TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Top Ten Law Firms In Diverse, LGTB, And Female Attorneys, There's A Diversity Problem At Law Firms - What Can Be Done?:

Legal Compass has the data to benchmark firms against each other and against the high performers in diversity. The table below lists out the top ten firms in ALM Legal Intelligence’s Diversity, LGBT and Female law firm data. Keep in mind this table only includes Am Law 200 and NLJ 500 law firms. Nevertheless, this data gives GCs something tangible and measurable to use toward their call to action movement.

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March 12, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Source Of American Exceptionalism: Tax Morale

AtlanticThe Atlantic, Why Americans Don’t Cheat on Their Taxes:

If such a thing as American exceptionalism remains, maybe it can be found in this: Despite deep IRS budget cuts, an average audit rate that has plunged in recent years to just 0.6 percent, and a president who has bragged that dodging federal taxes is “smart,” most Americans still pay their income taxes every year. Even more remarkable, most of us feel obliged to pay. To quote the findings of a 2017 IRS survey: “The majority of Americans (88%) say it is not at all acceptable to cheat on taxes; this ethical attitude is not changing over time.”

True, tax crooks might not confess their real feelings in an IRS survey. But other data confirm that the U.S. is among the world’s leaders when it comes to what economists call the voluntary compliance rate (VCR). In recent decades, America’s VCR has consistently hovered between 81 and 84 percent. Most countries don’t calculate their VCR regularly, but when they do, they lag behind the U.S. One paper that gathered what comparative data were available reported that Germany, the top European Union economy, had a VCR of 68 percent.

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March 12, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

2020 U.S. News Law School Peer Reputation Rankings (And Overall Rankings)

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiContinuing a TaxProf Blog tradition (see links below for 2009-2019), here is the full list of the 192 law schools ranked by academic peer reputation, as well as their overall rank, in the new 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings (methodology here):

Peer Rank Peer Score School Overall Rank
1 4.9 Stanford 2
1 4.9 Harvard 3
3 4.8 Yale 1
4 4.7 Chicago 4
4 4.7 Columbia 5
6 4.6 NYU 6
7 4.4 Penn 7
7 4.4 Virginia 8
7 4.4 Michigan 9
7 4.4 UC-Berkeley 10
11 4.3 Cornell 13
12 4.2 Duke 10
12 4.2 Northwestern 10
12 4.2 Georgetown 14
15 4.1 UCLA 15
15 4.1 Texas 16
17 4.0 Vanderbilt 18
18 3.7 USC 17
18 3.7 Washington Univ. 18
20 3.6 Minnesota 20
21 3.5 Notre Dame 21
21 3.5 George Washington 22
21 3.5 Boston University 23
21 3.5 UC-Irvine 23
21 3.5 Emory 26
26 3.4 Boston College 27
26 3.4 UC-Davis 31
26 3.4 North Carolina 34
29 3.3 Georgia 27
29 3.3 Iowa 27
29 3.3 Florida 31
29 3.3 Indiana (Maurer) 34
29 3.3 Ohio State 34
29 3.3 Wisconsin 34
29 3.3 Fordham 39
29 3.3 William & Mary 39
29 3.3 Univ. of Washington 44
38 3.2 Alabama 25
38 3.2 Arizona State 27
38 3.2 Washington & Lee 34
38 3.2 Arizona 39
38 3.2 Illinois 39
43 3.1 Wake Forest 31
43 3.1 Colorado 45
43 3.1 Florida State 48
43 3.1 UC-Hastings 62
47 3.0 Tulane 52
47 3.0 Maryland 52
49 2.9 BYU 39
49 2.9 Utah 47
49 2.9 Connecticut 52
52 2.8 Cardozo 52
52 2.8 Denver 67
52 2.8 Miami 67
52 2.8 American 77
52 2.8 Oregon 83
57 2.7 George Mason 45
57 2.7 Temple 48
57 2.7 Pepperdine 51
57 2.7 SMU 52
57 2.7 Richmond 52
57 2.7 Houston 59
57 2.7 Loyola-L.A. 62
57 2.7 Georgia State 67
57 2.7 Pittsburgh 77
57 2.7 San Diego 86
67 2.6 UNLV 58
67 2.6 Tennessee 59
67 2.6 Missouri (Columbia) 64
67 2.6 Kansas 67
67 2.6 Brooklyn 71
67 2.6 Case Western 71
67 2.6 Kentucky 71
67 2.6 Loyola-Chicago 77
67 2.6 Rutgers 77
67 2.6 Chicago-Kent 87
67 2.6 Howard 108
78 2.5 Seton Hall 59
78 2.5 Northeastern 64
78 2.5 Oklahoma 71
78 2.5 Villanova 71
78 2.5 Hawaii 91
78 2.5 South Carolina 91
78 2.5 Santa Clara 104
78 2.5 Indiana (McKinney) 108
86 2.4 Baylor 48
86 2.4 Penn State (Univ. Park) 64
86 2.4 Nebraska 77
86 2.4 Texas A&M 83
86 2.4 Cincinnati 83
86 2.4 Michigan State 91
86 2.4 New Mexico 91
86 2.4 Lewis & Clark 104
94 2.3 St. John's 77
94 2.3 St. Louis 90
94 2.3 Marquette 91
94 2.3 Syracuse 91
94 2.3 Arkansas (Fayetteville) 91
94 2.3 Seattle 122
100 2.2 Penn State (Dickinson) 71
100 2.2 Drexel 100
100 2.2 Hofstra 100
100 2.2 LSU 100
100 2.2 West Virginia 100
100 2.2 SUNY-Buffalo 104
100 2.2 CUNY 108
100 2.2 Univ. of Mississippi 108
100 2.2 Missouri (Kansas City) 108
100 2.2 Maine 126
100 2.2 DePaul 132
100 2.2 Arkansas (Little Rock) 143
112 2.1 New Hampshire 87
112 2.1 Florida Int'l 91
112 2.1 Wayne State 91
112 2.1 Stetson 104
112 2.1 Catholic 108
112 2.1 Louisville 108
112 2.1 Montana 115
112 2.1 Gonzaga 117
112 2.1 Baltimore 126
112 2.1 Idaho 126
112 2.1 Loyola-New Orleans 138
123 2.0 Tulsa 87
123 2.0 Albany 115
123 2.0 Wyoming 132
123 2.0 Suffolk 143
127 1.9 Creighton 117
127 1.9 New York Law School 117
127 1.9 Texas Tech 117
127 1.9 St. Thomas (MN) 117
127 1.9 Drake 122
127 1.9 Pace 122
127 1.9 Quinnipiac 126
127 1.9 Toledo 126
127 1.9 Chapman 132
127 1.9 Washburn 132
127 1.9 Vermont 136
127 1.9 Mercer 138
127 1.9 San Francisco Tier 2
127 1.9 Pacific Tier 2
127 1.9 Willamette Tier 2
142 1.8 Duquesne 122
142 1.8 Cleveland State 126
142 1.8 Memphis 138
142 1.8 South Dakota 138
142 1.8 Akron 143
142 1.8 Mitchell-Hamline Tier 2
142 1.8 Southwestern Tier 2
142 1.8 North Dakota Tier 2
142 1.8 Widener (DE) Tier 2
151 1.7 Roger Williams Tier 2
151 1.7 John Marshall (IL) Tier 2
151 1.7 Dayton Tier 2
154 1.6 Elon Tier 2
154 1.6 N. Illinois Tier 2
154 1.6 Nova Tier 2
154 1.6 Samford Tier 2
154 1.6 South Texas Tier 2
154 1.6 S. Illinois Tier 2
154 1.6 St. Mary's Tier 2
161 1.5 Ohio Northern 136
161 1.5 Cal-Western Tier 2
161 1.5 Campbell Tier 2
161 1.5 Florida A&M Tier 2
161 1.5 Golden Gate Tier 2
161 1.5 Mississippi College Tier 2
161 1.5 New England Tier 2
161 1.5 NC Central Tier 2
161 1.5 N. Kentucky Tier 2
161 1.5 Oklahoma City Tier 2
161 1.5 St. Thomas (FL) Tier 2
161 1.5 Tuoro Tier 2
161 1.5 Detroit Mercy Tier 2
161 1.5 UMass Tier 2
161 1.5 District of Columbia Tier 2
161 1.5 Widener (PA) Tier 2
177 1.4 Belmont 138
177 1.4 Capital Tier 2
177 1.4 Southern Tier 2
177 1.4 Texas Southern Tier 2
177 1.4 W. New England Tier 2
182 1.2 Appalachian Tier 2
182 1.2 Ave Maria Tier 2
182 1.2 Barry Tier 2
182 1.2 Charleston Tier 2
182 1.2 Faulkner Tier 2
182 1.2 Florida Coastal Tier 2
182 1.2 Liberty Tier 2
182 1.2 Regent Tier 2
182 1.2 La Verne Tier 2
191 1.1 W. Mich. Cooley Tier 2
191 1.1 Western State Tier 2

2020 U.S. News Specialty Rankings:

Prior Years' U.S. News Peer Reputation And Overall Rankings:

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March 12, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pepperdine’s Place In The 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)By now many of you have seen the news that Pepperdine Law has risen to #51 in the 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings. Our rise is especially gratifying in light of the decision by U.S. News last year to remove us from the rankings when we self-reported a single data reporting error one week before the publication date (for more details, see the links at the bottom of this post).

We have improved our ranking from #72 in 2017 to (unofficially) #62 in 2018 and #51 in 2019. This 21-point increase in our ranking over the past two years is the largest increase of any law school among the Top 100 law schools as ranked by U.S. News. We are in the second year of our plan to reduce the size of the student body by 20% to increase the quality of all aspects of our academic program.

We do not chase rankings at Pepperdine Law. Every decision we make is guided by a single question: what is in the best interest of our students? Often those decisions produce a rankings benefit as well, and we gladly reap those results. I am proud that our rankings rise is driven by the increasing selectivity of our incoming 1L class, the improved outcomes achieved by our graduates, the additional resources we have been able to deploy to improve our students’ educational experience, and our growing reputation among legal academics, lawyers, and judges.

Pepperdine Law also was recognized by U.S. News for excellence in several specialty programs in rankings voted on by faculty in those fields, including rankings of #2 in dispute resolution, #32 in tax law, and #33 in clinical training.

This news is especially meaningful to us following the Woolsey Fire last August which caused massive destruction in Malibu and threatened Pepperdine. Thanks to great planning by our university and the heroic efforts of firefighters on the ground and in the air, not a single building on campus was lost (for more, see the links at the bottom of this post).

Fire High Res 5 (No Ocean)

I have a confession to make. Our annual law school dinner is ordinarily held each year in early March. But after last year’s rankings hiccup, I decided to move this year’s dinner to March 30 so it would take place after the release of the new law school rankings. I was so confident about the direction of our law school that we decided that the theme of this year’s dinner would be that Pepperdine Law is “on the rise.” As I wrote when we re-opened the law school after being closed for 17 days after the fire (and following my emergency surgery for detached retinas in both of my eyes), Pepperdine Law Rises From The Ashes: Better, Stronger, United.


Prior TaxProf Blog coverage of Pepperdine's 2019 U.S. News ranking: 

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage of the impact of the Woolsey Fire on Pepperdine:

Update, Latest US News Law School Ranking Offers Few Surprises:

Back on the list this year is Pepperdine University School of Law, which nearly cracked the top 50, coming in at No. 51. U.S. News left Pepperdine off the rankings last year after the school flagged a mistake in the figures it had reported to U.S. News pertaining to the median LSAT score of its newest class. (U.S. News provides each school an early copy of the list to check the accuracy of the data.) School administrators predicted that Pepperdine would have claimed the 62nd position had the correct LSAT number been factored in. The school’s last official ranking was No. 72.

Pepperdine law dean Paul Caron said he believes his widely read TaxProfBlog has helped spread the word about the law school and raise awareness of its strengths. That exposure, coupled with the stronger credentials and employment outcomes that the school has achieved due to smaller class sizes, has bolstered its ranking, he said.

“Our law school dinner is ordinarily held each year in early March,” Caron said. “But after last year’s rankings hiccup, I decided to move this year’s dinner to March 30 so it would take place after the release of the new law school rankings. I was so confident about the direction of our law school that we decided that the theme of this year’s dinner would be that Pepperdine Law is ‘on the rise.’ I am glad I was right, or it would have been a very awkward dinner!”

The Recorder, Stanford Holds Steady, USC Jumps 2 Spots In Latest US News Law School Ranking:

This year's list is unusually stable compared with previous years. But Pepperdine University School of Law nearly cracked the top 50 after the school was omitted from the list last year after flagging a mistake in the figures it reported pertaining to the median LSAT score of its newest class.

Above the Law, This Law School Had A Great Year — At Least According To The Latest U.S. News Rankings:

After a big snafu last year, the law school's back on track.

According to the leaked U.S. News Law School Rankings for 2020, what school’s ranking increased the most?

