Paul L. Caron

Sunday, January 31, 2016

ABA Proposal To Lift Ban On Academic Credit For Paid Externships Draws Heavy Faculty Opposition

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, Proposal to Lift Ban on Academic Credit for Paid Externships Draws Heavy Opposition:

A proposed change in the law school accreditation standards that would lift the ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships has drawn a lot of comment—and much of the comment is in opposition to lifting the ban.

Under the current standards, law students are barred from receiving both credit and pay for an externship. But the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved for notice and comment a proposal that would eliminate the ban.

That proposal is just one of four proposed changes in the standards (PDF) that the council has posted for notice and comment. But it is the one that has drawn the lion’s share (PDF) of comments. And most of those comments have been negative.

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January 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper and new papers debuting on the list at #2 and #5:

  1. [332 Downloads]  Conservation Easements and the Valuation Conundrum, by Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)
  2. [213 Downloads]  Uncle Sam Wants … Who? A Global Perspective on Citizenship Taxation, by Allison Christians (McGill)
  3. [170 Downloads]  Profit Shifting Of U.S. Multinationals, by Tim Dowd (Joint Committee on Taxation), Paul Landefeld (Joint Committee on Taxation) & Anne Moore (Joint Committee on Taxation)
  4. [162 Downloads]  Are Corporate Inversions Good for Shareholders?, by Anton Babkin (Wisconsin), Brent Glover (Carnegie Mellon) & Oliver Levine (Wisconsin)
  5. [141 Downloads]  Crummey Delivers Another Knockout Punch To The IRS, by Phyllis C. Taite (Florida A&M)

January 31, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Religiosity And Tax Compliance

Kadir Nagac (Zirve University, Department of Economics), Religiosity and Tax Compliance:

The intention of this paper is to analyze religiosity as a factor that potentially affects tax compliance. Studies in the 90s have shown that the puzzle of tax compliance is "why so many individuals pay their taxes" and not "why people evade taxes". It has been noted that compliance cannot be explained entirely by the level of enforcement (Graetz and Wilde, 1985; Efflers, 1991). Countries set the levels of audit and penalty so low that most individuals would evade taxes, if they were rational, because it is unlikely that cheaters will be caught and penalized. Nevertheless, a high degree of compliance is observed. Therefore, studies that analyze a variety of factors other than detection and punishment are need. Religiosity can play an important role in determining one's tax compliance decision. I use religious adherence data from the American Religious Data Archive and reported income data from IRS to analyze independent effects of church adherence rates on tax compliance in the United States at the county-level.

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January 31, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 997

IRS Logo 2The Daily Caller News Foundation, IRS’s New Ethics Chief Once Ordered Records Be Illegally Destroyed:

The new head of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) ethics office once oversaw the illegal shredding of documents sought by the federal tax agency’s inspector general (IG), and allegedly retaliated on the colleague he believed snitched on him about it.

Stephen Whitlock was named director of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in August 2015. The OPR supports “effective tax administration by ensuring all tax practitioners, tax-preparers, and other third parties in the tax system adhere to professional standards and follow the law,” according to the agency’s web site.

Whitlock’s chief of operations was, until recently, a former tax enforcement agent who attempted to avoid government payments by declaring bankruptcy and who even lost his official sidearm in a bar fight.

Additionally, in this newly-appointed 7-person leadership team are two of Lois Lerner’s former top deputies, at least one of whom was involved in the targeting of conservative and Tea Party non-profit applicants. Records of those activities also mysteriously disappeared after Congress began investigations in 2013. ...

Currently under Whitlock are section manager Elizabeth Kastenberg and legal analysis chief Garrett Gluth, both of whom previously worked closely with Lois Lerner in the IRS’s nonprofit tax office. Congressional testimony shows that Kastenberg was in charge of reviewing the audits of conservative-leaning nonprofits and was in the room when major decisions on the political audits were made.

Lerner was subsequently held in contempt of Congress after refusing to answer questions from congressional investigators. The IRS said the records showing her actions in the case had mysteriously disappeared.

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January 31, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Is Wake Forest Law School's Offer To Pay Students To Take The GRE A U.S. News Rankings Ploy?

Wake Forest Law School (2016)Above the Law, This Law School Will Pay You To Take The GRE To Save Its U.S. News Rank From The Dreaded LSAT:

Law schools have been trying to do away with using the LSAT as an admissions requirement for quite some time. The ABA first took up the idea of axing the LSAT in 2011, and then in 2014, instituted a new rule that would allow some law schools (i.e., law schools connected to a university or college with an undergraduate program) to fill up to 10 percent of their entering classes with students who hadn’t taken the LSAT. Several law schools, including SUNY Buffalo, Drake, the University of Iowa, the University of Hawaii, and St. John’s University quickly rushed to begin enrolling students without LSAT scores. Just one year later, the ABA voted to repeal its LSAT exemption rule, effective with the incoming class of fall 2017.

