TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Tale Of Two (Arkansas) Law Schools: Enrollment, Student Quality, And Bar Passage

ARKArkansas Project, Bowen School Of Law Bar Passage Rate Drops To Lowest Level Since 2010:

UALR Bowen School Of Law’s first-time bar passage rate on the July 2016 bar exams was the lowest in over half a decade, Dean Michael Schwartz announced yesterday afternoon at a faculty meeting. Schwartz described the results as “less-than-satisfactory” and “disappointing to me.” Schwartz said: Our first time rate was 66 percent. Fayetteville’s was 78 percent.

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

More On The Critique Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program

Florida Logo (GIF)Following up on yesterday's posts:

From a reader:

As an outsider who has watched this blog and seen this drama (and I use that term advisedly) unfold, I get the distinct impression that Prof. Rhee has an axe to grind. In any case, anyone who sits back and peruses this report from an informed perspective will see that this seemingly objective analysis is anything but that. Let’s consider a few facts:

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September 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1227

IRS Logo 2Letter From Reginald J. Brown (WilmerHale, Washington, D.C.) on Behalf of John Koskinen to House Judiciary Committee (Sept. 16, 2016):

As you know, Commissioner Koskinen deeply respects the work and authority of the Committee and has agreed to testify under oath on Wednesday, September 21, as requested. He hopes to address some of the confusion regarding basic facts and to explain the reforms that the IRS has implemented during his tenure to address unacceptable practices that took place before he arrived at the agency. We appreciate the professionalism and substantive nature of the Committee's inquiry to date under your leadership and hope that you will find the substance and tone of Commissioner Koskinen's testimony constructive and respectful as well.

We are concerned, however, that some may believe that Commissioner Koskinen's voluntary appearance at this hearing is an appropriate substitute for regular order and the traditional approach to addressing impeachment proceedings. As you know, the scheduled hearing, with an opening statement and timed rounds of Member-directed questions on any topic of their choosing, does not reflect the full range of deliberate and balanced procedures that this Committee has developed to ensure fairness and legitimacy in an actual impeachment inquiry.  Those procedures include the right to make opening and closing statements, the right to call and cross-examine witnesses, the right to present evidence, the right to examine all evidence obtained by the Committee, the right to make evidentiary objections for the record, the right to be formally and directly represented in proceedings by counsel, and the right to respond to all evidence cited by the Committee.

Should the Committee proceed to a formal impeachment inquiry, we would expect to be allowed to exercise those rights to present a robust legal and factual defense to the many false allegations that have been lodged against Commissioner Koskinen. Testimony under oath from a single witness-before he has even been allowed to see any evidence against him and with no right to present corroborating evidence to address false or mistaken allegations-is no substitute. Indeed a process of testimony followed immediately by a floor vote, with no established standards, validated evidence, or findings of fact would be more akin to a foreign show trial than the solemn process contemplated by the Framers and generations of Congressional leaders, including Members of this Committee. ...

We hope that, following Wednesday's hearing, this Committee will decide against reporting to the House floor a resolution authorizing a formal impeachment proceeding. However, should the Committee take that step, we are fully prepared to assist the Committee in developing a solid and vetted factual and legal record on which Members can rely in exercising their constitutional responsibility. After reviewing whatever documentary evidence the Committee gathers, we would expect to be allowed to make objections, cross-examine each witness that the resolution's proponents put forward, and call our own witnesses to expose what we believe are blatant factual errors in the resolution. We would also identify the proposed standards for impeachment in the resolution that are inconsistent with the Constitution's commands. We are confident that a complete record would show that the impeachment of Commissioner Koskinen is wholly unwarranted.

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September 17, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Polsky Presents Elite Tax Professionals And The Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga Today at Florida

Polsky (2015)Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Elite Tax Professionals Behaving Badly: The Sad and Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga at Florida today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner:

For at least the past 15 years, many private equity fund managers have used a technique—known as a management fee waiver—to try to claim their salaries as capital gains. Recently, the Treasury and IRS explained that, at least in the government’s view, the vast majority of fee waivers do not actually provide the claimed tax result. Reports of recent audit activity relating to fee waivers suggest that the fee waiver saga may finally be coming to an end, but not before billions of dollars of tax revenues have been permanently lost.

While much has been written on the substantive legal issues surrounding fee waivers, there has been no discussion of the prominent role that leading tax professionals have played in drafting, justifying, and defending fee waivers. This article discusses this sad and sordid aspect of the fee waiver saga. It is not a pretty picture.

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September 16, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Daniel Hemel (Chicago) discusses two articles recently posted to SSRN—one by Yair Listokin (Yale), the other by Thomas Brennan (Harvard) and Alvin Warren (Harvard)—which offer illuminating (and divergent) perspectives on the role of realization and deferral in a low interest rate environment.

HemelListokin’s contribution, How To Think About Income Tax When Interest Rates Are Zero, 151 Tax Notes 959 (May 16, 2016), begins with the observation that “[t]he significance of many of income tax law’s core concepts depends on the interest rate.” One example is the realization requirement: Listokin writes that “[w]ith interest rates at zero, the government is indifferent as to whether a taxpayer realizes income now or in the future—as long as the taxpayer’s tax rate is constant across years.” As a result, Listokin says, the tax curriculum and tax law scholarship should focus less on doctrines like the realization requirement that affect the timing of tax payments, and more on doctrines like stepped-up basis that affect the rate at which (and amount on which) tax is paid.

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September 16, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marty McMahon Responds To Critique Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program

McMahonFollowing up on this morning's post, Florida Law Prof Writes 24-Page Critique Of Graduate Tax Program: Go Online Or Shut Down — 'Hiring More Tax Faculty Is Like Hiring More Sailors To Man The Titanic Once It Has Hit The Iceberg':  TaxProf Blog op-ed: Dear TaxProf Community, by Martin J. McMahon, Jr. (James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar and Director, Graduate Tax Program, Florida):

As the Director of the University of Florida College of Law Graduate Tax Program, I can assure the TaxProf Community that the UF Graduate Tax Program is and will continue to be as strong as is has been for decades.  Once again this year, we have an excellent group of 85 full-time students and last year’s graduates have had success in seeking post-graduation employment as tax lawyers.  Our students, as they always have been, are being taught principally by a highly dedicated and knowledgeable full-time faculty that has produced many tax textbooks, treatises, and articles. We have, and will continue to have, a robust curriculum, including our specialized LL.M. in international tax, which currently enrolls twenty-two students from all around the globe. We have hired a respected consultant who is on-site as an interim director of Graduate Tax Admissions to modernize our application process and expand our outreach to prospective graduate tax students. Some recent retirements by long-time tax faculty members, who are continuing to teach as adjuncts courses in which they had a particular expertise, have opened up three faculty slots which we are seeking to fill this year, as was recently announced on Tax Prof Blog.

