Lawyers who practice in the business and tax areas should be well versed in state taxation. This is especially true in a state like New Mexico where State taxation raises more issues and has as much, or more, affect on planning transactions, than federal taxation.
The State and Local Taxation course will address state tax issues by having students study those issues from both practice and policy perspectives. The course also will focus on statutory construction.
During the initial 4 to 6 classes, class discussions will deal with policy, constitution and overview of taxing systems. Understanding tax policy principles is essential to understanding any taxation, especially state taxation. Because state taxing powers are limited by the commerce and due process clauses of the Constitution, the course will review the relevant court decisions dealing with the constitutional limitations imposed on a state’s jurisdiction to tax, providing the test or standards given to us by the Supreme Court.
The course then will revolve around problems that I will hand out. The problems, which will be the basis for assignment, will involve current issues impacting New Mexico gross receipts and corporate income taxes. Although we are concentrating on New Mexico, the principles, and the underlying statutory provisions, are the same in most states.
Helen Hecht, a nationally recognized state tax law expert, has graciously agreed to participate in the class. Helen is a graduate of the law school, practiced tax law with the Sutin Law Firm and is presently Tax Counsel for the Federation of State Tax Administrators.
Students will be evaluated on class participation and written assignments. Students will be required to complete three or four memoranda of law, or similar projects, analyzing the issues raised by the problems. Helen and/or I will meet with students individually or in groups, as called for, to discuss each project.
There will be no casebook for the course. I will assign cases statues and other materials accessible online or from the library, and handout other reading material.