Paul L. Caron
Dean


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Participation In Undergraduate Mock Trial Programs And Law School GPA

Teresa Nesbitt Cosby (Furman University), To the Head of the Class? Quantifying the Relationship Between Participation in Undergraduate Mock Trial Programs and Student Performance in Law School, 92 St. John's L. Rev. 797 (2018):

This Article seeks to answer the question of whether students who engage in undergraduate mock trial competitions gain a competitive advantage in law school. The Article will examine the pedagogy of experiential learning methods by analyzing how student performance in undergraduate school compares to how these same students perform in law school, and, importantly, whether these students are gainfully employed in a law-related career after law school. This is accomplished by conducting four interviews with Furman alumni who participated in the undergraduate mock trial program during their tenures, and a survey targeting law school students and recent graduates who participated in mock trial and those who did not participate by comparing LSAT scores, law school class standing, job market success, and other related factors. As a result of this study, this Article qualitatively and quantitatively discusses the benefits and detriments of an undergraduate mock trial experience in relation to successful law school performance and subsequent legal careers.

Conclusion. Mock trial is a competitive intellectual activity engaged in by very smart people. The average undergraduate grade point average of participants is 3.51 and the average SAT scores are between 1200-1400 for critical reading and math, which places these students in the 751 percentile of all test takers nationally. Just as mock trial students perform at a higher academic level than the majority of students who sat for the SAT and ACT, so do all law students who participated in the survey. The data shows that very smart students participate in mock trial and very smart students go to law school. The LSAT scores of students also showed similar results where the scores of all law students and students who participated in mock trial were within the same ranges. Finally, law school class ranking and law review participation, which are indicators of how well a student performs when compared to other students in their law school class, show that there is no significant difference between the academic performance of non-mock trial law school students and students who did participate in mock trial. The data shows that the majority of students who participate in mock trial do so because they think it will help them with their academic performance in law school. However, this belief is not supported by the data. Rather, the data show that there is no significant academic advantage for mock trial participants over their nonmock trial colleagues. Therefore, students may want to evaluate whether this activity will help them to achieve their goals. This conclusion is supported by the observations of Audrey, who felt that mock trial was not a good tool to prepare a student for the pedagogical process of law school.

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July 30, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Borden: Measuring Partners’ Capital Interests And Profits Interests

Bradley T. Borden (Brooklyn), Partnership-Related Relatedness: Measuring Partners’ Capital Interests and Profits Interests:

Section 707(b)(1) provides that two partnerships are related if the same persons own more than 50% of the partnership’s capital interests or profits interests. Even though numerous sections of the Internal Revenue Code rely upon that definition of partnership relatedness, the law does not provide meaningful guidance for measuring capital and profits interests. Measuring such interests in partnerships with distribution-dependent equity structures is particularly challenging because rights to profits can vary from tier-to-tier in distribution waterfalls. Focusing on measuring profits interests in partnerships, this article presents five methods for measuring such interests: (1) the max-out approach, (2) the capital-only liquidation approach, (3) the capital-plus liquidation approach, (4) the current-profits approach, and (5) the projected-profits approach. With no guidance in this area favoring any approach, observers may conclude that any of the approaches could be used to measure profits interests.

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July 30, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do Corporate Taxes Affect Executive Compensation?

Tobias Bornemann (Vienna University), Martin Jacob (WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management) & Mariana Sailer (Vienna University), Do Corporate Taxes Affect Executive Compensation?:

The limitation of executive compensation has been a matter of public and policy debate for at least 20 years. We examine a first-time regulatory action where the deductibility of the total value of executive compensation is limited and unavoidable. We find that, rather than reduce remuneration, companies reduce precautionary savings, thereby increasing risk. This suggests that firms pass on the burden of increased taxes to shareholders. Our results shed light on the effects of reforms similar to the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and contribute to prior findings that argue for proactive regulation to limit executive compensation.

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July 30, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Brooks Reviews Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions

Kim Brooks (Dalhousie), Will Feminist Judges Really Make a Difference? (JOTWELL) (reviewing Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) & Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions (Cambridge University Press 2017)):

Feminist JudgmentsFeminist judgments projects originate in Canada. ... The first volume of American re-writes focused on decisions of the US Supreme Court. Surprising only to people who do not teach tax, the next volume of American re-writes takes up tax opinions. Released on December 28, 2017, as an invitation to continue holiday festivities, a volume edited by Bridget Crawford and Anthony Infanti serves up a veritable buffet of delights. Eleven rewritten American tax opinions comprise the volume. Six are rewritten Supreme Court decisions, one if a rewritten federal circuit court opinion, and four are rewritten Tax Court opinions.

The end result is spectacular. I want to draw attention to two features in this short review. These features are not tied, given this more general audience, to the tax context of the decisions. That’s worth underlining: this is a volume that is worth reading for scholars in any area of law with an interest in feminist legal theory and practice and how feminists approach legal and factual questions.

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July 29, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

China's 2018 Individual Income Tax Reform: A Global Perspective

Yue Dai (Oxford), China's 2018 Individual Income Tax Reform: A Global Perspective, 94 Tax Notes Int'l 849 (May 27, 2019):

This article analyzes China’s 2018 individual income tax reforms, discussing how the changes fit with China’s unique tax culture. It also compares China’s evolving tax system with the tax systems in the United States and the United Kingdom, considering how their experiences can help guide China’s reforms and, more broadly, how China’s tax system fits into the global tax environment.

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July 29, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lesson From The Tax Court: How A New Work Location Becomes A Tax Home

Tax Court (2017)The Bureau of Labor Statistics says here that almost half of U.S. families headed by a married couple were two-earner households in 2018.  Having a two-earner household has many advantages over a one-earner household, the most obvious one being more income.  Today’s lesson, however, is a cautionary one.  Two rules about tax homes may lessen the take-home earnings of the second income: the rule about married couples and the rule about temporary employment.

In Hector Baca and Magdalena Baca v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2019-78 (June 26) (Judge Holmes), the couple lived in El Paso where both had worked.  In 2011 Mr. Baca got a new job in Midland, a city some 300 miles away.  But it was an on-call job, where any one job call could be his last.  At issue for tax years 2012 and 2013 was whether he could deduct his travel costs between El Paso and Midland.  Judge Holmes said no.  The fact that Ms. Baca's job remained in El Paso did not affect the location of Mr. Baca's tax home.  Married taxpayers can have two tax homes and Mr. Baca's was Midland.  Thus Mr. Baca's costs of Midland travel and lodging could not be deducted from the money he made there.  That reduced the advantage of this married couple's second income.  Details below the fold.

