Archives: Appellate Courts

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Overview of Tax Litigation Forums

Taxpayers can choose whether to litigate tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the US Tax Court (Tax Court), federal district court or the Court of Federal Claims. Claims brought in federal district court and the Court of Federal Claims are tax refund litigation: the taxpayer must first pay the tax, file a … Continue Reading

APA Challenge to Notice of Deficiency: QinetiQ Requests Supreme Court Review

On April 4, 2017, QinetiQ U.S. Holdings, Inc. petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision that the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (APA) does not apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notices of Deficiency. We previously wrote about the case (QinetiQ U.S. Holdings, Inc. … Continue Reading

Santander Holdings USA Asks the Supreme Court to Address Economic Substance Doctrine

From 2003 to 2007, Sovereign Bancorp, Inc. (Sovereign) – now known as Santander Holdings USA, Inc. (Santander) – engaged in a so-called STARS transaction with Barclays Bank. According to Santander, “[b]y engaging in the STARS transaction, Sovereign transferred some of its income tax liability from the United States to the United Kingdom,” it “secured a … Continue Reading

Tax Court Holds Section 883 Regulations Valid under Chevron Test

On March 28, 2017, the US Tax Court issued its opinion in Good Fortune Shipping SA v. Commissioner, 148 T.C. No. 10, upholding the validity of regulations issued under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 883. Code Section 887(a) imposes a four percent tax on a foreign corporation’s US-source gross transportation income for each year. Code … Continue Reading

IRS Opposes Granting of Certiorari in Cases Addressing Definition of Return

Two petitions for certiorari pending before the Supreme Court of the United States ask the Court to resolve the question of whether a tax return filed after an assessment by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a “return” for purposes of the Bankruptcy Code (BC). The answer to this question will determine whether a bankrupt … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Clarifies the Role of the Collection Due Process Hearing

In Iames v. Commissioner, No. 16-1154, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the US Tax Court’s ruling that once a taxpayer has unsuccessfully challenged his tax liability in a preassessment hearing before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Appeals, he is precluded from challenging his tax liability in a collection … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Sets Limits on the Application of the Substance-Over-Form Doctrine

The judicial substance-over-form doctrine provides the IRS with the ability to set aside carefully orchestrated tax planning arrangements to treat a transaction consistent with its substance.  However, the doctrine does not give the Service carte blanche to deny tax benefits. In Summa Holdings, Inc. v. Commissioner, No. 16-1712 (available here), the Sixth Circuit overturned the … Continue Reading

Should Taxpayers File Amicus Briefs in Tax Court Cases?

Amicus–or “friend of the court”–briefs are not uncommon in Supreme Court and appellate court cases.  The purpose of an amicus brief is generally to provide assistance to the court by presenting additional arguments either in support or opposition of one of the litigant’s positions.  Amicus briefs should not rehash the same arguments presented by one … Continue Reading

Change in Leadership at DOJ Tax Division

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Tax Division is responsible for litigating tax refund claims brought in Federal district courts and the Court of Federal Claims and handling appeals from decisions of the United States Tax Court (the Chief Counsel’s office is responsible for Tax Court litigation).  Effective January 23, 2017, David A. Hubbert became the … Continue Reading

National Taxpayer Advocate 2016 Report – Penalties

Every year, the Taxpayer Advocate Service’s (TAS) Annual Report to Congress provides a unique perspective regarding the workings of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and how the IRS relates to the vast majority of taxpayers. That insight is particularly valuable when the IRS chooses to assert penalties—one of the most policy-driven decisions that the IRS … Continue Reading

Circuit Courts Agree Timely Filing Requirement for a Tax Court Petition is Jurisdictional

Arguably the most important aspect of litigating a case in the Tax Court or in a refund forum is the timely filing of the petition or complaint.  Absent timely filing, the court may not have jurisdiction and the case could be dismissed without the court ever reaching the substantive issues.  On January 13, 2017, the … Continue Reading

APA Challenge to Notice of Deficiency: QinetiQ Affirmed

On January 6, 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, by published opinion, affirmed the US Tax Court’s (Tax Court) earlier ruling in QinetiQ US Holdings, Inc. v. Commissioner.  We previously wrote about the case here, here, and here.  To refresh, the taxpayer had argued in Tax Court that the Notice of … Continue Reading

Court Opinions – A Year In Review

Several notable court opinions were issued 2016 dealing with a variety of substantive and procedural matters. In our previous post – Tax Controversy 360 Year in Review: Court Procedure and Privilege – we discussed some of these matters. This post addresses some additional cases decided by the court during the year and highlights some other … Continue Reading

Court Holds that Willful Failure to File FBAR Standard is the Lesser Standard of Recklessness

On December 2, 2016, the US District Court for the Central District of California found that taxpayers who failed to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) for three foreign accounts, one of which, in the court’s view, was intentionally kept secret from all persons except their children, for over a decade … Continue Reading

December 2016 Changes to the Federal Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure: Electronic Service and Word Counts

December 1 is an important day for federal litigators and for tax practitioners with cases pending in federal district and appellate courts. It brings with it changes to the rules governing their day-to-day practices. This year, those changes are few and simple but important. First, electronic service no longer entitles litigants to three extra days to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Case Involving Auer Deference

On October 28, 2016, the US Supreme Court (Supreme Court) granted certiorari in the case of Gloucester County Sch. Bd. V. G.G., No. 16-273, which involves a dispute as to whether an unpublished letter by a Department of Education (Department) official purporting to interpret the agency’s regulatory interpretation relating to discrimination on the basis of … Continue Reading

APA Challenge to Notice of Deficiency: QinetiQ Oral Arguments

On October 26, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral argument in QinetiQ U.S. Holdings, Inc. v. Commissioner, No. 15-2192. We previously wrote about the case here and here. To refresh, the taxpayer had argued in the US Tax Court (Tax Court) that the notice of deficiency issued by the … Continue Reading

Tax Controversy Options

Knowing your options for a US Federal tax controversy is helpful in creating a sound and efficient strategy. The attached chart depicts the typical options involved in a US Federal tax controversy, from the IRS’s examination of the return, through administrative appeals, litigation in Tax Court, Circuit Court appeal, and to ultimate assessment of tax.… Continue Reading

Altera Corporation Files Answering Brief in Commissioner’s Ninth Circuit Appeal of Altera

In Altera Corp. v. Commissioner, 145 T.C. No. 3 (July 27, 2015), the Tax Court, in a unanimous reviewed opinion, held that regulations under Section 482 requiring parties to a qualified cost-sharing agreement (“QCSA”) to include stock-based compensation costs in the cost pool to comply with the arm’s-length standard were procedurally invalid because Treasury and … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Defines ‘Corporation’ for Purposes of Overpayment Interest

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently held in U.S. v. Detroit Medical Center that a nonprofit entity incorporated under state law falls within the definition of a ‘corporation’ for purposes of determining the interest rate applicable to tax refunds. The case is worth reading for its plain meaning analysis as well … Continue Reading

Inversions and Debt/Equity Regulations Top Treasury’s 2016–2017 Priority Guidance Plan

Yesterday, the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released the 2016–2017 Priority Guidance Plan (Plan) containing 281 projects that are priorities for Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the period July 2016 through June 2017. The Plan contains several categories of topics, starting with consolidated returns and ending with tax-exempt bonds. The Plan also … Continue Reading

Law School Professors File Amicus Briefs in Support of Commissioner’s Position in Altera

Two groups of law school professors have filed amicus briefs with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in support of the government’s position in Altera Corp. v. Commissioner, Dkt Nos. 16-70496, 16-70497. Read more on the appeal of Altera here and the US Supreme Court’s opinion addressing interplay between the Administrative Procedure … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Issues Opinion Addressing Interplay between APA Procedural Compliance and Chevron Difference

In Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, Sup. Ct. No. 15-415 (June 20, 2016), the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated a regulation issued by the US Department of Labor (DOL) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In doing so, it affirmed long-standing precedent regarding the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) … Continue Reading

Commissioner Files Opening Brief in Ninth Circuit Appeal of Altera

In Altera Corp. v. Commissioner, 145 T.C. No. 3 (July 27, 2015), the Tax Court, in a unanimous reviewed opinion, held that regulations under Section 482 requiring parties to a qualified cost-sharing agreement (QCSA) to include stock-based compensation costs in the cost pool to comply with the arm’s-length standard were procedurally invalid because the US … Continue Reading
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