Paul L. Caron
Dean



Wednesday, January 13, 2021

John Marshall (Atlanta) Law School Converts To 501(c)(3) Status

Following up on my previous post, ABA Takes John Marshall (Atlanta) Off Probation After 70% Enrollment Reduction Increases LSAT Scores Of 1L Class; School To Convert From For-Profit To Non-Profit Status:  Press Release, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Enters 2021 as a 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Law School:

John Marshall (Atlanta) (2016)Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is delighted to start the New Year as a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Law School following its conversion effective January 1, 2021.

The Law School was founded as a nonprofit in 1933, and its recent conversion is a welcome new beginning and homecoming to its original roots. The change in status will not impact its students and will be a seamless transition for its employees. “The process of converting to 501(c)(3) status has been a long time in the making and we see nothing but positive outcomes as a result of our new status. I am extremely excited for the future of the Law School and the enormous potential benefits to our students under the new status change,” said AJMLS’s Dean Jace C. Gatewood.

The Law School will now be operated by Atlanta Law Center, Inc., a Georgia nonprofit corporation doing business as Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

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January 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The 1920s, The Digital Economy, And The Great Covid Lockdown

Craig Elliffe (Auckland), Assessing the Flaws in the 1920s Compromise in the Times of the Burgeoning Digital Economy and the Great Lockdown:

The COVID-19 pandemic has been described by the International Monetary Fund as the worst recession since the Great Depression. The combination of tax shortfalls, increased government spending, and the irrefutable growth in the digital economy has created a situation which means that the world arrives at the crossroads of international tax reform with a great sense of urgency. If there is political consensus, reform will be in the format proposed, or similar to, the OECD/Inclusive Framework’s proposal (described as the 2020s compromise). In the absence of political consensus, then the world will travel down the other branch of the crossroads and we will see the introduction of a plethora of interim and unilateral domestic taxes.

The existing international tax rules are widely regarded as being “not fit for purpose”. After a brief introduction of the history of the international tax framework (referred to by some as the 1920s compromise), this paper traces the development of the current OECD/Inclusive Framework proposals as international tax policymakers grapple with the vexing problem of how to tax multinationals who do business across borders, particularly those that operate using a highly digitalised business model.

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January 13, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

This Economist Has A Radical Plan To Solve Wealth Inequality

Wired, This Economist Has a Radical Plan to Solve Wealth Inequality:

CapitalPiketty’s 753-page book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, published in 2013, sold 2.5 million copies worldwide and helped put inequality on the global agenda. But his latest, the even thicker Capital and Ideology, may prove still more influential. The book is nothing less than a global history of inequality and the stories that societies tell to justify it, from pre-modern India to Donald Trump’s US. It arrives just as anger about inequality (some of it generated by Piketty’s work) approaches boiling point, and was channelled by a contender for the White House, Bernie Sanders.

Capital and Ideology builds on Piketty’s long-standing argument that inequality has soared across the world since 1980. It proposes strong remedies. Piketty wants to slap wealth taxes of 90 per cent on any assets over $1 billion, and waxes nostalgic about the postwar decades when British and American top marginal income-tax rates were over 80 per cent. ...

In an era when technology platforms are arguably concentrating wealth in the hands of a diminishing number of people in the Valley, Piketty’s advocacy of much higher taxes has attracted the attention of both progressives and radicals around the world. ...

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January 12, 2021 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Hatfield: Professionally Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Michael Hatfield (University of Washington), Professionally Responsible Artificial Intelligence, 51 Ariz. St. L.J. 1057 (2019):

As artificial intelligence (AI) developers produce more applications for professional use, how will we determine when the use is professionally responsible? One way to answer the question is to determine whether the AI augments the professional’s intelligence or whether it is used as a substitute for it. To augment the professional’s intelligence would be to make it greater, that is, to increase and improve the professional’s expertise. But a professional who substitutes artificial intelligence for his or her own puts both the professional role and the client at risk. The problem is developing guidance that encourages professionals to use AI when it can reliably improve expertise but discourages substitution that undermines expertise. 

This Article proposes a solution, using tax professionals as a case study. There are several reasons tax professionals provide a good case study, including that tax practice has a long history of computerization and that AI is already being developed for tax professionals. Tax professionals, including not only lawyers but certified public accountants, are directly regulated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in addition to their regulation by professional bodies.

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January 12, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Anonymous Professor Makes Largest Gift In Rutgers Law School History: $3.5 Million For Public Interest Scholars Named For Former Dean

Press Release, Faculty Member's Gift Will Help High-Achieving Students Attend Law School:

Rutgers (2021)A $3.5 million gift — the largest ever received by Rutgers University–Camden — is launching a new program to attract students to Rutgers Law School in Camden who have distinguished themselves academically and demonstrated a commitment to public service.