Hint: Due to some misreporting, the school was unranked in the 2019 rankings, but the 2020 list puts them up 21 spots from where they were in 2018.

Answer: Pepperdine. You can find out all about last years rankings misadventure for the school here, and read all about this year’s rankings here.

Above the Law, The LEAKED 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Here:

Way to go, Pepperdine! After a rankings hiccup last year that landed the school among the unranked thanks to some misreporting, the school has soared.

March 12, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Morse Reviews Sugin's The Social Meaning Of The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Susan Morse (Texas), Morality and the 2017 Tax Act (JOTWELL) (reviewing Linda Sugin (Fordham), The Social Meaning of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 128 Yale L.J. Forum (Oct. 25, 2018)):

I am on alert for tax law changes as I teach Federal Income Tax this semester for the first time since the passage of the 2017 tax act. They seem to appear out of nowhere, rather than as part of a predictable pattern. What can explain seemingly disconnected provisions, scattered throughout the Code and enacted without an explicit policy explanation?

Linda Sugin takes on this question in The Social Meaning of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, published in 2018 at the Yale Law Journal Forum. Her critical perspective makes an effort to divine the worldview embedded in the TCJA based on the content of the enacted law. Sugin’s engineering effort shows the following “American priorities and values revealed by the TCJA:

  1. The traditional family is best;
  2. Individuals have greater entitlement to their capital than to their labor;
  3. People are autonomous individuals;
  4. Charity is for the rich; and
  5. Physical things are important.”

Sugin reviews dozens of provisions to support her arguments. ...

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March 12, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Tax Section Publishes New Issue Of Tax Times

ABA Tax Times (2016)The ABA Tax Section has published 38 Tax Times No. 2 (Feb. 2019):

Your Changing Tax Section
By Eric Solomon (Ernst & Young, Washington, D.C.)
The Tax Section held its Midyear Tax Meeting in New Orleans on January 17-19. Numerous panels addressed the continuing deluge of guidance relating to the 2017 Tax Act, such as proposed regulations regarding qualified opportunity funds and final regulations regarding the 20% deduction for sole proprietors and owners of pass-through entities (section 199A), as well as additional guidance regarding the many new international tax provisions.

Interview with Jeremiah Coder
By Thomas D. Greenaway (KPMG, Boston, MA)
The Tax Times interviewed Jeremiah Coder, a contributing author to The National Law Review and past contributing editor of Tax Analysts.

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March 12, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Clausing Presents The Progressive Case For Free Trade, Immigration, And Global Capital Today At NYU

OpenKimberly Clausing (Reed College) presents Open: he Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019) today at NYUTimothy Noah (Politico) is the moderator and Dan Shaviro (NYU) is the commentator.

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

A leading authority on corporate taxation and an advocate of a more equal economy, Clausing agrees that Americans, especially those with middle and lower incomes, face stark economic challenges. But these problems do not require us to retreat from the global economy. On the contrary, she shows, an open economy overwhelmingly helps. International trade makes countries richer, raises living standards, benefits consumers, and brings nations together. Global capital mobility helps both borrowers and lenders. International business improves efficiency and fosters innovation. And immigration remains one of America’s greatest strengths, as newcomers play an essential role in economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Closing the door to the benefits of an open economy would cause untold damage. Instead, Clausing outlines a progressive agenda to manage globalization more effectively, presenting strategies to equip workers for a modern economy, improve tax policy, and establish a better partnership between labor and the business community.

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March 11, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

How The U.S. News Scholarly Impact Rankings Could Hurt Niche Subjects

U.S. News Law (2019)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Jeff Sovern (St. John's), How the New US News Scholarly Impact Ranking Could Hurt Niche Subjects, Like Consumer Law:

There's been a lot of talk among law professors about the US News plan to measure faculty scholarly impact in part by citations to faculty scholarship (see here for a blog post citing to commentary).  While for now US News says it will not incorporate the citation rankings into its general law school rankings, US News may in the future replace the faculty reputation measure to some extent with a measure of how frequently professors are cited.  That could create disturbing incentives for faculty hiring and retention, as well as affect what professors write about. 

To be more concrete, imagine that a law school is hiring a new professor and has two candidates.  One candidate writes about criminal law and the other writes about consumer law.  The law school wants to maximize its ranking, and so wants to hire the candidate whose work will be cited more.  The universe of people writing scholarly articles about criminal law is much larger than the universe of professors writing about consumer law, and so, all other things being equal, the criminal law professor is likely to rack up more citations and so help with the school's ranking more.  ...

This isn't just bad for consumer law scholars. It's also bad for consumer law, and indeed any subject that isn't taught at all or nearly all law schools.

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March 11, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

High Taxes Be Damned, The Rich Keep Moving To California

CaliforniaLos Angeles Times, High Taxes be Damned, the Rich Keep Moving to California:

Are rich people fleeing California to escape astronomical state income taxes? That’s the word. But it’s fake news.

In fact, more wealthy people are moving to California than leaving, research indicates. It’s the poor and middle class who are departing.

It makes sense. If you’re getting rich in California and can afford to live comfortably here in this balmy climate, there’s little incentive to leave — except to stick it to the tax collector in Sacramento. ...

Loren Kaye, president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education, a chamber affiliate, cautions: “You can’t shelter your income simply by moving out of state. If your business or work is in California, that’s where you’re taxed. California very aggressively collects taxes.”

But, he adds: “If you’re retired or living off of investments, that’s different.” You can move to Nevada, where there’s no state income tax, and live off a California public pension without paying either Sacramento or Carson City. ...

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March 11, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Minnesota Judge Issues Injunction Against Old Man Winter, Banning Any More Snow

Snow StormABA Journal, Citing Petition by Law Firm 'Sue, Grabit, and Run,' Judge Enjoins Old Man Winter:

A Minnesota judge has not only complained about the weather—he decided to do something about it.

In a March 7 order, Judge Kevin Burke issued an injunction barring any more snow this winter in specified areas of Minnesota—especially in Hennepin County where he presides. Above the LawWCCO and the Star Tribune have coverage. Burke identified the plaintiffs as the citizens of Minnesota, represented by the law firm of “Sue, Grabit, and Run.

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March 11, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lesson From The Tax Court: Murphy’s Law Of Mailing

Tax Court (2017)When something goes right most of the time, we generally are not prepared for when it goes wrong.  Last week’s opinion in Teri Jordan v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2019-15 (Mar. 4, 2019) (Judge Buch) teaches that lesson as applied to the §7502 statutory mailbox rule.  It also teaches us what we need to know to avoid the unhappy outcome for Ms. Jordan.