Now that evidence of the great law school brain drain is on display for all the world to see, with LSAT profiles of matriculants dipping lower and lower every year, law school administrators are trying even harder to find a way to weasel out of having to admit students who have taken the LSAT (unless, of course, their LSAT scores are amazing; those students are allowed to continue taking the LSAT, if only because those high scores will help the law school’s U.S. News ranking instead of hurting it).

What are law schools trying to do now to keep the LSAT far, far away from their U.S. news ranking? At Wake Forest University School of Law ... has teamed up with Educational Testing Service (ETS) and two other law schools to see if the GRE would work as an alternative to the LSAT for law school admissions, and the school needs assistance from both current students and recent graduates for some experimentation. ...

How desperate is Wake Forest to get rid of the LSAT? Wake Forest is so desperate that it’s willing to pay people to take a standardized test with a math component. Yikes.

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January 30, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Oregon Dean Michael Moffitt To Step Down, Declines University's Offer To Serve A Second 5-Year Term

Oregon (2017)Statement of Oregon Dean:

In recent weeks I have had extensive conversations with President Schill and Provost Coltrane about our positive visions for the law school. They were helpfully candid and direct with their feedback stemming from the results of the recently-concluded five-year review process, and I am very grateful to them for presenting me with a generous offer to remain as Dean for a second five-year term. Earlier this week, however, after considerable soul-searching, I concluded that the time is right for me to conclude my service as Dean and for the University to seek new leadership for the law school.

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January 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Tax Section Midyear Meeting

ABA LAThe ABA Tax Section Midyear meeting concludes today in Los Angeles. The full program is here. Today's highlight is the Keynote Address by Edward Kleinbard (USC), Fiscal Policy in an Age of Inequality:

Politicians of all persuasions are fixated on tax policy during this primary season, but this is the wrong question to debate. What we should care about is fiscal policy -- the net economic and social impacts of government taxing and spending, taken together. Government is not in the business of taxing us for sport, but rather of spending our money on public goods. Taxation is just how we finance the government we want.

A more muscular U.S. fiscal policy — not a further retrenchment — in fact responds to America's three great economic quandaries: (1) the surge in top-end inequality, where the income and wealth of the most affluent Americans have grown at rates that far outstrip the gains of the rest of America; (2) the stagnant incomes of the middle class; and (3) long-term growth. But we cannot see why this is true or how we can do better unless we look at the entirety of the opportunities for welfare-enhancing government investment and insurance, net of the cost of financing those programs through taxation. This outline presentation draws in part on my book, We Are Better Than This, to suggest why more government investment and insurance programs would lead to a happier and wealthier society. As in the book, the outline presentation benchmarks the United States against other countries to remind readers that we are unique in the world, and not always in a good way: we are a low-tax, small government, large and rich country that tolerates more poverty and much greater income inequality within our midst than do our peers.

Other Tax Profs with speaking roles today include:

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January 30, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 996

Friday, January 29, 2016

Bernstein:  We Need Achievable Tax Tweaks, Not Pie-In-The-Sky Fundamental Tax Reform

Washington Post LogoWashington Post: We Desperately Need Major Tax Reform! Or Maybe Not …, by Jared Bernstein:

Fundamental tax reform is a fantasy. Now, let's get to work on improving our tax code.

It is an article of faith in national politics that the reform of the federal tax code is what’s standing between us and faster growth, higher productivity, better jobs, and whatever other good outcome you want to ascribe to this endeavor.

Well, riffing off of a) my own observations from decades in the trenches of this argument and b) this speech by President Obama’s chief economist Jason Furman, I disagree. Sure, there’s a lot of brush in the tax code that ought to be cleared out, some of which I’ll discuss in a moment. But these days, “tax reform” mostly means selling big, regressive tax cuts that will breed magic ponies by the herd. Instead of getting bogged down in an argument that has and will continue to lead nowhere, we’d be much better off to consider tweaks that fall far short of large-scale reform but could help—and have helped—in important ways.

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January 29, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Revising ABA Accreditation Standards To Stop Law Schools From Admitting Students With Little Hope Of Passing The Bar

ABA Legal EdDavid Frakt (Law Office of David Frakt, Orlando, FL), How to Fix ABA Standard 501:

Standard 501 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2015-2016 states that “a school shall not admit an applicant who does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.” 

The ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is responsible for enforcing this standard.   Unfortunately, for the past five years while  law school admissions standards have plummeted, the Council has shown no willingness to use to this standard for its intended purpose — to protect unqualified applicants from being admitted to law school when they have extremely poor prospects of actually becoming a lawyer.

According to Council Chair Justice Rebecca White Berch, "the Council is working on revising the Standards to make them clearer and more easily enforceable." In this post, I propose a way to revise Standard 501 which will accomplish this goal.