The donor of this significant gift is a Rutgers–Camden faculty member who otherwise wishes to remain anonymous. At the donor’s request, the gift creates the Rayman L. Solomon Scholars program at the Camden location of Rutgers Law School in honor of the school’s former dean.

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January 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

157 Law Deans Publish Rare Joint Statement On The 2020 Election And Events At The Capitol

I was proud to join 156 of my fellow deans in a rare joint statement. From the press release:

Today, 157 Law School Deans from schools across the country published a statement addressing the 2020 election and the events that took place in the United States Capitol last week. The statement marks a rare occasion. It is unusual for such a diverse group of law deans to come together to speak as one on an issue that falls outside the ambit of legal education.

“The violent attack on the Capitol was an assault on our democracy and the rule of law,” reads the statement. “The effort to disrupt the certification of a free and fair election was a betrayal of the core values that undergird our Constitution. Lives were lost, the seat of our democracy was desecrated, and our country was shamed.”

The joint statement goes on to reflect upon the roles that lawyers played in recent events and affirm the deans’ commitment to working together to repair the damage to democratic institutions and rebuild faith in the rule of law.

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January 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

2021 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Academic Experience

Princeton Review

I previously blogged the lists of the Top 5 law schools in fourteen categories in the 2021 edition of the Princeton Review's Best Law Schools. In a series of posts this week, I will highlight the Top 50 schools in the five categories for which the Princeton Review provides individual law school data:

Academic Experience:  This rating measures the quality of the school's learning environment on a scale of 60 to 99. Factors taken into consideration include the Admissions Selectivity Rating, as well as how students rate each of the following: the quality of teaching and the accessibility of their professors, the research resources at their school, the range of available courses, the balance of curricular emphasis on legal theory and practical lawyering, the tolerance for diverse opinions in the classroom, and the degree of intellectual challenge that the coursework presents.

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January 12, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Fifteen Law Schools Are Looking To Hire Tax Profs

Law schools looking to hire tenure-track/tenured Tax Profs to start in the 2021-22 academic year:

January 12, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

University Of Texas Law School Seeks To Dismiss Sex Discrimination Complaint, Says Linda Mullenix Has 'Bruised Ego'

Following up on my previous post, Linda Mullenix Files Federal Lawsuit Against University Of Texas Law School Alleging Sex Discrimination, Retaliation, And Violation Of Equal Pay Act:  Texas Lawyer, UT Austin Argues for Dismissal, Saying Female Law Professor Has 'Bruised Ego':

MullenixThe University of Texas at Austin argues that law professor Linda Mullenix, who sued for pay discrimination, has a “higher opinion of her work than her colleagues do” and does not have enough evidence the law school retaliated against her.

Much of Mullenix’s retaliation allegations “fall into the category of bruised ego” rather than actionable retaliation, the university claimed. The school argued that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin should, for a second time, dismiss a retaliation claim in the law professor’s sex discrimination lawsuit.

Mullenix has alleged that she’s a distinguished law professor but she was paid more than $134,000 less from 2017 to 2019 than a male law professor with similar teacher evaluations ratings but nearly a decade less experience, fewer publications and fewer honors. She claimed that because she opposed unequal pay practices, the school retaliated by giving her low raises, putting her on insignificant committees and marginalizing her. ...

The university argued in a motion to dismiss that Mullenix has gotten raises consistently and her current salary is more than $337,000.

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January 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

What May We Expect Of A Theory Of International Tax Justice?

Dirk Broekhuijsen (Leiden) & Henk Vording (Leiden), What May We Expect of a Theory of International Tax Justice?:

In this article, we discuss what may be expected of a theory of international tax justice. After looking at the most important distributive as well as procedural theories of tax justice, we conclude that none of the existing theories can provide a coherent account of international tax justice. We therefore propose an alternative, more pragmatic approach drawing on Amartya Sen.

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January 12, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, January 11, 2021

Kamin: How Far To Go In Reforming Taxation Of Wealth

David Kamin (NYU), How Far to Go in Reforming Taxation of Wealth: Revenue and Tax Avoidance, 168 Tax Notes Fed. 1225 (Aug. 17, 2020):

Tax Notes Federal (2020)The article describes the revenue estimates of incremental versus fundamental reform options for taxation of individual wealth, and explains how tax avoidance assumptions underlie the larger estimates for fundamental reform. 

