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Sovereign Immunity Principles Bar Taxpayers from Challenging John Doe Summonses

We recently wrote here about “John Doe” summonses and a case where an anonymous “John Doe” was allowed to intervene in a summons enforcement action. To refresh, under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 7602 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has broad authority to issue administrative summonses to taxpayers and third parties to gather information to … Continue Reading

Grecian Magnesite Mining v. Commissioner: Foreign Investor Not Subject to US Tax on Sale of Partnership Interest

In a long-awaited decision, the US Tax Court recently held that gain realized by a foreign taxpayer on the sale of a partnership engaged in a US trade or business was a sale of a capital asset not subject to US tax, declining to follow Revenue Ruling 91-32. The government has yet to comment regarding … Continue Reading

The IRS Is Struck Down Again in Privilege Dispute

Courts continue to strike down the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as it continues to test the bounds of the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine through the issuance of improper summonses. In the last several years, the IRS has filed numerous summons enforcement proceedings related to the production of documents generally protected by the attorney-client … Continue Reading

President Trump Nominates Copeland and Urda to US Tax Court

On August 3, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated two judges to the US Tax Court. The nominations were received in the US Senate (Senate) and referred to the Committee on Finance. One of the nominees, Elizabeth Copeland, was previously nominated by President Barack Obama. Her previous nomination expired with the conclusion of the 114th Congress … Continue Reading

Senate Attempts to Repeal Chevron Deference

In Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. 467 US 837 (1984), the Supreme Court of the United States established a framework for assessing an agency’s interpretation of statutory provisions. First, a reviewing court must ask whether Congress “delegated authority to the agency generally to make rules carrying the force of law,” and … Continue Reading

Tax Court Rejects IRS Reliance on “Cursory” Analysis in Revenue Ruling

We have previously discussed, in March and October of 2016, the various levels of deference given to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance, whether it is in published or private form. For revenue rulings, courts traditionally apply Skidmore deference, which essentially looks at the persuasiveness of the ruling. Under this standard, and the IRS’s position in … Continue Reading

Courts Rejects Challenge to OVDP Transition Rules

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently offers non-compliant US taxpayers several different relief programs to report foreign assets and/or income to become compliant with US rules related to the disclosure of offshore income. See here for a link to the different options. The two main programs are the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) and the … Continue Reading

Tracking Tax Guidance and Court Cases

Oftentimes, taxpayers rely on various authorities in planning transactions and reporting them for tax purposes, as well as defending them during an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit, appeals or in litigation. These sources include authorities like the Internal Revenue Code, legislative history and other legislative materials, Treasury regulations and other IRS published guidance (e.g., revenue … Continue Reading

Are You Required to Disclose Supporting Legal Authorities During Discovery?

Discovery in tax litigation can take many different forms, including informal discovery requests (in the US Tax Court), request for admissions, interrogatories and depositions. In addition to obtaining facts, litigants frequently want to know the legal authorities on which the other side intends to rely. Over the years, we have seen numerous requests, both during … Continue Reading

The Bruins Score! Court Rules Away from Home Meals Are 100 Percent Deductible

In a surprising decision, the US Tax Court (Tax Court) concluded that the pregame away-city meals provided to the Boston Bruins hockey team was not subject to the 50 percent deduction disallowance on the basis that the meals were both for the “convenience of the employer” and were provided at an “employer operated eating facility.” … Continue Reading

Former Tax Court Judge Diane L. Kroupa Sentenced in Connection with Tax Evasion Matter

We have previously blogged on the criminal tax proceedings related to former US Tax Court Judge Kroupa (see here and here). In October 2016, Judge Kroupa pleaded guilty to multiple tax criminal charges related to her tax returns and interactions with the Internal Revenue Service. Based on sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence was between 30‒37 months. Judge Kroupa … Continue Reading

The “Issue of First Impression” Defense to Penalties

The Internal Revenue Code (Code) contains various provisions regarding the imposition of penalties and additions to tax. The accuracy-related penalty under section 6662(a), which imposes a penalty equal to 20 percent of the amount of any understatement of tax, is commonly asserted on the grounds that the taxpayer was negligent, disregarded rules or regulations, or … Continue Reading

Dealing with Allocations of Tax Liabilities in Non-IRS Agreements

Taxpayers often enter into tax sharing agreements to agree on how the parties may allocate current or future tax liabilities or potential refund. Sometimes these agreements are heavily negotiated (e.g., a corporation acquiring a subsidiary of an unrelated party); sometime they are not (e.g., marital settlement agreements among individuals with little assets). A recent US … Continue Reading

Canadian Tax Court Holds that Agreements Reached Under the Mutual Agreement Procedure are Binding on the Canada Revenue Agency

On March 10, 2017, the Tax Court of Canada held that agreements reached under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) precluded the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) from redetermining the transfer prices of rock salt sold by Sifto Canada Corp. (Sifto Canada) to a related party in the United States. In 2006, Sifto Canada reevaluated the transfer … Continue Reading

The IRS’s Assault on Section 199 (Computer Software) Doesn’t Compute

Internal Revenue Code Section 199 permits taxpayers to claim a 9 percent deduction related to the costs to develop software within the U.S. The relevant regulations and their interpretation, however, place substantial restrictions on claiming the benefit. Moreover, the regulations and the government’s position haven’t kept up with the technological advances in computer software. Before claiming … Continue Reading

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

Giving Back – Providing Pro Bono Tax Assistance

Here at McDermott, we value giving back to the community through pro bono efforts.  In particular, we provide substantial assistance in pro bono tax cases to low-income individuals through our relationships with low-income taxpayer clinics throughout the country.  Over the years, we have settled dozens of cases for low-income taxpayers in docketed tax cases and … Continue Reading

Retaliation Claims By Corporate Whistleblowers – What Is Too Far?

This week, a French court announced an indictment against UBS related to its alleged treatment of Nicholas Forissier, a former audit manager who provided information to French authorities a decade ago in a tax evasion investigation of UBS.  According to at least one press account, the indictment alleges that Forissier was “forced to work under … Continue Reading
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