Tax Courses, Seminars, and Reading Groups (2013-2014)

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.  Abrams (Spring 2014), Halperin (Spring 2014), Shay (Fall 2013), Warren (Spring 2014)

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 2014)

Partnership Tax (3 Credits) This course covers the detailed income tax rules applicable to all business entities taxed as partnerships under the Internal Revenue Code including general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies.  Topics include formation and operation of the entity, allocation of tax items among the partners, allocation of liabilities, current and liquidating distributions and various statutory anti-abuse rules.  This course requires close reading of the Code and Regulations and is particularly important for those interested in taxation, real estate, private equity or hedge funds.  Pre-requisite is Taxation.  Abrams (Fall 2013)

Taxation of International Income (4 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 2013)

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. 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)

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 2013-2014.

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 (Spring), Shay (Fall)

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 2014)

Reading Group: Economic Theory of Bequests (1 credit) will consider the economic theories of bequests. We will read the seminal studies in the economics literature, theoretical and empirical, and then we will consider how well - if at all - these studies address the legal and institutional considerations that are intuitive for lawyers, but are typically overlooked by economists. Pre-requisite is Trusts and Estates.  Sitkoff (Spring 2014)

Last modified: April 03, 2014

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