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
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.
Theodore Sims, "A Tale of Four Treatments: Preferential Taxation and Asset Valuation," Tax Law Review
| Scholarly Commons
Theodore Sims, "Income Taxation and Asset Valuation (II) The Value of Preferential Taxation," 71 Tax Law Review
53 (2017). HeinOnline
Theodore Sims, "Income Taxation, Wealth Effects, and Uncertainty: Portfolio Adjustments with Isoelastic Utility and Discrete Probability," 135 Economic Letters
52 (2015). SSRN
Theodore Sims, "Capital Income, Risky Investments, and Income and Cash-Flow Taxation," 67 Tax Law Review
3 (2013). SSRN
| Scholarly Commons
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)
Theodore Sims, "Income Taxation and Asset Valuation (I): Economic Depreciation, Accrual Taxation, and the Samuelson Theorem," 66 Tax Law Review
217 (2012). HeinOnline (BU)
Theodore Sims, "Debt, Accelerated Depreciation, and the Tale of a Teakettle: Tax Shelter Abuse Reconsidered," 42 UCLA Law Review
263 (1994). HeinOnline (BU)
Theodore Sims, "Environmental 'Remediation' Expenses and a Natural Interpretation of the Capitalization Requirement," 47 National Tax Journal
703 (1994). Publisher
Theodore Sims, "Long-Term Debt, the Term Structure of Interest and the Case for Accrual Taxation," 47 Tax Law Review
313 (1992). HeinOnline (BU)
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
Theodore Sims, "Timing Under a Unified Wealth Transfer Tax," 51 University of Chicago Law Review
34 (1983). HeinOnline (BU)
Theodore Sims, "Once More into the Breach: Promissory Estoppel and Traditional Damage Doctrine," 37 University of Chicago Law Review 559 (1970).
Corporate Finance: LAW JD 985
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 2017: LAW JD 985 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 985 B1 , Jan 17th to Apr 25th 2018
FALL 2018: LAW JD 985 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 5th 2018
SPRG 2019: LAW JD 985 B1 , Jan 14th to Apr 24th 2019
Intro to Analytic Methods for Lawyers: LAW JD 997
Lawyers in almost every area of practice (litigation, corporate, government, public interest) deal routinely with problems that are usefully illuminated by basic business and economic concepts. This course is designed to teach the most important analytical methods to law students, in a manner that will be fully accessible to those with no prior quantitative training or background in the subjects covered. Using text, classroom activities, and written exercises, we will explore how these tools may be used to analyze concrete problems that arise in a wide range of legal practice settings. Covered topics will include: decision analysis, games and information; contracting; accounting; finance; microeconomics; law and economics; and statistics. GRADING NOTICE: This course will not offer the CR/NC/H option.
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 997 A1 , Jan 18th to Apr 19th 2018
SPRG 2019: LAW JD 997 A1 , Jan 16th to Apr 24th 2019
Introduction to Federal Income Taxation: LAW JD 889
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 2017: LAW JD 889 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
FALL 2017: LAW JD 889 W1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 889 S1 , Jan 16th to Apr 24th 2018
FALL 2018: LAW JD 889 A1 , Sep 4th to Dec 6th 2018
SPRG 2019: LAW JD 889 S1 , Jan 15th to Apr 23rd 2019
Taxation of Financial Instruments: LAW JD 971
This course will introduce students to both the nature and federal income taxation of basic financial instruments, consisting most fundamentally of (1) debt, (2) common stock, and (3) options to buy or to sell stock. In each instance we will look at the basic description and then the financial characteristics of the security (after the fashion of an undergrad/MBA offering on investments or corporate finance), after which we will study the basic tax rules governing each class of instrument. (In most instances we will consider the tax policy implications of different ways of taxing these instruments.) Time permitting we will also look at the nature and taxation of some of the other "derivative" securities that have come to play so pivotal a role in modern finance, including forward and futures contracts, notional principal contracts ("swaps"), and more exotic derivatives. Because the process of discounting is so central to an understanding of financial contracts, the course will begin with a rigorous study of discounting, including an introduction to the computation of present values using the financial functions of Microsoft Excel; and because uncertainty is so central to an understanding of risky assets such as common stock and options, the course will involve a (very) elementary introduction to the fundamentals of probability, including the notions of expected value and variance. In general, completion of introductory tax is a prerequisite to this course; while completion of (or simultaneously enrollment in) corporate finance is not required it is recommended. Students who have not yet taken introductory tax but feel they otherwise have a sufficient background should consult the instructor about the possibility of enrolling.
SPRG 2019: LAW JD 971 A1 , Jan 14th to Apr 24th 2019