Paul L. Caron
Dean


Thursday, August 1, 2019

More On The 50 Most-Cited Tax Articles of All Time

Following up on my previous post on Jonathan H. Choi (NYU), The 50 Most-Cited Tax Articles of All Time, 36 Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (May 11, 2019):

47 authors (40 men, 7 women) wrote the 50 most-cited tax articles, 8 (7 men, 1 woman) more than once:

Author Frequency
Boris Bittker  4
David Weisbach  4
Joseph Bankman  3
Stanley Surrey  3
Reuven Avi-Yonah  2
Michael Graetz  2
Marjorie Kornhauser  2
Edward Zelinsky  2
Bruce Ackerman  1
Anne Alstott  1
William Andrews  1
Lily Batchelder  1
Walter Blum  1
Paul Caron  1
Marvin Chirelstein  1
Dan Coenen  1
Richard Doernberg  1
Peter Enrich  1
Victor Fleischer  1
Pamela Gann  1
Mark Gergen  1
Fred Goldberg 1
Thomas Griffith 1
Erwin Griswold  1
Daniel Halperin  1
David Hariton 1
Walter Hellerstein  1
Kristin Hickman  1
Harry Kalven 1
Louis Kaplow  1
Mark Kelman   1
Leandra Lederman  1
Fred McChesney  1
Beverly Moran  1
R.A. Musgrave  1
Jacob Nussim  1
Michael O’Hear  1
Peter Orszag 1
Randolph Paul 1
William Plumb 1
Eric Posner  1
David Schizer  1
Steven Shavell  1
Dan Shaviro  1
David Slawson  1
Joseph Sneed  1
William Whitford  1

The authors are from 22 law schools, 12 law schools are represented more than once:

School Frequency
Harvard 9
Chicago 7
Yale 6
Stanford 5
Columbia 4
Cardozo 2
Emory 2
Georgia 2
Michigan 2
NYU 2
Tulane 2
USC 2
Duke 1
Indiana 1
Marquette 1
Minnesota 1
Northeastern 1
Pepperdine 1
UC-Berkeley 1
UC-Irvine 1
Vanderbilt 1
Wisconsin 1

The 50 most-cited tax articles were published in 21 law reviews (12 law reviews published 2 or more of the articles):

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August 1, 2019 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Blog Must Go On For This Law Dean

Law.com, The Blog Must Go On for This Law Dean:

Caron Headshot Cropped (2019)Pepperdine University Law Dean Paul Caron reflects on his two years of running a law school while also publishing his widely read TaxProf Blog, which chronicles legal education's biggest stories.

Paul Caron—legal education’s so-called Blog Emperor—took the reins at Pepperdine University School of Law in 2017, and his two years as dean have been a remarkable ride.

Things got off to a rough start in the spring of 2018 when the school was removed from the U.S. News & World Report rankings after Pepperdine discovered a mistake in the data it submitted that artificially increased its ranking and reported it to the publication. (Pepperdine returned to the ranking this year, moving up from its previous No. 72 to No. 51).

The challenges didn’t end there. In November, a Pepperdine law student was present at a nearby music venue when an armed man opened fire, killing 12. The law student was unharmed but the massacre, in which a Pepperdine undergraduate died, shook the Malibu, California, campus. A day later, the so-called Woolsey Fire tore through the area and came close to leveling the campus. The law school was spared, but closed for more than two weeks in the aftermath.

Through it all, Caron maintained his role as the town crier of legal education with his TaxProf Blog, which aggregates news about tax law and law schools. The 15-year-old blog is a must-read for legal educators and has become an important tool to raise Pepperdine’s profile and stature in the academy. Caron posts stories about events and initiatives at Pepperdine, not to mention plenty of photos of its seaside campus. Law.com caught up with Caron this week to discuss juggling the blog with his dean duties and why he hasn’t given TaxProf Blog up. His answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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July 18, 2019 in About This Blog, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dorothy Brown: Goodbye, But Not Farewell

Dorothy

Dorothy Brown headed back to Emory yesterday after completing her stint at Pepperdine as our Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor. She left behind one old friend and countless new ones. She regaled our students in Federal Income Tax and Tax Policy, which she co-taught (cough) with a frazzled dean. I will have three lasting memories of Dorothy's time here: (1) the great tax workshop series we put together, with seven outstanding speakers and wonderful post-presentation lunches; (2) the wonderful Critical Tax Conference we co-hosted, particularly Dorothy's fiery keynote address, The Life of a Tax Crit: When Keeping It Real Can Go Really Really Wrong; and (3) most importantly, the relationships Dorothy developed in her four months here, particularly with the students and staff (perhaps never before has a Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor (certainly not me) taken several staff people out for meals and given them gifts on her departure). We hope Dorothy will be back in Malibu in the future, initially as part of our Spring 2020 tax workshop series.

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April 24, 2019 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Morse Presents GILTI: The Cooperative Potential Of A Unilateral Minimum Tax Today At Pepperdine

Morse (2018)Susan C. Morse (Texas) presents GILTI: The Cooperative Potential of a Unilateral Minimum Tax at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Could the U.S. tax on global intangible low-taxed income, or GILTI, end the game of international tax competition? The GILTI tax is a unilateral minimum tax enacted as part as 2017 tax statute known as the TCJA. There is a long-shot possibility that it might save the global corporate tax. A robust global corporate tax in turn could support innovative new policy options such as the use of corporate tax revenue to further international social justice goals. The stakes are high. Is there any chance that GILTI could do it? ...

This paper proceeds as follows. Part I compares the GILTI tax to the U.S. deferral regime that preceded it, and describes the cooperative potential of the U.S. international corporate tax law after the 2017 Act. Part II explains the details of GILTI structure, which works as advertised if international tax systems conform with respect to timing, rate and base. Part III explains that taxpayers will attempt to disrupt the convergence of timing, rate and base. Tax administrators, in turn, will face the question of whether, and how, to pursue the possibility of harmonizing corporate tax systems in light of the tools offered by the U.S. international corporate tax law after the 2017 Act.

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April 22, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Kysar Presents Unravelling The Tax Treaty Today At Pepperdine

Kysar (2018)Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presents Unravelling the Tax Treaty, 103 Minn. L. Rev. ___ (2019), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Coordination among nations over the taxation of international transactions rests on a network of some 2,000 bilateral double tax treaties. The double tax treaty is, in many ways, the roots of the international system of taxation. That system, however, is in upheaval in the face of globalization, technological advances, taxpayer abuse, and shifting political tides. In the academic literature, however, scrutiny of tax treaties is largely confined to the albeit important question of whether tax treaties are beneficial for developing countries. Surprisingly little consideration has been paid to whether developed countries, like the United States, should continue to sign tax treaties with one another, and no formal revenue or economic analyses of the treaties has been undertaken by the United States government. In fact, little evidence or theory exists to support entrance into tax treaties by the United States, and examination of investment flows indicates the treaties may even lose U.S. revenues. Problematically, the treaties also thwart reforms of the antiquated and broken international tax system. The trajectory of the recent U.S. tax legislation illustrates this phenomenon.