Most folks know something about the statutory mailbox rule in §7502.  Or at least think they do.  Almost everyone has a general idea if they mail their tax returns or, as here, their Tax Court petition on the last day of the deadline for filing, all will be well.  That generally works out for them because the U.S. mail is reliable.  That reliability leads many folks to think they can print off a stamp or postage label from an internet provider and drop the petition off at their nearest U.S. Post Office (USPS).  Or taking it to the counter of a Fed Ex or UPS “store” is the same as taking it to a USPS counter.  Again, those actions usually result in a timely petition. 

More savvy (or cautious) taxpayers, however, not only know the mailbox rule, they also know Murphy’s law.  They know the best way to beat Murphy’s law of mailing is to use Registered Mail or Certified Mail.  Ms. Jordan was not one of the savvy.  She  used a private postage label printed out from to mail her Tax Court petition.  That proved to be a mistake.  To see how her case is a lesson for all of us, read on.

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March 11, 2019 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure | Permalink | Comments (7)

'Trump Bump' Continues To Fuel Law School Applications

KaplanFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Kaplan Test Prep Survey, Nearly 90 Percent of Law Schools Say the Political Climate Was a Significant Factor in Application Increase:

According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2018 law school admissions officers survey, an overwhelming 87 percent report that the current political climate in the U.S. was a significant factor in this past cycle’s application increase*. This includes 30 percent who describe it as a “very significant” factor. These were the results from a phone survey which included 121 law schools.

This politics-driven application bump may continue, according to a separate Kaplan survey of pre-law students**. Forty-five percent say that the current political climate impacted their decision to apply to law school, a marked increase from the 32 percent who answered this way in a Kaplan survey released last year.  Overall, 57 percent of those surveyed say they plan to use their law degree to advocate for political or public policy issues they care about.

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March 11, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hemel: Democrats Demanded Trump's Tax Returns. Then They Dragged Their Feet.

Trump Tax ReturnsPolitico op-ed:  Democrats Demanded Trump's Tax Returns. Then They Dragged Their Feet., by Daniel J. Hemel (Chicago):

The House has the authority to request anyone's tax documents. But, inexplicably, the leadership has taken it slow.

Demanding the president’s tax returns “is one of the first things we’d do” when Democrats control the House of Representatives, now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her hometown San Francisco Chronicle less than a month before the November 2018 midterm elections swept her party back into power. “[T]hat’s the easiest thing in the world,” she added. Congress is a “co-equal body of government,” and “[w]e have to have the truth.”

But more than two months after Pelosi took the speaker’s gavel, President Donald Trump’s tax returns are still sitting in an IRS file cabinet, and no member of the “co-equal” Congress has had a look. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J) says his party will issue a formal demand for Trump’s returns in mid- to late March, but the one House Democrat who has the statutory authority to obtain the documents — Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) — insists he still doesn’t “have a timeline” for moving forward on the matter.

Voters who took Pelosi at her word last fall are right to feel frustrated. Obtaining the president’s tax returns was never going to be “the easiest thing in the world,” and it will likely require a legal battle that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. For that reason, it was important for House Democrats to think strategically about how to build the best case. But as weeks turn into months, the Democrats’ plodding progress starts to look less like strategizing and more like foot-dragging.

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March 11, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Black Associate Sues For 'Diversity Fraud,' Says Law Firm Used Her As 'Diversity Prop' To Impress Clients

Sharika_RobinsonABA Journal, Firm Uses Minorities as 'Diversity Props' to Impress Clients, Suit Alleges:

A black associate has filed a lawsuit claiming that her North Carolina law firm uses minorities as “diversity props” to impress clients and also misrepresents its inclusiveness to potential employees.

Sharika Robinson claims in her March 4 lawsuit that Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson in North Carolina maintained in its advertising and in her job interviews that it was committed to the ideals of diversity and inclusion. ...

In reality, Robinson says, she is one of only two black associates at the 165-lawyer firm’s three offices, and the firm has had no more than 10 black lawyers since 1960. Robinson began working at Robinson Bradshaw in 2015 after two federal judicial clerkships, including a clerkship with Judge Damon Keith of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati.

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March 10, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Providing Online Access To Everyone's Tax Returns Makes A Nation Happier

Ricardo Perez-Truglia (UCLA), The Effects of Income Transparency on Well-Being: Evidence from a Natural Experiment (NBER Mar. 6, 2019):

In 2001, Norwegian tax records became easily accessible online, allowing everyone in the country to observe the incomes of everyone else. According to the income comparisons model, this change in transparency can widen the gap in well-being between richer and poorer individuals. We test this hypothesis using survey data from 1985–2013. Using multiple identification strategies, we show that the higher transparency increased the gap in happiness between richer and poorer individuals by 29%, and it increased the life satisfaction gap by 21%. We provide suggestive evidence that some, although probably not all, of this effect relates to changes in self-perceptions of relative income. We provide back-of-the-envelope estimates of the importance of income comparisons, and discuss implications for the ongoing debate on transparency policies.

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March 10, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Thought I Could Be A Christian At Yale Law School. I Was Wrong.

Yale Law Logo (2019)The Federalist op-ed:  I Thought I Could Be A Christian And Constitutionalist At Yale Law School. I Was Wrong, by Aaron Haviland (3L, Yale Law School):

I am a third-year student at Yale Law School. Before law school, I attended the Naval Academy and the University of Cambridge, and I served in the Marine Corps. I am also a member of my school’s Federalist Society chapter. ...

[M]y friends and I sent out a school-wide email announcement about a guest speaker event for the upcoming week. A lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal group that has won numerous First Amendment cases at the Supreme Court, would be discussing Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Given that ADF has been smeared as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we expected some controversy. But what we got was over-the-top even by Yale standards.

The first condemnation was from Outlaws, the law school’s LGBTQ group. They attacked the Federalist Society for inviting ADF to campus and called for a boycott of the event. Over the next 24 hours, almost every student group jumped onto the bandwagon and joined the boycott. ...

In addition to the boycott, some students said people who supported ADF’s position should no longer be admitted to the law school. One student emailed a list of the Federalist Society board members (publicly available information) so students would know whom to “thank” for this event.

