November 10, 2004

2004 Law Student Tax Challenge

Problem, Semi-Finalist Answers

*Posted 10/22/04:

A question has arisen regarding clarification of the following sentence that appears in the last paragraph of section II of the 2004 LSTC problem. The sentence reads as follows:

"Further, Mega believes that iTunes should continue to administer the SELP to provide an incentive to the senior executives to retain their Mega or iTunes shares."

In general, the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation of 2002 ("SOX") prospectively puts an end to these types of loans to executives of public companies. This legislation was referenced in the sixth paragraph of section II of the problem. For purposes of your analysis, it should be presumed that any prospective administration of the SELP program by either Mega or iTunes would comport fully with SOX. Further, no new loans would be extended to senior executives of either company to comply with SOX, and the existing loans as set forth in the facts of the problem should be presumed to be "grandfathered" by SOX and continue to be bona fide loans. Thus, the administration of the SELP program would be limited to the administration of existing SELP loans.

Semi-Finalists

The semi-finalists were:

  • Amanda Van and Nathan Gierke, Thomas Jefferson University, San Diego, CA
  • Kevin Morriss and Jason Rednour, Chapman University, Orange County, CA
  • Brian Judkins and Dan McCall, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • Jason Dutil and James Kinnebrew, George Washington University, Washington, DC
  • Atim Nsunwaaq and Soyun Park, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • Matthew Jaumann and Kenneth Crotty, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT

Winners

The 1st Place Team was Brian Judkins and Dan McCall, of the Georgetown University Law Center. Their winning submission is available.

The 2nd Place Team was Kevin Morriss and Jason Rednour, of the Chapman University School of Law.

The 3rd Place Team was Atim Nsunwaaq and Soyun Park, of the Georgetown University Law Center.

The Best Written Submission was by the first-place team, Brian Judkins and Dan McCall of the Georgetown University Law Center.

Judges

Judges for the 2004 Law Student Tax Challenge include some of the nation's top tax law practitioners. Each judge attends the semi-final or final rounds of the Challenge at the Section of Taxation Midyear Meeting, and judges both the oral and written presentations of the semi-finalists or finalists.

Judges for Semi-Final Rounds

  • Allen Madison, Fenwick & West
  • William F. Sweetnam, Jr., U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Thomas R. Hoecker, Snell & Wilmer
  • Christopher E. Condeluci, Buchanan Ingersoll
  • Joseph Barry Schimmel, Cohen, Chase, Hoffman & Schimmel
  • Norma M. Sharara, Buchanan Ingersoll
  • David N. Levine, Groom Law Group
  • Marianna G. Dyson, Miller & Chevalier

Judges for Final Rounds

  • Veronica A. Rouse, Internal Revenue Service
  • Jerald D. August, August, Kulunas, Dawson & Siegel
  • Bruce D. Pingree, Baker Botts
  • Barry Kozak, John Marshall Law School
  • Alice G. Abreu, Temple Law School
     

Judge Biographies

  • Allen Madison is an associate attorney with Fenwick & West LLP, in Mountainview, California. Allen's practice focuses on tax controversy and litigation matters. Prior to joining Fenwick & West, Allen served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Laurence J. Whalen of the United States Tax Court.

    In 2003, Allen was designated a John S. Nolan Fellow by the ABA Tax Section. Allen currently serves as Vice Chair of the Tax Section's Young Lawyers Forum. He has previously served as Chair of the Young Lawyers Forum's Programs and Meetings Subcommittee and as a judge for the writing portion of the Law Student Tax Challenge. On the Tax Section's Court Procedure and Practice Committee, he currently serves as Chair of the Tax Shelter Litigation Subcommittee; he has also served as Chair of the Current Developments Subcommittee, Chair of the Tax Lawyer Mentor Program Subcommittee, and Chair of the Young Lawyers Subcommittee.
  • William F. Sweetnam, Jr. is Benefits Tax Counsel in the Office of the Benefits Tax Counsel at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Benefits Tax Counsel is the principal legal advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy with regard to all aspects of employee benefits taxation and related matters, including pensions, health care and executive compensation. Before joining the Treasury Department, Bill was Tax Counsel on the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, under the chairmanship of Senator William V. Roth of Delaware.

    Bill's service on the Finance Committee staff was his first experience working in the public sector. Bill was a Technical Consultant at Towers Perrin, an international benefits consulting firm prior to coming to Washington and prior to Towers Perrin, Bill was the Chief Counsel, Compensation and Benefits at Sun Company, Inc. (Sunoco), an oil refining and marketing company.
  • Thomas R. Hoecker is a partner in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., where he is a member of the Employee Benefits and Compensation Practice. His work focuses on ERISA, fiduciary responsibility and executive compensation matters.

    Tom's recent written publications include Applying ERISA's Fiduciary Standards to 401(k) Plans, Applying ERISA's Fiduciary Standards to Cash Balance Plan Conversions, Applying ERISA's Fiduciary Standards to ESOPs, Section 404(c) Compliance Audit Checklist, Compensating Executives — An Introduction, Participant Directed Investment Plans — Problems and Solutions, and Benefit Plans and Deals: Applying ERISA's Fiduciary Standards to Business Combinations.

    Tom is the past chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA Tax Section, a former president of the Phoenix Chapter of the Western Pension and Benefits Conference, and a frequent speaker on employee benefits and executive compensation issues. Tom is also a Charter Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Attorneys.
  • Christopher E. Condeluci is an associate attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of Buchanan Ingersoll, where he is a member of the Employee Benefits Group. His work focuses on tax law and employee benefit issues. Christopher is currently the co-chair of the Young Lawyers in Employee Benefits Forum of the ABA Tax Section's Employee Benefits Committee. He is also chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Human Resources Association of the National Capital Area.

    Christopher is an honors graduate of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where he earned his J.D. and an LL.M. in employee benefits law. Prior to entering law school, he worked for U.S. Rep. Richard R. Chrysler (R-MI), and later worked as the government relations specialist for Towers Perrin, a pension and benefits consulting firm. Christopher has also worked as an extern for the Internal Revenue Service, Office of Chief Counsel, Tax Exempt/Government Entity Division, and interned at the United States Department of Treasury, Office of Tax Policy, Benefits Tax Counsel.
  • Joseph Barry Schimmel is a shareholder with the Miami, Florida, law firm of Cohen, Chase, Hoffman & Schimmel, P.A. He is board certified in taxation, concentrating in taxation of individuals and closely-held businesses.

    In 2004, Joe was designated a John S. Nolan Fellow by the ABA Tax Section. Joe currently co-chairs the Important Developments Subcommittee of the Tax Section's Low Income Taxpayer Committee and is also a member of the Membership & Marketing and Pro Bono subcommittees. Joe previously served as Chair of the 2002 Law Student Tax Challenge and Co-Chair of the 2003 competition.
  • Norma M. Sharara is a shareholder with the Washington, D.C., office of Buchanan Ingersoll. Norma is the Vice-Chair of the Executive Compensation Practice Group, is a member of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group of the firm's Tax Section.

    Norma focuses her practice on employee benefits and executive compensation matters. She has experience with ERISA fiduciary and income and employment tax issues, as well as with securities, labor, corporate, banking and commercial law matters related to qualified and nonqualified employee benefit plans. She also has experience advising clients with respect to stock option, incentive compensation and health and welfare benefit plans, as well as employment agreements.

    Norma serves as managing editor of Tax Management's Compensation Planning Journal.

    In 2003, Norma was designated a John S. Nolan Fellow by the ABA Tax Section. Norma chairs the Important Developments Subcommittee of the Tax Section's Employee Benefits Committee and is a member of the Subcommittees on Executive Compensation; Retiree Medical/VEBAs; Distributions; Pension Legislation; and Electronic Plan Administration.

    Since 2003, Norma has been an adjunct faculty member at the Kogod College of Business Administration, American University, Washington, D.C., where she teaches a graduate-level course in employee benefits in the master's of taxation program.
  • David N. Levine is an attorney with the Washington, D.C., based Groom Law Group. David practices in the employee benefits and tax areas, with a primary focus on matters involving qualified retirement plans and governmental retirement programs. His experience includes the redesign and integration of defined contribution and defined benefit plans, representation of tax-exempt organizations, and issues relating to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

    David is currently the co-chair of the Young Lawyers in Employee Benefits Forum of the ABA Tax Section's Employee Benefits Committee.
  • Marianna G. Dyson is a member of the Washington, D.C., law firm of Miller & Chevalier. She practices in the areas of tax and employee benefits with a focus on consulting, tax audits and appeals controversies involving noncash fringe benefits, employment taxes, accountable plans, cross-border compensation, stock-based compensation, tip reporting, and information reporting.

    Prior to joining Miller & Chevalier, Marianna previously was a national partner in the Fringe Benefits and Employment Tax Practice of Baker & McKenzie. She also served as the Special Assistant for Fringe Benefits and as a senior attorney in the Office of IRS Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits and Exempt Organizations), where she was responsible for managing employment tax disputes and worker classification litigation, in addition to writing guidance and regulations concerning fringe benefits.

    Marianna's extensive experience in both the government and private sectors has made her a frequent contributor to written publications related to fringe benefits, including More Basics: The Basics of Fringe Benefits, an audit guide for IRS employment tax specialists; and Employer's Guide to Fringe Benefit Rules and Complying with IRS Employee Benefits Rules, publications of the Thompson Publishing Group. She has been a member of the IRS Commissioner's Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee.
  • Veronica A. Rouse is an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, practicing in the areas of employee benefits and payroll tax. Her focus includes independent contractor/employee determination proceedings, fringe benefit issues, application and reporting requirements of FICA, FUTA, withholding taxes and SECA, accountable plans and other types of reimbursement arrangements, vow of poverty withholding and income tax, unemployment compensation, railroad retirement tier I and II benefits, tip income, employer liability for payroll taxes, bankruptcy proceedings involving employment taxes, and earned income of citizens of the United States, its possessions, and its nonresident aliens.

    Veronica is active in the ABA Tax Section's Young Lawyer's Forum, and serves as the co-chair of the 2004 Law Student Tax Challenge. She will also co-chair the 2005 Law Student Tax Challenge.

    Veronica graduated from the University of Maryland with a Juris Doctor in 2002. Prior to law school, she received a master's degree in Information Science from North Carolina Central University, and worked as an instructional designer in educational technology for the North Carolina State University.
  • Jerald D. August is a shareholder in the West Palm Beach tax law firm of August, Kulunas, Dawson & Siegel, P.A. Jerry is engaged in general tax practice and handles planning and controversy issues involving federal and state taxation including corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and tax exempt organizations. In particular, he advises owners of closely-held business entities in terms of formation, acquisitions, distributions, and related estate planning matters. He is recognized as a national authority on both income and estate tax issues.

    Jerry is Vice-Chair (Publications) of the ABA Tax Section, and is also the Chair of the Tax Section's Pass-Through Entity Integration Task Force. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the New York University Institute on Federal Taxation and was Co-Chair of the 60th Annual NYU Tax Institute, in 2001. He is also a member of the American College of Tax Counsel, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the American Law Institute, and the American Tax Policy Institute.

    Jerry is the Editor-in-Chief, of the Journal of Business Entity, and is a member of the editorial board of Estate Planning. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of S Corporation Taxation, and a Contributing Editor of the Journal of Partnership Taxation.
  • Barry Kozak is the Associate Director of the graduate Employee Benefits programs, and an adjunct professor of law, at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and is also employed as a legal consultant at Chicago Consulting Actuaries. Before receiving his J.D. and LL.M. (Employee Benefits) degrees from The John Marshall Law School, Barry earned his Enrolled Actuary and Chartered Financial Consultant professional designations.

    Barry chairs the Young Lawyers Forum of the ABA Tax Section, sits on its Nominating Committee, and was in its charter class of Nolan Fellows. Barry also chairs the Chicago Bar Association Financial and Investment Services Committee, is an active member of the IRS Great Lakes TE/GE Advisory Council, and is active at the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, as he chairs the editorial committee of its ASPPA Journal, is an active member of the communication subcommittee of its Government Affairs Committee, is on the Board of Directors of the ASPPA Benefits Council of Chicago, and is on the executive committee of the annual ASPPA/IRS Great Lakes Benefits Conference.
  • Bruce D. Pingree is a partner in the Dallas law firm of Baker Botts LLP. Bruce has extensive tax and employee benefits experience, and he advises clients with respect to all types of executive compensation programs and employee benefits, including qualified and nonqualified retirement, profit sharing, stock bonus, 401(k), and employee stock ownership (ESOP) plans. He also works with welfare plans, fringe benefits, and perquisites.

    Bruce represents corporations and executives in connection with executive, board, and management compensation issues, including all types of stock and cash compensation and deferral programs and golden parachute arrangements. He works with client plan sponsors and plan administrators on fiduciary, tax, securities, trust, and corporate law issues relating to benefits and compensation. He also handles the employee benefits issues involved in mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, and leveraged buyouts, and works on ESOP-based transactions from plan sponsor, lender, fiduciary, and plan administrator perspectives.

    Bruce is the past chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA Tax Section, and the past chair of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits. He is a frequent speaker on employee benefits and executive compensation issues.

    Bruce is also a Charter Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Attorneys.
  • Alice G. Abreu is a Professor of Law at Temple Law School in Philadelphia, where she teaches a variety of tax courses, including Taxation, Corporate Taxation, International Tax, and Tax Policy as well as Contracts. During the spring of 2004, she served as the William K. Jacobs, Jr. Visiting Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School; she has previously taught Corporate Tax at the Yale Law School.

    Alice has served as Chair of the Tax Section of the Association of American Law Schools and is a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel and a member of the American Law Institute.

    Alice has written numerous scholarly articles and with McDaniel, McMahon and Simmons, worked on Federal Income Taxation Cases and Materials (5th Ed.) (Foundation Press 2004). Currently, she is the Supervising Editor of the ABA Tax Section's NewsQuarterly. Alice is a frequent speaker at national and regional tax conferences and has taught in and directed Temple Law School's Summer Program in Rome, Italy.