Elizabeth Burlington, J.D. ’12, has won first place in the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) 2020 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition. Burlington is currently enrolled in UB’s LLM Tax program and is assistant director of UB’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. She is also an associate at Frost & Associates, LLC, in Annapolis, a law firm founded by UB Law alumnus Glen E. Frost, J.D. ’09.
For the competition, Burlington submitted a paper she wrote for her Tax Policy course in the LLM program. “The Letter and the Spirit: the §501(c)(3) Religious Exemption and American Churches” is an analysis of the historical and current tax treatment of religious institutions, specifically churches, in America, Burlington says. The paper outlines the problems that arise from the current state of the tax law: specifically, that the law is vague and there is no strong guidance on how to effectively administer the tax law as it pertains to tax-exempt status of churches.
In her paper, Burlington makes a case for better definition of terms, and consistency across sources of law and enforcement through the courts and the Internal Revenue Service, to prevent abuse and to create a coherent tax policy.
Papers were evaluated on these criteria: depth of research; originality of thought; quality, clarity and efficiency of presentation, and relevance to current tax policy or events. Her award includes a $2,000 prize and a travel stipend of up to $700 to attend the FBA Tax Law Conference in March.