A leading authority on tax laws who served as assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson has returned to the Harvard Law School.
The tax expert, Stanley S. Surrey, has become Jermiah Smith Jr. Professor of Law--the post which he held at Harvard from 1950 to 1961, when he left to join the Treasury Department.
During his years at the Treasury, Surrey helped formulate tax reform proposals, including several which administrators at Harvard and other universities fear would damage their fund-raising efforts.
These proposals would limit in various ways the amount of charitable contributions that could be deducted from taxable income. The House Ways and Means Committee is currently holding hearings on these and other tax reform proposals.
While he was at Harvard during the 1950's, Surrey headed the International Program in Taxation, which trained about 20 foreign tax officers each year. With a special interest in the effect of tax laws on underdeveloped countries, Surrey served on the American Tax Mission to Japan in 1949 and 1950. He later drafted the Excise Tax of Puerto Rico while acting as a consultant to the Secretary of the Treasury of Puerto Rico.
He also served as Tax Legislative Counsel of the Treasury Department, and as special counsel to a House subcommittee which studied income tax laws in 1951-52.
Surrey, who received his LLB from Columbia in 1932, first entered the government as a lawyer for the National Recovery Administration in 1933.
The Jermiah Smith Jr. Professorship of Law honors a Harvard graduate and Boston lawyer who helped solve the financial problems of Hungary, China, and Mexico after World War I. Smith came from a legal family: his father was the Story Professor of Law at Harvard, and his great-grandfather helped Daniel Webster argue the famous Dartmouth College case.