Eric M. Zolt

Michael H. Schill Distinguished Professor of Law

  • B.S. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1974
  • M.B.A. University of Chicago, 1975
  • J.D. University of Chicago, 1978
  • UCLA Law faculty since 1985

Eric Zolt joined UCLA in 1985. Before joining UCLA, he was a partner in the Chicago law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, where he specialized in individual and corporate tax matters. Before practicing law, Eric was on the research staff of the Center for Policy Alternatives, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Eric teaches Business Strategy and Corporate Governance, Federal Income Taxation, Taxation of Business Entities, Taxation of International Transactions, Elements of Economic Organization (jointly offered with the UCLA Anderson School of Management), and seminars on Taxation and Democracy, Taxation and Development, and Comparative Tax Policy.

A successful teacher, Eric received the University's Distinguished Teaching Award in just his fourth year of teaching. He has also received the Law School's Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching (1997). Eric has been twice elected by the graduating class as Professor of the Year.

While on leave from UCLA, he served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 1989 through 1992. Eric served first as Deputy Tax Legislative Counsel in the Office of Tax Policy. In 1991, Eric then founded and served as the Director of the Treasury's Tax Advisory Program for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Based at the U.S. Mission to the OECD in Paris, this program provided technical assistance to countries reforming their tax systems to be more compatible with a market economy. Eric later found out that Paris was not in Eastern Europe.

Eric continues to serve as a consultant to the Treasury Department, US AID, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has provided tax policy advice in over 30 countries. Eric currently serves as a member of the UN Tax Committee for Wealth Taxes.

In 2002, Eric co-founded and served as the first Chair of the Executive Committee of the African Tax Institute, a training and research facility for tax policy and tax administration located at the University of Pretoria. In its first 20 years of operations, ATI has provided training to over 2,000 government tax officials from 20 different African countries.

Eric is or has been a visiting professor at NYU Law School (Fall 2022); California Institute of Technology (Winter 2012); Harvard Law School (William K. Jacobs, Jr. Visiting Professor of Law, Spring 2008 and John Harvey Gregory Lecturer on World Organization, Fall 2000 through Fall 2002); University of Toronto (Distinguished Visiting Professor, Fall 2007); Yale Law School (Jacquin D. Bierman Visiting Professor of Taxation, Fall 1997, Fall 1999, and Fall 2005); and at Sciences Po Aix (Spring 2009, Spring 2010, and Spring 2016). Eric also served as the Director of Harvard Law School's International Tax Program from June 2000 through June 2003.


  • Books
    • The Taxation of Business Profits Under Tax Treaties (edited by Brian J. Arnold, Jacques Sasseville, and Eric M. Zolt). Canadian Tax Foundation (2003).
  • Articles And Chapters
    • Cross-Border Philanthropy: A U.S. Perspective, in Routledge Handbook of Taxation and Philanthropy, (Geneva Centre for Philanthropy, University of Geneva, forthcoming 2021). Full Text
    • Personal Income Tax (with Sebastian James and Victor Thuronyi), Tax Policy Assessment Framework (2019). International Monetary Fund
    • Wealth Taxes in Developing Countries (with Blanca Moreno-Dodson and Richard Murphy), in Winning the Tax Wars: Tax Competition and Tax Cooperation, (Wolters Kluwer, 2018).
    • Wealth Tax Add-Ons: An Alternative To Comprehensive Wealth Taxes (with Jason S. Oh), 158 Tax Notes 1613 (March 19, 2018). Full Text
    • Tax Treaties and Developing Countries, 72 Tax Law Review 111 (2018). Full Text
    • Tax Treaties and Developing Countries: A Better Deal Post-BEPS?, in Tax Treaties after the BEPS Project: A Tribute to Jacques Sasseville, (Canadian Tax Foundation, 2018).
    • Tax Incentives in Developing Countries: Maximizing the Benefits and Minimizing the Costs, in United Nations Handbook on Selective Issues in Protecting the Tax Base in Developing Countries, 2nd ed. (Financing for Development Office, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, 2017).
    • Tax and Entrepreneurship, Foreword for the 4th Annual NYU/UCLA Symposium on Tax Policy (with Deborah H. Schenk), 69 Tax Law Review 311 (2016).
    • Taxation and Inequality in Canada and the United States: Two Stories or One? (with Richard Bird), 52 Osgood Hall Law Journal 401 (2015). Full Text
    • Tax Incentives in Developing Countries: Protecting the Tax Base, in United Nations Handbook on Tax Base Protection in Developing Countries, (Financing for Development Office, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, 2015).
    • Fiscal Contracting in Latin America (with Richard M. Bird), 67 World Development 323 (2015). Full Text
    • Politics and Taxation: An Introduction, 67 Tax Law Review 453 (2014). Full Text
    • Taxation and Inequality in the Americas: Changing the Fiscal Contract? (with Richard Bird), in Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, (edited by R. Bird and J. Martinez-Vazquez, Edward Elgar, 2014).
    • Inequality in America: Challenges for Tax and Spending Policies, 66 Tax Law Review 1101 (2013). Full Text
    • The Effect of Rising Income Inequality on Taxation and Public Expenditures: Evidence From U.S. Municipalities and School Districts, 1970–2000 (with Leah Boustan, Fernando Ferreira, and Hernan Winkler), 95 The Review of Economics and Statistics 1291 (2013). Full Text
    • Tax Reform and the American Middle Class (with Kirk Stark), 40 Pepperdine Law Review 1209 (2013). Full Text
    • Taxation, Inequality and Fiscal Contracting in the Americas (with Richard M. Bird), UCLA School of Law - Law and Economics Working Paper No. 13-14 (2013). Full Text
    • Tax Deductions for Charitable Contributions: Domestic Activities, Foreign Activities, or None of the Above, 63 Hastings Law Journal 361 (2012).
    • Dual Income Taxation and Developing Countries (with Richard Bird), 1 Columbia Journal of Tax Law 174-217 (2010). Full Text
    • Inequality, Collective Action, and Taxing and Spending Patterns of State and Local Governments, 62 Tax Law Review 445-504 (2009). Full Text
    • Tax Policy in Emerging Countries (with Richard M. Bird), 26 Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 73-86 (2008). Full Text
    • Technology and Taxation in Developing Countries: From Hand to Mouse (with Richard Bird), 61 National Tax Journal 791-821 (2008).
    • Revenue Design and Taxation, in Public Finance for Poverty Reduction: Concepts and Case Studies from Africa and Latin America, (edited by Blanca Moreno-Dodson and Quentin Wodon, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, 2008).
    • Inequality and the Evolution of Institutions and Taxation: Evidence from the Economic History of the Americas (with Kenneth L. Sokoloff), in The Decline of Latin American Economies: Growth, Institutions, and Crises, (edited by Sebastian Edwards, Gerardo Esquivel, and Graciela Marquez, The University of Chicago Press, 2008).
    • Inequality and Taxation: Evidence From the Americas on How Inequality May Influence Tax Institutions (with Kenneth L. Sokoloff), 59 Tax Law Review 167-241 (2006). Full Text
