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Kevin Spencer focuses his practice on tax controversy issues. Kevin represents clients in complicated tax disputes in court and before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the IRS Appeals and Examination divisions. In addition to his tax controversy practice, Kevin has broad experience advising clients on various tax issues, including tax accounting, employment and reasonable compensation, civil and criminal tax penalties, IRS procedures, reportable transactions and tax shelters, renewable energy, state and local tax, and private client matters. After earning his Master of Tax degree, Kevin had the privilege to clerk for the Honorable Robert P. Ruwe on the US Tax Court. Read Kevin Spencer's full bio.

On April 8, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Rev. Proc. 2020-23 in response to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Rev. Proc. 2020-23 eases restrictions on partnerships’ ability to file amended tax returns and issue amended Schedules K-1 in order for their partners to avail themselves of the retroactive tax

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, provides tax relief to taxpayers in certain situations. Some of these provisions may generate refunds for prior years, such as the relaxation of restrictions on the use of net operating losses (NOLs) and interest deductions as well as the retroactive availability of additional depreciation related to qualified improvement property. For our prior discussions of these, and other CARES Act provisions, see here.

Continue Reading CARES Act Refund Claim Guidance

In a recent order in the The Cannon Corp. v. Commissioner, No. 12466-16, the US Tax Court (Tax Court) held that a redacted email from a revenue agent’s supervisor to the agent regarding a notice of deficiency was not sufficient to satisfy the approval requirement under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 6751(b) for the assertion of accuracy-related penalties.

Under IRC section 6751(b), as interpreted by case law, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is permitted to assert penalties only if the initial determination to assert the penalty is approved in writing by the supervisor of the individual making such a determination. That provision has been litigated recently in several notable cases, for example, Chai v. Commissioner851 F.3d 190 (2d Cir. 2017), and Graev v. Commissioner149 T.C. 485 (2017). Since Graev, the Tax Court has issued a series of decisions on the requirements of IRC section 6751(b). Our recent article discussing these decisions can be found here.


Continue Reading IRS Failed to Prove Supervisory Approval For Penalty Based Upon Redacted Document

Yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced in a memorandum to all Large Business & International (LB&I) division employees that it was suspending the normal Information Document Request (IDR) procedures. The letter suspends enforcement until July 15, 2020; however, LB&I managers will have the discretion to continue with the IDR enforcement process when in their

Recently, the US Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa in Meredith Corp. v. United States, No. 4:17-cv-00385 (S.D. Iowa Mar. 20, 2020), held that a magazine publisher was entitled to refund of federal income tax based for the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 199 domestic production deduction based upon the printing services performed by a contract manufacturer. At issue in the case was whether the publisher qualified as a printer of magazines for purposes of IRC section 199 despite hiring third-party printers to print its magazines. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) argued that the third-party printers, not the magazine publisher, had the “benefits and burdens of ownership,” and thus only the third-party printers were eligible for the IRC section 199 deduction. The case involved tax years 2006 through 2012. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repealed IRC section 199 domestic production deduction for tax years after 2018.

Continue Reading Taxpayer Victory in an IRC Section 199 Contract Manufacturing Case

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has now impacted the operations of the United States Tax Court (Tax Court). This morning, the Tax Court announced that after assessing all relevant factors relating to COVID-19, including travel and public health considerations, the trial sessions for March 16, 2020, March 17, 2020, March 23, 2020, and March 30, 2020, are cancelled. Orders are currently being issued in several cases reflecting the cancellations, which impact trial sessions in the following cities:

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Provo (Salt Lake City), Utah
  • San Francisco, California

The Tax Court expects the parties to continue to work together to exchange information and address pending issues.

It remains to be seen if the Tax Court will cancel other trial sessions scheduled for April, May and June (the Tax Court does not hold trial sessions in July and August). The Tax Court’s website contains the full listing of trial sessions for the 2020 Winter Trial Sessions and the 2020 Spring Trial Sessions.


Continue Reading Coronavirus (COVID-19) Results in Tax Court Trial Sessions Cancellations

The United States Supreme Court has picked up the pace this week, already issuing eight regular opinions and four opinions relating to orders as of today. We discuss the tax-related items here.

In Rodriguez v. FDIC, the question was how to decide which member of a consolidated group of corporations is entitled to a

On November 6, 2019, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Ms. Alina Ionescu Marshall and Mr. Christian N. Weiler to serve as Judges on the United States Tax Court (Tax Court). Mr. Travis Greaves was previously approved by the Senate Finance Committee to be a Tax Court Judge and is awaiting confirmation by the