18 episodes

The first podcast from the Graduate Tax Program at NYU Law, the Tax Maven, introduces listeners to the people and the ideas that draw so many of us to work in tax. Tax scholars learned long ago what makes tax law both powerful and deeply human. The Tax Maven features conversations with professors from a range of disciplines, revealing tax law’s connection to prosperity, poverty, and history. Each episode will feature a guest—a Tax Maven—sharing the fruits of her scholarly work in a format that will make you think, laugh, and wonder, offering an answer to the perennial question: “Why tax law?”

The Tax Maven Steven Dean

    • Government
    • 5.0 • 40 Ratings

The first podcast from the Graduate Tax Program at NYU Law, the Tax Maven, introduces listeners to the people and the ideas that draw so many of us to work in tax. Tax scholars learned long ago what makes tax law both powerful and deeply human. The Tax Maven features conversations with professors from a range of disciplines, revealing tax law’s connection to prosperity, poverty, and history. Each episode will feature a guest—a Tax Maven—sharing the fruits of her scholarly work in a format that will make you think, laugh, and wonder, offering an answer to the perennial question: “Why tax law?”

    The Angel of Death Has a Tax Shelter to Sell You (Bill Gale)

    The Angel of Death Has a Tax Shelter to Sell You (Bill Gale)

    Bill Gale talks about what is wrong with our income tax and how to make it right. He also explains what happens when death and taxes square off (spoiler alert: it doesn’t go well for the income tax). Gale describes simple measures—and some not so simple—that we can take to make our tax system work better for all of us. Find out what the “Angel of Death” tax loophole is and why it makes the tax law both unfair and inefficient. Gale also discusses how mark-to-market taxation could help us all cheat death, making the income tax more equitable while boosting economic growth.

    Gale’s pencil question is about the tax treatment of churches.

    • 8 min
    Diane Ring is from the Future (Diane Ring)

    Diane Ring is from the Future (Diane Ring)

    Diane Ring may not actually be here from the future, but it would help to explain how she has remained one step ahead of the rest of the world for decades. She recognized the importance of power in international tax law early on, mapping the politics of states and international organizations long before anyone else realized it mattered. Today, international tax law seems to be nothing but politics. Ring shows us how we got here and what it may mean for our future. We also discuss her new research with Shu-Yi Oei that grapples with the challenges of regulating a rapidly changing world.

    The pencil question is about tax policy in ancient Athens.

    • 20 min
    From "I Paid My Income Tax Today" to "The Government Already Knows" (Joe Bankman)

    From "I Paid My Income Tax Today" to "The Government Already Knows" (Joe Bankman)

    Professor Joe Bankman has spent years working to harness technology for taxpayers. In today’s episode, he explains what a prepopulated tax return is and why much of the world uses them but the United States does not. We discuss the disruptive power of digital and how it is remaking the tax landscape in favor big multinationals while making it harder for small taxpayers to hide their income. Bankman also offers his perspective on what we can all learn from California’s budget woes and why its situation is both better and worse than that of the nation as a whole.

    The pencil question about the song “I Paid My Income Tax Today” comes from a book by Larry Zelenak.

    • 18 min
    Investing in Children's Potential with a Tax Credit (Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach)

    Investing in Children's Potential with a Tax Credit (Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach)

    Can tax law produce healthier babies? Those aren’t the kinds of questions most tax experts focus on, but Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach shows how the design of our tax laws can affect people in profound ways. In this episode we discuss the Earned Income Tax Credit and how it has affected the lives of millions of Americans living in poverty.

    The EITC has drawn low-skill mothers into the workforce more effectively than even optimistic observers in the mid-1990s might have hoped. It has also taught us important lessons about how the tax tools we use to help our most vulnerable neighbors can affect everything from whether they eat healthy food to the birthweight of their infants. Schanzenbach tells us what she has learned about the limitations and possibilities of delivering hope through the tax law.

    The pencil question comes from an article by Julie Roin.

    • 22 min
    If You Can't Measure It, How Can You Improve It? (Marc Fleurbaey)

    If You Can't Measure It, How Can You Improve It? (Marc Fleurbaey)

    Tax laws are designed to make us all better off. But there is a famous saying in business: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Professor Marc Fleurbaey understands the profound challenges hidden within that simple statement. If policymakers can’t measure the potential impact of tax policies, how can they make better laws? Fleurbaey explores how we can evaluate how well off we are so that we can increase not just income and wealth, but also do better to quantify aspects of our society such as health and social relations.

    Fleurbaey explains how optimal tax theory, an imperfect tool policymakers use to write our tax laws, can be improved to address similar flaws in the ways we fail to measure what really matters. He also describes the lessons Rawls can teach us about creating tax laws that reflect society’s values more accurately than merely maximizing GDP. The conversation wraps up with a discussion of a surprising carbon tax proposal from conservative economists and politicians that aims to protect both the environment and vulnerable individuals.

    Fleurbaey tackles a pencil question about a New Jersey taxpayer named Zarin.

    • 23 min
    At the Crossroads of Health and Tax Law (Katherine Pratt)

    At the Crossroads of Health and Tax Law (Katherine Pratt)

    Reproductive decisions affect our lives in profound ways. One of the underappreciated challenges of navigating parenthood in today’s world of assisted reproductive technology lies in understanding the tax treatment of the significant expenses that parents bear. Professor Katie Pratt has been wrestling with difficult policy issues raised by technological change for more than a decade. Pratt explains how the tax law has failed to provide would-be parents with the clarity they need on whether the costs of fertility treatments including IVF, egg donor, and surrogate procedures.

    In the world of Obergefell, the questions become both more urgent and more challenging and Pratt offers key insights and answers. Pratt’s scholarship has allowed her to build bridges between the tax and public health communities. She explains why that communication is critical to crafting effective laws by telling the story of one of the sugary drink taxes that fell victim to a simple misunderstanding. Tax laws can help improve lives and even help create them, but it takes thoughtful experts like Pratt to make sure that they deliver results.

    Pratt fields a tricky pencil question drawn from an article by her colleagues Ted Seto and Sande Buhai: “Tax and Disability: Ability to Pay and the Taxation of Difference”, 154 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1053 (2006).

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
40 Ratings

40 Ratings

Hacrel ,

Engaging & relevant

Steven Dean is a great interviewer! Looking forward to future episodes of this educational and entertaining podcast.

Vamessa83 ,

Lucid, interesting & timely

Essential listening for anyone who wants to understand how paramount tax policy is for getting the kind of economy we want.

SWG22 ,

Tax info for novices & experts alike

Fascinating, clear & interesting! Thanks 😊

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