March 04, 2010
Tax Is Business
Posted by Sarah Lawsky

I'm very glad to be blogging at the Conglomerate--not just because it's one of my must-read blogs, but because this is, or so I've heard, a blog about "Business, Law, Economics, [and] Society," in that order.  So being asked to blog here feels like an acknowledgement that yes, tax is business too.  Or, to be more precise, that at least some tax professors write and teach about an area of law that directly addresses and affects businesses.  

This isn't news to the Conglomerate folks, of course.  I'm just one of many tax professors who have cycled through here.  Vic Fleischer, one of early members of The Conglomerate, is a tax and deal lawyer and scholar extraordinaire.  And Gordon was kind enough to include me in the most recent Law and Entrepreneurship Retreat, which included professors who specialize in, among other things, corporate governance, bankruptcy, finance, and securities regulation.

But far too many business law academics seem to forget that tax scholars have lots to say about business law.  After all, business lawyers couldn't get their deals done without the tax lawyers.  And while the corporate lawyers are arguing about indemnifications that might or might not get triggered years in the future, a good tax lawyer is putting money in the client's pocket right now, by structuring the deal to minimize the government's share.

I'm not sure why tax tends to get left out when people think about business law, or plan business law centers or programs or conferences.  Is it because tax, unlike securities regulation or corporate governance, does not seem intrinsically related to business?  Because not all tax scholarship relates to business law?  I would be very curious to hear people's thoughts on this.

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