That’s right, I said, “Win an A in Tax Law.” My popular contest for law and paralegal students is back. So let’s get right to the good stuff…
Here’s how it works: simply write a guest post for consideration on the site about a hot tax policy issue. I don’t mean a news or legal summary. I want a policy post: tell me what the issue is and why it matters. In other words, pick a topic and take a position. Some examples of policy topics include:

  • Should the IRS have the authority to license tax preparers?
  • Should we offer tax amnesty to companies who intend to repatriate offshore assets?
  • How can we simplify the Tax Code?
  • Would a flat tax make sense?

But don’t feel limited to those suggestions. There are, after all, plenty of words in the existing Tax Code and lots of news items focusing on tax issues like corporate inversions, the Fair Tax, Panama Papers, just to name a few. You can choose anything so long as it’s tax-focused and policy-oriented.
To be clear, I’m not asking for a treatise or a law review article. You don’t have to cite like crazy, though clearly you need to credit any sources or quotes (attribution is important). I’m looking for thought-provoking, well-written posts, and relatively short ones at that. Entries should weigh in at between 500 and 1600 words. I’ll tell you what a professor once told me: extra words don’t mean extra credit, they just mean extra words.
The student who writes the best entry, in my humble taxgirl opinion, wins.
And since I’m a lawyer, and lawyers like rules, here what else you need to know:

  • Entries must be sent via email with “Law Student Submission” in the subject line to by 11:59p.m. EST on May 6, 2016. I know finals are coming up so I’m giving you two weeks this year. I figure that gives you time in between studying and binge-watching Game of Thrones.
  • Entries must be between 500 and 1500 words – in English. And in case you think like my little brother and assume that writing in all caps or italics will get you noticed, you’re only half right. It will get you noticed and subsequently ignored.
  • Send your entry in plain text, either as a text file or just typed directly in the body of the email, or PDF. No other attachments or formats will be accepted – and for the love of S corporations, don’t send me any zip files.
  • You must be a part-time or full-time law student at an accredited US law school or a part-time or full-time paralegal student participating in an ABA accredited paralegal program. Yes, an LL.M. student counts.
  • You must include your full name, your law school or paralegal program, the name of your tax professor and your email address with your entry. I won’t publish your email address, but I do need contact information for the winning entry. I respect your privacy, and I will not send you anything unrelated to your entry in this contest.
  • By entering the contest, you agree that I may post any part or all of your submission including your name and school, as a part of the contest announcements or promotions, with the exception of your email address. Posts won’t be redacted or edited so write with care.
  • Like one of the most famous judges of our time (no, not Judge Learned Hand but Judge Judy), the decision will be at my sole discretion and is final.
  • The winner will have their entry featured on the site. I’ll post the winning entry – and maybe some standouts – in May. As with all guest posts, there is some accompanying paperwork that you’ll need to take care of first (it’s painless, I promise).

The best part? I’ll send a note and ask the winner’s tax professor to give the winner an A. Of course, I can’t really make your tax professor give you an A. You know this and I know this. But sometimes, a little push from the outside just to let your professor know that you’re really interested in a subject can go a long way. It could also serve as the basis for a tax policy paper for a writing course or a law review article.
And bragging rights? Taxgirl was named one of the top 100 legal blogs by the ABA Journal for several years and is officially in the ABA Blawg Hall of Fame. A number of tax lawyers, CPAs, EAs, IRS personnel and folks on the Hill stop by the site on Forbes – that’s a lot of eyeballs. And some of those eyeballs are in the position to, oh, say, hire students. And in this job market, every little thing helps, right? Winning the contest could make for interesting conversation during job interviews and get you some exposure – the good kind, not the Kim Kardashian kind (that’s a whole other website).
So what are you waiting for? Dig out that laptop and start typing.

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.

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