Tax Courses, Seminars, and Reading Groups (2014-2015)

Complete course descriptions will be available on-line through the Harvard Law School Registrar's Office.

Foundational Course

Taxation (4 credits) This course focuses on the U.S. federal income tax and the policy considerations that inform the design of the tax, which has become an important governmental tool for influencing many aspects of modern American life. The course accordingly examines not only the concept of taxable income, but also how the federal government uses the tax to influence the behavior of taxpayers, whether wealthy (e.g., the capital gains preference), middle-income (the education credits) or lower-income (the earned income credit). A principal goal of this course is also to teach students to analyze and apply a complex federal statute. Unless otherwise indicated below or waived by the instructor, Taxation is a pre-requisite for J.D. students in the advanced tax courses.  Desai (Fall 2014), Halperin (Fall 2014), Kaplow (Fall 2014), Shay (Fall 2014), Warren (Spring 2015)

Advanced Courses

Taxation of Business Corporations (3 Credits) This course covers the federal income tax issues involved in the organization, operation, and restructuring of U.S. corporations. The course provides the tax background necessary for understanding and participating in the creation of many types of business transactions of both publicly and closely held enterprises, including acquisitions, liquidations, mergers, and spinoffs. Students who have previously taken Business Taxation may not take this course. Taxation is a prerequisite, and Corporations is a recommended preparation.  Warren (Spring 2015)

Partnership Tax (2 Credits) This course is a study of the federal income tax treatment of partners and partnerships, as well as limited liability companies and their members. Topics include: choice of entity and federal tax classification; partnership formation and acquisition of partnership interests for property or services; partnership capital accounting and taxation for normal operations; transactions between partners and partnership; distribution of cash and partnership assets to partners; sales of partnership interests; and death or retirement of a partner. In addition, attention is given to comparisons with the tax treatment of C and S corporations.  Pre-requisite is Taxation.  Ponda (Fall 2014)

Taxation of International Income (3 credits) This course examines U.S. income tax laws and policies relating to the taxation of foreign income of U.S. persons and U.S. income of foreign persons. Emphasis will be on fundamental issues, such as jurisdiction to tax, source of income, U.S. taxation of foreign persons, the credit for foreign taxes paid by U.S. persons, U.S. taxation of foreign income earned by foreign entities owned by U.S. persons, pricing transactions between related parties, and income tax treaties. Taxation is a prerequisite.  Shay (Spring 2015)

Taxation of Estates and Gifts (2 credits) This course examines the federal wealth transfer taxes, including the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes. Not scheduled to be offered in 2014-2015. See Taxation Seminar: Estate Planning (below).

Law of Nonprofit Organizations (2 credits) Students will read and discuss statutes, regulations and cases and then draft governing documents, filings, and memoranda  related to public charities and private grantmaking foundations. Students will also consider legal aspects of charities’ operating issues, including dispute resolution. In addition to classes, students will have the opportunity to meet individually with the professor to discuss her markups of their drafts.  Bjorklund (Spring 2015)

Taxation: Comparative Law Tax and Policy (2 credits) This course examines different solutions to common problems of tax system design in several major industrialized countries. Examples of the kinds of issues to be discussed include different national approaches to the definition of income, jurisdiction to tax, prevention of tax avoidance, and the relationship of corporate and individual taxes.  Not scheduled to be offered in 2014-2015.

Seminars and Reading Groups

Taxation Seminar: Current Issues in Tax Law, Policy and Practice (2 credits) will consider a range of current issues in taxation focusing on works-in-progress by invited participants. Students will be asked to write short response papers to the papers to be presented.  Students may take fall session for 1 credit, spring session for 1 credit or yearlong for 2 credits.  Halperin (Fall 2014), Shay (Spring 2015)

Taxation Seminar: Estate Planning (2 credits) will examine basic and sophisticated estate planning techniques.  It will take a practical perspective, studying how the estate planner navigates the federal transfer tax and property law rules with sensitivity to a client's personal circumstances and concerns in order to achieve the client's objectives.  Grading will be based upon practice exercises and class participation.  Pre-requisite is Trusts and Estates (may be taken concurrently).  Bloostein (Spring 2015)

Last modified: January 20, 2015

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