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January 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Weekly Tax Roundup

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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January 29, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Government Cuts Projection Of 2014-2024 Lawyer Jobs By 41%: 16K Jobs For 37k Law Grads Each Year

BLS (2015)The American Lawyer:  The Government's Dismal Job Outlook for Lawyers, by Matt Leichter:

In December 2015 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) updated its biennial Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), which predicts future employment. The OOH's entry on lawyers warns: "Competition for jobs should continue to be strong because more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available."

That glum pronouncement isn't surprising. Every edition of the OOH going back to at least the 1990s has cited law graduate overproduction as an obstacle for would-be lawyers. What the agency does not say is that its lawyer job-growth estimate has declined considerably since the edition it published two years ago. The 2014 OOH predicted 74,800 new lawyer jobs through 2022. Between 2014 and 2024, the agency now estimates, the number of lawyer positions will grow from 778,700 to 822,500, adding just 43,800 jobs—a plunge of 41 percent.

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January 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Call for Proposals: Association For Mid-Career Tax Law Professors

The Association for Mid-Career Tax Law Professors (“AMT”) has issued a Call for Proposals:

PGAMT is a recurring conference intended to bring together relatively recently-tenured professors of tax law for scholarly discussion. Our second annual meeting will be held on Monday and Tuesday, May 23 and 24, 2016, on the campus of the University of California Davis School of Law. We anticipate that official proceedings will wrap up by noon on May 24. Thanks to the generous support of U.C. Davis, AMT is able to provide attendees with conference meals and refreshments. AMT can commit to ensuring that these meals will not be “lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.” Attendees will be expected to cover their own travel and lodging expenses.

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January 29, 2016 in Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Foundation Analyzes Clinton, Sanders Tax Plans

Hillary BernieKyle Pomerleau & Michael Schuyler (Tax Foundation), Details and Analysis of Hillary Clinton’s Tax Proposals:

Key Findings:

  • Hillary Clinton would enact a number of tax policies that would raise taxes on individual and business income.
  • Hillary Clinton’s plan would raise tax revenue by $498 billion over the next decade on a static basis. However, the plan would end up collecting $191 billion over the next decade when accounting for decreased economic output in the long run.
  • A majority of the revenue raised by Clinton’s plan would come from a cap on itemized deductions, the Buffett Rule, and a 4 percent surtax on taxpayers with incomes over $5 million.
  • Clinton’s proposals to alter the long-term capital gains rate schedule would actually reduce revenue on both a static and dynamic basis due to increased incentives to delay capital gains realizations.
  • According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would reduce GDP by 1 percent over the long-term due to slightly higher marginal tax rates on capital and labor.
  • On a static basis, the tax plan would lead to 0.7 percent lower after-tax income for the top 10 percent of taxpayers and 1.7 percent lower income for the top 1 percent. When accounting for reduced GDP, after-tax incomes of all taxpayers would fall by at least 0.9 percent.

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January 29, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Tax Section Midyear Meeting

ABA LAThe ABA Tax Section Midyear meeting continues today in Los Angeles. The full program is here. Today's highlight is the Teaching Taxation Program:

Inequality and Taxation. The debate over the nature of inequality and social mobility in the United States, and the corresponding role of taxation, continues to be at the center of public discourse. Potential tax reform will remain a major topic in political conversations in the coming year. Panelists will debate and discuss both the underlying issues and possible responses from the tax system, including redistribution and taxation, wealth concentration and estate and gift taxation, creative tax reform, and the legal and practical limits on a tax response to inequality.

  • Chair:  Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh)
  • Moderator:  Kerry Ryan (St. Louis)
  • Panelists:  Neil Buchanan (George Washington), Goldburn Maynard, Jr. (Louisville), Miranda Fleischer (San Diego)

Other Tax Profs with speaking roles today include:

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January 29, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 995

IRS Logo 2The Daily Caller, California AG Threatens Non-Profit Donors' First Amendment Rights:

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is being deluged with requests from non-profit officials to withdraw her “unconstitutional” demand for public disclosure of donor names because it creates a “back door” around the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

Harris’ critics claim her demand violates the First Amendment and privacy laws, compromises donor privacy and security, and makes it easier for government officials and agencies to pressure dissenting groups challenging particular policies and programs. ...

“This is a back-door way these liberal Democrats to get around the Citizens United decision,” Mark Fitzgibbons, a Northern Virginia lawyer who represents individuals and businesses against government abuses, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Nonprofit groups with a 501(c)4 status already have to submit the names of people who donate more than $5,000 on Schedule B of their annual 990 filings with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Fitzgibbons said. When those groups submit tax paperwork at the state level, they redact those names. Harris wants to see those names.

A former FEC commissioner agreed with Fitzgibbons.

“It’s very clear that groups on the left, particularly the Democratic Party, they hated the Citizens United decision,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with the conservative Heritage Foundation, told TheDCNF.

“Their way around it is to force donor disclosure, so they can scare off donors and dry up the resources these organizations use to get their messages out the way they are entitled to under Citizens United. So I think this is a backdoor way of getting around that case,” said von Spakowsky, who served on the FEC via a recess appointment by President George W. Bush in 2006. ...

“It has a big chilling effect,” von Spakovsky said. “You can pull up all kinds of articles about the Tea Party organizations who were subjected to the scrutiny by Lois Lerner and the IRS, and many of them talk about how their donors started drying up.”

Critics worry that if state officials obtain donor names, it could lead to another scandal like the IRS targeting violations.

“What happens is, you get what the IRS did with Lois Lerner, where they started targeting conservative organizations and conservative donors, and I bet that is what Harris is doing,” von Spakovsky said. “She is one of the most political attorneys general in the country.”

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January 29, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gergen Presents Taxing Capital Today At Colorado

GergenMark Gergen (UC-Berkeley) presents Taxing Capital at Colorado today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by David Hasen and Sloan Speck:

It is well known that the existing system in the U.S. for taxing capital income is a mess. It collects a small amount of revenue relative to capital income with high administrative and compliance costs while distorting the behavior of owners and users of capital on numerous margins. This paper proposes a system for taxing capital that can collect the same amount of revenue with much lower public administrative and private compliance costs, and with significantly less distortionary impact. The pillar of the system is a flat annual tax assessed on the market value of publicly traded securities. I estimate the securities tax will cover around 60 percent of the wealth of U.S. households and around 75 to 80 percent of income producing capital that is presently subject to the individual and corporate income taxes. Income producing capital that is not subject to the securities tax, such as equity in closely held businesses and real estate held for investment, will be covered by a complementary tax that is designed to have a similar incidence in order to minimize distortions from having two systems for taxing capital. Equity in owner-occupied housing and consumer durables will not be subject to the tax, though equity in housing could easily be included in the complementary tax. ...

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January 28, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thomas Presents User-Friendly Taxpaying Today At Duke

Thomas (2015)Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents User-Friendly Taxpaying at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Technology is revolutionizing many aspects of our lives. With the touch of a button or a simple voice command, we can instantly order groceries, get directions, or find the nearest sushi restaurant. Sensibly, the private sector has capitalized on these recent innovations to drive up profits. To sell more laundry detergent, Amazon now enables consumers to order refills by simply pressing the “dash button” mounted above their laundry machines. Starbucks lures more customers by allowing them to pre-order online and have their drink waiting when they arrive at the store. The theory behind this approach is simple: if you want someone to use your product or service, you should make it as quick and easy as possible for them to do so.

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January 28, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Rates, Tax Reform And Tax Revenues

Alan Reynolds (Cato Institute), Tax Rates, Tax Reform and Tax Revenues: Part One:

As the graph shows, the U.S. has had considerable experience with top tax rates as high as 91-92%, as low as 28%, and everything in between. The individual income tax averaged 7.7% of GDP since 1946.

Top Tax Rates and Revenues as % of GDP

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January 28, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. Colleges Raised Record $40.3 Billion In 2015 — 0.5% Of Colleges Raised 25% Of The Money

Senate Holds Hearing Today On Tax-Favored Retirement Plans

Senate LogoThe Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing today on Helping Americans Prepare for Retirement: Increasing Access, Participation and Coverage in Retirement Savings Plans:

  • Alicia Munnell (Boston College)
  • John J. Kalamarides (Prudential Financial)
  • Thomas Barthold (Joint Committee on Taxation)

In connection with the hearing, the Joint Committee on Taxation has released Present Law And Background Relating To Tax-Favored Retirement Saving And Certain Related Legislative Proposals (JCX-3-16):

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January 28, 2016 in Congressional News, 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 3, 2016) 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 (Michigan)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)



Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



James Hines (Michigan)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Chris Hoyt (UMKC)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Chris Sanchirico (Penn)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)



David Walker (BU)


Ruth Mason (Virginia)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Jordan Barry (San Diego)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


James Hines (Michigan)



Steven Bank (UCLA)


Dick Harvey (Villanova)


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, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (1)

Moody's Downgrades Cal-Western Law School's Bonds

Cal Western (2017)Washington Post, Three Predictions About the Future of Higher Education:

1. Law schools are in deep trouble. Moody’s downgraded the California Western School of Law and gave the free-standing private law school in San Diego a “negative outlook,” adding that its financial pressures are “likely to continue for a period longer than expected.”

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January 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Marian Reviews The Hidden Wealth Of Nations

WealthOmri Marian (UC-Irvine), Tax Havens and the Rise on Inequality (reviewing Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley), Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (University of Chicago Press, 2015)):

Tax literature is bitterly divided on the role that tax havens play in global economy. The negative view of tax havens paints them as parasitic, poaching revenue from other jurisdictions. The positive view suggests that tax havens facilitate low-cost capital mobility, mitigating some of the distortive effects of taxation.

