Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

IRS Attorney Directory by Code Section & Subject Matter

Irs_logo_176The monthly update of the 118-page directory of attorneys in the IRS Chief Counsel's Office, arranged by Internal Revenue Code Section and Subject Matter, for April 2006, is available on the Tax Analysts' web site.   


April 19, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

IRS Funds 32 Law School Tax Clinics for 2006

Irs_logo_238 The IRS has announced that it has awarded approximately $8 million in matching grants to Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) for the 2006 grant cycle (1/1/06 - 12/31/06).  LITCs are qualifying organizations that represent low income taxpayers involved in tax disputes with the IRS or that provide education on tax rights and responsibilities to taxpayers for whom English is a second language or who have limited English proficiency. For more details about the languages in addition to English served by LITCs, see Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

The LITC grant program, now in its eighth year, encourages the creation and growth of Low Income Taxpayer Clinics across the nation. LITCs provide free or nominal cost assistance to taxpayers who otherwise may not be able to afford a tax professional.

Under the program, the IRS awards matching grants of up to $100,000 a year to organizations operating independent tax clinics. For the 2006 grant cycle, the IRS awarded LITC grants to 150 organizations representing 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

32 law school clinics received funding from the IRS:

IRS Funding of Law School Low-Income Tax Clinics for 2006

Law School Clinic



Arkansas-Little Rock






San Diego















Univ. of District of Columbia



Georgia State









Loyola (Chicago)









Northern Kentucky






Michigan State






Missouri-Kansas City









New Mexico












Lewis & Clark









Texas Tech









West Virginia



April 18, 2006 in IRS News, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brown on A Tax Credit or a Handout?

BrownDorothy A. Brown (Washington & Lee) has published an op-ed in today's New York Times, A Tax Credit or a Handout?:

Low-income taxpayers are audited by the Internal Revenue Service more often than their higher-earning counterparts. The reason for this is not politics, as is commonly presumed; nor is it that these taxpayers must be watched closely for fraud. The problem, as many people found out this week, is that the low-income tax credit is wildly complex. For that reason, those who claim it are especially vulnerable to filing errors....

Instead of spending our money subjecting low-income taxpayers to heightened scrutiny before and after they file their taxes, Congress should amend the law to eliminate the complexity. That would restore the low-income tax credit to its intended purpose — namely, rewarding the poor for working, not penalizing them for being poor.

April 18, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Geier on The Taxation of Income Available for Discretionary Use

Geier_2 Ssrn_70 Deborah A. Geier (Cleveland State) has posted The Taxation of Income Available for Discretionary Use on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The signature tax policy tension of the last two decades (at least) has been whether the federal tax base ought to reach income or only consumption. At the individual level, the current Internal Revenue Code (payroll taxes aside) incorporates an income tax base with numerous consumption tax components - provisions that allow either immediate deduction of a non-consumption capital expenditure (as under a cash-flow consumption tax), such as qualified pension plan and IRA savings, or exclusion of the returns to capital (as under a wage tax), such as the exclusion for home sale gain and Section 103 interest. (A more subtle wage tax feature is the reduced tax rate, at the individual level, of most capital gain and dividend income; a pure wage tax would apply a zero rate.)

Continue reading

April 18, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Presidential Tax Return Commentary

Houston Dean Rapoport Resigns Following Flap Over Drop in U.S. News Rankings

Brian Leiter reports that Houston Dean Nancy Rapoport announced her resignation yesterday, effective May 31.  Today's Houston Chronicle notes that the resignation followed a stormy faculty meeting over the school's fall in the U.S. News rankings:

University of Houston Law Center Dean Nancy Rapoport announced her resignation Monday, six years into a tenure that saw the law school drop 20 spots in the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

The decision comes just one week after a faculty meeting in which students who showed up to discuss the drop in rankings and some professors aggressively criticized Rapoport....

In a letter to faculty, staff and students at the law center, Rapoport tied her decision to "events of the past week or so," but did not elaborate before going on to reflect on her time as dean.

School officials credited Rapoport with helping to hire qualified faculty and adding to the financial endowment, as well as helping the school recover from Tropical Storm Allison, after which its library lost some 300,000 volumes. "She has done a lot of very good things for the law center and for the university," said university Provost Donald Foss, who cautioned against putting too much stock in the magazine rankings. Applications to the school remain high, Foss said.

The law school was ranked 50th in 2002 and 52nd in 2003 before it fell to 69 in 2004. Rankings released earlier this month placed UH at No. 70 in a tie with six other schools, including Seton Hall University and the University of Denver. "A drop of 15 or 20 points is important. But it's important in a way that the stock market price is important," Foss said. "Prices do not necessarily reflect the underlying value of a company; they are sometimes too high and sometimes too low."

April 18, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Caron on Teaching with Technology in the 21st Century Law School Classroom

Future_of_law_libraries_cover_1I have posted Teaching with Technology in the 21st Century Law School Classroom, in The Future of Law Libraries (Thomson-West, 2006), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

These remarks were delivered at The Future of Law Libraries Symposium at Amelia Island, FL on March 10, 2005 and have been expanded and updated to be current through February 1, 2006:

I believe we are entering a fourth phase in the deployment of modern technology in the law school classroom, in which faculty embrace technology to actively engage the twenty-first century law student. Instead of fighting losing battles against technology, or living with the problems associated with the current state of law school classroom technology, I want to discuss here three of the new technological tools that I use on a daily basis in my classes: (1) the Classroom Performance System; (2) the Law Stories Series; and (3) the Law Professor Blogs Network.

These technological tools represent the next generation of law school teaching technology and answer critics who charge that technology in the form of PowerPoint slides and laptop computers create a stultifyingly passive classroom environment. By requiring students to take a more active role in their learning, these technologies help students to thrive in the fast-paced legal world of the twenty-first century using twenty-first century tools.

April 18, 2006 in Law School, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Court: Law School Graduate Working in Public Interest Has Income on Receipt of Funds to Help Repay Student Loans

Tax_court_24The Tax Court decided a case yesterday of interest to law students:  Moloney v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2006-53 (4/17/06).  Melissa Moloney received $55,000 in Federal Stafford Loans to attend law school in 1996-99.  After graduating, she worked for the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office.  In 2002, she received $4,372 from the Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program ("LARP"), administered through the Maryland Higher Education Commission.  The LARP provides funds to repay student loans for "Maryland residents who provide public service in Maryland State or local government or nonprofit agencies in Maryland." The funds are distributed in a check made payable to both the graduate and the lender.

Ms. Maloney argued that the $4,372 was not income to her under § 108(f):

Looking to both the language of the Internal Revenue Code Section 108(f) and the award letter for the LARP, both specify that the person receiving the financial award must work in a specified employment, in the case of the LARP, it is full-time employment with the state or local government or non profit organization. Looking to the CCH Explanation of Internal Revenue Code Section 108(f) for further guidance of the intent of that section, it states:

In order to ensure the professional participation in public service activities, many educational organizations sponsor programs which offer students an opportunity to be discharged (partially or completely) from their student loans, by working for a period of time in a public serviced organization. (CCH--Standard Federal Tax Reports ¶ 7002, * * *)

Due to the fact that the language purposefully is not exact, allowing for other possible programs, programs which may not have been in existence when the Code Section was drafted coupled with the CCH Explanation and requirements of the Janet L. Hoffman LARP, it is Petitioner’s position that the award received through the LARP should be treated as a discharge of indebtedness and therefore non taxable income. The very spirit of 108(f) is to ensure that professionals participate in public service employment rather than working in the private sector.

The IRS disagreed with Ms. Moloney's reading of § 108(f):

Her [petitioner’s] argument glosses over the fact that the award is not a discharge of indebtedness. Even if the award were considered to be a discharge of indebtedness, it would not be excludible from income under I.R.C. § 108(f) under the plain language of the statute. Petitioner attempts to avoid the language of the statute by arguing that the intent of the award falls within the intent behind the law. * * * She fails to recognize that this reading of I.R.C. § 108(f) is without foundation.

The Tax Court agreed with the IRS:

Petitioner’s reliance on section 108(f) is misplaced.  Income from the discharge of indebtedness is includible in gross income. Sec. 61(a)(12). Section 108 provides certain exceptions to that treatment. Section 108(f) entitled “Student Loans” establishes certain circumstances under which income from the discharge of a student loan may be excluded from gross income. In no event may section 108(f) apply unless there is in fact a discharge of a student loan. In the instant case, petitioner received petitioner’s LARP award of $4,372. That award was to be, and was, used by petitioner to repay a portion of petitioner’s law school loan. Petitioner’s LARP award did not discharge petitioner’s law school loan or any other student loan that petitioner may have had.

In a footnote, the court observed:

Petitioner’s reliance on the “CCH Explanation of Section 108(f)” also is misplaced. That explanation is not binding on the Court. It merely represents the views of the publisher of the publication "CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter."

The court concluded:

We turn finally to petitioner’s argument that the Court should be guided by not only the letter but also the spirit of section 108(f)(1). The Court must follow the law as written by Congress.

April 18, 2006 in Law School, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

IRS Makes 2 High-Level Appointments

Irs_logo_237The IRS has anounced two high level appointments:

  • IR-2006-065:  Kathy Petronchak has been appointed Chief of Staff, replacing Evelyn Petschek, effective June 7:

As Chief of Staff, Petronchak will assist the Commissioner in overseeing the performance of IRS operations and planning the strategic direction of IRS programs. She will also provide counsel to the Commissioner and other top IRS executives with regard to a wide variety of matters facing the agency.

Petronchak was appointed to her current position as Director, Pre-Filing and Technical Guidance for the Large and Mid-Size Business (LMSB) Division in June 2004. In that post she plans, develops, directs and implements tax shelter, pre-filing and technical field assistance programs. Petronchak also shares responsibility for coordinating the LMSB Division’s program activities with Legislative Affairs, Chief Counsel and Treasury. Her prior executive positions include Deputy Director, Pre-Filing and Technical Guidance, to which she was appointed in September 2002, and Director of Field Operations, to which she was appointed in December 1999.

IR-2006-059Sarah Hall Ingram has been appointed to the position of Chief, Appeals. replacing David Robison, effective May 7:

As the head of the agency’s Appeals division, Ingram will be responsible for overseeing the operations of an administrative forum for taxpayers contesting an IRS compliance action. The Appeals mission is to resolve tax disputes without litigation; it provides an independent administrative appeal process for all taxpayers.

Since July 2004, Ingram has been serving as Deputy Commissioner of the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division (TE/GE). Ingram began her career with the IRS in the former Tax Litigation Division in 1982. She became Employee Plans Litigation Counsel in 1987, providing litigation coordination nationwide for employee benefit cases. In 1992, Ingram became Deputy Associate Chief Counsel, Employee Benefits and Exempt Organizations (EBEO), where she served until her 1994 appointment as Associate Chief Counsel, EBEO. As part of the IRS Modernization program, Ingram was appointed in 1999 to the new position of Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel, TE/GE, where she was responsible for providing legal services to the TE/GE Division and its customers as well as other parts of the IRS.

April 18, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bales on Postmodernist Approaches to Student Seminar Papers

Interesting post by Rick Bales (Northern Kentucky) of our sister Workplace Prof BlogPostmodernist Approaches to Student Seminar Papers:

Over the weekend, I read Adam Todd's Neither Dead nor Dangerous: Postmodernism and the Teaching of Legal Writing. Though directed primarily at legal writing instructors, the article is equally useful for doctrinal professors who read and grade seminar papers. I've always harbored a secret fear that I was a flat-earther in my approach to seminar papers -- my focus on the end product seemed at odds with the modern focus on legal writing as a process. However, in reading Professor Todd's article, I've learned that I have leapfrogged modernism and am, in fact, thoroughly postmodern.

April 18, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Becker & Posner Debate Tax Simplification

Gary Becker and Richard Posner debate tax simplification today on their blog:

As my wife and I were recently preparing our income tax data to give to our accountant, I began my annual guess about the cost of complying in the U.S. with the Federal Tax code. But instead of just shaking my head over it, as I usually do, I made a few simple calculations that I will share with our readers. I will also offer some suggestions on how to cut down drastically compliance costs and reduce the negative effect of federal taxes on the efficiency of the economy.

Because the potential benefits from tax simplification are likely to be modest, perhaps greater political effort should be devoted to trying to make the tax system more efficient in the sense of maximizing the ratio of tax revenue to the distorting effects of taxation on the allocation of resources. An ideal tax is a tax on a good or service or activity that is inelastic (Adam Smith's example was a tax on salt). Such a tax will not induce many people to substitute some other good or service or activity for the taxed one, and such substitution both is inefficient and reduces the revenue collected by the tax.

April 17, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

D.C. Circuit: AMT v. Tax Treaty

Robert Loblaw has this interesting report on Haver v. Commissioner, 05-1269 (D.C. Cir., 4/11/06):

In this tax appeal, the D.C. Circuit is called upon to resolve alleged discrepancy between an international tax treaty and the U.S. Tax Code. Peter Haver is a U.S. citizen who lived and worked in Germany for three years. Because the German taxes he paid exceeded his U.S. tax liability, he claims that he does not owe any taxes. The IRS disagreed on the ground that Haver still owed the Alternative Minimum Tax. The treaty at issue allows U.S. citizens who pay German taxes to claim the amount paid as a credit on their U.S. taxes, "subject to the limitations of the law of the United States." Based on this latter phrase, the D.C. Circuit concludes that there is no conflict between the treaty and the AMT, so Haver will be required to pay U.S. taxes as well.

April 17, 2006 in New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Day News Roundup

Maule Hosts Carnival of Law Bloggers -- Blawg Review #53

In honor of Tax Day, Jim Maule hosts the Carnival of Law Bloggers -- Blawg Review #53.  Jim unearths a lot of interesting tax stuff.

April 17, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kirsch: Cheney Tax Return Shows Katrina Tax Benefits for Non-Katrina Charitable Contributions

CheneyMichael Kirsch (Notre Dame) points out an interesting aspect of the Vice-President's 2005 tax return:

It appears that the VP is a major beneficiary of the Hurricane Katrina tax relief act. In particular, he claimed $6.8 million of charitable deductions, which is 77% of his AGI -- well in excess of the 50% limitation that would have applied absent the Katrina legislation. The press release indicates that the charitable contribution reflects the amount of net proceeds from an independent administrator's exercise of the VP's Halliburton options -- apparently, the VP had agreed back in 2001 that he would donate the net proceeds from the options to charities once they were exercised.

The press release seems to confirm, at least implicitly, the VP's efforts to take advantage of the Katrina legislation -- it mentions that the Cheneys wrote a personal check of $2.3 million to the administrator in December in order to "maximize the charitable gifts in 2005." Admittedly, I don't know anything about the transactions beyond the info in the press release, but my gut reaction is that the personal check was given in order to make sure the independent administrator had sufficient liquid assets to pay all of the promised charitable contributions before the 50% limit returned on 1/1/06.

Despite the importance of the Katrina legislation to his tax return, it looks like none of the charitable contributions actually went to Katrina-related charities (the press release lists the 3 charitable recipients, all of which were designated in the original 2001 gift agreement). While there's nothing inappropriate about that from a legal perspective, it does demonstrate how the legislation, which was sold to the public as providing relief to Katrina victims, provided significant tax benefits to the VP (and potentially other wealthy individuals) in situations that have nothing to do with Hurricane Katrina.

April 17, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (157) | TrackBack (18)

Treasury Department Releases Tax Day Relief Pack

Treasury Secretary Snow today released a statement (JS-4184) to mark Tax Day, as well a Tax Day Relief Pack extolling the economic advantages since the President's 2003 tax cut bill became law.  The document contains a number of interesting charts and graphs, including this one:


April 17, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Get Your Free e-Filed 6-Month Tax Filing Extension


The IRS expects to receive 9.6 million requests for 6-month extensions of today's tax filing deadline (IR-2006-60).  Taxpayers will receive an automatic 6-month extension of time to file their tax returns by filing Form 4868, Automatic Extension of Time to File.

The extension gives taxpayers until October 16 to file the tax return. In previous years, only a 4-month extension was automatic and taxpayers who needed more time had to make a second request.

All taxpayers (not just those with $50,000 or less of AGI) are eligible for free electronic filing of Form 4868.

Last year, 9.4 million extensions were filed with the IRS, with 1.8 million (19%) of these filed electronically.

An extension of time to file does not give the taxpayer an extension of time to pay. Those who owe taxes can make a payment when they file the extension either by mailing a check or by several electronic payment methods such as electronic funds withdrawals from bank accounts and credit card payments.

Here are the latest tax filing statistics:


April 17, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Tax Day Humor

L.A. Times:  Uh-Oh, It's the Tax Man, by Martin Miller:

Q: I owe more in taxes than I earn in a year. I can't pay that much, and even if I could, how could this be? And what should I do about this egregious situation?

A: Your best bet is to think of a really good prison nickname, like "Mad Dog" or "Tinkerbell."

Q: I have a home office, but I also use it a couple times a year as a guestroom. Can I still take the home office deduction without being flagged for an audit?

A: Asking questions about the home office deduction automatically triggers an audit — and a full body-cavity search.

Jay Leno: "With the tax deadline less than a week away, the IRS is reminding the public that no one from the agency will ever contact you via e-mail. They say the only government people who will try to contact you via e-mail are creepy guys at Homeland Security."

David Letterman's Top Ten Reasons I Love Being an Accountant:
#10. CPA training ensures I’m cook in high-pressure situations, like calculating the top at Applebee’s.
#9. While other poor losers go off to work in jeans and sneakers, I get to wear a suit.
#8. You haven’t lived until you’ve filled out form 3277.
#7. What can I say, I’m an adrenaline junkie.
#6. I’m on such good terms with the IRS, I haven’t paid taxes since ’89.
#5. I like to lick the envelopes.
#4. Like the President, I only work about one month a year
#3. After April 15th, I spend the year eating Pringles and watching ‘rasslin.
#2. Women don’t expect much in the bedroom.
#1. I fudge a couple numbers and next thing you know they’re hauling Letterman’s ass off to prison.

Tax Cartoons:

April 17, 2006 in Celebrity Tax Lore | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

1893 Testimony on a "Just and Practical Income Tax"

A reader sent in the attached 1893 testimony before the House Ways & Means Committee on the implementation of a "Just and Practical Income Tax."

April 17, 2006 in Congressional News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

IRS Makes 2 High-Level Appointments

Irs_logo_237IRS Chief Counsel Donald Korb has announced (IR-2006-62) two high-level appointments:

  • Steven Musher Named Associate Chief Counsel, International

Since November 2005, Musher served as Acting Associate Chief Counsel, International. Prior to that Musher served, starting 2001, as Deputy Associate Chief Counsel (International-Technical), overseeing the published guidance program. Musher began his tenure at the Office of Chief Counsel in 1994 as a Senior Technical Reviewer in the International Division where he later served as Branch Chief. Before joining the IRS, Musher worked in private practice.

Musher received his B.A. degree from Yale University in 1975 and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law Center in 1978. He also received an L.L.M. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1989.

  • Christopher Sterner Named Division Counsel (Large and Mid-Size Business)

Sterner began his career with the Office of Chief Counsel in 1977 performing general litigation work in New York City. In 1978, he transferred to the Albany, NY, office where he was appointed a Special Litigation Assistant in 1988. Soon thereafter, Sterner assumed the position of Industry Counsel for the Data Processing Industry. In 1996, he transferred to the Richmond, VA, office as Assistant District Counsel. In 2000, he moved to Area 7 (San Francisco) as Area Counsel.

Sterner received a J.D. degree from the State University of New York School of Law at Buffalo in 1977 and a B.A. degree from the City University of New York in 1974.

April 16, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brophy on The Relationship Between Law Review Rankings and U.S. News Law School Rankings

We previosuly blogged Al Brophy's paper demonstrating a close connection between the citation rankings of law reviews and the ranking of their parent law school (The Relationship between Law Review Citations and Law School Rankings).  His new paper examines changes in both the U.S. News law school rankings and Washington & Lee law journal rankings over the past few years (The Emerging Importance of Law Review Rankings for Law School Rankings, 2003-07).  Al finds some support for the view that as law schools improve (or decline), there is a corresponding change in the quality of their main law journals (as measured by citations in other journals).  Al notes on our sister PropertyProf Blog:

I suggest that if you want to know where a law school is heading, in addition to the glossy material that the school sends out (which announce new hires, student successes, faculty publications, and talks sponsored by the school), one should spend some time studying the scholarship their law review publishes. The idea here is that what students (and perhaps increasingly faculty) are able to recruit (as well as what they select) for publication tells something about the intellectual orientation and reputation of the school.

There are several fascinating tables in the paper, including compilations of:

  • "Hottest" law reviews (biggest improvement in citation rank).  Here are the Top 5:
    1. Michigan State #109 (up 54 places)
    2. Lewis and Clark #100 (up 49 places)
    3. William Mitchell #65 (up 40.5 places)
    4. George Mason #70 (up 35.5 places)
    5. Alabama #54 (up 33.5 places)
  • Most "undervalued" law reviews (law review ranked significantly better than ranking of parent law school).  Here are the Top 5:
    1. Albany (+51)
    2. Hofstra (+45)
    3. DePaul (+39)
    4. South Carolina (+36)
    5. William Mitchell (+35)

  • Most "overvalued" law reviews (law review ranked significantly worse than ranking of parent law school).  Here are the Top 5:
    1. Washington & Lee (-42)
    2. Utah (-41)
    3. Maryland (-37)
    4. George Mason (-33)
    5. Nebraska (-32)

Based on his data, Al predicts that these law schools are poised to climb in the U.S. News rankings in light of the comparative strength of their law reviews in the citation rankings:

  • Albany (Tier 3 in current U.S. News rankings)
  • Cardozo (53)
  • Catholic (Tier 3)
  • Chicago-Kent (60)
  • DePaul (80)
  • Fordham (32)
  • Marquette (Tier 3)
  • Michigan State (Tier 4)
  • South Carolina (97)
  • South Texas (Tier 4)
  • William Mitchell (Tier 4)

Al concludes:

In part I think law schools ought to spend money (and attention) on their law journals. An increase in law review quality will not necessarily lead to an increase in peer assessment, but I think people are going to increasingly focus on law reviews as an indicator of law school quality. In part I think they will do that because we're all looking around for indicators of law school quality and we know that there's a high correlation between perceived quality--as measured by US News peer assessment--and law review citations by journals. (Paul Caron and Bernard Black, whose important paper urges attention to ssrn downloads, are two among many people who are seeking better indicators.) And when that turn to scrutinizing law journals happens, I think deans will want to be able to point to a high quality law review. And even if law journals aren't used as measures of quality of their parent institutions, spending time and money improving reviews will help improve legal education--which is one of the points of this whole rankings business anyway, I thought.

April 16, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

Ssrn_logo_85There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads on SSRN, with David Walker's new paper rising to #3.  Stephen Cohen's paper has risen to #54 all-time (out of 1729 tax papers on SSRN):

1.  [334 Downloads]  Words!  Words!  Words!  Teaching the Language of Tax, by Stephen B. Cohen (Georgetown) [blogged here]

2.  [160 Downloads]  Inside Zarin, by Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.) [blogged here]

3.  [137 Downloads]  Financial Accounting and Corporate Behavior, by David I. Walker (BU) [blogged here]

4.  [112 Downloads]  Relitigating Seaborn: Taxing the Community Income of California Registered Domestic Partners, by Patricia A. Cain (Iowa) [blogged here]

5.  [84 Downloads]  Government as Contractual Claimant: Tax Policy and the State, by Jonathan R. Macey (Yale) [blogged here]

April 16, 2006 in Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NY Times Tax Articles

Tax Planning for eBay Sellers

Interesting Reuters article:  The Tax Side of the eBay Business:

If you're an eBay seller, you may be paying more than you have to in taxes because you haven't really focused on all that you can deduct....

