Paul L. Caron
Dean





Friday, January 27, 2023

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

U.S. Treasury Department: Disparities In The Benefits Of Tax Expenditures By Race And Ethnicity

Lily Batchelder (Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy) & Greg Leiserson (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis), Disparities in the Benefits of Tax Expenditures by Race and Ethnicity:

This analysis, the subject of a new Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) working paper [Tax Expenditures by Race and Hispanic
Ethnicity: An Application of the U.S. Treasury Department's Race and Hispanic Ethnicity Imputation], finds disparities in the benefits of some tax expenditures among White, Black, and Hispanic families. Tax expenditures are provisions of federal law that allow a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or which provide a special credit, a preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability for certain activities. Examples include the preferential rates for capital gains, the home mortgage interest deduction, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. OTA working papers are works in progress intended to generate discussion and critical comment.

Researchers frequently analyze the distributional effects of tax policies across an array of demographic information, including income, family structure, age, and geography. However, it is challenging to perform such analysis by race and ethnicity because there is no single data source with both tax and race/ethnicity information. Tax liability does not depend on race or ethnicity, and this information is not collected on tax returns.

To overcome this challenge, Treasury researchers have developed a method to impute race and ethnicity in tax data. Under this method, researchers estimate the probability that the primary filer—the person listed first on the tax return—is Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, White, or multiple race based on other information available in the tax data. These probabilities are then used as weights to construct estimates for different groups. ...

The new working paper on the distribution of tax expenditures, by Julie-Anne Cronin, Portia DeFilippes, and Robin Fisher of OTA, examines eight of the largest individual income tax expenditures. It estimates the distribution of benefits for certain racial and ethnic groups first on an overall per capita basis, and then within income deciles (tenths of the income distribution).

On an overall per capita basis, the paper finds that the preferential rates for capital gains and dividends, deduction for pass-through income, charitable deduction, home mortgage interest deduction, and deduction for employer-provided health insurance disproportionately benefit White families. In contrast, Black and Hispanic families, who make up a disproportionate share of low-wage workers, disproportionately benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is designed to help low- to moderate-income workers and their families. Hispanic families, who have comparatively low rates of employer-sponsored health insurance, also disproportionately benefit from the Premium Tax Credit, which provides assistance for the purchase of health insurance through the Marketplaces. Finally, Hispanic families disproportionately benefit from the Child Tax Credit. The current analysis focuses on Black, White, and Hispanic people due to high levels of uncertainty in estimates for other groups.

Treasury 1

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January 25, 2023 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

ChatGPT Gets C+ Grade On Four Minnesota Law School Exams (C- In Tax)

Following up on this morning's post, ChatGPT Gets B|B- Grade On Wharton MBA Exam:  Jonathan Choi (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Kristin Hickman (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Amy Monahan (Minnesota) & Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota; Google Scholar), ChatGPT Goes to Law School:

Open AI ChatGPTHow well can AI models write law school exams without human assistance? To find out, we used the widely publicized AI model ChatGPT to generate answers on four real exams at the University of Minnesota Law School. We then blindly graded these exams as part of our regular grading processes for each class. Over 95 multiple choice questions and 12 essay questions, ChatGPT performed on average at the level of a C+ student, achieving a low but passing grade in all four courses. After detailing these results, we discuss their implications for legal education and lawyering. We also provide example prompts and advice on how ChatGPT can assist with legal writing.

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January 24, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, January 20, 2023

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Friday, January 13, 2023

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

The IRS’s Christmas Gift To Airbnb And PayPal Is A Loss For Law-Abiding Taxpayers

Following up on my previous post, IRS Delays Implementation Of $600 Reporting Threshold For Third-Party Payment Platforms Like Etsy, Venmo:  Daniel Hemel (NYU; Google Scholar) & Steven M. Rosenthal (Tax Policy Center), The IRS’s Christmas Gift to Airbnb and PayPal Is a Loss for Law-Abiding Taxpayers:

IRS Logo 2Third-party payment platforms such as Airbnb, eBay, and PayPal found a surprise gift from the Biden Administration in their Christmas stockings last month—one that likely will cost the federal government more than $1 billion this tax season. And beyond the short-term budgetary impact, it sets a terrible precedent for the future of tax enforcement.

Since 2011, third party platforms have been required to file a simple half-page tax form, Form 1099-K, when they process payments to sellers and service providers, such as Airbnb hosts or eBay merchants. Before tax year 2022, platforms had to report only for users whom they paid more than $20,000, and only then if those users conducted more than 200 transactions annually.

