Paul L. Caron
Dean


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Hemel: Trump Lost At The Supreme Court, But We Still Won’t See His Tax Returns Before The Election

Following up on last Friday's post, Perspectives On The Supreme Court's Trump Tax Return Decision:

Washington Post op-ed:  Trump Lost at the Supreme Court, but We Still Won’t See His Taxes By November:

The Supreme Court’s twin rulings Thursday in cases involving President Trump’s financial records virtually assure that the 45th president will succeed in shielding his tax returns from the public until after the November election. This is a remarkable feat for a president whose six immediate predecessors all released their returns while in the White House. How did Trump pull it off?

In typical Trumpian fashion, he did it, in part, by lying outright. Trump said in May 2014 that he would “absolutely” release his returns if he ran for president, which proved to be absolutely false. But he couldn’t have done it alone. The president also received substantial aid from others — including some Democrats — who made it possible for him to hide his tax documents from the American people, Thursday’s Supreme Court rebuke notwithstanding.

Presidents releasing their tax returns to the nation had become a 40-year-old bipartisan tradition by the time Trump entered the Oval Office in January 2017. The practice served several functions. It assured Americans that taxes were not only for “the little people” — we knew that when we paid up, our leaders did, too. It allowed us to assess whether presidents pursued tax policies that were in the national interest or their own, and it gave us insight on possible financial conflicts that might cloud their judgment. It also served as a check on the Internal Revenue Service, which is in the uncomfortable position of auditing its own boss. When President Richard Nixon was in office, the IRS overlooked improper deductions that allowed Nixon to reduce his tax bill by hundreds of thousands of dollars. In making their returns available for public inspection, later presidents reduced the risk that they might receive favorable treatment from the agency.

So the three Republican and three Democratic presidents before Trump released their returns. And just as it took a bipartisan effort to entrench the practice, it took bipartisan inaction to unravel it. ...

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July 14, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

2020-22 ABA Tax Section Public Service Fellows

The 2020-2022 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship Class:

  • ABA Tax Section (2017)Shailana Dunn-Wall, a graduate of University of Nebraska College of Law, will work with Legal Aid of Nebraska to educate residents throughout Nebraska on the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit in an effort to increase the percentage of eligible taxpayers who claim the credit by filing a tax return.
  • Terri Morris, a graduate of University of Richmond School of Law, will work with the Community Tax Law Project of Richmond, Virginia, on their Fight Against Financial Abuse project. Through this initiative, Terri will advocate, educate and engage local domestic violence survivors on tax issues surrounding financial abuse.

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July 14, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

NY Times And National Tax Association Tributes To Ed Kleinbard

Following up on my previous posts:

New York Times (Jesse Drucker), Edward Kleinbard, Tax Lawyer Turned Reformer, Dies at 68:

Edward Kleinbard, a prominent tax lawyer who helped global corporations find creative ways to cut their taxes before he moved to academia and shined a light on the practices of the types of companies he had once advised, died on June 28 in Los Angeles. He was 68. ...

Mr. Kleinbard’s career cut an unusual arc. He spent more than 30 years as a corporate tax lawyer, helping companies and financial institutions on Wall Street and elsewhere cut their tax bills. He then devoted the last decade to the cause of raising taxes, as a means of combating inequality and poverty. As a member of the law school faculty at the University of Southern California, he used his insider’s expertise to show in particular how multinational companies avoid taxes.

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July 12, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

After Harvard And MIT Sue To Block International Student Visas For Online Courses, Trump Tweet Threatens Tax Exempt Status Of Colleges

New York Times, As Universities Seek to Block Visa Rules, Trump Threatens Tax Status:

Harvard and M.I.T. want a court to protect foreign students taking online classes. After a hearing, President Trump said he was ordering a review of universities’ tax-exempt status.

Trump

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July 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, July 10, 2020

Perspectives On The Supreme Court's Trump Tax Return Decision

FiveThirtyEight, We’re Not Going To See Trump’s Tax Returns Anytime Soon:

President Trump is one of the only presidents in modern memory who has kept his tax returns private, and attempts to force their release have sparked a mountain of litigation, reaching all the way to the Supreme Court.

But the Supreme Court’s verdict on whether Trump’s banks and accounting firm can be required to release his personal financial records is a bit of a mixed bag.

On the one hand, the court delivered Trump a major defeat, dismissing his most expansive claims to presidential immunity. Trump has argued that while in the White House, he can’t be criminally investigated. But the court ruled in a 7-2 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts that New York prosecutors do have the authority to subpoena his business records, sending the case back to the lower court.

But in the second ruling on Trump’s tax returns — which was also a 7-2 decision written by Roberts — which involved three House committees’ subpoenas for his records, the court essentially punted. The justices emphasized the House does have the authority to issue subpoenas related to oversight of the executive branch, but they said lower court judges didn’t properly weigh the separation of powers issues inherent in the requests — suggesting that Congress’s power to investigate the president is not unlimited. The ruling also sent that case back to the lower courts for further consideration.

That means Trump’s much-sought-after tax returns will almost certainly remain under wraps until after the election in November.

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July 10, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (10)

Virtual Memorial Service Today Celebrating The Life Of Michael Lang (Chapman)

Following up on my previous post, Death Of Mike Lang (Chapman):

Remembering Professor Michael Lang

September 17, 1951 - June 28, 2020

 

It is with great sadness that we report Chapman University Fowler School of Law Professor Michael Lang passed away on June 28 due to complications from a recent stroke. A faculty member since 2002, Professor Lang was the founding director of the law school’s Tax LL.M. program and taught such courses as Federal Income Taxation, Ethics in Tax Practice, and Corporate Taxation.

Prior to joining Chapman, he taught at nine different law schools over the course of his career, including 19 years at the University of Maine School of Law, where he also served for a time as associate dean for academic affairs. Before entering the legal academy, Professor Lang practiced law at the global law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He received his B.A. from Harvard University and his JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.