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July 29, 2019 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Today's Tax Panel At SEALS

Tax panel today at the 2019 SEALS Annual Conference in Boca Raton, Florida:

SEALs Logo (2013)New Tax Scholars Workshop
This workshop gives New Scholars the opportunity to present a work-in-progress in a welcoming and supportive environment and to receive feedback on their presentation from more senior scholars in their fields. New Scholars are also assigned a mentor. The program is open to junior faculty at member schools. New Scholars are nominated to participate in the New Scholars Workshop by the deans of their respective law schools.

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July 29, 2019 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN Logo (2018)This week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list:

  1. [497 Downloads]  The President's Tax Returns, by Andy Grewal (Iowa)
  2. [237 Downloads]  A Tax Professor's Guide to Formative Assessment, by Heather Field (UC-Hastings)
  3. [204 Downloads]  Where Is the Opportunity in Opportunity Zones? Early Indicators of the Opportunity Zone Program’s Impact on Commercial Property Prices, by Alan Sage (MIT), Mike Langen (Maastricht University) & Alex Van de Minne (MIT)
  4. [143 Downloads]  Fixing the Five Flaws of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, by Kimberly Clausing (Reed College)
  5. [117 Downloads]  Back to Basics: Rethinking Normative Principles in International Tax, by Shay Shimon Moyal (S.J.D. 2020, Michigan)

July 28, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Holderness Reviews Crawford's Magical Thinking And Trusts

This week, Hayes Holderness (Richmond) reviews Bridget J. Crawford (Pace), Magical Thinking and Trusts, 50 Seton Hall L. Rev. ___ (2019).

Holderness (2017)

Wealth inequality is a major concern in today’s United States. As wealth concentrates among the super-wealthy, lawmakers, academics, and commentators have proposed ways to diffuse that wealth, often through tax reform. Wealth remains concentrated in part through the use of legal rules and entities, perhaps in ways that lead to unintended results. Here there be trusts. Trusts—particularly family trusts—have long been a major tool of wealth conservation and potential tax avoidance. So when the Supreme Court heard this year’s Kaestner case questioning North Carolina’s authority to tax the income of a family trust, many hoped that the Justices would help dismantle the tax avoidance tool by blessing the state’s taxing authority.

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July 26, 2019 in Hayes Holderness, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (2)

Kysar: Dynamic Legislation

Rebecca M. Kysar (Fordham), Dynamic Legislation, 167 U. Pa. L. Rev. 809 (2018):

To overcome congressional gridlock, lawmakers have developed devices that, under certain conditions, provide easier paths to policy change. Procedural mechanisms may eliminate the threat of filibuster and other barriers to legislating. Laws may prompt Congress to act through sunset dates, penalties like sequestration, or other undesirable policy outcomes. Alternatively, the legislative product itself may spontaneously update without further action by Congress, a category I label “dynamic legislation.” For instance, during consideration of recent tax legislation, lawmakers proposed that certain tax cuts be automatically ratcheted down if the bill failed to generate sufficient economic growth and that delayed tax increases not go into effect if revenue hurdles were met.

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July 26, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trump Was Right: Endowment Tax On Wealth Accumulation At Elite Colleges Will Curb Inequality

Mae C. Quinn (Florida), Wealth Accumulation at Elite Colleges, Endowment Taxation, and the Unlikely Story of How Donald Trump Got One Thing Right, 54 Wake Forest L. Rev. 451 (2019):

President Donald Trump has declared war on immigrants, diversity, and those who dare to dissent. Rooted in resentments about who people are, where they were born, and what they believe, these executive-led assaults are dangerous developments in the modern era. However, in the course of Trump's many retrograde tirades, he has somehow managed to get one thing right—too many elite private colleges in the United States, considered nonprofit entities, have amassed way too much wealth.

This Article recounts this unlikely story, including how the Trump Administration's 2017 endowment tax could work to advance diversity. The new endowment tax penalizes private colleges for stockpiling assets. In response, potentially impacted universities have argued they are victims of an unfair conservative conspiracy intended to target liberal ideology. But the data demonstrates that this is not true. And concerns about rich colleges hoarding their resources have come from both the right and the left.

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July 26, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Morse: When Robots Make Legal Mistakes

Susan C. Morse (Texas), When Robots Make Legal Mistakes, 72 Okla. L. Rev. 213 (2019):

The questions presented by robots’ legal mistakes are familiar to legal scholarship because they are examples of the legal process inquiry described by Hart and Sacks. This inquiry asks when the law will accept decisions as final, even if they are mistaken. Legal decision-making robots include market robots and government robots. In either category, they can make mistakes of undercompliance or overcompliance.

Some robot mistakes are more reviewable than others. The least reviewable kind of mistake is a market robot’s overcompliance mistake. A government robot’s undercompliance mistake is also relatively unlikely to be challenged. On the other hand, a market robot’s undercompliance mistake is open to a government enforcement challenge, and a government robot’s overcompliance mistake is open to a challenge from an aggrieved regulated party.

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July 25, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Taxation Of Undocumented Immigrants

Nneka Obiokoye (Holland & Hart, Denver), Taxation of Undocumented Immigrants: The Uneasy Connection Between Regulating the Undocumented Immigrant and Fostering Illegal Activity, 2 J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L. 359 (2018):

The volume of illegal immigration to the United States has been a raging issue in recent years, posing a significant issue for debates during the 2016 presidential election and an important policy concern for the Trump administration. Indeed, this issue was arguably the strongest point of contention among the 2016 presidential candidates and may have largely influenced the results of that election. While the recent increase in terrorist activity accounts for some of the controversy, a large part of the problem is that the average American believes that undocumented immigrants have a parasitical effect on the economy. In other words, they believe that immigrants take away from socio-economic infrastructure—such as welfare, health care, and education benefits—without contributing to society. Factual evidence tends to suggest otherwise, as statistics show that undocumented immigrants do, in fact, contribute a significant amount of federal and state revenue in taxes.

This article seeks to correct some of the negative perceptions held by the general public pertaining to undocumented immigrants, by drawing attention to four major points.