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January 13, 2023 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers 2022 Annual Report To Congress

NTA

IR-2023-04 (Jan. 11, 2023, National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers 2022 Annual Report To Congress; Focuses On Taxpayer Impact Of Processing And Refund Delays

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins today released her 2022 Annual Report to Congress, saying taxpayers and tax professionals "experienced more misery in 2022" due to paper processing delays and poor customer service. But the report also says the Internal Revenue Service made considerable progress in reducing the volume of unprocessed tax returns and correspondence and is poised to start the 2023 filing season in a stronger position.

The Advocate's report assesses taxpayer service during 2022, identifies the ten most serious problems taxpayers are experiencing in their dealings with the IRS, and makes administrative and legislative recommendations to address those problems. This year's report recommends specific initiatives that Collins is urging the IRS to include in its plan showing how the additional funding it received in the Inflation Reduction Act will be spent. It also contains two research studies – one on ways to restructure the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase participation among eligible taxpayers while reducing improper payments, and the other designed to help the IRS improve its online operations by studying the functionality of online operations offered by over 40 states and several foreign countries.

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January 13, 2023 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Tax Prof Elaine Gagliardi Is Dean Finalist At Montana Law School

Following up on my previous posts:

Daily Montanan, University of Montana Names Law School Dean Finalists, Internal Candidates:

Three internal and one external candidate are finalists for dean of the law school at the University of Montana.

The three internal finalists are:

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January 12, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, January 6, 2023

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The Top 10 Tax Posts Of 2022

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

WSJ: Why So Many Accountants Are Quitting

Wall Street Journal, Why So Many Accountants Are Quitting:

More than 300,000 U.S. accountants and auditors have left their jobs in the past two years, a 17% decline, and the dwindling number of college students coming into the field can’t fill the gap. ...

The huge gap between companies that need accountants and trained professionals has led to salary bumps and more temporary workers joining the sector. Still, neither development will fix the fundamental talent pipeline problem: Many college students don’t want to work in accounting. Even those who majored in it. ...

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January 3, 2023 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Saturday, December 31, 2022

New U.S. Census Data: Major Migration From Blue States To Red States

Census Bureau, Growth in U.S. Population Shows Early Indication of Recovery Amid COVID-19 Pandemic:

After a historically low rate of change between 2020 and 2021, the U.S. resident population increased by 0.4%, or 1,256,003, to 333,287,557 in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 national and state population estimates and components of change released today.

Percent Change in State Population: July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022

Wall Street Journal Editorial, The Blue State Exodus Continues:

WSJTexas and Florida make up about 15% of the U.S. population but accounted for 70% of its population growth this past year. That’s one of the revealing facts in the Census Bureau’s annual assessment of U.S. migration released last week. The biggest news is that the exodus from progressive-led states hasn’t slowed even as Covid lockdowns eased. ...

California (343,230), New York (299,557) and Illinois (141,656) lost the most residents to other states, but New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Louisiana were also big losers. Where are all these folks moving?

Mostly to states with lower taxes, more affordable housing and a higher standard of living. Florida drew the most newcomers (318,855), followed by Texas (230,961), North Carolina (99,796), South Carolina (84,030), Tennessee (81,646), Georgia (81,406) and Arizona (70,984). More people moved to West Virginia than left for the first time in a decade. ...

It’s notable that the population outflow from progressive states didn’t slow after lockdowns eased and many employers called workers back to the office. Mortgage interest rates increased, making it more expensive to buy a home everywhere, not just in progressive cities.

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December 31, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, December 30, 2022

House Democrats Release Donald Trump's Tax Returns

Trump Tax Return

Ways and Means Committee Votes to Release Investigation of the IRS's Mandatory Audit Program Under the Prior Administration

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December 30, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Thursday, December 29, 2022

WSJ Op-Ed: How Congress Cut Trump’s Taxes

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  How Congress Cut Trump’s Taxes, by Jay Starkman (CPA, Atlanta; Author, The Sex of a Hippopotamus: A Unique History of Taxes and Accounting):

The House Ways and Means Committee plans to release Donald Trump’s tax returns Friday and has already put out a report faulting the former president for paying little or no income tax in recent years. But the fault lies with Congress. Mr. Trump benefited from every tax loophole that lawmakers have made available to real-estate businesses. These include deferral of income, conversion of ordinary income into lower-taxed capital gains, nontaxable income, tax credits, and artificial tax losses that ordinary taxpayers can’t obtain. ...

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December 29, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Blackman: Did The Ways & Means Committee Play The Supreme Court On Trump's Tax Returns?

Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the release of President Trump's 2015-2020 tax returns:  Josh Blackman (South Texas; Google Scholar), Did The Ways & Means Committee Play The Supreme Court On Trump's Tax Returns?:

A recent article in the New York Times proclaimed the arrival of the "Imperial Supreme Court." These conservative jurists continue to rule against the executive branch, we learn. As with all empirical work, counting cases is very subjective. This rule is especially apt in separation of powers cases. Who won Trump v. Mazars (2020), for example? Was it the President, the Congress, or was it the Supreme Court? That decision did not stop the House committees from obtaining President Trump's tax returns. Nor did the Supreme Court allow the House committees to obtain President Trump's tax returns immediately. The decision, as with much of Chief Justice Roberts's handiwork, was muddled. The Court put forward a balancing test to determine whether the committees had a valid legislative purpose to obtain the tax returns. And that dispute would not be resolved quickly.

