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Friday, May 8, 2015

Kahn & Kahn: The Agency Exception to the Anticipatory Assignment of Income Doctrine

Douglas A. Kahn (Michigan) & Jeffrey H. Kahn (Florida State), The Agency Exception to the Anticipatory Assignment of Income Doctrine, 147 Tax Notes 555 (May 4, 2015):

One consequence of having graduated income tax rates is that it becomes advantageous to shift income from a high bracket taxpayer to a person in a lower tax bracket. A number of different vehicles have been tried to shift the incidence of the income tax to another person, and the courts and Congress have adopted a number of rules to prevent that from occurring. As early as 1930, the Supreme Court adopted the anticipatory assignment of income doctrine to prevent a person who anticipates earning income from his services from shifting that income to another person in a lower tax bracket. Income is taxed to the person whose services produced it rather than to the person who has the beneficial right to possess the income once it is earned.

This article discusses the tax treatment of an employee whose services create income for his employer. The anticipatory assignment of income doctrine does not apply in these circumstances under the so-called agency exception. This article explains the policy justification of the agency exception and uses examples to help illustrate when and when not the agency exception should apply.

May 8, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 729

IRS Logo 2Orange County Register editorial, Emails Keep IRS Scandal Probe Afloat:

John Koskinen has some ’splaining to do. Last June, Mr. Koskinen, the IRS commissioner, told Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and ranking member Orrin Hatch that a computer malfunction somehow zapped thousands of emails to and from Lois Lerner, the scandalized IRS official whose office targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status.

Last week, those potentially incriminating emails were recovered – not because Mr. Koskinen was determined to get to the bottom of the IRS targeting scandal, but because of the diligence of J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Mr. George is in the process of turning over some 6,400 emails to the Senate Finance Committee, which last year tasked the inspector general’s office with figuring out what emails had been lost, if someone at IRS intentionally destroyed them and if the emails could possibly be retrieved.

That seemed to us at the time a project Mr. Koskinen’s staff could have undertaken. Instead, it appeared that Mr. Koskinen – and, perhaps, Obama administration officials further up the food chain – were hoping the scandal would just fade away.

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May 8, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Charleston Law School May Not Enroll Students In Fall; Owners Who Withdrew $25m In Profits Refuse To Pay $21k For Graduation Reception; Students With $147k Average Debt Take Up Collection

Charleston LogoPost and Courier, Charleston School of Law May Not Enroll New Students in the Fall:

The Charleston School of Law has been trudging along on life support for months, but could it be about to take its final breath?

While students were taking final exams Tuesday, George Kosko and Robert Carr, the remaining owners of the troubled law school, released a statement that said they might not enroll a new class of students in the fall.

They did not elaborate on what the statement might mean for the future of the for-profit law school, and said they would not make additional comments until next week, when they plan to release an update on the school’s situation.

American Bar Association and state rules prohibit the school from simply closing its doors. If the board decides to close the school, it would have to submit a “teach-out” plan that details how students who already are enrolled would finish their education programs.

In their prepared statement, Kosko and Carr said they could not in good faith enroll another class when “like last year, the school is spending more money than is coming in.”

Post and Courier, Charleston School of Law Scales Back Graduation Events:

If Charleston School of Law’s newest graduates want better than Ramen noodles at their commencement reception, they and their friends are going to have to pay for it.

The troubled law school’s two-member board cut the traditional post-commencement reception from its budget this year — despite pulling in $25 million in profit from the school between 2010 and 2013. The move has pushed student and alumni groups to take up a collection to cover the cost, said Matt Kelly, president of the Student Bar Association.

He and others, through Dean Andy Abrams, have asked board members and owners George Kosko and Robert Carr to reconsider holding the reception, which last year cost $21,000. “We’ve given them two weeks to stand up and do the right thing, but they haven’t,” Kelly said. ...

Tuition at the law school this year is $39,096, and many students borrow more than a $100,000 in student loans to pay for their law degrees.

Above the Law, Law School Cuts Graduation Events To Protect Profits:

Charleston may be a failing law school right now — shortchanging the graduates and turning away 1Ls certainly doesn’t sound like a recipe for success — and closing up shop may be the right thing to do long-term. What Kosko and Carr should do is wrap-up operations covering the shortfall with the millions in profits they personally collected to ensure every current student gets to graduate with the same dignity as their predecessors. There’s more than enough.

But that’s probably not going to happen. No, like Mr. Burns, the powers behind Charleston appear more than willing to trade the goodwill of their students to pinch out just a little bit more. 

Update

May 7, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Virginia Tax Review Publishes New Issue

Virginia Tax Review (2014)The Virginia Tax Review has published Vol. 34, No. 2 (Fall 2014):

May 7, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Journal of Tax Administration Publishes Inaugural Issue

JOTA LogoThe Chartered Institute of Taxation and the University of Exeter Business School have launched the Journal of Tax Administration:

This open access, peer reviewed and on-line journal provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars and practitioners to share knowledge and research on issues of concern to tax administrations, governments, the tax practitioner community and wider society. An international editorial board includes leading academics in the field.

The inaugural issue (Vol. 1, No. 1) contains these articles:

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May 7, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stanford B-School Offers Grads $140k To Leave Bay Area

StanfordWall Street Journal, For Stanford’s Business School, Bay Area’s Pull Is Mixed Blessing:

Stanford University’s tech-heavy alumni network, close ties to Silicon Valley and nearby pool of venture investors attract top M.B.A. students. Trouble is, those students don’t leave.

More than half of recent graduates from the M.B.A. program at the Graduate School of Business stay in the San Francisco Bay Area, mainly to join—or start—tech companies. That gives the school, which is near Palo Alto, Calif., formidable contacts in the tech industry and region. But it also limits networking opportunities for some young alumni trying to establish themselves elsewhere, said Madhav Rajan, the program’s dean.

This year the school will offer as many as 13 fellowships, worth over $140,000 each, to foreign students willing to commit to returning home after graduation. ...

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May 7, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maynard: Reimagining Wealth Taxation As A Tool For Building Wealth

Goldburn P. Maynard Jr. (Louisville), Addressing Wealth Disparities: Reimagining Wealth Taxation as a Tool for Building Wealth, 92 Denv. U. L. Rev. 145 (2014):

In the past three decades, research has indicated that the building of assets can have a sustainable impact on well-being. Yet to the extent that the tax system has incorporated this insight, it has been done in a piecemeal, ad hoc fashion, disproportionately benefiting those with wealth and further reinforcing wealth inequality. This paper argues that while reducing wealth concentrations is important, there should be an increased emphasis on how our tax system can build wealth or, put differently, level up. While the problem of wealth disparities may be too large for any one part of the federal policy toolkit to solve, I argue that the tax system can and should play a vital role.

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May 7, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number of Americans Renouncing Their U.S. Citizenship Hits Yet Another All-Time High

International Tax Blog, The Exodus Continues (2015 1st Quarter Published Expatriates):

Today the Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency (“expatriated”) during the first quarter of 2015. The number of published expatriates for the quarter was 1,335. This is the highest quarterly number of published expatriates ever.

Expat

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May 7, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tax Prof Moves, 2015-16

Moves VAP Hire

  • Hayes Holderness (McDermott, Will & Emery, New York) to Illinois

Entry Level Hires

Lateral Moves

Promotions, Tenures, Chairs, and Professorships

  • Steve Arsenault (Charlotte) to Professor of Law With Tenure
  • Craig Boise (Dean, Cleveland-Marshall) to Baker & Hostetler Chair
  • David Herzig (Valparaiso) to Professor of Law With Tenure
  • Benjamin Leff (American) to Professor of Law With Tenure
  • John Plecnik (Cleveland-Marshall) to Associate Professor With Tenure
  • Susannah Tahk (Wisconsin) to Associate Professor With Tenure
  • Robert Wooten (Northwestern) to Professor of Practice

Administrative Appointments

Visits

  • Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky) to Indiana-Bloomington (Fall 2015)
  • Danshera Cords (Albany) to Pittsburgh (2015-16)
  • Cliff Fleming (BYU) to Vienna University (Oct. 2015), Central European University (May 2016)
  • Keith Fogg (Villanova) to Harvard (2015-16)
  • David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) to Dule (Fall 2015), Georgetown (Spring 2016)
  • Myron Grauer (Capital) to Ohio State (Fall 2015)
  • Edward Kleinbard (USC) to Stanford (Fall 2015)
  • Sarah Lawsky (UC-Irvine) to Northwestern (Fall 2015)
  • Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloomington) to Chicago (Fall 2015)
  • Charlene Luke (Florida) to Boston College (Spring 2016)
  • Gail Richmond (Nova) to Stetson (Fall 2015)
  • Tracey Roberts to UC-Hastings (2015-16)
  • David Schizer (Columbia) to Harvard (Fall 2015), Yale (2016)

Retirements

For prior years' Tax Prof Moves, see:

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May 7, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Tax Section May Meeting

LectureThe ABA Tax Section May meeting kicks off today in Washington, D.C. The full program is here. Today's highlight is the annual Laurence Neal Woodworth Memorial Lecture in Federal Tax Law and Policy on Prospects for Tax Reform delivered by Dave Camp (Senior Policy Advisor, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Former Chair, House Ways & Means Committee).  Tax Profs with speaking roles today include:

  • Low Income Taxpayers Representation Workshop:  Keith Fogg (Villanova), Robert Nassau (Syracuse)

May 7, 2015 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TIGTA: 61% of IRS Employees Who Cheated On Their Taxes Were Allowed To Keep Their Jobs

TIGTAThe Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration yesterday released  Review of the Internal Revenue Service’s Process to Address Violations of Tax Law by Its Own Employees (2015-10-002):

According to Section 1203 of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98), the IRS shall terminate employment of any IRS employee if there is a final determination that the employee committed certain acts of misconduct, including willful violations of tax law, unless such penalty is mitigated by the IRS Commissioner.  As the agency primarily responsible for administering Federal tax law, the IRS must ensure that its employees comply with the tax law in order to maintain the public’s confidence.

TIGTA reviewed records for cases closed in Fiscal Years 2004 through 2013 (prior to the term of the current Commissioner). For this period, IRS records show that 1,580 employees were found to be willfully tax noncompliant. While the RRA 98 states the IRS shall terminate employees who willfully violate tax law, it also gives the IRS Commissioner the sole authority to mitigate cases to a lesser penalty. Over this 10-year period, 620 employees (39 percent) with willful tax noncompliance were terminated, resigned, or retired. For the other 960 employees (61 percent) with willful tax noncompliance, the proposed terminations were mitigated to lesser penalties such as suspensions, reprimands, or counseling.

TIGTA

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May 7, 2015 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (5)

The IRS Scandal, Day 728

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial, The IRS Goes to Court:

The agency suggests it can discriminate for 270 days. Judges gasp.

It isn’t every day that judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declare themselves “shocked.” But that happened on Monday when an animated three-judge panel eviscerated the IRS and Justice Department during oral argument in a case alleging the agency delayed the tax-exempt application of a pro-Israel group due to its policy views.

In December 2009, Pennsylvania-based Z Street applied for 501(c)(3) status to pursue its pro-Israel educational mission. In July 2010, when the group called to check on what was taking so long, an IRS agent said that auditors had been instructed to give special attention to groups connected with Israel, and that they had sent some of those applications to a special IRS unit for additional review.

Z Street sued the IRS for viewpoint discrimination (Z Street v. Koskinen), and in May 2014 a federal district judge rejected the IRS’s motion to dismiss. The IRS appealed, a maneuver that halted discovery that could prove to be highly embarrassing. Justice says Z Street’s case should be dismissed because the Anti-Injunction Act bars litigation about “the assessment or collection of tax.” Problem is, Z Street isn’t suing for its tax-exempt status. It’s suing on grounds that the IRS can’t discriminate based on point of view.

The three judges—Chief Judge Merrick Garland,David Tatel and David Sentelle—were incredulous. You say they want a tax exemption, but that’s not the complaint, Judge Sentelle admonished government lawyer Teresa McLaughlin: “They are not in court seeking to restrain the assessment or collection of a tax, they are in court seeking a constitutionally fair process.”