A virtual memorial service for Professor Lang, hosted by the Fowler School of Law, will be held via Zoom on Friday, July 10 at 10:30 a.m. PDT. We hope you can join us to celebrate his life and career. [You can join me at the virtual memorial service here.]

Update:  Dean Matt Parlow announced at the service that Chapman Law School will honor Mike by awarding each year the Michael Lang Excellence in Scholarship Award.

July 10, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 6, 2020

Black Families Pay Significantly Higher Property Taxes Than White Families

Washington Post, Black Families Pay Significantly Higher Property Taxes Than White Families, New Analysis Shows:

State by state, neighborhood by neighborhood, black families pay 13 percent more in property taxes each year than a white family would in the same situation, a massive new data analysis shows.

Black-owned homes are consistently assessed at higher values, relative to their actual sale price, than white homes, according to a new working paper by economists Troup Howard of the University of Utah and Carlos Avenancio-León of Indiana University.

Dorothy Brown, an Emory University law professor who researches systemic racism in tax policy and was not involved in this study, sees the same pervasive effect. “The structure of the property tax system operates to disadvantage black Americans,” she said. “That’s how structural racism is. It’s built into the system. The property tax system itself discriminates against black Americans.”

Troup Howard (Utah) & Carlos Avenancio-León (Indiana), The Assessment Gap: Racial Inequalities in Property Taxation:

We use panel data covering 118 million homes in the United States, merged with geolocation detail for 75,000 taxing entities, to document a nationwide “assessment gap” which leads local governments to place a disproportionate fiscal burden on racial and ethnic minorities. We show that holding jurisdictions and property tax rates fixed, black and Hispanic residents nonetheless face a 10–13% higher tax burden for the same bundle of public services.

Property Tax

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July 6, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (14)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Trump’s Unsupported Claim About Opportunity Zone Investments

FactCheck.org, Trump’s Unsupported Claim About Opportunity Zone Investments:

FactCheck.org LogoAt his rally in Tulsa on June 20, President Donald Trump asserted without evidence that $100 billion had been invested in opportunity zones under a federal program that provides tax incentives to encourage development in low-income neighborhoods.

That number is far higher than other estimates of the total, and Trump, his administration and his campaign have furnished no evidence to back up the claim. ...

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July 4, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

L.A. Times Farewell To Ed Kleinbard (USC)

Following up on Monday's post, Death Of Ed Kleinbard (USC):  Los Angeles Times (Michael Hiltzik), Farewell to USC’s Ed Kleinbard, 68, a Peerless Champion of the Public Interest

Kleinbard (2015)A couple of things set Ed Kleinbard apart from the army of tax experts who spend their hours delving into the minutiae of tax law.

For one thing, he was smarter than most of the others. But more important, having developed his store of knowledge at an elite corporate law firm and then as a top congressional advisor, he chose to deploy it in the public interest — as a professor of law at USC, as a widely-read commentator on tax policy and as the author of an indispensable book on how to make fiscal policy function for the betterment of American life.

Kleinbard died Monday at 68, following a long battle with cancer. He had been my guide through the thickets of tax policy since I first profiled him in 2014 and a source for dozens of columns since then. He was always gracious, lucid and amusing when I pestered him for his insights, even during his bouts with illness toward the end. His passing will be profoundly felt by his family, his colleagues, my readers and a world that is immeasurably poorer for the loss.

Let’s learn why.

We can begin with his career trajectory. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1976, he moved into corporate law, rising to a partnership at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. In 2007 he jumped to the public sector as chief of staff to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, then joined USC’s Gould School of Law in 2009.

“Only people who are practicing law at a very high level know exactly how corporations do things like move income around to minimize taxes and the other tax games major corporations play,” says Kleinbard’s friend, cycling companion and USC Law colleague Gregory Keating. “And most of the people who have that kind of knowledge are working with the companies. Ed had that expertise and was committed to coming up with solutions as an academic and a policy person that were public-spirited and public-minded.”

Coupled with that was an engaging persona that his colleagues remembered as “funny, loyal, passionate, and acerbic,” as Daniel N. Shaviro of NYU Law School put it in a valedictory on the TaxProf blog.

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July 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Irish Money Funnel

Irish Money Funnel:

Irish Money Funnel, produced by Spin Casino Ireland, takes a look at some of the world's biggest companies and shows how Ireland's low corporation tax rate could be the secret behind their success.

Below is a comparison of some of the biggest companies in tech, food and drink based on the percentage of total revenue which is raised in the UK and Ireland. Ireland is often used as a base by multinational companies due to its low corporation tax rate of 12.5%. Comparatively, the UK has a tax rate for companies of 19% and the US even higher at 21%.

Apple

July 1, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times: Philanthropy Rises In Pandemic As Donors Heed The Call For Help

New York Times, Philanthropy Rises in Pandemic as Donors Heed the Call for Help:

CoronavirusWhen the coronavirus prompted states to order residents to stay at home in March, unemployment surged around the country as huge parts of the economy slowed or stopped. Soon after, there were calls for philanthropists, charitably inclined people and even occasional donors to accelerate any giving they were planning to do.

They stepped up, it turns out, giving more and giving faster then they typically do.

The needs were urgent. Virus-related charities and social service agencies, like food banks, were thrust into an immediate role whose size and scope they were not prepared for. At the same time, arts organizations and other nonprofit groups that depend on sales of tickets to their shows and productions suddenly had no audience.

To encourage donations, the CARES Act expanded the amount of cash contributions that could be taken as a tax deduction. But the focus of the call to action was firmly on foundations and donor-advised funds, which have huge pools of money that can go only to charity.