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January 11, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Impact Of Potential Tax Reform On Stock Market Returns: 2016 Election To TCJA

Anthony M. Diercks (Board of Governors, Federal Reserve), Daniel Soques (University of North Carolina-Wilmington) & William Waller (Tulane), The 283 Days of Stock Returns after the 2016 Election:

Conventional wisdom suggests that the promise of tax legislation played an important and positive role in the 25% increase in the stock market that began on November 9, 2016 and continued through December 22, 2017 (the day TCJA was signed into law). Our comprehensive and exhaustive forensic analysis confirms its positive effect. With that said, we find that its net impact is relatively modest.

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January 11, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

2021 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2021 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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January 11, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink

Dayton Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

University of Dayton School of Law:

Dayton LogoThe University of Dayton School of Law invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position to begin August 16, 2021. Areas of particular need include contracts, secured transactions, business organizations, property, wills and trusts, and/or tax.

Applicants must have a J.D. or the equivalent degree from a foreign institution.

While not everyone may possess all the preferred qualifications, the ideal candidate will bring many of the following:

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January 11, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

2021 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Admissions Selectivity

Princeton ReviewI previously blogged the lists of the Top 5 law schools in fourteen categories in the 2021 edition of the Princeton Review's Best Law Schools. In a series of posts this week, I will highlight the Top 50 schools in the five categories for which the Princeton Review provides individual law school data:

Admissions Selectivity:  This rating measures the competitiveness of admissions at each law school on a scale of 60–99. Factors taken into consideration include the median LSAT score and undergraduate GPA of entering 1L students, the percentage of applicants who are accepted, and the percentage of applicants who are accepted and ultimately enroll. 

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January 11, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: Too Much Control Over IRA Distribution Makes It Income

Tax Court (2020)Note: The Tax Court has migrated to a different operational internet platform.  As of last Friday, any opinions (if any) issued by  the Court since it closed its old platform in late November, are not accessible.  Further, older opinions are also not accessible, unless another website (such as leagle.com or casetext.com) captured a copy before the old platform closed.  That is why I am unable to provide a link to this week's case.  If any reader has public link to the opinion I would be grateful.

A fundamental concept I teach my tax students is the idea of control.  Taxpayers who engage in schemes where they ostensibly never touch a payment but in reality control its disposition often cannot escape taxation.  In Brett John Ball v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2020-152 (Nov. 10, 2020) (Judge Halpern), the taxpayer caused his self-directed IRA to distribute money to a wholly owned LLC, then caused the LLC to issue short-term loans to real estate entities.  When the loans were repaid, Mr. Ball re-deposited the money into the IRA.  The taxpayer had some decent arguments on why he should not have to report the IRA distributions as income.  Judge Halpern rejected those arguments, teaching us a lesson about how much control is too much control.

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January 11, 2021 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Appeals Court Explains Decision To Deny Bail For Katherine Magbanua As She Awaits Trial In Dan Markel's Murder

Tallahassee Democrat, Appeals Court Judges Explain Bail Denial For Dan Markel Murder Suspect Katherine Magbanua:

Magnauba (2021)Appeals court judges in Tallahassee on Thursday explained their denial of a request by accused Dan Markel murder suspect Katherine Magbanua to be released on bail.

In a 9-page opinion, 1st District Court of Appeal judges Lori Rowe, Joseph Lewis and Ross Bilbrey bolstered their December decision for Magbanua to continue to be held in the Leon County Detention Facility until trial.

Magbanua has sought several times to be released but her attorneys have been rebuffed by two different circuit judges who say there is enough evidence to hold her until trial. She was already on trial once in Markel's death, but the jury deadlocked. ...

Magbanua, 36, is the only one of three suspects in Markel's July 2014 killing whose case has not been disposed.

WCTV, Katherine Magbanua to Remain Behind Bars, Appeals Court Says:

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January 11, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Thirty Wealthy Colleges And Universities Are Targeted In Covid Relief Act

Inside Higher Ed, Wealthier Colleges and Universities Are Targeted In Covid Relief Bill:

After President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized giving private colleges and universities with large endowments help in the CARES Act, wealthier institutions like Harvard, Yale and Stanford Universities had their share of the money in the latest coronavirus relief package cut in half.

Under a little-noticed provision in the bill passed two weeks ago [The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021], private higher education institutions that were required by a 2017 law to pay a 1.4 percent excise tax on net investment income not only had their aid slashed, they were barred from using the money they will get to defray their financial losses from the pandemic. The relief bill allows them only to use the aid on emergency grants to students or to pay for personal protective equipment and other health and safety costs associated with the coronavirus. Higher education received about $23 billion in the legislation.

