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Prof. Reuven Avi-Yonah

Prestigious award helps cap busy year for Prof. Avi-Yonah

By John Masson
Nov. 15, 2012

Michigan Law professor Reuven Avi-Yonah has been on a roll.

In addition to his recent Richard Pugh Distinguished International Tax Award, he's also published a string of papers—nine so far this year, including works he coauthored—examining various aspects of taxation. And he's engaged audiences around the world in person as well, speaking at venues ranging from European universities to the United States Senate.

And that's in addition to directing Michigan Law's globally recognized LLM program in international taxation.

The Pugh award, given annually to someone who "is indisputably a leader in the international tax field," was presented at the recent University of San Diego School of Law–Procopio International Tax Institute, a conference designed for high-level tax officials, practitioners, and scholars from Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

The conference at San Diego, held for the eighth year in a row this year, drew more than 300 international experts and leaders from all over North America, said Francisco Sánchez Losada, Conference Coordinator for the USD-PITI event.

"We established the Tax Institute because there was no program—no school had a program where these kinds of topics were available to study," he said. "The tax practice changes fast and dramatically, and it is the responsibility of tax preactitioners and financial professionals to remain current with up-to-the-minute and detailed knowledge of international tax law matters."

Next year's gathering is set for October 24–25, 2013. The conference brings together international tax leaders, practitioners who deal with the ramifications of changing tax law every day, and scholars from all three nations who study and write about the topic, Sánchez Losada said. Typically, the keynote speaker—this year, Prof. Avi-Yonah—takes home the award.

"This year they gave it to me, much to my surprise," said Avi-Yonah, Michigan Law's Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law. He attributed the committee's decision to the fact that he's been teaching since the 90s—long enough to have former students who are now senior enough to serve on the selection committee.

A more likely explanation is the impact of some of the papers he authored or coauthored this year on subjects as varied as tax treaties; flaws in the "dual income tax" model used in Scandinavia, which taxes capital at lower rates than income; the impact of international taxation on competitiveness; and reforming taxation of foreign source income, to name a few.

The award puts Prof. Avi-Yonah in distinguished company. Previous recipients have included the award's namesake, San Diego Law Prof. Richard D. Pugh; noted tax attorney and author Rufus Rhodes; and International Fiscal Association President Manuel Trón.

"It's given to the one person the committee believes is providing solutions," Sánchez Losada said. "This is for a person who's really pulling the ropes—and of course participating in solving the most difficult international taxation issues."

Browse more of Prof. Avi-Yonah's publications.


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