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April 8, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 6, 2019

22nd Annual Critical Tax Theory Conference At Pepperdine

PEPPERDINE CAMPUS WITH LOGO (2019)Pepperdine hosts the 22nd Annual Critical Tax Theory Conference (program) today and tomorrow:

The Critical Tax Theory Conference has a long history of fostering the work of both established and emerging scholars whose research challenges and enriches the tax law and policy literature. Critical tax scholars question assumptions of objectivity in tax, as their work explores how tax law and policy impact historically marginalized groups. At a time when tax policy is once again at the forefront of politics and public discourse, the work of these and other critical tax scholars supports a more robust discussion of the role for tax law in current and future social and economic policy.

Keynote Address:  Dorothy Brown (Emory; Visiting at Pepperdine), The Life of a Tax Crit: When Keeping It Real Can Go Really Really Wrong

Panel #1: 

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April 6, 2019 in Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Blank Presents Simplexity And Legal Calculators Today At Pepperdine

Blank (2018)Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine) presents Simplexity and Legal Calculators (with Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina)) at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Automated customer service has become one of the primary ways in which consumers find answers to their questions, whether they involve airline reservations, medical insurance coverage or unresponsive home appliances. Federal and state tax authorities have increasingly begun to offer online decision-making tools that provide guidance regarding the tax law to taxpayers. Some online tools, such as the IRS’s “Withholding Calculator,” direct taxpayers to input wage information in order to receive confirmation of whether their tax withholding is adequate. More comprehensive online tools, such as the IRS’s “Interactive Tax Assistant,” ask taxpayers personal questions and then deliver answers on topics ranging from whether the taxpayer is required to file a tax return to whether the taxpayer is entitled to claim certain tax credits to whether a type of income is taxable. These online tools do not just perform mathematical calculations; rather, they attempt to calculate taxpayers’ legal consequences.

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March 25, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

2020 U.S. News Tax Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiAs I blogged last fall, U.S. News has dramatically changed their ranking of nine law school specialty programs:

Law school specialty rankings ... are based solely on peer assessments by law school faculty who teach in that specialty area. The peer assessment surveys for the specialty law school area rankings were conducted in fall 2018 and early 2019 by U.S. News.

This year for the first time, law school faculty members who teach in each specialty area rated the other law schools in that specialty area on a 5-point scale. Those schools with the highest average scores among those raters who rated them appear in the rankings and are ranked in descending order based on their average peer score they received in that specialty area. In all the previous law school specialty rankings, the law school raters chose their top 15 in a specialty area. This new methodology produced a significantly larger number of schools that were ranked in each specialty area – in some cases five or six times more. ... [A]ll programs that received 10 or more ratings are numerically ranked in that specialty. Schools with less than 10 ratings in a specialty aren't listed. [The response rate of the tax faculty survey was 50%.].

The new 2020 U.S. News Tax Rankings include the tax programs at 175 law schools. Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.9 NYU
2 4.5 Georgetown
3 4.4 Florida
4 4.2 Northwestern
5 4.1 Virginia
6 4.0 Columbia
6 4.0 Stanford
8 3.9 Harvard
8 3.9 UC-Irvine
8 3.9 UCLA
11 3.8 Chicago
11 3.8 Michigan
11 3.8 Pennsylvania
14 3.7 Boston College
14 3.7 Boston University
14 3.7 Duke
14 3.7 Loyola-L.A.
14 3.7 USC
14 3.7 Texas
20 3.6 Indiana (Maurer)
20 3.6 Yale
22 3.5 San Diego
23 3.4 UC-Berkeley
24 3.2 Miami
25 3.1 Temple
25 3.1 UC-Hastings
25 3.1 Minnesota
25 3.1 North Carolina
25 3.1 Pittsburgh
25 3.1 Univ. of Washington
25 3.1 Villanova
32 3.0 Florida State
32 3.0 Fordham
32 3.0 George Washington
32 3.0 Pepperdine
32 3.0 UC-Davis
37 2.9 BYU
37 2.9 Alabama
37 2.9 Georgia
37 2.9 Houston
37 2.9 Washington & Lee
37 2.9 Washington Univ.
43 2.8 Arizona State
43 2.8 Georgia State
43 2.8 Notre Dame
46 2.7 Brooklyn
46 2.7 Emory
46 2.7 Ohio State
46 2.7 Tulane
46 2.7 Illinois
46 2.7 Iowa
46 2.7 William & Mary

Among the law schools in the tax rankings last year, ranked last year Here are the biggest upward moves:

  • +13:  Stanford (#6)
  • +8:  Chicago (#11), Penn (#11)
  • +6:  Columbia (#6)
  • +5:  Duke (#14)

Here are the biggest downward moves:

  • -30:  Denver (55)
  • -8:  Univ. of Washington (#25)
  • -7:  Boston University (#14)
  • -6:  Loyola-L.A. (#14), San Diego (#22)
  • -5:  Yale (#20)

Here are the rankings of law schools with graduate tax programs:

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March 13, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Rankings | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 4, 2019

Shobe Presents Economic Segregation, Tax Reform, And The Local Tax Deduction Today At Pepperdine

Shobe (2018)Gladriel Shobe (BYU) presents Economic Segregation, Tax Reform, and the Local Tax Deduction at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Economic segregation has increased over the past half century. The trend of rich localities getting richer while poor localities get poorer is particularly concerning because it limits upward mobility and perpetuates intergenerational income inequality. This Article makes the novel argument that the federal deduction for local taxes rewards, and likely contributes to, economic segregation. It arrives at that conclusion by showing that the local tax deduction disproportionately subsidizes wealthy localities because only those localities have a critical mass of wealthy taxpayers who claim the deduction. This allows wealthy localities, but not poor localities, to provide services at a cost less than face value to their residents. This Article argues that the deduction’s subsidy for wealthy localities rewards and likely contributes to economic segregation because it provides an incentive for the wealthy to segregate into wealthy, subsidized localities over less segregated and less subsidized localities.

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March 4, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 18, 2019

Maynard Presents Legislating Tax Cuts With Tall Tales Today At Pepperdine

Maynard (2018)Goldburn P. Maynard Jr. (Louisville) presents Legislating Tax Cuts With Tall Tales at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Part I provides a brief introduction to the work of philosophers Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel on everyday libertarianism. This part shows how the narratives of hard work and just desert along with stories of government oppression have been used to support policies that harm those who vote against them. System Justification Theory helps to explain the counterintuitive notion that the disadvantaged have a need to defend the status quo.

Part II proceeds by exploring three tax reform battles from different decades: 1986, 2001, 2017. By comparing the three, this part shows that there was a narrative element to each. Yet, the importance of data decreased across each tax fight. In 1986 there was a genuine commitment to thorough data collection. By 2017, reformers were dodging the data and questioning its effectiveness.

