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Weekly IRS Roundup March 16 – 20, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of March 16 - 20, 2020. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here. March 17, 2020: The IRS published Rev. Rul. 2020-9 to provide various prescribed rates for federal income tax purposes for April 2020. March 18, 2020: The US Tax Court announced that it will close effective March 18, 2020 until further notice. Mail will be held for delivery until the US Tax Court reopens. Taxpayers may comply with statutory deadlines for filing petitions or notices of appeal by timely mailing a petition or notice of appeal, which will be determined by the United States Postal Service’s postmark or the delivery certificate of a designated private delivery service. The eAccess and eFiling systems will remain operational. For more information, see here. March 19, 2020: The IRS released...

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US Tax Court Closed Until Further Notice

At 9:00 PM last night, the US Tax Court (Tax Court) issued a press release announcing that it was closing its building. As we previously discussed, the Tax Court previously closed the building to the public but still allowed the hand-delivery of petitions. Now, all taxpayers must mail petitions to the Tax Court (other documents may be electronically filed), which highlights the importance of abiding by the rules for timely mailing to ensure that jurisdictional requirements are met. The full press release from the Tax Court reads as follows: Effective immediately and until further notice, the United States Tax Court building is closed. Mail will be held for delivery until the Court reopens. Taxpayers may comply with statutory deadlines for filing petitions or notices of appeal by timely mailing a petition or notice of appeal to the Court. Timeliness of mailing of the petition or notice of appeal is determined by the United States Postal Service’s postmark or...

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Tax Court Closes Building and Cancels More Trial Sessions

As the fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, the US Tax Court (Tax Court) has cancelled additional trial sessions. As we previously discussed, the Tax Court last week cancelled all trial sessions for March 2020. Now, the Tax Court has announced that all trial sessions for April 2020 are also cancelled. Additionally, although the Tax Court will remain open to receive mail and accept hand-delivered petitions, the Tax Court building will be closed to visitors.

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Weekly IRS Roundup March 9 – 13, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of March 9 - 13, 2020. March 10, 2020: The IRS published a practice unit on how to compute the alternative minimum foreign tax credit. The public unit includes the framework for computing such alternative minimum foreign tax credit under IRC section 59. March 10, 2020: The IRS released revised instructions for various information returns for 2020. The instructions were updated to reflect the PATH Act accelerating the due date for filing Form 1099 that included nonemployee compensation to January 31. Additionally, Form 1097-BTC, Form 1098-C, Form 1098-F, Form 1098-MA, Form 1098-Q, Form 1099-CAP, Form 1099-LS, Form 1099-LTC, Form 1099-OID, Form 1099-Q, Form 1099-SA, and Form 1099-SB and its instructions have been converted from annual updates to continuous use forms and instructions. March 11, 2020: The Chief Counsel’s Office adopted...

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Courtney Dunbar Jones and Emin Toro Confirmed to Tax Court

On August 5, 2019, the Senate confirmed Courtney Dunbar Jones and Emin Toro as nominees to the US Tax Court in a voice vote before leaving for August recess. Jones and Toro will now each serve a 15-year term. President Trump had initially nominated each candidate in 2018, but the Senate was not able to confirm their appointments prior to the end of the last 2018 session—requiring the candidates to be renominated in February of 2019. We reported the initial nominations in “President Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Emin Toro to Tax Court” and “President Trump to Nominate Greaves to Tax Court; Senate Confirms Copeland and Urda.” Furthermore, we reported the renomination of these nominees in “Renominations to Fill Vacancies on the United States Tax Court.” Prior to her confirmation, Jones served as a senior attorney in the Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service. While there, she authored...

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Law360: Myers May Make It Easier to Find Equitable Relief in Tax Court

Laura L. Gavioli, PC, recently wrote an article for Law360 on a US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s decision that may provide an equitable avenue for hearing of late-filed petitions in US Tax Court. The Law360 article, “Myers May Make It Easier to Find Equitable Relief in Tax Court,” can be accessed here.

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A Notice of Deficiency Is Not Set in Stone

A recent case decided by the United States Court of Appeals of the Tenth Circuit reminds taxpayers to be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is not necessarily locked in to the positions and arguments stated in the Notice of Deficiency. In particular, the IRS is allowed to revise penalty determinations, or to make penalty determinations for the first time, during litigation in the Tax Court, notwithstanding any arguably inconsistent determination in the Notice of Deficiency. In Roth v. Commissioner, 123 AFTR.2d 2019-1676 (10th Cir. 2019) , the taxpayers owned 40 acres of land in Prowers County, Colorado. In 2007, the taxpayers donated to the Colorado Natural Land Trust a conservation easement, which prohibited them from mining gravel upon the land. The taxpayers valued the easement at $970,000 and claimed charitable contribution deductions with respect to this amount on their 2007 and 2008 income tax returns. The IRS examined the position, and...

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What Happens At Exam, Stays At Exam!

A recent case decided by the US Tax Court reminds us that when you litigate a case in Tax Court, what happened during the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examination and Appeals bears very little relevance (if any) once you get to court. Generally, Tax Court’s proceedings are de novo, and the court looks solely to the IRS’s position in the Notice of Deficiency (Notice). The Revenue Agent’s Report and other statements made by the IRS before the issuance of the Notice are typically ignored. In Moya v. Commissioner, 152 TC No. 11 (Apr. 17, 2019), the IRS determined deficiencies related to the disallowance of certain business expense deductions. The taxpayer did not assign error to the disallowance, but instead argued that the Notice was invalid because the IRS had violated her right to be informed and her right to be heard under an IRS news release and an IRS publication outlining various rights of taxpayers. Specifically, the taxpayer asserted that she had...

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Second Circuit Weighs in on Tax Court’s Refund Jurisdiction

Borenstein v. Commissioner is an interesting opinion involving the intersection of canons of statutory construction and jurisdiction. Recently, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the US Tax Court’s holding in Borenstein that the court lacked jurisdiction to order a refund of an undisputed overpayment made by the taxpayer. The case, which we discussed in a prior post, involved interpreting statutory provisions dealing with claims for a refund after a notice of deficiency was issued. The Tax Court’s holding was based on the application of the plain meaning rule to Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 6512(b)(3), which limit its jurisdiction to order refunds of overpayments. In the Tax Court proceeding, the taxpayer and the government disagreed on the interpretation of the words “(with extensions)” in Code section 6512(b)(3) which provides that the Tax Court has jurisdiction to order a refund of overpayments made during the three years...

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Tax Court Provides Operational Update during Government Shutdown

As we previously discussed, the United States Tax Court (Tax Court) closed its doors on December 28, 2018, until further notice. However, trial sessions scheduled for the weeks of January 7, and 14, 2019, were to proceed as scheduled. The Tax Court has updated its website to confirm that the trial sessions scheduled for the week of January 14, 2019, will proceed as scheduled, but that trial sessions scheduled for the week of January 28, 2019, in El Paso, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Lubbock are canceled. A decision regarding the trial sessions for the week of February 4, 2019, will be made on or before January 18, 2019. As a result of the shutdown, the Tax Court did not issue any Orders or Opinions from December 31, 2018, to January 9, 2019. It started issuing Orders again on January 10, 2019, but no Opinions have been issued since December 27, 2018. Practice Point: In addition to its impact on governmental agencies, the government...

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