TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, October 21, 2016

Weekly Tax Roundup 2.0

Note from Paul Caron:  As I explained on August 1, due to my growing other commitments, I have taken steps to reduce the amount of time I devote to TaxProf Blog.  I previously have announced that:

Today, I am pleased to announce that Joe Kristan, CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa), and editor of Tax Update Blog, one of my favorite tax blogs, has taken over the weekly tax roundup.  (I took a side trip to meet with Joe when I went to my son's first Grinnell College soccer game in 2009.)  I am delighted that Joe is adding a new feature to the roundup:  a discussion of one of the week's important tax developments (often a Tax Court decision).

In this week's inaugural post, Joe discusses Hicks v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2016-68 (Oct. 17, 2016), in Good Records Do Not a Business Mile Make:

KristanGood Records, Bad Facts. A Tax Court case this week shows that no matter how good your records are, they don’t help if they meticulously document why your expenses aren’t deductible.

The taxpayers, whose surname name we abbreviate here as “H,” had an unusual Schedule C. Judge Carluzzo explains:

Petitioners, or at least one of them, established SC Management in 2005. According to petitioner, its stated purpose was to manage the careers of the H family. Although the exact services that the business was intended to provide with respect to the career(s) of each family member are less than clear, it appears that each family member agreed to contribute a portion of income earned from outside sources to SC Management in return for whatever services the family member received. During the years in issue the income shown on the Schedules C is attributable to amounts petitioner and one of his children earned.

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October 21, 2016 in New Cases, Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, David Gamage (UC-Berkeley, moving to Indiana) reviews a new article by Gregg Polsky (Georgia) and Adam Rosenzweig (Wash U), The Up-C Revolution (Oct. 13, 2016):

Gamage (2017)When I was in law school, I was taught what was then the conventional wisdom about the U.S. Corporate Income Tax (the “CIT”)—that it was in the process of being eroded through sophisticated tax planning, with the expectation that it would soon shrink to irrelevance as source of federal revenue.  Yet, somewhat ironically, my law school years turned out to mark the (temporary?) end of that trend.  Although the CIT shrank dramatically as a source of federal government revenues during the period from the 1950s through the early 2000s, CIT revenues have since remained more or less constant as a percent of GDP from the early 2000s through today (albeit fluctuating with economic conditions).

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October 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

NY Times Op-Ed:  Just Like Trump, I Avoided Paying Federal Taxes

New York Times op-ed:  Just Like Trump, I Avoided Paying Federal Taxes, by Bert Stratton:

I’m like Donald Trump, somewhat. We both inherited buildings from our fathers. I’ve kept my father’s properties and bought a couple more buildings. For my first couple of years I had “loss carry-forwards.” I lost money and paid no federal taxes.

Some dads teach their sons fishing. My dad taught me to do taxes.

He kept two sets of books — one pencil, one ink. Self-made guys, like my dad, often kept two sets of books, a retired accountant later told me. The second-generation, like me, usually goes legit, he said. ...

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October 21, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Arizona Summit Law School's Bar Passage Rate Plummets To Shocking 24.6% (Down From 96.7% In 2008)

Virginia Tax Review Publishes New Issue

Virginia Tax Review (2016)The Virginia Tax Review has published Vol. 35, No. 3 (Spring 2016):

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October 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Georgetown College Rankings: Earnings, Majors, Academic Preparation, And Graduate Degree Attainment

Georgetown CoverGeorgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Ranking Your College: Where You Go and What You Make (pdf):

In September 2015, the U.S. Department of Education released its redesigned College Scorecard, a web tool that allows users to access a vast array of information about the quality of colleges and universities throughout the country. For the first time, users can easily find how much students who have taken courses in thousands of colleges across the United States earn 10 years after enrolling, which is essential information for students deciding where to go to college and how much debt to take on. The Department of Education designed the College Scorecard to be used by prospective students evaluating their college options.

The following tables use the College Scorecard data to rank colleges and universities strictly on earnings, but then test how sensitive the ranking of a university is when adjustments are made to earnings. The analysis attempts to help answer several questions: How important is student preparation? How much are average earnings skewed by choice of majors and by the selection of majors available at a particular university? If a university, such as Stevens Institute of Technology, ranks high strictly in earnings but much lower after adjusting for composition of majors, it would indicate that the distribution of majors at the university is of primary importance. If another university, such as Harvard, retains its ranking even after adjusting for expected earnings based on its share of majors, it might indicate that the quality of the university matters as much as the majors it offers.

The academic preparation of the students is another important factor. If a university, such as Pepperdine University, rose in the rankings based on this factor, it is a clear indication that the university was able to produce a higher quality of students than would have been expected based on the students' academic preparation. In other words, a university helped students to become better and earn more money in their future.


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October 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1261: George Will And Donald Trump Are Wrong — Elections Are Not Rigged, And The IRS Is Not Rigging Them

IRS Logo 2Salon, George Will Says Donald Trump Is Simply Making the Wrong Argument About Rigged Election, Is Incredibly Wrong:

George Will is a fan of voter purging. He's also an old white male. That explains it.

As most of the conservative fold realizes that conspiracy theorist Donald Trump is Godzilla and the Republican Party is Tokyo, George Will is dipping his toes into the Pacific Ocean and thinking, maybe there’s something here.

On Monday, Will told Fox News that Trump “has a point” when he claims that the election is rigged, according to a transcript via RealClearPolitics:

It is hard to think of an innocent reason why Democrats spend so much time, energy and money, scarce resources all, resisting attempts to purge the voter rolls, that is to remove people who are dead or otherwise have left the jurisdiction. It’s hard to think of an innocent reason why they fight so tremendously against Voter I.D. laws. They say, well, that burdens the exercise of a fundamental right. The Supreme Court has said that travel is a fundamental right and no one thinks that showing an I.D. at the airport burdens that fundamental right.

