U.S. Income Tax: Policies and Practices
LL.M Course 763
| 4 credit hours
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the U.S. income tax for foreign graduate students.
In the United States, the income tax is not just the principal means of financing government. Sooner or later, nearly every legal problem, no matter what the subject, raises an income tax issue. Whether the legal matter involves environmental regulation, corporate governance, or criminal behavior, money is likely to change hands, and the parties will need to know how the income tax treats the payment and receipt of the money.
Although the reading includes judicial opinions, statutory provisions, and regulatory decisions, its primary goal is to teach the deeper structure, or what might be called the conceptual or theoretical map, which underlies the federal income tax. Not even the most knowledgeable tax lawyer knows more than a tiny fraction of the thousands and thousands of details of the U.S. income tax law. Fortunately, lurking beneath the mass of technical detail is a deeper structure, a conceptual or theoretical map, which enables the practitioner to spot problems and identify issues even before the actual legal research begins. The principal objective of this course is to convey that conceptual or theoretical map.
A second objective of these materials is to place the tax law in a broader social and economic context. The tax law has an enormous impact, pervading every sphere of public and even private life. It may be a major cause of America’s reliance on private automobiles, rather than mass transit, for transportation and on single-family dwellings, rather than apartment buildings, for housing. It may also affect a couple’s decision to marry or have children. To study the tax law, then, can be to examine the basic value choices that Americans have made.
Being so pervasive, taxation is naturally an intensely political subject. A myriad of groups lobby the U.S. Congress to amend the tax laws to serve their particular, and often conflicting, interests. The degree to which one group succeeds, rather than another, reflects the distribution of political power.
Students may not receive credit for both this course and the J.D. course, Taxation I.
Elective course; open ONLY to LLM students from other countries who do not have a U.S. J.D. degree. This course meets the "Taxation I" requirement for International students in the Taxation LL.M. program.
The midterms for the course will be Thursday, 10/8/2015 and Tuesday, 11/24/2015.
||Room / Days / From-To
(CRN #: 13610)
||Cohen, Stephen B.