Benjamin A. Davidson

Adjunct Professor of Law

Areas of Expertise

  • Nonprofit Organizations Law
  • Tax Law


Benjamin Davidson is Director of Tax Policy & Analysis, Associate University Counsel, and Adjunct Professor of Law at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Davidson counsels UNC Chapel Hill’s board and leadership on tax, executive compensation, employee benefits, and governance. He teaches The Law of Nonprofit Organizations at UNC School of Law and is co-author of The Tax Law of Colleges and Universities (5th ed.).

Davidson writes and speaks regularly on nonprofit and higher education tax law. His work, appearing in Tax Notes, State Tax Notes, Exempt Organization Tax Review, and Exempt Organization Tax Journal, bridges exempt organizations, employee benefits, and income taxation to identify unknown and unintended consequences in federal and state tax law. Davidson’s 2018 analysis of the nonprofit parking tax provided the first comprehensive look into tax reform’s unrelated business taxable income increase for fringe benefit expenses, and his conclusions on parking facility depreciation are reflected in Treasury regulations issued in 2020 under a companion statute. Davidson has also written on the taxation of student financial aid, faculty patent rights, online education, employee compensation, and complex gifts.

Prior to joining UNC Chapel Hill, Davidson was the Deputy Tax Director at Stanford University, where he advised on enterprise-wide tax matters, provided tax planning for a $24.8 billion merged investment pool, and directed the preparation of Stanford University’s tax returns. Davidson joined Stanford from the San Francisco law firm of Adler & Colvin, where he provided tax and corporate counsel to nonprofit organizations.  Before his work with Adler & Colvin, Davidson practiced tax law with the Silicon Valley law firm of Fenwick & West.


  • J.D., Stanford University (2010)
  • B.S., Symbolic Systems, Stanford University (2004)

Selected Publications

THE TAX LAW OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES (with Bertrand M. Harding, Jr.) (5th ed. 2022, updated quarterly)
Document Link

Instrumentalities May Miss Out on New Energy Tax Credits (Letter to the Editor), 176 TAX NOTES FEDERAL 1276 (2022)

Congress Addresses Taxation of Emergency Financial Aid Grants, 170 TAX NOTES FED. 289 (2021); reprinted in 87 EXEMPT ORG. TAX REV. 89 (2021).

Sales Taxation of Online Education, 101 TAX NOTES STATE 373 (2021); reprinted in 88 EXEMPT ORG. TAX REV. 77 (2021).

Parking Tax Purgatory, 166 TAX NOTES FED. 405 (2020); cross-published as 95 TAX NOTES STATE 241 (2020); reprinted in 85 EXEMPT ORG. TAX REV. 117 (2020).

A Proposed Guide to the New UBTI Increase for Qualified Parking (with B. M. Harding, Jr.), 159 TAX NOTES 817 (2018); reprinted in 81 EXEMPT ORG. TAX REV. 411 (2018).

Decoupling the Parking Tax, 90 STATE TAX NOTES 237 (2018); reprinted in 82 EXEMPT ORG. TAX REV. 411 (2018) and in EXEMPT ORG. TAX J. (2018-225).

Qualified Parking: A New UBIT Risk for all 501(c) Organizations (with B. M. Harding, Jr.), 159 TAX NOTES 483 (2018); reprinted in 81 EXEMPT ORG. TAX REV. 345 (2018).

Taxation of University Royalty Sharing Agreements (with B. Cvetanovich and  A.L. Spitzer), 155 TAX NOTES 1291 (2017).

‘Just Put It in My Research Account’: Transfers of RSA Rights (with B. Cvetanovich and A.L. Spitzer), 157 TAX NOTES 1791 (2017).