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July 25, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Millennials In The Legal Academy: 'Innovative Narcissists Lead The Way'

Ashley Krenelka Chase (Stetson), Upending the Double Life of Law Schools: Millennials in the Legal Academy, 44 U. Dayton L. Rev. 1 (2018):

This article discusses Holloway and Friedland’s vision of the law school of 2025 [The Double Life of Law Schools, 68 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 397 (2018)], with a focus on the need for technology education and a cultural shift in the legal Academy and the law school curriculum. It surveys the landscape of millennials as both students and employees, briefly describing their strengths and weaknesses in both arenas.

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July 25, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Double Life Of Law Schools

Ian Holloway (Dean, Calgary) & Steven Friedland (Elon), The Double Life of Law Schools, 68 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 397 (2018):

The law school of 2025 will soon appear around the corner. An increasingly asked question is what will legal education look like? Will it look like the Langdellian model of the past 120 years, centered on the coverage of appellate case reports, leavened by a modest degree of experiences and some tweaks? Or will its shape transmogrify, becoming a blend of technology, Carnegie, and a redesigned marketplace?

Our view is that by the year 2025, law school will indeed be dramatically different. But how different depends on who wins the war between the traditional education, tracing back to the days of Langdell in the 1870s, and the repositioned drivers influencing legal education today from inside and out. In a word, we are living in a time of struggle — struggle for control of the soul of legal education.

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July 25, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Financial Innovation, Tax Law, And The Making Of The Contemporary Art Market

Michael W. Maizels (Harvard metaLAB) & William E. Foster (Arkansas), The Gallerist’s Gambit: Financial Innovation, Tax Law, and the Making of the Contemporary Art Market, 42 Colum. J.L. & Arts 479 (2019):

This essay presents an account of an important moment in the emergence of the market for Pop art that was facilitated in part by a distinctly accommodating legal environment. Although Abstract Expressionism is commonly credited with causing American art’s ascendance onto the world stage immediately after World War II, its international acclaim belied a precarious institutional and financial infrastructure for living American painters. It was only with the following generation of Pop and Minimalist artists that the United States developed a self-sustaining market for the work of contemporary American artists. A significant but largely overlooked factor in that continued success was the ability of art dealers to take advantage of the unique legal and regulatory environment of the 1960s. This essay focuses on the efforts of an enterprising art gallerist, Leo Castelli, to aggressively promote his stable of Pop artists through the development of several financial structures, including some designed to leverage the relatively generous income tax deductions and anemic enforcement regime of the time. In doing so, Castelli not only seeded the ground for the international ascendance of American visual art, but also engineered financial arrangements that fostered the development of a lucrative and resilient art market that endures to this day.

With the aim to provide insights into both the legal-political and the art historical registers, this essay describes a tax law framework that provides a key piece missing from the art historical puzzle. While historians have treated the explosion of the market for American contemporary art as a natural consequence of postwar American economic ascendance, insufficient attention has been paid to how this economic energy was channeled into the art market in the first place. Stated differently, Americans were newly flush with cash, but why did they start buying art with it?

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July 25, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Innovation: A New Key Discipline For Lawyers And Legal Education

Michele Beardslee DeStefano (Miami), Innovation: A New Key Discipline for Lawyers and Legal Education:

Over the past two years, I have interviewed hundreds of in-house and law firm lawyers from around the globe to explore the changing legal marketplace, expectations of clients, and innovation in law. One of my main conclusions is that we are experiencing an Innovation Tournament in Law and almost everyone is playing in it. As I explain in more detail in my book, Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in Law, driven by a combination of technology, socio-economics, and globality, we are witnessing innovation on almost every legal dimension, including how legal services are priced, packaged, sourced, and delivered. Importantly, this innovation is not only coming from legal tech startups and new law companies. Law firms, the Big Four, and corporate legal departments are creating innovations of their own including new services, products, tools, and, importantly, new processes. Even those that aren't creating innovations are playing in the Innovation Tournament by utilizing the innovations (or exapting them) to become more efficient and deliver better service. Although we are not yet seeing disruption in the law marketplace in the Clayton Christensen sense, all lawyers should care about the Innovation Tournament regardless and here's why:

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July 25, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Kleiman Presents Nonmarket Fees Today At Ohio State

Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) presents Nonmarket Fees at Ohio State today as part of its Summer Workshop Series:

Kleiman (2018)The public finance literature tells us that user fees will introduce market-like efficiency to public good provision. Meanwhile, criminal justice scholars note that criminal justice fees have run amok, causing crippling debt, undermining reentry efforts, and implicating civil rights and constitutional concerns. How can we reconcile these two literatures? This Article argues that it is precisely because criminal justice fees diverge from a traditional market-like structure that they have become so problematic. Specifically, because criminal defendants cannot consider the fee amount in their consumption of criminal justice services, consumer demand imposes no downward pressure on fee levels. The fees are thus allowed to balloon largely unfettered by the market-like restraints that apply to other fees. Absent market-like restraints, monopolistic agencies are free to pursue maximum fee revenue by increasing the fee level or the amount of services provided. Meanwhile, courts have diluted judicial fee requirements to accommodate increasingly creative user fee structures. These unbounded, nonmarket fees undermine agencies’ political legitimacy, lead to inefficient misallocation of public goods and services, cause exploitation of politically powerless groups, and impose significant human cost. The Article finishes by describing other fees that exhibit the same flawed structure, and by suggesting reforms to nonmarket fees.

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July 24, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (1)

Cross Border State Sales And Use Taxation After South Dakota v. Wayfair: A New Paradigm For E-Commerce

Norman S. Newmark, Rochelle F. Walk & Robert V. Willeford Jr., Cross Border State Sales and Use Taxation After South Dakota v. Wayfair: A New Paradigm for E-Commerce, 3 Bus. Entrepreneurship & Tax L. Rev. 16 (2019):

For over 50 years, U.S. Supreme Court Precedents held that state sales taxes could not be constitutionally applied against retailers with no physical presence in the taxing states. As a result, many states implemented use tax laws, essentially requiring each resident consumer to self-report and pay taxes on purchases made out of state retailers. However, these use tax laws were largerly ignored. Moreover, with the advent of online retail ("e-tailers") had no physical nexus to the states in which the products were delivered.

