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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

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

Tax Court Affirms That Reportable Transaction Penalty Is Constitutional

In Thompson v. Commissioner, 148 T.C. No. 3 148 (2017), the US Tax Court confirmed that the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 6662A penalty for reportable transactions is constitutional and does not violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. IRC Section 6662A(a) imposes a penalty on any “reportable transaction understatement.” A “reportable transaction … Continue Reading

Battat v. Commissioner: A Primer on the History of the US Tax Court

In Battat v. Commissioner, the US Tax Court recently affirmed its own constitutionality, in releasing an opinion relating to the President’s authority to remove Tax Court Judges.  The taxpayer filed a motion asking the court to disqualify all Tax Court Judges and to declare unconstitutional IRC Section 7443(f), which provides circumstances by which the President … 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

IRS Issues IPU on Summons of Foreign Owned US Businesses

On January 30, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released an International Practice Unit (IPU) on the use of a summons under IRC Section 6038A (IRC Section 6038A Summons) when a US corporation is 25-percent owned by a foreign shareholder.  See IPU here. The IPU describes the steps that the IRS should take when issuing … 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

US Supreme Court Denies Petitions for Certiorari Filed In Two Federal Tax Cases

On January 9, 2017, the US Supreme Court denied the petitions for certiorari filed in two federal tax cases. In Chemtech Royalty Assoc. LP v. United States, Sup. Ct. Dkt. No. 16-810 (2016), 823 F.3d 282 (5th Cir. 2016), Dow Chemical Co. challenged the decisions by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit … 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
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