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Graduate Student Research Opportunity in Forest Income Taxation

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
A research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Southern Research Station located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
The program focuses on the U.S. federal income tax, provisions of which directly and indirectly affect private, non-corporate (family) forest landowners. The participant will contribute to the updating and rewriting of the comprehensive USDA Agriculture Handbook 731: The Forest Landowner’s Guide to the Federal Income Tax, and the creation of an abridged companion guide.
Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will contribute to the effort via the following activities: (1) Researching interpretations of the tax code relevant to forest landowners through reading and summarizing the internal revenue code, revenue rulings and procedures, memoranda, tax court cases, IRS publications, etc.; (2) Reviewing and providing input on draft text for the new comprehensive guide; (3) Contributing to writing the first draft of the abridged companion guide; and (4) Contributing to other activities as appropriate.
This program will provide the following learning opportunities for the participant:
  • Understand how to research tax law
  • Translate abstract legal concepts to concrete forest management and investment scenarios
  • Obtain a deep understanding of how income tax provisions affect forest landowners
  • Learn and communicate concrete planning and management steps forest landowners can take to lower their own taxes
  • Practice writing skills to translate complex subject matter to a lay audience
  • Learn in an academic environment with collaborators from government and universities
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 15, 2020
This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. The initial appointment is for two months, but may be renewed for an additional year upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend of approximately $5,900, commensurate with educational level and experience. A health insurance supplement will also be provided to offset the cost of an individual plan. Relocation expenses will not be reimbursed. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE. The appointment is full-time at USFS in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, area. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.
For more information about the USFS Research Participation Program, please visit the Program Website.
The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields. 
This opportunity is available to U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) only.
If you have questions, send an email to Please include the reference code for this opportunity (USDA-USFS-2020-0142) in your email.
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