastinate when he has other work. But when following Businessweek’s published methodology, Jain’s ranking of the business schools did not come out in the same order.

“I noticed that somehow there were numerical anomalies,” he said. The crowdsourced weights that the magazine said it gave to each of its five categories didn’t seem to yield the ranking order the magazine had published.

Perplexed, Jain wrote to Businessweek. An editor wrote back, explaining that the weights had been applied to raw scores, rather than the scores published.

Jain was skeptical. He believed that he had deduced what the weights would have to be in order to recreate the list that Businessweek published. Those weights, he said, were not the same as what the magazine had gotten from its surveys.

The way Jain sees it, one of two things happened. Either the weights were applied to the data before it was normalized — a mathematical process that can be used to ensure that data sets are being compared on the same numerical scale — which would be a statistical error, he said. Or the ranking was calculated accurately, but after the fact some sort of “mysterious manipulation,” as Jain put it, took place.

Businessweek editor did not respond to The Chronicle’s request for comment. The magazine stands by its ranking. ... The spokesperson said that the magazine’s methodology was vetted by multiple data scientists and that disclosing raw data “would create the possibility that the rankings could be reverse-engineered or gamed by a school for an unfair advantage.” ... 

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November 24, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

International College Enrollments Begin to Recover

Open Doors 2

Inside Higher Ed, International Enrollments Begin to Recover:

The number of international students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities has begun to rebound following a precipitous pandemic-related drop in international enrollments last fall, according to new data being released today.

The number of new international students increased by 68 percent this fall over last fall, and the number of total international students grew by 4 percent across more than 860 U.S. higher education institutions that responded to a “snapshot” survey on fall international enrollments conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and nine other higher education associations.

The increases this fall follow a 46 percent drop in new international students, and a 15 percent drop in total international students, in academic year 2020–21 compared to the year before. Those numbers come from the newly released Open Doors census of international enrollments, conducted annually by IIE with funding from the U.S. Department of State.

Chronicle of Higher Education, International Enrollments Tumble Below One Million for the First Time in Years, and Covid Is to Blame:

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November 24, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Lederman: Best Practices In Tax Rulings Transparency

Leandra Lederman (Indiana; Google Scholar), Best Practices in Tax Rulings Transparency:

Tax rulings reflect agreement by a tax administration to a particular tax treatment of a planned transaction. They provide certainty to taxpayers and the government, lowering costs on both sides. Such rulings are therefore used by many countries. Yet, secrecy that is followed by leaks and criticism is a recurring aspect of these rulings. Perhaps most well known in this regard is the 2014 LuxLeaks scandal. LuxLeaks revealed numerous tax rulings issued by the European country of Luxembourg containing what the press sometimes termed “sweetheart deals” between the Luxembourg tax authority and multinational companies. The United States has also experienced embarrassing revelations in the tax rulings context, such as during the period before it began disclosing anonymized versions of letter rulings.

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November 24, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Rodriguez: Legal Education As A Key Stakeholder In Legal Services Reform

Dan Rodriguez (Former Dean, Northwestern), Legal Education as a Key Stakeholder in Legal Services Reform:

Legal Evolution Logo (2021)The fierce and fascinating struggle underway in the American states over legal services reform brings to the table a large collection of interest groups.  These groups include law firms, legal aid organizations, entrepreneurs who might benefit financially from the liberalization of entry rules, and of course the gatekeeper entities, including state bar authorities and the state supreme courts, whose decisions are crucial to the evolution and shape of reform. ...

What remains somewhat opaque in this robust and interconnected battle over the reform of legal services is the voice of legal educators and the law schools.  These are, after all, the places in which future lawyers are educated and professional values are instilled.  It is had to imagine a more fertile and opportune time to discuss the ambitions and philosophies of this next generation of legal professionals. ...

However configured, law schools can certainly be valuable venues for deep and broad discussions about reform and, under the right conditions, places for discernible movements to emerge and flourish.  Yet, as we look over the battlefield in which stakeholder groups take strong positions, there is a still deeper question for legal education worth—that is, whether and to what extent our system of legal education has a significant stake in the outcomes of these battles? And just as important, on what side of these struggles ought law schools to be on? ...