    • Redistribution via Taxation: The Limited Role of the Personal Income Tax in Developing Countries (with Richard M. Bird), 52 UCLA Law Review 1627-95 (2005). Full Text
    • Summary of the Proceedings of an Invitational Seminar on Tax Treaties in the 21st Century (with Brian J. Arnold and Jacques Sasseville), 50 Canadian Tax Journal 65-144 (2002).
    • Alternatives to the Existing Allocation of Tax Revenues Among Countries, in “Summary of the Proceedings of an Invitational Seminar on Tax Treaties in the 21st Century”, 50 Canadian Tax Journal 113-18 (2002).
    • Economic Crime: Tax Offenses (with John S. Wiley), in Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice, (edited by Hélène G. Potter, Macmillan, 2001).
    • Connected Contracts (with G. Mitu Gulati and William A. Klein), 47 UCLA Law Review 887-948 (UCLA Law Review , 2000). Full Text
    • Prospects for Fundamental Tax Reform: Comparisons Between the United States and Japan, 18 Tax Notes International 1969-83 (1999).
    • Tax Nothings (with Joel Rabinovitz), 75 Taxes 869-86 (Taxes, 1997). Reprinted in Practicing Law Institute, Tax Law and Estate Planning Course Handbook (1998).
    • The Uneasy Case for Uniform Taxation, 16 Virginia Tax Review 39-109 (1996).
    • Taxation of Investment Funds, in Tax Law for Developing and Transition Countries, (International Monetary Fund, 1996).
    • Business Form, Limited Liability, and Tax Regimes: Lurching Toward a Coherent Outcome? (with William A. Klein), 66 University of Colorado Law Review 1001-41 (1995).
    • Tax Issues Arising from Privatization in the Formerly Socialist Countries (with Yolanda K. Kodrzycki), 25 Law & Policy in International Business 609-37 (1994).
    • Deterrence Via Taxation: A Critical Analysis of Tax Penalty Provisions, 37 UCLA Law Review 343-87 (1989).
    • Efficient Deterrence and the Tax Treatment of Monetary Sanctions (with I.P.L. Png), 9 International Review of Law & Economics 209-17 (1989). Reprinted in 88-13 Business Economics Working Paper/The John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA (1989).
    • Corporate Taxation after the Tax Reform Act of 1986: A State of Disequilibrium, 66 North Carolina Law Review 839-77 (1988).
    • The General Utilities Doctrine: Examining the Scope of the Repeal, 65 Taxes 819-32 (1987).
    • The Tax Consequences of the Recharacterization of an Economic Relationship as a Partnership (with John Ruppert), 32 Taxation for Accountants 232-38 (1984).
    • Comment: An Economic Perspective on the Law of Excessive Profits Recovery (with Jeffrey Berkowitz), 45 University of Chicago Law Review 882-905 (1978).
  • Other
    • “Inequality and Taxation,” Fireside Chat at WU Global Tax Policy Center at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law (Vienna University of Economics and Business), Tax Notes International (June 29, 2015).
    • Tax Reform: Reduce the Corporate Income Tax Rate and More, Tax Notes (August 29, 2011). Full Text
    • In Memoriam: Oliver Oldman, 122 Harvard Law Review 1303-06 (2009).
    • Time for a Postpartisan Tax Policy, 120 Tax Notes 1082 (2008).
    • In recognition of Richard M. Bird, Recipient of the 2006 Daniel M. Holland Medal, 45 Tax Notes International 773-74 (2007).
    • Introduction to Tax Policy Design and Development (with Richard M. Bird) (World Bank Course on Practical Issues of Tax Policy in Developing Countries, April 28-May 1, 2003).
    • Tax Incentives, World Bank Course on Practical Issues of Tax Policy in Developing Countries (April 28-May 1, 2003).
    • Co-Director, Report of the Department of Treasury, Integration of the Individual and Corporate Tax Systems: Taxing Business Income Once (January, 1992).
    • Evaluating Chemical Regulations: Trade-off Analysis and Impact Assessment for Environmental Decision-making (with with N. Ashford, D. Hattis and J. Katz) (March 1979).
    • (with Nicholas A. Ashford and Stewart E. Butler), in Comment on Drug Regulation and Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 1977).
    • (with Nicholas A. Ashford et al.), in Economic/Social Impact of Occupational Noise Exposure Regulations (GPO, 1976). EPA Technical Report No. 550/9-77-352.
  • Working Papers
    • Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance (with Jason Oh), UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper No. 20-01 (2020). Full Text