Our Spotlight series sheds light on the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. Leandra Lederman is in the spotlight this week.
Lederman is the William W. Oliver Professor of Tax Law and Director of the Tax Program at Indiana University's Mason School of Law. As a tax professor, she leads the Indiana / Leeds Summer Tax Workshop Series with Prof. Leopoldo Parada from the University of Leeds. She is the co-author of books on tax controversy and corporate taxation, has published over 50 articles, and is one of the top 10 most cited US tax scholars.
What's your official title and what does it mean? My main title is William W. Oliver Professor of Tax Law. It refers to a professorship in honor of the late Indiana Law Tax Professor William (Bill) Oliver. Bill Oliver actually started the beautiful Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana, so I guess I hold the professorship in wine!
Leisure time: book, audio book or podcast? Book! It's nice to relax with a novel when I have the time.
Taxes are a huge issue. What is your specialty? Tax Disputes and Administration, and Federal Income Tax (Individuals and Corporations).
What was the last movie or show you saw and loved (DVD, Netflix or in the cinema)? Being Erica, a Canadian show on HBOMax. "Who hasn't wished to travel back in time and revise something?"
Which university did you attend and what did you study? Bryn Mawr College. I studied Romance languages (French and Spanish).
Ready to collect: coffee or tea? Tea! Preferably ice-cold.
What's the best tax or finance advice anyone has ever given you? When I was young, my mother advised me not to live on the income limit, but to save more as income rises.
If you weren't in the tax profession, what would be your dream job? Kind of a writer.
If you had the opportunity to make a change in the tax code – an extra credit, an improper deduction, whatever – what would it be? Eliminate the Qualified Business Income Deduction.
Favorite food, snacks, or candy during tax season (or other busy times)? Heath bars.
What tax news or changes have most affected your practice or clients over the past year? The increased focus on adequate funding from the IRS has been the biggest influence on my work over the past year. I write a lot about tax enforcement and factors that affect tax compliance, and proper funding from the IRS is vital. In October 2020 I testified at the hearing of the House Ways & Means Committee Oversight Subcommittee on the subject of "Taxpayer Fairness". In my testimony, I focused on the chilling effects of audits, the need to increase IRS funding, the fact that some taxpayers have more opportunities to be violated than others, and that enforcement of tax laws is an important part of tax justice.
If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check now, what would you do with it? Buy a more powerful computer to make video editing easier for the Break Into Tax YouTube channel that Allison Christians and I run. My home computer is new, but it's still having Premiere Pro issues!
You can find Lederman on Twitter, Linked In, and Instagram. She is also a blogger for the Surly Subgroup and recently launched the Break Into Tax YouTube channel with Prof. Allison Christians of McGill University.
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