TCJA: Teaching a Code Just Adopted
9 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2019
Date Written: October 31, 2018
The spring 2018 semester at many law schools started approximately three weeks after the Tax Cuts Jobs Act (TCJA) passed. This essay reflects on the experience of teaching tax law in a semester when all textbooks and statutory supplements were outdated and tax scholars scrambled to make sense of the new law while simultaneously teaching it to our students. It concludes, paradoxically, that teaching the TCJA so soon after it passed offered some huge advantages from a pedagogical perspective: it proved to students that they must rely primarily on the statute, rather than secondary sources, and must develop strong statutory interpretation skills to understand tax; highlighted the importance of the first rule of statutory interpretation, to “keep reading”; and increased the already high marketability of tax law expertise. While it hit many tax law professors—including this Author—hard to see our beloved subject hastily rewritten in ways that will do real, irreparable damage outside our classrooms, many impacts of the TCJA inside our classrooms were positive.
Keywords: tax, TCJA, statutory interpretation, Internal Revenue Code, tax code, pedagogy
JEL Classification: k34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation