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School of Law


Tessa R. Davis

Title: Associate Professor of Law
School of Law
Phone: 803-777-6809

1525 Senate Street
Room 235
Columbia, SC 29208


CV [pdf]

Tessa R. Davis


Tessa Davis is an Associate Professor of Law specializing in taxation and tax policy. Professor Davis focuses her research on the ways in which tax law and policy are influenced by cultural context, particularly the impact on families. Her research interests include tax-exempt organizations, comparative tax law and taxation in developing nations. Her current research explores the intersection of kinship theory and conceptions of family in the Internal Revenue Code. Her scholarship has appeared in the Denver Law Review, the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, the Florida State University Law Review, the Savannah Law Review, the Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender, the Florida State University Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, and the George Mason Law Review. In addition, she has been an invited speaker at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, University of Michigan Law School, Savannah Law School, and Davidson College.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of South Carolina, Davis was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Tulane University Law School. Davis 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)
  • Taxation of Property Transactions (LAWS 802)
  • Tax Policy Seminar (LAWS 638)


  • “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,” in “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” (forthcoming in the Denver Law Review, Vol. 94, Issue 2 (2017))
  • “Mapping the Families of the Internal Revenue Code”, 22 Virginia J. of Social Policy & the Law 181 (2015)
  • “Reproducing Value: How Tax Law Differentially Values Fertility, Sexuality & Marriage”, 19 Cardozo J. 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 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 653 (2011)


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.