Theodore S. Sims

Professor of Law

AB, Columbia University
JD cum laude, University of Chicago Law School
PhD in Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Areas of Interest
Corporate Finance, Federal Taxation, Tax Law, Tax Policy
Contact
  • Office Room 1604A
  • Phone 617-353-2797
Biography

Following law school, Theodore Sims clerked for the Honorable John C. Godbold, of the United States Court of Appeals for the (then) 5th Circuit, practiced with (then) Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, in Washington, DC, and served with the Office of Tax Policy of the United States Treasury. Upon leaving government service in 1981 he joined the faculty of the George Washington University Law School. While at GW Professor Sims completed a PhD in economics at MIT. He visited at the University of Michigan Law School in 1995, and joined the BU Law faculty in 1996. He visited at Harvard Law School in 2005.

Professor Sims’ areas of expertise include the taxation of capital income (including timing issues and the taxation of financial instruments), wealth transfer taxation, federal tax policy (including structural aspects of the tax system), and the effects of tax policy on inequality. He has taught federal income taxation, taxation of financial instruments, taxation of corporations and shareholders, tax policy, law and economics, social scientific methods, and trusts and estates. His current research interests include the taxation of cancellation of indebtedness income, the income taxation of risk, aspects of the taxation of financial instruments, and the treatment of deferral in general. His past work includes studies of the structure of wealth transfer taxation and structural aspects of tax shelters, as well as theoretical and econometric work on the relationship between tax-motivated trading and stock market returns.

Professor Sims has taught courses in discounting and the taxation of debt in the NYU/IRS continuing legal education program, in connection with which he developed materials on discounting that integrate the study of the present value fundamentals with the implementation of present value in computer spreadsheets, and apply those methods to understanding the taxation of debt instruments. He has served as a consultant to the US Treasury, has been a member of the American Law and Economics Association and is a member of the American Law Institute.

Publications
  1. Theodore Sims, "A Tale of Four Treatments: Preferential Taxation and Asset Valuation," Tax Law Review (forthcoming).
    SSRN
  2. Theodore Sims, "Income Taxation, Wealth Effects, and Uncertainty: Portfolio Adjustments with Isoelastic Utility and Binomial Probability," 152 Economic Letters 52 (2015).
  3. Theodore Sims, "Capital Income, Risky Investments, and Income and Cash-Flow Taxation," 67 Tax Law Review 3 (2013).
    SSRN
  4. Theodore Sims, "Qualified Conservation Restrictions: Recollections of and Reflections on the Origins of Section 170(h)," 33 Utah Environmental Law Review 41 (2013).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  5. Theodore Sims, "Income Taxation and Asset Valuation (I): Economic Depreciation, Accrual Taxation, and the Samuelson Theorem," 66 Tax Law Review 217 (2012).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  6. Theodore Sims, "Debt, Accelerated Depreciation, and the Tale of a Teakettle: Tax Shelter Abuse Reconsidered," 42 UCLA Law Review 263 (1994).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  7. Theodore Sims, "Environmental 'Remediation' Expenses and a Natural Interpretation of the Capitalization Requirement," 47 National Tax Journal 703 (1994).
    Publisher
  8. Theodore Sims, "Long-Term Debt, the Term Structure of Interest and the Case for Accrual Taxation," 47 Tax Law Review 313 (1992).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  9. Theodore Sims & Emil M. Sunley, review of Myron S. Scholes et al., Taxes and Business Strategy: A Planning Approach, Prentice Hall (1992), 45 National Tax Journal 451 (1992).
  10. Theodore Sims, James S. Halpern et al., "The Passive Activity Loss Limitation Rules: Where Are We Now? Part I," 12 Review of Taxation of Individuals 187 (1988).
  11. Theodore Sims, James S. Halpern et al., "The Passive Activity Loss Limitation Rules: Where Are We Now? Part II," 12 Review of Taxation of Individuals 291 (1987).
  12. Theodore Sims, review of Howard M. Zaritsky, Tax Planning for Family Wealth Transfers: Analysis with Forms, Warren, Gorham & Lamont (1985), 11 Review of Taxation of Individuals 89 (1987).
  13. Theodore Sims, Noel Cunningham & James S. Halpern, "Selected Problems on the Time Value of Money," in Time Value of Money Rules Under the 1984 Tax Act , Mortimer Maxwell Caplin, ed., Law and Business (1984).
  14. Theodore Sims, The Equity Return to Mutual Life Insurance Companies and Their Policyholders, paper submitted for Tax Treatment of Life Insurance: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures of the House Committee on Ways and Means, 98th Cong. 1st Sess., at 591, Serial No. 98-39, (1983).
  15. Theodore Sims, "Timing Under a Unified Wealth Transfer Tax," 51 University of Chicago Law Review 34 (1983).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  16. Theodore Sims, "Once More into the Breach: Promissory Estoppel and Traditional Damage Doctrine," 37 University of Chicago Law Review 559 (1970).
Courses

3 credits

This course covers the foundations of corporate finance. It starts with the concepts of time value of money, discounting, and present value. With that background it then considers the major financial decisions made by corporate managers. Topics include the valuation of financial assets and liabilities, criteria for making investment decisions, business valuation, relationships between risk and return, portfolio theory, market efficiency, capital structure choice, and cost of capital. GRADING NOTICE: Professor Sims' section will not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2016: LAW JD 985 A1 , Sep 7th to Dec 7th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Mon,Wed 2:10 pm 3:40 pm 3 Kathryn Griner LAW
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 985 B1 , Jan 18th to Apr 26th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Mon,Wed 9:00 am 10:30 am 3 Theodore S. Sims LAW
FALL 2017: LAW JD 985 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Mon,Wed 9:00 am 10:30 am 3 Theodore S. Sims
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 985 B1 , Jan 17th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Mon,Wed 2:10 pm 3:40 pm 3 Kathryn Griner

2 credits

The course will offer a careful introduction to some of the tools used in the analysis of problems encountered in the social sciences, principally economics and finance, but also in fields as diverse as political science, sociology, and public health. The topics principally covered will consist of discounting (that is, the computation of present and future values); an elementary introduction to probability and statistics, sufficient to acquaint the student with the determination and significance of the expected value, variance, and standard deviation of a discrete probability distribution or the outcomes of an experiment; and some of the principal tools used to analyze decisions made under conditions of uncertainty, including statistical decision theory and expected utility (in connection with which the course will include a formal introduction to "risk tolerance", and what it means to be risk-loving, risk-neutral, or risk-averse). The course will include applications of these tools to the study of legal issues.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 997 A1 , Jan 18th to Apr 19th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Thu 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 2 Theodore S. Sims

4 credits

The income tax is a pervasive feature of life in the United States and lawyers encounter tax issues in virtually every field of practice. This course introduces students to the fundamental principles of the federal income tax, and its impact on a wide range of matters, including employment, tort claims, divorce, retirement, and especially business activities and investments of all types. Topics include: the concept of income, determination of gross income, allowance of deductions and the determination of taxable income, identification of the taxpayer, taxable periods and timing, the determination of gain or loss (including realization and recognition) from dealings in property, the concept of income tax basis, and the process of change in the tax law. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2016: LAW JD 889 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 8th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Tue,Thu 10:40 am 12:40 pm 4 Alan L. Feld LAW
FALL 2016: LAW JD 889 S1 , Sep 6th to Dec 8th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Tue,Thu 9:00 am 10:30 am 4 Theodore S. Sims LAW
Fri 9:00 am 10:15 am 4 Theodore S. Sims LAW
FALL 2017: LAW JD 889 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Mon,Wed 10:40 am 12:40 pm 4 Alan L. Feld
FALL 2017: LAW JD 889 W1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Tue,Thu 9:00 am 10:30 am 4 David I. Walker
Fri 9:00 am 10:20 am 4 David I. Walker
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 889 S1 , Jan 16th to Apr 24th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Tue,Thu 9:00 am 10:30 am 4 Theodore S. Sims
Fri 9:00 am 10:20 am 4 Theodore S. Sims

3 credits

This seminar will examine criteria used to make administrative and legislative choices in taxation: equity, efficiency, administrability and simplicity. As a particular focus, we will study some of the connections between a tax system and spending programs. PREREQUISITE: Introduction to Federal Income Taxation. LIMITED WRITING OPTION: A limited number of students will be able to satisfy the writing requirement with a paper. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar, or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who waitlist for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2017: LAW JD 799 A1 , Jan 23rd to Apr 24th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Mon 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Theodore S. Sims LAW
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