The suit should also be foreclosed, the government argued, because under Section 7428(b)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code groups may sue to obtain their tax-exempt status if no action has been taken for 270 days, and that should be an alternative to Z Street’s approach.

“You don’t really mean that, right? Because the next couple words would be the IRS is free to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint, religion, race [for 270 days]. You don’t actually think that?” Judge Garland said. “Imagine the IRS announces today a policy that says as follows: No application by a Jewish group or an African-American group will be considered until one day short of the period under the statute . . . Is it your view that that cannot be challenged?”

The judges also asked why the government had buried the key precedent in a footnote in its brief. In Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, the Supreme Court decided that the language of the Anti-Injunction Act did not preclude cases like Z Street’s. In a previous case before the D.C. Circuit, Judge Garland noted, the court also “rejected” the exact arguments the government was making, “so in a way we have already decided every issue before us today, against you.” ...

The Beltway media may be bored, but the IRS scandal is a long way from over.

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May 7, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Oei & Ring: Human Equity? Regulating The New Income Share Agreements

Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane) & Diane M. Ring (Boston College), Human Equity? Regulating the New Income Share Agreements, 68 Vand. L. Rev. 681 (2015):

A controversial new financing phenomenon has recently emerged. New “income share agreements” (“ISAs”) enable an individual to raise funds by pledging a percentage of her future earnings to investors for a certain number of years. These contracts, which are offered by entities such as Fantex, Upstart, Pave, and Lumni, raise important questions for the legal system: Are they a form of modern-day indentured servitude or an innovative breakthrough in human financing? How should they be treated under the law?

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May 6, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

LoPucki: Disciplining Legal Scholarship

Lynn M. LoPucki (UCLA), Disciplining Legal Scholarship, 95 Tul. L. Rev. ___ (2015):

American law schools are hiring large proportions of J.D.-Ph.D.s in tenure-track faculty positions in an effort to increase the quantity and quality of empirical legal scholarship. That effort is failing. The new recruits bring methods and objectives unsuited to law. They produce lower-than-predicted levels of empiricism because they compete on the basis of methodological sophistication, devote time and resources to disputes over arcane issues in statistics and methodology, prefer to collaborate with other Ph.D.s, and intimidate empiricists whose work does not require high levels of methodological sophistication. In short, Ph.D.s impose the cultures of their disciplines on legal scholarship.

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Federal Judge Allows Prof's Lawsuit Against Law School, Faculty Colleague For Bullying To Proceed

GerberNational Law Journal, Law Prof’s Assault, Workplace Claims Cleared for Trial:

A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit brought by a professor at the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law against the university and a colleague to move forward.

Professor Scott Gerber filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in December 2014, claiming faculty members had bullied him for years and retaliated against his for seeking redress. He also claimed the university mishandled his retirement account and owes him money as a result.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary on April 30 dismissed four of Gerber’s eight claims, but allowed the remaining four.

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Silver: The Responsible Way Out Of The Law School Crisis

Jay Sterling Silver (St. Thomas), Pedagogically Sound Cuts, Tighter (Not Looser) Accreditation Standards, and a Well-Oiled Doomsday Machine: The Responsible Way Out of the Crisis in Legal Education, 66 Rutgers L. Rev. 353 (2014):

This Article outlines the actual causes of exorbitant tuition and graduate unemployment, the pedagogical problems posed by the proposed solutions urged upon the ABA as the accrediting body for law schools, and the solutions that will preserve legal education as both a public and a private good.

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fleischer: Libertarianism And The Charitable Tax Subsidies

Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego), Libertarianism and the Charitable Tax Subsidies, 56 B.C. L. Rev. ___ (2016):

Tax scholarship is largely silent about the interaction between libertarian principles and the structure of our tax system. If all taxation is indeed slavery, as Nozick suggested, why bother analyzing libertarianism for insights into our tax system? This dismissal, however, ignores the diversity of libertarian thought. To that end, this Article mines the nuances of libertarian theory for insights into one feature of our tax system: the charitable tax subsidies.

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May 6, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller: College Majors That Produce The Highest (And Lowest) LSATs And UGPAs

MajorAs he did last year, Derek Muller (Pepperdine) has mined the latest data to produce this neat visualization of the college majors that produce the highest (and lowest) LSATs and UGPAs among law school applicants, with this caveat:

One cannot identify causation based upon these scores. Students self-identify majors, sometimes more than one, or sometimes none at all; others self-select into taking the LSAT altogether (opting for medical school, business school, or a lucrative career instead of law school). Therefore, it is emphatically not necessarily the case, based on this data, that these majors cause students to perform better or worse on the LSAT. It simply describes them.

Here are the Top 10 and Bottom 10 college majors by LSAT:

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TIGTA: IRS Allowed $5.6 Billion In Erroneous Education Tax Credits

TIGTAThe Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration yesterday released Billions of Dollars in Potentially Erroneous Education Credits Continue to Be Claimed for Ineligible Students and Institutions (2015-40-027):

The IRS still does not have effective processes to identify erroneous claims for education credits.  Although the IRS has taken steps to address some of our recommendations, many of the deficiencies TIGTA previously identified still exist.  As a result, taxpayers continue to receive billions of dollars in potentially erroneous education credits.  Based on our analysis of education credits claimed and received on Tax Year 2012 tax returns, TIGTA estimates that more than 3.6 million taxpayers (claiming more than 3.8 million students) received more than $5.6 billion in potentially erroneous education credits ($2.5 billion in refundable credits and $3.1 billion in nonrefundable credits).  Specifically, TIGTA estimates:

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May 6, 2015 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

We Would Be Better Off If 30 Law Schools Closed

30Following up on last week's post, Law School Moral Hazard:  Above the Law, We Would Be Better Off If 30 Law Schools Closed:

In Steven J. Harper’s recent article, The Real Moral Hazard: Law Schools Exploiting Market Dysfunction ... he details how misguided bankruptcy policy and unlimited, indiscriminate federal student loans have isolated schools from any accountability. In laying out his case, Harper describes how law schools actually operate in distinct submarkets. He identifies three of these submarkets, each offering drastically different employment prospects for their graduates:

1. National schools
2. Regional schools
3. The “Problematic Submarket”

By Harper’s reckoning, there are 89 law schools in that third category. Generally speaking, most graduates of the Problematics are simply not finding work as lawyers. ... Harper’s prescription for this market dysfunction includes linking a law school’s eligibility for the 100% federal guarantee for its students’ loans to employment outcomes. If a school meets a fixed minimum threshold (he suggests 55%) for placing its graduates in FTLT-JD positions, then it would qualify for the full federal guarantee. Below that threshold, the percentage of the guarantee would adjust downward on a sliding scale.