The provision affects about 30 private colleges and universities who have to pay the tax because they have at least 500 tuition-paying students and assets of at least $500,000 per student, said Steven Bloom, the American Council on Education’s government relations director. However, that number is constantly changing, particularly during the economic fallout of the pandemic, as the value of the endowments fluctuates over and under the threshold.

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January 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Will Paper Bar Exams Become A Thing Of The Past?

ABA Journal, Will Paper Bar Exams Become a Thing of the Past?:

While there’s significant disagreement on how the bar exam should change, many believe it will, and there’s a wide range of ideas about what should happen.

So far, suggestions for change include breaking the test into smaller segments and administering part of it in law school; replacing essay questions with performance tests; and doing away with the licensing exam entirely. ...

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January 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Dozens Of Kind Deeds Follow Harvard 2L's Suicide On New Year's Eve

Following up on my previous post, Statement Of Congressman Raskin And His Wife On Their Son Tommy, A Harvard 2L, Who Took His Own Life On New Year's Eve:  Washington Post, ‘One Small Act of Compassion in Tommy’s Honor’: Kind Deeds Follow the Death of Rep. Raskin’s Son:

Raskin 3When Thomas “Tommy” Raskin died at 25 years old on New Year’s Eve, he left a farewell message for his family, including his parents, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin:

“Please forgive me. My illness won today,” Tommy wrote, according to a poignant tribute written by his parents. “Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.”

Although Tommy’s note was intended for his family, the broader community is now heeding his words.

More than 175 people from the D.C. area and beyond have signed up so far to fulfill Tommy’s final wish by doing good deeds, large and small, in his name. People are adding the deeds to a Google document, along with their names and where they live.

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January 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5. The #1 paper is #491 among 15,657 tax papers in all-time downloads:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [878 Downloads]  A Simple Regulatory Fix for Citizenship Taxation, by John Richardson, Laura Snyder & Karen Alpert (Queensland)
  2. [411 Downloads]  Tax Treaty Negotiations: Myth and Reality, by Yariv Brauner (Florida)
  3. [291 Downloads]  Is It Time to Eliminate Federal Corporate Income Taxes?, by Edward Lane (Albany) & Randall Wray (UMKC)
  4. [237 Downloads]  Assessing the Flaws in the 1920s Compromise in the Times of the Burgeoning Digital Economy and the Great Lockdown, by Craig Elliffe (Auckland)
  5. [202 Downloads]  What May We Expect of a Theory of International Tax Justice?, by Dirk Broekhuijsen (Leiden) & Henk Vording (Leiden)

January 10, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, January 9, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

California Bar Exam Pass Rate Is Highest In 12 Years, Due To Lower Cut Score; Supreme Court May Grant Licenses To 2,000 Applicants Who Failed Exams Since July 2015 And Scored 1390 Or Higher

California State Bar (2019)The California State Bar has released the results from the October 2020 online bar exam. The overall pass rate was 60.7%, up 10.6 percentage points from last year's July exam. For California ABA-accredited law schools, the pass rate for first time test-takers was 84%, up 12.7 percentage points from 2019. The was the first exam graded under the new cut score of 1390, reduced from 1440 by the California Supreme Court on July 16, 2020.

State Bar of California Releases Results of October 2020 Bar Exam:

Today the State Bar released results of the October 2020 California Bar Exam and announced that 5,292 people (60.7 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. If those who passed satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California. The October 2020 General Bar Exam pass rate is the highest in more than a decade, since July 2008.

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January 9, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

AALS Hosts Virtual Panel Today On New Voices In Taxation

The AALS Tax Section hosts a Zoom panel today on New Voices in Taxation at 4:15 pm ET:

AALS (2018)This program gives junior tax scholars an opportunity to receive useful feedback on their work from senior reviewers before submitting the work for publication.

Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina) (moderator)

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington), Taxation and the Law-and-Political-Economy Project (with Ari Glogower (Ohio State), Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) & Clinton Wallace (South Carolina)
Commentator:  Ajay Mehrotra (American Bar Foundation & Northwestern)

Jonathan Choi (Minnesota), Legal Analysis, Policy Analysis, and the Price of Deference: An Empirical Study of Mayo and Chevron
Commentator, Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina)

Hayes Holderness (Richmond), Insidious Regulatory Taxes
Commentator:  Beth Colgan (UCLA)

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January 9, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

McLaughlin: Conservation Easements And Federal Tax Law

Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah), Trying Times: Conservation Easements and Federal Tax Law (207 pages):

Since 2005, the courts have decided more than 90 cases involving challenges to deductions claimed with respect to conservation easement donations. More than 135 opinions have been issued in these cases due to appeals, motions for reconsideration, and the issuance of separate opinions addressing specific issues. This outline, which is updated annually, discusses the case law and other developments in the conservation easement donation context.