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February 18, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Oh Presents The Effects Of Capital Gains Rate Uncertainty On Realization Today At Pepperdine

OhJason Oh (UCLA) presents The Effects of Capital Gains Rate Uncertainty on Realization (with David Kamin (NYU)) at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Taxpayers should expect capital gains rates to fluctuate in light of frequent historical changes and the current divergence of rates preferred by Democrats and Republicans. This paper is the first to model the effect of such rate uncertainty on the realization incentives of asset holders and finds those effects to be potentially large. There are several implications. First, rate uncertainty may alleviate the lock-in effect of the realization rule when rates are low and exacerbate lock-in when rates are high. Second, there could be significant inaccuracies extrapolating the elasticity of capital gains realizations measured at one rate to another. Third, some policy solutions aimed at addressing distortions created by the realization rule may not work as well as expected.

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February 4, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Kleiman Presents Tax Limits And Public Control Today At Pepperdine

KleimanAriel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) presents Tax Limits and the Future of Local Democracy, 133 Harv. L. Rev. ___ 2019), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron:

Local governments are severely restricted in their ability to raise tax revenue, in part by state-level statutes that place caps on local tax rates and revenue. Many attribute the proliferation of these local tax limitations to entrenched antitax sentiment among U.S. taxpayers. This antitax narrative is attractive for its simplicity and explanatory power. It provides a clear mandate for those enacting tax limiting laws as well as a simple fiscal rubric for those evaluating the success of such limits—namely, lower taxes equals success. However, the explanatory power of the antitax narrative is limited. Perhaps most notably, it fails to explain why voters regularly approve tax increases, even in places with strict tax limitations. Using the lens of the 1970s Tax Revolt, this Article complicates the traditional antitax narrative surrounding tax limitations, offering evidence that voters also supported tax limits in order to increase public control and oversight of local government fiscal decisions.

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January 23, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2019)

Pepperdine Law LogoHere is the schedule for the Spring 2019 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series I am co-hosting with Dorothy Brown, our Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, funded in part with a generous gift from Scott Racine:

I will of course blog each professor's paper on the day of their presentation. Southern California professors and practitioners are welcome to attend any of the sessions (10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.), as well as lunch with our speaker and students (12:00 pm - 1:15 pm) — just let me know.

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January 7, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Barry Presents Collusion In Markets With Syndication Today At Pepperdine

Barry (2017)Jordan Barry presents Collusion in Markets With Syndication (with John Hatfield (Texas), Scott Kominers (Harvard) & Richard Lowery (Texas)) at Pepperdine today as part of our Faculty Workshop Series hosted by Babette Boliek:

Many markets, including the markets for IPOs and debt issuances, are syndicated, in that a bidder who wins a contract will often invite competitors to join a syndicate that will fulfill the contract. We model syndicated markets as a repeated extensive form game, and show that standard intuitions from industrial organization can be reversed: Collusion may become easier as market concentration falls, and market entry may in fact facilitate collusion. In particular, price collusion can be sustained by a strategy in which firms refuse to join the syndicate of any firm that deviates from the collusive price, thereby raising total production costs. Our results can thus rationalize the apparently contradictory empirical facts that the market for IPO underwriting exhibits seemingly collusive pricing despite its low level of market concentration.

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November 9, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2017)

Thanks to the faculty and students who made our Spring 2017 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series such a rousing success:

 

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May 9, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hemel Presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation Today At Pepperdine

HemelDaniel Hemel (Chicago) presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation, 93 NYU L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

This essay considers the distributional consequences of the Supreme Court’s federalism jurisprudence over the past quarter century, focusing specifically on the anticommandeering, anti-coercion, and state sovereign immunity doctrines. The first of these doctrines prevents Congress from compelling the states to administer federal programs; the second prevents Congress from achieving the same result through offers that for practical purposes the states cannot refuse; the third prohibits Congress from abrogating state sovereign immunity outside a limited class of cases. These doctrines vest the states with valuable entitlements and allow the states to sell those entitlements back to Congress for a price. In this respect, the doctrines have an intergovernmental distributional effect, shifting wealth from the federal government to the states.

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April 24, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Kleinbard Presents Capital Taxation In An Age Of Inequality Today at Pepperdine

Kleinbard (2015)Edward Kleinbard (USC) presents Capital Taxation In An Age Of Inequality, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

The standard view in the U.S. tax law academy remains that capital income taxation is both a poor idea in theory and completely infeasible in practice. But this ignores the first-order importance of political economy issues in the design of tax instruments. The pervasive presence of gifts and bequests renders moot the claim that the results obtained by Atkinson and Stiglitz (1976) counsel against taxing capital income in practice.

Taxing capital income is responsive to important political economy exigencies confronting the United States, including substantial tax revenue shortfalls relative to realistic government spending targets, increasing income and wealth inequality at the top end of distributions, and the surprising persistence of dynastic wealth. It also responds to a new strand of economic literature that argues that “inclusive growth” leads to higher growth.

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April 10, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Viswanathan Presents Tax Compliance In A Decentralizing Economy Today At Pepperdine

Viswanathan (2017)Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) presents Tax Compliance in a Decentralizing Economy at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Tax compliance in the United States has long relied on information from centralized intermediaries—the financial institutions, employers, and brokers that help ensure income is reported and taxes are paid. Yet while the IRS remains tied to these centralized entities, consumers and businesses are not. New technologies, such as the on-demand sharing platform economy (companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Instacart) and the blockchain (the platform on which Bitcoin is based) are providing new, decentralized options for exchanging goods and services. Without legislative and agency intervention, these technologies pose a critical threat to the reporting system underlying domestic and international tax compliance.

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March 27, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Scharff Presents Hyper Preemption Today At Pepperdine

Scharff (2017)Erin Scharf (Arizona State) presents Hyper Preemption: A Reordering of the State-Local Relationship at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

The role of cities in our federalist system is once again in the news.  President Donald Trump’s executive order purporting to cut federal funding for “sanctuary cities” was a newspaper headline across the country.  However, this federal-municipal showdown is part of a much larger story about the changing regulatory role of cities.  Even as cities cast themselves as defiant against conservative federal policies, many are finding themselves in a much weaker position with respect to state policymaking.

Already, state legislators across the country are introducing bills that would cut state funding to local governments implementing “sanctuary city” policies. Such efforts are among the many preemption bills pending in statehouses across the country. Local governments, as creature of state law, are required to conform to state law, and legislatures have used this power to block municipal regulatory policies. 

