Wednesday, November 16, 2016
FROM THE CHAIR
Boston Meeting Successes, and More to Come
We had a great joint meeting in Boston with the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section at the end of September. There were approximately 1,100 in attendance, and I was inspired by the enthusiasm about the activities of the Tax Section for the coming year. We have a lot of work to do, and we are going to have a good time doing it.
PEOPLE IN TAX
Interview with Anne-Marie Rábago
By Tom Greenaway, KPMG LLP, Boston, MA
Anne-Marie Rábago recently joined the State Bar of Texas as Director of the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator in Austin. We interviewed her at the Joint Fall Meeting in Boston to talk about the incubator movement and the access to justice gap.
Implications of Bitcoin Not Being Actual Currency: The Espinoza Case
By Joni Larson, Professor, Indiana Tech Law School, Fort Wayne, IN
Bitcoin is not the first virtual currency. It has, however, garnered significant attention by being embroiled in several scandals. Through the lens of the Espinoza case, this article examinations the tax implications of selling bitcoin.
Are Insurance Bad Faith Recoveries Taxable?
By Robert W. Wood, Wood LLP, San Francisco, CA
Are insurance bad faith litigation recoveries taxable? The annoying answer is that it depends. This answer may be a bit less annoying with a brief description of what a bad faith claim may entail. It may be a tort or a contract claim, depending on the facts and the jurisdiction. It may be brought against one’s own insurance carrier, or sometimes, even against someone else’s carrier.
Recent Developments Affecting Qualified and Nonqualified Deferred Compensation, Part II: The New Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule
By David Pratt, Professor of Law, Albany Law School, Albany, NY
As of June 30, 2016, total U.S. retirement plan assets were $24.5 trillion, more than twice the $11.6 trillion reported for 2000. That is a very large amount of money—significantly larger than the GDP of the United States or China. The largest single component of retirement plan assets is held in IRAs, considerably more than those held in 401(k) plans. In addition to these tax-favored retirement savings, many employers make additional “nonqualified” deferred compensation available to their high-level employees.
Time to Change the Casualty Loss Deduction
By Patrick E. Tolan, Jr., Associate Professor, WMU-Cooley Law School, Tampa Bay, FL
Eight of the ten most costly disasters in U.S. history have happened in the last 15 years. Some of these—especially 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina—triggered unprecedented tax relief for casualty losses. Others, such as Hurricane Sandy, led to no additional tax relief whatsoever. The increased likelihood of all casualties, coupled with the escalating costs of major disasters, makes reconsideration of the tax treatment of casualty losses a timely and important issue.
PRO BONO MATTERS
Getting to Know the Commonwealth Formerly Known as “Taxachusetts”
By Francine J. Lipman, William S. Boyd Professor of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
Reflecting on the location of the Section’s recent Joint Fall CLE Meeting in Boston, this article examines Massachusetts’ rich tax history and its impacts on its lower income residents.
PATHS IN TAX
C. David Anderson on Stress in Tax Practice
By Matthew Sontag, Tax Manager, RSM US, LLP, McLean, VA
This edition of Paths in Tax changes course slightly to address a topic of perennial, albeit muted, concern within the tax bar—emotional health and anxiety management. Our featured member, solo practitioner C. David Anderson, articulates our collective challenge in a new way. He then provides useful advice to mitigate damage that may be done to emotional health in the course of practicing our chosen profession.
IN THE STACKS
Taxation of Entertainers, Athletes, and Artists
Book Review by Luisa Andonie, University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, FL
Attorneys and students alike will rejoice to discover there is such a thing as a tax book that is agreeable to read. While tax practitioners may find Taxation of Entertainers, Athletes, and Artists overly basic, the rest of us will appreciate its depth and clarity. It boasts the accessibility of a study aid and the straightforwardness of a practice manual.
Call for Book Reviews
The move to a digital-only format has allowed ATT to expand the types of materials we publish. One new feature is reviews of books and articles on topics of interest to our members.
YOUNG LAWYERS CORNER
Attending an ABA Tax Section Meeting as a Young Lawyer
By Shawn McIntire, Ballard Spahr LLP, Denver, CO
Attending an ABA Tax Section meeting can be intimidating for a law student or young lawyer. This article provides a glimpse into the different YLF activities at Tax Section meetings and throughout the year, focusing specifically on YLF panels at the most recent Fall meeting in Boston.
Election Fever Reruns
By Robert S. Steinberg, Law Offices of Robert S. Steinberg, Palmetto Bay, FL
Sing along with Tax Bits to the tune of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and "You Can’t Take That Away" by George and Ira Gershwin.
Government Submissions Boxscore
Since January 1, 2016, the Section has coordinated the following government submissions, which are available to the public on the Section’s website.
Section Testimony Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business
By Jesse Tsai, Staff Counsel, ABA Section of Taxation, Washington, DC
On September 14, 2016, the House Committee on Small Business met to discuss the IRS examination process as it pertains to small businesses. Ms. Jennifer E. Breen, vice chair of the Administrative Practice Committee, represented the Section of Taxation at the hearing.
Accepting Nominations for the 2017 Nolan Fellowships
Named for the late Jack Nolan, a dedicated and respected Tax Section member, the Nolan Fellow distinction is awarded to young lawyers who are actively involved in the Section and have shown leadership qualities.
Accepting Nominations for the 2017 Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award
The Pro Bono Award Committee is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting nominations for the 2017 Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award.
Choose the TAPS Endowment for Your Year-End Giving
Through the Tax Assistance Public Service (TAPS) endowment fund, the Section of Taxation seeks to provide stable, long-term funding for its tax-related public service programs.
The Tax Lawyer – Summer 2016 Issue Is Now Available
The Tax Lawyer, the nation’s premier, peer-reviewed tax law journal, is published quarterly as a service members of the Tax Section.
The Practical Tax Lawyer – Fall 2016 Issue Is Now Available
Produced in cooperation with the Tax Section and published by ALI-CLE, The Practical Tax Lawyer offers concise, practice-oriented articles to assist lawyers with all aspects of tax law.
Get Involved in ATT
ABA Tax Times (ATT) is looking for volunteers to join its ranks as associate editors to assist in writing and acquiring articles for publication.