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March 10, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN Logo (2018)There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5:

  1. [489 Downloads]  Ten Reasons to Prefer Tax Partnerships Over S-Corporations, by Bradley Borden (Brooklyn)
  2. [345 Downloads]  The Proposed Section 163(j) Regulations, by David Miller, Sejin Park, Mani Kakkar & Sean Webb (Proskauer)
  3. [316 Downloads]  A Constitutional Wealth Tax, by Ari Glogower (Ohio State)
  4. [181 Downloads]  Basis of Grantor Trust Assets Before the Grantor's Death, by Jeffrey Pennell (Emory)
  5. [152 Downloads]  Tax Wars: The Battle over Taxing Global Digital Commerce, by Art Cockfied (Queen's)

March 10, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Millionaires And Corporate Giants Escaped IRS Audits In FY 2018

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University has released Millionaires and Corporate Giants Escaped IRS Audits in FY 2018:

The latest data reveal that 97 out of every 100 taxpayers reporting over a million dollars of income were not audited last year. And for these millionaires the puny number of IRS audits has been cut in half since 2010.


More than half of the 633 largest corporations in the country - those with over $20 billion in assets - were not even audited last year. This is the first year that the audit rate has slipped below 50 percent. As recently as 2010, nearly all such returns (96%) were being examined by IRS.

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March 9, 2019 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Law Schools Are Like Comcast And Charter Spectrum: They Persist In Bundling Legal Education In A World That Demands Unbundling

CableMegan M. Carpenter (Dean, New Hampshire), Legal Education Unbundled (and Rebundled), 50 U. Tol. L. Rev. 265 (2019):

Abstract: This essay calls for an unbundling of legal education, much like the kind of unbundling we have seen in the cable, music, and print news media. It suggests that the standard legal education “bundle” — the generalized JD — is just one of many forms of legal education that can be packaged appropriately for today’s legal education market needs.

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March 9, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

WSJ: The Trouble With Taxing Wealth

Wall Street Journal, The Trouble With Taxing Wealth:

Elizabeth Warren’s proposed tax on net worth seems like a nearly surgical strike at inequality, but it may not be efficient.

Around the world, governments in recent decades have sought to lighten the burden on capital by reducing taxes on dividends, capital gains, corporate profits and wealth. The motivation is straightforward: more capital means more investment, higher productivity and faster growing wages. Capital is also highly mobile: Tax it too much, and it will go elsewhere, undermining growth.

Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren has broken with that consensus by proposing a tax of 2% on net worth above $50 million and 3% above $1 billion. It may never be enacted; yet in spirit it marks a historic pivot in the focus of capital taxation, from growth to inequality.

While there is no “right” level of inequality, it stands near historic highs and Democrats are unified in wanting to reduce it. Taxing wealth is an immensely appealing, nearly surgical strike at its most glaring manifestation. Yet it may not be an efficient response.

Income consists of money received each year in the form of wages, benefits, interest, dividends, capital gains and government transfers. Wealth consists of income you’ve saved over your lifetime or inherited, then invested in assets such as cash, bonds, stocks, property and stakes in a business, minus debts.

Wealth has always been more skewed than income and the imbalance has grown since the financial crisis. The median U.S. family’s income, adjusted for inflation, fell 4% between 2007 and 2016, while its wealth plummeted 20%, according to Federal Reserve figures. For the richest 10% of families, median income rose 9% while wealth leapt 27%. More than 80% of American households had less wealth in 2016 than on the eve of the last recession, in great part because their homes, the principal asset for most families, were below their precrisis values whereas stocks, whose ownership is concentrated among the rich, have roughly doubled since 2007.


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March 9, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Eyal-Cohen Reviews The Impact of Juror Knowledge of Deductibility And Defendants’ Tax Rates On Punitive Damages Awards

This week, Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama) reviews Bryan K. Church (Georgia Tech), Lucien Joseph Dhooge (Georgia Tech), Karie Davis-Nozemack (Georgia Tech) & Shankar Venkataraman (Bentley), The Impact of Juror Knowledge of Deductibility and Defendants’ Tax Rates on Punitive Damages Awards: Experimental Evidence

Mirit-Cohen (2018)This is a fun paper on a not-so-fun topic — punitive damage awards. In civil cases, juries may award both compensatory and punitive damages against defendants. Punitive damages are not meant to reimburse claimants for their harm, rather discipline defendants for their socially undesired behavior. Under the tax code both types of damages can be considered deducible ordinary and necessary business expenses. The tax-deductibility of punitive damages has been highly criticized. Treasury has continuously expressed its objection to allowing taxpayers to deduct punitive damages arguing it provides a tax break for bad behavior. Both the Obama and the Clinton administrations proposed but failed to make punitive damages non-deductible. What is the correlation of tax deductibility to jury’s decision to award punitive damages?

Scholars such as Polsky and Markel argued that from a practical perspective, jury members are oblivious to the deductibility of punitive damage awards. In fact, the idea that punitive damages are tax-deductible often comes as a surprise even to defendants. This ignorance takes the sting out of the awards and under-punishes defendants. To mitigate this problem, Polsky and Markel recommended to include information on the tax deductibility of the award in jury instructions. They contended that jurors that have such information will have a better sense of how to adjust their punitive damages award. When jurors are explicitly told that punitive damages are tax deductible, it is reasonable to expect they will increase the awards viewing tax-deductibility as a tax break for engaging in the unwanted behavior at subject. Other scholars such as Mogin and Zelenak criticized this proposal arguing correspondingly it will tilt the playing field against defendants and disregards the deterrence, rather than punishment, goal of punitive damages. This study empirically examines such claims.

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March 8, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Herzig: Supreme Court To Consider Proper State To Tax Trusts

David Herzig (Ernst & Young), U.S. Supreme Court Considers Proper State To Tax Trusts:

I love tax nexus cases! When the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. The Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, No. 18-457 (Kaestner Trust) in January, I expected a flood of commentary. But, to date, very little attention has been paid to what is perhaps the most important state tax taxation and trust case in decades.

The problem in Kaestner Trust seems simple: In which state is a trust subject to taxation?

Of course, the question presented is more difficult, e.g., does the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibit North Carolina from taxing the undistributed income of a New York trust based on a beneficiary’s residency in North Carolina? But the basic question is important and certain to force trustees to focus on state tax consequences. ...

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March 8, 2019 in New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Layser: The Pro-Gentrification Origins Of Place-Based Investment Tax Incentives

Michelle D. Layser (Illinois), The Pro-Gentrification Origins of Place-Based Investment Tax Incentives and a Path Toward Community Oriented Reform, 2019 Wis. L. Rev. ___:

Place-based investment tax incentives, which encourage taxpayers to invest in poor areas, constitute a particularly controversial, yet undertheorized, category of tax laws. The central problem presented by current place-based investment tax incentives is a contradiction between rhetoric and reality. They are presented as laws that benefit low-income communities, yet the dominant types of place-based investment tax incentives are not designed for this purpose. Understanding the reasons for this disconnect is key to assessing the limits and potential of place-based investment tax incentives as anti-poverty tools. By tracing the development of place-based investment tax incentives to their pro-gentrification origins, this Article argues that what many anti-poverty advocates view as a flaw—the lack of safeguards for poor communities that allegedly opens the door to abuses—is, in fact, a feature of most current place-based investment tax incentives.

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March 8, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

44% Of LSAT Test-Takers Use Khan Academy's Free Online Prep, Khan Academy's Free, Online LSAT Prep Proves Popular With Test Takers:

It turns out you can’t beat free.

More than 40,000 people each month are using Khan Academy’s new free, online Law School Admission Test prep program, according to figures released Wednesday by the Law School Admission Council and Khan Academy. That’s a healthy chunk of the roughly 100,000 people who sit for the entrance exam annually.

The council and Khan Academy jointly launched the program in June with a goal of making LSAT test prep more affordable and reaching a wider array of prospective law students. The groups say the early results indicate the program is hitting those targets.

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March 8, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

How To Think About Taxing And Spending Like A Swede

New York Times op-ed:  How to Think About Taxing and Spending Like a Swede, by Monica Prasad (Northwestern):

Europe has less inequality and more social mobility because its taxation schemes reach deeper into society and do more for everyone.

In the recent rush of proposals to tax the rich, Democrats have forgotten — or never really cared to learn — an important lesson: The countries that have been most successful at reducing poverty and inequality have not done it by taxing the wealthy and giving to the poor.

Take Sweden, a country often cited by progressives for its extensive social programs. Sweden has very low poverty and inequality, and economic mobility is significantly higher than it is in the United States; a poor Swede is much more likely to become middle class than a poor American is.

We can learn from Sweden, but the lesson is not what many people think. Rich Swedes do get taxed at high rates, but so does everyone else: The average American worker’s total tax burden is 31.7 percent of earnings, compared with 42.9 percent for the average Swede. The Swedes actually tax corporations less: 19.8 percent, compared with 34.2 percent in the United States in 2017, the last year for which we have comparative data — and yes, that’s after all the loopholes and deductions have been accounted for. The American rate will be lower after the 2017 tax bill, but it’s still unlikely to be as low as Sweden’s. ...

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March 8, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Bryce Harper Will Save Tens Of Millions In Taxes By Spurning The Dodgers And Giants

HarperLos Angeles Times, Bryce Harper Will Save Tens of Millions in Taxes by Spurning the Dodgers and Giants:

For Major League Baseball players, three teams are at the bottom of the standings on state taxes: the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.

That’s because California is in a league of its own on personal income taxes. We’ve got by far the highest state rate in the nation, topping out at 13.3%.

By contrast, Pennsylvania has a low flat rate for every taxpayer regardless of income. It’s just 3.07%. That’s one reason why superstar slugger Bryce Harper signed an eye-popping 13-year, $330-million contract last week with the Philadelphia Phillies, spurning the Dodgers and Giants.

Harper will save tens of millions in taxes by signing with the Phillies instead of a California team. “With a contract of that magnitude, it’s dramatic,” Scott Boras, Harper’s agent, says of the taxes. “It could be almost a full year’s compensation." “The Giants, Dodgers and Padres are in the worst state income tax jurisdiction in all of baseball,” Boras adds. “Players really get hit.” ...

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March 8, 2019 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Osofsky Presents Beyond Notice-And-Comment: The Making Of The § 199A Regs Today At Duke

Osofsky (2019)Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina) presents Legislation and Comment: The Making of the Section 199A Regulations (with Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College) )at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Congress passes a highly transformative but hastily drafted legal reform. Who comments in the regulatory process, when, and what are the implications? In this Article, we study these questions by examining how the regulatory process has unfolded in the case of § 199A, one of the central provisions from the monumental 2017 tax reform.

We document the comments that went into making the § 199A regulations from the time of legislative enactment through the hearing on the proposed regulations. We show that many comments were made before the proposed regulations were issued and the official administrative law notice-and-comment period had even opened. We examine how Treasury explicitly considered these comments in the proposed regulations. And we explore how these comments and other engagements—which were not wholly transparent to the public—shaped the proposed regulations and the subsequent conversation in the actual notice-and-comment period. We also investigate the role of indirect public dialogue and comments received after the official close of the notice-and-comment period.

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March 7, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morse Presents Government-To-Robot Enforcement At Utah

Morse (2018)Susan Morse (Texas) presents Government-to-Robot Enforcement, 2019 U. Ill. L. Rev. ___ (reviewed by Orly Mazur (SMU) here), at Utah yesterday as part of its Howard H. Rolapp Distinguished Visiting Scholar program:

Automated legal systems occupy a central place in the administration of most regulatory regimes. Examples include TurboTax, wage and hour software, and self-driving cars. These systems produce results which invite examination and adjudication on a centralized, ex post basis. This is revolutionary. It means that the content of law, which technically applies to individual regulated parties, is determined centrally by interactions between the government and firms that make automated legal systems. I call this trend government-to-robot enforcement.

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March 7, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Hosts Conference Today On An Islamic Case For Pluralism, Equal Citizenship, And Religious Freedom

UnnamedPepperdine hosts a conference today on An Islamic Case for Pluralism, Equal Citizenship, and Religious Freedom (agenda), sponsored by Pepperdine's Sudreau Global Justice Program, Pepperdine's Center for Faith and Learning, Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, Zaytuna College, Bayan Claremont School of Theology, and Baylor University's Institute for the Studies of Religion:


  • John Barton (Pepperdine)
  • Elizabeth Crouse (Religious Freedom Institute)

Plenary #1: Seven Seeds of Emerging Religious Freedom in Islam

  • Daniel Philpott (Notre Dame)

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March 7, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nina Olson To Retire After 18 Years As National Taxpayer Advocate

Olson (2018)A Personal Message from the National Taxpayer Advocate:

On this date eighteen years ago — March 1, 2001 — I walked through the doors of the IRS headquarters building in Washington, DC to begin my tenure as National Taxpayer Advocate of the United States.  It was the beginning of an always fascinating, usually complicated, and yes, sometimes frustrating journey.  Along the way, I have been privileged — and I use that word in every sense — to have worked with extraordinary people — in the Taxpayer Advocate Service, in the IRS, in Treasury, in Congress, and most importantly, directly with taxpayers and their representatives.

In addition to celebrating my March 1 anniversary, I crossed another milestone a few weeks ago.  In the eyes of the Internal Revenue Code, I am now “elderly” — that is, I am now of the age to qualify for the additional credit for the elderly under IRC § 22.  This has caused me to reflect on how I want to proceed with the remaining stages of my life, and I have concluded that I am ready to move on to a new stage.