To date, this extensive scholarly debate has produced very little information on tax havens themselves. This is hardly surprising, since tax havens are well known to be secrecy jurisdictions. This aspect of tax havens forces scholars who write about them to resort to financial modeling or available country data – data which is rarely on point. Zucman’s book is a unique breed in this context. In order to address the role of tax havens in global economy, Zucman actually collects and interprets the necessary data. Zucman assesses the wealth held in tax havens based on a long lasting anomaly in public finance: that in the aggregate, more liabilities than assets are recorded on national balance sheets, as if a portion of global assets simply vanishes into thin air, or as Zucman put it: “were in part held by Mars.” Zucman meticulously collected macro-economic data of multiple jurisdictions, and discovered that roughly the same amount of assets missing from national balance sheets shows up as ownership interest in investment pooling vehicles (such as mutual funds) organized in tax havens.

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January 28, 2016 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SUNY-Buffalo Law School Reduces Full-Time Faculty By 50% Through Retirement Incentives

Following up on my previous post, Law Schools Have Shed 1,206 Full-Time Faculty (13.3%) Since 2010:  The Spectrum, Less Full-Time Faculty Teaching at UB Law School: UB Law's Decrease in Full-Time Faculty Teaching Among the Largest in the Nation:

Since 2010, the UB Law School has dropped its number of full-time faculty actively teaching so significantly that it ranks among the top national law school statistics.

UB’s law school went from having 54 full-time faculty members teaching in the fall of 2010 to just 27 last fall, according to the American Bar Association’s annual 509 information reports. That includes a drop off from 48 full-time faculty members who taught in the fall of 2014.  UB’s decrease is among the top 10 largest net decreases in the country ...


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January 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The IRS Scandal, Day 994

IRS Logo 2The Fiscal Times, Here We Go Again … IRS Destroys Another Hard Drive:

The Internal Revenue Service appears to have violated a court order once again requiring the preservation of evidence needed by investigators looking into questionable practices at the agency. In a case sure to stir up memories of the Lois Lerner investigation, which saw IRS Commissioner John Koskinen dragged before Congress for multiple hearings, the agency destroyed a computer hard drive belonging to an IRS official connected to the subject of a Congressional query.

Earlier this year, the IRS was ordered by a federal judge to preserve documents – including electronic documents – that were possibly related to an ongoing dispute between the agency and Microsoft. ...

The computer hard drive the IRS destroyed belonged to Samuel Maruca, who oversaw the transfer pricing section at the agency’s Large Business and International division. ...

The revelation that the agency had destroyed a hard drive that Congressional investigators viewed as central to an ongoing inquiry infuriated House Oversight and Investigations Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

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January 28, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Eyal-Cohen Presents The Hidden Price Of Regulation Today At St. Louis

Eyal-Cohen-MiritMirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama) presents The Hidden Price of Regulation at St. Louis today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

Rules and regulations inflict costs on regulated parties differently. This Article is the first to explore this discriminatory effect. It reveals that entities that lack economies of scale, scope, and age are disadvantaged. To address this discriminatory effect, governments enact various size-based exclusionary rules. The article reveals, however, that these regulatory exclusions do not solve the problem. Rather, they create more harm. These exemptions often exacerbate the impact of the very regulation whose cost they seek to reduce. The Article makes the following additional three contributions to the current literature. First, it demonstrates that the relationship between size and regulatory effects is non-exclusive and also extends to scope and age. Second, it illustrates some overlooked effects of regulations on certain entities and the latent externalities imposed on their unregulated affiliates. Lastly, it provides policymakers with mechanisms to alleviate regulatory burdens.

January 27, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Clinton, Sanders Would Bypass Congress To Tax The Rich Via Executive Action

Hillary BernieBloomberg:  Clinton, Sanders Would Bypass Congress to Tax the Rich—a Bit, by Lynnley Browning:

Most of the proposals that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have pitched for taxing the rich won’t go anywhere if Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives, as expected.

But spokesmen for both of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination said this week that they could take executive action, bypassing Congress, to go after a shorter list: the carried-interest tax advantage that investment-fund managers receive, corporate inversions that companies use to move their tax addresses offshore and -- in Sanders’s case, at least -- a few other parts of the tax code that benefit high-income taxpayers.

Their larger plans for individual income taxes include Sanders’s proposal to increase income-tax rates to levels unseen since 1981 and Clinton’s pitch for a 4 percent surcharge on the nation’s 34,000 or so highest-income taxpayers. Those are almost certainly dead on arrival. Without them, neither candidate could raise enough to finance their most expensive programs.

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January 27, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Does Diversity Look Different At A Christian University?

Baylor University (2016)Inside Higher Ed, Divided Over Diversity:

Did Baylor U's new provost step down over faculty objections to his diversity initiative, in particular his plan to hire a chief diversity officer? Does diversity look different at a Christian university?

Baylor University has had its fair share of administrative turnover in recent memory: two of its last three presidents were forced out after clashing with the faculty and the Board of Trustees over such issues as how to advance its strong academic reputation while remaining true to its Baptist roots. But the campus has been relatively united under President Kenneth Starr since he took over in 2010. That’s despite some initial misgivings among faculty members.

