William H. Lyons

Richard H. Larson Professor of Tax Law

235 LAW UNL 68583-0902
(402)472-1246 | Email

Areas of Expertise
  • Business Entitites Taxation
  • Business Planning
  • Corporate Income Taxation
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Planning Problems
  • Individual Income Taxation
  • Legal Research & Writing
  • Partnership Taxation
  • Tax Policy
  • Wills & Trusts
  • J.D., cum laude, 1973, Boston College Law School
  • Order of the Coif, 1973
  • B.A., Government, 1969, Colby College, Waterville, Maine


  • Assistant Professor of Law, 1981
  • Associate Professor of Law, 1986
  • Professor of Law, 1992
  • Richard H. Larson Professor of Tax Law, 1999


Mr. Lyons joined the faculty in 1981. He received his B.A. degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine in 1969 and his J.D. degree (Cum Laude, Order of the Coif) from Boston College Law School in Newton, Massachusetts in 1973. Mr. Lyons was a member of the law review publications staff during his second year at Boston College Law School and served as Coordinating Casenote and Comment Editor of the Annual Survey of Massachusetts Law during his third year. Admitted in Maine, Massachusetts and Nebraska and to the Bar of the United States Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Lyons practiced in Bangor, Maine from 1973 to 1981 with the law firm of Vafiades, Brountas & Kominsky. During the 1987-88 academic year, Mr. Lyons was a Professor-in-Residence in the Office of the Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C. He has been a visiting professor at Boston College Law School, University of Miami School of Law, Vermont Law School, and the International Tax Center of the University of Leiden in Holland. He has twice taught comparative wills and trusts law as part of the summer program for study in Ireland sponsored by UNL, University of Kansas and University of Limerick. Mr. Lyons presently teaches Individual Income Taxation, Partnership Taxation, Estate Planning and Wills & Trusts.

Mr. Lyons is a Fellow and former Regent of the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a member of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation, is Chair of The Tax Lawyer committee, Managing Editor of The Tax Lawyer, a past Chair of that Section's Committee of Individual Investments and Workouts (currently Individual and Family Taxation), and is active in the Committees on Bankruptcy & Workouts, Teaching Taxation and Low Income Taxpayers. He served as Co-Vice Chair of that Section's I.R.C. Section 108 Real Estate and Partnership Task Force. He is also a member of the ABA Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law. He is Faculty Advisor to the Law College's Volunteer Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, and one of the faculty advisors to the Law College's Interschool Appellate Moot Court Competition Teams.His non-professional interests include amateur radio (his current call sign is W1LXE, held by his late uncle from 1938 until 2009), bicycle touring, science fiction, historical geology, the current Boston American League Baseball Club and the former Boston National League Baseball Club.

Taxation-Business Entities

Law 662/G (3 cr) Prereq: LAW 637/G & Pre- / Co-Req: LAW 632/G. Introduction to the fundamentals of federal income taxation of corporations and their shareholders, partnerships and their partners and limited liability companies and their members, focusing on information, operation and liquidation of such business entities. Examines subchapters C (regular business corporations), S (certain electing small business corporations), and K (business partnerships and qualifying limited liability companies) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Business Planning

Law 648/G (ACCT *848) (1-4 cr) Prereq: LAW 632/G, 638/G. Series of separate, rather detailed planning problems. Each problem calls for the selection and planning of a transaction to meet the needs of the parties involved, in light of applicable corporate, partnership, tax, and securities considerations.


Law 638/G (ACCT *838) (1-4 cr) Prereq: LAW 637/G & Pre- / Co-Req: LAW 632/G. Advanced federal income tax focusing on income taxation of corporations and shareholders.

Estate Planning

Law 767/G (ACCT 967) (1-4 cr) Prereq: LAW 637/G & Pre- / Co-Req: LAW 639/G. Federal estate and gift taxation, related income tax rules, estate planning concepts, and state inheritance taxation.

Estate Planning Problems

Law 768/G (ACCT 968) (1-4 cr) Prereq: LAW 767/G. Problems of planning and implementing estate plans for clients of substantial wealth with emphasis on skills of drafting the various legal instruments usually required for comprehensive estate planning.

Taxation-Individual Income

Law 637/G (ACCT *837) (3-4 cr, max 4) The structure and content of the federal income tax system, focusing on taxation of individuals. Income, deductions, income splitting, capital gains, and tax accounting. Technical proficiency in solving tax problems and an understanding of the tax policy decisions implicit in the technical rules.

Legal Research and Writing I & II

Law 513/G & 514/G (3 cr per class) Introduction to the sources and the literature of the law. Emphasizes the function and content of basic legal materials, their use in the analysis and solution of legal problems, and the preparation of legal memoranda and appellate briefs.

Partnership Taxation

Law 745/G (ACCT 945) (1-4 cr) Prereq: ACCT 812 or LAW 637G. Survey of important principles of partnership taxation.

Tax Policy Seminar

Law 769/G (ACCT 969) (1-4 cr) Policies of federal income taxation with emphasis on current legislative proposals and alternatives.

Wills and Trusts

Law 639/G (1-4 cr) Intestate succession and related matters, execution of wills, revocation of wills, problems created by the time gap in wills, limitations on the power to devise, construction of wills (mistake and ambiguity), the elements of trust, formalities in the creation of a trust, the interest of the beneficiary, charitable trusts, and problems of trust administration.


  • "Discretionary Trusts, Support Trusts, Discretionary Support Trusts, Spendthrift Trusts, and Special Needs Trusts Under the Nebraska Uniform Trust Code" (co-authored with Professor John M. Gradwohl), 86 Nebraska Law Review 231 (2007).
  • "Constitutional and Other Issues in the Application of the Nebraska Uniform Trust Code to Existing Trusts" (co-authored with Professor John M. Gradwohl), 82 Nebraska Law Review 212 (2003)
  • "The New 'Innocent Spouse' Rules", The Nebraska Lawyer (May 2001)
  • "Report entitled Partnership Equity for Debt" [portion of the Report of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation Section 108 Real Estate and Partnership Task Force], 46 The Tax Lawyer 397 (1993)
  • "An Examination of the Tax Consequences of Discharge of Indebtedness," 10 Virginia Tax Review 1 (1990) [Co-Authored with Fred T. Witt, Jr.]
  • "Federal Tax Liens and the Secured Party," 21 Uniform Commercial Code Law Journal 3 (1988) [Co-Authored with Professor Richard F. Duncan]
  • "Corporate Liquidations and the 'General Utilities Rule'," 38 Southwestern Law Journal 1081 (1985)


  • William H. Lyons & James R. Repetti, Partnership Income Taxation (5th ed. 2011).
  • Chapter entitled "Financially Troubled Partnerships" in Collier on Bankruptcy Taxation (1992), with annual updates
  • Sourcebook on The Nebraska Uniform Trust Code [with Professor John M. Gradwohl (November 2003)
  • Chapter entitled "General Partnerships" in Volume 4 of the Nebraska "How To" Practice Seriesl (2d ed.1998)
  • Chapter entitled "Selected Tax Issues in Bankruptcy" in Volume 6 of the Nebraska "How To" Practice Seriesl (2d ed.1997)
  • Chapter entitled "Apportionment of Federal and Nebraska Wealth Transfer Taxes" in Nebraska Probate Manual (Nebraska Continuing Legal Education, Inc. 1993) The Law and Practice of Secured Transactions: Working with Article 9 [Co-Authored with Professors Richard F. Duncan and Catherine Lee Wilson] (New York Law Journal Press 1987)


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Professional Memberships and Activities

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Partnership Tax, August 31, 2012

April 6th, 2012