Articles Posted in Tax Law

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Appellants challenged the tax court's decision affirming the Commissioner's determinations to disallow 26 U.S.C. 45K credits to appellants, to disallow the bulk of appellants' claimed business-expense deductions, and that appellants should be assessed a 20% accuracy penalty under 26 U.S.C. 6662 for the 2006 and 2007 tax years. The DC Circuit affirmed the judgment, holding that appellants were not eligible for the Section 45K credits they claimed for venting or flaring landfill gas; appellants had no rights to the Pontiac landfill after RTC's lease terminated; the tax court's decision to disallow the bulk of appellants' business expense deductions were reasonable and supported by the record; and the tax court properly approved the 20% accuracy-related penalty. View "Green Gas Delaware Statutory Trust v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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AICPA challenged the IRS's Annual Filing Season Program as violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). On remand, the district court granted the IRS's motion for judgment on the pleadings based on AICPA's lack of standing. The DC Circuit reversed and held that AICPA has constitutional and statutory standing to challenge the validity of the Program because its members employ unenrolled preparers. On the merits, the court held that the Program did not violate the APA in any of the ways AICPA alleged. In this case, 31 U.S.C. 330(a) authorizes the IRS to establish and operate the Program, and 26 U.S.C. 7803(a)(2)(A) authorizes the agency to publish the results of the Program; the IRS did not violate the APA by failing to follow notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures in promulgating it; and the Program was not arbitrary and capricious. View "American Institute of Certified Accountants v. IRS" on Justia Law

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After the IRS refused to grant the foreign shipping corporation Good Fortune an exemption to some of its U.S.-based income from taxation, the tax court ruled in favor of the IRS. The DC Circuit reversed, holding that the IRS's interpretation of Internal Revenue Code 883 in the 2003 Regulation was unreasonable and could not stand. Even if the IRS reasonably concluded that sometimes—maybe oftentimes—bearer shares were incapable of proving the residence of their owners, the court held that the 2003 Regulation's categorical bar on considering bearer shares did not follow from that premise. The court explained that the IRS has not justified treating all bearer shares as incapable of proving ownership; and if some corporations' bearer shares were not kept in record form, and thus were not capable of proving the location of an owner, then the IRS should have identified those corporations' shares and tailored its rule accordingly. View "Good Fortune Shipping SA v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the Tax Court's holding that Mellow was subject to the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), 26 U.S.C. 6221–6234 (2012), proceedings. The court held that the record made clear that Mellow's partners were the single-member LLCs, not their individual owners; the court deferred to the IRS's reasonable interpretation of its own regulation that a partnership with pass-thru partners was ineligible for the small-partnership exception and that single-member LLCs constitute pass-thru partners; and the court lacked jurisdiction over Mellow's challenge to the penalties because Mellow failed to raise its claim and waived its claim by consenting to a decision applying penalties. View "Mellow Partners v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Tax Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action against the United States under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, 26 U.S.C. 7433(a). Plaintiff invoked section 7433 to recover damages he claims to have suffered as a result of a mix-up relating to the refund due to him on his 2011 income tax. The court held that section 7433 did not provide a jurisdictional path for plaintiff's action because the statute waives the government's sovereign immunity only for damages suffered in connection with collection of federal taxes, and plaintiff's injury (if any) related to collection of a student loan debt. View "Ivy v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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Taxpayers who failed to report and pay tax on foreign income filed suit after the IRS denied their applications for the expanded Streamlined Procedures program. The Streamlined Procedures' reduced benefits were counterbalanced by fewer compliance requirements; as relevant here, the Streamlined Procedures participant need not pay any accuracy-based penalty. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that the district court was without jurisdiction to resolve taxpayers' claims in light of the jurisdiction-stripping provision contained in the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA), 26 U.S.C. 7421 et seq. View "Maze v. IRS" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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Plaintiff filed suit seeking damages under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, alleging that IRS employees barred him from representing taxpayers before the Service without due process in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The district court dismissed the case because the Internal Revenue Code's remedial scheme for tax practicitioners foreclosed a Bivens action. The court did not reach the issue and ruled on the alternative ground that plaintiff failed to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) because his complaint contains no allegation that defendants deprived him of a constitutionally protected interest. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Bowman v. Iddon" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against the IRS and several of its individual employees, seeking money damages by way of relief under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, and equitable relief by way of injunction and declaratory judgment. Additionally, the complaints alleged that the IRS invaded plaintiffs’ statutory rights by violating 26 U.S.C. 6103, by conducting unauthorized inspection and/or disclosure of tax return information from their applications and the other information improperly obtained from them. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Bivens actions under Rule 12(b)(6). The court held, however, that the equitable actions are not moot. After the initiation of the suits, the IRS took action to end some unconstitutional acts against at least a portion of plaintiffs. Based on these actions, the district court dismissed the equitable claims as moot. Even if the court accorded deference to the district court, the government has not carried its heavy burden of showing mootness under the voluntary cessation doctrine. Therefore, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings with respect to the equitable claims. View "True the Vote, Inc. v. IRS" on Justia Law

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The PACT Act, 15 U.S.C. 376a(a)(3)-(4), (d), prohibits the remote sale of cigarettes unless sales taxes have been paid in advance. Plaintiff, an enrolled member of the Seneca Indian tribe of New York State, operated a tobacco business in the Allegany Indian Territories and sold tobacco products from there across state lines. In 2010, plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of several sections of the PACT Act. The district court preliminarily enjoined the provisions and the court affirmed. The court found that plaintiff's closure of his business in the course of the litigation had not mooted the appeal, but observed that facts might later develop that had that effect. After remand, plaintiff renewed his pursuit of relief. The district court concluded that the case was moot and vacated the preliminary injunction because plaintiff stipulated that he had no intent to re-enter the business and the BATFE submitted a declaration stating that it had no intention of seeking or recommending enforcement action against plaintiff. The court concluded that, because plaintiff faces only a remote risk of federal prosecution or civil penalties, and any further merits decision would not shield him from the effects of possible state or local lawsuits, the case is moot. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Gordon v. Lynch" on Justia Law

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Michael Boulware, the president and sole owner of two companies, was convicted of tax evasion and tax fraud. The companies paid for his legal and professional fees in the criminal trial and other litigation. The IRS subsequently issued deficiency notices because Boulware did not report the payments, which totaled approximately $2 million, as income. The Tax Court held that the payments were taxable as corporate distributions. The Ninth Circuit affirmed and the Supreme Court denied certiorari. Because Boulware did not post a bond while pursuing his appeals, the IRS immediately collected on his liability. In this appeal, Boulware challenges a Settlement Officer's rejection of his proposed installment agreement and refusal of his request for a face-to-face hearing. The Tax Court upheld the determination. The court concluded that the Settlement Officer did not abuse her discretion by denying a request for an installment agreement when Boulware is not in compliance with his current tax obligations. The court need not decide whether the aggregation of Boulware’s particular circumstances were “special,” Boulware failed to raise the argument during his CDP hearing. Further, nothing in the record supports Boulware's contention that the Settlement Officer improperly considered his criminal conviction for tax evasion in rejecting his proposed installment agreement. Finally, given that Boulware’s failure to comply with his tax obligations made him generally ineligible for a collection alternative, the Settlement Officer's denial of a face-to-face hearing was reasonable. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Boulware v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law