TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Clinton Proposes Small Business Standard Tax Deduction

Hillary Logo (2016)Factsheet, Hillary Clinton Will Make Life Easier for Small Business at Every Step of the Way:

Work to create a new standard deduction for small businesses—like the one available to individual filers. This proposal will vastly simplify filing for small businesses and entrepreneurs—whether they’re running a business out of their own home, managing a shop on Main Street, or selling online through platforms like Etsy and eBay. Rather than having to track and file forms documenting their overhead costs—potentially including transportation, computer and phone use, maintaining an office, and more—a small business would be offered the option of taking a single, simple deduction. Hillary will ask her Treasury Department to bring together small business owners and leading experts to design this new standard deduction, including its limits and parameters, which existing expenses could voluntarily be replaced, and measures to prevent gaming and abuse—all to advance the goal of making it far easier for small businesses to file their taxes. This proposal would be focused on true small businesses, with restrictions preventing larger businesses or high-income taxpayers from claiming it. Small businesses could still opt to track and deduct their expenses individually, just like individual filers.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republican Congressional Tax Writers Oppose Proposed Debt-Equity Regs

NY Times:   Report Accuses Mexico’s President Of Plagiarism In Law School Thesis

PlagiarismNew York Times, Report Accuses Mexico’s President of Plagiarism in Law School Thesis:

Already reeling from corruption scandals and a declining security situation, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico was accused on Sunday of plagiarizing nearly a third of his law school thesis, according to a report by an investigative journalist. ...

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge In Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena To See If Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Implants For Mother Of Hit Man's Children

Adelson (Charlie)Following up on Saturday's post, Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder:

ABA Journal, Judge in Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena for Breast Implant Payment Records:

A judge in Florida has approved a subpoena for medical records showing who paid for breast enhancement surgery for a woman whose name has surfaced as a possible witness in the murder-for-hire case against two men accused of killing Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

Forward, Does ‘Dr. Boobner’ Surgery Prove Missing Link in Dan Markel Murder Mystery?:

Prosecutors investigating the mysterious murder of Florida law professor Dan Markel believe a woman’s breast augmentation surgery — performed by a surgeon who markets himself as “Dr. Boobner” — provides a crucial tie between the man accused of killing him and his ex-wife’s family.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

IRS Launches Sharing Economy Website For Airbnb Hosts, Uber Drivers

AUIRS, Sharing Economy Tax Center:

If you use one of the many online platforms available to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides, or to connect and provide a number of other goods or services, you’re involved in what is sometimes called the sharing economy.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Minnesota (-33%), Oregon (-43%) Law Schools Welcome Much Smaller 1L Classes Compared to 2011

The IRS Scandal, Day 1202

IRS Logo 2Roll Call, Freedom Caucus' Jordan Eyes Another Push to Oust IRS Chief:

Rep. Jim Jordan and other conservatives are reviving efforts to press the House to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen as the embattled agency head tries to woo Democrats and undecided Republicans.

The Ohio Republican, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said in an interview that he and other allies were weighing the use of procedural tactics similar to the July bid by Louisiana GOP Rep. John Fleming to bring up an impeachment resolution as a privileged measure bypassing committee consideration. The measure calls for formal impeachment of Koskinen for misstatements and a failure to cooperate with a House investigation of the IRS' handling of tax-exempt status requests from conservative groups.

Congress didn't act on the measure before it left for a seven-week recess. And because the House did not take it up within two legislative days, Fleming would have to offer another one after Labor Day.

"We may have to bring that up again. We'll see," Jordan said. He said members of the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives would keep the pressure on Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and others in leadership to take action when Congress returns after Labor Day.

"We are committed to holding John Koskinen and the IRS accountable for what took place there. So, we can do that in a formal way, which is through hearings … and vote it out of the Judiciary Committee and move that direction, or we can look at going to the floor," Jordan said.

Continue reading

August 23, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, August 22, 2016

What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends On Which Taxman Asks

Amazon logoBloomberg: What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends on Which Taxman Asks, by Gaspard Sebag & David Kocieniewski:

Jeff Bezos’s relentless focus on user experience has helped him make Amazon the most valuable e-commerce company in the world. But regulators in Europe and the U.S. say that the value Amazon places on the technology behind that experience varies radically depending on which side of the Atlantic it’s on—and which appraisal will lower its tax bill.

