Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition

2017 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation is once again sponsoring an annual writing competition and invites law students to participate. The Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition is named in honor of former IRS Commissioner (1973-1977) Don Alexander, who passed away in 2010. Mr. Alexander was a widely admired role model and advocate for writing skills and style in the area of tax law throughout his career.

All full-time and part-time law students currently seeking a juris doctor (J.D.) or a master of laws (LL.M.) at an accredited law school are eligible to enter the competition. Students may submit any original paper concerning federal taxation. Papers must be a minimum of twenty pages and a maximum of fifty pages (double spaced, twelve-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins) including endnotes (which may be singled-spaced).

Papers written in connection with a law school course, seminar, or paid employment are eligible provided that they are written in the form of a scholarly article and do not contain any client-specific work product.

Student papers submitted for publication in law reviews, other legal journals, or other competitions are eligible for the competition.

However, student papers that have already been published in a law review or other legal journal, or that have been selected for publication, are not eligible for the competition. Students must sign the attached Warranty and Authorization to Publish guaranteeing that the paper has not been published or selected for publication as of the date the paper is submitted to this competition and agreeing to permit the Section on Taxation to publish the paper.

Papers will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Depth of research 
  2. Originality of thought
  3. Quality, clarity, and efficiency of presentation
  4. Relevance to current tax policy or events
  5. Additionally, each student must sign and return the warranty
    (a .pdf copy by e-mail is acceptable).

First place: $2000
Second place: $1000
(Both receive an invitation to the FBA’s Annual Tax Law Conference in Washington, D.C. Previous winning entries are featured below.)

2017 Contest:
This year's contest is now open! Please see the contest invitation letter for more details. Additionally, please find the official contest flyer here. Submissions must be postmarked or e-mailed by January 9, 2017. If mailing submissions, please use the following address:   
Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation 
Attn: Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition
1220 N. Fillmore Street, Suite 444
Arlington, VA  22201

If e-mailing submissions, please e-mail to, with the subject line “Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition.”

2016 Winners:
First Place: Yue Dai:When a Corporation is the Wrongdoer, Who Should Pay the Bill

Second Place
: David Powers:
Fighting the Wrong Fight (not pictured)


Writing Competition Flyer 2017

Writing Competition Letter 2017

When a Corporation is the Wrongdoer, Who Should Pay the Bill by Yue Dai

Fighting the Wrong Fight by David Powers


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