TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, July 15, 2013

FBA Tax Section Hosts Program Today on Windsor and Wells Fargo

FBA The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation Practice and Procedure Discussion Group hosts a program today:

Windsor and the Defense of Marriage Act: What It Means for Tax Lawyers:  We have all read press accounts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor, which held the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. What has been the subject of less reporting is the fact that the case arose in the context of tax law issues. In fact, issues regarding the status of same-sex marriages will arise in many different areas of tax law. Our discussion will briefly summarize the Supreme Court’s decision and then bring together specialists from several different specialties with the tax law (estate tax, employee benefits, income tax) to begin identifying and analyzing the myriad legal issues which will arise for tax lawyers. 

  • John Boyd (Baker Hostetler)
  • Lillian Gonzalez (Gonzalez & Associates)
  • Chad Makuch (Baker Hostetler)

Tax Accrual Workpapers: Wells Fargo v. United States:  On June 4, a federal district court in Minnesota issued an important opinion on the recurring question of whether the IRS may summon a corporation’s tax accrual workpapers during an audit. The workpapers, which were prepared by a team of company employees, outside auditors and lawyers, evaluated the susceptibility of various positions taken on the corporation’s tax returns in order to establish an appropriate tax accounting reserve. If it obtained the workpapers, the IRS would have a very useful roadmap for conducting its audit of the taxpayer. The taxpayer, and its outside auditors, resisted on the basis of attorney-client and work product protection. Following an evidentiary hearing and extensive briefing, the district court filed a 101-page opinion which upheld portions of the summons and quashed other portions while addressing a host of issues concerning work product protection and attorney-client privilege. The opinion’s approach differs from two prior appellate decisions—one in favor of the IRS and one in favor of the taxpayer. Our discussion will summarize the opinion, the legal issues, and likely future action in this area.

  • Stuart Bassin (Baker Hostetler)
  • Susan Hu (Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton)

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