Professor Robert Rhee’s highly inaccurate and distorted memorandum critiquing the University of Florida Graduate Tax Program was prepared by him as an individual, not in any official capacity. He did not consult with any member of the tax faculty or directly ask any tax faculty member for any information regarding the long-standing success of the program before preparing and publishing his memorandum. Thus, his memorandum reflects very limited knowledge regarding the long-standing success of the Graduate Tax Program in educating young tax lawyers and helping them to find employment upon graduation.

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September 16, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (16)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

NY Times:  Tax Lawyers — The Big Winners In Hillary Clinton’s 'Fiendishly Complicated' Tax Plan

Clinton KaineNew York Times: One Beneficiary of Clinton’s Complex Tax Plan: Tax Lawyers, by James B. Stewart:

It’s hard to imagine a tax code more complicated than the one we already have.

Hillary Clinton has come up with one.

“This isn’t tax reform,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist who served as director of the Congressional Budget Office and is now president of the American Action Forum, a conservative, pro-growth advocacy group. “It’s anti-reform. She’s layering on even more complexity.”

His views were echoed by a number of tax experts I spoke to this week about Mrs. Clinton’s tax plans, as I did earlier about Donald J. Trump’s.

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September 16, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Florida Law Prof Writes 24-Page Critique Of Graduate Tax Program: Go Online Or Shut Down — 'Hiring More Tax Faculty Is Like Hiring More Sailors To Man The Titanic Once It Has Hit The Iceberg'

Florida Logo (GIF)Following up on my previous posts on the turmoil surrounding Florida's graduate tax program (here, here, here, and here), I received this remarkable 24-page hard-hitting letter about the program by Robert J. Rhee, John H. and Marylou Dasburg Professor of Law.  The letter arrived in an email directly from "Faculty Copier #2" along with an anonymous note stating that "the law school has never been in more disarray."  The sender claimed that he/she obtained the letter through the Florida sunshine law (the Rhee letter concludes "[p]lease note that since this letter is written for the benefit and in furtherance of law school business, it is subject to the Florida 'sunshine' and record law").  Here are some excerpts from the letter, followed by a response I received from Dean Laura Rosenbury for publication on TaxProf Blog:

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September 16, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (16)

Harvard Business School:  Problems Unsolved And A Nation Divided — The State Of U.S. Competitiveness 2016

ProblemsHarvard Business School:  Problems Unsolved and a Nation Divided: The State of U.S. Competitiveness 2016, by Michael E. Porter, Jan W. Rivkin & Mihir A. Desai (with Manjari Raman):

Harvard Business School (HBS) launched the U.S. Competitiveness Project in 2011 as a multi-year, fact-based effort to understand the disappointing performance of the American economy, its causes, and the steps needed by business and government to restore economic growth and prosperity shared across all Americans. We draw on surveys of HBS alumni and the general public to solicit views about the state of U.S. competitiveness as well as the steps needed to restore it.

This report provides an overview of our findings on the evolution of the U.S. economy, the state of U.S. competitiveness in 2016, and priorities for the next President and Congress, drawing on our research and the May–June 2016 surveys of alumni and the general public.

While a slow recovery is underway, fundamentally weak U.S. economic performance continues and is leaving many Americans behind. The federal government has made no meaningful progress on the critical policy steps to restore U.S. competitiveness in the last decade or more. ...

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September 16, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1226

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial, The Impeachment Distraction: Koskinen and the IRS Deserve Rebuke, but Not If It Costs the Senate:

House Speaker Paul Ryan has managed to unite his fractious GOP caucus around some common campaign goals. So it’s a pity that two months from an election some House Members are driving an issue that could cost Republicans control of the Senate.

Louisiana Rep. John Fleming on Tuesday moved on a privileged resolution to force the House to vote as soon as Thursday to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The IRS chief has earned public opprobrium, but the timing of this effort could boomerang and end up making the IRS less accountable.

These columns have been out front in documenting Mr. Koskinen’s failures after he promised to clean up the IRS following its political targeting of conservative nonprofits. Mr. Koskinen has failed to be candid with Congress and defied subpoenas. Documents requested by Congress were destroyed on his watch. He’s done nothing to reform the agency and he has supported a new draft regulation, now in temporary abeyance, that would reinforce the agency’s political vetting.

The question is whether impeachment is the right remedy at the current political moment. The case for it is that Congress needs to reassert its own powers against a runaway executive branch. President Obama has diminished the power of the purse and won’t prosecute contempt citations against witnesses who refuse to testify on Capitol Hill. Impeachment is about all Congress has left.

The problem is that a trial is doomed to fail in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is required to convict. There are differing views on whether a House impeachment vote triggers an automatic Senate trial, but if it does this could require vulnerable GOP incumbents to stay in Washington at the height of the campaign. This would be a gift to Democrats trying to regain the majority. ...

No doubt many House Members genuinely believe Mr. Koskinen deserves impeachment, but other Republicans have legitimate doubts that his offenses rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” mentioned in the Constitution. An impeachment trial now will divide Republicans while uniting Democrats. Why take the risk when Mr. Koskinen is leaving office in a mere four months?

Congress needs to think seriously about how to reassert its powers no matter who wins the White House. But the reality is that a Senate Democratic majority would make that task impossible. Republicans should focus on re-electing their majorities in Congress as a check on the next President, instead of making self-defeating political gestures.

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September 16, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Former Law School Dean Accused Of Sexual Harassment Sues UC-Berkeley For Racial Discrimination

ChoudryFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  National Law Journal, Ex-Law Dean Sues Berkeley for Racial Bias in Handling of Harassment Claims:

The ex-dean of UC-Berkeley’s law school has accused the university of racial bias in its aggressive response to sexual harassment allegations once they were aired publicly.

In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Oakland, lawyers for Sujit Choudhry argue that Berkeley has a long history of letting sexual harassment slide when white professors were involved. By contrast, the university has made Choudhry a “pariah” on campus, the suit alleges.

