Lectures & Events

Taxing Families: The Troubling Disconnect Between State and Federal Law
Norman A. Sugarman Tax Scholar-in-Residence Lecture
presented by the Center for Business Law and Regulation
APR 3, 2012
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Moot Courtroom (A59)
CLE Credit
Approved for 1 hour of in-person CLE credit
Federal tax law has always been dependent on state laws defining family and property rights. Recent changes by states, recognizing alternative forms of families, including same-sex marriage, civil union, and domestic partnerships, have created tension with federal tax law. For example, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) prevents the federal government from treating same-sex couples as spouses for federal tax purposes, while IRS rules recognize state property rights of same-sex couples. Further, federal law simply fails to recognize alternative family forms such as civil unions and domestic partnerships. In addition to denying tax benefits to same-sex couples, this leads to absurd results and causes confusion for taxpayers trying to report their income accurately. As DOMA is being challenged in the courts and bills are introduced in Congress to repeal it, questions arise: What can the IRS do now, with DOMA in force, to tax all couples fairly and accurately? How should substantive tax law change if and when DOMA falls? And, what transition problems should tax authorities be thinking about?
Speaker Information
Patricia A. CainPatricia A. Cain
Inez Mabie Distinguished Professor of Law, Santa Clara University
Aliber Family Chair in Law Emeritus, University of Iowa

Patricia A. Cain is a graduate of Vassar College and received her J.D. from the University of Georgia. She began her academic career at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a member of the faculty for 17 years, before moving to Iowa in 1991. She is the author of Rainbow Rights: the Role of Lawyers and Courts in the Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights Movement (Westview Press 2000) and Sexuality Law (2nd ed. Carolina Academic Press 2009, with A.S. Leonard). Professor Cain is a member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She teaches federal taxation, property, wills and trusts, and sexuality and the law. Her recent scholarship focuses on tax planning for same-sex couples. She has recently launched a blog, Same Sex Tax Law.

Additional Information
Free and open to the public. Reception follows.
1 hr. continuing legal education credit available.

At one-hour CLE activities, Ohio Supreme Court regulations require attorneys to be present for the entire hour to obtain credit. Therefore, registration for one-hour lectures will close at the time the event is scheduled to start. Everyone is welcome to attend the lecture, but we cannot submit CLE credit for late arrivals.

At events longer than one hour, we will submit credit based on an attorney’s arrival time and duration of attendance, but no less than the minimum of one full hour of attendance.

We encourage attendees to arrive at registration 20 minutes prior to the start of a lecture to sign in, obtain materials, and be seated.


There is no law school parking, however, public parking, for a fee, is available in the Cleveland Botanical Garden parking underground garage. Also, meter parking might be available.

Recording in any form is prohibited.

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