So it is with a mix of excitement and bittersweet emotions that I am announcing today I will be retiring from the position of National Taxpayer Advocate on July 31, 2019.

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March 7, 2019 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Western State Law Students Turn To Courts, GoFundMe As School 'Teeters On The Edge Of Closure'

Western State LogoFollowing up on yesterday's post, ABA: Western State Law School Has Few Options As Its Parent University Is Placed In Receivership:  MarketWatch, With Their Law School Nearing Collapse, These Students Are Using the Courts to Fight Back:

It took several weeks of not receiving the financial-aid money she’s owed, rumors her law school was teetering on the edge of closure and few answers about how these challenges would affect her classmates before Marina Awed took action.

She decided to use her legal education to take matters into her own hands. “I just got tired of feeling helpless and I was like, you know what I can do this on my own,” she said.

Late last week, Awed filed a motion asking a judge to give her a say in the receivership — essentially a form of bankruptcy — of Argosy, the company that owns Awed’s law school, Western State College of Law. The judge granted Awed’s motion earlier this week, giving her a voice in the process. ...

If her school collapses, it could put their plans of sitting for the bar later this year in jeopardy. ...

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March 7, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Leslie Book Named IRS Professor-In-Residence

Book (2019)Leslie Book (Villanova) has been named Professor-in-Residence at the IRS. He joins a long line of distinguished Tax Profs who have held this important position:

  • 2010-11: Charlotte Crane (Northwestern)
  • 2009-10:  Jon Forman (Oklahoma)
  • 2008-09: David Hasen (Florida)
  • 2007-08: Greg Polsky (Georgia)
  • 2007: Calvin Johnson (Texas)
  • 2007: IRS Chief Counsel Revitalizes Professor-In-Residence Program
  • 1991-92: Alan Feld (Boston University) 
  • 1990-91: Laurence Wohl (Dayton) & Larry Zelenak (Duke)
  • 1988-89: Marilyn Brookens (Baylor), Mark Cochran (St. Mary’s) & Stanley Neeleman (BYU)
  • 1987-88: Bill Lyons (Nebraska), Scott Taylor (New Mexico)
  • 1986-87: Marty McMahon (Florida), Dan Simmons (UC-Davis)

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March 7, 2019 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Hidden Power Of The Invited Talk

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Hidden Power of the Invited Talk:

For scholars, the phrase "publish or perish" has become an ironclad rule of academic career development. Without a sufficient number of publications in the right kinds of journals, tenure and promotion are just a pipe dream. But another, much less studied aspect of faculty work can also shape the arc of a career in the professoriate. It is not teaching or service. It is the invited talk.

The talks can take many forms. There are the ever-popular seminar series, lectures, colloquiums, workshops, symposiums, and keynotes.

These invitation-only spots come with their own codes and meanings, and often reflect disciplinary mores that can be inscrutable to people early in their careers. And careers can be shaped by them. ...

[I]nvited talks aren’t just about getting in front of graduate students, postdocs, faculty members, and at times the general public. The talks are more than potential opportunities to collect the occasional honorarium.

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March 7, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bitcoin: The New Swiss Banks

Jason Clark & Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), Bitcoin: The New Swiss Banks, 2019 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online ___ :

Bitcoin has captivated much attention and imagination since its emergence in 2009, but not enough when it comes to its tax implications. As a result, there are several areas in need of attention when it comes to the federal tax treatment of virtual currency. The right guidance in these areas would strengthen the legitimate use of virtual currency and maximize the chances for tax compliance.

March 7, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Blouin Presents The Location, Composition, And Investment Implications Of Permanently Reinvested Earnings Today At UCLA

Blouin (2018)Jennifer Blouin (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) presents The Location, Composition, and Investment Implications of Permanently Reinvested Earnings (with Linda Krull (Oregon) & Leslie Robinson (Dartmouth) at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh:

This study estimates the location, composition, and investment implications of permanently reinvested earnings (PRE) reported in U.S. multinational corporations’ (MNCs) consolidated financial statements. Our first set of analyses suggest that firms’ PRE designations are motivated by both financial reporting incentives (i.e., tax expense deferral) and investment opportunities. Our second set of analyses find that domestic investment by MNCs with PRE is less responsive to domestic investment opportunities and more sensitive to domestic cash flow than firms without PRE, consistent with PRE indicating internal capital market frictions. We conclude that financial statement users could benefit from enhanced disclosures about foreign operations.

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March 6, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller: Gaming The New U.S. News Citation Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Gaming Out Hein Citation Metrics in a USNWR Rankings System:

There are two reasons to be worried—non-random biases and law school administrative reactions. ... [M]y colleague Professor Rob Anderson notes one virtue of the Sisk rankings that are not currently present in Hein citation counts: “The key here is ensuring that Hein and US News take into account citations TO interdisciplinary work FROM law reviews, not just citations TO law reviews FROM law reviews as it appears they might do. That would be too narrow. Sisk currently captures these interdisciplinary citations FROM law reviews, and it is important for Hein to do the same. The same applies to books.” 

We simply don’t know (yet) whether these institutional biases exist or how they’ll play out. But I have a few preliminary graphics on this front.

It’s not clear how Hein will measure things. Sisk-Leiter measures things using a formula of 2*mean citations plus median citations. The USNWR metric may use mean citations plus median citations, plus publications.

Understanding that Sisk-Leiter is an approximation for Hein at this point, we can show the relationship between the top 70 or so schools in the Sisk-Leiter score (and a few schools we have estimates for at the bottom of the range), and the relationship of those schools to their peer scores.

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March 6, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fourth International Conference On Taxpayer Rights

Taxpayer Rights 2The National Taxpayer Advocate is convening the fourth International Conference on Taxpayer Rights (agenda) on May 23-24, 2019 at Minnesota:

The conference brings together government officials, scholars, and practitioners from around the world to explore how global taxpayer rights serve as the foundation for effective tax administration. For two days, speakers, panelists and attendees will explore the role of taxpayer rights in the digital age, and the implications of the expanding digital environment for transparency, certainty, and privacy in tax administration.

Panel discussions will focus on the following and more:

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March 6, 2019 in Conferences, IRS News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

On Being A Child-Free Professor

BabiesChronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  I Don’t Regret Not Having Kids, and I Don’t Resent Yours, Either, by Shannon McMahon (College of Saint Mary):

When I first started teaching at the college level, I was young enough to be considered temporarily-delayed mother material, at least biologically. By then, my husband and I had already decided not to have kids, but I still looked like I had time to change my mind.

One day in class, we were talking about an article in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have it All, and my childfree status came up in the course of class discussion. Suddenly, I found myself discussing my choice with a student who seemed to have assumed I had a medical problem that prevented childbearing.

"You can adopt or be a foster parent," she offered. I understood her meaning in two ways: first, that there were medical advances that could "fix" me, and, second, that I might make a pretty good mom. There was no malice in our repartee but I did find myself in a curious reflective posture. I realized that the student considered me "childless" — namely, that I was lacking in something essential to being a woman and was somehow sad about it. I also realized the student wanted to relate to me as a parent.

Over the years, I’ve fielded my share of similar comments about being "childless," not just from students but also from well-meaning colleagues who assumed there might be a physical problem and/or just didn’t know what else to say. The issue came up often enough to start me thinking about using a different word to describe my situation: "childfree."

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March 6, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fleischer & Hemel: The Architecture Of A Basic Income

Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego) & Daniel Jacob Hemel (Chicago), The Architecture of a Basic Income, 86 U. Chi. L. Rev. ___ (2019):

The notion of a universal basic income (“UBI”) has captivated academics, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and ordinary citizens in recent months. Pilot studies of a UBI are underway or in the works on three continents. And prominent voices from across the ideological spectrum have expressed support for a UBI or one of its variants, including libertarian Charles Murray, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, labor leader Andy Stern, and—most recently—former President Barack Obama. Although even the most optimistic advocates for a UBI will acknowledge that nationwide implementation lies years away, the design of a basic income will require sustained scholarly attention. This article seeks to advance the conversation among academics and policymakers about UBI implementation.

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March 6, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA: Western State Law School Has Few Options As Its Parent University Is Placed In Receivership

Western State LogoFollowing up on last week's post, The Future Of Western State Is In Doubt As Law School Is Placed In Receivership And Students Cannot Access Federal Financial Aid: Inside Higher Ed, End of the Road for Argosy University:

The Education Department said Wednesday it would block plans by Argosy University to go nonprofit. In the same announcement, it said it would also boot the for-profit college from the federal student aid program.

The decision, which was driven in part by recent failures by Argosy to make payments to thousands of students, means the likely closure of its institutions.

In an announcement on the Federal Student Aid website, the Education Department said that the roughly 8,800 students enrolled at Argosy campuses could seek to transfer their credits elsewhere or apply for loan cancellation in the event their campus shuts down.

Inside Higher Ed, ABA: Few Options for Western State College of Law:

In a memo to students at Western State College of Law Monday, the American Bar Association said it did not have the authority to direct the disbursal of student aid that has yet to be released for the spring semester.

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March 6, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death Of Charles Kingson

KingsonNew York Times Obituary, Charles Kingson:

Charles Isaac Kingson (Charley) of New York City died peacefully on February 26, 2019 in the company of his wife and daughter. He was 80 years old and had spent his career as a tax lawyer. Born in New York City, he attended the Horace Mann School and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard College and Harvard Law School. A longtime partner at Willkie, Farr and Gallagher, he served as the Treasury Department's deputy international tax counsel under the Carter Administration, where he wrote the initial regulations under section 367 of the tax code, establishing rules for reorganizations and liquidations involving foreign corporations. A gifted pianist, conversationalist and thinker, he spent his later years teaching his craft at New York University Law School, Yale Law School, Penn Law School and Columbia Law School. He leaves his beloved wife, Nancy Sharf Kingson, and daughter, Jennifer A. Kingson, and two grandchildren, Valerie Kingson Bloom and Jeffrey Kingson Bloom.

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March 6, 2019 in Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Charitable Giving To Colleges Rose 5% (To $46.7 Billion)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2019 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 2019 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.


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

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March 5, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hillier & Waerzeggers Present The Platform For Tax Collaboration: Offshore Indirect Transfers Today At Georgetown

IMF LogoChristophe Waerzeggers (IMF) & Cory Hillier (IMF) present The Platform for Collaboration on Tax: The Taxation of Offshore Indirect Transfers—A Toolkit at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Lilian Faulhaber:

The tax treatment of ‘offshore indirect transfers’ (OITs)—in essence, the sale of an entity owning an asset located in one country by a resident of another—has emerged as a significant issue in many developing countries. It has been identified in IMF technical assistance work and scoping by the OECD, but was not covered by the G20-OECD project on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). In relation to the extractive industries, OITs are also the subject of work at the UN.

The country in which the underlying asset is located may wish to tax gains realized on such transfers—as is currently the case for direct transfers of immovable assets. Such treatment might reasonably be applied to a wider class of assets, to include more those generating location specific rents—returns that exceed the minimum required by investors and which are not available in other jurisdictions. This might include, for instance, telecom licenses and other rights issued by government. The report also recognizes, however, that gains on OITs may be attributable in part to value added by the owners and managers of such assets, and that some countries may choose not to tax gains on OITs.

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March 5, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reinhold Presents Does The Section 107 Parsonage Allowance Violate The Establishment Clause? Today At NYU

ReinholdRichard Reinhold (Chair, Tax Department, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, New York) presents Does the Parsonage Exemption in Internal Revenue Code Section 107 Violate the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment? at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Internal Revenue Code sec. 107(1) has long exempted from inclusion in income the rental value of a minister's church-provided home, or “parsonage” (with parallel relief being available as regards all religious denominations). A later amendment confirms availability of the exemption for amounts paid to defray ministers' costs for separately-acquired housing. See IRC sec. 107(2). Last year, a District Court in Wisconsin held the exemption for reimbursed parsonage allowances to represent a violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . ."). Gaylor v. Mnuchin, 278 F. Supp. 3d 1081 (D.WI 2017). The case was appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and that court's decision is expected imminently.

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March 5, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

High-Tax States Make It Hard For The Rich to Leave

Bloomberg, High-Tax States Make It Hard for the Rich to Leave:

Wealthy Americans contemplating a move to a low-tax state might want to reflect on these five tales of woe.

This tax season, many wealthy Americans are getting an expensive jolt.

The Republican tax overhaul signed by President Donald Trump more than a year ago provides plenty of perks for the rich. But not all well-off folks are treated alike under the new law. A controversial provision that helps pay for huge corporate tax cuts punishes residents of states with higher income taxes—most of which, but not all, lean Democratic.

By setting a $10,000 cap on how much Americans can deduct in state and local taxes, or SALT for short, Washington created a pricey problem for the privileged in some parts of the country. Now that the first tax season under the overhaul is here, that reality is hitting home—and the thought of moving to a low-tax state may suddenly look more attractive.

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March 5, 2019 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)