Now three months after the initial outbreak, two reports show that Americans gave at a rate and a level that eclipsed donations during the 2008 recession and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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July 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Latest Data Shows That The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Did Not Dampen Charitable Giving

Tax Foundation, Latest Data Shows That the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Did Not Dampen Charitable Giving:

Americans are very generous people, and they give despite the reduced tax benefits of giving. That’s the takeaway from Giving USA’s latest annual report on the charitable contributions of individuals, corporations, and foundations. Altogether, Americans contributed nearly $450 billion to charitable causes in 2019. This is a record level of giving in nominal terms; adjusting for inflation, it is the second-highest amount ever after 2017.

Of the various donor types, individual donors were the most generous. They contributed about $310 billion to charitable causes in 2019, also a record amount in nominal terms. This was not supposed to happen according to many in the charitable community who predicted that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) would lead to less charitable giving.

Tax Foundation

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July 1, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Death Of Mike Lang (Chapman)

Los Angeles Times Obituary, Michael B. Lang:

LangSeptember 17, 1951 — June 28, 2020. Born in Washington, DC, he was the son of Sue and Ezra Lang. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Harvard College, and the Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, PA. He was a full-time faculty member of Chapman University School of Law since 2002. Prior to that he taught at several other law schools including the University of Maine where he served as associate dean and Professor of Law. Professor Lang was active in the American Bar Association Section of Taxation where he held several committee chair posts and served as moderator of many panels. He was the author of numerous books and articles on taxation. Michael was an avid reader, tennis player, environmental champion and foodie. He will be remembered for his wit, intelligence, and kind heart.

He is survived by his son Leonard Lang, daughter Julie Lang, and his brother, Jonathan Lang.A memorial service is planned for 2021 at Hillside Memorial park in Los Angeles, CA. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to any organization designed to protect the environment.

You may leave a message of condolence for Mike's family here.

Message from Chapman University Provost Glenn Pfeiffer:

The Fowler School of Law mourns the loss of Professor Mike Lang, who passed away due to complications from a stroke he suffered last week.

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June 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Death Of Ed Kleinbard (USC)

From Joe Bankman (Stanford):

Kleinbard (2015)I am sorry to report that my great friend (and co-author), Ed Kleinbard (USC), died last night.  The cause of death was cancer.

Ed was a towering presence in our field and is well known to members of this group.  He had every ability a tax lawyer and academic could want: an amazing knowledge of doctrine, great analytic skills, and great passion.  He was a wonderful writer: clear, folksy, funny, and rhetorically strong.  He was motivated by a strong belief in justice and equal opportunity. 

I am sure that there will be a festchrist in his honor and that we will have an opportunity to reflect on his contributions.  I didn't ask the family anything about memorial services. I am guessing it will be small, private and (like everything else these days) on-line.   I would guess that his wish for us would be to work for tax and fiscal reform and justice -- and to consult his many works for guidance.

I got to know Ed well after moving to Southern California. He graciously agreed to speak at Pepperdine three times:  at my tax policy workshop series in 2015 and 2017, and most poignantly at the Critical Tax Conference in 2019 in the midst of his long battle with cancer. As Joe says, Ed was a towering presence in every sense, but what I will remember most is his biting wit, self-deprecation, and abiding belief that "we are better then this." 

Dan Shaviro (NYU), In Memory of Ed Kleinbard:

I wanted to express my very great grief, both personally and professionally, regarding the death of Ed Kleinbard, who succumbed last night to a vicious cancer that he had been fiercely, bravely, and creatively battling for many years.

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June 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (10)

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins Delivers Her First Report To Congress

TAS

IR 2020-132 (June 29, 2020), National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins Delivers Her First Report to Congress; Identifies COVID-19 Challenges, CARES Act, and Taxpayer First Act Implementation As Priority Issues For Taxpayers:

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins today released her first report to Congress, identifying taxpayer challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the IRS's implementation of the Taxpayer First Act as priority issues the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) plans to focus on in the coming year. The report also assesses the 2020 filing season, identifies other TAS areas of focus, and includes the IRS's responses to administrative recommendations proposed in the National Taxpayer Advocate's 2019 annual report.

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June 29, 2020 in Congressional News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

GAO: IRS Sent $1.4 Billion In Stimulus Funds To Dead People

Wall Street Journal, IRS Paid $1.4 Billion in Stimulus Payments to Dead People, GAO Report Says:

GAO (2016)The Internal Revenue Service paid nearly $1.4 billion in stimulus checks to dead people, according to a Government Accountability Office report that provides the first tally of such payments.

Citing data from the tax agency’s inspector general through April 30, GAO said Thursday that the IRS made almost 1.1 million such payments before Treasury Department officials determined that deceased people were ineligible and began asking recipients to return the money.

New York Times, $1.4 Billion in Stimulus Funds Sent to Dead People, Watchdog Finds

Michael J. Graetz, a Columbia University law professor and former deputy assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department, said government money improperly going to the dead is a continuing problem when it comes to tax refunds and Social Security payments. In fact, improper payments for a broad range of expenses have been a long-term problem for the federal government. The G.A.O. reported that from 2003 to 2017, estimates of improper payment totaled about $1.4 trillion cumulatively.

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June 27, 2020 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, June 26, 2020

Batchelder: Tax The Rich And Their Heirs

New York Times op-ed:  Tax the Rich and Their Heirs, by Lily Batchelder (NYU):

A massive transfer of wealth is underway and will accelerate in the coming years. Baby boomers and the generation that preceded them currently own $84 trillion, or 81 percent of all U.S. household wealth — wealth that will before long be inherited by their children and other beneficiaries.

This extraordinary transfer of resources will further cement the economic inequality that plagues the United States because this wealth is tightly concentrated in the hands of a few. And it will be passed on as taxes on such transfers are at historic lows.