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July 24, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly ranking of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  This ranking includes downloads from two 30- and 35-page papers by 12 tax professors on the new tax legislation that garnered a lot of media attention (including the New York Times and Washington Post) and generated a massive amount of downloads (the papers are the most downloaded tax papers of all-time by over 200%).  See Brian Leiter (Chicago), 11 Tax Profs Blow Up The SSRN Download Rankings. (For some reason, Mitchell Kane (NYU) — the twelfth academic co-author of the two papers — is not included in the SSRN download rankings (although the downloads are included on his individual author page)).  Here is the new list (through July 1, 2019) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

    All-Time   Recent
Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)  184,418 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) 16,885
Dan Shaviro (NYU) 118,651 Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 14,545
David Gamage (Indiana-Bl.) 114,176 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)  12,097
Daniel Hemel (Chicago) 112,722 David Gamage (Indiana-Bl.) 11,916
Lily Batchelder (NYU) 111,787 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 11,805
Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 108,323 Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) 11,224
Cliff Fleming (BYU) 103,496 David Kamin (NYU) 10,780
8 David Kamin (NYU) 100,391 Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 10,703
9 Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) 100,353 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 10,468
10  Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 99,493 Cliff Fleming (BYU) 10,229
11  Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 98,273 Rebecca Kysar (Fordham)  10,117
12  Michael Simkovic (USC) 43,116 Richard Ainsworth (BU) 2,813
13  D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 37,023 Michael Simkovic (USC) 2,788
14  Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 35,564 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 2,558
15  Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 31,720 Kyle Rozema (Chicago) 2,493
16  Richard Ainsworth (BU) 27,750 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 2,430
17  Ed Kleinbard (USC) 25,914 D. Dharmapala (Chicago) 2,350
18  Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine) 25,506 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 2,252
19  Jim Hines (Michigan) 24,491 Jacob Goldin (Stanford) 2,198
20  Gladriel Shobe (BYU) 23,991 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 1,903
21  Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.) 23,498 Joe Bankman (Stanford) 1,864
22  Richard Kaplan (Illinois) 23,438 Hugh Ault (Boston College) 1,856
23  Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 22,781 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 1,777
24  Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 22,461 George Yin (Virginia) 1,676
25  Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) 22,205 Yariv Brauner (Florida) 1,608

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July 24, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings, Tax Rankings, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Tax Treatment Of Cryptocurrency Hard Forks

Danhui Xu (J.D. 2020, Fordham), Free Money, But Not Tax-Free: A Proposal for the Tax Treatment of Cryptocurrency Hard Forks, 87 Fordham L. Rev. 2693 (2019):

Cryptocurrency has attracted extraordinary attention as one of the greatest financial innovations in recent years. Equally noticeable are the increasingly frequent cryptocurrency events, such as hard forks. Put simply, a cryptocurrency hard fork happens when a single cryptocurrency splits in two, which results in original coin owners receiving free forked coins. Such hard forks have resulted in billions of dollars distributed to U.S. taxpayers. Despite ongoing regulatory efforts, to date, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has yet to take a clear position on the tax treatment of cryptocurrency hard forks. The lack of useful guidance when filing tax returns has left taxpayers genuinely confused in the past few years.

To fill this regulatory gap, this Note proposes a framework for cryptocurrency hard fork taxation.

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July 24, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Kysar: Unravelling The Tax Treaty

Rebecca Kysar (Fordham), Unravelling the Tax Treaty, 103 Minn. L. Rev. ___ (2019):

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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July 23, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Law School Learning Outcomes

Debra Moss Vollweiler (Nova), Don’t Panic! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Learning Outcomes: Eight Ways to Make Them More Than (Mostly) Harmless, 44 U. Dayton L. Rev. 17 (2018):

HitchhikersLegal education, professors and administrators at law schools nationwide have finally been thrust fully into the world of educational and curriculum planning. Ever since ABA Standards started requiring law schools to “establish and publish learning outcomes” designed to achieve their objectives, and requiring how to assess them debuted, legal education has turned itself upside down in efforts to comply. However, in the initial stages of these requirements, many law schools viewed these requirements as “boxes to check” to meet the standard, rather than wholeheartedly embracing these reliable educational tools that have been around for decades. However, given that most faculty teaching in law schools have Juris Doctorate and not education degrees, the task of bringing thousands of law professors up to speed on the design, use and measurement of learning outcomes to improve education is a daunting one.

Unfortunately, as the motivation to adopt them for many schools was merely meeting the standards, many law schools have opted for technical compliance — naming a committee to manage learning outcomes and assessment planning to ensure the school gets through their accreditation process, rather than for the purpose of truly enhancing the educational experience for students. For those law schools reluctantly trailing along on the learning outcome and assessment train, the best advice to schools thrown into this world comes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series, in which the electronic guide of the same name tells those along for the ride “Don’t Panic!” (in large friendly letters) while describing our home planet as a whole, at least for part of the series, as “mostly harmless.” While schools should not be panicking at implementing and measuring learning outcomes, neither should they consign the tool to being a “mostly harmless” — one that misses out on the opportunity to improve their program of legal education through proper leveraging. Understanding that outcomes design and appropriate assessment design is itself a scholarly, intellectual function that requires judgment, knowledge and skill by faculty can dictate a path of adoption that is thoughtful and productive.

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July 23, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Shobe Presents The Substance Over Form Doctrine And The Up-C At The IRS

Gladriel Shobe (BYU) presented The Substance Over Form Doctrine and the Up-C, 38 Va. Tax Rev. 249 (2018), to the Passthrough and Special Industries Group in the IRS Chief Counsel's Office on Friday in Washington, D.C.:

Shobe (2018)The Up-C is an increasingly popular form of IPO that generates significant tax benefits as compared to a traditional IPO. These tax benefits, which are the driving force behind the Up-C, have generally gone uncontested and are achieved by taking a form over substance approach to the Up-C for tax purposes. Governmental officials had never directly addressed the Up-C until recently when the SEC issued an interpretive letter (the Up-C Letter) condoning a substance over form approach to the Up-C for purposes of SEC Rule 144. As a result of the Up-C Letter, owners in an Up-C get the best of both worlds by inconsistently taking a form over substance approach for tax purposes and a substance over form approach for securities law purposes.

This Article analyzes whether this disparate treatment of the Up-C is justified from either a technical or policy perspective.

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July 22, 2019 in Colloquia, IRS News, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lesson From The Tax Court: The Role Of Abuse In Spousal Relief Claims

Tax Court (2017)Divorce brings all kinds of consequences.  Today’s lesson is about one of the tax consequences.  In last week's case of Brigette Ogden v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2019-88  (July 15, 2019) (Judge Halpern), the divorced taxpayer sought to be relieved of her obligation to pay tax reported on two prior joint returns.  She sought relief based in part on a claim of spousal abuse and a claim that a state court’s divorce decree absolved her of responsibility.  Judge Halpern’s opinion teaches lessons about: (1) the relationship of spousal abuse to spousal relief in §6015, (2) the relationship of state courts to federal tax law, and (3) the relationship of sub-regulatory IRS guidance---here a Revenue Procedure---to Tax Court review of an IRS decision about spousal relief.  Details below the fold.  It's all about relationships.

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July 22, 2019 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

How The 2017 Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Favors The For‐Profit Hospital Model

Elizabeth King (Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York), Tax Reform, Mixed‐Entity Markets, and Hospitals: How the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Favors the For‐Profit Hospital Model, 37 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 527 (2019):

When the U.S. Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 (the “TCJA”), it achieved a significant tax cut for corporations. In doing so, however, Congress simultaneously reshaped the landscape for mixed‐ entity markets—that is, industries like healthcare and education in which nonprofit, for‐profit, and government entities coexist and compete. This is particularly true for the hospital market in which the TCJA’s provisions have subtly but decidedly tilted market conditions towards a for‐profit hospital model.

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July 21, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN Logo (2018)There is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [487 Downloads]  The President's Tax Returns, by Andy Grewal (Iowa)
  2. [229 Downloads]  A Tax Professor's Guide to Formative Assessment, by Heather Field (UC-Hastings)
  3. [190 Downloads]  Where Is the Opportunity in Opportunity Zones? Early Indicators of the Opportunity Zone Program’s Impact on Commercial Property Prices, by Alan Sage (MIT), Mike Langen (Maastricht University) & Alex Van de Minne (MIT)
  4. [128 Downloads]  Fixing the Five Flaws of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, by Kimberly Clausing (Reed College)
  5. [106 Downloads]  Back to Basics: Rethinking Normative Principles in International Tax, by Shay Shimon Moyal (S.J.D. 2020, Michigan)

July 21, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Is Tax Planning Best Done In Private?

Jeffrey L. Hoopes (North Carolina), Patrick Langetieg (Taxpayer Behavior Lab, IRS), Edward L. Maydew (North Carolina) & Michele Mullaney (North Carolina), Is Tax Planning Best Done In Private?:

We investigate whether privately-held firms engage in more tax planning than do publicly-held firms. Private firms are commonly believed to face lower non-tax costs of tax planning relative to public firms, allowing them to engage in more tax planning. However, empirical evidence of U.S. private firm tax planning is limited, primarily because of difficulty in obtaining private firm data. We make use of detailed administrative data from the Internal Revenue Service, which cover virtually all U.S. public and private firms and allow us to examine a variety of specific tax planning measures. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find no evidence that private corporations engage in more tax planning relative to similar-sized public corporations in the same industry. Moreover, some evidence suggests that private firms actually engage in less tax planning.

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July 20, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

A New Growth Vision For Legal Education, Part II: The Groundwork: Building A Customer Satisfying Innovation Ecosystem

Following up on Hilary G. Escajeda (Denver), Legal Education: A New Growth Vision Part I – The Issue: Sustainable Growth or Dead Cat Bounce? A Strategic Inflection Point Analysis, 97 Neb. L. Rev. 628 (2019):

Hilary G. Escajeda (Denver), Legal Education: A New Growth Vision Part II – The Groundwork: Building a Customer Satisfying Innovation Ecosystem, 97 Neb. L. Rev. 935 (2019):

Financial sustainability awaits agile, future-focused legal education programs that deliver law students with market-valued, cost-effective, and omni-channel knowledge and skills development solutions.

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July 20, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Speck Reviews Nagato's Tax Consequences Of The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

This week, Sloan Speck (Colorado) reviews a new work by Takayuki Nagato (Gakushuin University, Faculty of Law), Tax Losses and Excessive Risk Taking Under Limited Liability: A Case Study of the TEPCO Bailout After the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, 32 Colum. J. Asian L. 137 (2019).

Speck (2017)On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which lies roughly 150 miles north of Tokyo on Japan’s eastern coast. The Fukushima nuclear disaster caused tremendous and far-reaching economic—and, of course, personal—losses. By statute, the operator of the Fukushima plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), was held strictly liable for approximately $80 billion of damages that stemmed from the disaster. In a compelling recent article, Takayuki Nagato explores the tax consequences of TEPCO’s damage payments as a vehicle to interrogate the treatment of tax losses and risk-taking more generally. Nagato’s excellent and engaging analysis also adds a parallel strand to scholarly conversations about taxation’s direct and indirect role in disaster relief, as well as current commentaries on Pacific Gas & Electric’s wildfire-driven bankruptcy.

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July 19, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah Posts Tax Papers On SSRN

Behavioral Biases and Political Actors: Three Examples from US International Taxation (with Kaijie Wu):
The literature on behavioral public finance has tended to focus on the biases of taxpayers. However, politicians and government agents are human as well and can be expected to show the same biases that we are all subject to. This chapter will examine three examples of availability heuristic arguably influencing political actors and the unintended consequences of their reactions. The examples are all from US international tax rules: the foreign investment in real property tax act (FIRPTA) (1980), the exit tax on US citizens who expatriate (2008) and the enforcement of withholding tax on dividend equivalents (2010).

A Break in the Dam? India’s New Profit Attribution Proposal and the Arm’s Length Standard (with Ajitesh Kir):
On April 18, 2019, the Indian Central Board of Direct Taxes released a public consultation document on amending India’s rules for profit attribution to permanent establishments. This remarkable document is the first time a national government has proposed what in essence amounts to an abandonment of the arm’s length standard (ALS), the governing standard in transfer pricing for over 80 years, in favor of a formulary system. Given that the OECD has also raised the option of using formulas to allocate profits to market jurisdictions, India’s unilateral move may signal the proverbial break in the ALS dam, with the potential of leading to an abandonment of the ALS in favor of a unitary tax system.