Now the campus is again experiencing tumult. This time it’s over a diversity initiative, which faculty members say likely led to the abrupt resignation of Edwin Trevathan as provost after little more than a semester on the job. ... [T]here’s widespread speculation on campus that Trevathan was forced out of his administrative role over faculty concerns about both the diversity initiative itself and his handling of it. ...

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January 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is The United States

Tax HavenBloomberg:  The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States, by Jesse Drucker:

Last September, at a law firm overlooking San Francisco Bay, Andrew Penney, a managing director at Rothschild & Co., gave a talk on how the world’s wealthy elite can avoid paying taxes. His message was clear: You can help your clients move their fortunes to the United States, free of taxes and hidden from their governments. Some are calling it the new Switzerland.

After years of lambasting other countries for helping rich Americans hide their money offshore, the U.S. is emerging as a leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners. By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth. Everyone from London lawyers to Swiss trust companies is getting in on the act, helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

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January 27, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Two Very Different Perspectives On Western Michigan-Cooley Law School

Thomas Cooley Logo (2014)David Frakt (Former Dean Candidate, Florida Coastal), Disgraceful Developments at Cooley Law School:

The ABA Standard 509 reports came out a few weeks ago, and there are many alarming statistics in them, but none quite so disturbing as the admissions information from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  The class that Cooley admitted in 2015 is statistically the worst entering class of law students in the history of American legal education at an ABA-Accredited law school, and that is saying something. ...

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January 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (24)

Income Inequality In America's 50 Largest U.S. Cities

Alan Berube & Natalie Holmes (Brookings Institution), Some Cities Are Still More Unequal Than Others — An Update:

This report updates a 2014 analysis that looked at levels of income inequality in the 50 largest U.S. cities, and examines in particular trends between 2012 and 2013, the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Like the earlier analysis, it focuses on incomes among households near the top of the distribution—those earning more than 95 percent of all other households—and households closer to the bottom of the distribution—those earning more than only 20 percent of all other households. It then measures the gap between the two, or the “95/20 ratio.” All dollar amounts are adjusted for inflation to 2013 levels.

Table 3

Interestingly, nine of the ten cities with the most income inequality have Democratic mayors; five of the ten cities with the least income inequality have Republican mayors.

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January 27, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

ABA Committee Recommends Accreditation For Indiana Tech Law School

Indiana Tech (2016)Press Release, Indiana Tech Law School Earns Recommendation From ABA Accreditation Committee:

On Jan. 21, 2016, the Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar issued a recommendation in favor of Indiana Tech’s application for provisional approval. However, the committee’s recommendation is not final. Indiana Tech must appear before the Section’s Council on March 11-12 in Phoenix, Arizona, after which the Council will issue a final decision on Indiana Tech’s application for provisional accreditation.

This fall, Indiana Tech enrolled 17 1Ls, with 25%/50%/75% LSATs of 148/151/153.  Indiana Tech's total enrollment for its current 1L, 2L, and 3L classes is 57, 53% of whom are receiving half-to-full scholarships.

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January 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Girlfriend, Mother, Professor?

HayNew York Times:  Girlfriend, Mother, Professor?, by Carol Hay (UMass-Lowell):

I’m not their mother. And I’m not their girlfriend either.

I’m their university professor. At times I encounter students, both male and female, who don’t quite grasp this, and I consequently find myself in a whole host of awkward situations, trying to subtly remind them that I’m neither going to make their bed nor go to bed with them.

The problem is that my students lack the cultural scripts to know how to deal with our teacher-student relationship. In 1925, Sigmund Freud coined the idea of the “Madonna-whore complex,” according to which men are able to see women only as their saintly mothers or their sexual playthings. Whatever one thinks of Freud, we can all recognize some truth to this insight.

If I were to serve as their mother, I’d have only compassion and unconditional acceptance to offer, not intellectual lessons. And being their sexual plaything isn’t an option either; playthings aren’t generally accorded the kind of respect needed for effective teaching and learning, not to mention the respect I deserve after more than a decade of postsecondary education.

My male colleagues don’t have these problems. There’s no shortage of roles they can avail themselves of in trying to reach their students.

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January 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Should Harvard Medical School Sell Its Name For $1 Billion?

Harvard 2Stat, Could Harvard Medical School Sell Its Naming Rights For $1 Billion?:

What’s the value of Harvard Medical School’s name: A billion dollars, or more? ...

After Harvard broke with tradition last year and renamed its public health school in return for a billionaire’s record-setting $350 million gift, faculty members have been discussing whether Harvard Medical School should be next, according to Dr. John Rowe, chair of the Board of Fellows that advises the medical school.

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January 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 993

IRS Logo 2Citizens Against Government Waste, CAGW Names IRS Commissioner John Koskinen 2015 Porker of the Year:

Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) announced the results of its online poll for the 2015 Porker of the Year.  Last year produced a wealth of ludicrous moments in taxpayer gouging and government overreach, but in the end, the “winner” was never in doubt.  The dishonor went to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen with 43 percent of the vote.