Independently, our friends at M7 Financial — who really have been on a roll lately with data on law student debt — have reached essentially the same conclusions: there ought to be a rational nexus between federal student loan guarantees and graduate employment. ... The straightforward and unsentimental M7 proposal to reform the legal education market is to reduce the number of ABA-approved law schools. This is hardly a novel idea, and probably seems like common sense to most anyone who is not a law school dean. However, M7 takes the analysis a further step and quantifies its implications. M7 estimates that if the 30 law schools with the highest unemployment rates were excluded from the statistics, then the law school Class of 2014 would have an unemployment rate of 17% (way down from 29%). Moreover, the aggregate student loan burden would be reduced by an estimated $500 million (click to enlarge image):

Chart

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Preparing The Online Generation For The Occupational Hazards Of The Legal Profession

Brittany Stringfellow Otey (Pepperdine), Buffering Burnout: Preparing the Online Generation for the Occupational Hazards of the Legal Profession, 24 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 147 (2014):

OnlineThis article explores legal education’s “elephant in the classroom”: the innate psychological toll of the legal profession and legal education’s failure to adequately prepare law students for that reality. This article will address the increasing need for reform by: 1) examining several unique qualities of Millennials and their use of technology; 2) exploring the occupational hazards of lawyering, namely stress, burnout and compassion fatigue; 3) identifying the ways in which technology increases Millennials’ vulnerability to these occupational hazards and subsequent professional impairments; and 4) providing best practices and preventative tools to be used in a professional formation curriculum aimed at preparing Millennial students to thrive in legal practice.

May 6, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 727

IRS Logo 2Fox News op-ed:  IRS Scandal: I Was Targeted and I've Got Proof it Was a Democratically-led Conspiracy, by Wayne Allyn Root:

I was targeted by the IRS in a coordinated attack at the highest levels of government...and we now have the proof.

My IRS files, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch, clearly implicate the IRS and a Democratic U.S. senator.

Per Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch: 

“The Obama IRS obstructed the release of Wayne Root’s tax documents. The abuse of process Judicial Watch and Wayne suffered through to get these documents is scandalous. Now we know why the Obama IRS was hesitant to give Wayne his own IRS files. These documents show the Obama IRS scandal was more than just suppressing the Tea Party, it was also about auditing critics of President Obama. Richard Nixon had to resign from office for less. The first order of business for AG Loretta Lynch should be to appoint a special counsel who can convene a grand jury to look into the Obama IRS outrages.”

As you’ll read below, the fingerprints of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party are all over my case. Until now, no one could prove the IRS was using politics as a basis for vicious attacks against critics of the president. That just changed.

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May 6, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Polsky Presents Private Equity Tax Games Today At NYU

Polsky (2015)Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina) presents A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

This paper will describe and analyze tax strategies, lawful and unlawful, used by private equity firms to minimize taxes. While one strategy — the use of “carried interest” — should by now be well understood by tax practitioners and academics, the others remain far more obscure. In combination, these strategies allow private equity managers to pay preferential tax rates on all of their risky pay (through carried interest), pay preferential tax rates on much of their non-risky pay (through management fee waivers and misallocations of their expense deductions), and push much of the residual non-risky pay down to their funds’ portfolio companies who, unlike the fund, can derive significant tax benefits from the resulting deductions (through monitoring fees and management fee offsets).

May 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

New York Becomes 16th State to Adopt UBE, Predicts 'Domino Effect' Will End Local Law Testing In Remaining States

NCBENew York Times, New York State to Adopt Uniform Bar Exam:

New York State will begin using a standard bar examination given in 15 other states next summer, making it the largest state so far to adopt what amounts to a national credential for lawyers, the state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, announced on Tuesday.

While other states already use the so-called Uniform Bar Examination, Judge Lippman said in an interview that he expected the move by New York to result in a “domino effect” with the remaining states, given New York’s prominence in the legal world.

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May 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Soled Reviews Zelenak's Learning To Love Form 1040

Learning to Love 1040Jay A. Soled (Rutgers), Book Review, 87 Temp. L. Rev. 111 (2014) (reviewing Lawrence Zelenak (Duke), Learning to Love Form 1040: Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax (University of Chicago Press, 2013)): 

For the last several decades, a few days immediately before and on April 15 itself, our country has experienced an annual ritual as taxpayers nationwide form long lines at their local post offices to file their income tax returns. Akin to military service, undoubtedly few relish this obligation but recognize it as their civic obligation worthy of fulfillment. In a fascinating new book, Learning to Love Form 1040, published by the University of Chicago Press, Duke University School of Law professor Lawrence Zelenak details the origins of this obligation, traces its history, and explores how it has fostered what he terms fiscal citizenship, or “the important civic purpose of recognizing and formalizing the financial responsibilities of citizenship.”

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May 5, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law School Hunger Games? Profs Debate The Ethics Of Conditional Scholarships

  • Hunger Games 2 Jeremy Telman (Valparaiso), Another Transparency Issue: Conditional Merit-Based Scholarships:  "Students who lose their merit-based scholarships for law school will have to choose whether to continue through two more years of law school at full price, transfer to a less expensive law school, or reconsider career options. It is good to have choices. It makes sense for law schools to continue to use conditional merit scholarships to attract students, and most likely, those students will benefit from the opportunities created by those fellowships, whether they enjoy those benefits for one year or three."
  • Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Are Conditional Scholarships Good for Law Students?:  "Professor Telman ... [makes] a powerful argument. Are conditional scholarships yet another example of critics applying a double standard to paint law schools in the worst possible light?"
  • Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Hunger Games:  "Some law schools ... impose conditions that, because of mandatory curves in required first-year courses, a significant percentage of recipients will fail to meet. It is mathematically impossible for all scholarship recipients to keep their awards at these schools, and the percentage who will fail is quite predictable to the schools. These are hunger-game scholarships."