Stanley Surrey, the Code and the Regime (with Nir Fishbien and Gianluca Mazzoni):

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July 19, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Cauble: Taxing Selling Partners

Emily Cauble (DePaul), Taxing Selling Partners, 94 Wash. L. Rev. 1 (2019) (reviewed by Sloan Speck  (Colorado) here):

Under current law, when a partner sells a partnership interest, the resulting gain or loss is treated as capital gain or loss, except to the extent that the partnership holds certain items whose sale would result in gain or loss that was not capital. The purpose of the current regime appears to be to prevent taxpayers from obtaining more favorable treatment by selling an interest in a partnership than what would result if the partnership were to sell its underlying assets. Given this apparent aim of legislators, current law produces results for taxpayers that are both unduly favorable and unduly unfavorable. In particular, despite current law’s aim to equate the tax treatment of the sale of a partnership interest with the tax treatment of the sale of underlying assets (at least with respect to the character of income recognized), differences persist. Sometimes sale of a partnership interest produces more favorable tax treatment than the sale of underlying assets. Other times, sale of a partnership interest triggers less favorable tax treatment than a sale of underlying assets.

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July 18, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Minimal IRS Guidance Is Sufficient To Navigate § 1400Z Opportunity Zones

Riley Coy, Good Enough: How Minimal IRS Guidance is Sufficient to Navigate §1400Z Opportunity Zones, 3 J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L. 1 (2019):

Z, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, creates “Opportunity Zones” which provide investors with a tax incentive to invest their realized capital gains in certain distressed neighborhoods. The goal of this subchapter is the economic growth of these communities. As described below, the language of subchapter Z is subject to interpretation in certain respects. Subsequently, the IRS issued a proposed regulation to provide guidance and clarity to the ambiguities within the language. Although many issues still remain unresolved, the guidance provided is a significant step in the right direction.

July 18, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Manolakas: The Tax Law And Policy Of Natural Disasters

Christine Manolakas (McGeorge), The Tax Law and Policy of Natural Disasters, 71 Baylor Law Rev. 1 (2019):

Natural disasters result in untold human suffering and economic loss. In addition to possible physical injury and loss of life, the futures of the individuals involved are forever altered. Homes and neighborhoods are destroyed, families and communities are dislocated, and jobs and businesses are jeopardized. Unconscionably, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 further diminished the already inadequate tax relief available for the damage or destruction of personal-use property caused by casualty events. Following a general discussion of the tax laws applicable to casualty losses, including changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, this article surveys the permanent tax relief provisions available to the victims of all natural disasters and the additional permanent tax relief provisions available only to the victims of Federally declared disasters.

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July 18, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Christians & van Apeldoorn: The OECD Inclusive Framework

Allison Christians (McGill) & Laurens van Apeldoorn (Leiden), The OECD Inclusive Framework:

OECDNations across the world are engaged in an ambitious project of tax cooperation that contemplates all participating nations included on an equal footing to implement and further develop mutually agreed baseline rules. The forum for this vision of equal participation in international tax policymaking is the Inclusive Framework, an inter-governmental network convened by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This paper demonstrates that the design and build-out of the Inclusive Framework demonstrates institutional learning about the need for inclusivity in authenticating a global tax policy mandate, and that achieving stated goals will be challenging in both logistical and geo-political terms.

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July 18, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Expanding OIRA Review To The IRS

Bridget C.E. Dooling (George Washington), Expanding OIRA Review to IRS, 3 J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L. ___ (2019):

Executive Order 12866 describes U.S. policy on regulatory planning and review. It directs agencies to identify the nature and significance of the problem they are trying to solve with regulation, to identify alternative solutions, to assess the quantifiable and non-quantifiable costs and benefits of each alternative, and then to choose the option that maximizes net benefits to society, taking into account distributional effects and other considerations. That policy, which has governed U.S. regulation for several decades, is managed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). It is also subject to several exemptions. In April 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget signed a historic memorandum of agreement (MOA) narrowing one of those exemptions. The MOA expands the number of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulatory actions for which IRS must comply with EO 12866. This action moved tax rules out of the “presidential tax-policy blind spot” as described by Professor Clint Wallace [Centralized Review of Tax Regulations, 70 Ala. L. Rev. 455, 460 (2018)].

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July 17, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Rethinking Normative Principles In International Tax

Shay Shimon Moyal (S.J.D. 2020, Michigan), Back to Basics: Rethinking Normative Principles in International Tax, 73 Tax Law. ___ (2019):

ABA Tax LawyerInternational Tax is a relatively new legal system that lacks clear objectives and principles. These principles, which guide unilateral legislation and multilateral coordination, have not been discussed thoroughly through the lenses of jurisprudence and legal philosophy. This paper offers a unique jurisprudential analysis of normative International Tax principles by redefining them and clarifying several basic assumptions.

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July 16, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Min & Kim: Dual-Class Stock And Corporate Spin-offs

Geeyoung Min (Columbia) & Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah), Insulation by Separation: When Dual-Class Stock Met Corporate Spin-offs, 9 UC Irvine L. Rev. ___ (2019):

The recent rise of shareholder engagement has revamped companies’ corporate governance structures so as to empower shareholder rights and to constrain managerial opportunism. Notwithstanding the general trend, this Article uncovers corporate spin-off transactions — which divide a single company into two or more companies — as a unique mechanism that insulates the management from shareholder intervention. In a spin-off, the company’s managers can fundamentally change the governance arrangements of the new spun-off company without being subject to monitoring mechanisms, such as shareholder approval or market check. Those changes often empower managers over shareholders. Furthermore, most spin-off transactions enjoy tax benefits. The potential agency problems associated with the managers’ unilateral governance changes can be further compounded when the managers adopt multiple classes of common stock with unequal voting rights (“dual-class stock”) in the new spun-off company without shareholder approval.

This is the first Article to systematically examine the problem from both corporate and tax law perspectives and to offer possible solutions.

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July 16, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. Investment Since The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Of 2017

Emanuel Kopp, Daniel Leigh, Susanna Mursula & Suchanan Tambunlertchai (IMF), U.S. Investment Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017:

There is no consensus on how strongly the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has stimulated U.S. private fixed investment. Some argue that the business tax provisions spurred investment by cutting the cost of capital. Others see the TCJA primarily as a windfall for shareholders. We find that U.S. business investment since 2017 has grown strongly compared to pre-TCJA forecasts and that the overriding factor driving it has been the strength of expected aggregate demand. Investment has, so far, fallen short of predictions based on the postwar relation with tax cuts. Model simulations and firm-level data suggest that much of this weaker response reflects a lower sensitivity of investment to tax policy changes in the current environment of greater corporate market power. Economic policy uncertainty in 2018 also subdued investment growth, although to a lesser extent.

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July 16, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 15, 2019

Lesson From The Tax Court: Effect Of Lump Sum SSI Election On Premium Tax Credit

Tax Court (2017) Last year I blogged about one unhappy feature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA):  §36B has no wiggle room in it to deal with reasonable taxpayer errors in calculating their Premium Tax Credit (PTC).  As a result, taxpayers sometimes get hit with really big deficiencies, even when the error is someone else’s fault.

Section 36B(f)(2)(B) tries to limit the harshness.  For families whose income is less than 400% of the relevant poverty line, that provision puts a cap on how much an error will cost them.  But that is no help to families who are just outside of the 400% threshold.  Nor does the law permit the Tax Court or the IRS to distinguish between good faith errors and taxpayer negligence.  I like how Christine Speidel put it in this post: “The problem for taxpayers hoping to avoid strict reconciliation is that section 36B simply does not have a mechanism to consider equity in the reconciliation of APTC.”

The good folks at Procedurally Taxing have really been on top of this §36B problem.  Here’s a list of their blog posts on the subject.  In particular, Christine Speidel has a good summary of the law here, and Samantha Galvin illustrates two recent §36B cases here

Two recent Tax Court decisions reveal a new dimension to §36B harshness: it’s interplay with the lump-sum SSI election in §86(e).  In Charles W. Monroe and Rebecca A. Monro v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2019-41 (Apr. 24, 2019) (Judge Ruwe), and in Levon Johnson v. Commissioner, 152 T.C. No. 6 (Mar. 11, 2019) (Judge Gerber), the question was whether an SSI lump sum catch-up payment had to be counted in calculating PTC eligibility when the taxpayers had made an election under §86(e) to reallocate the lump-sum payment from current year into prior years.  The Court looked at the text of §36B and said “yep, gotta include the lump sum.” 

I doubt the Court enjoyed coming to its conclusion because the harsh result turns the tax law into a “gotcha” game that even reasonable taxpayers will lose.  But if you learn the lesson these cases teach, you can at least help your clients who are in similar situations. 

There was an alternative interpretation here, however, that practitioners might press upon the Tax Court in future cases.  A closer look at the §36B language suggests it may well have room for a different "plain language" interpretation consistent with the §86(e) policy.  While the Court's holding was not unreasonable, neither was was it desirable, and it was sure as heck not inevitable.  Details below the fold.

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July 15, 2019 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Lawyers Serving Gods, Visible And Invisible

Jonathan R. Cohen (Florida), Lawyers Serving Gods, Visible and Invisible, 53 Gonz. L. Rev. 187 (2017):

Abstract. A critique of the American legal profession can be framed through the metaphor of idolatry, specifically the proclivity of lawyers to serve visible rather than invisible interests in their work. This proclivity has ramifications ranging from broad matters like lawyers' responses to deeply embedded social injustices to specific matters such as the excessive focus on pecuniary interests in ordinary legal representation and the high level of dissatisfaction that many lawyers experience in their careers. Using as a lens biblical teaching concerning idolatry, this article begins by describing "visible" as opposed to "invisible" interests in the context of legal practice. It then argues that lawyers, clients, and ultimately society could benefit from lawyers paying greater attention to invisible interests.

Introduction. Religious ideas can sometimes offer a distinctive lens or vantage point for gazing upon ordinary life. For example, seeing a person as created "in God's image" may lead one to ask a different set of questions (e.g., is that person being treated with dignity?) and assert a different set of values (e.g., that human life is precious) than one might ask or assert without that religious metaphor. One need not, of course, invoke religious language to discuss subjects like human dignity and worth, but religious teachings can lend insights into them. Here I suggest that another fundamental religious teaching, namely the biblical prohibition against idolatry, provides a useful lens for critiquing the American legal profession. Akin to worshiping a visible rather than invisible God, many lawyers have a proclivity to focus on visible rather than invisible interests in their work. This proclivity has ramifications ranging from the "small" issue of low job satisfaction among lawyers, to the broader issue of the tendency of many lawyers to focus excessively on their clients' pecuniary rather than nonpecuniary interests, to the even broader issue of the failure of many lawyers to undertake the prophetic work of confronting deeply embedded social injustices.

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July 14, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should Governments Tax The Rich And Subsidize The Poor? A Comparative Study Of Muslim And Christian Respondents

Robert W. McGee (Fayetteville State University), Serkan Benk (Inonu University, Turkey) & Bahadir Yuzbasi (Inonu University, Turkey), Should Governments Tax the Rich and Subsidize the Poor? A Comparative Study of Muslim and Christian Respondents:

This study used the most recent World Values Survey dataset to determine whether Christian and Muslim views on the acceptability of taxing the rich and subsidizing the poor was an essential feature of democracy. The sample size included more than 23,000 individuals from more than 50 countries. More than a dozen socioeconomic and attitudinal variables were also examined to determine whether significant differences existed. The study found that differences in viewpoint were often significant.

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July 14, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN Logo (2018)There is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper and a new paper debuting on the list at #4:

  1. [479 Downloads]  The President's Tax Returns, by Andy Grewal (Iowa)
  2. [222 Downloads]  A Tax Professor's Guide to Formative Assessment, by Heather Field (UC-Hastings)
  3. [179 Downloads]  Where Is the Opportunity in Opportunity Zones? Early Indicators of the Opportunity Zone Program’s Impact on Commercial Property Prices, by Alan Sage (MIT), Mike Langen (Maastricht University) & Alex Van de Minne (MIT)
  4. [150 Downloads]  Wayfair, What's Fair, and Undue Burden, by Michael Fatale (Massachusetts Department of Revenue)
  5. [138 Downloads]  The Supreme Court, Due Process and State Income Taxation of Trusts, by Bridget Crawford (Pace) & Michelle Simon (Pace)

July 14, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 12, 2019

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Layser Reviews Blank & Osofsky's Legal Calculators And The Tax System

This week, Michelle Layser (Illinois) reviews a new work by Joshua D. Blank (UC-Irvine) and Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina), Legal Calculators and the Tax System, 15 Ohio St. Tech. L.J. ___ (2019).