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March 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Blank Presents The Timing Of Tax Transparency Today At Pepperdine

Blank (2017)Joshua Blank (NYU) presents The Timing of Tax Transparency, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Fairness in the administration of the tax law is the subject of intense debate in the United States. As recent headlines reveal, the Internal Revenue Service has been accused of failing to enforce the tax law equitably in its review of tax-exempt status applications by political organizations, the international tax structures of multinational corporations, and the estate tax returns of millionaires, among other areas. Many have argued that greater “tax transparency” would better empower the public to hold the IRS accountable and the IRS to defend itself against accusations of malfeasance. Mandatory public disclosure of taxpayers’ tax return information is often proposed as a way to achieve greater tax transparency. Yet, in addition to concerns regarding exposure of personal and proprietary information, broad public disclosure measures pose potential threats to the taxing authority’s ability to enforce the tax law.

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February 20, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pratt Presents The IRS's Startling Attempt To Deny Medical Expense Deduction For Cost Of Male-To-Female Transition Today At Pepperdine

Pratt (2016)Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) presents The Tax Definition of “Medical Care:” A Critique of the Startling IRS Arguments in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, 23 Mich. J. Gender & L. 313 (2016), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

This Article critiques the startling arguments made by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, a case in which the issue was whether a person diagnosed with gender identity disorder (“GID”) could take a federal tax deduction for the costs of male-to-female medical transition, including hormone treatment, genital surgery, and breast augmentation.

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February 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chodorow Presents The Parsonage Exemption Today At Pepperdine

Chodorow (2014)Adam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents The Parsonage Exemption at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

The parsonage exemption allows “ministers of the gospel” to exclude the value of housing benefits from income, whether received in-kind or as a cash allowance. Critics argue that the provision is unconstitutional, and the dispute is likely to make it to the Supreme Court. This Article fills an important gap in the debate over the parsonage exemption by offering a nuanced explanation of how it and other housing provisions function within the tax code. Placing the parsonage exemption in its proper tax context makes clear that (1) other tax-free housing provisions and exemptions for religious organizations cannot provide the parsonage exemption constitutional cover; (2) the parsonage exemption involves significantly more entanglement than would the generally applicable housing provision; (3) permitting ministers to receive tax-free housing violates the core tax principles of horizontal and vertical equity; and (4) other exemptions for religious organizations cannot justify the parsonage exemption.

January 25, 2017 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2017)

Here is the schedule for my Spring 2017 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series:

I will of course blog each professor's paper on the day of their presentation.  Southern California professors and practitioners are welcome to attend any of the sessions (11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) — just let me know.

Pepperdine Law School

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January 23, 2017 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kahng Presents Who Owns Human Capital? Today At Pepperdine

Kahng (2017)Lily Kahng (Seattle) presents Who Owns Human Capital?, 93 Wash. U. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

This Article analyzes the tax law’s capital income preference through the lens of intellectual capital, an increasingly important driver of economic productivity whose value derives primarily from workers’ knowledge, experience and skills. The Article discusses how business owners increasingly are able to “propertize” labor into intellectual capital — to control their workers and appropriate the returns on their labor through the expansive use of intellectual property laws, contract and employment laws, and other legal mechanisms. The Article then shows how the tax law provides significant subsidies to the process of propertization and thereby contributes to the inequitable distribution of returns between business owners and workers. The Article’s analysis further reveals the tax law’s fundamental capital-labor distinction to be questionable, perhaps even illusory, an insight which has profound implications for the tax law.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Lunch

April 25, 2016 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Oh Presents How The Rich Drive Progressive Marginal Tax Rates Today At Pepperdine

OhJason S. Oh (UCLA) presents How the Rich Drive Progressive Marginal Tax Rates at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Why do income tax systems consistently feature progressive marginal rates? The existing literature tells a political story focusing on the preferences of the poor and middle class – high rates at the top of the rate schedule can fund greater redistribution. This Article argues that progressive marginal rates can alternatively be explained by focusing on the preferences of the middle class and the rich regarding the bottom of the rate schedule. Specifically, these groups benefit from inframarginal rate cuts at low levels of income. This alternative explanation of marginal rate progressivity is attractive because it focuses on the rich, a group which intuition and research suggest wields disproportionate political power.

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April 11, 2016 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Oei Presents The Tax Lives Of Uber Drivers Today At Pepperdine, UC-Irvine

OeiShuyi Oei (Tulane) presents The Tax Lives of Uber Drivers: Evidence from Internet Discussion Forums (with Diane Ring (Boston College)) today at Pepperdine (as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine) and UC-Irvine (as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian):

In this Article, we investigate the tax issues and challenges facing Uber and Lyft drivers by studying their online interactions in three internet discussion forums: Reddit.com, Uberpeople.net, and Intuit TurboTax AnswerXchange. Using descriptive statistics and content analysis, we examine (1) the substantive tax concerns facing forum participants, (2) how taxes affect their driving and profitability decisions, and (3) the degree of user sophistication, accuracy of legal advising, and other cultural features of the forums.

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

Monday, March 7, 2016

Aprill Presents The Section 527 Obstacle to Meaningful Section 501(c)(4) Regulation Today At Pepperdine

AprillEllen P. Aprill (Loyola-L.A.) presents The Section 527 Obstacle to Meaningful Section 501(c)(4) Regulation, 13 Pitt. Tax Rev. 43 (2015), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

As is well known, on May 10, 2013, at a session of the American Bar Association Tax Section meeting in Washington, D.C., Lois Lerner, at the time the director of the Exempt Organization Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS or Service), apologized for IRS mishandling of applications by Tea Party groups for exemption as social welfare groups under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. A few days later, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) Inspector General released a report (TIGTA Report) concluding that the “IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.”

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March 7, 2016 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Brooks Presents Quasi-Public Spending Today At Pepperdine, UC-Irvine

Brooks (John)John R. Brooks (Georgetown) presents Quasi-Public Spending, 104 Geo. L.J. ___ (2016), today at Pepperdine (as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine) and UC-Irvine (as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian):

The United States has increasingly designed certain public spending programs not as traditional tax-financed programs, but rather as mixtures of private expenditures, subsidies, and limited taxes. Thus part of what could have gone to the government as a tax is instead used to purchase the good or service directly, with only incremental taxes and subsidies to manage distributional goals. This Article terms this “quasi-public spending,” and argues that it is descriptive of our evolving approaches to both health care and higher education.

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February 22, 2016 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chodorow Presents Bitcoin, Foreign Currency, And The Case For Basis Pooling Today At Pepperdine

Chodorow (2014)Adam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents Bitcoin, Foreign Currency, and the Case for Basis Pooling at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series.  The Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

The IRS recently dealt a blow to bitcoin enthusiasts by ruling that Bitcoin and other similar currencies should be treated as property – and not foreign currency – for income tax purposes. As a result, those who use bitcoin to purchase goods or services must report gain or loss on each transaction if the bitcoin has changed value between the time it was acquired and spent. The IRS’s decision seems correct as a matter of positive law, but laws can always be changed.

In this Article I consider whether bitcoin should be treated as a foreign currency for income tax purposes, which would permit bitcoin users to take advantage of the personal use exemption that applies to such currency. I conclude that it should not because the rationale for extending the personal use exemption to bitcoin is weak, at least from the government’s perspective. Moreover, expanding the definition of foreign currency could create significant line-drawing problems.

