Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy UCLA Law

Tax Law Program Newsletter

Fall 2014

Two Articles by Professor Bank Selected as Notable Corporate Tax Articles of 2013

Two articles by Professor Steven A. Bank, Paul Hastings Professor of Business Law and faculty director of the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy, were included in the list of the 22 most notable tax articles of 2013. In their article “A Brief Review of Corporate Tax Articles of 2013,” 143 Tax Notes 1314 (June 16, 2014), tax law professors Jordan M. Barry, Karen C. Burke and Monica Gianni recognized the impact and importance of Professor Bank’s “The Globalization of Corporate Tax Reform,” 40 Pepperdine Law Review 1307 (2013) and “Taxing Bigness,” 66 Tax Law Review 379 (2013).

UCLA Law Receives Gift to Establish Chair in Tax Law and Policy and Names Professor Kirk J. Stark as First Recipient

James D. C. Barrall ’75 and Carole Barrall (UCLA ’75) established the UCLA School of Law Barrall Family Endowed Chair in Tax Law and Policy in honor of Jim's parents, Raymond C. and Shirley C. Barrall. James Barrall is a partner in the Los Angeles office of the international law firm Latham & Watkins and serves as the global co-chair of the firm's Benefits and Compensation Practice. The chair recognizes the achievements of a distinguished faculty member whose scholarship and teaching contribute to excellence in the field of tax law and and policy at UCLA School of Law. Professor Kirk J. Stark, whose research focuses on taxation and public finance, with a particular emphasis on state and local tax policy and U.S. fiscal federalism, is the first Barrall Family Endowed Chair in Tax Law and Policy.

Tax Law Scholarships Awarded

UCLA School of Law produces some of the nation’s best and brightest future lawyers – as evidenced by the many prestigious scholarships and awards bestowed upon our students and graduates each year.

Peter Boos ’14 was awarded the 2014 Bruce I. Hochman Award for Excellence in the Study of Tax Law.  The award is presented annually to a graduating student who has demonstrated outstanding proficiency in the field. The recipient of the $15,000 award is selected by UCLA School of Law tax faculty and is announced at the commencement ceremony each May. The award honors Bruce I. Hochman, a leading tax practitioner who was a member of the first UCLA School of Law graduating class of 1952. Recent prior recipients include Noah Benjamin Metz (2013) and Christopher Hanfling (2012). Noah is an associate in the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in Palo Alto. Christopher is an associate in the law firm of Jones Day in Washington D.C.

Steve Serna ’14, Ryan McKay Hicks ’15 and Alan Beadle ’16 were chosen to receive Thomas A. Kirschbaum Scholarships. The Kirschbaum Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate an interest in and an aptitude for studying tax law. The scholarship helps to fund the recipients’ education and also introduces them to mentors in the Los Angeles legal community. Steve Serna graduated in May 2014 and will be joining the Los Angeles firm of Cox, Castle & Nicholson.

The Politics of Taxation: UCLA Law Hosts the Third Annual NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Symposium

This year, UCLA Law hosted the third annual NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Symposium, which focused on the politics of taxation, including the future of the income tax, the current state of tax legislation and the current administration’s position on tax reform. UCLA Law faculty members facilitated conversations and panels with distinguished academics from NYU, Georgetown, Duke and MIT.

The NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Symposium is a joint annual conference focusing on tax policy issues from both a legal and economic perspective. Bringing together members of both NYU Law's tax law faculty and UCLA Law's business law and policy program, the event provides a forum in which leading scholars, policymakers and practitioners can analyze complex tax policy questions and options for reform. This joint initiative builds on tax policy symposia that have historically been hosted by the Tax Law Review, the premier law school journal for tax policy scholarship, and the UCLA Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance, started in 2004.

UCLA Law Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium - On the Forefront of Tax Law and Policy

Each year, the law school hosts the UCLA Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium, which showcases 10 leading academics who present cutting-edge research on tax policy. The colloquium provides the law school community with an opportunity to participate in serious academic debates concerning tax policy and to advance thoughtful research in this area.