January 9, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, January 8, 2021

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Kleiman Reviews Hayashi's Dynamic Property Taxes And Racial Gentrification

This week, Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) reviews a new work by Andrew T. Hayashi (UVA), Dynamic Property Taxes and Racial Gentrification (2020).

Stevenson

Four decades after California’s Prop 13 and the Tax Revolt it instigated, we are still unraveling the downstream consequences of property tax limits. Andrew Hayashi explores yet another unanticipated, if not surprising, consequence of property tax assessment limits in the context of gentrification. Combining theoretical reasoning with empirical data from Maryland, his approach is thoughtful and nuanced, reflecting the multilayered complexity underlying the economic and social processes at play.

The crux of his reasoning is the following. Property taxes are based on a property’s assessed value, which often differs from its market value. A relatively lower assessed value means a lower “effective tax rate” (ETR), since the ETR is measured against market value. Tax limits play an important role by limiting the government’s ability to assess properties at their market value, either imposing a maximum increase percentage or requiring that increases be phased-in over time. Regardless of the form, these limits cause lower ETRs for properties that are increasing in value compared to properties with stable or declining values. The more rapid the appreciation, the more pronounced the ETR gap.

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January 8, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

ABA Tax Section Women's Tax Forum Hosts Zoom Tea Today With Alice Abreu

The ABA Tax Section Women's Tax Forum is hosting a Zoom Tea today with Alice Abreu (Temple) at 4:30 PM ET:

ABA Tax Section Women in TaxTake a 30-minute tea break with us as we chat on Zoom video with leading women tax lawyers from a variety of fields who share stories of success and struggle as we explore individual paths to professional and personal fulfillment.

We're thrilled to announce Alice Abreu is joining us this Friday! Alice is a Professor of Law at Temple University's Beasley School of Law, where she teaches courses in Taxation, Corporate Taxation, International Taxation, and Low Income Taxpayer Policy and Practice and is serving as the inaugural Director of Temple's Center for Tax Law and Public Policy.

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January 8, 2021 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Students Of Color Are Driving A Spike In Law School Applications

Reuters, Students of Color Are Driving a Spike in Law School Applications:

For many in the U.S., and especially students of color, one answer to the calamities of 2020 has been to apply to law school. Law schools in the U.S. are reporting an unprecedented surge in applicants, with a 33% increase for the fall 2021 cycle compared with the previous year, according to recent figures. The trend among Black applicants is even stronger, with applications up 39%.

There were 31,486 law school applicants in the United States in the year ending Dec. 22, compared with 23,614 the year before, according to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and compiles data on the application and admissions process. LSAC publishes updated applicant data on its web site every day. "I've never seen anything like this," said Andrew Cornblatt, dean of admissions at Georgetown Law School, where applications were up about 60% year-over-year as of December.

Paul Caron, the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law dean and a regular analyst of law school application data, said last week that Pepperdine has seen a 54% increase in applicants for fall 2021, following a record set the previous year. The number of Black applicants has doubled over the previous year, he said.

Cornblatt, Caron and other experts attribute the overall increases and the spike in applications by minority students to several forces, including the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy, the killings by police of George Floyd and other black men in the U.S., the 2020 presidential election, and social media. ...

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January 8, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

AALS Hosts Virtual Panel Today On Tax Law In An Age Of COVID

The AALS Tax Section hosts a Zoom panel today on Tax Law in an Age of COVID at 1:15 pm ET:

AALS (2018)In the wake of COVID-19, Congress rushed to use the tax policy and the administrative resources of the IRS to deliver economic benefits to individuals and firms, but it also used this must-pass legislation to enact long-sought tax measures. This panel will consider federal tax policy's role in this unprecedented economic contraction and in the fiscal crisis confronting state and local governments.

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January 8, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink

Muller: Law School-Specific Debt Disparities Between Men And Women

Following up on my previous post, Law Schools With The Best And Worst Debt-To-Income Ratios Among Recent Graduates:  Derek Muller (Iowa), Some Data on Law School-Specific Debt Load Disparities Between Men and Women:

The ever-valuable LSSSE data recently noted that women tend to graduate from law school with higher debt loads than men. The ABA has tracked this, too. On the heels of recent Department of Education data disclosures, however, we can drill down on law school-specific figures. ...

