Illegal downloaders, beware the tax man
No highway tax dollars at work

This is your life on taxes

In my post yesterday about state efforts to tax downloaded material, I noted how taxes help shape public policy. Essentially, for better or worse, taxes have permeated every part of our lives.

Think I'm exaggerating because I'm a tax geek? Maybe, but not much. And I'm not alone.

The Law and Society Association is an international group of diverse scholars who are interested in the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life. Tax law is an integral part of the group's examinations.

At the Association's annual meeting that just wrapped up last week in Denver, participants were treated to 14 -- count 'em, 14! -- panels on Law, Society and Taxation.

The TaxProf Blog provides overviews of each panel; you can find the complete listing (and links) in University of Cincinnati College of Law's Paul Caron's wrap-up post about the annual get-together's look at tax law and society.

Among the intriguing topics are Gender, Families, and Sexuality; Tax Rules and Social Outcomes; Distributive Justice, Tax Policy, and Society; and Designing Taxes to Change Behavior.

Caron credits George Washington University law professor Neil H. Buchanan with having single-handedly made Law and Society the premier annual academic tax conference. With such high praise, I had to give a separate shout-out to Buchanan and his post at the Dorf on Law blog about the group's conference, Tax-apalooza and Society.

"Tax scholars often say (defensively) that tax is anything but boring, because virtually (perhaps even literally) every topic known to humankind can legitimately be discussed within the context of a tax paper," writes Buchanan.

In addition the tax panels noted by Caron, Buchanan cites the many tax papers presented at this year's Law and Society meeting. Two topics that caught my eye are "Does the Income Tax Cause Americans to Spend Too Much Time With Their Children?" and "The Price of Pleasure."

And you thought the IRS was just about collecting your money!

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