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Women Ascend In Deanships As Law Schools Undergo Dramatic Change

ABA 2

ABA Perspectives: A Magazine For and About Women Lawyers, Vol. 24, No. 4, Summer 2016, at 8:

In September, [Lewis & Clark Dean Jennifer] Johnson will host the first Gathering of Women Law School Deans, a day-long event to facilitate conversations on topics of mutual interest. The challenges are especially acute now as the world of legal education undergoes a seismic shift. ...

[W]omen law deans and their male counterparts are restructuring, innovating, and charting essential decisions that will affect the future of legal education. "The qualities of a good dean are a willingness to consult broadly on the issues that you face, while not bothering the faculty on matters they don't want to be bothered with," says [former Georgetown Dean Judith] Areen, adding, "it takes judgment."

Rising Number of  Women Law Deans
As of July 31, 2016, 61 women—a solid 30 percent—hold the position of law dean in ABA-approved law schools, and the number is likely to increase by the start of the next academic year. Since 2006, the number of women law deans has doubled, and it has more than quadrupled since 1997 when only 14 women held the title of law dean. ... The percentage of women law deans still lags behind that of full-time women professors, who account for 41 percent of faculty, ... and even further behind that of women law students, who constituted 49.3 percent of the 1Ls in 2014-15.

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ:  Republicans Take New Tack On Taxing Companies’ Overseas Profits

Wall Street Journal, Republicans Take New Tack on Taxing Companies’ Overseas Profits:

President Ronald Reagan once chided government’s approach to the economy as following this mantra: “If it moves, tax it.”

Today’s Republicans are following Mr. Reagan’s ideas by trying the exact opposite approach. The tax plans from House Republicans and presidential candidate Donald Trump stop aiming at the moving target of U.S. companies’ foreign profits. Their plans would alter existing rules so thoroughly that companies would get little advantage from cross-border tax maneuvers they perfected over decades and move the U.S. toward taxing immobile parts of the economy.

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

13 Signs You’ve Gone To The Wrong Law School

Bitter Lawyer, 13 Signs You’ve Gone to the Wrong Law School:

[M]ost law schools are buzzing with new activity, with first-year students in the middle of orientation or about to head off to start their studies. But what if it’s all a big mistake? What if you’ve gone to the wrong law school? Here are thirteen important things to look for to determine if you’ve made the wrong decision. ...

2.  There is a tip jar at the front of each classroom. Professors manage to mention it at least twice during each lecture.
3.  The new career services director—the fourth one at the school in the last five months—is younger than you. You are 23. ...
8.  For internet access, law school administrators give out the Wifi password to the Holiday Inn’s wireless network next door. ...

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Law Prof Humility: Self-Promotion v. Self-Adulation

C.S. LewisLawProfBlawg, Humble Is The Path Of The Law Professor:

I remember back when I started in academia.  Then, giants roamed the earth.  Professors who were very humble, yet who had done great things.  They had argued before the Supreme Court, they had published in high-ranking journals, they had MADE law, published casebooks, and a whole host of other things.  The Supreme Court cited them. You never knew any of this unless you opened their CV, and often times, even some of those things remained hidden.  They were very keen on learning about you, touting the successes of their students, and they went out of their way to help you, with only one condition: Pay it forward.  They still roam the earth, but I fear they are becoming extinct.

Some might say these giants didn’t know how to market themselves, but I think the opposite is true.  They marketed themselves humbly.  They advocated for ideas, and any glory came from the ideas, not the person.  They advocated for others, and through helping others earned their reputation as giants.

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Is Third Highest In World Among 173 Countries, Behind Only Chad, United Arab Emirates

Tax Foundation logoTax Foundation, Corporate Income Tax Rates around the World, 2015:

It is well known that the United States has the highest corporate income tax rate among the 34 industrialized nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, it is less well known how the United States stacks up against countries throughout the entire world. Expanding the sample of countries and tax jurisdictions to 173, the U.S.’s corporate tax rate of 39 percent is the third highest in the world, tied with Puerto Rico and lower only than the United Arab Emirates and Chad, which have rates of 55 and 40 percent, respectively. The U.S. tax rate is 16 percentage points higher than the worldwide average of 22.8 percent and a little more than 9 percentage points higher than the worldwide GDP-weighted average of 29.8 percent. As with the average tax rate among industrialized nations, the average worldwide tax rate has been declining in the past ten years, pushing the United States farther from the norm. This worldwide decline in corporate tax rates can been seen in all regions of the world.

Table 1

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1201: Larry Tribe Says 'IRS Is Engaged In Unconstitutional Discrimination Against Conservative Groups And Must Be Halted'—'Inexcusable Abuse'

IRS Logo 2Overlawrered: Tweet of the Day: Laurence Tribe on IRS Ideological Targeting, by Walter Olson:

Yesterday Harvard law professor Larry Tribe sent out a tweet brusquely dismissing the IRS targeting episode as a debunked non-scandal. I and others promptly took issue with him, and pointed him toward the August 5 D.C. Circuit opinion laying out the scandal’s genuineness. (I also referenced my Ricochet article summarizing the decision and citing the Inspector General report from Treasury.)

Within an hour or two Prof. Tribe sent this tweet very graciously conceding error, along with several similar.

Tribe

Continue reading

August 22, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (11)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Prestige And Rankings Can Help Law Schools Avoid The Same Fate As The 12% Of Dental Schools That Closed In 1986-1997

DentalFollowing up on my previous posts:

Eric A. Chiappinelli (Texas Tech), Like Pulling Teeth: How Dental Education's Crisis Shows the Way Forward for Law Schools:

Nearly all observers of the current law school crisis treat legal education as a unique discipline. In their view, legal education as a whole, and individual law schools, have nothing to learn from outsiders that would be useful in reacting to, or thriving in the face of, the radical changes in legal education that have resulted from the collapse of the admissions market.

I take an entirely different approach. I believe legal education is not sui generis. In fact, another profession faced a similar crisis. Its schools’ admissions market collapsed because of a fundamental change in the profession itself. Twelve percent of those schools were closed. That profession was dentistry, and the lessons from its crisis are the way forward for legal education and for law schools.

Continue reading

August 21, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clinton, Trump Tax Plan News

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

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

  1. [439 Downloads]  Dark Pools, High-Frequency Trading, and the Financial Transaction Tax: A Solution or Complication?, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  2. [315 Downloads]  The True Economic Effects of Corporate Inversions, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  3. [246 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)
  4. [228 Downloads]  The Trojan Horse of Corporate Integration, by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC)
  5. [218 Downloads]  Executive Pay: What Worked? , by Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple)

August 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

What 'Hamilton' Teaches Lawyers About Telling Our Story

HamiltonABA Journal: What 'Hamilton' Teaches Lawyers About Framing a Story, by Philip N. Meyer (Vermont):

Hamilton is a smash. We all know the story by now. Lin-Manuel Miranda recasts Ron Chernow’s life of Alexander Hamilton as a rap musical tipping the white elitist world of the founders upside down, reinventing the story with a freakishly compelling score and a superb cast of beautiful and talented multi-ethnic actors and actresses. We embrace Miranda’s adaptation because, despite the “tragic” ending, the story is basically an affirmative story wedded to a reimagined version of American history fitting our own time—a narrative that speaks to our best vision of ourselves. Miranda’s Hamilton is the outsider’s assimilationist story, a genius-immigrant’s heroic self-reinvention—as someone with the artistic ability to employ and transform words into the currency of ideas and ideals rising on the meritocratic intellectual and social landscape of the new America. Hamilton’s ascendency, like his hubristic downfall, occurs at the precise historical moment when the country was freeing itself and reinventing itself too.

Miranda’s own genius, and what lawyers can most learn from him, is in his fearless adaptations.

Continue reading

August 21, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Days 1101-1200

August 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1200

IRS Logo 2Canada Free Press, Judicial Watch: IRS Buried Conservative Groups’ Tax-Exempt Applications:

Judicial Watch released more FBI documents demonstrating that the Obama administration deliberately slow-rolled the tax-exempt status applications filed by Tea Party and conservative groups, Truth Revolt reports.

From the start of 2010 and “lasting through the Obama reelection campaign in 2012, the IRS orchestrated a deliberate policy of burying conservative groups’ tax exemption applications in bureaucratic delays,” the watchdog group said.

Group 7822 was a place where applications were sent to gather dust.

Whenever Cincinnati IRS employees took in applications from right-leaning groups,  they were “automatically denied approval and assigned to a special ‘Group 7822’ for an extended ‘inventory’ process while waiting for decisions from IRS headquarters in Washington, DC.”

IRS employees were instructed to delay conservative and Tea Party applications until after President Obama was safely reelected in November 2012. “The strategy relied upon the IRS’ multi-tier “bucketing” system that determined from the time an application was received whether it would be quickly approved or indefinitely delayed,” the Judicial Watch report states.