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November 24, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Renewed Need For Guidance Addressing Partnership 754 Election Revocations

Dion S. Toledo (J.D. 2020, UC-Irvine), Note, The Renewed Need for Guidance Addressing Partnership 754 Election Revocations, 11 U.C. Irvine L. Rev. 999 (2020):

UC Irvine Law ReviewThe section 754 election of the Internal Revenue Code allows partnerships to make basis adjustments to avoid potentials for double taxation that can arise following transfers of partnership interests and distributions of partnership property. Once made, a 754 election applies to all future tax years and is revocable only with the consent of the Internal Revenue Service (Service). One subsection of the Treasury Regulations addresses when the Service might approve or deny a partnership’s request to revoke a 754 election. Despite the process contemplated in this regulation, until recently, partnerships could default out of a 754 election without Service approval through a technical termination. The lack of recorded application of the regulation implies that partnerships have largely not needed to rely on—and the Service has not needed to apply—the 754 election revocation regulation.

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November 24, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Herzfeld Presents Taxes Are Not Binary: The Unfortunate Consequences Of Splitting Taxes Into Arbitrary Categories Today At NYU

Mindy Herzfeld (Florida) presents Taxes Are Not Binary: The Unfortunate Consequences of Splitting Taxes Into Arbitrary Categories at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium hosted by Daniel Shaviro:

HerzfeldBinary categorization of a “tax” into one of two alternative categories has important substantive implications in a number of disciplines, including constitutional law, tax law, accounting, and trade. Constitutional references to direct tax have been important through American history, factoring into the legality of various new types of taxes and now raising their head again in the context of current debates over the wealth tax. The binary separation of taxes into two categories of direct and indirect taxes also has important consequences in the trade area, as trade agreements generally categorize border adjusted direct taxes as export subsidies but generally bless border adjusted indirect taxes. A separate binary distinction exists between the definition of income and non-income tax. Within the U.S. federal income tax law, the split of a tax into an income or non-income tax has important consequences for creditability of foreign taxes, with large implications for companies’ bottom lines.  In the accounting world, the consequences of treatment of an income tax or non-income tax are relevant for financial statement purposes – the latter is classified in a separate line item in the income statement, while the former is “above the line” and lumped into gross income.

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November 23, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

WSJ: AmEx Pitched Business Customers A Tax Break That Doesn’t Add Up

Wall Street Journal, AmEx Pitched Business Customers a Tax Break That Doesn’t Add Up:

AmExBusinesses were told they could deduct transaction fees while earning tax-free cash rewards.

The pitch went out to eye doctors, McDonald’s franchisees and payroll companies: “Reduce your taxable income burden to Uncle Sam.”

In phone calls, emails and in-person meetings with thousands of business owners, American Express salespeople laid out the strategy. Use AmEx to pay your employees and suppliers, they said. You’ll have to pay a fee, but you’ll come out ahead. That’s because you can earn rewards on the transaction that can be converted into untaxed cash, while also deducting the transaction fees for tax purposes.

The pitch helped AmEx bring in billions of dollars of transaction volume since at least 2018, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. But there was a problem: The strategy relied on a shaky interpretation of how tax law treats rewards points.

In July, a whistleblower filed a report with the Internal Revenue Service alleging that AmEx knowingly persuaded business owners to underreport their income and taxes.

This is “a big company encouraging tax wrongdoing,” said Gregory Lynam, co-founder of Lynam Knott, the law firm that filed the report on the whistleblower’s behalf. It “promotes a tax shelter that doesn’t work.”

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November 23, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Texas A&M Law School To Be Centerpiece Of New $250+ Million Fort Worth Campus Housing A National Law Firm

Texas A&M

Texas A&M Press Release, New Texas A&M System Center Eyed for Downtown Fort Worth:

Hub for collaboration with industry would rise alongside new law school building.

Fort Worth government and business leaders and Texas A&M University System officials are working together on plans to build a new downtown research campus to spur innovation and business development. ... 

“The A&M System is making a Texas-sized commitment to Fort Worth,” Chancellor John Sharp said. “Welcome to Aggieland North.” ...

A new Law School would serve as the front door and academic anchor of the urban campus.

The current law school is housed in the former Southwestern Bell call switching facility that was converted for office use. The school also uses leased space in a nearby building. The plan envisions renovating or rebuilding the law school to accommodate growth and provide a state-of-the art educational environment.

Since the A&M System acquired the law school eight years ago, it has experienced the largest jump to its reputational score of any law school in the United States. It recently passed its Texas counterparts at Baylor University and the University of Houston in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Law.com, 'A Texas-Sized Commitment to Fort Worth': Texas A&M Law School Plans Massive New Campus:

The specific cost of the project is not yet known since so many of the pieces are still in the conceptual stage, but the numbers are somewhere between $250 million to $350 million total, according to the law school spokesman.

Reuters, Roommate Wanted: Texas A&M in Talks to Host National Law Firm on New Campus:

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

Only 57% Of White Students At Harvard Are Admitted On Merit

The Guardian, Turns Out, Harvard Students Aren’t That Smart After All:

A whopping 43% of white students weren’t admitted on merit. One might call it affirmative action for the rich and privileged.

Ever wondered what it takes to get into Harvard? Stellar grades, impressive extracurriculars and based on a recently published study, having deep pockets and a parent who either works or went there. Those last two are pretty important for Harvard’s white students because only about 57% of them were admitted to the school based on merit.

In reality, 43% of Harvard’s white students are either recruited athletes, legacy students, on the dean’s interest list (meaning their parents have donated to the school) or children of faculty and staff (students admitted based on these criteria are referred to as ‘ALDCs’, which stands for ‘athletes’, ‘legacies’, ‘dean’s interest list’ and ‘children’ of Harvard employees). The kicker? Roughly three-quarters of these applicants would have been rejected if it weren’t for having rich or Harvard-connected parents or being an athlete. ...

This kind of systemic favoritism of the white, wealthy and connected is not new when it comes to elite academic institutions. It’s always been a bit of a rigged game, one that overwhelmingly favors rich white people.

Peter Arcidiacono (Duke; Google Scholar), Josh Kinsler (Georgia; Google Scholar) & Tyler Ransom (Oklahoma; Google Scholar), Legacy and Athlete Preferences at Harvard, 40 J. Labor Econ. ___ (2022):

The lawsuit Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard University provided an unprecedented look at how an elite school makes admissions decisions. Using publicly released reports, we examine the preferences Harvard gives for recruited athletes, legacies, those on the dean’s interest list, and children of faculty and staff (ALDCs). Among white admits, over 43% are ALDC.

Among admits who are African American, Asian American, and Hispanic, the share is less than 16% each. Our model of admissions shows that roughly three quarters of white ALDC admits would have been rejected if they had been treated as white non-ALDCs. Removing preferences for athletes and legacies would significantly alter the racial distribution of admitted students, with the share of white admits falling and all other groups rising or remaining unchanged.

Harvard 1

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November 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

In Response To Criticism, ABA Releases Revised Proposed Diversity Accreditation Standard For Notice And Comment

Following criticism (here, here, here, and here) of the ABA's proposed new diversity accreditation standard, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on Friday sent a revised version out for notice and comment:

ABA Legal Ed (2021)Standard 206. DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
(a) A law school shall ensure the effective educational use of diversity by providing:
(1) Full access to the study of law and admission to the profession to all persons, particularly members of underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity;
(2) A faculty and staff that includes members of underrepresented groups, particularly those related to race and ethnicity; and
(3) An inclusive and equitable environment for students, faculty, and staff with respect to race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, and military status.
(b) A law school shall report in the Annual Questionnaire and publish in accordance with Standard 509(b) data that reflects the law school's performance in satisfying Standard 206(a)(1)-(2).
(c) A law school shall annually assess the extent to which it has created an educational environment that is inclusive and equitable under Standard 206(a)< br />(3). The law school shall provide the results of such annual assessment to the faculty. Upon request of the Council, a law school shall provide the results of such assessment and the concrete actions the school is taking to address any deficiencies in the educational environment as well as the actions taken to maintain an inclusive and equitable educational environment.

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

NY Times: Companies Love To Buy Back Their Stock. A Tax Could Deter Them.

New York Times, Companies Love to Buy Back Their Stock. A Tax Could Deter Them.:

Supporters of the Biden buyback tax say it will be good for the economy. Skeptics say it will hurt investment.

Corporate America has been feeding a stock buyback boom for decades, with companies spending trillions of dollars to repurchase their shares without paying any taxes on those transactions.

That could soon change.

In President Biden’s roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better Act, which narrowly passed the House on Friday but faces a tough fight in the Senate, Democrats have proposed a 1 percent tax on stock buybacks. Although it may not seem like much, the tax is a way to raise as much as $124 billion over 10 years, according to government estimates, and could help pay for the social spending and climate package.

Both supporters and critics of the proposed surcharge say it could alter the behavior of companies, but in ways that would have very different consequences for the economy.

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November 23, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Jenoff: Big Law Dreams

Pam Jenoff (Rutgers), Big Law Dreams, 13 Fla. A & M U. L. Rev. 183 (2018):

Upon graduation, law students continue to seek positions with large law firms in record numbers. Graduates are drawn to Big Law for the purported pluses of high compensation; interesting work; extensive training and resources; mobility and prestige. However, a closer examination of the present-day realities reveals that these beliefs may be outdated, overstated, or simply incorrect. Students who make their career choices based on such premises may find themselves trapped in ill-fitting and unsatisfying positions. Moreover, an unyielding focus on Big Law based on faulty assumptions may have costs and consequences for legal education and the provision of legal services. This essay focuses on the factors contributing to the law student’s unrelenting drive toward Big Law. It examines the underlying assumptions built into that drive and whether they are valid. It explores the cost to graduates, the profession and society if students follow these assumptions and pursue a career in Big Law without careful thought and reflection. 

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November 23, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Call For Articles: The Tax Lawyer

ABA Tax Lawyer (2021)The Tax Lawyer is currently accepting submissions for its 2022 Spring and Summer issues. Submit your work by early December to be considered for the Spring issue.

Why publish in The Tax Lawyer?

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November 23, 2021 in ABA Tax Section, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, November 22, 2021

Hemel & Weisbach: The Behavioral Elasticity Of Tax Revenue

Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar) & David Weisbach (Chicago; Google Scholar), The Behavioral Elasticity of Tax Revenue, 13 J. Legal Analysis 381 (2021):

This article presents a measure of the efficiency consequences of changes to tax policies that inform a wide range of tax law debates. Building upon recent extensions to the “elasticity of taxable income” concept, we clarify the relationship among revenue effects, administrative costs, and compliance costs. The resulting measure—the behavioral elasticity of tax revenue (BETR)—captures the change in total resources resulting from marginal changes in tax rates, the tax base, or tax enforcement. We illustrate the BETR’s utility through a series of case studies.

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November 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Hemel: Make The Expanded Child Tax Credit Permanent With This One Easy Trick

Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar), Make the Expanded Child Tax Credit Permanent With This One Easy Trick:

Here's how Democrats can significantly reduce child poverty over the long term.

The Build Back Better Act—which passed the House by a 220-213 vote on Friday—makes important changes to the child tax credit. It extends the $3000-per-child credit ($3600 for children under age 6) through 2022. And it makes the credit fully refundable on a permanent basis. By one estimate, these changes will reduce child poverty by more than 40 percent within a single year.

Unfortunately, the $3000 credit (or $3600 for young children) won’t last long. In 2023, the credit amount will fall back to $2000 per child. And starting in 2026, due to a sunset provision in the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the credit will fall to $1000 per child. Ideally, congressional Democrats would have agreed to make the entire child tax credit expansion permanent. They could have offset the cost by taxing unrealized gains at death, eliminating the passthrough-deduction giveaway, and raising the corporate income tax rate to somewhere in the mid- to high-20s. Alas, some Democrats decided that they would rather let millions of children languish in poverty than enact common-sense revenue-raising tax reforms.

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November 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink