Paul L. Caron

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Betrayal of Socrates in Legal Education

SocraticDavid Barnhizer (Cleveland State), The Betrayal of Socrates:

My argument here is that there is a stark disjunction between the Socratic ideal and the reality found in the First Year of law school at nearly all institutions. The underlying assumption is simple—the initial foundational phase of an activity is the most important. It provides the basis for all that follows. As such, the most intense and sophisticated methods should be applied at the foundational level so that the more “advanced” learning rests on a deep intellectual base. ...

[I]n the midst of all the talk about producing “practice ready” law graduates I argue that the single most important “core”, “foundational” or “meta” skill we teach in law school is the heightened ability to think with analytical precision and integrative strategic skill aimed at problem solving and avoidance along with innovative opportunity creation. I would even go so far as to conclude that law teachers of several generations ago who stated that the goal was to teach law students to “think like lawyers” were absolutely correct in concept even if they (and we) didn’t know exactly what the concept meant, how to do it properly or what “substances” ought to make up the material on which the processes of thought were exercised to produce the desired results. ...

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January 31, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nine California Law Schools Bucked National Trend, Increased 1L Enrollment in 2014

National JuristNational Jurist, Enrollment Up at 9 California Law Schools:

Law school enrollment dropped by 7.2 percent this year, but 33 law schools bucked the trend and increased enrollment. Nine of those law schools hail from California — more than any other state.

“We aren’t in an arctic vortex,” joked Edward Tom, Dean of Admissions at University of California, Berkeley School of Law when asked why California schools fared better this year.  “Honestly, I have no idea.”

While the nine schools saw improvement this year, they are still down 13 percent from 2010. ... While nine California law schools were up, nine were also down. Total enrollment in the state was down 5.1 percent this year, and is more than 18 percent off from 2010. ...

California law schools that increased enrollment this year:

  1. Chapman 21.37%
  2. UC-Berkeley 4.2%
  3. La Verne 3.47%
  4. UC-Davis 2.81%
  5. UCLA 1.74%
  6. California Western 0.91%
  7. USC 0.66%
  8. Stanford 0.52%
  9. Pepperdine 0.5%

Of these nine schools, one increased the median LSAT of their larger entering class (Stanford +1, to 172); six maintained their median LSAT (UC-Berkeley & UCLA, 167; USC, 166; UC-Davis, 162; Pepperdine, 160; La Verne, 147); and two decreased their median LSAT (Chapman -2, to 156; California Western -1, to 150).

Nationally, six law schools increased enrollment by 5% or more:

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January 31, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Simkovic: The Knowledge Tax

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), The Knowledge Tax:

Labor economists struggle to explain why the rates of return to higher education have remained much higher than the rates of return to other investments. This article proposes a novel explanation: distortionary taxation.

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January 31, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 632

IRS Logo 2New American, Surveillance of the Right Is Not New: The IRS Scandal in Historical Perspective:

The Obama administration’s ongoing coverup of the IRS scandal about targeting the Tea Party is not the first instance of the federal government persecuting the political Right with IRS audits. In fact, the current IRS scandal — where Lois Lerner’s Blackberry and her desktop computer have apparently been wiped clean to destroy evidence — are actually following a more than 50-year script for government to destroy the political Right in the form of the “Reuther Memorandum.” “The flow of big money to the radical right should be dammed to the extent possible,” the “Reuther Memorandum” informed the Kennedy administration, asking for political assistance in stemming that flow. ...

Several lessons can be learned from the 1960s. The first is that the perseverance of The John Birch Society in the wake of such government persecution and surveillance over the past 55 years should be a source of hope for modern Tea Party organizations. The Obama administration has tried to delay and deny tax-exempt status designations from the IRS in order to starve the Tea Party for funds because they know most corporations and foundations won’t donate to an organization without a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax-exempt designation from the IRS. Despite the intimidation, IRS harassment, and media ridicule, the JBS remains a major fixture on the political Right today.

Secondly, the experience of The John Birch Society teaches the lesson that government can’t be trusted — even the administration of the allegedly sainted and martyred John F. Kennedy — and its secrets need to be revealed through dogged congressional investigations and strong public information laws. Public information laws needed include a strengthened Freedom of Information Act, as well as stronger whistleblower laws so that public informants such as Edward Snowden can come to Congress with information about blatant government violations of the U.S. Constitution without fear of prosecution. Most of what we know about the FBI and IRS persecution of political groups — both in the 1960s and under the Obama administration — came from the congressional investigations and whistleblowers who testified before them.

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January 31, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekly Tax Roundup

Corporate Profits Soar, Average Incomes Plummet

Al Jazeera, Economy Grows, Incomes Shrink: Americans Continue to Lose Money While Corporate Profits Soar, by David Cay Johnston (Syracuse):

The first data on 2013 incomes show continuing bad news for Americans, my analysis of a new Internal Revenue Service report shows. Average income fell 2.6 percent in 2013, even though the economy grew 3.2 percent in real terms over 2012. Average inflation-adjusted income in 2013 was 8 percent lower than in 2007, the last peak economic year, and 6.9 percent less than in 2000, the year President George W. Bush set as the standard to evaluate the effect of his tax cuts and regulatory policies.

This is the latest sign of a disturbing trend. An ever-shrinking share of national income flows to individuals while corporate profits expand. In fact, profits hit a record high in 2013 both in absolute terms and as a share of the economy. By both measures, profits have continued rising. By contrast, labor’s share of national income has been trending downward since 1980, except for a spike during the second term of President Bill Clinton. The decline accelerated after the Bush tax cuts took effect, retroactively, to the first day of 2001.


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January 30, 2015 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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January 30, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

January 30, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

UCLA & Tax Policy Center Host Conference Today on International Tax Reform

UCLAUCLA and the Tax Policy Center host a conference today on International Tax Reform from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. PST (webcast here):

Panel #1:  Political Economy of International Tax Reform

Presenters:  Alan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley), Jon Talisman (Capitol Tax Partners)
Commentator:  Jason Oh (UCLA)

Panel #2:  Inversions: Where Do We Go From Here?

Presenters:  Mihir Desai (Harvard), Victor Fleischer (San Diego)
Commentator:  Larry Stein (Latham & Watkins)

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January 30, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Retired Professor Gives $1 Million to Emory Law School

CarneyPress Release,  Retired Professor Gives $1 Million to Emory Law:

Emory Law Professor William J. Carney and his wife, Jane [left and right in photo, along with Dean Robert Schapiro and Sue Payne, Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Center for Transactional Law and Practice], have created a challenge grant of $1 million to benefit the law school's Center for Transactional Law and Practice.

The Carneys' gift will allow the center to hire an assistant director and to enhance both its experiential programs and academic offerings. When the law school has raised $1 million in matching funds, it will establish the William and Jane Carney Chair of Transactional Law and Practice, to be held by the center's executive director.

The gift is one of the largest named gifts from a professor ever given to Emory University. ...

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January 30, 2015 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (2)

IRS Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Program Releases Annual Report

LITC CoverIR-2015-13, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Program Reports on Activities (Jan. 29, 2015):

The Internal Revenue Service’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program Office has issued its annual program report, which describes how LITCs have assisted thousands of low income taxpayers nationwide with free or low-cost representation, education and advocacy services.

LITCs provide free or low-cost assistance to low income individuals who have tax disputes with the IRS, such as an audit, appeals hearing, collection matter or litigation. LITCs also conduct education and outreach to taxpayers who speak English as a second language (ESL). In addition, they advocate for low income taxpayers and highlight the need to change administrative practices and procedures that cause their clients hardship. 

The report explains how LITCs help low income and ESL individuals understand and exercise their rights as U.S. taxpayers. The report also provides an overview and history of the LITC program, discusses the type of cases that LITCs work, and reports the results that LITCs achieve on behalf of their clients.


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January 30, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stephen Carter: My Son Was Stopped by Police For Being Black at Yale

Yale University LogoNew Haven Register op-ed:  Another Son Stopped for Being Black at Yale, by Stephen Carter (Yale):

The columnist Charles M. Blow of the New York Times has sparked debate this week by his disclosure that his son, a student at Yale College, was stopped at gunpoint by a Yale police officer who said he resembled a robbery suspect.

I’d like to take a moment to add my small coda of personal outrage, as the father of an African-American son ... who was also harassed by the Yale police while a student at Yale College. What happened to our son wasn’t as serious as what happened to Blow’s — no gun was pointed his way — but the echoes are painful nevertheless. ...

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January 30, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 631

IRS Logo 2Judicial Watch, Obama Administration Refuses to Release Time Records of Key Attorney in IRS Scandal Investigation:

Judicial Watch announced today that the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) is going to extreme lengths to keep from the public the number of hours DOJ Attorney Barbara Bosserman expended on the investigation of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative organizations.  The DOJ has claimed no less than four separate privileges in federal court to keep secret Bosserman’s hours. In doing so, the DOJ has confirmed that the criminal investigation into the IRS’ abuses is ongoing and that Bosserman, a major donor to Obama’s political campaigns and Democratic National Committee, continues to be part of the team of lawyers criminally investigating the issue.  The developments come in a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the Justice Department to obtain the information about Bosserman’s activities. ...

“All Judicial Watch wants is the number of hours that the Obama donor/Justice Department lawyer has spent investigating the worst IRS abuse in American history,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “That the Justice Department has violated the law to keep this information secret is further confirmation that President Obama’s Justice Department is hopelessly conflicted in the IRS scandal.  Thanks to Judicial Watch, the public knows that the Justice Department and the FBI are co-conspirators with the IRS – and planned to prosecute citizens on Obama’s political hit list.  Obama’s IRS abuse is far worse than Nixon’s.  And as with Watergate, the public interest and basic legal ethics principles require that the U.S. Attorney General appoint special counsel to investigate the IRS scandal.  The U.S. Senate should ask Loretta Lynch, the president’s nominee to replace the disgraced Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General, about this issue.”

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January 30, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

College Endowment Rankings

Chronicle of Higher Education, College Endowments See Another Year of Growth:

The improving economy contributed to a second strong year in a row for colleges’ endowment returns, according to an annual study released on Thursday. Colleges’ endowments returned an average of 15.5 percent in the 2014 fiscal year, up from 11.7 percent in 2013.

The ranking of 851 colleges is here.  The Top 25 (figures in thousands):

Top 25

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January 29, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Three Cheers for the Death Tax!

The Daily Beast, Three Cheers for the Death Tax!, by Michael Tomasky:

Of all the Obama proposals unveiled in the State of the Union address, the one that’s probably drawn the most right-wing fire is the one that would close an inheritance capital-gains tax loophole. ... Undertaxing inherited wealth is ... immoral. ...

[T]he estate tax doesn’t start until $5.43 million per person or $10.86 million per couple. That’s high enough that only the wealthiest .15 percent of Americans pay any estate tax. Among the 3,780 U.S. households that owed any estate tax in 2013, their average tax rate was 16.6 percent.

Center for American Progress, Report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity (Jan. 15, 2015):

Combined with the United States’ generous estate tax structure, the step-up in basis rule creates very low effective tax rates on inherited wealth. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the step-up in basis rule will reduce federal revenues by $644 billion over 10 years, with 21 percent of that subsidy going to the top 1 percent of income earners.


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January 29, 2015 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (2)

Borden: Rethinking the Tax-Revenue Effect of REIT Taxation

Florida Tax ReviewBradley Borden (Brooklyn), Rethinking the Tax-Revenue Effect of REIT Taxation, 16 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2015):

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) have recently made headlines in major media outlets and have caught the attention of lawmakers and analysts because they erode the corporate tax base. REITs are not subject to the entity-level tax that typically applies to corporations. To avoid being taxed on real-estate income, some corporations spin off real estate into REITs. After a REIT spinoff, such corporations rent the real estate from the REIT and continue to use it in their operations. Thus, a mere change in corporate form removes taxable income from the corporation (i.e., erodes the corporate tax base) and eliminates the entity-level tax on income from the spun-off real estate. This erosion of the corporate tax base concerns lawmakers (who have proposed prohibiting tax-free REIT spinoffs), some economists, and the media. Another concern is that the IRS has extended REIT classification to entities that hold non-traditional real estate, such as telecommunications infrastructure, billboards, oil and gas pipeline systems, timber, casinos, prisons, and data centers. The extension of REIT taxation to nontraditional real estate may not erode the corporate tax base because the assets may come from non-corporate entities. Thus, the tax-revenue effect of REIT taxation extends beyond REIT spinoffs and the erosion of the corporate tax base. Nonetheless, intuition suggests that more REIT spinoffs, the expansion of REIT taxation, and the growth of the REIT industry must erode the corporate tax base and significantly reduce government tax revenue. This Article challenges that intuition and presents two counterintuitive findings. First, it shows that REIT spinoffs can actually increase tax revenue even though they erode the corporate tax base. Second, it reveals that loss of tax revenue from REIT taxation primarily results from REITs forming from partnerships, not from REIT spinoffs. The Article concludes by recommending how these findings should influence discussions of REIT reform.

January 29, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Occupy the Syllabus

UC-Berkeley (University)The Daily Californian op-ed, Occupy the Syllabus:

We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.

We have major concerns about social theory courses in which white men are the only authors assigned. These courses pretend that a minuscule fraction of humanity — economically privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States) — are the only people to produce valid knowledge about the world. This is absurd. The white male syllabus excludes all knowledge produced outside this standardized canon, silencing the perspectives of the other 99 percent of humanity. ...

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January 29, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Murphy: Pragmatic Administrative Law and Tax Exceptionalism

Richard Murphy, Pragmatic Administrative Law and Tax Exceptionalism, 64 Duke L.J. Online 21 (2014):

This Essay responds to the 2014 Duke Law Journal Administrative Law Symposium. Its principal contention is that courts and other commentators should give due weight to the history and virtues of the evolution of administrative law in the United States—and consider embracing the pragmatism and flexibility that it enables—in applying general principles of administrative law in the tax context.

January 29, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hill: The Associate Dean for Research in the Age of the Internet

B. Jessie Hill (Case Western), The Associate Dean for Research in the Age of the Internet, 31 Touro L. Rev. ___ (2015):

In this brief essay, written for a Touro Law Review symposium issue on the role of the associate dean for research and scholarship, I reflect on how the increasing centrality of the Internet to research and scholarship affects the way the Associate Dean for Research might do her job, and I describe some of the measures that seem to be effective in light of this new state of affairs.

January 29, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Going Clear, Scientology, and the IRS

Slate, What Sundance Favorite Going Clear Tells Us About Scientology:

Going Clear [review here] ends by noting that the church has fewer than 50,000 members but still possesses more than $3 billion in assets. Most of this wealth can be attributed to Scientology’s long, tortured, and ultimately triumphant battle with the IRS to be deemed a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. That victory is perhaps Miscavige’s keystone achievement: as the film details, and as the New York Times reported in 1997, Miscavige used a combination of lawsuits, backroom negotiations, and private investigators digging up dirt on IRS officials to secure Scientology’s status as a religion.

January 29, 2015 in Book Club, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Female, Minority Professors Are Paid Less Than White Male Professors at UC-Berkeley

UCBUC-Berkeley Press Release, Campus Poised to Act on Salary Gaps for Women, Minority Faculty:

The gaps aren’t large, nor are the causes clear. But the campus is already planning to act on new findings that average salaries for women and minority-group faculty at UC Berkeley lag behind those for white men in similar fields, and with comparable professional experience.

A just-released study shows that average salaries for underrepresented minority faculty members trail those of their white male counterparts by 1 to 1.8 percent. Gaps between women and white males were slightly larger, with a range between 1.8 and 4.3 percent.

The report calls for further research to investigate reasons for the differences — which it notes could result from a mix of factors — and lays out measures to make salaries more equitable for all Berkeley ladder faculty.

A key recommendation is to create a new “targeted decoupling initiative” to provide salary increases for faculty beyond what ordinary advancement in rank and step allows. The findings of the study would provide important data to help build the new salary program.

Report of the UC Berkeley Faculty Salary Equity Study (Jan. 2015):

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January 29, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Pierce: Which Institution Should Determine Whether an Agency’s Explanation of a Tax Decision is Adequate?

Richard J. Pierce, Jr. (George Washington), Which Institution Should Determine Whether an Agency’s Explanation of a Tax Decision is Adequate?: A Response to Steve Johnson, 64 Duke L.J. Online 1 (2014):

This Essay responds to Professor Steve Johnson’s Article for the 2014 Duke Law Journal Administrative Law Symposium, Reasoned Explanation and IRS Adjudication [63 Duke L.J. 1771 (2014)]. I first describe the ways in which courts have added burdensome procedures that are not required by the APA for the notice and comment process. Next, I explain why the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is better than courts at reviewing the adequacy of agency reasons for issuing a rule. Finally, I explain how courts can eliminate judicial review for the adequacy of the reasons IRS gives for issuing a rule by applying the traditional broad interpretations of the Anti-Injunction Act and the tax exception to the Declaratory Judgment Act.

January 29, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 630

IRS Logo 2Bloomberg, Ted Cruz Leads the New Conservative Crusade Against the IRS:

Though the first day of Loretta Lynch's AG hearings went as well as Democrats might have wanted, Senator Ted Cruz managed to steal the spotlight on an issue near and dear to the hearts of many conservatives: reforming the Internal Revenue Service. ...

Cruz asked Lynch if she'd appoint an attorney to independently investigate whether the IRS had targeted Americans over their political beliefs.

"Is it consistent with fairly and impartially enforcing the law to have an investigation into abuse of power at the IRS headed by a major Democratic donor?" asked Cruz.

"My view is that the department has career prosecutors who are devoted to the Constitution," said Lynch, otherwise ignoring the implication of the question.

"Would you commit to this committee to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS abuse of power, who at the very least is not a major Obama donor?" asked Cruz.

Lynch, who according to biographical material submitted to the committee was not born yesterday, declined to take the bait. "My understanding is that the matter has been considered and the matter has been resolved," she said.

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January 29, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Slack Presents The Political Economy of Property Tax Reform Today at Toronto

Enid SlackEnid Slack (Toronto) presents The Political Economy of Property Tax Reform at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Property taxes are generally considered by economists to be good taxes, and many countries are being advised to increase and improve their property taxes. In practice, however, property tax reforms have often proved to be difficult to carry out successfully. This paper discusses why property taxes are particularly challenging to reform and suggests several ways in which efforts to reform this tax may become more successful in the future. After a brief introductory section on the ‘disconnect’ between the economics and the politics of property tax reform, Section 2 summarizes recent experiences in five OECD countries with property tax reform. Against this background, Section 3 sets out the key elements of a good property tax reform and Section 4 discusses several aspects of property tax reform that seem to have derailed or distorted reforms in practice. Unfortunately, some of the solutions countries have adopted to deal with such problems are themselves problematic, either because they do not really solve the problem or because they hamper rather than work towards the establishment of a good property tax. Fortunately, as Section 5 outlines, it is possible to devise strategies for property tax reform that incorporate more acceptable solutions to most problems. As Section 6 concludes, good property tax reform is not easy. But it can definitely be achieved if an appropriately designed reform package is properly introduced and implemented.

January 28, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charitable Donations to Colleges Reached All-Time High in 2014 ($38 Billion)

Top 10Wall Street Journal, Harvard, Stanford Lead Record Year for College Gifts; $37.5 Billion Is 10.8% Jump; Top 10 Schools Bring in 18% of Donations:

Colleges and universities received a record $37.5 billion in donations last year, led by massive gifts to Harvard University, Stanford University and other already-wealthy schools.

The new high, a 10.8% jump from the prior year, was due in part to stock-market increases that boosted capital gifts, as well as a jump in donations of art, according to an annual survey being released Wednesday by the nonprofit Council for Aid to Education. ...

The top 10 recipients brought in nearly 18% of all gifts last year, up from 15% a decade earlier, according to Ann E. Kaplan, who directs the survey.

Inside Higher Ed, Deep-Pocket Donors:

Top Fund-Raisers in 2014

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January 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

New Emmanuel Saez Data: Gains From Economic Recovery Still Limited to the Top 1%

New York Times:  Gains From Economic Recovery Still Limited to Top One Percent, by Justin Wolters:

Emmanuel Saez, the economics professor who crunches these numbers based on data provided by the Internal Revenue Service, has just released preliminary estimates for 2013. The share of total income (excluding capital gains) going to the top 1 percent remains above one-sixth, at 17.5 percent. By this measure, the concentration of income among the richest Americans remains at levels last seen nearly a century ago.

It is tempting to note that the latest reading is somewhat below the 18.9 percent share that was recorded in 2012. But Professor Saez warns against reading too much into this year-to-year change. The problem is that his estimates rely on tax data, and tax rates on the rich rose sharply in 2013, leading many to shift taxable income out of 2013, and into 2012. Thus, the latest estimate is probably too low, just as the previous year’s number was probably too high.

Saez Table 1

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January 28, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

How Student Debt Harms the Economy

Student LoansWall Street Journal op-ed:  How Student Debt Harms the Economy, by Mitch Daniels (President, Purdue University):

To the growing catalog of damage caused by the decades-long run-up in the cost of higher education, we may have to add another casualty. On top of the harm high tuition and other charges are inflicting on young people, and the way their struggles are holding back today’s economy, we must add the worry that tomorrow’s economy will suffer, too.

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January 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fleming, Peroni & Shay: Formulary Apportionment in the U.S.

J. Clifton Fleming (BYU), Robert J. Peroni (Texas) & Stephen E. Shay (Harvard), Formulary Apportionment in the U.S. International Income Tax System: Putting Lipstick on a Pig?, 36 Mich. J. Int'l L. ___ (2015):

Perhaps surprisingly, this Article has shown that the debate over formulary apportionment is little more than an alternative path to the larger debate over worldwide taxation versus territorial taxation. The present U.S. international income tax regime for U.S. MNEs is an implicit, overly-generous, and incoherent quasi-territorial system that relies on residence rules, source rules, and the arm’s-length approach to apportion international business profits between domestic income that is currently taxable by the United States and foreign income that is effectively exempt, or nearly so, from U.S. taxation because of deferral and cross-crediting. This version of territoriality is quite ugly because it is highly complex and it imposes only modest restraints on the ability of U.S. MNEs to shift income out of the U.S. tax base to low-tax foreign countries.

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January 28, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cockfield: David Foster Wallace on Tax Policy

Pale KingArthur J. Cockfield (Queen's University), David Foster Wallace on Tax Policy, How to Be an Adult, and Other Mysteries of the Universe, 15 Pitt. Tax Rev. ___ (2015):

As one of the most highly acclaimed fiction writers of his generation, David Foster Wallace had many things to say on a seemingly endless variety of topics. In his last work, the unfinished novel The Pale King, he chose to elaborate on, of all things, tax policy and tax administration. Wallace directed tax topics at one of the novel’s main themes: true adulthood often involves overcoming boredom in the workplace to derive a sense of community and care for others. In a sense, the book serves as a guide on how to become a reasonably happy and fulfilled adult. This Essay integrates archival research from the Collected Works of David Foster Wallace at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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January 28, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings 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 January 1, 2015) 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):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina) 



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



James Hines (Michigan)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Omri Marian (Florida)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


David Gamage (UCBerkeley)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


DIck Harvey (Villanova)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


James Hines (Michigan)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



David Walker (Boston Univ.)


Bridget Crawford (Pace)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Chris Sanchirico (Penn)



Dan Shaviro (NYUt)


Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


Carter Bishop (Suffolk)



Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)


Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)



Ed McCaffery (USC)


Steve Willis (Florida)


Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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January 28, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

BP Can Deduct 80% of Gulf Oil Cleanup Payments

BP Logo (2015)U.S. PIRG, Real Value of Deepwater Horizon Disaster Payments Depend on BP’s Tax Deductions:

As British Petroleum (BP) goes through the final phases of closing out its liabilities under the Clean Water Act, public understanding of the real value of the corporation’s payments to address the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster must include the tax deductions BP has taken and will likely take by writing the payments off as ordinary costs of doing business. ...

Over 80 percent of the total money BP has paid in connection with the Gulf oil spill so far qualifies for tax deductions. Only the Department of Justice’s $4 billion criminal fine and the SEC’s $535 million penalty were explicitly non-deductible by law. Any Clean Water Act payments will likely be non-deductible, because they will qualify as legal penalties, and the EPA, unlike many agencies, tends to be explicit that such payments be regarded as penalties. ...

Type of Payment

Tax Status

Amount Paid

Potential Tax Deduction

Damages paid to individuals/businesses


$13 billion

$4.55 billion

Penalties to the DOJ and SEC


$4.5 billion


Cleanup Costs


$15 billion

$5.25 billion

Anticipated future damages


Estimated $18 billion

$6.3 billion

Anticipated NRDA payments


Estimated $1 billion

$350 million

Anticipated Clean Water Act penalties


Maximum $13.7 billion


January 28, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Yahoo To Avoid Billions In Taxes By Spinning Off Alibaba Stake

The IRS Scandal, Day 629

IRS Logo 2Power Line, Sharyl Attkisson to Testify on Lynch Confirmation, But Why?:

Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, will testify tomorrow before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It should be an interesting day. ... Its witness list includes Sharyl Attkisson and Catherine Engelbrecht. Both have grievances against the Obama administration. Attkisson says the Justice Department hacked her electronic devices when she was investigating “Fast and Furious.” Engelbrecht says the administration unfairly targeted her group, True the Vote. Both have filed lawsuits. Engelbrecht’s has been dismissed.

Both sets of grievances should be taken seriously, but I don’t understand how they materially bear on Lynch’s confirmation. The problems with the Holder Justice Department extend far beyond the particular concerns of Attkisson and Engelbrecht. Republican members presumably take it as a given that if they can expect a repeat performance under Lynch, then she is not a suitable replacement.

The key, then, is not to attack Holder but to test the extent to which Lynch professes allegiance to his policies. Whatever her private views, Lynch will not endorse, as a general matter, hacking journalists’ computers or having the IRS target conservative advocacy groups.

The Hill, Stonewalled author Attkisson to Testify on Obama’s AG Nominee:

Also testifying will be Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the Tea Party-aligned True the Vote, which was unfairly targeted by the IRS, she has said, when it attempted to seek tax-exempt status. ...

The inclusion of Attkisson and Engelbrecht points to a fiery hearing that could turn into a referendum on Holder's time at the helm of the Justice Department. Conservatives accused Holder of politicizing his post to help Obama, and have pointed to the alleged hacking of Attkisson’s devices and the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups as evidence

Newsmax, The Hill: Sharyl Attkisson to Testify at AG Nominee Hearing:

Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the tea party-aligned True the Vote, will also be testifying, according to The Hill, which noted that the group had claimed in a lawsuit that it was unreasonably targeted by the IRS when it attempted to seek tax-exempt status.

A federal judge threw out the case against the government brought by Engelbrecht and other conservative groups last October. The proposed testimony of Attkisson and Engelbrecht suggests that the hearing could turn into a contentious affair with the GOP and Democrats battling over Holder's term in charge of the Justice Department.

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January 28, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kamin Presents Designing Legislation That Responds to Fiscal Uncertainty Today at NYU

Kamin (2015)David Kamin (NYU) presents In Good Times and Bad: Designing Legislation That Responds to Fiscal Uncertainty at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Congress often moves slowly to change tax and spending laws when circumstances change, but there are ways to design legislation to anticipate and prevent the tendency towards “policy drift.”