“By targeting Professor Choudhry, who is of South Asian descent and a non-U.S. citizen, the university hopes to deflect attention from its failure to meaningfully punish Caucasian faculty and administrators who were found to have committed appalling sexual misconduct,” the complaint says.

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September 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Florida Seeks To Hire Three Tax Profs

Florida Logo (GIF)I previously blogged the news that Florida is seeking to hire three Tax Profs (including an Eminent Scholar in Taxation Chair and a Professor of Practice).  Here is the official ad:

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September 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lederman Presents Does Enforcement Crowd Out Voluntary Tax Compliance? Today At Boston College

Ledderman (2016)Leandra Lederman (Indiana) presents To What Extent Does Enforcement Crowd Out Voluntary Tax Compliance? at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti and Diane Ring:

Governments commonly use deterrence methods, such as audits and the imposition of penalties, to foster compliance with tax laws. Although this approach is consistent with economic modeling of tax compliance, some scholars caution that deterrence may backfire, “crowding out” intrinsic motivations to pay taxes and thus reducing compliance. This article analyzes the evidence to date to determine the extent of such an effect. Field studies suggest that deterrence tools, such as audits, generally are highly effective at increasing tax collections but that crowding out may occur in some contexts, with respect to certain subgroups of taxpayers. The article argues that more field studies on compliant taxpayers are needed but that the existing evidence suggests that tax collectors should be careful with the explicit and implicit messages they give taxpayers, so as not to undermine the generally positive effects on compliance of enforcement of the tax laws.

Update:  Shu-Yi Oei blogs the workshop here.

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September 15, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Georgia Welcomes 180 1Ls, Down 5% From Last Year (27% From 2010)

UGA 2The Red & Black, UGA School of Law Working to Increase Enrollment After Five-Year Drop:

The University of Georgia School of Law is experiencing less enrollment than it did five years ago. 

In the last five years, law school enrollment nationwide has been in decline. According to a report from Public Broadcasting Atlanta, all five law schools in Georgia have fewer students enrolled this semester than in the fall of 2011.

Madison Turner, of Suwanee, who graduated from UGA in May with a double major in political science and criminal justice, went through the application process for the University of Georgia School of Law and several other law schools. Turner said throughout the application process, the decrease in enrollment in law schools nationwide was brought up multiple times.

“Around the recession, students were graduating and couldn’t get jobs as attorneys. They were graduating and trying to pay off student loans and couldn’t,” Roseboro said. “So it’s kind of a trickle-down effect, unless people are applying. It’s definitely something not specific to Georgia as far as the lower enrollment. That’s definitely something almost every law school has seen.”

“Yes, nationally there was a drop in applicants to law school,” said Gregory Roseboro, executive director of admissions and diversity programs at UGA Law School. “It’s beginning to change now. Last year applicants were slightly up, but it’s nowhere near where it was, let’s say five or six years ago."

Georgia welcomed 180 1Ls this Fall, down 5% from last year 's 189 (and 27% from 2010's 248).  Georgia's 2016 25%/50%/75% LSAT and GPA are 158/162/163 and 3.47/3.73/3.86. Here are Georgia's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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September 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Barry & Burke:  Ten Notable Corporate Tax Articles of 2014-2015

Jordan M. Barry (San Diego) & Karen C. Burke (Florida), A Brief Review of Corporate Tax Articles 2014-2015,  151 Tax Notes 207 (Apr. 11, 2016):

  1. Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Corporate Taxation and Corporate Social Responsibility, 11 N.Y.U. J.L. & Bus. 1 (2014) (review by Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina))
  2. Steven Bank (UCLA), Historical Perspective on the Corporate Interest Deduction,’ 18 Chapman L. Rev. 29 (2014)
  3. Joshua Blank (NYU), Reconsidering Corporate Tax Privacy, 11 N.Y.U. J.L. & Bus. 31 (2014)
  4. Christopher Borek (Analysis Group, Inc.), Angelo Frattarelli (U.S. Department of Justice) & Oliver Hart (Harvard), Tax Shelters or Efficient Tax Planning? A Theory of the Firm Perspective on the Economic Substance Doctrine, 57 J. L. & Econ. 975 (2014)
  5. Victor Fleischer (San Diego) & Nancy Staudt (Dean, Washington University), The Supercharged IPO, 67 Vand. L. Rev. 307 (2014)
  6. Dick Harvey (Villanova), Corporate Tax Aggressiveness — Recent History and Policy Options, 67 Nat’l Tax. J. 831 (2014)
  7. Stephanie Hoffer (Ohio State) & Dale Oesterle (Ohio State), Tax-Free Reorganizations: The Evolution and Revolution of Triangular Mergers, 108 Nw. U. L. Rev.
    1083 (2014)
  8. Jeffrey Kwall (Loyola-Chicago) & Katherine Wilbur (Varnum, Grand Rapids, MI), The Outer Limits of Realization: Weiss v. Stearn and Corporate Dilution, 17 Fla. Tax Rev. 47 (2015)
  9. Martin McMahon (Florida) & Daniel Simmons (UC-Davis), When Subchapter S Meets Subchapter C, 67 Tax Law. 231 (2014)
  10. Adam Rosenzweig, A Corporate Tax for the Next One Hundred Years: A Proposal for a Dynamic, Self-Adjusting Corporate Tax Rate, 108 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1029 (2014)

Notable Corporate Tax Articles in prior years:

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September 15, 2016 in Poll, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chicago Law Faculty Do Not Join Letter Defending Trigger Warnings And Safe Spaces

Chicago (2016)Wall Street Journal Law Blog, University of Chicago Law School Shouldn’t Be a ‘Safe Space,’ Say Professors:

At the center of the debate roiling higher education over “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” is the University of Chicago. Its administration recently drew national attention by suggesting that campus efforts to accommodate sensitive students and insulate them from potentially upsetting ideas pose a threat to free thought.

A sizable segment of Chicago’s faculty have now entered the fray, attaching their name to a public letter addressed to entering students that takes issue with the university’s firm stand and defends trigger warnings and safe spaces as legitimate checks against intimidation and emotional trauma.

More than 150 professors joined the letter. But it’s interesting to note which names were absent: as of Wednesday, not a single law professors had signed it.