Commissioner Koskinen’s sins against taxpayers have been well-publicized, which makes his receiving this award all the more appropriate.  CAGW named Koskinen Porker of the Month in August 2015 for his long litany of incompetence and obstruction as head of the reviled agency.  Over the course of several hearings investigating the IRS targeting of conservative groups, Commissioner Koskinen repeatedly stonewalled and mislead members of Congress during the search for Lois Lerner’s emails, while refusing to ensure that IRS targeting would never happen again.  His agency, in the face of a congressional subpoena, erased backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 emails from Lerner.  Worse yet, a July 23, 2015 Government Accountability Office report found that more than two years after the scandal gained national attention, “the IRS has not taken sufficient steps to prevent targeting Americans based on their personal beliefs.”  On October 27, 2015, 19 members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), introduced a resolution to impeach the commissioner for his conduct during the investigation.  ...

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “While I did not envy the choice online voters had to make, I believe they picked the most deserving Porker.  Commissioner Koskinen’s extensive and dubious track record of evasive, incompetent, and hostile behavior to taxpayers and their representatives has been unmistakable and unacceptable.  It is long past time that Commissioner Koskinen be replaced with an individual who respects taxpayers and their interests.”

For his dreadful tenure as head of the IRS, CAGW names John Koskinen its 2015 Porker of the Year.

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January 27, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Simkovic Presents The Knowledge Tax Today At NYU

Simkovic 2Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall) presents The Knowledge Tax, 82 U. Chi. L. Rev. ___ (2015), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Chris Sanchirico:

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.

Economic theory suggests that when investments that are substitutes for one another are taxed inconsistently, investors are less likely to choose the investment option that is taxed more heavily. Unfavorable tax treatment of higher education relative to other forms of investment could create an undersupply of educated labor. This distortion would reduce economic growth and social welfare.

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January 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Group Files Complaint With ABA Alleging Discrimination By BYU Law School Against LGTB, Ex-Mormon Students

BYU (2016)National Law Journal, Treatment of Ex-Mormons and Gays Spurs Complaint Against BYU Law School:

Brigham Young University has been hit with a complaint claiming that the law school’s expulsion of ex-Mormons violates the American Bar Association’s nondiscrimination rules.

A group of university alumni called FreeBYU filed the complaint with the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar against Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School alleging that the university’s policy of kicking out students who leave the Mormon faith runs afoul of its rules meant to protect against religious discrimination.

FreeBYU has also asked the ABA to examine whether the university honor code, which bans homosexual behavior, violates the accreditor’s protections of gay, lesbian and transgender students. ...

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January 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law School Crisis Is Spreading

Bloomberg, The Best Law Schools Are Attracting Fewer Students: The Legal Education Crisis Is Spreading:

As applications plunge, especially from the very best students, a growing number of highly regarded law schools are slashing class sizes. The crisis in legal education, once confined to the lower tier (schools ranked below 50 by U.S. News and World Report), has hit the upper echelon. ... The majority of elite campuses, unwilling to seriously dilute their student bodies, still had to downsize. Class sizes declined by a median of 5 percent at the top 20 schools over the last five years, ABA data shows.

Bloomberg 4

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January 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

The ‘Tampon Tax’ Fraud

Following up on last week's post, President Obama Blames Male Legislators For The ‘Tampon Tax’ In 40 States:  Catherine Rampell (Washington Post), The ‘Tampon Tax’ Fraud:

Maybe this makes me a traitor to my sex, but I support the tampon tax.

Mostly because it’s not actually a tampon tax.

For those unaware, “tampon tax” is shorthand for the fact that menstrual products are subject to sales taxes in most states, even though other products considered necessities (such as food and medicine) are often exempted.

In recent months, this has spawned a legion of articles suggesting that squeamish, old, predominantly male politicians are punishing half of humanity for the crime of having a period. Some offer stories about poor women who say “tampon taxes” are cutting into money they desperately need for groceries or other bills.

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January 26, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

Are Academics Disproportionately Gay?

White House Same Sex MarriageInside Higher Ed, Are Academics Disproportionately Gay?:

Academic work is often solitary, but succeeding in the professoriate arguably requires social acumen. So is that why gay men and women are disproportionately represented among academics? A new study investigating the phenomenon of “occupational segregation” argues that certain jobs -- including that of professor -- are particularly appealing to gay men and lesbians for these reasons.

Concealable Stigma and Occupational Segregation: Toward a Theory of Gay and Lesbian Occupations originally was published by Administrative Science Quarterly and featured recently in the London School of Economics and Political Science's Business Review blog.

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January 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Johnson Controls To Renounce U.S. Corporate Citizenship In Tax-Driven Inversion With Tyco

Call for Business Tax Papers:  Oxford University Symposium

OxfordThe Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation has issued a call for papers for its annual symposium:

We invite you to submit a paper for the tenth annual symposium of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation to be held June 28 - July 1, 2016.  As ever, we welcome research on any topics related to business taxation in its broadest sense, including papers from economics, law and other disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary contributions.

Submissions can either be completed but unpublished papers, or extended abstracts of work in progress (at least two pages) which must be completed in time for the conference. The deadline for submissions is Monday 29 February 2016 and papers should be submitted using the electronic form.

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January 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jellum:  Why The Treasury's Anti-Abuse Regulation Is Unconstitutional

Linda Jellum (Mercer), Dodging the Taxman: Why the Treasury's Anti-Abuse Regulation Is Unconstitutional, 70 U. Miami L. Rev. 152 (2015):

To combat abusive tax shelters, the Department of the Treasury promulgated a general anti-abuse regulation applicable to all of subchapter K of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The Treasury targeted subchapter K because unique aspects of the partnership tax laws - including its aggregate-entity dichotomy - foster creative tax manipulation. In the anti-abuse regulation, the Treasury attempted to “codify” existing judicially-created anti-abuse doctrines, such as the business-purpose and economic-substance doctrines. Also, and more surprisingly, the Treasury directed those applying subchapter K to use a purposivist approach to interpretation and to reject textualism.

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January 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conference On The Fate Of Scholarship In American Law Schools

Fate_of_Scholarship_save-the-dateBaltimore hosts a conference on March 31-April 1 on The Fate of Scholarship in American Law Schools:

The conference will reexamine first principles of legal scholarship – its value (to legal education, to the legal profession, to society) and its essential aspects – and will survey particular issues of contemporary concern, including emerging scholarly forms and technologies and the relationship among legal scholarship, journalism and new media.

The two-day conference will consist of themed plenary sessions, concurrent small-group sessions, opportunities to interact informally and a keynote address by Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

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January 26, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shanske:  Local Government Finance As Integrated System

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), Local Government Finance as Integrated System: The Uneasy Case for Using Special Districts in Real Estate Finance (A Response to Odinet's Super-Liens to the Rescue? A Case Against Special Districts in Real Estate Finance), 72 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 191 (2015):

Local governments have long used special financing districts to build infrastructure. If a local project, say building a pocket park, is likely to increase the values of properties very close to the park, then why should those properties not pay for the park in the first place? Though efficient and fair in many cases, the use of these districts can also be problematic. For instance, it seems likely that wealthier residents, with higher property values to leverage, are especially likely to use these districts effectively. It has also been the case that developers have used these districts speculatively, which had serious repercussions during the last recession. Christopher Odinet develops an additional, and important, critique of these districts. Odinet observes that these districts obtain a lien on benefiting properties, and that this lien takes priority over the liens of conventional lenders. Odinet then argues that this super-priority should only be honored if the district has served some substantial public purpose.

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January 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 992

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  IRS Lax Controls Enable Targeting Based On Religion + Politics, Claims Report, by Robert W. Wood:

Everyone seems to agree that you should not be audited based on your religion or political beliefs, nor based on which charities you support. Yet there are still questions about how our tax system measures up. Despite all the protestations that there was never any IRS targeting (even some that Republicans made it up), the weak response to the last two years remains disquieting. There seemed to be bonuses and rewards, not discipline or prosecution.

Now, a new government report says lax IRS controls of audit criteria mean the agency is still able to target based on religious and political views. This time, it is a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, stating that: “The control deficiencies increase the risk of selecting organizations for audit in an unfair manner — for example, based on an organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views.” Precisely how much such inappropriate criteria are being used is being debated, as the IRS scandal reaches day 982Some Republicans have assumed the worst, while naysayers claim there is still no scandal and still no targeting. ...

The GAO identified what it calls control deficiencies within the IRS system. These flaws open the system to risk that the IRS uses political and religious beliefs as selection criteria for audit. There was already concern about tax exempt organizations, and it could extend to who gets audited too. The GAO concluded that the lack of strong control procedures increases the risk of targeting. The IRS, however, responded in a statement that ... The IRS stresses that audits of tax returns are based on the information contained on the taxpayer’s return and the underlying tax law – nothing else. Politics play no factor in audit selection. ...

This seems to echo The Daily Show appearance by President Obama when he denied any targeting. At the very least, some of the denials have been dissembling. If there was any targeting, we heard, it was rogue IRS employees in Cincinnati. Besides, emails showed there was no directive about targeting. The emails are missing? Hard drives crash and must be quickly recycled. There’s no smidgen of corruption. Cash bonuses? Unrelated.

And the top of the IRS has remained elusive, despite calls to impeach the IRS Chief from Republicans. ...

The IRS is one of most important agencies there is. Our tax system still runs primarily by self-assessment, and taxpayer faith in the system is key. The vast majority of its employees are fair and doing their best. But the agency needs real accountable leadership to get the government’s work done.

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January 26, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)