Michelle  Kwon

Michelle Kwon
  • Associate Professor of Law

  • B.B.A., 1990, University of Texas
    J.D., 1998, Texas Tech University


  • Location: Room 369
  • Phone Number: 865-974-9207
  • Email: mkwon2@utk.edu
  • Courses Taught: Contracts I, Income Taxation of Business Organizations, Tax Practice and Procedure, State and Local Taxation
  • Additional Information: Curriculum Vitae (pdf)


Publications of Michelle  Kwon

Professor Kwon joined the UT faculty in 2011 after three years at Texas Tech University School of Law where she taught corporate tax, partnership tax, state and local tax, accounting for lawyers, and transactional practice.  Before entering academia, she was an associate and eventually a partner in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight LLP, where she concentrated her practice in corporate tax.  She was also a senior attorney in the IRS’s Office of Chief Counsel for two years where she represented the IRS in U.S. Tax Court with specific emphasis on cases involving foreign currency option tax shelters and cases of individuals and small businesses.  Professor Kwon is admitted to practice in Texas and before the U.S. Tax Court.

Professor Kwon was honored to receive the Texas Tech University 2009-10 Hemphill-Wells New Professor Excellence in Teaching Award, which is presented to only one recipient for the entire university.  She was also named a Texas Rising Star in tax law by Texas Monthly in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Professor Kwon speaks and writes about the ability of the IRS to effectively administer the tax system and enforce the tax laws.

Michelle received her J.D., summa cum laude, from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1998 where she was the Lead Articles Editor of the Texas Tech Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.


Biography of Michelle  Kwon

Scratching our Heads over Cooper v. Commissioner, 132 Tax Notes 1275 (September 2011) (critical analysis of Tax Court’s exercise of jurisdiction in a whistleblower case even though the IRS declined to pursue the whistleblower’s tip and failed to collect any proceeds).

Tax Considerations in Choice of Entity Decision, 13 Business Entities 4 (March-April 2011) (co-authored with Mary A. McNulty, tax partner at Thompson & Knight LLP) (article discusses the tax considerations in the choice of entity decision by comparing C corporations, S corporations, limited liability companies taxed as partnerships, limited partnerships, and general partnerships).

The Tax Man’s Ethics: Four of the Hardest Ethical Questions for an IRS Lawyer, 9 Cardozo Pub. L., Pol’y & Ethics J. 371 (2011) (describes an approach to legal ethics that simultaneously serves the agency client’s interest and the public interest by exploring the ethical responsibilities of lawyers of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in the context of the following four hypothetical situations: (1) remaining silent in the face of an expired statute of limitations; (2) affirmatively raising a defense to defeat a taxpayer’s meritorious claim; (3) continuing to litigate a losing case; and (4) conceding a winning case).

Whistling Dixie About the IRS Whistleblower Act Thanks to the IRC Confidentiality Restrictions, 29 Va. Tax Rev. 447 (2010) (examines the tension between the confidentiality provisions in Internal Revenue Code section 6103 and the IRS’s whistleblower program and recommends that the section 6103 restrictions be relaxed to the extent necessary so that whistleblowers may receive status updates, collaborate with the IRS, and have a meaningful appeal right to the Tax Court).

Works in Progress

Scope and Standard of Review of IRS Whistleblower Cases in the Tax Court (this article will examine the extent of the Tax Court’s jurisdiction and the scope and standard of review in tax whistleblower cases).

Resolving Claims in One Fell Swoop (this article will examine whether the provision in Internal Revenue Code section 6212(c) that generally prohibits the IRS from issuing a second notice of deficiency should be expanded in certain situations such as when taxpayers are found to have engaged in listed or reportable transactions).

IRS Lawyer Ethics (this follow-up article will examine the IRS Office of Chief Counsel’s role historically to determine whether its philosophy and attitudes about its role in the tax administration system have changed over time and if so, whether those changes coincided with changes in the tax law, as a response to market conditions, or other major historical events).

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