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September 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Capital Without Borders: Wealth Managers And The One Percent

CapitalFollowing up on my previous post, Inside The Secretive World Of Tax-Avoidance Experts:  Brooke Harrington (Copenhagen Business School),  Capital Without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent (Harvard University Press Sept. 2016) (review here):

How do the one percent hold on to their wealth? And how do they keep getting richer, despite financial crises and the myriad of taxes on income, capital gains, and inheritance? Capital Without Borders takes a novel approach to these questions by looking at professionals who specialize in protecting the fortunes of the world’s richest people: wealth managers. Brooke Harrington spent nearly eight years studying this little-known group—including two years training to become a wealth manager herself. She then “followed the money” to the eighteen most popular tax havens in the world, interviewing practitioners to understand how they helped their high-net-worth clients avoid taxes, creditors, and disgruntled heirs—all while staying just within the letter of the law.

Capital Without Borders reveals how wealth managers use offshore banks, shell corporations, and trusts to shield billions in private wealth not only from taxation but from all manner of legal obligations. And it shows how practitioners justify their work, despite evidence that it erodes government authority and contributes to global inequality.

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September 15, 2016 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Walking Meetings Enhance Creativity And Productivity

Wall Street Journal, The Office Walk-and-Talk Really Works:

They don’t require yoga pants or a shower, but the research is clear: Walking meetings count as exercise. ...

Walking meetings are typically held with two or three people over a set route and period—often 30 minutes. They can take place at a nearby park or even in office hallways. Some people are using walking meetings to boost their daily step counts. Others are spurred by mounting research on the physical and mental benefits of being more mobile at work. ...

Walking meetings have been outlined in a TED Talk

and encouraged in a Funny or Die video with the cast of “The West Wing, whose characters were known for their frequent walk-and-talks

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September 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1225

IRS Logo 2Politico, GOP Negotiators Reach Deal to Postpone IRS Impeachment Vote:

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) have reached a tentative compromise to postpone a vote to impeach the IRS commissioner, sources familiar with the talks told POLITICO.

Under the terms of the emerging deal, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen would testify before the Judiciary panel next week, and any impeachment vote would likely be postponed until after the November election rather than take place on Thursday, the sources said.

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

America’s Inequality Problem: Real Income Gains Are Brief And Hard To Find

New York Times: America’s Inequality Problem: Real Income Gains Are Brief and Hard to Find, by Eduardo Porter:

Early on Tuesday, the Census Bureau provided some long-awaited good news for the beleaguered working class: The income of the typical American household perched on the middle rung of the income ladder increased a hearty 5.2 percent in 2015, the first real increase since 2007, the year before the economy sank into recession. 

Households all the way down the income scale made more money last year. The average incomes of the poorest fifth of the population increased 6.6 percent after three consecutive years of decline. And the official poverty rate declined to 13.5 percent from 14.8 percent in 2014, the sharpest decline since the late 1960s. ...

And yet this positive news — while clearly undermining Donald J. Trump’s unbridled pessimism about the American economy — does not justify unbridled celebration, either. ... Gains may be finally trickling down to those at the bottom of the ladder. But the numbers still offer a lopsided picture, with a gargantuan share of income rising to the top. While the bottom fifth of households increased their share of the nation’s income, by the census’s definition, to 3.4 percent from 3.3 percent, the richest 5 percent kept 21.8 percent of the pie, the same as in 2014.

NYT

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September 14, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Only One Indiana Tech Graduate Passed Bar Exam

Indiana Tech (2016)Indiana Lawyer, Lone Indiana Tech Law Student Passes July Exam:

The inaugural graduating class of Indiana Tech Law School in Fort Wayne set a goal of a 100 percent bar passage rate, but a review of the names of successful July applicants reveals only one Indiana Tech student passed the Indiana Bar Exam.

Twenty students graduated from Indiana Tech in May, the first to do so from the law school that opened in its doors to students 2013. ... 

An Indiana Lawyer review of the names of successful applicants for the July 2016 Indiana Bar Exam released Monday only includes one student from Indiana Tech. A spokesman for Indiana Tech would not confirm or deny that student was the only one who passed the test, but did clarify that a dozen graduates sat for the exam.

“We had 12 graduates sit for the July bar exam. As is the case everywhere, we had a mixture of passage, failure, and those within appeal range. So we won’t know our pass number until that process is done,” wrote Brian Engelhart, vice president of university relations for Indiana Tech, in an email.

Engelhart did not respond to a follow-up email asking why only 12 graduates sat for the July exam and if some planned on waiting until February to take the test.

Above the Law, Worst Bar Exam Results Ever? Only ONE Person From This Law School Passed The Bar Exam:

According to the Indiana Board of Law Examiners, of the 508 people who sat for the Indiana exam, 414 of them were first-time takers, with a pass rate of 68 percent. The overall pass rate for the Indiana exam was 61 percent. The overall pass rate for Indiana Tech School of Law graduates was 8.33 percent (12 graduates sat for the state exam). ...

Since Indiana Tech earned provisional accreditation from the ABA in March, which entitled its graduates to sit for the bar exam in any American jurisdiction, it’s quite possible that the law school’s eight other graduates are still awaiting their results from nearby states like Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. But given the results released thus far, their waiting game just became even grimmer.

Three Dog Night, One (Is The Loneliest Number):

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September 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABC News To Feature Dan Markel Murder Case On Friday's 20/20 Program

ABC

ABC News, How Police Tracked Down and Caught 2 Suspected Hit Men in FSU Professor Murder Case:

Below is a timeline based on police information about how investigators say they were able to track down the two suspects, the alleged hit men that police say were enlisted to kill Dan Markel on July 18, 2014. Watch the full story on ABC News 20/20 this Friday, Sept. 16 at 10 p.m. ET.

People Magazine, Police Allege Brother-in-Law of Florida State Law Professor Dan Markel Orchestrated Execution-Style Killing:

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September 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Kleinbard:  Capital Taxation In An Age Of Inequality

Edward D. Kleinbard (USC), Capital Taxation in an Age of Inequality:

The standard view in the U.S. tax law academy remains that capital income taxation is both a poor idea in theory and completely infeasible in practice. But this ignores the first-order importance of political economy issues in the design of tax instruments. The pervasive presence of gifts and bequests renders moot the claim that the results obtained by Atkinson and Stiglitz (1976) counsel against taxing capital income in practice.

