Thursday, August 17, 2017
FROM THE CHAIR
It Was a Very Good Year
By William H. Caudill, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, Houston, TX
It has been my honor to serve as Chair of the Tax Section for 2016-2017. The year seems to have passed too quickly. There were many good times and some disappointments, but I am proud to have had the opportunity to lead and carry out the best job in the Section.
FROM THE CHAIR-ELECT
Leading the Tax Section into the Future
By Karen L. Hawkins, Hawkins Law, Yachats, OR
I undoubtedly hold the record in the history of the Tax Section for taking the longest time to get from the Chair-Elect to Chair position: eight years, four months, and three days. But who’s counting? I, however, have several broad goals on which I hope to focus during the year, with the assistance of the strong leadership team of Committee Chairs, Council Vice-Chairs, and Directors joining me on this adventure.
PEOPLE IN TAX
Interview with John Thorner, Director, ABA Section of Taxation
By Thomas D. Greenaway, KPMG LLP, Boston, MA
John Thorner joined the Tax Section staff as director on April 10, 2017, after more than 20 years of high-level association management and board experience at the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and other organizations.
Tax Planning Under the (Hypothetical) Tax Reform Act of 2017
By Kathleen L. Ferrell, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; Shane Kiggen, Ernst & Young LLP; David S. Miller, Proskauer Rose LLP; and Michael L. Schler, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
This article summarizes some of the tax planning opportunities that would be available if the Blueprint released on June 24, 2016, by the Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee or the 2017 Trump Proposal is enacted.
Can I Take a Theft Loss? The Unwitting Individual Taxpayer’s Dilemma
By Rafi W. Mottahedeh, Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago, IL
When most people receive an e-mail from a Nigerian prince who is in need of assistance with his inheritance, they either delete the e-mail without fully reading it or read it, chuckle, and then delete it. But many taxpayers still fall victim to con artists, internet fraud, and a panoply of other schemes. What adds insult to injury for so many of these taxpayers is that, unlike a business, they cannot simply deduct losses for the events described above.
State Corporate Income Tax Rules for Sourcing of Revenue for Law Firms
By Ilya A. Lipin, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Karen LoDico, Robert M. Porcelli, and Michael Vadner, PwC LLP, Tyson's Corner, VA and Philadelphia, PA
Historically, law firms subject to state corporate income taxes generally sourced receipts from sales of legal services by using a cost-of-performance method. Law firms with a taxable presence in multiple states may be impacted, however, by the growing trend of sourcing service revenue using the market-based sourcing method.
The Kings River Captive Insurance Case
By David J. Slenn, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, Tampa, FL
A petition was recently filed in U.S. Tax Court by Kings River Commodities, LLC (Kings River) challenging the denial of deductions related to insurance premiums, among other items. The premiums were paid to an insurance company that made an election to be taxed on its investment income (as opposed to all of its taxable income) under Section 831(b) (referred to as a “micro-captive” by the Service in its discussion of 2017 abusive tax shelters).
Can the Failure to Obtain a “Should” Tax Opinion from External Attorneys Invalidate a Merger?
By Kevin A. Diehl, Western Illinois University, Moline, IL
Even though it discusses corporate governance principles in its background, The Williams Cos., Inc. v. Energy Transfer Equity, LP, case is an important federal income tax ruling. Namely, the case considers whether a “should” tax opinion under section 721 could be issued supporting tax-free treatment of the transfer of the Williams Cos., Inc. (Williams) assets to Energy Transfer Equity, LP (ETE) for its Class E partnership units.
PRO BONO MATTERS
Tribute to Chief Special Trial Judge Peter Panuthos
By Special Trial Judge Diana Leyden, U.S. Tax Court, Washington, DC
Special Trial Judge Peter Panuthos is stepping down as Chief Special Trial Judge effective September 1, 2017. While Judge Panuthos will remain as a Special Trial Judge, a position he has held for 34 years, it is fitting that we take this opportunity to pay tribute to all that he has done for the United States Tax Court, low income taxpayer clinics (LITCs), and pro se petitioners.
Shining a Light on the PATH
By Francine J. Lipman, William S. Boyd Professor of Law, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act), enacted on December 18, 2015, among other provisions requires many millions of taxpayers to renew their Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) over the next several years. Since 1996, the Service has issued more than 21 million ITINs, although just over 5 million are currently being used on tax returns. ITINs do not authorize work and are only issued to individuals with a tax filing obligation.
IN THE STACKS
A Good Tax
By Bree Ermentrout, Springfield, VA
The term “good tax” may raise eyebrows outside the tax community, but Joan Youngman’s well-written and jargon-free book, A Good Tax: Legal and Policy Issues for the Property Tax in the United States, may convince even non-practitioners of the property tax’s merits.
Call for Book Reviews
ATT welcomes the submission of book and article reviews on tax topics that may be of interest to our members.
YOUNG LAWYERS CORNER
Save the Date: 17th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge (2017-2018)
An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice.
When the Taxman Comes Along
By Robert S. Steinberg, Law Offices of Robert S. Steinberg, Palmetto Bay, FL
To tune of, “The Man That Got Away,” by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin, made popular by Judy Garland in the 1954 movie A Star Is Born.
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
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.
Accepting Applications for the 2018-2020 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship
The American Bar Association Section of Taxation is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship program class of 2018-2020.
Save the Date: 17th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge (2017-2018)
The Law Student Tax Challenge, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Forum, is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community.