Enactment of major pieces of legislation tends to be followed by periods of legislative stasis, even when economic conditions change. Policies during the Great Recession are an example of this. The Great Recession proved significantly deeper than forecasters had predicted, when the American Recovery And Reinvestment Act was enacted, but but as new information became available, Congress did little to alter the fiscal stimulus in response, other than to continue some expiring provisions.

There are ways to design legislation to anticipate and prevent the tendency towards “policy drift.” This paper identifies four mechanisms: delegation of legislative authority to administrative agencies, triggers that either automatically adjust policy for changed circumstances or try to force an issue onto Congress’s agenda, expirations of legislation that sunset laws on a predetermined date, and indexing to adjust policy in discrete increments in response to changes in conditions.

Responsive to Economic Conditions
Easy for Congress to Initiate
Reduces Uncertainty
Holds Congress Accountable
1. Delegation of legislative authority
2a. Automatic-adjustment triggers
2b. Alarm Bell Triggers
3. Expiration Dates for Legislation
4. Indexing
= Yes     = No     = Mixed    

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January 27, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TPC Program on Dynamic Scoring: Now What?

The Tax Policy Center hosted a program yesterday on Dynamic Scoring: Now What? (video here):

On January 26, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings took a close look at how dynamic scoring is done, the models that JCT and CBO use for macroeconomic analysis of tax bills and other major legislation (immigration, Affordable Care Act, infrastructure), and how to communicate this analysis accurately.

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January 27, 2015 in Congressional News, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

CBO Projects Tepid Economic Growth, Rising Deficits Despite Rising Revenues

McCormack: (Over-)Taxing the Working Family

Shannon Weeks McCormack (University of Washington), Uncle Sam and the Childcare Squeeze: (Over-)Taxing the Working Family:

Today, it is more common for families to consist of two earners than one, and parents increasingly report that they require two incomes to make ends meet. But parents lucky enough to find themselves employed will also find themselves in the “childcare squeeze.” With childcare costs representing one of the highest costs incurred by young families, today’s working parents spend a strikingly large percentage of their income on childcare in order to work away from the home. Worse still, other families find themselves “squeezed out” entirely, unable to find employment with wages high enough to pay soaring childcare expenses. This Article describes the role that two provisions of the Internal Revenue Code have played in creating and aggravating these hardships and provides a blueprint for meaningful reform that will prevent the pervasive over-taxation of the working family.

January 27, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cutbacks Are Looming for Law School Income-Based Repayment Programs

IBRFollowing up on this morning's post, NY Times: Has IBR Solved the Student Loan Crisis?:

New York Times, A Quiet Revolution in Helping Lift the Burden of Student Debt:

The change in college financing has a potentially serious drawback when it comes to college pricing. Income-based repayment programs in Australia and Britain work in part because national governments keep tuition low. Public universities are, to different degrees, legally obligated to hold down tuition prices in exchange for financial support from state governments. But that system has been eroded by state budget cuts, driving tuition and borrowing up, and there are no price restraints attached to the federal IBR system.

This is less a problem for undergraduate programs, for which traditional students are allowed to borrow only up to $31,000 in total. Graduate students, by contrast, can borrow up to the full “cost of attendance” — tuition, fees, room and board. For medical and law schools, this can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, all potentially forgivable under IBR. This creates a strong incentive for graduate and professional schools to raise prices and pass federal taxpayers the bill.

To counter such practices, the Obama administration has proposed moving the forgiveness threshold for students with large graduate debts to 25 years from 20, and capping public service loan forgiveness at $57,000.

Above the Law, A Final Warning To Those Who Enter The Law School Black Hole:

Don’t expect income-based repayment plans to stay in its current form.

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January 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Blair-Stanek: Intellectual Property Law Solutions to Tax Avoidance

Andrew Blair-Stanek (Maryland), Intellectual Property Law Solutions to Tax Avoidance, 62 UCLA L. Rev. 2 (2015):

Multinational corporations use intellectual property (IP) to avoid taxes on a massive scale, by transferring their IP offshore for artificially low prices. Economists estimate that this abuse costs the U.S. Treasury as much as $90 billion each year. Yet tax policymakers and scholars have been unable to devise feasible tax-law solutions to this problem. This Article introduces an entirely new solution: change IP law rather than tax law. Multinationals’ tax-avoidance strategies rely on undervaluing their IP. This Article proposes extending existing IP law so that these low valuations make it harder for multinationals subsequently to litigate or to license the IP. For example, transferring a patent for a low price to a tax-haven subsidiary should make it harder for the multinational to demonstrate the patent’s validity, a competitor’s infringement, or entitlement to any injunctions. The low transfer price should also weigh toward lower patent damages and potentially even a finding of patent misuse. Extending IP law in such ways would deter multinationals from using IP to avoid taxes. Both case law and IP’s theoretical justifications support this approach, which also has the counterintuitive benefit of encouraging the flourishing of creative professionals such as inventors and authors.

January 27, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Encouraging Engaged Scholarship: Perspectives from an Associate Dean for Research

Sonia Katyal (Fordham), Encouraging Engaged Scholarship: Perspectives from an Associate Dean for Research, 31 Touro L. Rev. ___ (2015):

Today, there is little question that faculty scholarship is intimately related to the reputation of a law school, and also relatedly, to the law school rankings game. Central to this reality are some emergent administrative positions — the position of Associate Dean for Research, for example — which carry important possibilities for a law school, both internally and externally, in terms of promoting attention to scholarship. Yet this position, which has only recently emerged in law schools over the last twenty years, is also one that is largely fluid and often determined by the relative institutional capabilities of the rest of the University administration, in addition to the larger landscape of legal education. Because there is no precise one size fits all model for an Associate Dean, the fluidity of the position enables us to consider a range of variables that impact scholarly visibility, both internally within a law school community, and externally within the larger scholarly world. How can we, as Associate Deans, strive to support the productivity of faculty members in these shifting times? How can Associate Deans navigate complex social relations on faculties, where issues of gender, race, class, and other variables often abound? How can we draw attention to scholarly endeavors at a time when law schools are undergoing a massive transformation for the future? How can we ensure that legal scholarship remains relevant and important? How can we value the many types of scholarly contributions that our faculty can make, without imposing a narrow view of what counts as “serious” scholarship?

Answering these questions is not an easy task. Just as there are many different types of research and scholarship, there are many different roles for an Associate Dean for Research. As Associate Dean for Research at Fordham, and one of the small number of minority women who have held this position in law school academia, I have been struck by how many of these issues can be indirectly tied to traditional, institutional questions about building a law school community. Here, questions about identity, seniority, productivity, and interdisciplinary scholarship emerge, often without clear answers. Indeed, also, identity politics — not just demographic identities, but institutional identities — affect so many of the range of questions that surround productivity and the way in which research is valued and embraced in a law school community. Mainstream law review publications, clearly, are an essential part of every law faculty in the country, and should be valued and encouraged, but an administration, should also have a greater sense of the importance of other types of engaged scholarship. Here, I draw on the history and trajectory of American Indian legal scholarship as an illustrative example.

For my perspective, see The Associate Dean for Faculty Research Position: Encouraging and Promoting Scholarship, 33 U. Tol. L. Rev. 233 (2001) (Leadership in Legal Education Symposium) (with Joseph P. Tomain):

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January 27, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Has IBR Solved the Student Loan Crisis?

Student LoansNew York Times, A Quiet Revolution in Helping Lift the Burden of Student Debt:

Has the student loan crisis already been solved?

This might seem an absurd question. Student loan debt is at a record high of $1.1 trillion, and the average undergraduate who borrows to attend school graduates nearly $30,000 in debt. Almost 20 percent of student borrowers are in default.

Yet a couple of little-noticed legislative tweaks to a small, obscure loan repayment program — revisions made under two very different presidents — appear to have created the conditions for far-reaching changes in how a college education is bought and paid for. The result may make it much easier for students to get out from under their debts.

The first changes happened in September 2007, when Congress passed a major overhaul of the federal college financial aid system. ... Under an income-based repayment, if you make little money, you repay little money. If you make nothing, you owe nothing, and your loan doesn’t go into default. The loan forgiveness provision protects borrowers from too much interest accumulating over time.

In 2010, Barack Obama was president, and he, too, pushed a financial aid overhaul through Congress. This time, the government-subsidized private sector loan program was entirely shut down. ...

We appear to be in the middle of a rapid transition in how student loans are repaid, one that is moving the federal government into the same role that state governments played for much of the 20th century: the foundational provider of broad, unqualified subsidies for higher learning. ...

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January 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

15th Annual Conducting Empirical Legal Scholarship Workshop

Wash.U. LogoThe 15th Annual Workshop on Conducting Empirical Legal Scholarship, co-taught by Lee Epstein (Washington University) and Andrew D. Martin (Michigan), will run from June 15-17 at Washington University in St. Louis. The workshop is for law school faculty, lawyers, political science faculty, and graduate students interested in learning about empirical research and how to evaluate empirical work. It provides the formal training necessary to design, conduct, and assess empirical studies, and to use statistical software (Stata) to analyze and manage data.

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January 27, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 628

IRS Logo 2National Review, The Attkisson File:

Attkisson is a dogged reporter, and Stonewalled is a gripping book, organized around the Obama-administration scandals she covered at CBS News. With the exception of the IRS scandal, she covered just about all of them: Fast and Furious, green-energy crony capitalism, Benghazi, and Obamacare. Attkisson devotes a chapter to her work on each one.

Each of the scandals falls into a larger pattern of scandal management practiced by the Obama White House. (The reader can infer how the IRS scandal fits the pattern precisely to a T.) Her book is invaluable for how it analyzes and exposes this pattern, combining her reportage and her behind-the-scenes work at CBS News.

The pattern begins with blatant denials — bald lies — and stonewalling. ... Next in the pattern, when the lies fail, comes the attribution of responsibility to the lowest level of bureaucrat. ... Attkisson also shows how the administration, using a technique she calls “controversialization,” disparages any sources and reporters who move the story forward. ...

Stonewalled covers two kinds of scandal: first, the various scandals within the Obama administration; second, the scandalous treatment of these White House scandals by CBS News. With each White House scandal, Attkisson demonstrates the success, more or less, of the Obama administration’s scandal management inside the newsroom at CBS.

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January 27, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, January 26, 2015

NY Times: Middle Class Continues to Shrink Under President Obama

New York Times, Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up:

The middle class that President Obama identified in his State of the Union speech last week as the foundation of the American economy has been shrinking for almost half a century.

In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets.

But since 2000, the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the main reason being that more people have fallen to the bottom. At the same time, fewer of those in this group fit the traditional image of a married couple with children at home, a gap increasingly filled by the elderly. 

NY Times Chart 2

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January 26, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Amazon Offers Self-Publishing For Faculty Books

KindleLast Thursday, Amazon launched KDP EDU for academics to self-publish books through the Kindle Direct Publishing program:

Amazon’s new Kindle Textbook Creator Beta helps you convert PDFs of your textbooks, course notes, study guides and other educational content that includes complex visual information like charts, graphs and equations into Kindle books. Books created through Kindle Textbook Creator take advantage of features that enhance a student’s learning experience such as dictionary look-up, notebook, highlighting and flashcards. Plus, preview your book across all supported devices.

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January 26, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

How Yahoo Might Sell Billions in Alibaba Stock and Pay No Taxes

YahooBloomberg,  How Yahoo Might Sell Billions in Alibaba Stock and Pay No Taxes, by Jesse Drucker:

Yahoo! on Tuesday is expected to reveal something most companies usually try to keep secret: how it plans to avoid a multibillion-dollar tax bill.

The Web portal has spent more than a year figuring out how to cash out a chunk of its $40 billion stake in China-based Alibaba. Typically, a U.S. company faces a federal tax bill of about 35 percent when it sells stock in another enterprise for cash.

Yahoo took a $3 billion tax hit last year when it sold about $10 billion in Alibaba shares. This time around, activist investors are leaning on the Sunnyvale, California-based company to be more savvy.

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive officer, probably will maintain at least part of the Alibaba holding to keep a finger in China’s fast-growing Web market. Were Yahoo to sell the entire stake, it could face a federal tax bill of as much as $14 billion.

Here are some of Yahoo’s options to avoid capital-gains tax, both legal:

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January 26, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. News College Efficiency Rankings

U.S. News General Logo (2015)U.S. News & World Report, Data Show Which Top-Ranked Colleges Operate Most Efficiently:

Ohio's Miami University—Oxford took top honors as the most efficient school among National Universities and Michigan's Hope College was most efficient among National Liberal Arts Colleges in an exclusive U.S. News analysis that compared spending and educational quality.

For this analysis, U.S. News looked at the public and private colleges that scored the highest on overall undergraduate academic educational quality, as measured by their position in the 2015 Best Colleges rankings, but that spent relatively less on their educational programs to achieve that quality.

U.S. News measures financial resources by taking into account how much a school spends per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures. The financial resources indicator has a 10 percent weight in the Best Colleges ranking methodology.

The lists below are based on operating efficiency, which U.S. News has defined as a school's 2013 fiscal year financial resources per student divided by its overall score – the basis U.S. News uses to determine its overall numerical rank – in the 2015 Best Colleges rankings.

This calculation reveals how much each school is spending to achieve one point in its overall score and thus its position in the rankings. The premise of the analysis is that the less a school spent relative to its position in the overall rankings, the more efficient it was in its ability to produce a top-quality education.

SchoolU.S. News RankOverall ScoreFinancial Resources RankSpending Per Student For Each Point in Overall Score
Miami Univ. (OH) 76 50 205 $383.66
Florida State 95 47 214 $392.77
Alabama 88 48 198 $423.02
SUNY-Binghamton 88 48 185 $437.23
William & Mary 33 67 110 $441.82
BYU 62 56 156 $457.29
Indiana 76 50 156 $469.00
Clemson 62 56 138 $486.02
Missouri 99 46 171 $499.61
Clark 76 50 145 $502.24

January 26, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

FBA Tax Section Hosts Tax Practice & Procedure Monthly Roundtable Today

FBA Tax SectionThe Federal Bar Association Tax Section hosts its free Tax Practice & Procedure Monthly Roundtable today from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST (dial-in number: 866-690-2070; Password:  3008455329):

Auditing of Large Partnerships
Monte Jackel, Jackel Tax Law

The GAO recently issued a report on the audit of large partnerships. There was also a panel discussion on the topic at the most recent University of Chicago Tax Institute. The GAO report concludes that the audit rate is very low. But that is not really where the problem is. Monte Jackel, who has spent decades working on partnership issues on behalf of the government and the IRS, will address the significance of the developing IRS approach to auditing partnership returns

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January 26, 2015 in Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof Twitter Rankings

Twitter (2014)Ryan Whalen (Northwestern), The Law Prof Twitter Network:

Following recent discussions about the importance of blogging/tweeting to contemporary academia (see: LSE via TaxProf), and Bridget Crawford’s Law Prof Twitter Census (version 3.0) over at TheFacultyLounge, I thought I’d do some number crunching and network building.

I wrote a short script to read all of the law prof twitter handles included in the census and query the twitter API to get the follower lists and statistics for each user. This allowed me to both rank law prof twitterers (because we all know how much people like to rank things) and project them onto an interactive network so we can see how they relate to one another. ...

The law prof network (consisting of following relationships amongst law profs in the census) has 535 nodes and 16354 edges (directed density = 0.057). The entire network (including all of the followers of all of the law profs) is much larger. In total there are 741,385 unique twitter users who follow law profs.

The table below lists the top twenty profs by number of followers:

Handle Name School Followers
lessig Lawrence Lessig Harvard 324,336
SportsLawGuy Gabe Feldman Tulane 33,728
zittrain Jonathan Zittrain Harvard 30,787
McCannSportsLaw Michael McCann New Hampshire 29,771
ZephyrTeachout Zephyr Teachout Fordham 25,328
CassSunstein Cass Sunstein Harvard 21,333
gregorymcneal Greg McNeal Pepperdine 17,440
scrawford Susan Crawford Cardozo 15,641
superwuster Tim Wu Columbia 11,804
JonathanTurley Jonathan Turley George Washington 11,715
bethnoveck Beth Simone Noveck NYLS 10,422
patentlyo Dennis Crouch Missouri 9,889
PrivacyLaw Michael Scott Southwestern 9,024
garylfrancione Gary Francione Rutgers-Newark 8,844
adamwinkler Adam Winkler UCLA 8,706

Limiting our rankings to those professors who have the most followers amongst other law professors on twitter, changes the results quite a bit:

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January 26, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)