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The Future of Tax Shelters

Tax shelter activity has been widespread for decades. IRS attempts to curtail that activity have met with mixed results. For a time, it seemed that the IRS might have succeeded as never before, as Congress held hearings, the Treasury Department substantially expanded tax shelter disclosure requirements, and the Department of Justice brought criminal prosecutions against several KPMG tax professionals. Recently, however, there has been pushback from the courts, the tax profession, and even Congress. Did the government overreach and target legitimate business activity? Was the KPMG-prompted decline merely a cyclical downturn, to be followed by a return to previous levels of tax shelter activity? What will the future hold for tax shelters?

This conference will bring together top tax scholars and professionals as well as scholars from other disciplines who are thinking about tax shelters from different perspectives to evaluate the present and future of tax shelters.

Keynote Speaker

Ms. Pamela Olson

Pamela Olson, a partner at Skadden, Arps from 1990 to 2001, rejoined the firm in 2004 as a partner in the Tax Group. Ms. Olson formerly was an Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Program Schedule

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8:00-8:20 AM Registration
8:20 AM Introduction and Welcome
8:30-9:00 AM Keynote Address

Pamela Olson, Esq., Columbia University
Partner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Former Assistant Secretary of Treasury (Tax Policy)
9:10-10:00 AM Panel One

State Tax Shelters and State Taxation of Capital [ABSTRACT][ARTICLE]
Commentary: State Tax Shelters as a Tax Assignment Problem [ABSTRACT]
Moderator: Prof. Morgan Holcomb, University of Minnesota Law School
10:10-12:00 PM Panel Two

Tax Investment Strategies, Business Method Patents, and the Firm [ABSTRACT/OUTLINE]
Commentary: Patenting Tax Strategies: Reasons for Pause [OUTLINE][ABSTRACT]
The Search for New Methods of Tax Planning: Social Costs of Patent Protection and Disclosure [ABSTRACT]
  • Prof. Philip Curry, Simon Fraser University (co-authored with Prof. Claire Hill and Prof. Francesco Parisi, University of Minnesota Law School)
  • Commentary: Prof. David Weisbach, The University of Chicago Law School
Moderator: Prof. Claire Hill, University of Minnesota Law School
12:00-1:00 PM Lunch (provided)
1:00-2:50 PM Panel Three

Compaq Redux: Implicit Taxes and the Question of Pre-Tax Profit [ABSTRACT][ARTICLE]
Of Lenity, Chevron, and KPMG [ABSTRACT][ARTICLE]
Commentary: Tax Shelters: Intentionalism’s Greatest Challenge [ABSTRACT]
Commentary: The Consistency of Inconsistency [ABSTRACT]
Moderator: Prof. Bruce Shnider, University of Minnesota Law School
3:00-4:40 PM Panel Four

Options Backdating and Corporate Culture [ABSTRACT][OUTLINE]
Commentary: Tax Lawyers are People Too [ABSTRACT]
In Defense of Tax Shelters [ABSTRACT][ARTICLE]
Commentary: In Defense of Back-Summersaults [OUTLINE][ABSTRACT]
Moderator: Professor Kristin Hickman, University of Minnesota Law School

Symposium essays published by: