On July 13, 14, and 15, 2016, Judge Laro of the US Tax Court (Tax Court) ruled on five taxpayer-filed motions in limine to exclude expert reports in Guidant LLC f.k.a. Guidant Corporation, and Subsidiaries, et al. v. Commissioner. At issue in the case are a number of IRS transfer pricing adjustments to the taxpayer-corporation’s income under Section 482.
In support of its adjustments, the IRS offered numerous expert reports to the Tax Court, and the taxpayer sought to exclude these reports. The taxpayer raised the following major arguments:
Argument: The IRS expert reports failed to contain opinions.
The taxpayer argued that three of the reports should be excluded because they did not comply with Tax Court Rule 143(g)(1), which requires that expert witnesses generally prepare written reports, and requires that expert reports include “a complete statement of all opinions the witness expresses and the basis and reasons for them.” In federal district court practice (under somewhat different rules), this requirement generally means that an expert must separately state, and clearly delineate, his or her expert opinions in a written report—usually in a “conclusions” or “opinions” section. In Tax Court, the requirement for a clear and concise written expert report is even more significant than in federal district court practice because, under Rule 143(g)(1), expert reports are treated as direct testimony of the expert (although, in many cases, additional expert testimony and cross-examination may be helpful or necessary).