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February 8, 2016 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Marian Presents The State Administration Of International Tax Avoidance Today At Pepperdine

Marian (2016)Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) presents The State Administration of International Tax Avoidance at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series:

This Article documents a process in which a national tax administration in one jurisdiction, is consciously and systematically assisting taxpayers to avoid taxes in other jurisdictions. The aiding tax administration collects a small amount tax from the aided taxpayers. Such tax is functionally structured as a fee paid for government-provided tax avoidance services. Such behavior can be easily copied (and probably is copied) by other tax administrations. The implications are profound. On the normative front, the findings should fundamentally change our understanding of the concept of international tax competition. Tax competition is generally understood to be the adoption of low tax rates in order to attract investments into the jurisdiction. Instead, this Article identifies an intentional “bagger thy neighbor” behavior, aimed at attracting revenue generated by successful investments in other jurisdictions, without attracting actual investments. The result is a distorted competitive environment, in which revenue is denied from jurisdictions the infrastructure and workforce of which support economically productive activity. On the practical front, the findings suggest that internationally coordinated efforts to combat tax avoidance are misaimed. Current efforts are largely aimed at curtailing aggressive taxpayer behavior. Instead, the Article proposes that the focus of such efforts should be curtailing certain rogue practices adopted by national tax administrations.

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January 25, 2016 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2016)

Here is the schedule for my Spring 2016 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series:

I will of course blog each professor's paper on the day of their presentation.  Southern California professors and practitioners are welcome to attend any of the sessions (11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) -- just let me know.

Pepperdine Law School (2016)

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January 20, 2016 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Field Presents Aggressive Tax Planning and the Ethical Tax Lawyer Today at Pepperdine

Field (2015)Heather Field (UC-Hastings) presents Aggressive Tax Planning and the Ethical Tax Lawyer at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

[H]ow should a tax planner, who wants to engage in “permissible tax planning” but not cross the line over into “unethical loophole lawyering,” exercise her discretion and judgment? This paper seeks to answer this question by drawing on both (a) the extensive literature on lawyering and professionalism and (b) the social science literature regarding factors that contribute to biased decision-making and unintentional lapses in judgment. The explicit incorporation of these strands of literature into the discourse on tax ethics helps each tax planner operationalize, on an individual basis and in a way that aligns with her values, both the general and tax-specific rules of professional conduct. The existing tax ethics literature primarily focuses either on how to comply with the rules governing practice or on how the rules should be improved. Thus, this paper contributes to the literature by focusing on the issues that the rules leave to the discretion of the tax practitioner (rather than on the issues that the rules address) and by approaching the discussion from a lawyering perspective20 (rather than from a policymaking perspective).

Specifically, this paper argues that a lawyer seeking to pursue a career as an ethical tax planner should identify and implement her philosophy of lawyering to help her make difficult discretionary decisions in a principled way, and when implementing that approach to lawyering, she should work to counteract the subtle factors that can skew her professional judgment. ...

Ultimately, this paper argues that an important part of being an ethical tax planner, particularly when dealing with contestable tax positions, includes being deliberate about how one approaches the task of giving tax planning advice and being self-aware about the ways in which one exercises judgment. By fleshing out the concept of ethical tax planning, I hope to give our students confidence and guidance as they embark on (hopefully, ethical) careers as tax planners, and I hope to ease the tension between tax academics’ scholarly work condemning aggressive tax planning and their classroom work, in which they often teach students how to use those same tax planning techniques. And perhaps this limited defense of the ethics of the tax planning profession can help to rehabilitate the public image of tax lawyers.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Field

April 20, 2015 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fleischer Presents Libertarianism and the Charitable Tax Subsidies Today at Pepperdine

MirandaMiranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego) presents Libertarianism and the Charitable Tax Subsidies at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

Although many Americans claim to subscribe to libertarian theories of justice, tax scholarship is largely silent about the interaction between libertarian principles and the structure of our tax system. This is not surprising, for what springs to mind when a legal academic hears the word “libertarianism” is Robert Nozick’s argument that taxation is slavery. If all taxation is indeed slavery, why bother analyzing libertarian principles for insights into our tax system? This dismissal, however, ignores the diversity of libertarian thought. To that end, this Article mines the nuances of libertarian theory for insights into one feature of our tax system: the charitable tax subsidies.

Exploring the nuances of libertarian theory yields some surprising results. Some strands of libertarian thought suggest that the charitable tax subsidies are in and of themselves illegitimate. These strands of libertarianism forbid not only redistribution but also anything except the most minimal provision of public goods needed to protect life and property, such as defense. Yet several other strands do see a role for the state to engage in a varying amount of redistribution or to provide varying amounts of public goods. On one spectrum are interpretations that admit that the state should play a role in providing public goods (strictly defined) and/or provide a provide a safety net to the very poorest but no more, and on the other is an interpretation of left-libertarianism that might support something akin to our current structure.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Fleischer Lunch

April 6, 2015 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Polsky Presents Private Equity Tax Games Today at Pepperdine

Polsky (2015)Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina) presents A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

This paper will describe and analyze tax strategies, lawful and unlawful, used by private equity firms to minimize taxes. While one strategy — the use of “carried interest” — should by now be well understood by tax practitioners and academics, the others remain far more obscure. In combination, these strategies allow private equity managers to pay preferential tax rates on all of their risky pay (through carried interest), pay preferential tax rates on much of their non-risky pay (through management fee waivers and misallocations of their expense deductions), and push much of the residual non-risky pay down to their funds’ portfolio companies who, unlike the fund, can derive significant tax benefits from the resulting deductions (through monitoring fees and management fee offsets). 

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Lunch

March 23, 2015 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Oei Presents Can Sharing Be Taxed? Today at Pepperdine

OeiShu-Yi Oei (Tulane) presents Can Sharing Be Taxed? (with Diane M. Ring (Boston College)) at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

The past few years have seen the rise of a new model of production and consumption of goods and services, often referred to as the “sharing economy.” Fueled by startups such as Uber and Airbnb, sharing enables individuals to obtain rides, accommodations, and other goods and services from peers via the Internet or mobile application in exchange for payment. The rise of sharing has raised questions about how it should be regulated, including whether existing laws and regulations can and should be enforced in this new sector or whether new ones are needed.

In this Article, we explore those questions in the context of taxation. We argue that, contrary to the claims of some commentators, the application of substantive tax law to sharing is mostly (though not completely) clear, because current law generally contains the concepts and categories necessary to tax sharing. However, tax enforcement and compliance may present challenges, as a result of two distinctive features of sharing. First, some sharing businesses tend to opportunistically pick the more favorable regulatory interpretation if there is ambiguity regarding which rule applies or whether a rule applies. This leads to compliance and enforcement gaps. Second, the “microbusiness” nature of sharing raises unique compliance and enforcement concerns. We suggest strategies for addressing these dual challenges, including lower information reporting thresholds, safe harbors and advance rulings to simplify tax reporting, and targeted enforcement efforts.

Jordan M. Barry (San Diego) is the commentator.  For more, see Jordan M. Barry & Paul L. Caron, Tax Regulation, Transportation Innovation, and the Sharing Economy, 82 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue ___ (2015).

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Lunch

 

March 2, 2015 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kleinbard Presents We Are Better Than This Today at Pepperdine

Kleinbard (2015)Edward Kleinbard (USC) presents We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

We Are Better Than This fundamentally reframes budget debates in the United States. Author Edward D. Kleinbard explains how the public's preoccupation with tax policy alone has obscured any understanding of government's ability to complement the private sector through investment and insurance programs that enhance the general welfare and prosperity of our society at large.

He argues that when we choose how government should spend and tax, we open a window into our "fiscal soul," because those choices are the means by which we express the values we cherish and the regard in which we hold our fellow citizens. Though these values are being diminished by short-sighted decisions to starve government, strategic government spending can directly make citizens happier, healthier, and even wealthier.

Expertly combining the latest economic research with his insider knowledge of the budget process into a simple yet compelling narrative, he unmasks the tax mythologies and false arguments that too often dominate contemporary discourse about budget policies. Large quantities of comparative data are succinctly distilled to situate the United States among its peer countries, so that readers can judge for themselves whether contemporary budget choices really reflect our aspirational fiscal soul,

Kleinbard's presentation takes a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on economics, finance, law, political science and moral philosophy. He uniquely weaves economic research and moral philosophy together by emphasizing our welfare, not just our national income, and by contrasting the actual beliefs of Adam Smith, a great moral philosopher, with the cartoon version of the man presented by proponents of the most extreme forms of private market triumphalism.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Photo 2

 

February 18, 2015 in Book Club, Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Caron Presents Faculty Scholarship Rankings and Law School Success Today at Pepperdine

Caron 2012 PhotoPaul L. Caron (Pepperdine) presents Faculty Scholarship Rankings and Law School Success at Pepperdine today:

In What Law Schools Can Learn From Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 1483 (2004), Rafael Gely and I argued that legal education must use technology to develop more sophisticated measures of law school success and faculty contributions to law school success.  Here, I use existing measures of faculty scholarly output (publications) and influence (law review citations, Google Scholar citations (H-Index and M-Index), and SSRN downloads) both to chart how Pepperdine's faculty compares with our competitors and to detail individual Pepperdine faculty contributions in these measures.  I then offer some thoughts on what these existing ranking methodologies leave out in measuring faculty contributions to law school success.  I argue that religious law schools are uniquely positioned to thrive in the midst of the law school crisis because our faith-fueled commitment to our students and to each other empowers us to better define the pathways to success for our schools, our students, and our faculties and equips us to make that journey together.

February 6, 2015 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Graetz Presents The Tax Reform Road Not Taken -- Yet Today at Pepperdine

Graetz (2015)Michael J. Graetz (Columbia) presents The Tax Reform Road Not Taken -- Yet, 67 Nat'l Tax J. 419 (2014), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

The United States has traveled a unique tax policy path, avoiding value added taxes (VATs), which have now been adopted by every OECD country and 160 countries worldwide. Moreover, many U.S. consumption tax advocates have insisted on direct personalized taxes that are unlike taxes used anywhere in the world. This article details a tax reform plan that uses revenues from a VAT to substantially reduce and reform our nation’s tax system. The plan would (1) enact a destination-based VAT; (2) use the revenue produced by this VAT to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000 of family income and to lower income tax rates on income above that amount; (3) lower the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent; and (4) protect low and-moderate-income workers from a tax increase through payroll tax credits and expanded refundable child tax credits. This revenue and distributionally neutral plan would stimulate economic growth, free more than 150 million Americans from having to file income tax returns, solve the difficult problems of international income taxation, and remove the temptation for Congress to use tax benefits as if they are solutions to the nation’s pressing social and economic problems.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

IMG_1191

February 2, 2015 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chodorow Presents Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy Today at Pepperdine

ChodorowAdam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

  1. What does the Bible actually say, either directly about taxes and tax-like institutions or indirectly about principles that should guide policymakers, regarding an appropriate tax system?
  2. To what extent should the Bible or religious views guide votes or opinions on such secular policy matters?

Biblical Tax Systems and the Case for Progressive Taxation, 23 J.L. & Relig. 53 (2008):

With the political rise of the religious right, American policymakers have increasingly looked to religion for guidance on important policy issues, including questions of distributive justice and how best to allocate tax burdens. While many claim that Judeo-Christian values require progressivity, the examples of taxation found in the sacred texts apparently refute this claim. This article examines four examples of taxation found in the Bible and Talmud to determine whether it is appropriate to infer from them a Judeo-Christian principle of tax fairness that should apply in a modern, secular tax system. I find that, not only do these examples use different methods for allocating tax burdens, making it impossible to identify one principle, but, more important, each example bears the stamp of its religious purpose or historical circumstances, making it inappropriate to rely on these examples as evidence of a divinely-sanctioned principle of tax justice.

Adam's visit is sponsored by Pepeprdine's Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Adam

January 14, 2015 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2015)

Here is the schedule for my Spring 2015 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series:

  • Jan. 14    Adam Chodorow (Arizona State), Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy
  • Feb. 2     Michael Graetz (Columbia), The Tax Reform Road Not Taken -- Yet
  • Feb. 18   Ed Kleinbard (USC), We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money
  • Mar. 2    Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane), Human Equity? Regulating the New Income Share Agreements
  • Mar. 23  Gregg Polsky (North Carolina), Private Equity Tax Games
  • Apr. 6     Miranda Fleischer (San Diego), Libertarianism and the Charitable Tax Subsidies
  • Apr. 20   Heather Field (UC-Hastings), Aggressive Tax Planning and the Ethical Tax Lawyer

I will of course blog each professor's paper on the day of their presentation.  Southern California professors and practitioners are welcome to attend any of the sessions (11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) -- just let me know.

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2014)

Pepperdine 2015 (2)

January 13, 2015 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Barry Presents PPL and the Arbitrary Foreign Income Tax Credit Today at Pepperdine

BarryJordan M. Barry (San Diego) presents PPL and the Arbitrary Foreign Income Tax Credit at Pepperdine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Paul Caron:

Last year, the Supreme Court decided PPL v. Commissioner, ruling that the United Kingdom’s windfall tax qualifies for a U.S. foreign income tax credit. Even though the windfall tax only applies to a handful of taxpayers, economists and tax experts nationwide closely followed the PPL litigation: The foreign income tax credit a key provision of the U.S. tax code and a major component of U.S. economic policy. The rules surrounding the foreign income tax credit are quite intricate, and there is relatively little authoritative guidance to help taxpayers navigate them. And since the Supreme Court decides foreign income tax credit cases so rarely, the Court’s reasoning in PPL will likely influence courts’ thinking—and taxpayers’ pocketbooks—for many years to come.