Taxing capital income is responsive to important political economy exigencies confronting the United States, including substantial tax revenue shortfalls relative to realistic government spending targets, increasing income and wealth inequality at the top end of distributions, and the surprising persistence of dynastic wealth. It also responds to a new strand of economic literature that argues that “inclusive growth” leads to higher growth.

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September 14, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clausing:  Strengthening The Indispensable U.S. Corporate Tax

Kimberly A. Clausing (Reed College), Strengthening the Indispensable U.S. Corporate Tax:

The U.S. system of corporate taxation is in desperate need of reform. Observers note that both the high statutory rate (35 percent) and the purported “worldwide” nature of our system place the U.S. system out of line with those of our trading partners. This characterization is misleading because it contradicts the underlying reality. Under the current U.S. corporate tax system, effective tax rates are far lower than statutory rates, and the foreign incomes of multinational firms often face a lighter burden than they would under the tax systems of our trading partners. A key goal of potential reforms to U.S. corporate taxation should be to better align the tax system’s stated features with its true characteristics.

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September 14, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. Household Incomes Surged 5.2% in 2015, Biggest Increase In Over 50 Years

U.S. Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015 (Sept. 13, 2016):

Median household income was $56,516 in 2015, an increase in real terms of 5.2 percent from the 2014 median of $53,718 (Figure 1 and Table 1). This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession.

Figure 1

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September 14, 2016 in Gov't Reports, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

$15 Million Gift To University Of Cincinnati Is Largest In Law School's History And Largest To Any Innocence Project

UCPress Release, Record-Breaking Gift to Benefit the Ohio Innocence Project at UC’s College of Law:

A $15 million gift from long-time Cincinnati benefactor Richard “Dick” Rosenthal to the University of Cincinnati College of Law will help free countless wrongfully convicted individuals. The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) at UC’s Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice at the College of Law will use the generous gift – the largest ever for the college and any innocence program – to provide for the program in perpetuity. ...

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September 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1224

IRS Logo 2New York Times editorial, Will Speaker Paul Ryan Stand Up to the Freedom Caucus?:

The leadership of the House speaker, Paul Ryan, is about to be challenged by the latest partisan mischief from ultraconservative Republicans — a meritless and unprecedented attempt to impeach the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen. ...

To impeach the commissioner, his antagonists aim to bypass the House leadership and bring the measure directly to the floor as a privileged resolution. Such a move threatens to set a dangerous new low in congressional politicking. Should this shabby precedent be established, what sub-cabinet officials and bureaucrats might be singled out next? ...

The speaker could show some leadership by sending any such floor motion to a quick and quiet death in committee. That is exactly what the Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi did in 2008, when Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio brought a privileged resolution to the floor to impeach President George W. Bush.

But there is already speculation that Mr. Ryan, fearing the Freedom Caucus, might try to appease it with a measure of censure for the same baseless charges. This would be no less damaging to Mr. Koskinen’s reputation — or to the speaker’s. It would be another signal that Mr. Ryan remains hostage to his ultraright members.

Los Angeles Times editorial, Don't Impeach the IRS Commissioner:

[T]he bill of particulars that accompanies the resolution proves, at most, that Koskinen wasn’t as attentive to the importance of securing records sought by Congress as he should have been. It’s also clear that he misspoke when he told a congressional committee that ”every email”  associated with Lois Lerner, a former IRS official responsible for tax-exempt groups, had been preserved; in fact, IRS employees in West Virginia had erased as many as 24,000 of her emails. (A Treasury Department inspector general found no evidence that the erasures were a deliberate attempt to destroy evidence.) But inaccurate or incomplete testimony isn’t the same as willfully lying to Congress.     

In short, there is nothing to suggest that Koskinen is guilty of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution cites as grounds for impeachment. And even if the House were to vote to impeach him, there is no chance that the Senate would provide the two-thirds majority necessary for a conviction. 

The GOP’s ire at the apparent targeting of conservative tax-exempt groups is understandable, but that’s not the only thing motivating the Freedom Caucus. Instead, the attempt to impeach Koskinen is a political exercise that can’t be divorced from longstanding efforts by conservatives to demonize and defund the IRS. More directly, it’s tied to Republicans’ apparent determination to stop the IRS from enforcing the law barring political campaigns from masquerading as charities. If the House were to impeach the commissioner — or even censure him — the reputation of that body would suffer and members would be tempted to use the impeachment power to push other pet political causes. The only fair outcome is for the House to refer the resolution to the panel the Freedom Caucus is trying to bypass, the House Judiciary Committee. The resolution is likely to die there, as it should.

Responsible Republicans — including Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — need to support that action and stand against this abuse of the impeachment power.

Washington Times, Impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:

The House Freedom Caucus will attempt to force a vote on impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Tuesday on the House floor.

Good. The man needs to go. Or at least be held accountable. ...

What are Mr. Koskinen’s crimes?

He’s actively tried to stonewall congressional investigation into the tea-party scandal. He’s failed to comply to several congressional subpoenas. In 2014, he was asked to supply all of Ms. Lerner’s emails, but he did nothing to track or preserve such documentation. Weeks after the subpoena, IRS employees in West Virginia erased 422 backup tapes, destroying as many as 24,000 of Ms. Lerner’s emails (obstruction of justice, anyone?), despite an agency preservation order.

In congressional hearings, Mr. Koskinen withheld from Congress both the preservation order and the destruction of tapes and also failed to disclose details regarding Ms. Lerner’s destroyed hard drive.

Mr. Koskinen also assured Congress that his agency has gone to “great lengths” to retrieve Ms. Lerner’s lost emails, however, when the Treasury Department inspector general did its own search, it found 1,000 new emails in 14 days. It appeared the IRS never searched disaster backup tapes, Ms. Lerner’s BlackBerry and laptop, the email server and its backup tapes.

Then, to put salt in the wounds, Mr. Koskinen then declined to show up to his own impeachment hearing.

It’s Congresses job to be a check on the executive branch’s power, and Mr. Koskinen has repeatedly shown his disrespect for legislative branch.

Jonathan Turley, of the George Washington University Law School, said in June testimony to the House Judiciary Committee that the Koskinen controversy “falls at the very crossroads of expanding executive power, diminishing congressional authority, and the rise of the Fourth Branch,” which consists of “federal agencies that exercise increasingly unilateral and independent powers.” ...

For Congress’s job to hold the executive branch accountable, to serve as a check on its power, it must act if it doesn’t want to become irrelevant.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Scholars Say Impeaching IRS Commissioner Would Set Dangerous Precedent:

As House Republicans weigh impeachment proceedings against IRS commissioner John Koskinen, a group of constitutional scholars are urging lawmakers to hold back. ...

In a letter last week addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a group of constitutional law professors say impeaching the IRS chief would set a dangerous precedent. ...

A larger group of tax scholars also said they opposed impeachment proceedings in an earlier letter to House leaders.

National Society Of Accountants Send Letter to House Leaders Opposing Koskinen Impeachment:

Leaders of the National Society of Accountants (NSA) have sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives opposing any resolution to impeach or censure Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen.

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September 14, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Avi-Yonah & Shaviro:  Human Rights And Tax In An Unequal World

HRDaniel Shaviro (NYU), Interrogating the Relationship between 'Legally Defensible' Tax Planning and Social Justice:

This article, prepared for presentation on September 23, 2016 at a conference at NYU Law School, organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and entitled Human Rights and Tax in an Unequal World, mainly takes the form of a dialogue between two fictional individuals. The conclusions that the discussants reach (insofar as they are able to agree) can be summarized as follows:

Large-scale tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and large companies that is legally defensible under relevant national tax laws can nonetheless have major adverse effects on social justice and/or public morale. However, its legal defensibility complicates analyzing its ethical implications, as compared to the more straightforward case of committing tax fraud. Legal defensibility also complicates the analysis of the extent to which human rights advocates should focus on such desiderata as “good corporate tax behavior” and the ethics of tax professionals.

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September 13, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Deans:  How To Avoid Sinking Your Ship Like Captain Ahab

AhabLawProfBlawg, Deans: How To Avoid Sinking Your Ship:

Recent events compel me to update my column about how deans can totally assure that they will have a disastrous term.  It doesn’t take much for a dean to create controversy, even when none may be warranted, depending on the history of the school and the history of those who once held that esteemed position at that school.

It’s easy to talk about the absolutely mean, contemptuous, evil souls who run around the dean market. But what about those who are trying hard to make a difference and still come out scathed? What did they do wrong? Deans, if you are in this boat, here’s what you did wrong.

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September 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

$10 Million Gift To Wayne State Law School To Honor Departing Dean Jocelyn Benson

BensonFollowing up on last week's post, Jocelyn Benson, Youngest Woman To Ever Lead An American Law School, Steps Down From Wayne State To Be CEO Of National Campaign In Sports For Equality:  Press Release, Ross, Gilbert Donate Largest Gifts in Wayne Law History, Totaling $10 Million:

Real estate developers, professional sports team owners and alumni Stephen M. Ross and Dan Gilbert today announced their intentions to donate $5 million each to Wayne State University Law School, for a joint gift of $10 million.

Both gifts represent the largest donations in the law school’s history.

Ross and Gilbert’s gifts will create the Benson Legacy Fund for Wayne Law and the Benson Endowed Enhancement Fund for Wayne Law. Ross and Gilbert named the funds in recognition of Wayne Law Dean Jocelyn Benson and her successful efforts as dean to elevate the law school’s national reputation and prestige.

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September 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Tax Papers And Panels: Law & Society Annual Meeting

Mexico CityNeil Buchanan (George Washington) has issued his annual call for tax papers and panels for next year's annual meeting of the Law & Society Association in Mexico City (June 20-23, 2017):

For the thirteenth year in a row, I will organize sessions for the the Law, Society, and Taxation group (Collaborative Research Network 31).  New this year, I am joined in my organizational efforts by Professors Jennifer Bird-Pollan and Mirit Eyal-Cohen.

Although there is an official call for papers, please remember that you are not bound by the official theme of the conference.  We will give full consideration to proposals in any area of tax law, tax policy, distributive justice, interdisciplinary approaches to tax issues, and so on.

Good news:  Law & Society now only requires a 1500- to 3000-character description of your topic.  This is less demanding than last year’s new 6000 character requirement, which was the subject of many (well founded) complaints.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, October 19, 2016.  To submit your proposal, please follow the instructions immediately below.

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September 13, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

2017 U.S. News College Rankings

US NewsU.S. News & World Report today released its 2017 College Rankings. Here are the Top 25 National Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges (along with their 2014-2016 rankings):

2017

Rank

 

National Universities

2016

Rank

2015

Rank

2014

Rank

1

Princeton

1

1

1

2

Harvard

2

2

2

3

Chicago

3

4

5

3

Yale

3

3

3

5

Columbia

4

4

4

5

Stanford

4

4

5

7

MIT

7

7

7

8

Duke

8

8

7

8

Penn

9

9

8

10

Johns Hopkins

10

12

12

11

Dartmouth

12

11

10

12

Cal-Tech

10

10

10

12

Northwestern

12

13

12

14

Brown

14

16

14

15

Cornell

15

15

16

15

Notre Dame

18

18

18

15

Rice

18

19

18

15

Vanderbilt

16

17

17

19

Washington (St. Louis)

15

15

14

20

Emory

21

21

20

20

Georgetown

21

21

20

20

UC-Berkeley

20

20

20

23

USC

23

25

23

24

Carnegie Mellon

23

25

23

24

UCLA

23

23

23

24

Virginia

26

23

23

Pepperdine is ranked #50 (tied with Florida, Penn State, and Villanova, above #54 Ohio State and University of Washington).

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September 13, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Viswanathan:  The Hidden Costs Of Cliff Effects In The Internal Revenue Code

Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings), The Hidden Costs of Cliff Effects in the Internal Revenue Code, 164 U. Pa. L. Rev. 931 (2016):

Cliff effects in the Internal Revenue Code trigger a sudden increase of federal tax liability when some attribute of a taxpayer—most commonly income—exceeds a particular threshold value. As a result, two taxpayers in nearly identical economic situations can face considerably different tax liabilities depending on which side of the triggering criterion they fall. The magnitude of the equity and efficiency costs associated with cliff effects is significant: cliff effects are attached to tax provisions amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, the majority of which are targeted at low- and moderate-income taxpayers.

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September 13, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Five Myths About Economic Inequality In America

CatoMichael D. Tanner (Cato Institute), Five Myths about Economic Inequality in America:

Over the past several years, economic inequality has risen to the forefront of American political consciousness. Politicians, pundits, and academics paint a picture of a new Gilded Age in which a hereditary American gentry becomes ever richer, while the vast majority of Americans toil away in near-Dickensian poverty. As economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman puts it, “Describing our current era as a new Gilded Age or Belle Époque isn’t hyperbole; it’s the simple truth.” Political candidates have leapt on the issue. ...

It’s a compelling political narrative, one that can be used to advance any number of policy agendas, from higher taxes and increases in the minimum wage to trade barriers and immigration restrictions. But it is fundamentally wrong, based on a series of myths that sound good and play to our emotions and sense of fairness, but that don’t hold up under close scrutiny.

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September 13, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (5)

Ohio Northern Welcomes 59 1Ls, Down 15% From Last Year (51% From 2010)

Ohio Northern LogoOhio Northern University College of Law (unranked by U.S. News (#168 in peer reputation)) welcomed 59 1Ls this Fall, down 15% from last year's 69 (and 51% from 2010's 120). Despite the enrollment decline, Ohio Northern's 25% LSAT fell to 143 in 2016 (from 144 in 2015), and their 25%/50%/75% LSAT of 143/148/152 is down from 149/154/156 in 2010. Here are Ohio Northern's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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September 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1223

IRS Logo 2Seattle Times, Conservative Effort to Impeach IRS Chief Won’t Succeed:

A campaign-season drive by conservative House Republicans to impeach the IRS commissioner won’t succeed. With solid Democratic opposition and resistance from many in the GOP, there simply aren’t enough votes to oust John Koskinen from his post.

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are pushing it anyway, and it could come to a head over the next week or two. A look at the effort:

Q: Why do conservatives want to impeach Koskinen?

A:  They accuse him of lying to Congress, not answering subpoenas and overseeing an agency that destroyed documents. They say those actions hindered the House GOP’s long-running investigation of how the Internal Revenue Service unfairly treated tea party groups that sought tax exemptions several years ago, before Koskinen was with the agency.

Two months to the election, going after Koskinen and the IRS is popular with many conservative voters, for whom the IRS has long been a dirty word. They’ve not forgiven its handling of tea party organizations. And Koskinen was appointed by President Barack Obama, another favorite conservative target.

Q: What do Koskinen and Democrats say?

A: They say the accusations are unfounded. “There is no evidence that Commissioner Koskinen ever in any way sought to impede Congress’ oversight of the IRS,” Koskinen’s personal lawyers wrote in documents they provided Sunday.

While the IRS acknowledged it subjected tea party groups to unfairly harsh treatment, the Justice Department and the IRS inspector general found no evidence the agency was motivated by political bias, and it’s not been proved that documents were purposely destroyed. Democrats say the impeachment effort is aimed at stirring up conservative votes and campaign donations.

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September 13, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Presents Taxpayer Rights, Social Psychology And The EITC Today At Loyola-L.A.

BookLes Book (Villanova) presents Thinking About Taxpayer Rights and Social Psychology to Improve Administration of the EITC at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

The IRS is a reluctant but key player in delivering social benefits to the nation’s working poor. The earned income tax credit (EITC) is generally praised for its role in reducing poverty and incentivizing low-wage work. While the EITC has generally received bipartisan support, the IRS faces strong criticism over EITC compliance issues. Opponents focus on headline-generating reports of improper payments and a characterization of errors as likely due to fraud. Advocates look to the intersection of legal complexity and the characteristics of recipients as the main driver of error and the relatively low share of the tax gap that is attributable to refundable credits in general and the EITC in particular.

The current compliance challenge presents an opportunity to think about the compliance problem differently than before.

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September 12, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

JFK & Reagan Provide Path Toward Brighter Economic Future: Bipartisan Tax Cuts

JFKWall Street Journal op-ed: Return to JFK’s ‘Rising Tide’ Model: Kennedy and Reagan Both Spurred Growth Through Bipartisan Tax Cuts. That’s Just What Is Needed Now., by Lawrence Kudlow & Brian Domitrovic (co-authors, JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity” (Sept. 6, 2016)):

since 2000, U.S. economic output has inched along at a rate of 1.8% a year, an astoundingly low number almost half of the long-term average of over 3%. This is not the way America is supposed to be. The United States has regularly achieved more than 3% economic growth as a matter of course, as it has led the global industrial and technological revolutions with millions of new jobs, entrepreneurial wonders and mass prosperity in tow.

The two greatest political figures in America since World War II staked their presidencies on economic growth: John F. Kennedy in the 1960s and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Kennedy was the pioneer. When Reagan rallied to the cause of growth 20 years later, he did so explicitly following Kennedy’s “a rising tide lifts all boats” model. ...

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September 12, 2016 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Brooklyn Welcomes 350 1Ls, Down 11% From Last Year (28% From 2010)

Brooklyn Logo (2016)After suffering perhaps the largest decline among American law schools in LSAT scores of its entering class from 2010 (162/163/165) to 2015 (152/155/158), despite a 19% reduction in 1L enrollment (from 486 to 394), with a corresponding 30-place cratering in its U.S. News ranking (from 67 to 97), Brooklyn welcomed 350 1Ls this Fall (an additional 11% reduction from 2015) with across the board improvement in LSAT scores:  154/156/159.  Here are Brooklyn's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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September 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

WSJ:  A Stealth Death Tax Increase

DiscountsFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Wall Street Journal editorial, A Stealth Death Tax Increase:

January 20 cannot come soon enough for the owners of family businesses. Less than five months before President Obama leaves office, his Treasury Department is rushing to implement a de facto increase in the federal estate tax.

Since Congress does not agree that the Internal Revenue Service should suck more cash out of family firms, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is up to his usual tricks, trashing established interpretations of tax law to bypass the legislative branch. Not even Mr. Lew has the gall to claim he can raise the federal death-tax rate of 40% without congressional approval. So the game here is to contrive ways to expose more of the value—or imagined value—of an estate to IRS revenue collectors.

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September 12, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tulsa Law School Slashes Tuition 35%; Last Year, 100% Of Students Got Scholarships, 54% Average Tuition Discount

TulsapreLaw, University of Tulsa Slashes Tuition 35%:

The University of Tulsa College of Law will cut tuition by 35 percent for students entering in 2017 through its new Access to Legal Education Tuition.

Tuition at the private school had risen 10 percent over the past three years, to $37,960 for students entering this fall. But next year, tuition will be just $24,600.

“This tuition reduction is designed to be really transparent about the cost of legal education,” said Dean Lyn Entzeroth. ...

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September 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Estate Tax

Average Private Law School Tuition Discount: 28% (55% W&L, 54% WashU, 53% Case)

How Much Does Law School Really Cost?, preLaw, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2016, at 26:

[T]he vast majority of law schools discount their tuition through scholarships, some as much as 50 percent. The average tuition discount for private law schools was 28 percent in 2014-15, up from 25 percent the year before. ...

The ABA makes available the number of scholarships per school, the percentage of students receiving scholarships, the median scholarship amount and the scholarship amounts at the 25th and 75th percentiles. With this data. preLaw estimated the average grant amount and the average tuition discount per school. (PreLaw focused on private schools only because it is difficult to determine how much public schools discount, given that most have two tuition rates — one for residents and one for non-residents.)

Here are the nine law schools with tuition discounts in excess of 50%, and the ten law schools with tuition discounts under 15%:

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September 12, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1222

IRS Logo 2Washington Times, IRS Refuses to Abandon Targeting Criteria Used Against Tea Party, Conservative Groups:

The IRS is refusing to recant the targeting criteria it used to single out tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, according to court filings made public Wednesday that show the tax agency still struggling with the fallout from the scandal.

At least three tea party groups are still awaiting approval from the IRS more than three years after agents publicly admitted they’d asked inappropriate questions and put the groups through unreasonable delays in obtaining tax-exempt status.

Last month the IRS told both Congress and a federal judge that it would start processing the outstanding applications — but the agency has refused to say how or when, leaving the groups themselves struggling to make sense of things.

Making matters ever more difficult, the IRS specifically refused in court papers to reject further use of the criteria it used to single out tea party and conservative groups in the first place.

“Despite all the representations made by the IRS about having changed its ways, it still asserts that the viewpoint-based Targeting Criteria are relevant for making a determination of tax-exempt status,” Edward Greim, the lawyer representing tea party groups in a class-action lawsuit, told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Just weeks ago, IRS Commissioner John G. Koskinen had assured Congress the targeting was a thing of the past, and said his agency will no longer use the “Be on lookout,” or BOLO, lists. ...

Mr. Greim said to be wary of IRS promises, saying the agency has been willing to mislead the court in the past with a “willingness to say one thing (in a sworn declaration, no less) and do the other.” And he said the IRS has hinted that while it may replace its targeting list, which delays or blocks applications at the front end, it could step up “less well-known forms of scrutiny,” including ongoing reviews of tea party groups.

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September 12, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering September 11th At Pepperdine: Life, Death, And Light

Waves

Pepperdine University to Honor 9/11 Victims with Waves of Flags Display:

On Saturday, September 10, Pepperdine University’s Alumni Park will become home to the University’s ninth annual Waves of Flags installation. The display will commemorate the lives lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Waves of Flags will feature a display of a total of 2,977 full-size flags—2,887 American flags for each American life lost and 90 various international flags representing the home countries of those from abroad who died in the 9/11 attacks.

On September 10, at 1 PM, a group of over 150 volunteers, including Pepperdine faculty, staff, students, and Malibu community members, will join together to install and raise the flags.

The installation became a Pepperdine tradition in 2008 when the College Republicans, inspired by a similar display, wanted to bring the tribute to the University. Now in its ninth year, Waves of Flags has become a significant service project for the Pepperdine community. ...

In addition to the Waves of Flags installation, the University is the permanent home of Heroes Garden, a public space for visitors to reflect and honor all those who live heroic lives, including Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. (MBA ’95), a passenger on United Flight 93 whose life was cut short in the 9/11 attacks.

Heores Garden

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September 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

UC-Berkeley Law School Dean's Return Stirs Campus Outrage

UC Berkeley (2016)Following up on last week's posts:

Daily Californian editorial, Choudhry Does Not Belong on UC Berkeley Campus:

Sujit Choudhry’s open letter in The Daily Californian’s opinion section demonstrates unequivocally that the former UC Berkeley School of Law dean still has no meaningful concept of his actions, their implications or sexual harassment in general. His diatribe weaves together the most prevalent tactics of sexual violence perpetrators — survivor shaming, self-victimization and false apologies — and further emphasizes why he does not belong on campus. ...

In the ongoing battle to create an environment where all people, particularly survivors of sexual violence, feel safe and supported on campus, Choudhry’s presence is a step in the wrong direction.

Choudhry implored readers of his op-ed to refrain from judgment until they understood the facts on both sides. His account has been published — in his own repugnant words. He can no longer hide behind the claim that his side has not been heard.

Daily Californian, Tyann Sorrell’s Statement:

When I read Professor Sujit Choudhry’s letter in The Daily Californian, I groaned, and then belted out the biggest, loudest and longest scream. I screamed for myself and UC Berkeley. I screamed for everyone who has been sexually harassed, including those who are too scared to come forward to accept, name and report what they are experiencing. Choudhry’s letter made me scream because it demonstrates how sexual harassment, including its profound effects, continues to be misunderstood, misaddressed and openly denied.

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September 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

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 a new #1 paper and new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [411 Downloads]  The True Economic Effects of Corporate Inversions, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  2. [340 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)
  3. [323 Downloads]  Executive Pay: What Worked? , by Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple)
  4. [208 Downloads]  Framework for U.S. Transfer Pricing Analysis Under Treasury Regulation Section 1.482 and the OECD Guidelines Compared , by William Byrnes (Texas A&M) & Robert Cole (Deceased)
  5. [165 Downloads]  Ten Observations Concerning International Tax Policy, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

September 11, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Houston Gets Patent Office To Suspend South Texas's Trademark Application For 'Houston College Of Law'

Houston South TexasFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Houston Chronicle, Not So Fast: UH Brings Temporary Halt to Rival Law School's Trademark Efforts:

The downtown law school known for most of its existence as the South Texas College of Law has hit another snag in its rebranding effort.

While the freshly renamed Houston College of Law awaits a judge's ruling in a federal lawsuit filed by its crosstown rival the University of Houston Law School, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has officially suspended the application for a logo featuring the scales of justice with its new name, on the heels of a complaint filed by UH.

The private law school, which opened 93 years ago, applied for the trademark on May 12. It began using its new name and logo - a peachy red-and-white image of balanced scales of justice with the words "Houston College of Law" and "Established in 1923" beneath - on billboards, promotional materials and letterhead shortly thereafter.

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September 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)