Some 2.2 million people run eBay businesses, and most of them are small part-time side projects, according to Rupesh Shah, a TurboTax product manager. Their owners are so in the dark about the accounting and tax side of their businesses that his company, Intuit, created a special TurboTax product and a Web site just for them.

April 16, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WSJ Tax Articles

AMT Kills Tax Advantage of Visiting Professorship

Vic Fleischer notes that the AMT has killed the primary tax advantage of a visiting professor gig:  the ability to deduct meals and lodging expenses while away from home under § 162(a)(2).  With the growing prevalence of the AMT, Vic suggests that Tax Profs eventually will need to cover it in detail in the basic federal income tax course:

As the AMT becomes a larger and larger feature of our tax system, taxprofs will eventually have to adjust. I think those of us who teach the basic FedTax course have been ignoring it as much as possible, hoping Congress will make it go away. But eventually, as the AMT captures more and more people, we may have to cave in and really teach the darn thing. In ten years, maybe the basic course should be called "Federal AMT," with a couple of historical lectures about the old tax system and how the new de facto system came about.

April 16, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Postlewaite & Rosenzweig on Is It Time to Part With Section 736?

Philip F. Postlewaite (Northwestern) & Adam H. Rosenzweig (Northwestern) have published Anachronisms in Subchapter K of the Internal Revenue Code: Is It Time to Part With Section 736?, 100 Nw. U. L. Rev. 379 (2006).  Here is the abstract:

Time has passed Section 736 by. Rather than serve its initial purpose, Section 736 survives as an anachronism preventing the coherent evolution of the Code. How could a provision such as Section 736, with limited utility, devastating complexity, and confusing (at best) policy implications, remain in the Internal Revenue Code? How has Section 736 survived multiple calls for its repeal? A study of the evolution of Section 736 provides not only the opportunity to scrutinize the tax-making machinery that determines how and why such anachronistic imperfections come to be, but also to ponder how they can be prevented in the future.

April 16, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

More on ABA's Proposed New Diversity Standards

We previously have blogged (see complete list below) the controversy over the the ABA's proposed new accreditation standard (here and here) that would require law schools to consider race and ethnicity in admissions and faculty hiring, regardless of any state law prohibitions to the contrary.

A coalition of civil right groups have written a letter to the Department of Education in support of the proposed standards.  Here is the Conclusion:

[The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights] and the other signatories to these comments urge the Department of Education to continue to recognize the critical role of the ABA in the accreditation of law schools. As part of its underlying mission, the ABA is charged to regularly review and update its standards for legal education. Upon examination, the proposed revisions to Standard 211 are modest and entirely consistent with the effort to conform the standard to the United States Supreme Court’s Grutter v. Bollinger decision of 2003. The strident arguments lodged by antidiversity and anti-equal opportunity/affirmative action organizations are without merit and demean the entire accreditation and approval process. While critics may disagree with the Court’s decision to uphold diversity as a compelling state interest in the higher education context, the Court’s ruling was clear, and the ABA’s efforts to conform its standards to the Grutter decision are entirely appropriate and legally sound.

David Bernstein takes issue with the letter:

The most shocking of this letter's many flaws is the claim that to the extent the ABA standards conflict with state constitutional or statutory law, the ABA standards trump state law!....The letter writers are claiming that if the Federal Department of Education permits a private organization to accredit law schools, the private organization's standards implicitly become part of federal law, and thus supercede state law under the Supremacy Clause. The chutzpah, the absurdity, the audacity of this argument simply floors me.

For prior TaxProf Blog coverage, see:

April 15, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Two-Year Anniversary of TaxProf Blog

Happy_anniversary_1Please join with me today in celebrating the two year anniversary of TaxProf Blog. I hope we have at least partially succeeded in our mission (announced in our very first post here) to provide both (1) permanent resources & links, and (2) daily news & information, of interest to law school tax professors, tax lawyers in private practice and government, and others in the tax community. The following chart shows our dramatic across-the-board growth over these two years: 

Year 1

Year 2



528,000 (1,400/day)

933,000 (2,500/day)


Page Views

688,000 (1,900/day)

1,202,000 (3,300/day)



1,950 (5/day)

2,800 (8/day)


During our two-year run, we have:

  • Become the third-most popular law-related blog published by a law professor
  • Been valued at $155,813 (although we are still waiting for a buyer to appear!)
  • Enjoyed support from our sponsors (Thomson-West, Foundation Press, and LexisNexis in our first year, and LexisNexis in our second year)
  • Profiled 100 of our tax colleagues in our weekly spotlight series
  • Said premature goodbyes to too many of our colleagues
  • Spawned 27 other blogs through our Law Professor Blogs Network
  • Launched a law school rankings web site with Brian Leiter
  • Provided a weekly ranking of the top 5 tax paper downloads
  • Inaugurated a monthly ranking of the top 25 SSRN tax faculty
  • Organized a symposium on The Next Generation of Law School Rankings at Indiana-Bloomington
  • Organized a symposium on Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship at Harvard Law School
  • Taken only a one-week respite each year, during the summer to bring each of my two kids to the JH Ranch in Northern California for an early-teen coming-of-age program.
  • Thank you for joining us during these two years. I hope you will stick around for what I hope will be many years to come. Please use the comments to share your thoughts on the blog as well as how we can serve you better in the future.

    April 15, 2006 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

    Spotlight_1_1Carolyn L. Dessin (Akron)

          • B.M. Ed. 1978, Temple
          • M.M. 1980, Westminster Choir College
          • J.D. 1987, Villanova



    Dessin My road to teaching tax law was definitely not direct. I started out as a musician who wanted to teach and conduct, and received a Bachelor of Music Education degree in voice from Temple University. I went on to receive a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, where I studied with Joseph Flummerfelt. I became a music teacher in the Colonial School District in suburban Philadelphia and a Director of Music in several Philadelphia area churches. Many public schools were suffering reductions in force during that time, and I kept getting “RIF”fed at the end of each school year and hired back in the following year for a more and more part-time position. Like most musicians, I also taught private piano students and played weddings and bar mitzvahs.

    Continue reading

    April 15, 2006 in Tax Prof Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    Boortz and Graetz Debate The Fair Tax on C-Span

    Book_tv Neal Boortz and Michael Graetz (Yale) debate The Fair Tax this weekend on the Book TV Program on C-Span 2:

    Radio talk show host Neal Boortz, co-author of The Fair Tax Book, debates Michael Graetz, professor of law at Yale University Law School and author of The Decline (and Fall?) of the Income Tax, on the value of replacing the current federal tax system with the Fair Tax system. The Fair Tax is a proposal for all federal taxes to be replaced by a national consumption tax. The authors argue over the revenue generating potential of the Fair Tax and the exact rate at which citizens would have to be taxed to meet current government spending levels. The debate is moderated by Harvey Shapiro, contributing editor at Institutional Investor magazine.

      • Saturday: 7:00 p.m.
      • Sunday:  2:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

    As an added bonus for Tax TV junkies, Charles Adams discusses his book For Good & Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization tonight at 6:00 p.m. in an encore presentation of his 1993 interview:

    Charles Adams sat down in 1993 to discuss the history of taxation. "For Good & Evil" examines the role of taxation in several historical events, including the fall of Rome, the American Revolution and the signing of the Magna Carta.

    April 15, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

    Fairman on Fuck

    Ssrn_logo_125FairmanChristopher M. Fairman (Ohio State) has posted Fuck on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

    This Article is as simple and provocative as its title suggests: it explores the legal implications of the word fuck. The intersection of the word fuck and the law is examined in four major areas: First Amendment, broadcast regulation, sexual harassment, and education. The legal implications from the use of fuck vary greatly with the context. To fully understand the legal power of fuck, the nonlegal sources of its power are tapped. Drawing upon the research of etymologists, linguists, lexicographers, psychoanalysts, and other social scientists, the visceral reaction to fuck can be explained by cultural taboo. Fuck is a taboo word. The taboo is so strong that it compels many to engage in self-censorship. This process of silence then enables small segments of the population to manipulate our rights under the guise of reflecting a greater community. Taboo is then institutionalized through law, yet at the same time is in tension with other identifiable legal rights. Understanding this relationship between law and taboo ultimately yields fuck jurisprudence.

    Brian Leiter notes that the article was rejected by the Kansas Law Review within 25 minutes of submission,  (Hat Tip:  Feminist Law Professors)

    April 15, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

    Grassley Urges IRS to Rein in Hidden Expenses to Taxpayers in Free File Program

    Us_senate_12Senate Finance Committee Chair Grassley issued a press release yesterday urging the IRS to rein in hidden expenses to taxpayers in the Free File Program, along with an accompanying staff report,

    Press coverage:

    Prior TaxProf Blog coverage of the Free File Program:

    April 15, 2006 in Congressional News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Jolly-Ryan on Tax Exemptions and Other Government Privileges to Discriminatory Private Clubs

    Jollyryan Ssrn_logo_122 Jennifer Jolly-Ryan (Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law) has posted Teed off About Private Club Discrimination on the Taxpayers’ Dime; Tax Exemptions and Other Government Privileges to Discriminatory Private Clubs on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

    Discrimination by bona fide private clubs is legal. It is a constitutionally protected activity under the First Amendment. In balancing individuals’ freedom of association and civil rights laws, Congress specifically exempts private clubs from protections otherwise afforded certain protected classes. But our laws go further than balancing and protecting the associational rights of private club members. Discrimination by private clubs is often subsidized through government authorized tax exemptions. Tax exemptions to private clubs that discriminate on the basis of race, gender, and religion, are at the expense of the very citizens victimized by discrimination; citizens who oppose discrimination, and taxpayers who protest, “not on my dime!”

    Continue reading

    April 15, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    Bush, Cheney, Schwarzenegger, Spitzer Release Tax Returns

    Form_1040_4 Today was the mother lode for the release of politicians' tax returns.

    Tax Returns:

    Media Coverage:

    April 14, 2006 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    GW Law Prof to Sue Administrator for Failing to Prohibit Smoking

    Smoking Interesting article in today's Inside Higher Ed:  Thank You for Not Smoking, by Doug Lederman:

    [GW Law Prof John F. Banzhaf III] says that university administrators have repeatedly declined in recent months to respond to requests by students and others to restrict smoking near the entrances to buildings on the campus. A “gauntlet of tobacco smoke” surrounds many an entrance to campus buildings, Banzhaf says — except those, like the entrances to the law school and the building that houses the university’s president and other top administrators, that already display signs barring smoking near the entrances, Banzhaf notes with some irony.

    More than 500 students and staff members signed an online petition this winter that urged the university to amend its policies by prohibiting smoking within 50 feet of the entrances to all buildings, but the university’s Office of Risk Management, which oversees such policies, has refused to act, Banzhaf asserts....

    So last week, the law professor delivered a letter to Fitzroy Smith, who directs the risk management office, about Banzhaf’s intention to file a discrimination complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights if Smith and the university do not take steps to stop smoking around the entrances to buildings on the campus. “This will seek to hold him personally and individually liable for discrimination against nonsmokers and persons with handicaps” related to smoking, such as respiratory illnesses, Banzhaf says....

    Banzhaf says he doesn’t have any great desire to sue his employer or any of its officials, and notes that in more than 30 years at the university, he has been able to resolve his past conflicts with the institution “by working through the procedures. It’s only when you run into a brick wall, and people basically say ‘No, the hell with you,’ that you have to do something different.”

    April 14, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    DOJ Launches Nationwide Crackdown on #1 Tax Scam

    Doj_2 The Department of Justice has announced that it has launched a nationwide crackdown against the #1 tax-fraud scheme in the country.

    According to the government complaints, filed in seven lawsuits across the country, the nine people—including [Peter Eric] Hendrickson and his wife Doreen M. Hendrickson—have received a total of nearly $150,000 in erroneous tax refunds by submitting false forms with their federal tax returns to replace W-2 and 1099 forms that correctly reported their income.