To kick off the 2013-14 colloquium, Professor James R. Hines, Jr., L. Hart Wright Collegiate Professor of Law at Michigan Law School, presented “Delegating Tax.” Congress regularly delegates the definition of tax bases and the discretion to enforce tax laws to the Treasury Department, and Professor Hines noted that many of the arguments for delegation – expertise, responsiveness and flexibility – apply to tax policy as well. He suggested that Congress should consider expanding delegations of authority to other areas. In another thought provoking presentation, Professor Gregg D. Polsky, Willie Person Mangum Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, presented “The Untold Story of Sun Capital: Private Equity Monitoring Fees Are Actually Disguised Dividends.” Professor Polsky reported that private equity funds use monitoring fees to reallocate deductions from funds to portfolio companies. He argued that these monitoring fees are properly characterized as dividends and therefore should not be deductible. 

These are just two examples from an impressive lineup of presentations.

Recent Faculty Contributions to Tax Scholarship

UCLA Law’s tax faculty is one of the most productive in the country. Here is a sample of recent scholarship by the UCLA Law tax faculty:

Steven A. Bank
Paul Hastings Professor of Business Law
Faculty Director, Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy


Historical Perspective on the Corporate Interest Deduction, Chapman Law Review (forthcoming 2014) (Symposium)
One of the so-called “pillars of sand” in the American business tax structure is the differential treatment of debt and equity. This essay contends that although there may be appropriate arguments in favor of maintaining a full corporate interest deduction, the historical premise for the origins of the corporate income tax system is not one of them.

Law and History by Numbers: Use, But with Care (with Brian R. Cheffins and Harwell Wells), Illinois Law Review (forthcoming 2014) (Symposium)
This paper, prepared for a University of Illinois College of Law symposium honoring Professor Larry Ribstein, deals with the historical development of corporate law in the United States, focusing on the promise and perils of quantification.

When We Taxed the Pyramids, 41 Florida State University Law Review 39 (2013) (Symposium)
This paper, written for a Florida State University College of Law symposium on the 100th anniversary of the federal income tax, explores the evolution of the tax treatment of intercorporate dividends.

Questioning “Law and Finance”: U.S. Stock Market Development, 1930-70 (with Brian R. Cheffins and Harwell Wells), Business History 1 (2013)
An important tenet of a burgeoning “law and finance” literature is that stock market development is contingent upon corporate law offering ample protection to shareholders. This paper addresses this claim, using as its departure point developments occurring in the United States between 1930 and 1970.

Kirk J. Stark
Barrall Family Endowed Professor of Tax Law and Policy

The Operation of Tax Limitation Initiatives in the Face of Conflicting Voter Preferences for Tax and Spending Levels, Tax Law Review (forthcoming 2014)
This comment on Cheating on Their Taxes: When Are Tax Limitations Effective at Limiting State Taxes, Expenditures, and Budgets? by Colin McCubbins and Mathew McCubbins offers an alternative explanation of their empirical findings that tax limitation initiatives have little or no effect on state fiscal outcomes.

The Role of Expressive versus Instrumental Preferences in U.S. Attitudes toward Taxation and Redistribution, in Philosophical Explorations of Justice and Taxation: National and Global Issues (Helmut P. Gaisbauer, Gottfried Schweiger and Clemens Sedmak, eds., forthcoming 2015).
This chapter connects the debate over U.S. tax attitudes with research on the role of expressive preferences in electoral choice. The analysis explains how an expressive account resolves the supposed “paradox” of popular opposition to redistributive tax policies and discusses the implications of this view for U.S. tax politics.

Review of Tax Fairness and Folk Justice by Steven M. Sheffrin, 67 National Tax Journal 487 (2014).
This review of Steve Sheffrin’s recent book, Tax Fairness and Folk Justice, provides an overview of his analysis and registers some skepticism about his central claim regarding the proper role of “folk justice” in the formulation of tax policy.

Tax Reform and the American Middle Class (with Eric Zolt), 40 Pepperdine Law Review 1209 (2013)
This article examines the different policy options for taxing the middle class. One approach is to maintain (or reduce further) the federal middle-class tax burden to help these households during challenging economic times. A different response recognizes that what matters are the combined effects of government’s tax and welfare policies

Too Good to Be True? How State Charitable Tax Credits Could Increase Federal Funding for California (with Phillip Blackman), California Policy Options (2013). Reprinted as Capturing Federal Dollars with State Charitable Tax Credits, 139 Tax Notes 53 (2013).
An IRS chief counsel memorandum published in 2010 found that a taxpayer was permitted to claim a charitable contribution deduction for the full amount of a gift, even though a substantial portion of the gift was effectively refunded to the taxpayer through a charitable state tax credit. This analysis demonstrates that the IRS memorandum permits states to adopt charitable tax credits that effectively enable taxpayers to convert state taxes to charitable gifts—a strategy that would be attractive to taxpayers subject to the federal alternative minimum tax.

Eric M. Zolt
Michael H. Schill Distinguished Professor of Law

Inequality in America: Challenges for Tax and Spending Policies, 66 Tax Law Review 1101 (2013)
This article examines tax and spending policies in an era of increasing inequality of income and wealth. Over the last 30 years, fiscal policy has been not effective in addressing these challenges.

The Effect of Rising Income Inequality on Taxation and Public Expenditures: Evidence From U.S. Municipalities and School Districts, 1970–2000 (with Leah Boustan, Fernando Ferreira and Hernan Winkler), 95 The Review of Economics and Statistics 1291 (2013).
Income inequality has increased both within and across many developed countries. To examine the relationship between income inequality and government tax and spending policies, this article gathers and analyzes data on the income distribution and local expenditures for over 5,000 American municipalities and school districts from 1970 through 2000.

Tax Reform and the American Middle Class (with Kirk Stark), 40 Pepperdine Law Review 1209 (2013)
This article examines the different policy options for taxing the middle class. One approach is to maintain (or reduce further) the federal middle-class tax burden to help these households during challenging economic times. A different response recognizes that what matters are the combined effects of government’s tax and welfare policies.

Taxation and Inequality in the Americas: Changing the Fiscal Contract? (with Richard Bird), in Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link? (R. Bird and J. Martinez-Vazquez, eds., Edward Elgar 2013)
Since 2000, Latin America has become less unequal, with lower levels of poverty and likely greater economic mobility. Over a longer time period, the United States has become more unequal, with relatively high poverty levels and likely less economic mobility. This book chapter examines how changes in levels of inequality may influence taxing and spending policies.

Jason Oh
Assistant Professor of Law

The Pivotal Politics of Temporary Legislation, Iowa Law Review (forthcoming)
Crucial to the debates surrounding temporary tax legislation are two types of uncertainty. Will the temporary provision be renewed when it is scheduled to expire? If it is renewed, will the temporary provision change? This article explicitly models the renewal of temporary legislation by extending a political science model of the legislative process.

Alexander Wu
Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy Fellow

U.S. International Taxation in Comparison with Other Regulatory Regimes, 33 Virginia Tax Review 169 (2013).
This article proposes that U.S. international tax policy analysis must take into account non-tax regulation, which is generally disregarded in contemporary policy analysis. Structural features of non-tax regulatory regimes are shown to have significant implications for fundamental normative claims of the international tax policy literature.

UCLA Law Alumni Publications

An article by Peter Boos ’14, “Runaway REIT Train? Impact of Recent IRS Rulings,” was published in Tax Notes alongside articles from the world’s leading tax experts on September 15, 2014. The article was selected as one of the winning entries in the inaugural Tax Analysts Student Paper Competition.  Peter is at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Faculty In the News

Members of the UCLA Law tax law faculty are resources for news and commentary on tax law and policy and they are continually recognized for their excellence. Please click here to view recent news and media coverage.