Among high-income countries, the United States has one of the lowest levels of intergenerational economic mobility, meaning a child’s economic future is heavily influenced by his or her parents’ income. We have the second-highest level of income inequality after taxes and government transfers, and the highest level of wealth inequality. These disparities are sharply skewed by race. Median black household wealth is only 9 percent that of white households, a racial wealth gap that is even larger than in 1968New research suggests the pandemic will further increase wealth inequality, as the affluent save more and the poor earn less.

Effectively addressing these systemic inequalities will require many things. But increasing the taxation of inheritances is one vital component. ...

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June 26, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (6)

Sunday, June 21, 2020

What The Bible Has To Say About Black Anger: 'The Cross Helps Us Make Sense Of The Lynching Tree'

New York Times op-ed:  What the Bible Has to Say About Black Anger, by Esau McCaulley (Wheaton; author, Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope (2020)):

Reading While BlackWhen these videos [of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice] stack one upon another and are added to our personal slights, a deep unsettling anger rises in the soul of a disinherited and beleaguered people. James Baldwin said, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” ...

The Bible is not silent about the rage of the oppressed. One of the most startlingly violent passages in the Bible comes from the lips of the disinherited. In Psalm 137 the psalmist says, “Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.”

How can wishing such an atrocity be in any sense a religious text? Psalm 137 is a psalm of the traumatized. It depicts the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem, the sack of the city, sexual assault and brutalization of the innocent. What kind of song do you write if you are forced to watch the murder of your wife, your child, your neighbor? Psalm 137 is trauma literature, the rage of those who lived. ...

The miracle of the Bible is not that it records the rage of the oppressed. The miracle is that it has more to say. The same texts that include a call for vengeance upon Israel’s enemies look to the salvation of its oppressors. Isaiah 49 says, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

For Christians, rage (Psalm 137) must eventually give way to hope (Isaiah 49). And we find the spiritual resources to make this transition at the cross. Jesus could have called down the psalms of rage upon his enemies and shouted a final word of defiance before he breathed his last. Instead he called for forgiveness: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” he says in Luke 23.

It was not a false reconciliation: Jesus experienced the reality of state-sponsored terror. That is why the black Christian has always felt a particular kinship with this crucified king from an oppressed ethnic group. The cross helps us make sense of the lynching tree. ...

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June 21, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, June 19, 2020

President's Niece Says She Was Source For NY Times' Investigation Of Trump's Taxes

Daily Beast, Revealed: The Family Member Who Turned on Trump:

The president’s niece Mary Trump is set to publish a tell-all this summer—and to reveal that she was a primary source for The New York Times’ investigation into Trump’s taxes.

Donald Trump’s niece, his deceased brother’s daughter, is set to publish a tell-all book this summer that will detail “harrowing and salacious” stories about the president, according to people with knowledge of the project.

Mary Trump, 55, the daughter of Fred Trump Jr. and eldest grandchild of Fred Trump Sr., is scheduled to release Too Much And Never Enough on July 28, Simon & Schuster confirmed Monday, just weeks before the Republican National Convention.

One of the most explosive revelations Mary will detail in the book, according to people familiar with the matter, is how she played a critical role helping The New York Times print startling revelations about Trump’s taxes, including how he was involved in “fraudulent” tax schemes and had received more than $400 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire.

As she is set to outline in her book, Mary was a primary source for the paper's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation, supplying Fred Trump Sr.’s tax returns and other highly confidential family financial documentation to the paper. 

New York Times, Trump’s Niece to Publish Book With ‘Harrowing’ Revelations:

Mary Trump will say that she was a source of The New York Times’s coverage of the president’s tax returns. The Times declined to comment on the claim.

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June 19, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

NY Times: Trump Opportunity Zones Tax Break Is Not Spurring Job Creation

New York Times, A Trump Tax Break Is Not Spurring Job Creation, Study Finds:

A new tax break that President Trump frequently touts as a boon to black Americans and hard-hit communities is spurring relatively little job creation while disproportionately helping high-profit real estate projects and not small businesses, an extensive new study by the Urban Institute has found.

The report, released on Wednesday, draws on interviews from more than 70 key players in the deployment of money — mostly from wealthy investors — into so-called opportunity zones. It is the most comprehensive look to date at the effects of the zones, which were created as part of the 2017 tax law and for which the government has scant data.

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June 18, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

NY Times: Leading Foundations Pledge To Give More, Hoping To Upend Philanthropy

New York Times, Leading Foundations Pledge to Give More, Hoping to Upend Philanthropy:

The Ford Foundation plans to announce on Thursday that it will borrow $1 billion so that it can substantially increase the amount of money it distributes. To raise the money, the foundation — one of the country’s most well-known and oldest charitable organizations — is preparing to issue a combination of 30- and 50-year bonds, a financial maneuver common among governments and companies but extremely rare among nonprofit groups.

Four other leading charitable foundations will pledge on Thursday that they will join with Ford and increase their giving by at least $725 million.

The decision by the five influential foundations — major sponsors of social justice organizations, museums and the arts and environmental causes — could shatter the charitable world’s deeply entrenched tradition of fiscal restraint during periods of economic hardship. That conservatism has provoked anger that foundations, which benefit from generous federal tax breaks, are hoarding billions of dollars during a national emergency, more interested in safeguarding their endowments than in helping those in need. 

The Ford Foundation, which has a $13.7 billion endowment, plans to distribute the newly raised money over the next two years, effectively increasing the percentage of its endowment that it pays out annually to about 10 percent from nearly 6 percent.

The four other foundations are among America’s most storied: the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. ...

There are more than 100,000 private foundations in the United States, and they are together sitting on endowments worth nearly $1 trillion, according to Candid, a group that tracks nonprofit groups and foundations. Some — including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — already pay out a substantial chunk of their endowments every year. But many more hover near the legal floor, on average distributing roughly 7 percent of their funds annually.

NYT

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June 16, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2020

WSJ: The Long Arm Of State Tax Law Threatens Telecommuters

Wall Street Journal Tax Report, The Long Arm of State Tax Law Threatens Telecommuters:

The new popularity of remote work is putting a spotlight on income taxes that New York and five other states impose on workers living elsewhere.

My last column took a nationwide look at how the states are taxing, or not taxing, remote workers who took refuge there due to the pandemic. This one will focus on a single controversial rule that will likely affect thousands of New Yorkers and others whose offices were closed this year due to the pandemic. The rule’s importance will grow as out-of-state telecommuting becomes more common, especially if more states adopt it.

It’s known as the “convenience” rule. In a nutshell, it says that if a person has a job based in one state but lives and works in another state out of convenience rather than because the employer requires it, then that person owes income tax to the state where the job is based.

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June 15, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 12, 2020

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Thursday, June 11, 2020

UC-Hastings Podcast Series: Law And The Pandemic

Law and the PandemicCOVID-19 Legal Perspectives & Information from UC Hastings Law:

UC Hastings Law has created a podcast series to share insights related to pressing legal questions arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Subscribe on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotify, or YouTube

Where’s My Stimulus? Why the IRS is Ghosting You (17:30):

In this episode, we speak with Professor Amy Spivey about the economic impact payments and get answers to many logistical questions related to this and the IRS more generally.

A Bird’s Eye View of Tax Provisions of the CARES Act (21:00):

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June 11, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

NY Times: COVID-19 May Kill Many Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges

New York Times, How a Tax Benefit for Developers Could Backfire in the Pandemic:

CoronavirusSomething remarkable is percolating in the commercial real estate market: Investors may end up losing millions in tax savings on gains from the sale of their properties because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Like-kind real estate exchanges, also known as 1031 exchanges (after the provision in the Internal Revenue Code), allow investors to sell a commercial property and pay no tax on the gains as long as the money from that sale is reinvested in other real estate. It could be a similar building, land or even air rights.

The provision was preserved in the overhaul of the tax code that was signed in 2017 by President Trump, who made his wealth in real estate development, while investments in other areas, like art and classic cars, were stripped of their special tax status.

To reap the benefit, real estate investors need to identify a replacement property 45 days after the sale of the original property and close on the purchase within 180 days. If the criteria are met, the investors can defer taxes on the gains from the sale of the property. The deferral can extend until the investor’s death, at which point the capital gains tax is wiped out.

If the criteria are not met, the investors face not only an enormous tax bill for the gains but additional taxes for deductions taken while they owned the building. That can amount to millions of dollars for some properties.

As lockdowns complicated closing deals, the real estate industry lobbied the Treasury Department to get extensions on those dates, and it obliged in early April. The department said that if either the 45- or 180-day deadline fell between April 1 and July 14, it would be moved to July 15 — the new deadline, too, for filing income and other federal taxes for 2019 and the first half of 2020.

But the guidance lacked clarity on some key issues underlying disaster relief for like-kind exchanges, and the extension could do more harm than good to certain sectors of the commercial real estate market, like retailing and entertainment, that are already under economic pressure.

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June 10, 2020 in Coronavirus, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Employees Working Remotely In A Different State Face A Nasty Tax Surprise

Wall Street Journal Tax Report, Remote-Working From a Different State? Beware of a Tax Surprise:

WSJ 2In March, millions of people had their workplaces scrambled by the coronavirus pandemic and hastily decamped to work remotely. Even with some offices reopening, many hope to prolong the arrangement now that summer is here.

But if you’re doing your job in a state different from your usual one, beware: You may need to file returns and perhaps pay taxes there. So check on your 2020 state taxes now to avoid a bad surprise next year.

Each state tax system is a unique mélange of rules that consider how long a worker is there, what income is earned, and where the worker’s true home, known as domicile, is. But nearly all states that have income taxes impose them on workers who are passing through. In two dozen states, that can be for just one day.

These rules are famous for taxing out-of-state entertainers and athletes like Michael Jordan and Alex Rodriguez. But this year they’ll complicate filings and payments for regular folks working remotely due to the pandemic, such as a tech worker based in Washington state who has temporarily moved back to his parents’ house in Oregon, or a New York banker who has set up a desk in a Florida beach home. ...

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June 9, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 8, 2020

Eric Chason Named Vice Dean At William & Mary

Chason 2Tax Prof Eric Chason has been named Vice Dean at William & Mary. He will serve under newly appointed dean A. Benjamin Spencer, currently Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. Eric's recent publications include:

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June 8, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 7, 2020

George Floyd Protests Shine Light On Black Income And Wealth Inequality In America

Wall Street Journal, For African-Americans, a Painful Economic Reversal of Fortune:

Fallout from pandemic and protests highlights income and wealth gaps that leave black Americans vulnerable

CNN, US Black-White Inequality in 6 Stark Charts:

CNN 2

Washington Post, The Black-White Economic Divide Is As Wide As It Was in 1968:

WaPo 3

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June 7, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (12)

Friday, June 5, 2020

Trump’s Tax Returns: The Legal Issues And Possible Outcomes

Richard Lempert (University of Michigan; Brookings Institution), Trump’s Tax Returns: The Legal Issues and Possible Outcomes:

[ Trump Tax ReturnsLast month] the Supreme Court heard three cases dealing with subpoenas seeking information about President Trump’s businesses and financial activities, including records of his tax returns. The subpoenas were served not on President Trump, but on two banks and an accounting firm that were custodians of the subpoenaed records. The Supreme Court agreed to hear, and has now heard, Trump’s appeals from earlier court actions.

The cases are Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP (the accounting firm) consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG and Trump v. VanceMazars and its companion bank cases (henceforth Mazars) involve four subpoenas issued by three House Committees: the House Financial Services Committee, the House Intelligence Committee and the House Oversight Committee. Vance involves a subpoena in aid of a grand jury investigation served on behalf of Cyrus Vance, the District Attorney for the County of New York, on Trump’s accounting firm (Mazars) seeking the same documents the House committees requested.

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June 5, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Michael Graetz Saw The ‘Wolf At The Door’ Before The Coronavirus Arrived In The U.S.

Michael Graetz Saw the ‘Wolf at the Door’ Before the Coronavirus Arrived in the U.S.:

Wolf at the DoorLong before the coronavirus pandemic caused mass layoffs and more than 30 million Americans to file unemployment claims in a matter of four weeks, Michael Graetz, Columbia Alumni Professor of Tax Law and a former official in the U.S. Treasury Department, was worried that too many American households live paycheck to paycheck. “Economic insecurity, anxiety, and fear were already pervasive. Any shock to the economy or to the workforce was going to cause lots of hardship,” he says. “Of course, no one could have foretold how large and difficult this shock has become.”

In his new book, The Wolf at the Door: The Menace of Economic Insecurity and How to Fight It, which was published in February by Harvard University Press, he and co-author Ian Shapiro (a professor of political science at Yale) analyze how the globalization of the workforce, outsourcing, and technological advances threatened millions of people’s livelihoods and contributed to widespread income insecurity before the pandemic. “When the book went to press in November, the virus wasn’t on the horizon,” says Graetz. “All the reasons we cite in the book for worrying about widespread economic insecurity are going to be made worse because some businesses are not going to reopen and jobs are going to disappear. We have a precarious workforce, and the economic shocks from the virus are making it much more vulnerable.”

In The Wolf at the Door, Graetz and Shapiro argue that maintaining the status quo is perilous and immoral. “It is essential that society help people who are left behind or who are in danger of it,” they write. “Otherwise these people may well reject the social contract and succumb to the poisonous snake oil peddled by political charlatans.”

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June 4, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

NY Times: Trump Administration Escalates Global Fight Over Taxing Tech

New York Times, Trump Administration Escalates Global Fight Over Taxing Tech:

The Trump administration said on Tuesday that it would open an investigation into taxes on digital commerce that have been adopted or proposed in nine countries and the European Union, escalating a global battle that will affect where big American tech companies like Facebook and Amazon pay taxes.

The administration’s move could ultimately lead to American tariffs on imports from Brazil, Britain, India and a host of other countries, heightening the chances of another global trade dispute that results in retaliatory taxes on U.S. goods.

The investigation, which will be conducted by the United States Trade Representative, could also complicate global negotiations that have been underway for more than a year and are aimed at reaching a multinational consensus on how to tax internet commerce that crosses borders.

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June 4, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Morse & Shay: Altera — Tax Law In An Administrative Law Wrapper

Susan C. Morse (Texas) & Stephen E. Shay (Harvard), Pending Cert Petition in Altera: Tax Law in an Administrative Law Wrapper:

AlteraEach day of the COVID crisis we see unprecedented administrative action to respond to the pandemic. At the same time, litigants continue to ask courts to consider whether administrative agencies have exceeded their authority, sometimes relying on claims of deficient process. One such case is Altera v. Commissioner, in which the taxpayer filed a cert petition that asks the Supreme Court to review a Ninth Circuit decision upholding a tax regulation. The government submitted its brief in response on May 14, and the Court will presumably consider the case in conference before its summer recess. The taxpayer has not filed a reply as of this writing.

In its brief, the government stays squarely on the administrative law playing field laid out by the taxpayer’s petition. The government’s reply takes on — and, we think, successfully defeats — the core premise that underlies the taxpayer’s administrative law arguments. ...

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June 3, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Democrats Stick With Tax-Rise Policies As They Make Plans For 2021 Majority

Wall Street Journal, Democrats Stick With Tax-Rise Policies as They Make Plans for 2021 Majority:

The coronavirus pandemic shook the U.S. economy. It hasn’t shaken Democrats’ fervor for trillions of dollars in tax increases, and significant income redistribution is still likely as soon as 2021 if Joe Biden wins the White House and Democrats control Congress.

Democratic lawmakers and policy aides worry little that planned tax increases on corporations and high-income households would hinder the economic recovery. If anything, they argue that economic disparities evident during the pandemic make these tax increases more necessary. ...

Mr. Biden’s tax proposals are modest compared with those of his former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. Unlike Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, he hasn’t endorsed imposing annual wealth taxes.

Still, his proposals would undo major pieces of the 2017 tax law and raise taxes beyond what President Obama and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton sought, generating $4 trillion over a decade. Republicans oppose those tax increases and will campaign against them, warning that they would slow growth and discourage investment. ...

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June 2, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sanchirico: Incentives For COVID Recovery

The Hill op-ed:  Incentives For COVID Recovery: A Single-Edged Sword?, by Chris Sanchirico (Pennsylvania):

Apparently, for Mitch McConnell, “incentives” are for employees, not employers.

When the Senate majority leader assesses policies for getting the economy up and running, he seems to have very different movies playing in his head depending on whom the policy targets. When he thinks about extending the CARES Act’s enhanced unemployment benefits beyond July, he evidently sees in his mind’s eye the chuckling furtive loafer, feet up on the coffee table, joint a-roll, who’s figured out that he can make more staying home than clocking in.

When he thinks about shielding employers from COVID-related liability – and what this will do to the incentive to safeguard the workplace – the screen goes black-and-white, the fuzzy electric guitars become violins and the camera closes in on the principled homespun business owner willing to sacrifice profits to go the extra mile to insure his workers are safe. ...

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May 30, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Tax Section Names 2020-2021 John Nolan Fellows

ABA Tax Section Recognizes Outstanding Young Tax Lawyers, Names Six 2020-2021 John S. Nolan Fellows:

ABA Tax Section (2017)The American Bar Association Section of Taxation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020-2021 John S. Nolan Fellowships.

  • Carina Federico (Crowell & Moring, Washington, D.C.)
  • Morgan Klinzing (Pepper Hamilton, Philadelphia, PA)
  • Galina “Allie” Petrova (Petrova Law, Greensboro, NC)
  • Nancy Rossner (The Community Tax Law Project, Richmond, VA)
  • Monisha Santamaria (Joint Committee on Taxation, Washington, D.C.)
  • Timothy Todd (Liberty University School of Law, Richmond, VA)

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May 30, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Virginia Three-Peats As International Tax Moot Court Champions

UVA

UVA Notches Third Straight International Tax Law Moot Court Championship:

The University of Virginia School of Law overcame tremendous adversity to win its third consecutive victory [2018, 2019] in the International and European Tax Moot Court last week.

Not only was the team unable to compete in person, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a virtual contest among schools, but two of the UVA Law team members were involved in a serious bicycle accident just before the final round commenced.

Students Allen Braddock ’20, Ian Macdonald ’21, Michael Olson ’20 and Eleanor Schmalzl ’20 comprised the winning squad, with Griffin Peeples ’20 serving as student coach and Professor Ruth Mason acting as faculty adviser.

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May 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Listokin: Congress Must Stop Unemployment Tax Increases From Worsening Pandemic Crisis

The Hill op-ed:  Congress Must Stop Unemployment Tax Increases From Worsening Crisis, by Yair Listokin (Yale):

When the stay at home orders end, our economy will not recover quickly. Depleted savings and fears about future coronavirus outbreaks will keep spending down and unemployment high. In order to speed up hiring, the next legislative stimulus package has to reform unemployment insurance taxes. Otherwise, hiring back workers will be unprecedentedly expensive precisely when we want it to be cheap to restart the economy.

Employers pay state and federal payroll taxes to fund the unemployment insurance benefits for laid off workers. The law forces “experience rating” these unemployment insurance taxes. This means that firms that have laid off workers over the past three years pay higher unemployment insurance taxes than those firms that have not. Experience rating discourages layoffs by making them more expensive and places the burden of unemployment insurance taxes on the firms most likely to conduct layoffs. In any normal economy, experience rating can help reduce unemployment.

In a recession, however, experience rating keeps unemployment high. At the beginning of a recession, firms lay off workers as demand plummets. Experience rating requires that unemployment insurance tax rates for the firms increase. But when these firms are ready to hire again they will also face particularly high payroll tax rates. During the last two recessions, the average unemployment insurance tax rates began to increase at the start of the downturn in the economy and peaked shortly thereafter.

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May 27, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Jonathan Choi To Join Minnesota Tax Faculty

ChoiJonathan Choi, a Fellow at NYU, has accepted a tenure-track tax position at Minnesota beginning in August. He graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2011, with a triple major in Computer Science, Economics, and Philosophy, and from Yale Law School in 2014, where he was Executive Bluebook Editor of the Yale Law Journal and founding Co-Director of the Yale Journal on Regulation Online. Jonathan practiced tax law at Wachtell in 2014-18. His recent publications include:

May 26, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sanchirico: The Mythematics Of Capital Gains Taxation

Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania), The Mythematics of Capital Gains Taxation—4 Misconceptions:

With the debate on capital gains taxation likely to heat up over the next several weeks, now might be a good time to clear up a few misconceptions concerning what the mathematics does and does not say about how investment income should be taxed.

1. Taxing investment income does not necessarily reduce investment.
The most common argument against taxing investment income is an appeal, not to some complex model, but to basic economic logic: Taxing investment reduces investment, which in turn reduces wages and employment. But that’s not what basic economic logic actually says. ...

2. The data provide no clear answer.
In principle, the outcome of that race—and so whether taxing investment increases it or decreases it—might be resolved by the careful statistical analysis of good data. In practice, the data are messy, and the question remains very open.

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May 26, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, May 22, 2020

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Gladriel Shobe Named Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law At BYU For 2020-21

Shobe (2018)Gladriel Shobe has been named Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at BYU for 2020-21 in recognition of her exceptional achievements in scholarship, teaching, and citizenship. She was named 1L Professor of the Year in both 2016-17 and 2017-18. Her recent scholarship includes:

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May 21, 2020 in Tax, Tax News, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Clausing: Business Tax Principles For Economic Recovery In The Time Of Coronavirus

Kimberly Clausing (Reed College; moving to UCLA), Business Tax Principles for Economic Recovery in the Time of Coronavirus:

CoronavirusAs 2020 began, the U.S. business tax system was ill-suited to the nation’s economic challenges. After the excessive tax cuts of 2017, the U.S. corporate tax raised only one-third as much revenue, relative to gross domestic product (GDP), as those of U.S. trading partners in 2018 and 2019. The system of taxing pass-through businesses—businesses that do not pay the corporate tax—was already leaky, but it was further weakened by the inefficient pass-through deduction of the 2017 tax law. These business tax cuts lavished rewards on those at the top of the income distribution without demonstrably boosting either business investment or wages. As a result, the U.S. tax system is less progressive than what came before, despite prior decades of uncontested increases in income inequality. The new tax law is also ill-suited to a global economy, explicitly favoring offshore earnings, rather than those in the United States.

Now, the COVID-19 crisis has raised unprecedented threats to public health and the economy. Both the Federal Reserve System and Congress have leapt into action. Congress passed multiple relief packages, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, which provided about $2 trillion in funding for response and relief.

While many of the provisions of the CARES Act provide critical relief at this urgent time, the business tax cuts in the bill should have been more carefully targeted. It is also essential that Congress counter the expectation that crisis measures will be extended post-crisis and instead pursue revenue-raising business tax reform once the crisis is past. This column outlines three principles for an efficient and equitable business tax system that is fit for purpose.

