Paul L. Caron
Dean




Thursday, February 23, 2012

Smith: Standards for Tax Court Review in Equitable Innocent Spouse Cases

Tax AnalystsPatrick J. Smith (Ivins, Phillips & Barker, Washington, D.C.), Standards for Tax Court Review in Equitable Innocent Spouse Cases, 134 Tax Notes 981 (Feb. 20, 2012): 

In a case pending in the Ninth Circuit [Wilson v. Commissioner, No. 10-72754 (9th Cir. 2011)], the government argues that the Tax Court has applied overly restrictive standards of review to IRS denials of equitable innocent spouse relief under § 6015(f). However, the government accepts that those standards of review are proper under the same grant of jurisdiction when applied to IRS denials of relief under § 6015(b) and (c). There is no satisfactory justification for this inconsistency. There is an equally unjustified inconsistency in the government’s position that the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) dictates less restrictive standards of review for denials of relief under § 6015(f) than for denials under § 6015(b) and (c). Moreover, the government’s APA argument is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the provisions of APA § 559 on the relationship between the APA and other law.

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