Unfortunately, the Court’s decision in PPL does little to clarify the law and guide taxpayers. Instead, it reveals the fundamentally arbitrary nature of the foreign income tax credit.

The Court justifies its ruling as a triumph of substance over form. But the Court’s opinion itself demonstrates how two taxes can be the same in substance, yet be treated quite differently for purposes of the foreign income tax credit. The Court describes a specific hypothetical tax that would not be creditable—yet there are multiple taxes that are substantively identical to the Court’s hypothetical tax, but qualify for significant foreign income tax credits.

This Article explores these conceptual problems with the foreign income tax credit, as demonstrated by PPL, and suggests several ways in which Congress and the IRS might wish to ameliorate them.

Update: Post-presentation lunch:

Lunch

April 21, 2014 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fleischer Presents Innovation, Equity Compensation, and the New Inequality Today at Pepperdine

Fleischer Vic (2013)Victor Fleischer (San Diego) presents Sweat Equity: Innovation, Equity Compensation, and the New Inequality at Pepperdine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Paul Caron:

How people get paid—not just how much—explains the rising income inequality in the United States. Company founders, corporate executives, real estate developers, venture capitalists, and private equity fund managers often get paid in “sweat equity.” In exchange for labor, they receive equity in a venture largely financed with other people’s money. Globalization, technological change, and other factors have created economic conditions such that when companies are successful, those with sweat equity can receive unprecedented increases in income and wealth, and these gains are increasingly concentrated among a select few. For the rest of us, wages have stagnated.

The culture of equity-based pay has proven highly successful as a solution to the fundamental problem of entrepreneurial economics: how to get people with financial capital to share it with those who have the talent, motivation, and ideas. From the oil fields of Texas to the garages of Silicon Valley and the trading desks and boardrooms of Wall Street, sweat equity aligns the incentives of managers and investors. It is the engine of American innovation and economic growth.

But sweat equity is also rocket fuel for economic inequality. Economic gains increasingly flow to a lucky and talented elite, the one percent of the one percent, leaving everyone else behind. Our tax code aggravates the inequality problem, leaving sweat equity lightly taxed while taxes on wages have increased dramatically. The common recommendation of the political left—raise taxes on the rich—misses the target by focusing on ordinary income rather than sweat equity.

Addressing the problem of inequality will require finding fair methods of redistribution that do not disrupt the complex economic, legal, institutional and cultural infrastructure that forms the foundation for American innovation and entrepreneurship. Possibilities include redesigning the capital gains tax, adopting a progressive consumption tax, redesigning the estate tax, and increasing incentives for charitable giving. We must achieve enough redistribution to ensure some social mobility and some equality of opportunity, but not so much that the next generation of founders finds the risk and reward of entrepreneurship unattractive.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Photo

April 7, 2014 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lawsky Presents How Tax Models Work Today at Pepperdine

LawskySarah B. Lawsky (UC-Irvine) presents How Tax Models Work, 54 B.C. L. Rev. 1657 (2012), at Pepperdine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Paul Caron:

Unlike many social and physical sciences, legal scholarship includes little or no discussion of what models mean, how they are connected to the real world of law and policy, or how they should, and should not, be used by legal scholars. This void exists notwithstanding legal scholarship’s increasing reliance on explicit modeling in fields such as law and economics. This Article uses the example of economic modeling in tax scholarship to investigate how legal scholarship uses models, and how models in legal scholarship work. The Article lays out a path between two extremes. At one extreme is scholarship that employs models without either reflection or self-consciousness to make real-world recommendations; at the other is scholarship that rejects models because their assumptions are too far from reality. This Article argues that neither approach is correct. Models are useful and important for legal scholarship, but not in the way that some critics and proponents seem to believe. Drawing from literature in the philosophy of science, this Article argues that we reason from economic models through a mix of deductive and ampliative logic, through leaps, creativity, and intuition. Models cannot provide certainty about what the law should be; rather, economic models are merely one kind of voice in an ongoing and necessarily inconclusive conversation. This Article concludes by drawing on this deeper understanding of models and modeling to propose ways that legal scholarship can and should use economic models.

See also Sarah B. Lawsky, Modeling Uncertainty in Tax Law, 65 Stanford L. Rev. 241 (2013).

Update: Post-presentation lunch:

Lawsky Lunch

March 24, 2014 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Galle Presents Nonprofit Executive Pay as an Agency Problem Today at Pepperdine

GalleBrian D. Galle (Boston College) presents Nonprofit Executive Pay as an Agency Problem: Evidence from U.S. Colleges and Universities (with David I. Walker (Boston University)) at Pepperdine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Paul Caron:

We analyze the determinants of the compensation of private college and university presidents from 1999 through 2007. We find that the fraction of institutional revenue derived from current donations is negatively associated with compensation and that presidents of religiously-affiliated institutions receive lower levels of compensation. Looking at the determinants of contributions, we find a negative association between presidential pay and subsequent donations. We interpret these results as consistent with the hypotheses that donors to nonprofits are sensitive to executive pay and that stakeholder outrage plays a role in constraining that pay. We discuss the implications of these findings for the regulation of nonprofits and for our broader understanding of the pay-setting process at for-profit as well as nonprofit organizations. 

Brian D. Galle (Boston College) & David I. Walker (Boston University), Sunshine, Stakeholders, and Executive Pay: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach:

We evaluate the effect of highly salient disclosure of private college and university president compensation on subsequent donations using a quasi-experimental research design. Using a differences-in-discontinuities approach to compare institutions that are highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual "top 10" list of most highly-compensated presidents against similar others, we find that appearing on a top 10 list is associated with reduced average donations of approximately 4.5 million dollars in the first full fiscal year following disclosure, despite greater fundraising efforts at "top 10" schools. We also find some evidence that top 10 appearances slow the growth of compensation, while increasing fundraising and enrollment, in subsequent years. We interpret these results as consistent with the hypothesis that donors care about compensation and react negatively to high levels of pay, on average; but (absent highly-salient disclosures) are not fully informed about pay levels. Thus, while donors represent a potential source of monitoring and discipline with respect to executive pay in the nonprofit sector, significant agency problems remain. We discuss the implications of these findings for the regulation of nonprofits and for our broader understanding of the pay-setting process at for-profit as well as nonprofit organizations.