    In seven suits filed in U.S. district courts in California, Nevada, Michigan, Alabama, Florida and Kansas, the Justice Department seeks to recover the erroneous refunds. In addition, the suit against Hendrickson, filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, asks the court to enjoin him from filing false tax forms and returns. A violation of the injunction would be punishable as contempt of court.

    According to the complaint, Hendrickson claims that only government workers are subject to income taxes. Hendrickson tells people to not submit their W-2 and 1099 forms with their tax returns, and in their place submit substitute or corrected W-2 and 1099 forms that they create on which they change their reported income to zero. Under the scheme, people then submit the falsified forms with a tax return falsely reporting no income and request a refund of all taxes withheld from wages....

    The suit against Hendrickson alleges that he was convicted in 1992 on federal criminal charges for failing to file a federal income tax return and for a conspiracy involving a firebomb placed in a bin at a U.S. Post Office in Royal Oak, Mich. on April 16, 1990, the last day on which tax returns could be postmarked that year. Hendrickson testified at a co-conspirator’s trial that he wrapped a tea bag around the bomb’s tubing as a reference to the Boston Tea Party tax protest.

    For press coverage, see:

    For copies of the seven complaints, see:

    April 14, 2006 in New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Task Force on UC Compensation, Accountability, and Transparency

    Uc_color_logosized_1 We previously blogged the brouhaha over allegations of excessive and hidden pay in the University of California system sparked by a series of articles in the San Francisco Chronicle.  The Task Force on UC Compensation, Accountability, and Transparency formed in response to the allegations has released its report, which concludes:

    UC needs a sea change in current policies and practices, as well as in a University culture long accustomed to using exceptions to work around inadequate or obsolete policies rather than establishing and ensuring compliance with clear guidelines. To institutionalize and sustain the Task Force’s recommendations, the University must focus simultaneously on disclosure and transparency, governance and accountability, and competitive compensation.

    For more, see:

    April 14, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Motro on The Joint Return and a Marriage-Neutral Income Tax

    MotroShari Motro (Richmond) has published an op-ed in today's New York Times, The IRS's Shotgun Marriage:

    Because marriage is a lousy proxy for economic unity, joint filing—with its income-splitting benefits and joint-liability burdens—shouldn't be available to couples who lead independent financial lives. Rather, only couples who are prepared to marry their wallets as well as their hearts by signing an income-sharing agreement should be permitted to file as one....

    The op-ed is based on Shari's forthcoming article, A New I Do: Towards a Marriage-Neutral Income Tax, 91 Iowa L. Rev. ___ (2006).  Here is the abstract:

    The federal income tax system treats married couples as if each spouse earned approximately one-half of the couple's combined income through a mechanism called "income splitting." For many one-earner and unequal-earner couples, income splitting produces a significant advantage, a "marriage bonus," by shifting income from higher to lower rate brackets. Marriage-based income splitting relies on a presumption that marriage is a good indicator of economic unity between two taxpayers. It is not. Marriage does not require spousal sharing and many unmarried couples share everything they earn. As a result, the current system extends the benefit of income splitting to some taxpayers who do not deserve it while withholding it from others who do. Because marriage is a poor proxy for economic unity, this Article proposes a new eligibility criterion for income-splitting: only couples legally committed to sharing their income, regardless of marital status, would be permitted to file jointly.

    April 14, 2006 in News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    16 States Impose iTunes Tax

    CNET News reports that 15 states and the District of Columbia impose iTunes taxes -- taxes on digital purchases of songs and movies:

    New Mexico
    South Dakota
    West Virginia
    Washington, D.C.

    April 14, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (3)

    Bloggership Conference at Harvard on April 28

    Berkman_logo_4Our symposium on Bloggership:  How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship is being held two weeks from today at Harvard Law School (Friday, April 28).  The symposium is sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and will be held in the Ames Courtroom.  It is free and open to the public; registration is not required.  I hope you will be able to join us.  Here is the schedule:

    8:30 - 8:40 a.m.: Welcome: John Palfrey (Executive Director, The Berkman Center for Internet & Society)

    8:40 - 9:00 a.m.: Introduction: Paul Caron (Cincinnati; Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Law Professor Blogs Network)

    9:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Law Blogs as Legal Scholarship

    11:00 - 12:30 p.m.: The Role of the Law Professor Blogger

    12:30 - 2:00 p.m.: Lunch

    2:00 - 3:30 p.m.: Law Blogs and the First Amendment

    3:45 - 5:15 p.m.:  The Many Faces of Law Professor Blogs

    April 14, 2006 in Scholarship, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Bovenberg & Sorensen on Optimal Taxation and Social Insurance in a Lifetime Perspective

    Ssrn_logo_123 A. Lans Bovenberg (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research) & Peter Birch Sorensen (University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics) have posted Optimal Taxation and Social Insurance in a Lifetime Perspective on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

    Advances in information technology have improved the administrative feasibility of redistribution based on lifetime earnings recorded at the time of retirement. We study optimal lifetime income taxation and social insurance in an economy in which redistributive taxation and social insurance serve to insure (ex ante) against skill heterogeneity as well as disability risk. Optimal disability benefits rise with previous earnings so that public transfers depend not only on current earnings but also on earnings in the past. Hence, lifetime taxation rather than annual taxation is optimal. The optimal tax-transfer system does not provide full disability insurance. By offering imperfect insurance and structuring disability benefits so as to enable workers to insure against disability by working harder, social insurance is designed to offset the distortionary impact of the redistributive labor income tax on labor supply.

    April 14, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    More on the Hylton Law School Rankings

    The new Hylton Law School Rankings (blogged here and here) continue to attract a lot of discussion in the law prof blogosphere:

    April 14, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    The Mellon Ditty

    Yesterday's post on the IRS Theme Song generated an interesting post from John Lee (William & Mary) on the TaxProf Discussion List tracing the song's antecedents to the Mellon Ditty (from "Death and Taxes"' and Hypocrisy, 60 Tax Notes 1393 (Sept 6, 1993)):

    Tax the people, tax with care,
    Tax to help the millionaire;
    Tax the farmer; tax his fowl;
    Tax the dog and tax his howl;
    Tax his hen and tax her egg;
    And let the bloomin' mudsill beg.
    Tax them just all you can,
    This is, friends, the Mellon plan.

    Tax his pig and tax his squeal,
    Tax his boots, run down at heel;
    Tax his horses, tax his lands,
    Tax his blisters on his hands;
    Tax him just all you can;
    This is, friends, the Mellon plan.

    Tax his plow and tax his clothes,
    Tax his rag that wipes his nose;
    Tax his house and tax his bed,
    Tax the bald spot on his head;
    Tax the ox and tax the ass;
    Tax his 'Henry,' tax the gas;
    Tax the road that he must pass
    And make him travel o'er the grass;
    Tax him just all you can;
    This is, friends, the Mellon plan.

    Tax his cow and tax the calf,
    Tax him if he dares to laugh;
    He is but a common man,
    So tax the cuss just all you can,
    This is, friends, the Mellon plan.

    Tax the lab'rer, but be discreet,
    Tax him for walking on the street;
    Tax his bread and tax his meat,
    Tax his shoes clear off his feet.
    Tax the pay roll, tax the sale,
    Tax all his hard-earned paper kale;
    Tax his pipe and tax his smoke,
    Teach him government is no joke;
    Tax him just all you can,
    This is, friends, the Mellon plan.

    Tax their coffins, tax their shrouds,
    Tax their souls beyond the clouds;
    Tax 'small' business, tax the shop;
    Tax their incomes, tax their stocks;
    Tax the living, tax the dead;
    Tax the unborn before they're fed;
    Tax the water, tax the air,
    Tax the sunlight if you dare;
    Tax them all, tax them well,
    Take it all, don't leave a smell;
    Tax the good roads, tax the stones,
    Tax the farmers, tax their loans,
    Kill their credit, raise their rates,
    Tax the cities, tax the States;
    Save the profiteer his gold,
    Tax the poor, tax the old;
    Tax them just all you can,
    This is, friends, the Mellon plan.

    Continue reading

    April 13, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    DEA Agent Shoots Himself in Foot During Gun Safety Demonstration to Schoolchildren

    Non-tax related, but very funny video from The Smoking Gun about a DEA agent who shot himself in the foot during a gun safety demonstration to schoolchildren.  (Also check out the agent's federal lawsuit against the U.S. government claiming that the DEA allowed the tape to be disseminated over the Internet, which caused the agent to become the "target of jokes, derision, ridicule, and disparaging comments.")  See DEA Agent Who Shot Self In Foot Sues U.S.; Seeks Damages for Distribution of Humiliating Gun Accident Video.

    April 13, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Top 50 Jobs: Professor (#2), Lawyer (#37), Accountant (#44)

    Here are some interesting results from the CNN/Money Magazine ranking of the Top 50 Jobs:







    2. Professor






    37. Lawyer






    44. Accountant






    April 13, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    Kane Presents Risk and Redistribution in Open and Closed Economies Today at NYU

    Kane_2 Nyu_15Mitchell Kane (Virginia) presents Risk and Redistribution in Open and Closed Economies at NYU today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance series conducted by Alan Auerbach and Daniel Shaviro.  Here is the Conclusion:

    The relation between taxation and risktaking has occupied an important place in tax scholarship in recent years. In this Article I have attempted to extend that analysis into the open economy setting, and to demonstrate that the conjunction of current international tax instruments and risky cross-border capital flows leads to the divergence of upside and downside risk across jurisdictions. The accompanying distributive consequences are difficult to square with the normative underpinnings of jurisdictional tax entitlements in the international setting. Because competing distributive commitments will make it difficult to eliminate divergence, however, the phenomenon should play a role in a range of policy debates where its distributive effects are relevant, though not previously noted.

      The Colloquium will be held in Room 120 of Furman Hall from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. EST. Although the public is invited to attend, due to heightened security throughout NYU Law, please contact Rosemary Simon so she can provide the Guard's desk with your name.

      April 13, 2006 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

      Ventry Presents The Uneasy Relationship Between Tax Lawyers and the IRS Today at UCLA

      Ucla_law_logo_jpg_2Dennis J. Ventry, Jr. (UCLA) presents Suspicious Minds:  The Uneasy Relationship Between Tax Lawyers and the IRS at UCLA today as part of its Tax Policy and Public Finance Workshop Series, moderated by Eric Zolt & Victor Fleischer.  The colloquium takes place in Room 2448, UCLA Law School, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. PST.

      April 13, 2006 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

      Fennell Presents Taxation Over Time Today at Northwestern

      Fennell_1 Northwestern_2_2Lee Ann Fennell (Illinois; visiting NYU) presents Taxation Over Time at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Series organized by David Cameron and Philip Postlewaite. Here is the abstract:

      Individuals experience lengthy taxpaying lives that exhibit a great deal of internal variation in income, yet tax rate schedules usually ignore the taxpayer’s age, life cycle stage, and pattern of earnings over time. What would it mean for tax design to optimally contextualize taxation within taxpayers’ lives – that is, to approach the taxation of individuals explicitly as taxation over time? This article offers what we believe to be the first comprehensive theoretical treatment of that question. The fact that people occupy different income positions at different times in their lives has potentially significant implications for a tax system’s pursuit of equity and efficiency. Features of human cognition that operate over time, such as optimism, myopia, and a preference for improving sequences, also bear importantly on tax design. To shed light on these issues, we synthesize and contrast two divergent approaches to taxpayer lives – well-known “lifetime averaging” proposals that attempt to erase the impact of income volatility on relative tax burdens, and less-studied “age-basing” proposals that attempt to harness population-wide variations in lifetime earning patterns by keying tax rates explicitly to age. Our goal is to provide a unified analytic framework for understanding taxation over time that will spur further empirical and theoretical work on this intriguing issue.

      The Colloquium will be held at 4:00 p.m. CST in Rubloff 339 at Northwestern Law School.

      April 13, 2006 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)