We know — we don’t surmise — we know that the 2010, ’12 and ’14 elections were rigged by the most intrusive and potentially punitive institution of the federal government, the IRS. 

First of all, the election is not rigged. This can’t be stressed enough. Also, if Will is claiming that the 2010 and 2014 elections were rigged (they weren’t), they would have been rigged for Republicans, who during the midterms rode two wave elections.

And we’ll completely ignore his claim that “vote rigging” includes Internal Revenue Service audits of whether 501(c)4 organizations are really “promot[ing] the social welfare” — or existing to create valuable and profitable email lists for others to rent.

But here’s the reason why Democrats “spend so much time, energy and money” resisting attempts to purge the voter rolls. Because most of the time, that’s code for “making sure lots of Democrats don’t vote.” ...

Republicans have pushed illegal voter ID laws and have pursued a questionable tactic known as “voter caging.” Even if the people affected by these voter-suppression strategies are able to get to the polls, they would have to file provisional ballots and could face longer lines in fewer polling places. Such tactics, unsurprisingly, have mainly been applied in minority areas.

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October 21, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Virginia Tax Review Publishes New Issue

Virginia Tax Review (2016)The Virginia Tax Review has published Vol. 35, No. 2 (Winter 2016):

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October 20, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  Corporate Tax Problems And Solutions

New York Times op-ed: The Big Companies That Avoid Taxes, by David Leonhardt:

Donald Trump has become the country’s most notorious tax shirker. And while his long avoidance of federal income taxes is extreme, it’s also part of a larger problem.

The most affluent and powerful parts of our society have too easy a time legally avoiding taxes.

Consider corporate taxes, which ultimately tend to be paid by the well-off, because they own the most stock. The official corporate rate is 35 percent, infamously higher than in any other advanced economy. Yet there are so many loopholes that companies often pay relatively little in tax.

Many companies work hard to shroud how much they really pay, sprinkling various figures throughout their complex financial statements. But companies must report one number that provides a good glimpse. It’s called cash taxes paid — the combined amount that a company pays in federal, state, local and even foreign taxes.

I asked the analysts at S&P Global Market Intelligence to calculate this number since 2007 for this country’s 500 largest public companies, and the results reveal a broken tax system. Fixing it should be an early priority for the next president. If Hillary Clinton wins, it may well be.

NY Times

New York Times op-ed: We Can Fix Corporate Taxes, by David Leonhardt:

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October 20, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSAT Is Poor Predictor Of Law School Grades: 6 LSAT Points = 0.1 LGPA

LSAT (2015)Alexia Brunet Marks (Colorado) & Scott A. Moss (Colorado), What Makes a Law Student Succeed or Fail? A Longitudinal Study Correlating Law Student Applicant Data and Law School Outcomes, 13 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 205 (2016):

Despite the rise of "big data" empiricism, law school admission remains heavily impressionistic; admission decisions based on anecdotes about recent students, idiosyncratic preferences for certain majors or jobs, or mainly the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet no predictors are well-validated; studies of the LSAT or other factors fail to control for college quality, major, work experience, etc. The lack of evidence of what actually predicts law school success is especially surprising after the 2010s downturn left schools competing for fewer applicants and left potential students less sure of law school as a path to future success. We aim to fill this gap with a two-school, 1400-student, 2005-2012 longitudinal study. After coding non-digitized applicant data, we used multivariate regression analysis to predict law school grades ("LGPA") from many variables: LSAT; college grades ("UGPA"), quality, and major; UGPA trajectory; employment duration and type (legal, scientific, military, teaching, etc.); college leadership; prior graduate degree; criminal or discipline record; and variable interactions (e.g., high-LSAT/low-UGPA or vice-versa).

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October 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (9)

Crawford & Spivack:  Tampon Taxes, Equal Protection And Human Rights

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) & Carla Spivack (Oklahoma City), Tampon Taxes, Equal Protection and Human Rights, 2016 Wis. L. Rev. ___ :

In recent months, activists around the globe have harnessed the power of the Internet to raise awareness of the so-called “tampon tax,” an umbrella term to describe sales, VAT and similar “luxury” taxes imposed on menstrual hygiene products. In response to pressure from constituents, five U.S. states and Canada have repealed their tampon tax. Active campaigns are underway in Australia, the United Kingdom and several other countries. Where public pressure has not been an effective technique, those seeking to challenge the tampon tax in the United States have turned to litigation. In four U.S. states, class action lawsuits have been filed seeking repeal of the tax and a refund for back taxes paid, alleging equal protection violations. In the international context, human rights law provides a promising foundation for similar legal challenges to the tampon tax because human rights law takes a capacious approach to gender equality. In the European Court of Human Rights, for example, there are several tax cases that recognize gender-differentiated taxes as a form of impermissible discrimination. This Article explains how the tampon tax violates equal protection and human rights norms. The tax also shows how deeply embedded gender is in matters of tax policy. Full realization of gender equality will require revision of tax laws.

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October 20, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wake Forest Symposium: Revisiting Langdell — Legal Education Reform And The Lawyer’s Craft

Wake 4Symposium, Revisiting Langdell: Legal Education Reform and the Lawyer’s Craft, 51 Wake Forest L. Rev. 231-420 (2016):

Legal Scholarship in the Era of Reform

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October 20, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Carter:  Estate Planning For Digital Assets

Digital AssetsElizabeth Ruth Carter (LSU), Estate Planning for Digital Assets: Assigning Tax Basis and Value to Digital Assets:

These materials were prepared in conjunction with the LSU 46th Estate Planning Seminar. They explore the various types of digital assets--including social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.), audiobooks, music and video files, and bitcoin--and the estate planning challenges these assets present.

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October 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The ABA 75% Bar Passage Rule: Dead On Arrival?

