I’m so happy to be a part of this group! My name is Ben Leff and I’m a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law. I teach the introductory Federal Income Tax class, as well as a class called the Law of Nonprofit Organizations. I have also taught Tax Policy and Estate and Gift Tax.
In my writing, I focus on nonprofit organizations. I think my interest initially came from my involvement in the student cooperative movement while a student at Oberlin College in the late 1980s. I got interested in religious organizations and church-state relations as a Ph.D student of American Religious History at the University of Chicago in the mid-1990s. Finally, while in practice in Texas in the early 2000s, I represented a broad range of tax-exempt organizations while they grappled with a number of interesting issues.
Most recently, I’ve been thinking about ways in which non-profit laws interact with “entrepreneurial” activities, both for social enterprises generally, and specifically in the marijuana industry. I’m also really interested in the student loan industry, and am especially following the emergence of so-called “income share agreements,” and so may comment on that occasionally.
I’m also interested in tax policy generally, especially the ideological and philosophical underpinnings of tax fairness. I haven’t written much about this topic to date, but hope to do so in the future.
I’ll be on sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year, and will be an academic visitor at the Oxford University Law Faculty, researching British and EU law, and so will likely write posts about differences from across the pond as well.