MLaw prof: Taxes need constant attention

By John Masson
Michigan Law Communications

Whether he’s pumping out scholarly papers or flying off to all corners of the globe to participate in high-level discussions about international tax, it’s obvious that Prof. Reuven Avi-Yonah doesn’t find the work — pardon the pun — taxing.

“I switched from history to law to make a difference in the real world,” Avi-Yonah said. “I believe tax is an important part of the relationship between citizens and the state that requires constant attention if we want to get it right.”

Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law and director of Michigan Law’s International Tax Program, has in the past year written about a wide range of tax issues: capital flight from the United States, the country’s proper role in setting world tax policy, what the Obama administration should do about corporate and international tax reform during its second term, and international tax competition.

In total Avi-Yonah authored or co-authored nine papers during 2012, and also won the prestigious Richard Pugh Distinguished International Tax Award. He also helped SJD student Assaf Prussak, who earned his International Tax LLM at Michigan in 2012, write a paper that later captured a top writing award from the U.S. branch of the International Fiscal Association.

In between the papers were a number of conferences, symposia, and other scholarly gatherings, including a noteworthy one in Beijing in December during which every foreign invitee speaking was a Michigan Law graduate. The conference, hosted this year by the China Youth University for Political Science and Peking University, was the latest Chinese iteration of the Sino-U.S. International Tax Forum, a cooperative effort among Michigan Law, Peking University, and Renmin University of China.

His pace isn’t likely to slow this year, either. He’s already scheduled to teach or give lectures in Milan, Vienna, Lisbon, Oxford, London, Montréal, São Paulo, and Tel Aviv. And that’s not all.

“I have a long article forthcoming in the tax law review on taxation and migration and several short pieces,’ he said. “And I have a book to write — an update to my 2007 tax monograph.”

So clearly, he won’t be bored between planes.