Bales 2TaxProf Blog op-ed: The ABA 75% Rule: Dead on Arrival?, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

Current ABA accreditation standards have attracted widespread public criticism for being toothless in the face of predatory law schools granting admission (and charging hefty tuition) to students with little or no chance of passing a bar exam. In response, proposed ABA standards would create a new 75% rule. As Daniel Rodriguez (Northwestern) and Craig Boise (Syracuse) explain in the National Law Journal (cross-posted without subscription requirement at TaxProf Blog):

The American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has proposed tightening up its regulation of those law schools with a significant ­percentage of graduates who have failed their state's bar exam. Under the proposed new accreditation standard, law schools must ensure that at least three-quarters of their graduates pass the bar after two attempts, rather than five, as is the case under the current standards. As with any numerical benchmark, the measure is imperfect, yet its purpose is a sound one.

Yet before the ink is even dry on the proposed rule, at least one school has found a way to circumvent it.

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October 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1260: Cleta Mitchell — Use Of The IRS Against Republican Critics Likely Will Persist In A Clinton Administration

IRS Logo 2Washington Times op-ed:  Hillary Clinton’s IRS — A Sneak Preview: Use of the Agency Against Republican Critics Likely Will Persist, by Cleta Mitchell  (Foley & Lardner, Washington, D.C.):

Imagine:  What if the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) singled out hundreds of grassroots citizens groups across the nation and subjected them to ill treatment because of their political beliefs and values, mainly in opposition to the president of the United States? And imagine if that president ordered an investigation of the scandal and the lead attorney was a maximum donor to the president’s political campaigns. And then imagine if the president appointed as IRS commissioner to “clean up” the scandal someone who was a maximum donor to the president’s political campaigns. Can you imagine such a thing? The watchdogs in Congress and the media would never allow such clear partisanship to rule the IRS, right?

But that is exactly the situation we have watched unfold over the past three years, since the Treasury inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA) confirmed that the IRS had, indeed, targeted conservative groups — hundreds of them — for singular mistreatment and abuse. The Department of Justice attorney charged with “investigating” the targeting was Barbara Bosserman, an individual who had contributed the maximum to President Obama’s political campaigns.

And what about IRS Commissioner John Koskinen? He is yet another maximum Democratic donor. Since 1997, Mr. Koskinen has contributed $51,550 to the Democratic National Committee, various Democratic congressional and Senate candidates and the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. ...

What harm might arise from having one of Hillary Clinton’s staunchest supporters at the helm of the IRS? Think back. During the Bill Clinton administration, the IRS audited a host of Clinton “enemies”: According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Clinton-era IRS, like several before it, audited a wide range of organizations viewed as hostile to the White House agenda. These included leading conservative publications, think tanks and interest groups, among them the American Spectator, Judicial Watch, National Review, the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the National Center for Public Policy Research, the American Policy Center, American Cause, Citizens for Honest Government, Citizens Against Government Waste, Progress and Freedom Foundation, and Concerned Women for America. The IRS also audited two Clinton paramours: Gennifer Flowers and Liz Ward Gracen, and sexual assault accusers Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick, as well as fired White House Travel Office Director Billy Dale.

There was never anyone in the IRS held to account for the Clinton administration’s targeting of its perceived “enemies” for IRS audits; there has likewise been no accountability for the oppression and discrimination practiced by Mr. Obama’s IRS via the targeting of those groups who have opposed and criticized the Obama administration.

Nor has Congress taken steps to prohibit the IRS from using donor information as a basis for generating IRS tax audits, and there is ample evidence that the IRS audited scores of donors to the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting Mr. Romney.

A Hillary Clinton presidency, with a maximum Clinton donor running the IRS, would not bode well for conservative organizations, donors, activists and sympathizers. ... 

As long as the liberal media and congressional Democrats collude with Democratic administrations in their targeting and attacking of conservatives, the Democrats in the White House will feel free to use the agencies of the federal government — including the IRS — as political weapons against those who criticize and disagree with them.

A Hillary Clinton presidency, with an IRS commissioner who has long been an ardent political supporter and donor, does not present a very encouraging picture of a non-political IRS that will resist being used as an arm of the Democratic White House.

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October 20, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gamage Presents Tax Cannibalization And Fiscal Federalism Today At Toronto

Gamage (2017)David Gamage (UC-Berkeley, moving to Indiana) presents Tax Cannibalization and Fiscal Federalism in the United States, 111 Nw. U. L. Rev. ___ (2017) (with Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)), at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

The current structure of U.S. federal tax law incentivizes state governments to adopt tax policies that inflict costs on the federal government, at the expense of national welfare. We label this the “tax cannibalization problem.”

This article introduces the tax cannibalization problem to the law and policy literatures for the first time. This article also explains how U.S. federal tax law might be restructured so as to alleviate the tax cannibalization problem — to counteract the perverse incentives currently leading U.S. state governments to design their tax systems so as to, in effect, wastefully devour federal tax revenues.

October 19, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speck Presents Expertise And International Tax Norms Today At Northwestern

SpeckSloan Speck (Colorado) presents Expertise and International Tax Norms at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

This project explores the ways in which a particular framework for understanding international taxation—a framework driven by so-called international tax neutrality norms—developed among economists and legal academics in the 1960s and subsequently became entrenched among public-sector policymakers. The neutrality norm framework marks a turn from the instrumental use of international taxation in the 1950s toward the ostensibly objective, efficiency-driven orientation towards international taxation that dominates discussions about international tax policy today (though a growing academic literature questions the viability of this orientation). This project explores how the neutrality norm framework came into being, and how it became a durable framework for understanding international tax policy.