Salaries

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Photo

 

March 3, 2014 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Osofsky Presents Beyond Worst-First Tax Enforcement Today at Pepperdine

Osofsky 4Leigh Osofsky (Miami) presents Beyond Worst-First Tax Enforcement at Pepperdine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Paul Caron:

When enforcement resources are limited, how should the scarce enforcement resources be allocated to maximize compliance with the law? The answer to this question can determine to what extent the law on the books translates to the law in practice. A dominant school of thought in the tax literature suggests that they should be allocated based on a “worst-first” method, whereby the individuals likely to be most noncompliant are targeted. However, “worst-first” methods suffer some underappreciated weaknesses. While “worst-first” methods can encourage all individuals to increase compliance so as not to be deemed the “worst,” they can also provide cover to engage in noncompliance that is perceived moderate for the relevant population. This dynamic can become most problematic in highly noncompliant populations. In such populations, existing, high levels of noncompliance, and underlying, structural causes of the high noncompliance can serve as coordinating mechanisms, providing mutual assurance of low compliance. Moreover, “worst-first” theories do not provide a comprehensive explanation for the group and project-based enforcement practices that are found in a number of actual enforcement settings. In response to these deficits in existing theory, I draw on work from across different disciplines to develop a new layer of analysis regarding the allocation of scarce tax enforcement resources. I suggest that, under certain conditions, deterrence can be enhanced by allocating scarce enforcement resources among a low-compliance population of taxpayers through a process I call microdeterrence. After setting forth the theoretical case for microdeterrence, I examine how it might apply in the cash business tax sector, a setting that presents particular challenges for “worst-first” methods. I conclude that microdeterrence may increase compliance, meriting its application and empirical evaluation. More fundamentally, this Article underscores the importance of the allocation of scarce enforcement resources, some of the deficits in existing theory, and the potential benefits of integrating additional layers of analysis.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Photo

February 19, 2014 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Caron Presents Revitalizing the Estate Tax: Five Easy Pieces Today at Pepperdine

Caron 2012 PhotoPaul L. Caron (Pepperdine) presents Revitalizing the Estate Tax: Five Easy Pieces, 142 Tax Notes ___ (2014) (with James R. Repetti (Boston College)) at Pepperdine today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

In The Estate Tax Non-Gap, Why Repeal a Voluntary Tax?, 20 Stan. L. & Pol'y Rev. 153 (2009), we argued that, contrary to the state of the law over thirty-five years ago when George Cooper wrote his seminal article,  A Voluntary Tax? New Perspectives on Sophisticated Estate Tax Avoidance, 77 Colum. L. Rev. 161 (1977), taxpayers today generally “can reduce the value of assets subject to transfer tax in many instances only if they are willing to assume the risk that the reduction may be economically real and reduce the actual value of assets transferred to heirs or, alternatively, in narrow situations if they are willing to incur some tax risk.”  In Occupy the Tax Code: Using the Estate Tax to Reduce Inequality and Spur Economic Growth, 40 Pepp. L. Rev. 1255 (2013), we documented the dramatic increase in income and wealth inequality over the past thirty years and the accompanying adverse social consequences and long-term negative impact on economic growth.  We argued that tax policy historically has played an important role in reducing inequality and that the estate tax is a particularly apt reform vehicle in light of the role of inherited assets among the very rich and the adverse economic effects of such inherited wealth.  In this article, we advance five estate and gift tax reform proposals that will generate needed revenue, reduce inequality, and contribute to economic growth: (1) disallow minority discounts where the transferred asset or business is controlled by family before and after the transfer; (2) maintain parity between the unified credit exemption amount for the estate tax and gift tax; (3) reduce the wealth transfer tax exemptions to $3.5 million, increase the maximum tax rate to 45 percent, and limit the GST exemption period to 50 years; (4) restrict the ability of gifts made in trust to qualify for the gift tax annual exclusion; and (5) impose a lifetime cap on the amount that can be contributed to a Grantor-Retained Annuity Trust (“GRAT”).

February 11, 2014 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Winchester Presents Carried Interest for the Common Man Today at Pepperdine

WinchesterRichard Winchester (Thomas Jefferson) presents Carried Interest for the Common Man at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

In recent years, the public has become increasingly aware of the compensation arrangement known as carried interest, which permits private equity fund managers to pay tax at obscenely low rates on obscenely high earnings for their work. The publicity has led Congress to consider no fewer than eight separate pieces of legislation since 2007 to increase the tax on carried interest. Much of the energy behind this movement seems to be grounded in a concern that the tax system currently allows certain rich individuals to gain an advantage that is not available to anyone else. However, that is not entirely accurate. For years, huge numbers of ordinary self-employed people have been able to limit the tax on their earnings when they conduct their business through a formal business entity instead of as a sole proprietor. These business structures produce the same objectionable results as a carried interest arrangement. They just happen to be utilized by the common man. It is long past time for Congress to address this inequity in a comprehensive way with the same energy that it is devoting to addressing the taxation of carried interest.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Photo

 

February 3, 2014 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chodorow Presents Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy Today at Pepperdine

ChodorowAdam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

  1. What does the Bible actually say, either directly about taxes and tax-like institutions or indirectly about principles that should guide policymakers, regarding an appropriate tax system?
  2. To what extent should the Bible or religious views guide votes or opinions on such secular policy matters?

Biblical Tax Systems and the Case for Progressive Taxation, 23 J.L. & Relig. 53 (2008):

With the political rise of the religious right, American policymakers have increasingly looked to religion for guidance on important policy issues, including questions of distributive justice and how best to allocate tax burdens. While many claim that Judeo-Christian values require progressivity, the examples of taxation found in the sacred texts apparently refute this claim. This article examines four examples of taxation found in the Bible and Talmud to determine whether it is appropriate to infer from them a Judeo-Christian principle of tax fairness that should apply in a modern, secular tax system. I find that, not only do these examples use different methods for allocating tax burdens, making it impossible to identify one principle, but, more important, each example bears the stamp of its religious purpose or historical circumstances, making it inappropriate to rely on these examples as evidence of a divinely-sanctioned principle of tax justice.

Update:  Post-presentation dinner:

Chodorow

January 15, 2014 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2014)

Pepperdine Law School (2013)One of the many joys of my new life at Pepperdine is the opportunity to teach Tax Policy for the first time in my career.  Inspired by Lenadra Lederman's discussion on this blog in 2008-09 of the ideal structure for a tax workshop series, and the experience of over a dozen law schools with such a series (Boston College, Columbia, Connecticut, Indiana, Loyola-L.A., Michigan, NYU, Northwestern, Pennsylvania, San Diego, Toronto, UCLA, and Washington), I'm delighted to have 19 Pepperdine students embark on the journey with me this semester.  I've divided the course into seven two-week chunks, focused on a tax professor's paper:

  • Jan. 15:   Adam Chodorow (Arizona State)
  • Feb. 3:    Richard Winchester (Thomas Jefferson)
  • Feb. 12:  Leigh Osofsky (Miami)
  • Mar. 3:   Brian Galle (Boston College)
  • Mar. 24: Sarah Lawsky (UC-Irvine)
  • Apr. 7:    Vic Fleischer (San Diego)
  • Apr. 21:  Jordan Barry (San Diego)

I will of course blog each professor's paper on the day of their presentation.  SoCal professors and practitioners are welcome to attend any of the sessions (11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) -- just let me know.

January 13, 2014 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)