Layser (2018)

The IRS has long attempted to aid wary taxpayers by publishing informal guidance that translates tax laws into more understandable statements. In previous work, Professors Joshua Blank and Leigh Osofsky have argued that such plain language guidance often oversimplifies complicated tax laws, opening the door to errors. They have called this characteristic “simplexity.” In their newest article on the subject, Blank and Osofsky identify another—potentially more serious—example of tax guidance that reflects simplexity: automated legal calculators like the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant.

In the context of tax compliance, legal calculators are essentially algorithmically programmed, automated tax advisors that perform mathematical calculations and attempt to calculate taxpayers’ legal consequences. It sounds technical, but anyone who has ever used TurboTax is familiar with the basic concept. The legal calculator “asks” the user questions about their profile and economic activities, and then it generates advice about what income might be taxable, what deductions or credits may be available, whether it makes sense for a taxpayer to itemize, and so forth.

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July 12, 2019 in Michelle Layser, Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Buchanan: Tax Law Is The Lynchpin Of Civilization

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Neil H. Buchanan (George Washington), The Law of Taxation Is the Lynchpin of Civilization (JOTWELL) (reviewing John Snape (Warwick) & Dominic de Cogan (Cambridge), Introduction: On the Significance of Revenue Cases, in Landmark Cases in Revenue Law 1 (John Snape & Dominic de Cogan eds. 2019):

John Snape and Dominic de Cogan, two legal scholars from universities in England, have provided a significant contribution to the emerging scholarly discussion in many different countries about the nature and limits of the law—not just tax law, which is their nominal domain in this chapter and book, but of all law. Without being at all polemical, and although they give a fair hearing to those with whom they disagree, they make an undeniable case for the claim that the study of tax law is ultimately the study of, to be honest, everything. ...

Snape and de Cogan’s edited volume is part of the Landmark Cases series, an analogue (which the editors readily acknowledge) to the Law Stories series in the United States that began with Tax Stories. Like its American counterpart, a Landmark Cases volume can serve as an avenue for understanding an area of the law through the study of a small canon of foundational legal decisions that continue to shape our understanding of that particular area of the law. ...

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July 11, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Symposium: Feminist Judgments — Rewritten Tax Opinions

Pittsburgh Tax Review (2017)The Pittsburgh Tax Review has published Symposium, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions, 16 Pitt. Tax Rev. 115-208 (2019):

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July 10, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Ring: International Tax Reform And Improved Wealth Distribution Across The Globe

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Diane Ring (Boston College), A Path to International Tax Reform and Improved Wealth Distribution Across the Globe (JOTWELL) (reviewing Tarcísio Diniz Magalhães (International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation), What Is Really Wrong with Global Tax Governance and How to Properly Fix It, 10 World Tax J. (2018)):

Thomas Piketty’s work brought the reality of unequal distributions of wealth into mainstream media and popular discourse. In the tax world, the conversation now regularly turns to a consideration of whether and how the international tax regime contributes to existing patterns of wealth and income distribution across nations. Certainly, the tax norms and rules that shape the basic roadmap of international tax (including source, residence and permanent establishment provisions) contribute to existing distributions of wealth—and relatedly taxable income—across jurisdictions. Why do these patterns persist? And perhaps more importantly, what would it take for change?

recent article by Tarcísio Diniz Magalhães aims to develop answers to both questions.

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

Business Tax Symposium Today At Oxford

Oxford Business Tax (2019)The Centre for Business Taxation's annual three-day summer symposium concludes today at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (program):

Thiess Buettner (FAU), Sales and Price Effects of Pre-announced Consumption Tax Reforms: Microlevel Evidence from European VAT (with Boryana Madzharova (FAU))
Discussant: Paul Baker (Bath)

Chris Evans (New South Wales), Diagnosing the VAT Compliance Burden: A Cross-Country Assessment (with Richard Highfield, Binh Tran-Nam & Michael Walpole (New South Wales))
Discussant: Alice Pirlot (Oxford)

Enda Hargaden (Tennessee), Does Statutory Incidence Matter? Earnings Responses to Social Security Contributions (with Barra Roantree (Economic and Social Research Institute))
Discussant: Michael Stimmelmayr (ETH Zurich)

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

Gianni: Partnership Audit Rules After The Final Regulations

Monica Gianni (California State University Northridge), Partnership Audit Rules: After the Final Regulations, 128 J. Tax'n 9 (June 2019):

As part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), Congress repealed the TEFRA audit rules and the audit rules for electing large partnerships and replaced them with a new audit regime (the BBA audit rules). The BBA audit rules generally are effective for audits of partnership returns for tax years beginning after 2017. Although the TEFRA audit rules were enacted in 1982 to address issues with partnership audits, particularly tax shelters, they proved difficult to implement. In a 1990 report to Congress, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury concluded that large partnership audits were an inefficient and time-intensive use of limited resources. The BBA audit rules address the deficiencies of the TEFRA audit rules through a centralized audit system that requires partnership adjustments to be determined at the partnership level and any tax attributable to the adjustments to be assessed and collected at the partnership level. The rules allow for a small-partnership opt-out and an elective alternative to “push out” the audit adjustments made and tax paid to the partners. The audit process is streamlined by limiting the right to notices and participation in the audit to one “partnership representative” who has the “sole authority” to act for the partnership in an audit.

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Choi: The Substantive Canons Of Tax Law

Jonathan H. Choi (NYU), The Substantive Canons of Tax Law, 72 Stan. L. Rev. ___ (2019):

Anti-abuse doctrines in tax law have traditionally been formulated as multi-factor tests that weigh the facts of the taxpayer’s case but ignore the tax statute at issue. This approach has proven problematic: some judges import statutory considerations regardless, creating inconsistency and confusion, and some scholars criticize the doctrines as antitextual violations of the separation of powers.

This Article argues that anti-abuse doctrines should be considered substantive canons of construction, interpretive presumptions that can be rebutted by statutory text or purpose. This resolves apparent arbitrariness in the doctrines’ application as simply the rebuttal of presumptions and reconciles them to textualists as constitutionally permissible background norms. It also provides a framework to test the validity of disputed doctrines and allows them to be more flexible and intuitive.

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July 9, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)