I looked at mean debt data for males and non-males. (That’s how the DOE codes the data—I assume the vast majority of non-males are females, but it could include non-binary individuals, and I’ll formally use the DOE coding.) Unsurprisingly (given the aggregate figures from LSSSE & ABA, among others), there are more schools where the mean debt loads for non-males are greater than the mean debt loads for males. At about half the schools, the debt ratios are close to parity—of the 208 schools in my data set, about 100 have a mean debt load of less than a $5000 difference between the sexes.

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January 8, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Field: Allocating Tax Transition Risk

Heather Field (UC-Hastings), Allocating Tax Transition Risk, 73 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2020):

NYU Law (2016)The enactment of sweeping tax changes in late 2017 by Republicans without any bipartisan support and the calls by Democrats to reverse those changes (and make more) when they regain political power create an unstable tax landscape that is challenging for taxpayers who are trying to make economic decisions that are affected by tax law. One strategy for grappling with this instability and uncertainty is for taxpayers to use contracts to allocate the economic benefits and burdens of a possible future tax law change among themselves. The literature says almost nothing about this contract-based strategy for managing tax transition risk. This gap is surprising because (a) the leading view on tax transition policy argues that taxpayers should account for the risk of tax law changes the same way they take other market risks into account when making decisions, and (b) private contracting is a well-accepted method for addressing market risks. To fill this gap, this Article uses four case studies—involving derivatives, credit agreements, municipal bonds, and merger agreements—to demonstrate that taxpayers are using tax transition risk-shifting contracts and to illustrate how this risk-management strategy varies. This Article then discusses three implications of this study.

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January 8, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Joe Biden's Tax Fairness Mandate

Americans for Tax Fairness, Biden’s Tax Fairness Mandate:

Biden put forth the most progressive tax reform plan ever introduced by a major party candidate for president.

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January 7, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Cui: Taxpayer Self-Inspections, Audits, And Optimal Tax Administration In China

Wei Cui (British Columbia), Taxpayer Self-Inspections, Audits, and Optimal Tax Administration: Evidence from China:

I document an important tax collection practice that is previously unknown to research on tax administration: mandatory taxpayer self-inspections. The practice emerged spontaneously across China in the 1990s and persists to this day despite having no basis in law. If taxpayers report additional liabilities after self-inspections, no penalties are imposed. Unlike tax amnesties, self-inspections are (i) backed up by the threat of government inspections with a significantly higher-than-normal audit probability, and (ii) used as a basic, routine revenue-generation technique. I show that self-inspections represent roughly 50% of the activity in China’s “tax inspection” (jicha) system and assume even greater importance in the larger “revenue management” (shuiyuan guanli) system. Evidence suggests that self-inspections are much more effective at generating revenue than costlier government inspections.

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January 7, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Making Public Interest Lawyers In A Time Of Crisis

Catherine Albiston (UC-Berkeley), Scott L. Cummings (UCLA) & Richard L. Abel (UCLA), Making Public Interest Lawyers In A Time Of Crisis: An Evidence-Based Approach, 34 Geo. J. Legal Ethics ___ (2021):

Now is a critical time to consider the role that lawyers—and the law schools that produce them—can play in movements for social transformation. Over the past half-century, public interest lawyers who represent subordinated communities in the pursuit of equal justice have contributed significantly to such movements: mobilizing law to fight discrimination, expand access to social benefits, promote the inclusion of immigrants and others branded outsiders, and protect the rights of low-wage workers and the unhoused. While some law schools have invested resources to train students seeking public interest careers, most continue to focus on placing students in lucrative law firms: elevating a neoliberal conception of legal education that seeks to maximize return on investment, rather than promoting the professional role of lawyers in democratic society. Even those law schools dedicated to helping students enter public interest careers lack basic information about which interventions are most likely to work. This Article fills that critical information gap by providing the first systematic empirical evidence about what law schools can do to help students build long-term public interest careers.

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Exposing The Pervasiveness Of Implicit Bias And White Privilege In Legal Pedagogy

Rory D. Bahadur (Washburn) & Liyun Zhang (South Carolina), Of Socratic Teaching and Learning Styles: Exposing the Pervasiveness of Implicit Bias and White Privilege in Legal Pedagogy, 18 Hastings J. Race & L. ___ (2020):

Legal educators who deny the efficacy of utilizing learning style theory inaccurately support their dismissal through misunderstanding and misrepresenting the science supporting such techniques. These erroneous conclusions are often the result of implicit bias and dysconscious racism favoring dominant white male norms and privileges. Such denial is not only disingenuous and inaccurate, but also highly detrimental to legal education, perpetuating a system that discourages and devalues the contributions and efforts of minority students.

