Thursday, July 7, 2016
FROM THE CHAIR
Assisting the IRS
The IRS now more than ever needs the help of the Section and its members. This column describes some of the ways that the Section is providing assistance to the IRS.
PEOPLE IN TAX
The Tax Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come
In this issue of ATT, People in Tax deviates from its traditional interview format to present the remarks of Terence F. (Terry) Cuff, which he delivered at the Real Estate and Partnerships & LLCs Luncheon on January 29 at the 2016 Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles.
Speculation abounds on the impact on pending cases and major issues, such as abortion and the Second Amendment, of Justice Scalia’s departure from the Supreme Court. Some have tried to focus that speculation on tax issues, but that effort faces two hurdles.
U.S. District Judge Rejects Tax Promoters’ Plea Agreement in United States v. Crithfield
Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson led the captive insurance promoter Foster & Dunhill, which marketed a Business Protection Plan (BPP) that the government alleges was fraudulent. This article takes a look at the unconventional move by a judge to reject a plea agreement, but offers a cautionary tale and some lessons for defense counsel.
NorCal Tea Party Patriots Opens a Crack in Taxpayer Privacy Protections
In In re United States (United States v. NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al.), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit adopted a relatively narrow interpretation of section 6103’s scope. What remains unclear, however, is whether this relatively minor crack in the taxpayer privacy protections provided by section 6103 could be used to reach a broader range of information held by the IRS.
EC Anti-Tax-Avoidance Package: Responses from European Tax Practices
On January 28, 2016, the European Commission (EC) published its Anti-Tax-Avoidance Package (ATA Package). The package is part of a wider plan of the European Commission to address tax avoidance by multinational enterprises (MNEs). This article provides an overview of the proposed measures and the reactions from a Dutch perspective.
Beyond the Three-Year, 240-Day, and Two-Year Rules: Bankruptcy Rules That Tax Practitioners Should Know
Beyond the three year, 240 day, and two year rules, there are other rules and traps for the unwary that should be on a tax practitioner’s radar. These include finding ways to make your client a non-consumer debtor, conversion of Chapter 7 cases to Chapter 11 under section 706(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, denial of discharges under section 727(a)(2)(A), and filing too soon after a prior bankruptcy discharge has been granted. The following provides a brief discussion of each of these topics.
PRO BONO MATTERS
Pro Bono Matters in the District
As tax attorneys we are comfortable with numbers, but the District’s income statistics are harrowing. Income and wealth gaps seem to be widening and the consequences are reverberating throughout the District’s divergent neighborhoods.
Characterizing Loss: Tax Consequences for Victims of the 2014 SR530 Landslide
As tax attorneys, we are taught to see loss as a number. Loss is malleable: losses are captured, losses are spread over a period of years, and losses can be a benefit to our clients. The term loss, however, means something different to tax attorneys than it does to others. To victims of natural disasters, a loss is not a number, but something that is felt; it is something that is grieved.
An Interview with 2015-2017 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellow Daniel Knudsen
Given the challenges of poverty and the complex legal structure, Native Americans and their tribes have a unique set of needs within the tax system. At Oklahoma Indian Legal Services (OILS), Daniel Knudsen is working hard to make a difference. Dan is a 2015-2017 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellow, engaged in tax representation and outreach for taxpayers throughout Oklahoma, with a focus on the experiences of Native Americans.
IN THE STACKS
Legal Guidance for Same-Sex Couples Considering Marriage
Tax law became somewhat simplified for same-sex couples on June 26, 2013, the date of the Windsor opinion. It became even more simplified on June 26, 2015, the date of the Obergefell decision. Scott Squillace’s book, Whether to Wed, was published in the interim between Windsor and Obergefell, but the book continues to set forth important issues for same-sex couples to consider as they ponder whether or not to marry. Of course, now that we live in a world of marriage equality going forward, the issues are pretty much the same for opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
PATHS IN TAX
Introduction to a New Feature: Paths in Tax
One of the defining characteristics of the ABA Tax Section membership is the fascinating variety of our career paths. Each of us brings a different perspective to being a tax lawyer. Our unique backgrounds and experiences combine with the many possibilities within our profession to produce a profoundly interesting set of stories on how we each arrived where we are today, and where we want to go next.
YOUNG LAWYERS CORNER
2nd Annual Young Tax Lawyers Symposium
The Section of Taxation, the Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Bar Association Tax Section cosponsored the 2nd Annual Young Tax Lawyers Symposium at Caplin & Drysdale’s Washington, DC office on April 1, 2016. The event brought together more than 65 young attorneys and law students to hear judges, government attorneys, and private practitioners discuss various areas of tax law as well as to network and learn from other tax professionals.
National Taxpayer Advocate Holds Public Forum to Discuss IRS Future State
In her 2015 Annual Report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina E. Olson raised concerns about the IRS’s comprehensive “Future State” plan to overhaul agency operations as it adapts to an environment of constrained funding and expanding responsibilities. She announced a series of public forums around the country to permit taxpayers and tax professionals to comment on the IRS Future State. The first of these public forums was held at the IRS Headquarters in Washington, DC, on February 23, 2016.
Conferring in the Big Easy: ABA/IPT Advanced Tax Seminars
Each year in early spring, approximately 300 state and local tax (SALT) professionals convene in New Orleans for the Advanced Tax Seminars, which have been cosponsored for over 20 years by the ABA Section of Taxation and the Institute for Professionals in Taxation. This unique conference is presented over the course of one week and comprises three distinct seminars focusing on state income, sales and use, and ad valorem taxation.
Sing along with Tax Bits to the tune of “Uptown.”
2016 Distinguished Service Award Recipient: Kenneth W. Gideon
The Section of Taxation posthumously honors Kenneth W. (“Ken”) Gideon as the recipient of its 2016 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his service to the profession, service to the government, and service to the Section of Taxation.
2016–2018 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellows
The Section of Taxation is pleased to announce the 2016–2018 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship class.