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October 19, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

HBCU Law Deans Oppose ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement Due To Diversity Concerns

HBCUNational Law Journal op-ed:  HBCU Law Deans Say ABA Bar-Passage Rule Changes Will Hurt Profession's Diversity, by Dannye Holley (Former Dean, Texas Southern), Danielle Holley-Walker (Dean, Howard), John Pierre (Dean, Southern), Felecia Epps (Dean, Florida A&M), Phyliss Craig-Taylor (Dean, North Carolina Central) & James Douglass (Interim Dean, Texas Southern):

The proposed changes to the ABA's bar-passage standard, set to be decided this week, have been the subject of great debate. Some, like Daniel Rodriguez and Craig Boise, deans of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and Syracuse University College of Law, respectively, have written in support of the proposed changes to Standard 316. But these proposed changes come at a time when bar-passage rates in many states have been declining, and there are many unanswered questions about the impact of the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam. Furthermore, at a time when the legal profession continues to struggle with a lack of racial and ethnic diversity, many of the schools that will be impacted by this change are schools who enroll large minority student populations. ...

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October 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Competing Against Luck: Restructuring Higher Education

CompetingWall Street Journal, The Customer Is Always Right (reviewing Clayton M. Christensen (Harvard Business School), Competing Against Luck (2016)):

Every large company is consumed by the question of innovation. How to organize for it, how to execute it and how to deliver its benefits to customers. The attributes of big companies seem incompatible with those required to innovate. Size suffocates creativity. Efficiency kills dynamism. Executives become hostage to the data thrown up in a million slides and presentations, and they forget what it’s like to be a customer of the companies they lead.

Clayton M. Christensen is best known for his theory of disruptive innovation, which for some time now has had CEOs lining up outside his office at Harvard Business School. It is, he reminds us, a theory, not unassailable truth. But as a theory, it is immensely helpful in understanding how incumbent companies respond to the threat of innovation—for the most part, badly. Kodak was disrupted when it could not give up its profitable film business fast enough to adjust to the boom in digital photography. The newspaper industry is still suffering from the loss of its stranglehold on classified advertising to rudimentary services like Craigslist.

Disruption, in Mr. Christensen’s formulation, is not caused simply by anything new or clever. It arrives in the form of “minuscule threats” at the bottom of the market. The studios and networks treated Netflix as a minor player when it mailed DVDs, not seeing that the move to online streaming would turn it into a formidable competitor.

Similarly, grand universities right now see no threat from grubby online courses. But over time students and parents may wonder why they should pay all that money for sports facilities they don’t use and professors who don’t teach. Meanwhile, employers start to ask potential employees what they can do rather than where they went to school. And maybe the whole structure of higher education shifts.

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October 19, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dean Darby Dickerson Leaves Ranked Texas Tech Mid-Year For Unranked, Downsizing, Deficit-Ridden John Marshall

DickersonCrain's Chicago Business, New Dean for Downsized John Marshall Law School:

Darby Dickerson, a South Carolina native and since 2011 dean of Texas Tech University's law school, takes over an institution whose enrollment and full-time faculty have each by more than a third since 2010. She said John Marshall is in “solid financial condition” but could be “a little more right-sized.”

In the latest available IRS filing, the not-for-profit school reported a $1.07 million deficit for fiscal 2014, compared with a $3.65 million surplus the year earlier. ...

Dickerson, 52, said she was asked bluntly during a job interview why she would leave a ranked law school for an unranked one. Being a “functional president” at an independent school appealed to her, she said. Another plus is John Marshall's reputation for producing “practice-ready” attorneys. ...

In 2010 John Marshall had 1,400 students and 80 full-time faculty members. .. Now, there are 900 students and 47 faculty members. ... 

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October 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Texas A&M Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinic Director

Texas A&M Law SchoolTexas A&M University School of Law seeks to hire a director of its tax clinic:

The Director of the Texas A&M University Low Income Tax Clinic is responsible for all aspects of the Tax Clinic, including client representation, law student supervision, classroom instruction, community outreach and education, and IRS compliance. The Tax Clinic will be part of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic program of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

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October 19, 2016 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Wendi Adelson's Novel Reveals About Dan Markel's Murder

WendiWendi Adelson's Criminally Lousy Novel, This is Our Story:

A few months ago, Above the Law published recordings of Adelson’s presentations to a writer’s workshop, held some time after Markel’s murder. Adelson complained, inter alia, that her “late ex-spouse” (a phrase Adelson creatively punned as her “latex spouse”) did not care for fiction  and did not read her book. (Podcast, 9:42-9:47, 10:28-10:33) I found this plaint to be unfair because, whatever his private misgivings, Markel extensively promoted Adelson’s debut novel, “This is Our Story” on his popular academic blog “Prawfsblawg.” (The novel was published in 2011, about a year before Adelson walked out on Markel, with infant children, bank accounts, furniture, and Markel family heirlooms in tow).

In spite of the intense publicity generated by the lurid murder mystery starring herself, I do not believe anyone has yet explored Adelson’s novel as a possible window into the self-perception of its enigmatic author.

Even at the risk of death by Prius-driving hitman, I am compelled endorse the latex Markel’s decision not to read his wife's novel. This is Our Story is inartful, shallow, clichéd, oddly bland given its human trafficking theme, and terribly self-important. Interestingly though, Adelson states that her book purports to tell, in substantial part, her own story. In an afterword to her novel, Adelson states that “I, selfishly, wanted you to know a bit about my story, which has much – but not all – in common with Attorney Lily” (i.e. the main character in the novel). Adelson, Wendi (2011-09-12). This is Our Story (Kindle Locations 3948-3949). Kindle Edition. ...

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October 19, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1259: George Will — Trump Is Right That Elections Are Rigged, And The IRS Is Exhibit A

IRS Logo 2Real Clear Politics, George Will: Trump Has Point That Elections Are Rigged If He Would Just Make It More Clearly:

When Mr. Trump talks about it being rigged, he sweeps all his grievances into one big puddle. He talked about the media. He talked about the primaries. He talked about the polls. Talked about the Republican National Committee. I think when most persons hear that an election is rigged, they think of government action to rig the election. And there Mr. Trump has a point if he would just make it more clearly. 

It is hard to think of an innocent reason why Democrats spend so much time, energy and money, scarce resources all, resisting attempts to purge the voter rolls, that is to remove people who are dead or otherwise have left the jurisdiction. It's hard to think of an innocent reason why they fight so tremendously against Voter I.D. laws. They say, well that burdens the exercise of a fundamental right. The Supreme Court has said that travel is a fundamental right and no one thinks that showing an I.D. at the airport burdens that fundamental right.

We know -- we don't surmise -- we know that the 2010, '12 and '14 elections were rigged by the most intrusive and potentially punitive institution of the federal government, the IRS. You can read all about it in Kim Strassel's book Intimidation Game. She's familiar to all Wall Street Journal readers and FOX viewers. This is not a surmise. I have talked to lawyers in a position to know they say it's still going on. The IRS is still intolerantly delaying the granting of tax exempt to conservative advocacy groups to skew the persuasion of this campaign.

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October 19, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

McCormack Presents Postpartum Taxation: The Internal Revenue Code And The Opt Out Mom Today At Columbia

McCormackShannon Weeks McCormack (University of Washington) presents Postpartum Taxation: The Internal Revenue Code and the Opt Out Mom at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

Legislation seeking to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work has been on the books for decades. Nevertheless, the average American woman still receives less than eighty cents for every dollar earned by the average American man. Happily, the gender pay gap between men and childless women is narrowing over time. Meanwhile, the gap between mothers and others continues to widen. Career interruptions contribute significantly to this disturbing trend — nearly half of mothers opt out of the workforce at some point in their lives, most often to care for young children. Faced with too-short (or non-existent) maternity leaves, inflexible work schedules and the soaring costs of childcare in the United States, this opt out phenomenon is hardly surprising. But with the decision to opt out comes grave cost. Over 90% of opt out moms want to return to the workforce several years after off ramping. Unfortunately, many discover that they are unable to do so. A mother that does manage to reenter the workforce will find that even a short off ramp results in a sizeable and disproportionate reduction in her annual earnings that will persist for every year of her remaining life.

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October 18, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

A Nobel Prize In Tax Law Would Go To ... Michael Graetz Or Louis Kaplow?

Nobel PrizeFollowing up on yesterday's post, A Nobel Prize In Law Would Go To ... Calabresi, Posner, Or Sunstein?:  Brian Leiter (Chicago) polled this question:

If there were a Nobel Prize, which living legal scholar in the U.S. should get it? Rank order the [51] candidates. Only those over the age of 60 who might make the top ten are listed as choices. 

Michael Graetz (Columbia) and Louis Kaplow (Harvard) were the only tax folks among the 51 candidates. Louis finished 21st in the 129 ballots cast, sandwiched between Frank Easterbrook (7th Circuit/Chicago)/Martha Minow (Harvard) and Phiilip Bobbit (Columbia). Michael finished 42nd, sandwiched between Deborah Rhode (Stanford) and Daniel Fischel (Chicago).  The results are here, along with the rankings on the 129 individual ballots.

October 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Taubinsky Presents Heuristic Perceptions Of The Income Tax Today At UC-Berkeley

Taubinsky 2Dmitry Taubinsky (Dartmouth) presents Heuristic Perceptions of the Income Tax: Evidence and Implications for Debiasing (with Alex Rees-Jones (Pennsylvania)) at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar:

This paper reports a new survey experiment designed to directly assess misperceptions of the US Federal Income Tax, and presents a theoretical framework for analyzing the redistributive consequences of these misperceptions. Survey participants are asked a series of incentivized questions about the tax that would be owed by a hypothetical taxpayer. This taxpayer is nearly identical to the participant, but household income is varied across questions; forecasts in this setting identify perceptions of the full tax schedule. We estimate the prevalence of previously discussed heuristics for simplifying tax forecasts (Liebman and Zeckhauser, 2004), and identify the qualitative features of the remaining misperceptions that are not captured by existing models.

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October 18, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comprehensive Bar Exam Preparation: The Secret Behind Chapman's Overperformance On The California Bar Exam

Chapman Logo (2017)Mario William Mainero (Chapman), We Should Not Rely on Commercial Bar Reviews to Do Our Job: Why Labor-Intensive Comprehensive Bar Examination Preparation Can and Should Be a Part of the Law School Mission, 19 Chapman L. Rev. 545 (2016):

Increasingly, law school bar passage rates are an important concern for faculty and administration, as well as students. The July 2014 bar exam saw a precipitous drop nationally in bar passage rates, including declines ranging from four to over twenty percentage points. At the same time, there have been declines in applications to law schools, declines in admissions statistics (LSAT and undergraduate GPA), and an empirically demonstrable decline in student preparedness for law school. The confluence of these events portends even greater declines in bar passage if law schools do not rethink how they prepare students for the bar exam. This Article examines developments in academic support and bar preparation programs with an eye toward suggesting models for effective in-house bar preparation programs. Specifically, this Article examines: (1) the evolution of academic support programs in law schools to include bar passage programs, with a brief description of the types of programs that traditionally have been available; (2) the particular difficulty posed by the California Bar Exam; (3) the existing types of supplemental programs, and concerns posed by programs that are limited to “bar tips” or even limited practice exams or substantive lectures, given the increased numbers of “at risk” students due to the increase in underpreparedness; (4) the supplemental program at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, including the intensity of effort required of both faculty and students in a comprehensive program applicable to all students; and finally, (5) the bar passage results at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since adoption of a comprehensive supplemental bar passage program, that have been significantly better than would be expected by some commentators, given its ranking and relative youth as a law school. This Article suggests that the traditional focus of academic support programs, including bar preparation programs, that focus largely on perceived “at risk” students, is insufficient in light of the increased numbers of underprepared students. In order to avoid further calamitous declines in bar passage rates, law schools will have to move from traditional academic support models to models that encourage the entire cohort of students to work together, cooperatively, and that apply extensive time and effort to ensure that all students receive the benefit of these programs.

California Bar Exam Results and U.S. News Rankings by School:

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October 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through October 1, 2016) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)


Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



James Hines (Michigan)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


William Byrnes (Texas A&M)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Chris Hoyt (UMKC)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


David Weisbach (Chicago)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Yariv Brauner (Florida)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Steven Bank (UCLA)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)



David Walker (Boston Univ.)


Brian Galle (Georgetown)



Steven Bank (UCLA)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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October 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Details Emerge Linking Adelson Family To Dan Markel's Murder

Adelson FamilySun Sentinel, The Story Behind FSU Professor's Slaying Detailed in New Evidence:

Wendi Adelson's boyfriend at the time also told investigators the brother should be considered as a suspect.

"I would be investigating Charlie Adelson," Jeffrey Lacasse, a professor in the College of Social Work at FSU, told an investigator during a recorded interview in July 2014. "If you got in front of this guy, he'd set off your radar. He set off my radar."

Lacasse said Charlie Adelson hung out with unsavory people. "He's a dentist and he's very wealthy, but he kind of hangs out with people from both sides of the tracks," he said during the interview. "You know, he goes boating in South Beach with his rich buddies and he also goes to his gym with some other kinds of characters."

Lacasse also told investigators Wendi Adelson told him her brother had looked into hiring a hit man and was told it would cost $15,000.

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October 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (5)

University Of Wisconsin Paid $24 Million To Retain 77% Of Faculty Who Received Lateral Offers From Other Schools

WisconsinChronicle of Higher Education, U. of Wisconsin Spent $24 Million on Faculty Retention After Perceived Threats to Tenure:

After a difficult year for higher education in Wisconsin, including what many academics saw as a clear threat to tenure, the University of Wisconsin at Madison spent a total of $23.6 million on faculty retention. Twenty-nine professors rejected counteroffers and left the flagship campus during the 2016 fiscal year, while 111 who entertained outside job offers were retained.

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October 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1258: Judge Orders IRS to Clear Tea Party Application Backlog Within Month

IRS Logo 2American Center for Law and Justice, Major Victory: IRS Ordered to Issue Outstanding Determinations & Answer for Political Targeting of Citizens:

Three years after we filed a lawsuit on their behalf, and for some, nearly seven years after they submitted their applications for tax-exempt status, the grassroots conservative groups that were targeted by the IRS for their political views are finally receiving some of the relief to which they have long been entitled—determinations on those applications.

In early August, the federal appellate court for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the plaintiffs who filed suit in Linchpins of Liberty, et al. v. United States, et al. in 2013 had set forth allegations sufficient to obtain actual evidence about the IRS’s targeting of conservative tax-exempt applicants based on their names and political positions. The D.C. Circuit thus reversed the decision of the district court (which had previously dismissed the claims on the grounds that the IRS had apparently ceased the targeting conduct) and sent the case back to the lower court, explaining that the IRS had failed to demonstrate that either the targeting scheme, or its effects on plaintiffs, had actually ended.

Last week, District Judge Reggie B. Walton held a status conference to resume the lower court proceedings in the case. While the IRS’s attorney once again took the position that most of the claims are moot because most of the plaintiff organizations have received determinations, the court picked up where the D.C. Circuit left off, and ordered that the IRS cease delaying determinations on any outstanding tax-exempt applications of Tea Party groups and other grassroots organizations. He gave the IRS thirty days to comply.

It will be seven years this December since one of our clients awaiting a final determination – Albuquerque Tea Party – submitted its tax-exempt application. Another client – Unite in Action – has been waiting six and a half years since filing its application in May 2010. As a result of Judge Walton’s order, these years-long application processes are finally concluding, and the organizations are receiving the review and determinations they deserve. This is a major victory.

Judge Walton also agreed with our position, affirmed by the appellate court, that the IRS cannot obtain dismissal of the case simply by issuing the remaining determinations but must also produce evidence showing that any negative effects of the targeting on plaintiffs have been completely and irrevocably eradicated. Specifically, we urged, and the court agreed, the IRS must answer such questions as: What was the determination process prior to the targeting? How and why did the targeting begin? What treatment did plaintiffs’ applications receive during the targeting? What assurances are currently in place that plaintiffs will not suffer further retaliation or discriminatory treatment at the hands of the IRS?

As a result of this order, the IRS will, at long last, be required to disclose the details of the lawless and unconstitutional Tea Party targeting scheme. The court’s requirement that the IRS give account for its conduct is a tacit acknowledgment that plaintiffs—as well as the American public—deserve honesty and transparency from their government.

We are pleased that the court has taken this first step and look forward to a resolution of this case that will hopefully include the first judicial acknowledgment of the unmistakably unconstitutional nature of the IRS’s egregious political targeting of U.S. citizens.

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October 18, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Crane Presents Integrating A Fragmented Corporate Tax Today At Boston College

Crane (2016)Charlotte Crane (Northwestern) presents Integrating a Fragmented Corporate Tax at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti and Diane Ring:

Calls for corporate tax reform are made with increasing intensity. From some perspectives, there appear to be two separate reform efforts, one focused on “integration” of the tax on the corporation itself with the tax its shareholders pay on distributions to eliminate “double taxation,” and the other focused on reform of the taxation of US-based corporations on their offshore earnings.

The problems to be addressed in these two efforts have in the past been largely treated as distinct policy problems. Solutions that integrate the corporate and individual income taxes in order to eliminate “double taxation” have ordinarily assumed that the current system of cross-border taxation remained in place, and solutions that address cross-border taxation have for the most part assumed the existing approach to taxing distributions from corporations to shareholders remains in place.

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October 17, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hoffer Presents Will Treasury's Final Regulations Fix The ABLE Act? Today At Loyola-L.A.

Hoffer (2016)Stephanie Hoffer (Ohio State) presents Will Treasury's Final Regulations Fix the ABLE Act?, 153 Tax Notes 265 (Oct. 10, 2016), at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Passed as part of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (ABLE Act), section 529A allows states to build tax-preferred savings programs for individuals with qualifying disabilities. The law is similar to section 529, which governs college savings programs, and it is a game-changer for the disability community. Account principal and investment earnings can be withdrawn from the account tax free for qualified disability-related expenditures, and if used appropriately, withdrawals will not affect the beneficiary’s eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other federal supports for people with serious disabilities. But Treasury will determine how truly able the law is to achieve its dual goals of allowing individuals with disabilities to cover their own expenses and save for the future. The law contains both annual and aggregate contribution limits, and interpretation is up for grabs. Under one reading of the law, an account could accept no more than the annual limit, regardless of withdrawals from the account. Under an alternative reading that is more in keeping with the spirit of the law, dollars contributed and then withdrawn in the same year would not count against the annual contribution limit. 

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October 17, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips For Placing Your First Law Review Article

Robert Luther III (Senate Judiciary Committee), Practical Tips for Placing and Publishing Your First Law Review Article, 50 U. Rich. L. Rev. Online 63 (2016):

Many law reviews are only open to the top 10% of the class or to students who excel in a writing competition. While a high percentage of law schools now have at least one journal in addition to the law review, the reality is that well over half of the students enrolled in law school today do not have the opportunity to serve as a law review or journal staff member. Without that experience, those students-turned-lawyers who wish to publish legal scholarship after graduation are left in the dark about where to begin the process. I was one of those individuals, but over the last eight years, I have regularly published legal scholarship. Recently, my former students and other young attorneys have started asking me for advice.

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October 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Tax Lawyer Publishes New Issue

A Nobel Prize In Law Would Go To ... Calabresi, Posner, Or Sunstein?

Nobel PrizeStephen L. Carter (Yale), Titans of Law Are Nobel-Worthy, Too:

Now that this year’s Nobel Prizes have all been awarded, we can play the annual game of wondering what other fields should be included. ... This time around, the philosopher and legal scholar Brian Leiter has excited no small conversation among his colleagues by proposing a Nobel Prize for law. He posted a list of 51 legal scholars in the U.S., all but one over the age of 60, whom he thought others might rank among their top 10, and asked his colleagues to vote.

Leiter’s poll isn’t formal or systematic, and there is no way to test who cast a ballot. Still the results are interesting. The three top vote-getters, dominating the rest of the field, were Richard Posner, Cass Sunstein and Guido Calabresi. 

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October 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Polsky & Rosenzweig:  The Up-C Revolution

Gregg D. Polsky (Georgia) & Adam H. Rosenzweig (Washington University), The Up-C Revolution:

Over the past few years, a revolutionary new tax structure, known as the Up-C, has become increasingly popular, particularly in instances where an LLC is being taken public. In such an Up-C IPO, a newly formed C corporation is placed on top of the existing LLC, which continues to operate the business. Shares of the C corporation are sold to new investors, and the proceeds are used by the C corporation to buy an interest in the LLC. Meanwhile, the legacy owners of the LLC (typically, founders and private investment funds) retain their interests in the LLC, while receiving exchange rights that allow them to swap their LLC interests for equivalent-value shares of the C corporation. In addition, the legacy owners often receive the benefit of tax receivables agreements (TRAs), which provide that the owners will receive a specified percentage (usually 85 percent) of the tax benefits to the C corporation resulting from future exchanges. In combination, these features seem to provide a near-nirvana of tax efficiency. It is therefore unsurprising that the popularity of Up-Cs is growing at an exponential rate.

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October 17, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1257

IRS Logo 2Lima News editorial: Jim Jordan Is the Conscience of Conservatives:

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s growing stature on Capitol Hill makes him an easy choice for re-election in the 4th Congressional District over Democrat Janet Garrett. ...

Another hearing saw him push for impeachment proceedings against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, saying the IRS leader lied to Congress.

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October 17, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 16, 2016

NY Times:  The Wheaton College Professor Wore A Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job

HawkinsFollowing up on my previous posts:

New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job, by Ruth Graham:

When Larycia Hawkins, the first black woman to receive tenure at Wheaton College, made a symbolic gesture of support for Muslims, the evangelical college became divided over what intellectual freedom on its campus really meant. 

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October 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Filing Taxes Should Be As Easy As Ordering Pizza, Obama Says

PizzaWired, Filing Taxes Should Be as Easy as Ordering Pizza, Obama Says:

The Situation Room is not as gee-whiz as you think it is. Take it from someone who knows: President Obama.

“I always imagined the Situation Room would be this super cool thing, it’d be like Tom Cruise in The Minority Report,” Obama, the guest editor of WIRED’s November issue, said during a lengthy interview with Joi Ito of MIT’s Media Lab and Editor-in-Chief Scott Dadich. “It’s not like that at all.”

In a wide-ranging conversation, the president described the tech gap between the public and private sectors. (Guess which side has better gear?) ...

“There’s a whole bunch of work we need to do around getting government to be more customer-friendly,” Obama said, adding that filing taxes should be “at least as easy as ordering a pizza or an airline ticket.”

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October 16, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5. The #1 papers is now #24 in all-time downloads among 12,265 tax papers):

  1. [3,532 Downloads]  Families Facing Tax Increases Under Trump's Latest Tax Plan, by Lily L. Batchelder (NYU)
  2. [268 Downloads]  Transfer Pricing Money: The Chevron Case, by Richard J. Vann (Sydney) & Graeme S. Cooper (Sydney)
  3. [185 Downloads]  Law and Macroeconomics: The Law and Economics of Recessions, by Yair Listokin (Yale)
  4. [168 Downloads]  Taxation and Human Rights: A Delicate Balance, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. 2017, Michigan)
  5. [146 Downloads]  Capital Taxation in an Age of Inequality, by Edward Kleinbard (USC)

October 16, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

39% Fewer Law Schools Participate In AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference (Compared To 2012)

AALS (2017)The AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference concluded yesterday, with 86 law schools participating in the hiring interviews, down 3.3% from last year (89) and 39.4% from 2012 (142).

October 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (12)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1256: The IRS Spent $12 Million For Microsoft Cloud-Based Email Archive That Was Incompatible With Its On-Premises Email System And Never Used

IRS Logo 2Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Review of the Enterprise E-Mail System Acquisition (2016-20-080):

The IRS currently maintains an on-premises e‑mail environment that does not have archive capability. The existing system hardware is approaching manufacturer end-of-support and is experiencing numerous failures resulting in a significantly increased workload on enterprise e‑mail support staff. If the IRS does not efficiently upgrade its e-mail environment, it could adversely affect the IRS’s ability to effectively perform tax administration.

The IRS purchased subscriptions for an enterprise e-mail system that, as it turned out, it could not use. The purchase was made without first determining project infrastructure needs, integration requirements, business requirements, security and portal bandwidth, and whether the subscriptions were technologically feasible on the IRS enterprise.

IRS Information Technology organization executives made a management decision to consider the enterprise e-mail project an upgrade to existing software and not a new development project or program. Therefore, the Information Technology organization did not follow the Internal Revenue Manual Enterprise Life Cycle guidance. The IRS authorized the $12 million purchase of subscriptions over a two-year period between June 2014 and June 2016. However, the software to be used via the purchased subscriptions was never deployed.

Figure 1

The IRS may have violated the bona fide needs rule when it purchased the subscriptions using Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 appropriations and did not deploy the software subscriptions in those years. In addition, the IRS violated Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements by not using full and open competition to purchase these subscriptions.

Bloomberg BNA, IRS Wasted $12 Million on Failing E-Mail System, IG Reports:

Lacking the ability to archive all e-mails on site is especially troubling considering the blowback the agency has faced for the last several years, Douglas Mancino, a partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP told Bloomberg BNA today. Members of the House Freedom Caucus are vying to impeach the IRS commissioner, saying he misled Congress and alleging the agency destroyed e-mails showing evidence of its scrutinizing of conservative groups. The agency’s records retention was also at the heart of a recent lawsuit (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. IRS, D.D.C., No. 1:13-cv-01559).

The IRS strongly disagrees with the notion that it wasted taxpayer dollars or didn’t follow appropriate practices, Gina Garza, the chief information officer, said in a response letter included in the report. “The IRS takes seriously our obligation to manage taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and effective manner possible,” she said. “The IRS remains committed to continuously improve our IT systems and processes.”

But Mancino differed. “The IRS expects taxpayers to have record-retention policies that extend for years, particularly for major corporate records, including when they’re maintained in electronic format. One would think the IRS itself would think along the same lines and have the same policies, especially in the environment of the last five or six years,” he said. The findings show mismanagement and spending that would be considered “a career-limiting move” in the corporate world, he said.

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October 16, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

University Of Houston Obtains Injunction Barring South Texas From Rebranding Itself 'Houston College Of Law'

Houston South TexasFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): Houston Chronicle, UH Wins Temporary Injunction in Legal Battle Against Rival Law College:

A federal judge ruled Friday that South Texas College of Law must stop using its new name - displayed on prominent billboards around town - until it resolves a bitter legal dispute with the University of Houston regents.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison granted a temporary injunction in a 42-page ruling that found South Texas's new name, Houston College of Law, had created confusion among consumers and caused a "substantial threat of irreparable injury" to the University of Houston Law Center.

The facts "weigh heavily in favor" of UH prevailing in the case, Ellison said.

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October 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Presidential Campaign Tax News

Update On Dan Markel Murder Investigation

Adelson FamilyJonathan Turley (George Washington), The Murder of Professor Dan Markel: Confession of Contract Killer Raises Questions Over Role of Wendi Adelson:

The clear effort of the police is now to build a case against the Adelsons. While previously the effort seemed focused on Charlie Adelson, it now appears to be also focusing on Wendi Adelson. Clearly, someone hired these hit men and they did not spontaneously decide to kill a law professor. The obvious suspects are the Adelsons and they remain prominent references in the warrants and this confession. With Rivera’s confession and deal, the pressure will be even greater on Magbanua to cut a deal. Her cooperation may be the ultimate goal of this building investigation and the final straw before the arrest of one of the Adelsons, who are clearly the ultimate targets for the investigators.

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October 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1255

IRS Logo 2Government Executive, White House Accused of Bypassing Rules on Access to Taxpayer Information:

In the latest in a long effort to prove White House interference with the Internal Revenue Service, the right-leaning legal group Cause of Action Institute released a 67-page investigative report saying President Obama has “circumvented the congressionally created and authorized procedures for accessing confidential taxpayer information.”

Writing in the context of the three-year-old political controversy over alleged political “targeting” by the IRS’s Exempt Organizations division, Cause of Action explored “recent IRS misuse and unauthorized release of confidential taxpayer information and the possible role of a detailee program in the Office of the White House Counsel that may have provided access to the protected information.”

The report cites two examples of alleged political abuse of private taxpayer information. One involved a 2010 charge that then-Obama Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee in a call with reporters questioned the sufficiency of taxes paid by Koch Industries, news of which launched an inspectors general probe (never released) into whether the Kansas businessmen’s tax returns were reviewed at the White House.

A second example the legal group cited was a November 2012 instance in which the IRS allegedly gave the journalism group ProPublica “confidential application files of certain conservative groups seeking tax exempt status.”

The Obama team allegedly accomplished the interference by “relying on individual consent forms that were never intended for use by the president,” Cause of Action wrote. “The practice has allowed the president to avoid the reporting requirements and limitations placed on presidential access to taxpayer information by the Tax Reform Act of 1976.”

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October 15, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)