Continue reading

August 21, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder

Adelson (Charlie)Tallahassee Democrat, State Seeks Breast Enhancement Records in Markel Case:

Prosecutors are seeking medical records that show Dan Markel’s former brother-in-law paid half the cost of breast enhancement surgery for the girlfriend of one of the law professor’s accused killers.

In a Leon County court hearing Friday, Circuit Judge James Hankinson approved the subpoena for the medical records of Katherine Magbanua.

Magbanua is the suspected link between Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, who have been charged with first-degree murder in Markel’s shooting, and the family of the 41-year-old professor’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson.

Continue reading

August 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pass-Through Income And The Top 1%

ABA Drops Probe Of Alleged Discrimination By BYU Law School Against LGTB, Ex-Mormon Students

BYU (2016)Following up on my previous posts:

ABA Journal, BYU Law School Says ABA Probe Is Closed; Group Had Alleged Religious Discrimination:

The ABA has dropped its probe of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, according to the school and a group that complained about alleged religious discrimination by the school.

Continue reading

August 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1199

IRS Logo 2Salt Lake City Tribune, Chaffetz Wants to Topple America’s Top Taxman, But Are His Motives Pure?:

The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial recently that scolded Rep. Jason Chaffetz for trying to punish the IRS through the budgeting process because Commissioner John Koskinen won't resign.

The editorial noted that the Utah Republican, by suggesting budget-cutting threats to force Koskinen's hand, could hurt thousands of IRS employees and, by extension, the American people by diminishing the agency's efforts to collect unpaid taxes.

It also called Chaffetz's tactics a form of blackmail to force the commissioner's resignation. Chaffetz asserts that Koskinen should step down because he lied to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which the Utahn heads, about the agency's targeting of conservative groups for audits.

The panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, has called Chaffetz's allegations against Koskinen false. And the Utahn's call for impeachment proceedingsagainst the IRS boss — a procedure almost unheard of for an agency head — seems to be going nowhere.

So Chaffetz is urging Koskinen to bow out for the good of the people and the agency. But I suspect a more sinister motive is at play.

The four-term Utah congressman wants to add to his trophy case, much like the hunters who pay guides thousands of dollars to help them gun down exotic animals so they than can mount heads on their walls.

Continue reading

August 20, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, August 19, 2016

NY Times, WSJ: Race Is On For Valuation Discounts In Family Limited Partnerships Before Effective Date Of New Regulation

DiscountsFollowing up on my previous post, Treasury Issues Proposed Regs To Limit Valuation Discounts For Fractional Interests

New York Times:  Treasury Wants to End Tax Deal for Some Family-Owned Businesses, by Paul Sullivan:

The Treasury Department has moved a step closer to tightening the way family limited partnerships are valued for tax purposes. And the prospect that the tax code could be changed by the end of this year has tax planners pushing their clients to consider stepping up estate and business planning, or risk paying more taxes.

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 1-Year Masters Of Law: Valuable Degree For Working Professionals Or Revenue Lifeline For Law Schools?

Bloomberg: The Juris Masters Program: Natural Evolution or Stop-Gap for Struggling Law Schools?, by Blake Edwards (J.D. 2011, Pepperdine):

It’s not a secret anymore: an increasingly popular way for law schools to boost revenues amid falling JD application numbers is to get students in the door for a masters program.

But while the master of laws degree, or LLM, has long been popular for tax experts or foreign students, a more recent innovation — a single-year, non-JD degree frequently known as a “juris master” or “master’s of jurisprudence” is stirring up a controversy.

Law school leaders say these one-year programs, often aimed at mid-career professionals in red-tape heavy industries like finance and healthcare, are of value in an increasingly complex world. Critics say the schools have just invented a new overpriced degree. ...

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Call For Participants In Tax Discussion Group: Summer 2017 SEALS Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)From Alyssa DiRusso (Cumberland);

I am in the process of proposing a discussion group for SEALS 2017 to discuss assessment and pedagogy in tax courses. Because this will be a discussion group and not a “panel,” participants are still permitted to join a panel presentation as well. Please let me know if you are tentatively interested in being part of the discussion group for purposes of the proposal. You do not need to be a member of SEALS to participate, so long as at least half of the group consists of members. The annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools will be held at The Boca Resort in Boca Raton, Florida, from July 30-August 6. Here is the draft of the discussion group proposal:

Discussion Group: Pedagogy and Assessments in Tax Courses

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Conferences, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number Of Prospective Law Profs Drops 7% From 2015 (42% From 2010)

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), Number of FAR Forms in First Distribution Over Time — 2016:

The first distribution of the FAR AALS forms came out this week. Here are the number of FAR forms in the first distribution for each year since 2009.

FAR

Interesting reader comment about prospective tax profs:

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Seto:  Thinking In More Nuanced Ways About Income And Wealth Inequality

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Theodore Seto (Loyola-L.A.), Thinking in More Nuanced Ways About Income and Wealth Inequality (Jotwell) (reviewing Bariş Kaymak (Université de Montréal) & Markus Poschke (McGill University), The Evolution of Wealth Inequality over Half a Century: The Role of Taxes, Transfers and Technology, 77 J. Monetary Econ. 1 (2016)):

In his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty did us the great service of bringing the problems of wealth and income inequality to the fore. In the process, however, he also may have performed a bit of a disservice – making those problems seem simple, a mere function of the inequality r > g, where r is the rate of return to capital and g is the rate of economic growth. The solution, he suggested, was equally simple: a tax on wealth.

Bariş Kaymak and Markus Poschke, in The Evolution of Wealth Inequality over Half a Century: The Role of Taxes, Transfers and Technology, offer a more complex picture. They construct a general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy over the past half-century, incorporating (1) reduced income taxes on top earners (from a 45% effective rate for the top 1% in 1960 to a 33% effective rate in 2004, and from a 71% effective rate for the top 0.1% in 1960 to a 34% effective rate in 2004), (2) expansion of government transfers from 4.1% to 11.9% of GDP over the same period, and (3) higher pre-tax wage inequalities, which they attribute to technological change. (For these purposes, effective rate is defined as income taxes paid as a percentage of taxable income.) The question they ask and attempt to answer is: To what extent were the observed increases in wealth and income inequality over that period attributable to each of these changes or trends? ...

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Academic Clickbait Works: Articles With 'Phrasing Arousal' Titles Receive Higher Altmetrics Scholarly Impact Scores

AltmetricsFollowing up on my previous post on Using Altmetrics to Measure the Impact of Faculty Scholarship (more here)

Gwilym Lockwood (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics), Academic Clickbait: Articles With Positively-Framed Titles, Interesting Phrasing, and No Wordplay Get More Attention Online:

This article is about whether the factors which drive online sharing of non-scholarly content also apply to academic journal titles. It uses Altmetric scores as a measure of online attention to articles from Frontiers in Psychology published in 2013 and 2014. Article titles with result-oriented positive framing and more interesting phrasing receive higher Altmetric scores, i.e., get more online attention. Article titles with wordplay and longer article titles receive lower Altmetric scores. This suggests that the same factors that affect how widely non-scholarly content is shared extend to academia, which has implications for how academics can make their work more likely to have more impact.

Phys.org, Academic Journal Articles With 'Clickbait-y' Characteristics Are Shared More Widely:

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pro Publica:  IRS Loophole Rewards Excessive Water Use In Drought-Stricken West

Pro PublicaPro Publica, Gimme a Break! IRS Tax Loophole Can Reward Excessive Water Use in Drought-stricken West:

ProPublica’s reporting on the water crisis in the American West has highlighted any number of confounding contradictions worsening the problem: Farmers are encouraged to waste water so as to protect their legal rights to its dwindling supply in the years ahead; Las Vegas sought to impose restrictions on water use while placing no checks on its explosive population growth; the federal government has encouraged farmers to improve efficiency in watering crops, but continues to subsidize the growing of thirsty crops such as cotton in desert states like Arizona.

Today, we offer another installment in the contradictions amid a crisis.

In parts of the western U.S., wracked by historic drought, you can get a tax break for using an abundance of water.

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

UNT-Dallas:  A Brave Little Law School Or A School For Scoundrels?

UNT 2Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Dallas Observer, DCL Is Either a Brave Little Law School That Could or a School for Scoundrels:

Let’s back off 10 feet and look at both the nose and the tail of this rat now gnawing at the city’s new downtown law school. The University of North Texas Dallas College of Law (DCL), about to begin its third year of operation, is threatened with non-accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). In the world of law schools, that would be the death penalty.

It's simple. It's bad. The Texas Board of Law Examiners will not allow a candidate to take the bar exam in Texas, a requirement for becoming a licensed lawyer, unless the candidate has completed the required coursework at an ABA-accredited law school.

The forward end of the problem is captured in the headline of a recent Dallas Morning News editorial urging the ABA to relent and insisting that the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law must be freed to pursue its “audacious, but absolutely vital, mission.”

And that is? Both the News and the dean of the 2-year-old institution tend to talk around the point with a lot of fussy euphemism, but clearly from its very start the school’s special mission has been to produce more law graduates of color and from modest origins than are turned out by the established law schools.

It’s hard to argue with that goal in Texas, where Bar Association members are 81 percent “Caucasian,” according to the ABA, while non-Hispanic whites make up only 43 percent of the population of the state. ...

But, wait. What about the tail-end of the problem? The ugly end. DCL is about to enroll its first class of third-year students, raising total enrollment to about 360. That’s 360 hard-working students who have been scraping up about $15,000 a year in tuition and costs, many if not most of them working at jobs and many with families, toiling in the earnest hope of becoming lawyers and making better lives for themselves and their loved ones.

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1198

IRS Logo 2Washington Times, IRS Vows Action on Tea Party Applications Long Held Up by Targeting:

Under pressure from the federal courts, the IRS did an abrupt about-face this week and said it will finally begin processing some of the tea party applications it has blocked for years — but the agency still refuses to say what the new process will be.

The Texas Patriots Tea Party, which first applied for tax-exempt status more than four years ago and has been blocked ever since, received a notice from the Justice Department on Tuesday saying it is finally going to see some action.

But the department’s attorney, Joseph A. Sergi, said he didn’t have any more details to provide, leaving it unclear whether the agency will move quickly, what sorts of standards it will impose and whether it will require another round of questions for the groups to answer.

“The IRS has decided that it will process the applications of plaintiffs whose applications remain outstanding, including the application for We the People of Texas (Texas Patriots Tea Party). We will be in further contact regarding the application process once we have heard from the IRS,” Mr. Sergi said in a brief note to the tea party group’s attorney.

Continue reading

August 19, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

NY Times:  Hillary Clinton Twists The Knife In Donald Trump’s Tax Proposals

Hillary Trump (2016)New York Times, Hillary Clinton Twists the Knife in Donald Trump’s Tax Proposals:

Hillary Clinton leaned into her plans to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans on Wednesday, denouncing Donald J. Trump’s tax proposals as a boondoggle for billionaires.

“We’re going to tax the wealthy who have made all of the income gains in the last 15 years,” Mrs. Clinton told a crowd in Cleveland. “The superwealthy, corporations, Wall Street,” she declared emphatically, “they’re going to have to invest in education, in skills training, in infrastructure.”

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Galle:  The Law Review Submission Process—A Guide For The Perplexed

Brian Galle (Georgetown), The Law Review Submission Process: A Guide for (and by) the Perplexed:

No one really understands the law review publication process. I certainly don’t. But I do have opinions. Some of them are even informed by data. ... So let’s answer some questions.

The Basics
Q: Since you brought it up, when exactly is the best time to submit?
Q: Sure. First, when do journals actually consider submissions?
Q: It seems like the fall season is kind of short
Q: So how can I tell when the particular journal I want to submit to is open?
Q: Well, is there any downside to submitting too early?
Q: Let’s back up. What are these Expresso and Scholastica thingies?

Strategy: Timing and Expedites
Q: How do I decide which journals to submit to, and when?
Q: Ok. Can you explain what expedited review is?
Q: Does requesting expedited review affect my chances of getting an offer at another journal?
Q: So I don’t necessarily want to request expedited review at Yale after my offer at the Poughkeepsie Journal of Bridge Law?
Q: It sounds like that could take a while. What happens if time runs out on my existing offer before I get any other offers?
Q: What if I just go radio silent for an extra day or two?
Q: Can I pile up offers just to extend my deadline?
Q: Should I expect to hear back from the journals where I request expedited review?
Q: So, I had a deadline from Journal X on Sunday. Journal Y claimed they would reach a decision by Sunday. It’s Sunday night and I’ve heard nothing from Journal Y. What should I do?
Q: A journal told me that they would do a “board review” two days after my deadline expires. Should I turn down the offer in hand?
Q: Should I submit to all the journals at once, or in stages?

Continue reading

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

UC-Berkeley Chancellor Resigns Following Widespread Faculty Criticism; Latest Revelation: Amidst Widespread Budget Cuts University Paid $200,000 To Improve His Image

UC Berkeley Primary Logo Berkeley BlueFollowing up on my previous posts (links below) on the leadership turmoil at UC-Berkeley:

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Arizona Summit Law School Announces Plan To Affiliate With 'Major University'

Arizona Summit Logo (2015)Press Release, Arizona Summit Announces Plan for University Relationship:

Arizona Summit Law School (Summit), one of the nation’s few independent law schools, intends to partner with a major university within the year.

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

'Byzantine Tax Tactics' May Shield Gawker's Assets From Hulk Hogan's $140 Million Judgment

Fortune, Can Tech’s Tattle Tycoon Trump Thiel?:

A Fortune investigation into Gawker Media’s finances reveals that though [founder Nick] Denton is down, he is not out. As the company’s websites assailed tech giants like Alphabet, Apple, and Facebook for byzantine schemes meant to reduce their tax burden, Gawker Media quietly played the same game. Our investigation reveals that Denton is as much a creature of the tech industry as he is a critic—and that Gawker’s slippery but legal tactics may, in the end, help Denton survive Thiel’s crusade with funds to spare.

Gawker

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Grad Class Of 2015 Secured Fewest Private Practice Jobs Since 1996

NALP New LogoNALP, Salaries for New Graduates Rise While Employment Rate Remains Unchanged, Number of Private Practice Jobs Tumbles:

New law school graduates from the Class of 2015 secured fewer private practice jobs than any class since 1996. Nevertheless, the percentage of graduates who found jobs in private practice increased slightly from the previous year, and private practice remains the single largest source of jobs for new law school graduates [data here and here]. ...

Despite a drop in the number of jobs and the graduating class size, this year’s Selected Findings describe a flat employment rate of 86.7%, the same as was measured for the Class of 2014.

After reaching a record high of 91.9% in 2007, the employment rate for law school graduates fell steadily for six years in a row following the recession. Reversing that trend, the employment rate for the Class of 2014 grew by more than two full percentage points, from 84.5% to 86.7%, and has remained at this slightly higher level for the second year in a row. ...

Despite the improved employment rate, the number of jobs obtained has fallen dramatically since 2013, following a period of modest job growth after the recession (see Figure 1). In fact, the number of jobs obtained by members of the Class of 2015 went down in every single job category except for the largest law firms of more than 500 lawyers. The number of entry-level jobs obtained at these large law firms has grown by more than 1,000 over the last four years, but even so, for the Class of 2015 there were still about 1,000 fewer of these positions obtained than there were by the Class of 2009, most of whom were hired before the recession began. 

NALP

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

IRS Migration Data: Taxpayers Leave NY, IL & CA For TX, FL & SC

California GoodbyeFollowing up on my previous post, Skyrocketing Housing Costs, 'Endless' Taxes Prompt Exodus Of Californians; Inequality Worsens As Middle Class Jobs Are 'Vaporized':  Breitbart, California’s Top Export Continues to Be Its Middle Class:

In the latest update by the IRS for the period of 2013 to 2014, California exported a net 57,900 citizens, whose average incomes were $7,100 higher than the state’s average.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) just released its July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 migration data, which “approximates the number of individuals” who moved between states in the U.S.

California was the third largest net exporter of citizens behind Illinois (82,000) and New York (126,800). ...

Texas had the highest net domestic migration in the 2013 to 2014 period, with 229,300. Florida was ranked second in net domestic migration, with 114,400 — which was nearly 4 times as large as third ranking South Carolina (30,100). Colorado followed closely, at 29,500 net domestic migrants, with Washington placing fifth with 27,000.

New Geography, Still Migrating to Texas and Florida: 2013-2014 IRS Data:

The states with the largest net domestic migration losses are no surprise. New York, which has led net domestic out-migration in most recent years, did so again, with the loss of 126,800. Illinois lost the second greatest number of domestic migrants at 82,000. California ranked third, with a loss of 57,900.

Chart 2

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Pepperdine's Small, Targeted 2-Year JD Is Model For Other Law Schools

Pepperdine Law School (2016)Daily Journal, Pepperdine's 2-Year JD Program Meets Modest Goals With Targeted Approach:

Several law schools nationwide started offering two-year law degree programs in recent years to try to combat declining enrollment by attracting students who wanted to enter the working world sooner.

While Pepperdine University School of Law's accelerated offering has only averaged five new enrollees per year in its first four years, school leaders say they are pleased with how the initiative has gone and have no plans to halt it like other institutions have done.

Legal education officials outside of California also expressed confidence Pepperdine could maintain its program and said that small, targeted, two-year J.D. programs may be the most likely to survive among the new ones that have launched. ...

Continue reading

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

Larson:  Developing Critical Thinking Skills And Practice-Ready Lawyers

Joni Larson (Indiana Tech), To Develop Critical Thinking Skills and Allow Students to Be Practice Ready, We Must Move Well Beyond the Lecture Format, 8 Elon L. Rev. 443 (2016):

Casebooks are constructed around the case method of teaching - reading appellate opinions to understand the law. However, when the case method approach is compared to what an attorney is expected to do in practice, there is a definite gap. If students are to emerge from law school with practice ready skills, they must be given the opportunity to learn and practice a variety of skills and develop the necessary qualities that will allow them to effectively and efficiently enter the practice of law.

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1197

IRS Logo 2Forbes: Prediction: Clinton Foundation Will Pass IRS Investigation Just Fine, by Robert W. Wood:

After considerable prodding, the IRS has said—seemingly begrudgingly—that it is looking into the Clinton Foundation. Even before the latest email revelations, Republicans have criticized the Foundation and the unparalleled access they say donors have had to government policymakers. The unsavory “pay to play” label has often been used to describe the Foundation headed by a former President and Secretary of State. House Republicans formally asked the IRS to review whether the Clinton Foundation is complying with the rules governing its tax-exempt status.

More recently, Judicial Watch released a new batch of State Department emails showing close and sometimes overlapping interests between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. The documents raise new questions about whether the Clinton Foundation ever rewarded donors with access and influence at the State Department. It is a charge Mrs. Clinton has faced in the past, and has always denied. Judicial Watch President Tom Filton said in a press release that Clinton “hid” the emails on purpose. ...

The newly released emails give new impetus to Republican requests to audit the Clinton Foundation. IRS Commissioner Koskinen wrote that the IRS was looking into it. Mr. Koskinen is the same IRS official Republicans have been trying to impeach over the IRS targeting scandal. Mr. Koskinen denies any wrongdoing. As discussed here, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), lead the push for the IRS to investigate. One of the complaints dates to the Peter Schweizer book, “Clinton Cash.” It says that Hillary’s State Department funneled at least $55 million to Laureate Education Inc. Laureate donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. ...

[I]t seems hard to imagine that this Foundation will face serious scrutiny. Even if there is official criticism, it will surely come post-election. Some questions relate to pay to play donations said to facilitate access to Mrs. Clinton. Moreover, there have long been complaints that the Clintons have not defined how they decide to designate speaking fees as their own income or as assigned to the Foundation. The tax system generally does not allow that kind of choice without tax consequences. In any event, the part of the IRS investigating the Clinton Foundation is the Exempt Organizations Division, the unit formerly run by Lois Lerner. She took the Fifth, retired and faced no charges over the targeting of conservative organizations.

Continue reading

August 18, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Law School Grads Have It Worse Than Vet School Grads

DVM360, Law School Grads or Vet School Grads: Who's Got It Worse?:

[T]he number of law school graduates exceeds the number of available positions by a ratio of more than two to one. This ratio causes two notable issues: the average wage earned by new law school graduates is low, and the underemployment rate is high.

Of course, this got me thinking about the veterinary profession, as underemployment is one of its primary concerns. We’ve certainly battled with the perception of “too many” veterinarians in recent years, but yet: Do we know how many veterinarians would need to graduate in a single year to be truly “too many”?

LV

Continue reading

August 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (6)

Akron Law Review Publishes Annual Tax Issue

ABA President-Elect Calls For Law Schools To Innovate

ABA Logo (2016)National Law Journal, ABA President-Elect Hilarie Bass Calls for Law Schools to Innovate:

As the ABA’s new president-elect, Hilarie Bass is inheriting some pointed questions about the ABA’s role in a changing legal landscape. The Greenberg Traurig co-president says her years as a litigator have prepared her to face them. ....

[T]here are a lot of things in the legal education system that aren’t working right now. One of Bass’ priorities for her term in office is to help law schools evaluate how to train lawyers for the future. She’s currently on a “listening tour,” talking to deans and education researchers.

Continue reading

August 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

South Dakota Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinic Director

South Dakota Law School LogoThe University of South Dakota School of Law invites applications for the position of Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Director:

The position is non-tenure track and paid out of a federal grant beginning no later than January 2017. Continued employment is contingent on availability of grant funding.

Continue reading

August 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)