Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Friday, September 27, 2013

Symposium: Revenue Act of 1913

The New York Law School Law Review is hosting a symposium titled, "The 100th Anniversary of the Revenue Act of 1913: Marking a Century of Income Tax Law in the United States," to be held on the campus on October 4, 2013.  Edward Kleinbard (USC) is scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

Program and registration information is here.

Craig Estlinbaum

September 27, 2013 in Conferences, Faculty, Law Review Articles, Tax Law Information | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Northwestern: 100 Years Under the Income Tax

Northwestern Law Review and the Northwestern tax program have combined to host a symposium titled "100 Years Under the Income Tax" on April 5, 2013, at the Chicago campus.  Here is the program and a registration link.

Craig Estlinbaum

March 29, 2013 in Conferences, CLE, Conferences, Faculty, Tax Law Information | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Profology and Other Adjunct News


The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that Bob Ertischek, an adjunct professor at Monroe Community College in Rochester, has created a social media network for people working in higher education.  The site is called Profology.  The site describes itself as "a place where faculty and other higher education professionals can meet, exchange ideas and work to improve pedagogy, research, classroom technology and assessment, and more."  The platform actually opened in beta in 2011, and went fully operational sometime last year, but I just heard about it, so it's news to me.  And now, maybe to you.

IRS and Adjuncts

The IRS has posted guidance in the Federal Register relating to compensation for adjunct faculty, according to a Huffington Post report earlier this month.  From the HuffPo story:

The IRS noted in the Federal Register that "educational organizations generally do not track the full hours of service of adjunct faculty, but instead compensate adjunct faculty on the basis of credit hours taught." In short, most colleges are only paying part-time instructors for time spent in a classroom, and nothing for time spent grading or preparing.

The Treasury Department and the IRS are considering and "invite further comment on how best to determine the full-time status of employees" like educators, who may work many hours after students leave the classroom.

Correctly classifying adjunct, part-time or non-tenured faculty has taken on increased importance as the Affordable Care Act provisions relating to employer coverage come into effect.

Adjuncts and Governance

A joint subcommittee of the Association’s Committee on Contingency and the Profession and the Committee on College and University Governance, approved a final version of a report, "The Inclusion in Governance of Faculty Members Holding Contingent Appointments."  The report includes a broad range of recommendations designed to address the fact that more and more teaching at college and universities is performed by adjunct, part-time or non-tenured faculty.  Collene Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed has a summary and commentary on the report here.

Craig Estlinbaum

January 24, 2013 in Adjuncts in the News, College Professors, Colleges, Faculty in the News, Tax Law Information | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mobile Tax App

Attorney Matthias M. Edrich developed what appears to be a remarkable product for tax lawyers. It is called Touch Tax which includes the ability to read the entire IRS Code on your Blackberry, Android, I-Phone, or Palm. He describes the product as follows:

TouchTax includes the ability to load and read all 7,700+ sections of the Code and Regulations offline without the need for an Internet connection.  As a result of user feedback, I’ve also added a new keyword search function (which, however, does require an Internet connection) allowing you to search Code and Regulation sections based on exact keyword matches as well as natural language relevancy hits.  TouchTax also permits you to add individual notes to Code and Regulation sections and to email entire Code or Regulation sections along with your notes (which the author thinks is a very convenient feature!).  If you have access to an HP printer with wireless networking, you can also use TouchTax to print a Code or Regulation section.  TouchTax also has a bookmark feature, permitting you to bookmark frequently referenced sections, as well as other relevant links, including a link to lookup IRS tax forms.  If you enjoy using TouchTax, please consider leaving positive feedback in the application market.  Read “Getting Started” on the TouchTax support site for more information on how to get started with your Code and Regulation reading using TouchTax.  Note that the BlackBerry and Android versions are currently being upgraded to contain these features.  The HP/Palm and Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod versions are already up-to-date.

More information and a link to purchase (between 0.99 and 5.99) can be found here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 29, 2012 in Tax Law Information, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Free Books Given To Professors Are Subject To New York State Use Tax

One of the benefits professors enjoy is free books. We get books all the time to examine for use in class and we get to keep them. They are often unsolicited. The NYS Department of the Taxation and Finance recently issued an advisory opinion, OPINION NO. S090923A (Feb. 8, 2010) about whether such books are taxable. I am no tax expert, but this opinion suggests that free copies of books given out are subject to a use tax. Professors are considered readers and not prospective customers who are covered by an exemption. It does not appear that such books would be subject to income tax. However, this opinion may result in less books being distributed. The Opinion states in part:

Section 1105(a) of the Tax Law imposes sales tax on the sale of tangible personal property in New York. Tax Law section 1110 imposes use tax on the use in the State of tangible personal property purchased outside the State. Use includes the distribution of tangible personal property as promotional material in the State. Tax Law section 1101(b)(7). Tax Law section 1115(n)(4) provides an exemption from sales and use tax on printed promotional materials mailed or shipped by a common carrier or a like delivery service to customers or prospective customers of the purchaser of the promotional materials. The Tax Law section 1115(n)(4) exemption is inapplicable to the books distributed by Petitioner in New York because the recipients are not Petitioner’s customers or prospective customers. The
professors, book critics, and other recipients are not prospective customers of a book after they receive a free copy of the book. Petitioner’s prospective customers as to the books it distributes free to professors, book critics, and other recipients are students and readers of book reviews, respectively. That is, neither a professor’s assignment of a book as course material nor a critic’s public recommendation that a book be purchased makes the professor or critic a prospective customer of the book. See Promex Medical, Inc., Adv Op Comm T&F, April 8, 1999, TSB-A-99(23)S. Use tax is due on the books distributed in New
York because the books are used in New York. Tax Law section 1101(b)(7). (The exemption from use tax provided by Tax Law section 1118(2) is inapplicable to Petitioner’s use of books in New York because Petitioner is conducting business in the State.) The basis of the tax is the amount Petitioner paid for the books. Tax Law section 1110(b).

Hat Tip: New York Public Personnel Law

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 21, 2010 in Tax Law Information, Tax Law News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

IRS Increases 401(K) Deferral Amount and Social Security Taxable Wage Base

The IRS has announced its cost-of-living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for retirement plans and Social Security generally effective for Tax Year 2009 (see IR 2008-118).  The limitation on annual salary deferrals into a 401(k) plan will increase from $15,500 to $16,500. Additionally, the Social Security taxable wage base will increase from $102,000 to $106,800.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

December 4, 2008 in Tax Law Information | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Employer Provided Cell Phones As Taxable Income

TaxProf Blog ran a very interesting August 5, 2008 posting entitled Proposed Bill Would Allow Tax-Free Employee Cell-Phone Use. Prof. Caron reports that cell phones provided by employers are generally taxable. Therefore, the Tax Code encourages employers not to provide this benefit. There is a Bill pending in Congress which will change this.

Let's hope this Bill passes. Cell phones have transformed American business. They are no longer just fringe benefits. They are essential tools that professionals and others use daily. By cell phone, I hope the amendment includes Blackberry and related types of devices that help employees communicate.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 

August 5, 2008 in Tax Law Information | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Certain Law Student Foregiveness Loans Are Not Taxable

IRS Clarifies Rule on Taxing Forgiven Loans is a July 11, 2008 National Law Journal article that law students may be interested in. It concerns an IRS revenue ruling, where the agency clarified that the privilege of not claiming the erased loans as income applies to certain students (not all) who go into the legal profession. As the article states:

Specifically, the IRS clarification says that a law school graduate can work for a public interest or community service organization, a legal aid office or clinic, a prosecutor's office, a public defender's office or another local, state or federal government office and qualify for avoiding taxes on the loan write-off.

Some law schools were confused and concerned about the tax implications of their loan-repayment assistance programs, designed to give a financial benefit to students taking on lower-income jobs while carrying heavy law school debt, after a 2006 tax court summary opinion issued in Moloney v. Commissioner (.pdf). That decision suggested that only students going into medical, nursing or teaching careers might be able to avoid income taxes on loans that are forgiven.

"The Moloney decision led to some confusion, and for the purpose of clarification we published the revenue ruling," said Craig Wojay, an IRS attorney adviser.

I am sure that this is welcomed news to law students and law schools who have loan foregiveness programs.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

July 23, 2008 in Law Students, Tax Law Information | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New York's Internet Tax Challenged is challenging New York's Internet tax. The claim is that this new statute is unconsitutional. As an article in Media Posts Publication provides:

The Web retailer argues that New York State can't tax it because Amazon has no physical presence in New York or significant ties with the state. "Amazon's only contact with New York residents is by mail, wire, or common carrier," the company argued in a lawsuit filed last month.

The bill, recently signed by Gov. David Paterson, requires Web retailers that use in-state affiliates to collect New York sales tax. The bill was largely seen as targeting, and was informally referred to "the Amazon tax."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that states cannot require out-of-state retailers like catalog companies to collect sales tax unless they have a physical presence, like a brick-and-mortar store, in those states.

But the New York legislature relied on the theory that Amazon's in-state affiliates--including other Web publishers that garner referral fees because they have placed links to Amazon on their sites--constitute a sufficient presence in New York to justify taxing it. That rationale was first put forward last November by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The measure is expected to bring in $50 million to New York this year.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 13, 2008 in Tax Law Information | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)