About the Center for Tax Law and Public Policy

Center Mission

The Center for Tax Law and Public Policy embodies Temple Law’s leadership and innovation in the study of tax law.  The Tax Center provides a locus for learning about and participating in the many tax-related activities at Temple, including:

  • Developing and teaching a wide range of both traditional and skills-based courses available to J.D. and LL.M. students, beginning in the first year of law school;
  • Fostering a robust dialogue on tax policy issues by bringing to Temple experienced scholars, practitioners, and former and current government officials for colloquia, lectures, and other events;
  • Providing opportunities through which students can acquire practical experience in a variety of settings in both the public and private sectors; 
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary research and partnerships with other educational institutions and associations; and
  • Sponsoring programs that introduce students to the many career options available in tax.

Guiding Vision

The Temple Center for Tax and Public Policy was developed to provide a hub for the many tax related activities that take place every year at Temple Law, as well as to provide an easy place to locate the many opportunities that exist for current students, prospective students and alumni who want to expand their knowledge of the tax law at Temple. Those activities range from the pursuit of a graduate degree in Taxation or obtaining a Certificate in a specialized area like Estate Planning, to attendance at a lecture given by a high ranking current or former government tax official (the annual Fogel Lecture), a program that features noted practitioners and alumni discussing the many paths to a Career in Tax or the screening of a movie that shows how it was a tax case that led Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to undertake litigation that dismantled the network of laws that discriminate “On the Basis of Sex.” They include the opportunity to be trained and certified to participate in the IRS’s Volunteer Tax Assistance Program (VITA) and provide free tax preparation for low income taxpayers, and to participate in number of internships at public service organizations as well as at the IRS, the City of Philadelphia Department of Revenue and City Solicitor’s office.

The Tax Center, together with the many tax courses that Temple Law offers, showcases the range of tax practice and the reach and ubiquity of the tax law.  The animating principle behind the Center is the understanding that the tax law is about much more than the raising of revenue and the filling out of the familiar and often dreaded Form 1040 on or before April 15.  Rather, the tax law reflects our deepest social values and it is how the federal government delivers the bulk of the benefits that form our social safety net. It both guides and constrains behavior, from the actions of poor, working individuals who depend on the earned income tax credit to pay overdue bills in the winter or buy a much-needed appliance, to decisions made by multinational corporations on where to locate particular business operations. Our range of course offerings reflects this depth and breadth, as does the diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise of our tax faculty. All of us know that the tax law is not a set of arbitrary rules but proceeds specific policy objectives with which we may agree or disagree, but which we have to understand if we are to truly understand the law itself.

Temple’s commitment to tax has long been deep and wide.  Professor Joseph Marshall, for many years a denizen of the Philadelphia tax bar and the senior member of the tax faculty until his retirement in 1996, was not only the founder and architect of our Graduate Tax Program in 1973 but also created the Law School’s summer program at Temple’s campus in Rome, Italy, where tax faculty have not only taught courses such as International Fiscal Policy and Introduction to International Business (including the role of tax systems in structuring international business transactions), but have hosted Nina Olson, the U.S. National Taxpayer Advocate as a guest lecturer in those classes. In short, the Temple tax program encompasses now, as it has for a long time, a wide variety of things tax, affecting taxpayers at all levels of the income distribution.