Paul L. Caron

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pat Cain's Role in the IRS Ruling on California Gay/Lesbian Couples

Following up my recent posts:

Pat Cain Don Read, the tax lawyer for the California gay couple that obtained the IRS ruling, wants to share with the broader tax community the role played by Tax Prof Pat Cain (Santa Clara):

In November 2004, [Pat] and I contacted the Office of Tax Legislative Counsel to request that the Tax Policy office urge the IRS to issue a public revenue ruling consistent with this private ruling so that registered domestic partners could plan their tax affairs and tax preparers could know how to prepare their returns. When that went nowhere, she and I worked together on a private ruling request that was filed in April 2005. Although Chief Counsel staff attorneys who conferred with me during the process seemed favorable to our position, there was no formal response to that request until April 2007, when the Service declined to rule one way or the other “in the interests of general tax administration.” In the meantime, of course, the Service had issued CCA 200608038, which should have made an adverse private ruling almost automatic (although the Service didn’t know how to explain how, from a tax perspective, income belonging to one partner for tax purposes ended up being half owned by the other partner). Pat and I began thinking about how the client would file his return consistently with the 2006 CCA and then file a claim for refund and, if unsuccessful, file suit for refund in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. But after the 2008 election of President Obama and the 2009 White House website declaration of controlled support for the GLBT community, it seemed propitious to try the private ruling approach again. Pat always imparted her deep knowledge and wise guidance in the process, which now has ended pretty successfully. She was always ready to enlist broader support from her academic colleagues

I don’t know how acknowledgments are handled in the academic world, but I would like you to know and to ask you to let your colleagues know, how much I appreciate being Pat’s colleague in this endeavor. We in the Bay Area are lucky to have won her from Iowa and Texas.

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