Tax Court Opinions Are Searchable (Again)

The US Tax Court gave taxpayers and tax practitioners a belated Christmas gift when it announced that the Opinion search feature is back. This news comes on the heels of the Tax Court’s reintroduction of the Order search function earlier this month.

The Opinion search function allows the public to search for specific cases by name or docket number or run general searches by a keyword or phrase, judge, date range or opinion type (see here for an explanation of opinion types). Unlike the Tax Court’s prior case management system, the new system allows the public to search Bench Opinions. Guidance from the Tax Court on using the Opinion and Order search functions can be found here.

Results are available for opinions in the Tax Court’s system for cases filed on or after May 1, 1986. Thus, the public will need to use other resources in order to obtain older cases. Opinions are also available for cases where the docket is sealed, which is an improvement over the Order search function which does not return results for sealed cases.

Practice Point: The return of the Opinion search feature is an exciting development. It is extremely helpful in searching for specific opinions and is also a useful tool when searching whether a particular judge has dealt with certain issues in the past. Unfortunately, the Tax Court still has not fixed the issue where its case management system seals the entire docket and not just the specific items ordered sealed, but we are hopeful this issue will be resolved soon.




Weekly IRS Roundup December 20 – December 24, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of December 20, 2021 – December 24, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

December 20, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that victims of this month’s tornadoes in parts of Illinois and Tennessee will have until May 16, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

December 20, 2021: The IRS released instructions for Form 8992, U.S. Shareholder Calculation of Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI), to reflect a new separate Schedule A and eliminate the requirement for domestic partnerships to file the form.

December 20, 2021: The IRS released Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (for Individuals), which was updated for the 2021 tax year. This publication covers the general rules for filing a federal income tax return and supplements the information contained in tax form instructions.

December 21, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum that reissues interim guidance AP-08-0521-0015 concerning procedures for accepting images of signatures and digital signatures and approval to receive documents by email and transmit documents to taxpayers. The memorandum is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where the IRS took several steps to protect employees while still delivering on their mission-critical functions.

December 21, 2021: The IRS released Published 15, (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide, which explains tax responsibilities as an employer. The updates reflect COVID-19 related employment tax credits and other tax relief.

December 22, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that victims of Hurricane Ida in six states now have until February 15, 2022 (extended from January 3), to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. The updated relief covers the entire states of Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

December 23, 2021: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Robbie Alipour in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.




Weekly IRS Roundup December 13 – December 17, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of December 13, 2021 – December 17, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

December 13, 2021: The IRS published a memorandum concerning its commitment to creating an environment conducive to civility, which includes mutual respect, politeness and fairness. The IRS stated that acting with civility and treating others with respect furthers confidence in the legal system, thus enhancing the quality of justice. The memorandum also stated that the IRS’s sole objective is to reach the correct result.

December 13, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing that it joined with several leading nonprofits to highlight a special tax provision that allows more people to deduct donations to qualifying charities on their 2021 federal income tax return.

December 14, 2021: The IRS released a practice unit, providing an overview of base erosion anti-abuse tax under Section 59A after issuance of final regulatory packages in 2019 and 2020.

December 14, 2021: The IRS released a practice unit, addressing the general process for determining if a nonresident alien (NRA) student, trainee, teacher or researcher is eligible to claim a treaty-based exemption on Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ for income received that is effectively connected with a US trade or business.

December 14, 2021: The IRS released a practice unit, guiding examiners through the procedures for properly conducting promoter investigations. The goal of a promoter investigation is to identify and quickly terminate the abusive promotion or activity, assert promoter penalties where applicable and identify participants in the abusive transaction.

December 14, 2021: The IRS released a practice unit, reflecting the recently finalized Treasury Regulation 1.861-9 (regarding interest expense apportionment) and addressing the impact of flow-through entities on the foreign tax credit. The concept unit is applicable to individual taxpayers who receive Schedule K-1(s) from partnerships or S corporations that report foreign income, related deductions and taxes. Members of limited liability companies who file a Form 1065 and beneficiaries of a trust who file a Form 1041 are also subject to the rules discussed in the practice unit.

December 14, 2021: The IRS released a practice unit, explaining the process for calculating the interest due under Section 453A on a deferred tax liability in installment sales transactions.

December 14, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that victims of tornadoes in Kentucky will have until May 16, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

December 14, 2021: The IRS published a revenue ruling, providing various prescribed rates for federal income tax purposes for January 2022.

December 15, 2021: The IRS published a notice concerning procedures under Section 446 of Section 1.446-1(e) of the Income [...]

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Types of Tax Court Opinions and Their Precedential Effect (Updated)

At the end of 2016 we posted “Types of Tax Court Opinions and Their Precedential Effect” and added that document to the Resources tab on the blog. We recently updated this resource and, below, we’ve also provided the updated text.

Most tax cases are decided by the US Tax Court, which issues two categories of opinions: formally published dispositions and unpublished dispositions. The first category consists of opinions that are published in the Tax Court Reports and are technically called “division opinions” but are more commonly referred to as “T.C. opinions.” The second category consists of three sets of unpublished dispositions:

  1. memorandum opinions (commonly referred to as “memo opinions” or “T.C. memos”)
  2. summary opinions
  3. orders.

A common question asked by taxpayers relates to the difference between these forms of dispositions in terms of precedential effect.

T.C. opinions are binding in the Tax Court, precedential and published by the Tax Court. They generally address issues of first impression, issues that impact a large number of taxpayers or matters related to the validity or invalidity of regulations. To the extent there is a T.C. opinion on point, taxpayers should cite to it as primary authority in a Tax Court proceeding.

Memo opinions are not officially published but are reproduced by commercial publishers. They generally address cases that do not involve novel legal issues and the law is settled, or the result is factually driven. Although these opinions are technically not precedential, they are often cited by litigants, and the Tax Court does not disregard these opinions lightly. It is rare to find a non-T.C. opinion that rejects the reasoning of a memo opinion. Indeed, the trend in recent years seems to be that the weight afforded to T.C. opinions and memo opinions is not substantially different. This reflects the fact that there are significantly more memo opinions than T.C. opinions each year (approximately 90% of all Tax Court opinions are memo opinions), providing taxpayers with more authority upon which to provide support for their position.

Summary opinions are also not published by the Tax Court but are reproduced by commercial publishers. They are issued in cases where the amount in dispute is less than $50,000 and the taxpayer elects to have their case tried under the small tax case procedures. Most summary opinions involve run-of-the-mill facts, but some provide insightful discussions of the law that may support a taxpayer’s case. By statute, summary opinions are not precedential, however, the Tax Court does not prohibit the citation of this type of opinion and has noted that it may give consideration to the reasoning and conclusions in a summary opinion to the extent they are persuasive. Thus, in the absence of a T.C. opinion or memo opinion supporting a taxpayer’s position or addressing the issue presented, taxpayers may want to consider citing to a favorable summary opinion.

Finally, the Tax Court issues dozens of orders, some of which involve the discussion of substantive issues that may [...]

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Omitted Subpart F and GILTI Income May Be a Statute of Limitations Trap for the Unwary

Taxpayers large and small desire closure with respect to tax reporting positions. This can occur in several ways, one of which is the closing of the limitations period for assessing additional tax. In this article published in the November-December 2021 issue of the International Tax Journal, McDermott Partners Andrew R. Roberson and Kevin Spencer discuss recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance relating to the limitations period for omitted Subpart F income.

Access the article.




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