Fast-forward to 2022. Former-President Trump asked the Supreme Court to block the release of the returns. Trump argued that the request from the Ways & Means Committee was pretextual. The goal, Trump argued, was "exposing President Trump's tax information to the public for the sake of exposure." In response, the Ways & Means Committee told the Supreme Court that its request "is well-tailored to illuminating how the IRS conducted any audits of Mr. Trump while he was President and whether reforms are needed to enhance the IRS's ability to audit Presidents in the future." Indeed, the Committee rejected any argument that the release was pretextual. Rather, this request, like prior requests, was part of a plan to evaluate the IRS's audit of presidential tax returns. On November 22, the Supreme Court declined to block the release, with no recorded dissents.

With the tax returns in its possession, what would the Ways & Means Committee do? On December 2, Daniel Hemel explained that the Committee has the power to release the reports, but it should hesitate to do so on a rushed basis: ... "If Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee rushed to release Trump's returns in the lame-duck session—without conducting the comprehensive review of the presidential audit program that they promised—it would look like their stated motive for seeking the documents was indeed, as Trump has alleged, pretextual."

Did the Ways & Means Committee follow Hemel's sage advice? No. On a party-line vote, the Committee voted to release six years of Trump's tax returns, including the 2020 return filed after his term concluded. ...

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December 27, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Grewal: The IRS Audits Trump

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Andy Grewal (Iowa; Google Scholar), The IRS Audits Trump, 39 Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (Dec. 26, 2022):

Yale Notice & CommentIn a widely anticipated move, the House Ways & Means Committee released a report on how the IRS audited Donald Trump’s tax returns. The W&M report along with the related Joint Committee on Taxation report show that Trump had ongoing audits with the IRS before he assumed office. The IRS continued those audits throughout the Trump presidency. However, the IRS did not immediately commence “mandatory” audits for returns that Trump filed after becoming President. Trump’s 2019 return was not even selected for audit until earlier this year, and his 2020 return remains entirely audit.

The W&M report has led to some heated commentary about whether the IRS failed to do its job. With that backdrop, this post will explain the mandatory audit program for Presidents, discuss some reasons that the IRS might have focused on Trump’s ongoing audits, and suggest some issues to consider in any potential reforms. 

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December 27, 2022 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, December 26, 2022

A ‘Social Harms’ Tax Can End The U.S. Gun Crisis, Constitutionally

Don Griswold (Bloomberg Tax), A ‘Social Harms’ Tax Can End the US Gun Crisis, Constitutionally:

Bloomberg TaxGun violence is the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in America. Over 100 people are killed with guns each day here; twice that many are shot and wounded. We experience a mass shooting almost twice daily. No need to list illustrations here; our souls are seared by the names, the places, the images.

In the absence of adequate regulatory action, the tragedy of gun violence here extends from day to deadly day. We have not yet learned how to escape the devastating social harms associated with the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

But I did not lose hope four months ago when the US Supreme Court decision in NYS Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v Bruen made it even harder to regulate our way to American safety, or earlier this month, when a lower court ruled New York can’t even ban guns on the subway or in ever-crowded Times Square.

My hope did not waver because there is a path out of this American nightmare: Even after Bruen, our federal and state governments remain constitutionally free to impose broad-based taxes on activities that cause significant social harms but that cannot (for whatever reason) be adequately regulated. ...

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December 26, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Saturday, December 24, 2022

A (Less Rocky) Path Forward On International Corporate Tax Reform

David Kamin (NYU), Rebecca Kysar (Fordham; Google Scholar) & Chye-Ching Huang (Executive Director, NYU Tax Law Center), A (Less Rocky) Path Forward on International Corporate Tax Reform:

NYU Tax Law Center LargeThe news that the European Union (EU) has adopted a directive implementing Pillar 2 of the OECD “Inclusive Framework” tax agreement is an important step toward restricting profit shifting and the ability of large multinational corporations to pay very little tax on their profits. Pillar 2’s global minimum tax regime will reduce costly gamesmanship on where corporate profits are reported and raise revenues for treasuries around the world — including the United States if policymakers here act.

When Congress failed to approve measures implementing Pillar 2 as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, two of us wrote how the path toward successful implementation of a global minimum tax still existed but was rockier. The key, as we wrote, was for other major economies around the world to move ahead, which would incentivize more countries, including the United States, to follow.

