Wednesday, June 28, 2017
FROM THE CHAIR
Tax Reform Discussions and Other Developments
By William H. Caudill, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, Houston, TX
We are now heading into the last part of this 2016-2017 Tax Section year, having most recently completed the Section’s May Meeting in Washington—the third and largest meeting in our annual cycle of Section meetings. We have made good progress on many tasks, not least of which is the vital role of educating and informing our members and the public at large about tax reform.
PEOPLE IN TAX
Interview with Pat Metzer
By Thomas D. Greenaway, KPMG LLP, Boston, MA
Patricia Ann (Pat) Metzer practices tax law with Vacovec, Mayotte & Singer, LLP, in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a long-serving member of the Tax Section who has served in various leadership positions, including as chair of the Committee on Government Submissions (1993-1995), Council Director (1996-1999), Vice-Chair (Publications) and Editor-in-Chief of The Tax Lawyer (2000-2002). She also served as Associate Tax Legislative Counsel at Treasury at the end of the Ford Administration and into the Carter Administration.
Sales and Use Tax Laws – Differentiating Between Exemptions and Exclusions Under Louisiana Law
By Jaye Calhoun and William J. Kolarik, II, Kean Miller, LLP, New Orleans, LA
Most U.S. states and many local governments raise revenues through the imposition and collection of sales and use taxes. Compliance with the welter of sales and use tax laws that impact interstate commerce is becoming increasingly complicated. Even the best, most expensive software may not be accurate. In the last few years, another complication has arisen as an increasing number of states have begun to challenge the long-standing Supreme Court decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, that limited the exercise of state tax jurisdiction over nonresident businesses.
Sexton Opinion Further Restricts What Conduct Can Be Regulated Under “Practice” Before the IRS
By Arianna Caldwell, Associate, Caplin & Drysdale, Washington D.C.
On March 17, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada issued its decision in Sexton, becoming the first court outside of the District of Columbia to adopt the D.C. Circuit’s holding in Loving. While the acceptance of Loving outside the District of Columbia is not surprising, Sexton potentially extends the reach of Loving outside of the tax return preparation context and calls into question the regulation of advice rendered by tax professionals.
Dealing with Tax Court Judges’ Conflicts of Interest: Battat v. Commissioner
By Kevin A. Diehl, Western Illinois University, Moline, IL
Battat v. Commissioner, 148 Tax Ct. 2 (2017), is a deficiency case in which the IRS determined a 2008 deficiency of more than $1.7 million, with additional amounts totaling $426,772. The petitioners attempted to disqualify Tax Court judges through a motion for recusal and, alternatively, a declaration that the President’s power in section 7443(f) to remove Tax Court judges (after notice and hearing for cause due to “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office”) is unconstitutional. The opinion in the case provides a good historical review of the development of the Tax Court from the original Board of Tax Appeals, established as an independent agency in the Executive Branch, to an Article I court.
Canadian Tax Authorities Denied Routine Access to Tax Accrual Working Papers
By Claire Kennedy and Philip Ward, Bennett Jones LLP, Toronto, ON, Canada
A recent decision by the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal in BP Canada Energy Company v. MNR reversed the judgment of the lower court and held that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is not entitled to routinely demand access to taxpayers’ tax accrual working papers in the course of an audit. Taxpayers view this as a welcome curtailment of the CRA’s broad audit powers, reinforcing the public interest in encouraging full disclosure to independent financial statement auditors.
Captive Transaction Disclosures Remain for Now: Federal Court Rejects Last-Minute Injunction Request and Affirms Anti-Injunction Act Applies to Penalties
By John Colvin and Claire H. Taylor, Colvin+Hallett, Seattle, WA
On November 1, 2016, the IRS issued Notice 2016-66, designating certain micro-captive insurance arrangements under section 831(b) as “transactions of interest” that, the IRS contends, have “a potential for tax avoidance or evasion.” The designation requires participating taxpayers and their advisers to file disclosures by May 1, 2017.
PRO BONO MATTERS
An Interview with 2016-2018 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellow Catherine Strouse
By Derek B. Wagner, Pro Bono Counsel, ABA Section of Taxation, Washington, DC
As a nation, we owe a great deal to our veterans for the sacrifices they make in service to this country. The active duty challenges faced by soldiers are enormous, but veterans also encounter well-documented obstacles when they transition back to civilian life. Catherine Strouse, a 2016-2018 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellow, works at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego (LASSD) to help struggling veterans returning from active duty understand the special rules applicable to them. ATT recently contacted Catherine (CS) to discuss the important work she is doing through her Fellowship.
IN THE STACKS
A Practitioner's Guide to Tax Evidence, Second Edition
By Keith Fogg, Professor, Villanova Law School, and Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School, Boston, MA
As I read the Second Edition of A Practitioner’s Guide to Tax Evidence in preparation for writing this foreword, I was struck by how many questions it answered that students and practitioners had asked me in the past few years. The book provides a useful guide for the practitioner preparing for a Tax Court trial or evaluating a case for settlement. Re-reading it in its entirety reminded me that I should be consulting it more often.
Call for Book Reviews
ATT welcomes readers to submit book and article reviews on tax topics that may be of interest to our members.
By Robert S. Steinberg, Law Offices of Robert S. Steinberg, Palmetto Bay, FL
To the tune of Love and Marriage by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and introduced by Frank Sinatra in the 1955 TV production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.”
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
2017 Distinguished Service Award Recipient: Nina E. Olson
By Michael Hirschfeld, Dechert LLP, New York, NY
The Section of Taxation is pleased to honor Nina E. Olson as the recipient of its 2017 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her service to the profession, service to the government, and service to the Section of Taxation.
Government Submissions Boxscore
Government submissions are a key component of the Section's government relations activities. View our most recent submissions here. The full archive is available to the public on the website.
U.S. Department of Treasury Memorandum: Interim Guidance for Responsibility to Process all Requests for Discharge of the Estate Tax Lien
During the December IRS courtesy call, led by Chair William H. Caudill, the Tax Section addressed recent procedural changes regarding lien release certificates related to Form 4422.
The Tax Lawyer – Winter 2017 Issue Is Available
The Tax Lawyer, the nation’s premier tax law journal, is published quarterly as a service to members of the Tax Section.
The Practical Tax Lawyer – Spring 2017 Issue Is 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.
IRS Nationwide Tax Forums
Registration for the 2017 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums is now open. Designed for tax professionals, the forums provide a wide range of educational programming, which is developed and presented by representatives of the IRS, the ABA Tax Section, and other national tax-related organizations.
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.
EVENTS & PROMOTIONS
Section Meeting & CLE Calendar
ABA Tax Section meetings are a great way to get connected, get educated, and get the most from your membership!