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Joseph F. Rice School of Law


Tessa R. Davis

Title: Professor of Law
Joseph F. Rice School of Law
Phone: 803-777-6809
Tessa R. Davis


Tessa Davis is a professor of law specializing in taxation and tax policy at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Davis focuses her research on the ways in which tax law and policy are influenced by cultural context. Her research interests include the intersection of tax with many different areas of law, including immigration law, family law, law and technology, and health law. Her scholarship has appeared in many respected journals, including Denver Law Review, the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, the Florida State University Law Review, the Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender, the Florida State University Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, Kentucky Law Journal, Oregon Law Review, and the George Mason Law Review

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of South Carolina, Davis was a visiting assistant professor at Tulane University Law School. She earned an LLM in Taxation in 2012 from New York University School of Law and received her JD from Florida State University College of Law, where she graduated Order of the Coif.  While at NYU, Davis received a 2011 Tannenwald Award for Excellence in Tax Scholarship for her article “Reproducing Value: How Tax Law Differentially Values Fertility, Sexuality & Marriage” (Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender, Fall 2012). She also received the Florida State University Law Review award for “Outstanding Student Piece of the Year” for an article focusing on international law. Davis graduated from Davidson College with a BA in Anthropology, and received an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics.


  • Income Tax (LAWS 633)
  • Corporate Tax (LAWS 636)
  • Partnership and LLC Taxation (LAWS 637)
  • Reading Group | Buying Civilization: Tax Law and the Making of Society (LAWS 899)
  • Taxation of Property Transactions (LAWS 802)
  • Tax Policy Seminar (LAWS 638)

Selected Works

  • Revisiting the Tax Treatment of Alimony (with Amy Soled and Jay Soled) (forthcoming Spring 2023)
  • Taxing the Cyborg,  101 Oregon Law Review 137 (2022)
  • Tax's Power: Feminism, Tax, and the Making of Society, The Political Philosophy of Taxation (Springer, 2022)
  • Taxing Choices, 16 Florida International University Law Review 327 (2021)
  • Freezing the Future: Elective Egg Freezing and the Limits of the Medical Expense Deduction, 107 Kentucky Law Journal 373 (2019)
  • A Human Capital Theory of Alimony and Tax, 25 George Mason Law Review 2 (2018)
  • Taxing Values: What Our Tax Code Says About Us, Demand the Impossible: Essays in History as Activism, Westphalia Press (2018)
  • Tax and Social Context: Legal Fictions and Tax, American Legal Fictions Symposium, Savannah Law Review (2017)
  • The Tax-Immigration Nexus, 94 Denver Law Review 195 (2017)
  • Mapping the Families of the Internal Revenue Code, 22 Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law 181 (2015)
  • Reproducing Value: How Tax Law Differentially Values Fertility, Sexuality & Marriage, 19 Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender 1 (2012)
  • Lost in Doctrine: Particular Social Group, Child Soldiers and the Failure of U.S. Asylum Law to Protect Exploited Children, 38 Florida State University Law Review 653 (2011)

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.