The EU now moving forward with an implementation directive will not just raise revenue in Europe but also — through the global minimum tax enforcement mechanism that Europe is scheduled to implement starting at the end of 2024 — will help encourage countries around the world to do the same. ...

For those who believe that low or no taxes on corporate profits is the right policy path, it may be disappointing that the world is now proceeding down a different one, but this agreement doesn’t change the fact that what the rest of the world does affects our own tax policy. What it means is that policymakers have greater ability to raise revenue from the largest corporations and failing to do so will just hand that revenue to other countries.

December 24, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, December 23, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Update: President Trump's 2015-2020 Tax Returns

Here

December 22, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

House Ways & Means Committee Releases Trump's Tax Returns

Following up on yesterday's post, WSJ: Weaponizing Tax Returns:

Official Documents

The Decision to Release Trump's Tax Returns

Daniel Hemel (NYU), House Democrats' Report on Trump Taxes Highlights IRS's Failures—and Their Own:

In short, the IRS appears to have fallen down on the job. But Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee—who promised to carry out a thorough review of the IRS’s presidential audit program, yet instead made a hair-trigger decision to release Trump’s tax returns—fell down on the job as well. And as a consequence, a pox on both Trump and the IRS has become a pox on the House too.

The Content of Trump's Tax Returns

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December 21, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

WSJ: Weaponizing Tax Returns

UpdateHouse Ways & Means Committee Releases Trump's Tax Returns

Following up on my previous posts:

Wall Street Journal Editorial, Weaponizing Tax Returns:

Many norms have been broken in American politics in recent years, and one of them is the use of private tax returns as a political weapon. The trend is destructive, as a pair of events this week illustrate.

The first is a useful lawsuit by hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin against the Internal Revenue Service seeking damages for the leak of his tax records to ProPublica. In June 2021 and in articles since, the left-wing website has published the confidential tax data of Mr. Griffin, who runs Citadel Securities, and other wealthy Americans. ... Congrats to Mr. Griffin for taking on the tax agency, and perhaps his suit will turn up information that the Biden Administration hasn’t on the tax disclosures.

Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee may release some or all of Donald Trump’s tax returns that it obtained after a long court fight. The committee is meeting next week to discuss the matter and could vote to release the private returns as part of a report to the House. ...

Releasing the tax records now, when Mr. Trump has left office and there are less than three weeks left in the current Congress, would serve no legislative purpose.

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December 20, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, December 19, 2022

A Year Of Lessons From The Tax Court (2022)

Here is a chronological listing of all the Lessons From The Tax Court I posted in 2022, with links to the Lesson, the primary case discussed, and its author.  I have also listed the primary Code sections mentioned or discussed in the Lesson.  At the end of the chronological listing, you will find a table listing the posts by which Tax Court Judge authored the Court's opinion.

Camp (2021)January 18: The Tacit Consent Rule, Om P. Soni and Anjali Soni v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2021-137 (Dec. 1, 2021) (Judge Copeland) — §6013, §223, §51(b), §301(d), §6061(b), §6651, §6662

February 7: The Innocence Requirement In § 6015(c) Proportional Relief, Tara K. Tobin (Petitioner) and Jeffrey Tobin (Intervenor) v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2021-36 (Nov. 16, 2021) (Judge Guy) — §6015(c) 

February 14: The Proper Baseline For Offers In Compromise, Edmund Gerald Flynn v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2022-5 (Feb. 3, 2022) (Judge Urda) — §7122

February 22: The Tax Liabilities You Leave Behind, Estate of Anthony K. Washington v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2022-4 (Feb. 2, 2022) (Judge Toro) — §6323

 

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December 19, 2022 in Bryan Camp, Miscellaneous, Tax, Tax News, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, December 15, 2022

WSJ: Citadel’s Ken Griffin Sues IRS Over Leak Of Tax Return Info To ProPublica

Wall Street Journal, Ken Griffin Sues IRS Over Tax Privacy Breach That Also Affected Other Billionaires:

Pro PublicaBillionaire hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin sued the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department on Tuesday, seeking damages after disclosure of his tax records.

Tax data about wealthy people such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos were published by the news organization ProPublica starting in June 2021, in an unusual breach of the confidentiality of tax returns. The news site published articles mentioning Mr. Griffin and using information from his tax records in April and July this year.

The IRS inspector general and Justice Department are investigating the disclosures, and officials say they are taking the matter seriously. So far, they have released no reports and haven’t charged anyone with a crime. ...

The exact path by which the tax data reached ProPublica isn’t publicly known. The lawsuit cites a long series of inspector general reports dating back more than a decade showing various flaws and gaps in IRS information security. 

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December 15, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

NY Times: The Stanford Law Prof Parents In The Middle Of FTX’s Collapse

Update:  Wall Street Journal, Sam Bankman-Fried’s Parents Were There for FTX’s Rise, and Now Its Fall

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  New York Times, The Parents in the Middle of FTX’s Collapse:

Joe Barbara SamAt the height of its corporate power, the cryptocurrency exchange FTX convened a group of athletes and celebrities for a charity event in March at the Miami Heat’s N.B.A. arena. Local high school students competed for more than $1 million in prizes, pitching “Shark Tank”-style business ideas to a panel of judges that included David Ortiz, the former Boston Red Sox slugger, and Kevin O’Leary, an actual “Shark Tank” host.

But the event’s organizer was a figure better known in academic circles — Joseph Bankman, a longtime tax professor at Stanford Law School and the father of Sam Bankman-Fried, the now-disgraced founder of FTX.

Wearing a baseball cap with FTX’s logo, Mr. Bankman walked onstage to help announce the winners of two $500,000 checks. Behind the scenes, he played the role of FTX diplomat, introducing his son to the head of a Florida nonprofit organization that was helping adults in the area set up bank accounts linked to the crypto exchange’s platform. Two months later, Mr. Bankman-Fried promoted the partnership in testimony to Congress, where he was pushing crypto-friendly legislation.

In the months before FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11, Mr. Bankman was a prominent cheerleader for the company, helping to shape the narrative that his son was using crypto to save the world by donating to charity and giving low-income people access to the financial system.

He and his wife, the Stanford Law professor Barbara Fried, were more than just supportive parents backing their child’s business. Mr. Bankman was a paid FTX employee who traveled frequently to the Bahamas, where the exchange was based. Ms. Fried did not work for the company, but her son was among the donors in a political advocacy network that she orchestrated. ...

The couple’s careers have been upended. Ms. Fried, 71, resigned last month as chairwoman of the board of a political donor network, Mind the Gap, which she had helped start to support Democratic campaigns and causes. Mr. Bankman, 67, has postponed a Stanford class he had been scheduled to teach in the winter, and he’s recruited a white-collar criminal defense lawyer to represent him. The family faces huge legal bills, and they have become the subject of gossip on Stanford’s campus.

“I had a friend who said, ‘You don’t want to be seen with them,’” said Larry Kramer, a former dean of the law school and a close friend of the Bankman-Fried family. “I don’t see how this doesn’t bankrupt them.” ...

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December 13, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, December 12, 2022

Lesson From The Tax Court: Taxpayers Behaving Badly 2022

Camp (2021)This will be my last new post until January. Next Monday, December 19, my annual Year Of Lessons From The Tax Court will appear in this space. It is a chronological listing of all the Lessons I posted in 2022, with links to each Lesson, the primary case discussed, and the judge who wrote the opinion. You can find last year's edition here.

I will be spending my days (except for Christmas Day) grading exams.  Grades are due Monday, January 2 and then I resume teaching on January 11, so you will not likely see my next Lesson From The Tax Court until January 23 (the week after the MLK holiday).

As is now customary, my last new blog of the year is a list of some of the cases I read during the year where something in the facts made me just shake my head (SMH in texting parlance).  You can find the previous lists here (for 2018), here (for 2019), here (for 2020), and here (for 2021).  This year I have five to share with you.  I present them in chronological order.  I invite you to consider which of them may be examples of just an empty head and which are examples of something worse.

And again this year I am giving out a Norm Peterson Award.  You will find more explanation below the fold.

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December 12, 2022 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Tax, Tax News, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 9, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

NY Times: Trump’s Company Is Guilty Of Tax Fraud

New York Times, Trump’s Company Is Guilty of Tax Fraud, a Blow to the Firm and the Man:

The Trump Organization, the family real estate business that made Donald J. Trump a billionaire and propelled him from reality television to the White House, was convicted on Tuesday of tax fraud and other crimes, forever tarring the former president and the company that bears his name.

The conviction on all 17 counts, after more than a day of jury deliberations in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, stemmed from the company’s practice of doling out off-the-books perks to executives: They received luxury apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, extra cash at Christmas, even free cable television. They paid taxes on none of it.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which prosecuted the case, had previously obtained a guilty plea from the scheme’s architect, Allen H. Weisselberg, the company’s longtime chief financial officer. Mr. Weisselberg, one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal lieutenants, testified as the prosecution’s star witness but never implicated the former president.

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December 7, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, December 5, 2022

NY Times: Verdict In Trump Organization Tax Trial Could Come Down To 3 Little Words

New York Times, Verdict in Trump Organization Trial Could Come Down to 3 Little Words:

Despite all the talk of fancy apartments, free Mercedes-Benzes and cash flowing at Christmastime, the criminal tax fraud trial of Donald J. Trump’s family business could come down to three mundane words: “in behalf of.”

The company stands accused of doling out those off-the-books perks to several executives, who failed to pay taxes on them. The scheme’s architect — the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg — pleaded guilty and testified at trial.

The company, however, is not automatically guilty of his crimes. Under New York law, prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office must prove that Mr. Weisselberg committed his many felonies “in behalf of” the Trump Organization, a clunky phrase that the judge overseeing the case has, in something of an understatement, called “a confusing area of the law.”

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December 5, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Inspector General: No Political Influence In Comey|McCabe Audits During Trump Administration

ComeyFollowing up on my previous posts:

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, National Research Program Tax Return Selection Process for Tax Years 2017 and 2019:

In July 2022, a media outlet reported that the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) process to select specific taxpayers for the Tax Years 2017 and 2019 NRP audits may not have been random. At the request of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and representatives from Congress, TIGTA’s Office of Inspections and Evaluations, initiated a review to determine if the IRS randomly selected individual income tax returns for Tax Years 2017 and 2019 NRP audits.

A new report released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that the IRS randomly selected Tax Years 2017 and 2019 tax returns for National Research Program (NRP) audits.

Washington Post, Trump Did Not Target ex-FBI Leaders With Tax Audits, Investigators Say:

Investigators at the Treasury Department determined that the IRS did not inappropriately target former FBI leaders James B. Comey and Andrew McCabe with aggressive audits, following a New York Times report in July that raised questions about whether President Donald Trump sicced the tax agency on his political enemies.

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December 3, 2022 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, December 2, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Thursday, December 1, 2022

OECD: 2021 Tax Revenue Increase Was Second-Largest Since 1990

OECD, Tax Revenues Rebounded as Economies Recovered From the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Revenue Statistics 2022, which presents tax revenue data for the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, shows that the OECD average tax-to-GDP ratio rose by 0.6 percentage points (p.p.) in 2021, to 34.1%, the second-strongest year-on-year increase since 1990. The report also shows that tax-to-GDP ratios increased in 24 of the 36 OECD countries for which 2021 data on tax revenues was available, declined in 11 and remained unchanged in one.

OECD

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December 1, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

How Four Decades Of Tax Cuts Fueled Inequality

Bloomberg Tax:  How Four Decades of Tax Cuts Fueled Inequality, by James B. Steele (Center for Public Integrity):

Bloomberg CenterAs a dense fog rolled over his California ranch, Ronald Reagan strolled to a table set up outside his adobe farmhouse and flashed photographers a radiant smile.

The president had much to smile about. Stacked on the table, awaiting his signature, was ERTA, the 185-page Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 that fulfilled his campaign promise to cut taxes in a big way.

The beneficiaries were largely high-net-worth individuals and corporations. What followed was a $750 billion hole in the federal budget, cuts in multiple public programs and a ballooning deficit.

But that was just the beginning. The bill signing on that foggy day set in motion a trend in tax policy that is supercharging America’s escalating income inequality. In the past four decades, Congress after Congress has cut taxes on the richest people and corporations —billions of dollars that would otherwise have gone to the federal till for spending that could help the rest of the public get ahead.

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November 30, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

CBO Data: After-Tax, After-Transfer Income Inequality Has Been Flat Since 2000

Timothy T. Taylor (Macalester College), Income Inequality for US Households:

CBO has just published The Distribution of Household Income, 2019 (November 2022). ... A good chunk of the underlying data behind this report is from income tax data. This data has the great advantage that is isn’t from a survey asking people about their incomes, but is from what people actually filed with the Internal Revenue Service, with in turn is cross-checked with data from employers, financial institutions, and other types of income (like royalty payments). ...

The real strength of the report is not that it is up to the minute, but rather that it offers a snapshot in time along with useful sense of trends in income inequality since the late 1970s, when it began to rise. Here are a few of the graphs that caught my eye. ...

Here’s the trend in average federal taxes paid at the top of the income distribution in the last 40 years or so. You will notice that while the subject has been the source of considerable political controversy, the ups and downs have pretty much levelled out over time.

Econ 1

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November 29, 2022 in Congressional News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, November 28, 2022

Call For Papers: 2023 Tax Notes Student Writing Competition

Tax Notes Student Writing Competition:

Student writing competition 2023The 2023 submission period for the Tax Notes Student Writing Competition is now open! Each year we recognize superior student writing on unsettled questions in tax law or policy. Learn more about the competition guidelines:

  • Eligibility: The competition is open to any student enrolled in a law, business, or public policy program during the 2022-2023 academic year. Each student may submit only one paper. Coauthored papers will be accepted. 
  • Format: Entries should be a minimum of 2,500 words and a maximum of 12,000 words, including footnotes. Citations should be formatted as footnotes in accordance with the latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. Bibliographies and reference lists are prohibited. Articles should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents.

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November 28, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink

Friday, November 25, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Thursday, November 24, 2022

NY Times: Tax Prof Cruciverbalist

New York Times Crosswords, Collision Courses:

NY TimesSamuel A. Donaldson is a law professor at Georgia State University, where he teaches courses on property, federal taxation and estate planning. He has been making crossword puzzles for The Times since 2008. His grids are typically filled with lively vocabulary, and this one is no different. “Solvers might not realize the theme until after they’re done,” Mr. Donaldson said of this puzzle, “so I wanted the process of getting to the finish line to be as enjoyable as possible.”

Law.com, GSU Law Prof Goes Across and Down to Create NY Times Crosswords:

Getting a crossword puzzle published in The New York Times is "one of the few meritocracies left," says Georgia State law professor Samuel Donaldson.

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November 24, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, November 18, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Monday, November 14, 2022

President Biden To Nominate Former OMB Controller Danny Werfel For IRS Commissioner

White House Statement, President Biden Announces Key Nominee:

Werfel 2Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Danny Werfel [Wikipedia] to serve as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

Danny Werfel is a public and private sector leader who has served under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Across more than 15 years of government service, Werfel served President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush to lead some of the governments’ most complex management challenges as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Acting Commissioner and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Controller. In the wake of an Inspector General report alleging various forms of mismanagement and bias in the determination of tax-exempt status for non-profit organizations, President Obama appointed Werfel to serve as Acting Commissioner of IRS in 2013. Werfel provided immediate stability to the IRS, effectively responding to numerous Congressional investigations, successfully launching the Affordable Care Act technology that IRS was responsible for, and navigated the IRS through a multi-week government shutdown.

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November 14, 2022 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Saturday, November 12, 2022

New State Business Tax Climate Index: Blue States Are Worst, Red States Are Best

Tax Foundation, 2023 State Business Tax Climate Index (interactive map tool):

The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index enables business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers to gauge how their states’ tax systems compare. While there are many ways to show how much is collected in taxes by state governments, the Index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems and provides a road map for improvement.

Tax Foundation

9 of the 10 states with the worst business tax climates voted for Joe Biden in 2020, and 8 of the 10 states with the best business tax climates voted for Donald Trump.

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November 12, 2022 in Tax, Tax News, Think Tank Reports | Permalink

Friday, November 11, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Death Of Mitchell Engler (Cardozo)

Campus News, Cardozo Mourns the Loss of Professor Mitchell Engler:

EnglerWith deep sadness, I write to inform you of the death of Professor Mitchell L. Engler. Professor Engler was a highly regarded tax scholar and Professor at Cardozo for 23 years. He loved teaching and influenced generations of Cardozo students, who will remember him as passionate, extraordinarily kind and dedicated to them. He spent hours refining new approaches to teaching, and was relentlessly encouraging to students who were struggling.

Professor Engler was a quintessential tax academic. He combined his extraordinary skills as a tax lawyer with a serious interest in policy issues to create a substantial body of work. He wrote important and interesting articles on major subjects that speak to the core of how the federal government should fairly and effectively tax the public. He explored how we could change from an income tax to a consumption tax, and how that tax could be made progressive. He also considered ways of fundamentally reforming our corporate income tax. These are all big picture issues that are extremely complex, and Professor Engler leant his deep understanding of current law and his creative mind to advance proposals for reform.

Professor Engler will be deeply missed by the entire Cardozo community. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Professor Engler’s name to the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). ...

With sorrow,
Dean Melanie Leslie

Mitchell Lawrence Engler, age 58, of Hackensack, New Jersey passed away on Friday, November 4, 2022:

A graveside service for Mitchell will be held Wednesday, November 9, 2022 at 1:00 PM at Gates of Zion Cemetery, 670 Saddle River Road, Airmont, NY 10952.

Calvin Engler, age 92, of Spring Valley, New York passed away on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Calvin was born in Brooklyn, NY:

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November 9, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, November 4, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Thursday, November 3, 2022

WSJ: The IRS And The 8th Amendment

UpdateThe FBAR’s Muddy Morass

Wall Street Journal, The IRS and the Eighth Amendment:

IRS Logo 2Navigating the labyrinth that is the U.S. tax code can already feel like punishment for ordinary taxpayers. But the real punishment comes when Americans face oppressive penalties from the Internal Revenue Service for innocent filing mistakes. That may be about to change. The Supreme Court hear[d] oral arguments Wednesday in Bittner v. U.S., a case that could ease excessive punitive measures from the IRS.

Alexandru Bittner, a Romanian-American dual citizen, nonwillfully failed to file five foreign bank account reports, or FBARs, with the IRS while living in Romania between 2007 and 2011. Taxpayers fill out annual FBAR forms if they have “foreign financial accounts exceeding $10,000.” When Mr. Bittner moved back to the U.S., he discovered this responsibility and had his certified public accountant file these forms to the IRS. The IRS responded by imposing a $2.72 million penalty even though there were no allegations of tax fraud or any additional taxes owed.

In Bittner, the court will have to determine how much in penalties Mr. Bittner must pay.

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November 3, 2022 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, October 31, 2022

IRS Deputy Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell Named Acting IRS Commissioner

U.S. Treasury Department Press Release, IRS Deputy Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell Designated Acting IRS Commissioner:

Today, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen designated Internal Revenue Service Deputy Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell as Acting IRS Commissioner. Deputy Commissioner O’Donnell will head the agency following the end of Commissioner Charles P. Rettig’s term which ends on November 12.

“I want to thank Commissioner Rettig for his tireless service to the American people across two administrations, and his leadership of the IRS during the difficult and unique challenges posed by COVID-19. I am grateful to him for his partnership and efforts to ensure taxpayers had the resources they needed to make it through the pandemic,” said Secretary Yellen. “Deputy Commissioner O’Donnell has dedicated his career to serving American taxpayers through every level of the agency. His commitment to improving the experience of the American taxpayer will guide his and the agency’s work as they continue their efforts to propel the IRS forward during a critical period of modernization. Now more than ever, the IRS has the momentum to transform with service, technology and workforce improvements that will make it a world-class agency to meet the needs of the American people.”

O’Donnell is a career IRS employee, having spent more than 36 years at the agency in a variety of roles. Prior to becoming Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, he served as the Commissioner of the IRS Large Business and International Division for nearly six years.

Charles Rettig (IRS Commissioner), Doug O’Donnell to Serve as Acting Commissioner:

As the end of my term approaches, I want to share with you that Doug O'Donnell, the IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, has been selected to serve as acting IRS Commissioner. His selection, announced today by Treasury Secretary Yellen, will keep our important work for our nation moving forward until a new IRS commissioner is nominated by the Administration and confirmed by the Senate.

Doug has spent more than 36 years at the IRS in a variety of roles, and he has a strong set of skills and insight needed for this critical role. He will work closely with our agency's senior leaders and Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support Jeff Tribiano to continue work on the Inflation Reduction Act provisions, including efforts related to IRS transformation, implementation of green provisions and other new tax law. I've relied on Doug's insight and knowledge during my term as Commissioner, and he is the ideal person to lead the agency during this period.

Prior to becoming Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, Doug served as the Commissioner of the IRS Large Business and International (LB&I) Division for nearly six years. In that role, he led tax administration activities for corporations, subchapter S corporations, and partnerships with assets greater than $10 million, and he was responsible for administering the tax law that affects individuals with international activity. He served as the U.S. Competent Authority in administering the operating provisions of tax conventions and on sensitive and controversial issues related to treaty negotiations. Previously, Doug filled a variety of other roles including Deputy Commissioner (International) in LB&I as well as other executive positions including Assistant Deputy Commissioner, International; Director, Competent Authority & International Coordination; Director of International Compliance, Strategy & Policy; Deputy Director, Pre-Filing and Technical Guidance; and the Director of Field Operations, Heavy Manufacturing and Transportation Industry.

He began his career with IRS in 1986 as a revenue agent in Washington, DC, and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Doug will begin serving as Acting Commissioner when my term formally ends on November 12.

Since joining the IRS in 2018, I've been amazed at the dedication and commitment that IRS employees bring to serve our nation. Doug shares that spirit, and I know the IRS will be well-positioned going forward with him as acting Commissioner.

October 31, 2022 in IRS News, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, October 28, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Tax Prof Twitter Census (2022-23 Edition)

TwitterAccording to Bridget Crawford's latest census, there are 1,641 Law Profs on Twitter, including 96 Tax Profs (several with tax in their Twitter handles):

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October 25, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Saturday, October 22, 2022

NY Times: She’s Inheriting Millions. She Wants Her Wealth Taxed Away.

New York Times Saturday Profile, She’s Inheriting Millions of Euros. She Wants Her Wealth Taxed Away.:

Millionaifes For HumanityBy the time her extraordinarily wealthy grandmother died last month, Marlene Engelhorn already knew who she wanted to be the ultimate beneficiary of the enormous inheritance coming her way: the tax man.

“The dream scenario is I get taxed,” said Ms. Engelhorn, the co-founder of a group called Tax Me Now.

Ms. Engelhorn, a 30-year-old who grew up in Vienna, is part of a growing movement of young, leftist millionaires who say they want governments to take a much larger share of their inherited wealth, arguing that these unearned fortunes should be democratically allocated by the state.

For more than a year, Ms. Engelhorn has been campaigning for tax policies that would redistribute her eight-figure windfall — and anyone else’s.

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October 22, 2022 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, October 21, 2022

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration