Professor Joshua Blank Suggests Changes to Tax Shelter Disclosure Law at National IRS Conference
July 09, 2009 –Joshua D. Blank, Assistant Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, today presented “Overcoming Overdisclosure: Toward Tax Shelter Detection” at the 2009 IRS Research Conference, held at Georgetown University Law Center. Blank’s article, which will be published later this year in the UCLA Law Review, discusses the administrative problems resulting from the over-reporting of information that is irrelevant to tax shelter detection and proposes ways in which to reduce its occurrence.
Professor Blank’s article was selected for presentation through a competitive submission process. The annual conference highlights research on tax compliance and administration by IRS and state tax administrators, tax experts from other countries, academic researchers, and private sector experts. Among the participants in this year's conference were Douglas Shulman, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and Austan Goolsbee, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
In his presentation, Professor Blank addressed the tax shelter reporting regime, in which thousands of taxpayers and their advisors are required to mail the Internal Revenue Service special disclosure forms that reveal details of potentially abusive tax strategies. Blank argues that while the primary aim of current tax law is to deter non-disclosure of information to the IRS by taxpayers and advisors, the government should also strive to prevent “overdisclosure” of information. Such behavior, he explains, can be just as problematic to the IRS’s ability to detect and challenge tax shelters.
Professor Blank joined the Rutgers faculty in fall 2008 from New York University School of Law where he taught several advanced tax courses in its graduate tax program. Prior to that he was an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he advised clients regarding tax aspects of complex public and private company mergers, spin-offs and hostile takeovers. He holds an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University, a J.D. from Harvard, and a B.A. from New York University. Earlier this month he was appointed vice chair of the Teaching Taxation Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association, a committee of more than 250 tax law professors.