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May 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

ABA Tax Section Publishes Spring 2015 Issue Of News Quarterly

ABA News QuarterlyThe ABA Tax Section has published 34 News Quarterly No. 3 (Spring 2015):

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May 5, 2015 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yale Journal on Regulation Blog Joins Law Professor Blogs Network

LPBN LogoThe Law Professor Blogs Network is thrilled to announce that the Yale Journal on Regulation's Notice & Comment Blog has joined the Law Professor Blogs Network as an affiliate member.  We are delighted to welcome Nicholas Bagley (Michigan), Peter Conti-Brown (Stanford), Andy Grewal (Iowa), Bruce Huber (Notre Dame), Jeffrey Pojanowski (Notre Dame), and Chris Walker (Ohio State) to our fold.

Over the past several months, the Law Professor Blogs Network has launched a number of new blogs:

With the support of our sponsor, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers, the Network is seeking to expand in two ways.

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May 5, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Committee Wants To Either Eliminate Or Expand Admission Of Students Without LSATs

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, ABA Committee Wants to End Use of Alternative Law School Admission Tests:

An ABA committee is recommending the elimination of a rule that allows most law schools to admit up to 10 percent of their entering classes with students who haven’t taken the Law School Admission Test.

Barring that, the committee is proposing to make the rule applicable to all schools.

The rule, approved last year by the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, currently applies only to students enrolled in undergraduate programs at the same university as the law school and/or students pursuing another degree in addition to their JD.

Applicants admitted under the rule must have scored in the top 85th percentile nationally on one of four standardized college or graduate admissions tests and must either have ranked in the top 10 percent of their undergraduate class or achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better through six semesters of academic work.

The rule was adopted at the request of the section’s accreditation committee to provide a safe harbor and clear guidance to schools that want to use undergraduate admission tests such as the ACT or the SAT or graduate-level admission tests such as the GMAT or GRE as alternatives to the LSAT. It came after 16 schools had been granted variances from the requirement that all applicants must take a test that is valid and reliable in assessing an applicant’s capability of satisfactorily completing the school’s program of legal education. To date, only the LSAT has demonstrated such reliability.

But members of the section’s Standards Review Committee, which met Friday and Saturday in Chicago, are concerned that none of the alternative admissions tests have been shown to be valid and reliable predictors of law school performance.

So they voted to recommend that the council either do away with the rule altogether or amend it in a way that would make it available to all law schools. ...

At its meeting Friday, the committee also voted to recommend:

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May 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

NY Court Allows Fraud Claims Against Proskauer Over Tax Shelter Advice To Proceed

ProskauerNew York Law Journal, Fraud Claims Against Proskauer Over Tax Shelter Advice Upheld:

Fraud claims against Proskauer Rose stemming from a tax shelter scheme it helped sell to the heirs of the Johnson & Johnson fortune will survive a motion to dismiss, the Appellate Division, First Department, ruled Thursday. [Johnson v Proskauer Rose, 2015 NY Slip Op 03626 (Apr. 30, 2015)]

A unanimous panel, in an opinion written by Justice Angela Mazzarelli, affirmed a ruling by Manhattan Commercial Division Acting Justice Lawrence Marks, who dismissed legal malpractice claims against Proskauer on statute of limitations grounds but allowed the fraud and punitive damages claims to proceed. ...

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May 5, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clark: Thoughts On The Uses (Or Uselessness) Of Legal Scholarship

Sherman J. Clark (Michigan), Drawing (Gad) Flies: Thoughts on the Uses (or Uselessness) of Legal Scholarship, 48 U. Mich. J.L. Reform ___ (2015):

The apparent uselessness of much legal scholarship is a recurring theme in the profession. As with the broader pressures law schools are facing, we should embrace and learn from this scrutiny. In that spirit, this brief essay makes two related points. First, at least some scholarship should question, rather than merely accept as given, the aims and priorities of the profession. We should be willing to rethink, rather than merely reflect, current assumptions about what matters — about what is or is not truly useful. Thus some of our work will, by definition, initially strike the profession as useless — at least if we are doing our job. Second, support for a certain amount of wide-ranging scholarship attracts and helps retain law teachers who are willing and able to do this sort of work — and who are thus able to help future members of the profession develop that same capacity. How we evaluate this latter consideration will depend on our views about who should be teaching law and what we should be teaching. In this way, responding thoughtfully to difficult questions from the profession about the value of our scholarship should prompt reflection not just about the uses of legal research but about the aims of legal education more broadly.

May 5, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 726

IRS Logo 2Press Release, Judicial Watch Files FOIA Lawsuit on Behalf of Alliance Defending Freedom on IRS Investigations into Churches and Religious Groups:

Alleges Internal Revenue Service is “unlawfully withholding records”

Judicial Watch announced it has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to obtain the release of documents regarding the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) recent decision, following a lawsuit by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, to reevaluate criteria for determining whether churches and other nonprofit organizations can claim tax-exempt status. The IRS also suggested that it may initiate investigations into church activities (Alliance Defending Freedom v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00525)). Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the IRS failed to comply with ADF’s July 22, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking release of the following documents:

  1. All documents related to any existing, proposed, new, or adopted procedures for church tax inquiries or examinations from January 2009 to the present.
  2. All documents related to proposed or adopted changes to Treasury Regulations §301.7611-1 from January 2009 to the present.
  3. All documents related to new IRS policies or procedures referenced in FFRF’s July 17, 2014 press release.

ADF filed the FOIA request after an announcement by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) that, in settling a FFRF lawsuit, the IRS had promised to begin looking into specific churches and other groups for potential violations of tax law, and to reevaluate IRS’ criteria for when such evaluations should be executed.

The IRS stalled the release of records for months, most recently promising to produce records by March 31, 2015.

Judicial Watch’s filing states:

As of the date of this complaint, Defendant has failed to: (i) determine whether to comply with the request; (ii) notify Plaintiff of any such determination or the reasons therefor; (iii) advise Plaintiff of the right to appeal any adverse determination; and/or (iv) produce the requested records or otherwise demonstrate that the requested records are exempt from production.

Judicial Watch separately sued for documents about this alleged IRS abuse last year.

In 2012, the FFRF filed a lawsuit alleging that the IRS had routinely ignored its complaints about churches promoting political candidates, issues or proposed legislation. In its complaint, FFRF alleged that 1,500 clergy members violated electioneering restrictions on Sunday, October 7, 2012. The atheist group has specifically cited church teachings against abortion and same-sex marriage as being in violation of the law. It also cited what it termed “blatantly political” full-page ads running in the three Sundays leading up to the presidential elections by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. But the FFRF abruptly dismissed its IRS lawsuit after a church, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, intervened in the lawsuit to challenge the IRS’s alleged authority to “revoke a house of worship’s tax-exempt status, and levy fines against churches and individual leaders, when religious leaders are deemed to say things that the IRS does not allow.” Alliance Defending Freedom and other religious rights organizations have challenged directly the notion that the federal government can restrict the speech of pastors.

In July 2014, the IRS announced that, according to the terms of an agreement reached with the FFRF, it had been monitoring churches and other houses of worship for electioneering and other political activity. According to June 27, 2014, IRS letter to the Justice Department, the IRS has targeted 99 churches it said merited “high priority examination” for allegedly illegal electioneering activities. This church-targeting was determined by an IRS “Political Activities Referral Committee.”

The Wisconsin-based FFRF, which describes itself as “an effective state/church watchdog and voice for … atheism, agnosticism, skepticism,” trumpets the IRS agreement at issue as an “IRS Victory!” on its website homepage. Another victory touted on the atheist group’s homepage is a purported success entitled, “FFRF erases bible quotes from Mo. school’s whiteboard.”

“The IRS has no business threatening churches on behalf of the anti-religious crusaders at Freedom from Religion Foundation,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “The IRS must come clean, be accountable to the American people, and reveal the details of the secret deal it cut with the atheist group. The IRS pattern of unlawfully using its power to target and punish ideological opponents and hiding information that Americans have a right to know must end immediately.”

“It is an honor for Judicial Watch to represent Alliance Defending Freedom, which is so effective as a protector of the First Amendment, which recognizes the truth of God-given rights of Americans to both freely exercise their religion and participate in politics,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The IRS is using a lot of energy to cover-up details of its illicit targeting of churches. Violating FOIA law comes at great taxpayer expense.”

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May 5, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thomas Reviews Avi-Yonah's Corporate Taxation and Corporate Social Responsibility

Jotwell Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), Do Corporate Managers Have a Duty to Avoid Taxes? (Jotwell) (reviewing Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Just Say No: Corporate Taxation and Corporate Social Responsibility, 12 NYU J. L. & Bus. __ (2015):

The recent wave of corporate inversion transactions, in which domestic companies essentially move their headquarters abroad to lower their U.S. tax bill, is just the latest in a decades-long trend of aggressive tax avoidance behavior by corporations. From the government’s perspective, inversions and other tax avoidance strategies erode the U.S. tax base and impose a costly enforcement challenge on Treasury and the IRS. But from the perspective of corporate managers, aggressive tax planning may simply be part of the corporation’s duty to maximize shareholder value. Reuven Avi-Yonah questions this latter proposition in Just Say No: Corporate Taxation and Corporation Social Responsibility. He offers a compelling argument that corporate managerial duties are not hopelessly at odds with the goal of promoting better corporate tax compliance.

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May 4, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama Nominates Elizabeth Ann Copeland To Be U.S. Tax Court Judge

CopelandWhite House Press Release (May 1, 2015):

Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Elizabeth Ann Copeland as a Judge to the United States Tax Court. ...

Elizabeth Ann Copeland, Nominee for Judge, United States Tax Court
Elizabeth Ann Copeland is a Partner in the Tax Practice Group of Strasburger & Price, LLP in San Antonio, Texas, where she has practiced law since 2012.  She practiced with Oppenheimer, Blend, Harrison & Tate, Inc. from 1993 to 2012 and was named as Shareholder in 2000.  Ms. Copeland handles all matters pertaining to Federal income taxation, including planning and tax controversies, and she is also experienced in dealing with the Internal Revenue Service at the administrative appeals level and in litigation.  Ms. Copeland has been Board Certified in Tax Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2002. 

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May 4, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Covey Receives Inaugural RPTE Award

CoveyPress Release, ‘Legend’ Richard Covey Recipient of First RPTE Award at Spring Symposia:

“I thank you very much,” a humble Richard B. Covey said upon receiving the inaugural 2015 American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Award. Covey was presented with the award during the RPTE Spring Symposia, April 30 in Washington, D.C.

“It’s been an absolute joy,” Covey said of his long and distinguished career advising clients on trusts and estate planning matters. “Now at age 85, almost 86 … (working) keeps me happy.”

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May 4, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Taxpayer Standing In International Tax Disputes

Limor Riza (Carmel Academic Center, Haifa, Israel), Taxpayers’ Lack of Standing in International Tax Dispute Resolutions: An Analysis Based on the Hybrid Norms of International Taxation, 34 Pace L. Rev. 1064 (2014):

This paper examines whether a taxpayer should have “standing” in international dispute resolutions. To answer this question the primary task is to identify the nature of international taxation. In other words, this paper discusses how to classify the field of international taxation. Is it part of public international law, private international law (i.e., conflict of laws), national (domestic) law, or is it a hybrid field that requires specific attention? Making this distinction is vital for resolving disputes when a taxpayer is taxed twice for cross-border transactions in cases where the double tax convention is unclear and both contracting states claim full or partial tax on accrued income.

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May 4, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: A Woman-Led Law Firm That Lets Partners Be Parents

GellerNew York Times, A Woman-Led Law Firm That Lets Partners Be Parents:

Ms. Simon is a partner at the Geller Law Group, a six-woman firm, the founding credo of which is family-friendliness and whose stance on office face time is best described as “militantly against.”

In addition to practicing law, Ms. Simon and her law partner, Rebecca Geller, have a near-evangelical determination to show that parents can nurture their professional ambitions while being fully present in their children’s lives. Ms. Simon has such conviction on this point that she is almost personally offended by suggestions it might not be possible. The widely read and debated 2012 essay in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, by Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former State Department official, is a particular source of irritation. “I think women can have it all,” she said. “It’s just based on your paradigm of ‘all.’ ”

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May 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores, 1998-2015

2016 U.S. News RankingsRobert L. Jones (Northern Illinois), Academic Reputation Scores for Law Schools Continue Their Decline in 2015:

This essay summarizes the results of the U.S. News & World Report rankings published in 2015 with respect to the academic reputation scores of law schools.  In addition to analyzing the most recent results for the U.S. News rankings, the essay supplements the more extensive longitudinal study published by this author in 2013 [A Longitudinal Analysis of the U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores between 1998 and 2013, 40 Fla. St. L. Rev. 721 (2013)].  The article also includes updated appendices from the prior study that catalog the U.S. News academic reputation scores for every law school between 1998 and 2015.

Chart A

Chart E

Chart F

Biggest Changes in U.S. News Peer Reputation, 1998-2015

Law School

1998

2015

Change

Alabama

2.5

3.2

+0.7

Michigan State

1.8

2.3

+0.5

Pepperdine

2.2

2.6

+0.4

Texas A&M

1.5

1.9

+0.4

Florida State

2.6

2.9

+0.3

Georgia State

2.2

2.5

+0.3

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin

3.8

3.3

-0.5

Illinois

3.6

3.1

-0.5

Catholic

2.6

2.1

-0.5

New York Law School

2.3

1.8

-0.5

Albany

2.2

1.7

-0.5

Case Western

3.1

2.5

-0.6

Wayne State

2.6

1.9

-0.7

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May 4, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Seeks Grant Applications for Funding for Low Income Taxpayer Clinics

IRS Logo 2The IRS announced on Friday (IR-2015-75) that it is accepting grant applications for Low Income Taxpayer Clinics for the 2016 grant cycle (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2016). Applications will be accepted through June 1, 2015. The LITC program awards matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to qualifying organizations to develop, expand, or maintain a low income taxpayer clinic. 

The LITC program funds organizations to represent low income taxpayers who have a tax controversy with the IRS and to educate individuals who speak English as a second language (ESL) about their rights and responsibilities as U.S. taxpayers. An LITC must provide services for free or for no more than a nominal fee.

Beginning in grant year 2016, the LITC Program will no longer award discrete funding amounts to organizations to operate separate Controversy and ESL programs. Instead, all LITC grant recipients will be required to operate unified programs that provide direct representation in tax controversies with the IRS on behalf of low income taxpayers and use education and outreach efforts to make representation and consultation services available to ESL taxpayers.

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May 4, 2015 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy And The Invisible Hand Of God

We Are Better Than This (2014)Huffington Post:  The Invisible Hand of God, by Jim Burklo (Associate Dean of Religious Life, USC):

The United States has the highest poverty rate, the greatest income inequality, and the greatest wealth inequality of any major developed economy in the world. Edward Kleinbard, We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money (Oxford University Press, 2014) (p 98).

America ought to be better than these statistics imply. It's time for us to live up to the moral values espoused so long ago by Adam Smith. The real Adam Smith, that is.

I've just finished a dense but important and surprisingly readable book by a University of Southern California professor of tax law, Ed Kleinbard. I had the privilege of enjoying a vegetarian lunch with him last week at USC's Good Karma Cafe. He was eager for me to do what I could in the faith community to spread the message of his recent book. And I'm eager to do so, because there is good theology lurking amid the wonky details of tax and spending policy in We Are Better Than This.

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May 4, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 725

IRS Logo 2Robert W. Wood (Forbes), IRS Approved Clinton Foundation And Scientology, But Targeted Tea Party:

Will there be an IRS investigation of the Clinton Foundation? Even suggesting it sounds laughable, for few can stand up to the Clintons, let alone to a Democratic administration. Besides, the IRS Exempt Organizations Division used to be run by Lois Lerner, and it isn’t clear how much has changed. In fact, we may never get to the bottom of the Tea Party targeting scandal. It almost looks as though the IRS will attack conservative groups but is silent on the Clinton Foundation. Heck, even Scientology got its IRS church status.

When it was revealed in 2013 that the IRS targeted conservative groups, the IRS Commissioner had to resign, but that was about it. Lois Lerner was at the center of the scandal but didn’t suffer any consequences. In fact, she got $129,000 in cash bonuses and retired with a full government pension. She evidently did a good job targeting at the Federal Election Commission, and then she moved over seamlessly to the IRS to do the same. Ms. Lerner is now out of the prosecutor’s eye with no criminal charges, nice bonuses, and a nice retirement. When she broke her silence to Politico, she said she did nothing wrong, claiming that she was the victim.

Given Mrs. Clinton’s email proclivities,Mrs. Clinton’s emails are even harder to find than Lois Lerner’s. And the Treasury Inspector General has just found 6,400 missing Lois Lerner emails. We surely will not see the IRS looking at the enormously wealthy Clinton Foundation, even though several watchdog groups suggest there’s something fishy there. First is the politics, since the tracking of who gives money and who needs something from Hillary’s State Department tracks closely.

In fact, a whopping 181 donors lobbied the State Department while Mrs. Clinton was there. Coincidence? Even apart from the political pay-for-play fears we may have, just look at the numbers. Charity Navigator says that the Clinton Foundation took in nearly $140 million in donations from individuals and groups. Boy, that must do a lot of good works, right?

Not so fast. It turns out that only approximately $9 million was paid out in direct aid. More than $130 million went to so-called ‘administrative and other expenses.’ Even if that is entirely on the up and up, it sure looks bad. If Clinton family members or friends end up with much of it, there could be a private inurement problem. Charities are supposed to benefit charitable goals, not line private pockets. ...

Perhaps there are undeleted emails about this on that private email server. The Foundation downplays the errors, noting that the money was included in the overall revenue figures reported to the IRS. Maybe, but the amendments are awkward, highlighting the Foundation’s continued receipt of foreign money while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Besides, sometimes the IRS views amended tax returns as too little, too late. Lucky for Mrs. Clinton, as President Obama told Fox News, there is ’not even a smidgen of corruption’ at the IRS.

Even thinking the best of all of this, the Clinton Foundation’s administrative costs seem awfully high. Of course, we now know that the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation will be amending multiple years of tax returns. Upon becoming Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton promised that the Foundation would stop accepting donations from foreign governments. It turns out there were exceptions, and that the Foundation’s tax filings with the IRS were less than transparent.

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May 4, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 3, 2015

New Mexico Dean Resigns After Two Years, Citing 'Poor Fit With Faculty'; New Dean Will Be Selected From Senior Faculty By July 1

HerringDavid Herring has resigned as Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law after serving two years in the position:

“It’s just a poor fit between me and the law school faculty at this point,” Herring said. “I have certain goals that I articulated from the beginning when I joined this law school about two years ago. The faculty was excited about those goals but now they’ve changed their minds so it’s time to part ways.”

The goals he had highlighted were a “rigorous assessment of student learning outcomes” and to “create incentives for faculty to pursue interdisciplinary, empirical scholarship.”

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May 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

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. [247 Downloads]  Can Sharing Be Taxed?, by Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane) & Diane M. Ring (Boston College)
  2. [199 Downloads]  Using the 'Smart Return' to Reduce Tax Evasion, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford), Clifford Nass (Stanford) & Joel Slemrod (Michigan)
  3. [188 Downloads]  The Historical Origins of the Debt-Equity Distinction, by Camden Hutchison (Wisconsin)
  4. [171 Downloads]  Scholarship Against Desire, by Shari Motro (Richmond)
  5. [126 Downloads]  Fairness and Taxation in a Globalized World, by Sigrid Hemels (Eramus)

May 3, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Remembering Dan Markel

MarkelIn Memoriam: Dan Markel, 42 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 1-15 (2015):

From Dan's father:

On April 26, 2015 we had the “Unveiling of the Headstone” for Dan.

Markel

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May 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 724

IRS Logo 2Robert W. Wood (Forbes), IRS $20 Million Response To Latest Pile of Lois Lerner Emails Is Worrisome:

Lois Lerner’s latest lost and found hoard of 6,400 newly discovered emails may end up not showing much. The IRS didn’t find them. A watchdog did. Maybe they will underscore the targeting and Ms. Lerner’s political chops honed at the Federal Election Commission. But at least the Treasury Inspector General found the 6,400 additional emails. A little more than 10% (650) are tied to 2010 and 2011. The rest date to 2012.

But the IRS statement in response to this latest revelation is, well, a little disturbing:

We welcome the Inspector General’s recovery of these Lois Lerner emails. This is an encouraging development that will help resolve remaining questions and dispel uncertainty surrounding the emails.

The IRS has been committed to cooperating fully with the investigations. We understand that, during the course of the past 10 months, the Inspector General found about 650 emails from the period affected by the hard-drive crash. It’s important to note that last summer, the IRS produced 24,000 emails from that period.

The IRS will continue to cooperate with the Inspector General and the congressional committees to complete work in this area, and we look forward to the results to determine what additional steps the IRS can take to ensure that we continue to improve our processes.

It’s important to note that the IRS has produced to Congress more than 1.3 million pages of documents related to the investigation, including more than 147,000 emails. Total estimated cost of just the IRS portion is at least $20 million.

The IRS has not exactly seamlessly cooperated, and Mr. Koskinen who runs the IRS has had a prickly relationship with investigators and with Congress. He has sometimes appeared to be annoyed that he is being asked any questions at all. Of course, the IRS said in 2014 (a little late?) that Ms. Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011.

Oops, no one’s fault that we lost a few years worth of emails. We kept being reminded how hard the IRS looked and how terribly expensive it was that the IRS had to do this. Yet the inspector general found about 35,000 emails from recycled back-up tapes. It then turned out that the key IRS IT people weren’t even asked to look at back up tapes. Isn’t this a little insulting? ...

A spokesman for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the committee hopes the new emails will bring the panel closer to releasing the findings of its IRS investigation. Wouldn’t some answers be nice?

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May 3, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

98% Of Harvard Law Faculty Political Donations Go To Democrats

Harvard 2015The Crimson, Harvard Faculty Donate to Democrats by Wide Margin:

Eighty-four percent of campaign contributions made by a group of 614 Harvard faculty, instructors, and researchers between 2011 and the third quarter of 2014 went to federal Democratic campaigns and political action committees, according to a Crimson analysis of Federal Election Commission filings.

During the three years, the Harvard affiliates represented in analyzed public filings gave nearly $3 million to federal campaigns and candidates. Each of Harvard’s schools leaned to the left in the contributions made by their affiliates, many by wide margins. Ninety-six percent of donations in the data set from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which includes Harvard College, supported Democratic efforts. That figure was even higher—nearly 98 percent—at Harvard Law School. Harvard Business School was the most Republican, with 37 percent of its contributions supporting Republicans and 62 percent going to Democrats.

Harvard

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May 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

ABA Rejects Indy Tech's Accreditation; Law School Calls It A 'Temporary Setback'

Indiana Tech Law SchoolFort Wayne News Sentinel, Indiana Tech Law School Fails in First Bid for Accreditation:

An ABA committee has recommended against accreditation for Indiana Tech's two-year-old law school, but officials say the decision was not unusual and should represent only a temporary setback. ...

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May 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Slate: Is The Lost Generation Of Law School Graduates Still Lost?

Slate (2015)Slate:  Is the Lost Generation of Law School Graduates Still Lost?, by Jordan Weissmann:

The class of law school students who graduated immediately after the Great Recession is sometimes referred to as the industry's lost generation, thanks to the barren job market that left so many young J.D.'s struggling to find work. Of course, 2010 and 2011 weren't really a great time for anybody in the United States. But the legal business seemed to be experiencing a special sort of meltdown, with big firms laying off droves of young lawyers and rescinding offers to new recruits. Both because it appeared that law firms might be suffering a permanent correction—shrinking after having grown too quickly, too fast during the good times—and because firms tend to hire entry-level talent straight out of school, there was a sense that those whose careers had been derailed by the downturn might never recover.

So what happened next?

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May 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 723