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Over 1,000 New Lawyers Get Licenses Without Taking Bar Exam

Bloomberg, Over 1,000 New Lawyers Get Licenses Without Taking Bar Exam:

More than 1,000 recent law school graduates so far have opted to become licensed to practice without taking a bar exam, through emergency programs enacted in four states and Washington, D.C., state data shows. Indifference to the test from at least some firms like Davis Wright Tremaine, their insurers, and other employers could help the push to make temporary diploma privilege programs permanent.

Advocates say programs in Utah, Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. set an important precedent, even though the programs are designed to phase out in 2021.

Bloomberg

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tax Prof AALS Teachers Of The Year

AALS, Teachers of the Year:

AALS (2018)AALS Teachers of the Year are exceptional faculty members nominated by their peers for their excellence in teaching and contributions to their law schools.

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink

'Business as Usual Doesn’t Work': Inside Big Law’s Reckoning on Race

Law.com, 'Business as Usual Doesn’t Work': Inside Big Law’s Reckoning on Race:

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black men and women in 2020 sparked new conversations about race and inequity across the legal profession.

This Legal Speak podcast examines whether the renewed commitments from major law firms to improve diversity and inclusion are gaining traction and leading to meaningful change.

To explore the issue, Legal Speak co-host Vanessa Blum checks in with diversity leaders at three Am Law 200 law firms. They describe the past few months as a reckoning that has led to challenging conversations about race within their organizations and that has created a new urgency around their work.

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Left Wants A Philanthropy Of The Few

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  The Left Wants a Philanthropy of the Few, by Elise Westhoff (President & CEO, Philanthropy Roundtable):

Initiative To Accelerate It takes a fine sense of irony to start the season of giving by trying to limit Americans’ generosity. Yet that would be the outcome of a high-profile legislative proposal unveiled on Dec. 1, “Giving Tuesday,” conceived by former hedge-fund manager John Arnold and Boston College law professor Ray Madoff. The proposal would stifle Americans who want to support worthy causes but aren’t superrich. It would also further the goals of progressive politicians who seek to punish charitable giving they don’t like and can’t control.

The “Initiative to Accelerate Charitable Giving” is framed as a way to force the wealthy to give more. It enjoys the backing of some of America’s biggest and most prominent foundations, including Ford, Kresge, Kellogg and Hewlett. These large and powerful institutions are effectively trying to dictate how smaller and less influential donors give, which dovetails neatly with the goals of progressive politicians and activists.

The centerpiece is a series of regulations on donor-advised funds, a popular option for philanthropists outside the 1%. While the foundations supporting the initiative control a combined $38 billion, the average donor-advised fund has a little more than $166,000 set aside for charity. Donor-advised funds allow individuals to donate as much as they like annually, even a few hundred dollars. Some choose to give right away, while others take a long-term approach, waiting to align their priorities with the needs of the communities they aim to serve. These funds also provide donors with the option of privacy—the particular focus of political attack.

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January 7, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Schaffa: The Economic Efficiency Case Against Business Tax Privacy

Daniel Schaffa (Richmond), The Economic Efficiency Case Against Business Tax Privacy, 50 Seton Hall L. Rev. 27 (2019):

By statute, business tax returns are not publicly available. But with public access, investors would acquire useful information that would help them make better investing decisions; business tax compliance and planning would become more uniform, preventing tax-savvy firms from gaining an advantage over other relatively more productive firms; and businesses could learn from one another, which would spare firms the cost of redundantly developing the same tax strategies. In the long run, these efficiency gains could result in lower prices, higher wages, more innovation, more leisure, and better investment returns. In the debate over business tax privacy, these sorts of economic efficiency arguments have received surprisingly little attention. This Article argues that economic efficiency is central to the debate and may well change where we come out on business tax privacy.

Conclusion
Economic efficiency is paramount to tax policy, but on one important issue—whether businesses should be entitled to tax privacy—the efficiency criterion has received short shrift. This Article evaluates business tax privacy using the same efficiency criteria applied to other tax issues and argues that eliminating business tax privacy would be beneficial. Public access to business tax returns was a feature of the country’s first corporate tax legislation. Economic efficiency considerations commend a return to our original approach.

January 6, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Brooks: The Tax Treatment Of Student Loan Discharge And Cancellation

John R. Brooks (Georgetown), The Tax Treatment of Student Loan Discharge and Cancellation:

The standard view is that, absent an express exclusion in the tax code, cancellation of student debt is taxable. Under this view, any immediate debt relief through administrative action would generate a tax bill. More troubling, the millions of borrowers in Income-Driven Repayment could face a “tax bomb” because of their promised loan cancellation, potentially hitting borrowers with bills for $100,000 or more in the same year that the government tells them their loan obligations have ended. These perverse outcomes are, however, based on a misreading of the tax law. The standard tax treatment of debt cancellation does not work with student loans, for three principal reasons.

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January 6, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Legal Ed Has Risen To Meet COVID Challenges, Says Incoming AALS President

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Legal Ed Has Risen to Meet COVID Challenges, Says Incoming AALS President:

RougeauThe Association of American Law Schools’ annual meeting is taking place this week, but thousands of law professors aren’t roaming the halls of the Hilton San Francisco as planned.

Like so many aspects of legal education during the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest annual law school gathering has gone virtual with a five-day slate of online programs. It’s the first time the annual meeting hasn’t taken place in-person, but there’s a silver lining to the upheaval. About 4,500 people have registered for the event—an attendance record.

Law.com caught up with incoming AALS President and Boston College Law Dean Vincent Rougeau to discuss the new format for the virtual meeting; how legal education is meeting the challenges posed by the pandemic, and what changes are likely to remain after COVID-19 subsides. His answers have been edited for length.

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January 6, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Historians' Statement On Congressional Certification Of The 2020 Presidential Election

Ed Larson, Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law and University Professor of History at Pepperdine, joined with over twenty other noted historians in this Historians' Statement on Congressional Certification of the 2020 Presidential Election:

As historians and constitutional scholars as well as citizens, we deplore the effort to disrupt Congressional certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Never before in our history has a president who lost re-election tried to stay in office by subverting the democratic process set down by the Constitution. That is what President Trump has been doing since November 3, when a strong electoral majority of Americans chose Joseph R. Biden to be the 46th President of the United States.

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January 6, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The 10 Most Popular Tax Articles Of 2020

  1. SSRN Logo (2018)2791 Downloads:  Hiba Hafiz, Shu-Yi Oei, Diane Ring & Natalya Shnitser (Boston College), Regulating In A Pandemic: Evaluating Economic And Financial Policy Responses To The Coronavirus Crisis (reviewed by Michelle Layser (Illinois))
  2. 1,588 Downloads:  Lily Batchelder (NYU) & David Kamin (NYU), Taxing the Rich: Issues and Options
  3. 1,339 Downloads:  Ruth Mason (Virginia), The Transformation of International Tax, 114 Am. J. Int'l L. 353 (2020) (reviewed by Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College); symposium responses by Wolfgang Alschner (Ottawa), Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Wei Cui (British Columbia), Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown), and Alan Sykes (Stanford))
  4. 822 Downloads:  John Richardson, Laura Snyder & Karen Alpert (Queensland), A Simple Regulatory Fix for Citizenship Taxation, 169 Tax Notes Fed. 275 (Oct. 12, 2020)
  5. 709 Downloads:  Ruth Mason (Virginia) & Leopoldo Parada (Leeds), The Legality of Digital Taxes in Europe, 40 Va. Tax Rev. ___ (2020)
  6. 681 Downloads:  Wei Cui (British Columbia), The Digital Services Tax: A Conceptual Defense, 73 Tax L. Reb. 69 (2019) (reviewed by Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) and Kim Brooks (Dalhousie)) 
  7. 673 Downloads:    Kimberly Clausing (UCLA), Emmanuel Saez (UC-Berkely) & Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley), Ending Corporate Tax Avoidance and Tax Competition: A Plan to Collect the Tax Deficit of Multinationals
  8. 669 Downloads:  Kimberly Clausing (UCLA), Profit Shifting Before and After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
  9. 528 Downloads:  Jennifer Blouin (Penn) & Leslie Robinson (Dartmouth), Double Counting Accounting: How Much Profit of Multinational Enterprises Is Really in Tax Havens?
  10. 521 Downloads:  Stephen Daly (King's College London) & Ruth Mason (Virginia), State Aid: The General Court Decision in Apple (reviewed by Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah))

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January 6, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Top 10 Legal Education Posts Of 2020

The Top 10 Tax Posts Of 2020

TaxProf Blog 2020 Traffic Data

2020 was TaxProf Blog's biggest year to-date, with 22.3 million pages views, a 15.2% increase over last year (and a 33.4% increase in new users):

TrafficMy top demographic is ages 25-34:

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January 6, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink