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Dennis J. Ventry, Jr.

Professor of Law


B.A. History, with a specialization in Business Administration, UCLA 1993

M.A. History, UC Santa Barbara 1996

Ph.D. History (Economic and Legal), UC Santa Barbara 2001

J.D., New York University School of Law 2004


Professor Ventry is an expert in tax policy, tax administration, legal and professional ethics, and U.S. economic and legal history. He is the author of dozens of articles, book chapters, and an edited volume. Professor Ventry is regularly cited in both the tax press and popular media for his expertise on the effects of taxation on the U.S. economy and society. He provides frequent commentary and short articles to the popular press, including the WALL STREET JOURNAL, NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, BLOOMBERG, FORBES, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, PBS NEWS HOUR, PROPUBLICA, SLATE, and HUFFINGTON POST. Finally, Professor Ventry remains active in tax reform at both the state and federal level by offering public testimony and amici curiae briefs, and by meeting with tax officials, legislators, and legislative staff.

His research interests include tax expenditure analysis, family taxation, professional responsibility and standards of care, tax filing and administration, tax compliance, public finance, and tax and legal history. In addition, he was recently added as a co-author on the casebook, Legal Ethics and Corporate Practice.

Subject Areas

Taxation, Legal and Professional Ethics, Tax Policy, Family Taxation, Tax Practice and Procedure, Tax Administration and Compliance, U.S. Economic and Tax History, U.S. Legal, Political, and Gender History, Tax Theory, Distributive Justice

Selected Career Highlights

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar (2009-Present)
  • Assistant Professor, American University, Washington College of Law (2006-08)
  • Visiting Scholar in Taxation, UCLA School of Law, Program in Business Law & Policy (2005-06)
  • Associate, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Newport Beach, CA (2004-05)
  • Lawrence Lederman/Milbank Tweed Fellow in Law and Business, NYU School of Law (2003-04)
  • Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History, NYU School of Law (2001-02)
  • Doctoral Research Fellow, The Brookings Institution (2000-01)
  • Visiting Fellow, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University (1999-2000)
  • Research and Teaching Fellow, University of California Washington Center (1996 & 1998)
  • Tax History Research Fellow, Tax Analysts (1996-99)

Selected Publications

Probability, Professionalism, and Protecting Taxpayers, 68 TAX LAWYER 1 (Fall 2014).

Not Just Whistling Dixie: The Case for Tax Whistleblowers in the States, 59 VILLANOVA LAW REVIEW (2014).

Misinformed and Misled About the Benefits of the Mortgage Interest Deduction, 16 CITYSCAPE 219 (2014).

The Fake Third Rail of Tax Reform, 135 TAX NOTES 181 (2012).

Americans Don’t Hate Taxes, They Hate Paying Taxes, 44 U.B.C. LAW REVIEW 835 (2011).

Saving Seaborn: Ownership Not Marriage as the Basis of Family Taxation, 86 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL (forthcoming 2010).

The Accidental Deduction: A History and Critique of the Tax Subsidy for Mortgage Interest, 73 LAW AND CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS 233 (2009)

Intuit’s Nine Lies Kill State E-Filing Programs and Keep “Free” File Alive, 57 STATE TAX NOTES 555 (2010)

A Primer on Tax Work Product for Federal Courts, 123 TAX NOTES 875 (2009).

Protecting Abusive Tax Avoidance, 120 TAX NOTES 857 (2008)

Cooperative Tax Regulation, 41 CONNECTICUT LAW REVIEW 431 (2008).

Whistleblowers and Qui Tam for Tax, 61 TAX LAWYER 357 (2008)

Save the Economic Substance Doctrine from Congress, 118 TAX NOTES 1405 (2008)

Welfare By Any Other Name: Tax Transfers and the EITC, 56 AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 1261 (2007) (expanded version of prepared symposium remarks, reflected in the citation immediately below)

TAX JUSTICE: THE ONGOING DEBATE, (with Joseph J. Thorndike eds. 2002)

Equity vs. Efficiency and the U.S. Tax System in Historical Perspective, in TAX JUSTICE: THE ONGOING DEBATE 25 (Joseph J. Thorndike & Dennis J. Ventry, Jr. eds., 2002)

The Collision of Tax and Welfare Politics: The Political History of the Earned Income Tax Credit, in MAKING WORK PAY: THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT AND ITS IMPACT ON AMERICAN FAMILIES 15 (Bruce Meyer & Douglas Holtz-Eakin eds., 2001)

Welfare by Any Other Name: How We Can 'Save' the EITC, 114 TAX NOTES 955 (2007)

Tax Politics and the New Substantial Understatement Penalty, 113 TAX NOTES 98 (2006)

IRS Penalty Report: A Call for Objective Standards, 112 TAX NOTES 1183 (2006)

Vices and Virtues of an Objective Reporting Standard, 112 TAX NOTES 1085 (2006)

Filling the Ethical Void: Treasury's 1986 Circular 230 Proposal, 112 TAX NOTES 691 (2006)

Lowering the Bar: ABA Formal Opinion 85-352, 112 TAX NOTES 69 (2006)

No Joke: Circular 230 Is Here To Stay, 111 TAX NOTES 1409 (2006)

ABA Formal Opinion 346 and a New Statutory Penalty Regime, 111 TAX NOTES 1269 (2006)

ABA Formal Opinion 346 and a New Statutory Penalty Regime, 111 TAX NOTES 1141 (2006)

Reasonable Basis and Ethical Standards before 1980, 111 TAX NOTES 1047 (2006)

Tax Shelter Opinions Threatened the Tax System in the 1970s, 111 TAX NOTES 947 (2006)

Raising the Ethical Bar for Tax Lawyers: Why We Need Circular 230, 111 TAX NOTES 823 (2006)

No Income Splitting for Domestic Partners: How the IRS Erred, 110 TAX NOTES 1221 (2006)

State and Local Taxes: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Property Taxes, Sales and Use Taxes and State and Local Income Taxes, O'Melveny & Myers LLP (with Chris Campbell 2005)

Small Business Stock: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Qualified Small Business Stock and Section 1244 Stock, O'Melveny & Myers LLP (with Winston Chang 2005)

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), in POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HISTORY, POLITICS AND POLICY (Alice O'Connor & Gwendolyn Mink eds., 2004)

The Collision of Tax and Welfare Politics: The Political History of the Earned Income Tax Credit, 1969-1999, 53 NATIONAL TAX JOURNAL 983 (2000)

Straight Talk About the "Death" Tax: Politics, Economics and Morality, 89 TAX NOTES 1159 (2000)

The Negative Income Tax: An Intellectual History, 77 TAX NOTES 491 (1997)

"The Plan That Slogans Built": The Revenue Act of 1943, 76 TAX NOTES 1241 (with Joseph Thorndike 1997)

The Victory Tax of 1942, 75 TAX NOTES 1549 (1997)

The Not-So-Hidden Welfare State, EH-Net and H-Net (2000), review of JULIAN E. ZELIZER, TAXING AMERICA: WILBUR D. MILLS, CONGRESS, AND THE STATE, 1945-1975 (1998)


Taxing Women: A Taxing Book, 79 TAX NOTES 905 (1998), review of EDWARD J. MCCAFFERY, TAXING WOMEN (1997)

Presidential Candidates Offer More Tax Cuts for 'Traditional' Families, 3 ALTERNATIVES TO MARRIAGE UPDATE 2 (2007) (Alternatives to Marriage Project (AtMP))

Cindy McCain's Refusal to Turn over Tax Returns, CNN's Situation Room, Carol Costello

A Little Shame Might Just Deter Tax Cheaters, USA TODAY, Apr. 10, 2008, at 12A

How the U.S. Income Tax Affects Different Kind of Families and the Phenomenon of Marriage Tax Penalties and Bonuses, The Marc "Mr. K." Germain Show, KTLK AM 1150, Los Angeles, CA (Radio Program)

Service Activities

Member, Multistate Tax Commission, Tax Undercollection Class Action and Tax Overcollection False Claims Act Work Group

Faculty Affiliate, Center for Poverty Research, UC Davis (2013-Present)