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May 19, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hayashi & Kleiman: Local Governments Need More Revenue. Try Progressive Property Taxes.

Washington Post op-ed:  Local Governments Need More Revenue. Try Progressive Property Taxes., by Andrew Hayashi (Virginia) & Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego):

Local governments are cash-strapped. Even if Congress agrees to give them financial support, it probably won’t be enough. Localities must raise revenue using the fiscal tools available to them — but without overburdening struggling households. The answer is a progressive property tax. The tax could feature rates that increase with property values, income-based tax relief or deferral of payment. Many states provide such deferrals to senior citizens and the disabled, and this could be extended to those eligible for unemployment benefits.

Not only is a progressive property tax fair, but it can help stabilize household finances. Homeowners are far from being universally wealthy; more than 15 percent earn less than half of their area’s median income. Since tax rates would fall with home prices during a recession, households would have more to spend on the goods and services that keep people employed. Our research shows that cutting property taxes in a recession increases spending and reduces mortgage defaults [Countercyclical Property Taxes, reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado) here].

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May 19, 2020 in Coronavirus, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Meet the Shadowy Accountants Who Do Trump’s Taxes And Help Him Seem Richer Than He Is

ProPublica, Meet the Shadowy Accountants Who Do Trump’s Taxes and Help Him Seem Richer Than He Is:

Pro PublicaOn May 12, after a six-week delay caused by the pandemic, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the epic battle by congressional committees and New York prosecutors to pry loose eight years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Much about the case is without precedent. Oral arguments will be publicly broadcast on live audio. The nine justices and opposing lawyers will debate the issues remotely, from their offices and homes. And the central question is extraordinary: Is the president of the United States immune from congressional — and even criminal — investigation?

Next week’s arguments concern whether Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, must hand over his tax returns and other records to a House committee and the Manhattan district attorney, which have separately subpoenaed them. (There will also be arguments on congressional subpoenas to two of Trump’s banks.) Trump, who promised while running for president to make his tax returns public, has sued to block the documents’ release. The questions apply beyond this case. Trump has repeatedly resisted congressional scrutiny, most recently by vowing to ignore oversight requirements included in the trillion-dollar pandemic-bailout legislation. “I’ll be the oversight,” he declared.

The president’s accounting firm has found itself at the center of this high-stakes fight. The American arm of a global firm, Mazars has portrayed itself as an innocent bystander in the war between Trump and his pursuers, dragged into the conflict merely for possessing the trove of subpoenaed records. It’s the firm’s first burst into the media glare apart from an unfortunate moment of tabloid coverage in 2016 after one of its New York partners stabbed his wife to death in the shower of their suburban home. (He pleaded guilty to manslaughter.) Mazars has said it will abide by whatever decision the court makes in the Trump matter.

But Trump’s accountants are far from bystanders in the matters under scrutiny — or in the rise of Trump. Over a span of decades, they have played two critical, but discordant, roles for Trump. One is common for an accounting firm: to help him pay the smallest amount of taxes possible. The second is not common at all: to help him appear to the world to be rich beyond imagining. That sometimes requires creating precisely the opposite impression of what’s in his tax filings.

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May 15, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (11)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

NY Times: Is Supreme Court Headed For A Split Decision In Trump Tax Returns And Financial Records Cases?

Following up on yesterday's post, Supreme Court Hears Trump's Tax Return Cases:  New York Times, Supreme Court Hints at Split Decision in Two Cases on Obtaining Trump’s Financial Records:

Supreme Court (2018)The Supreme Court heard more than three hours of arguments on Tuesday on the powers of the presidency and whether they protect President Trump from the prosecutors and House committees seeking to obtain troves of information about his business affairs.

The court considered two sets of cases, and there was a strong possibility of a split decision.

A majority of the justices appeared skeptical of Mr. Trump’s argument, in response to a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney, that he was absolutely immune from criminal investigation while he remained in office. But the court seemed more receptive to Mr. Trump’s argument that the three House committees had asked for too much information for reasons unrelated to their legislative responsibilities.

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May 13, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Finland’s Basic Income Experiment Brings Happiness But Not Jobs

Results of Finland's Basic Income Experiment: Small Employment Effects, Better Perceived Economic Security and Mental Wellbeing:

A two-year basic income experiment was carried out in Finland in 2017-2018. The evaluation study is now available. The register data on employment now cover both years of the experiment and a more thorough analysis has been made of the results of the survey. In addition, the interview-based survey of basic income recipients complements the overall picture.

The basic income recipients were more satisfied with their lives and experienced less mental strain than the control group. They also had a more positive perception of their economic welfare. The interpretation of the employment effects of the experiment is complicated by the introduction of the activation model in 2018.

FinlandBloomberg, Finland’s Landmark Trial Finds Basic Income Brings Happiness But Not Jobs:

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May 13, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Supreme Court Hears Trump's Tax Return Cases

Google Cuts Off Free Food For Its Employees Working From Home During COVID-19

CNBC, Google Tells Employees They Can’t Expense Food or Other Perks When Working From Home:

Google (2019)Google employees won’t be able to expense food or gym costs while working from home — even if they have extra money from unused event or travel budgets.

The company issued an updated policy in the last week that states employees cannot expense perks while working from home, including food, fitness, home office furniture, decoration or gifts, according to materials viewed by CNBC.

The policy also states that employees cannot use unused budgets to do things like purchase meals for themselves or their teams during virtual meetings or donate to charities of their choice.

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May 12, 2020 in Coronavirus, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, May 8, 2020

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Number Of Americans Renouncing Their U.S. Citizenship Hits All-Time High

International Tax Blog, 2020 First Quarter Published Expatriates – Highest Quarterly Number Ever:

Today the Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency (“expatriated”) during the first quarter of 2020.

The number of published expatriates for the quarter was 2,909, which is the highest quarterly number ever.

Expatriates

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May 7, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (6)