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What If Uncle Jim Is Under Audit or Your Client Wants to Give You a Porsche? Ethical Issues When There Is a Personal Connection with a Client

When a client, or prospective client, seeks legal advice, a lawyer is expected to provide candid, objective, and competent assistance. In providing that assistance, a lawyer wears several hats, which can include: advocate, counselor, problem solver, officer of the court, spokesperson, negotiator, defender, and, perhaps, even hired gun. While each engagement is unique and raises its own issues, a practitioner must always be mindful of, and guided by, ethical and professional considerations. ...

From the Chair

Report of the Nominating Committee

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: February 15, 2011

The undersigned are current and former Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Committee on Partnerships and LLCs and the Committee on Real Estate. We write in our individual capacities to express our strong disagreement with an article entitled “What Is the Value of a ‘Should’ Opinion?” that appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of the NewsQuarterly. The article discusses the Tax Court’s decision in Canal Corporation v. Commissioner, 135 T.C. No. 9 (2010). For reasons that have been detailed elsewhere (including in various articles and at Tax Section Committee meetings), we believe that Canal Corporation was wrongly decided and that penalties should not have been applied to the taxpayer. ...

Interview

Points to Remember

Do Treasury and the Service Have to Explain Their Choices?

The validity of tax regulations has been challenged by taxpayers almost as long as there have been tax regulations. Now, however, we are in a period of unusually high activity on this front. The Supreme Court recently upheld the validity of a regulation under section 3121 in Mayo Foundation for Medical Ed. and Research v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 704 (2011); many cases are testing the validity of regulations extending the six-year statute of limitations under section 6501(e) to basis overstate-ments (or, as the Service would put it, clarifying the law in this regard); and many cases are testing the validity of regulations imposing a two-year limitations period on claims for equitable spousal relief under section 6015(f). ...

The Service Traces Clearer Definitions in the Proposed Regulations on “Publicly Traded” Debt Instruments

My law school Contracts professor took some pleasure in pointing out various lexical oddities in our material. I vividly recall his introduction of the “parol evidence rule” as the triple misnomer. “Rule” is a misnomer because it is a principle, not a rule. “Evidence” is a misnomer because it is a principle of contract law, not of evidence. “Parol” is a misnomer because it applies to written as well as oral (i.e., parol) statements. ...

Is Your Client Planning to Expatriate? Why the HEART Act May Cause a Change of Heart

On its surface, legislation known as the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (“HEART Act”) provides a number of pay and employee benefits to military personnel. Pub. L. No. 110-245, 122 Stat. 1624. But at its core, the HEART Act significantly changes the tax system applicable to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who expatriate by relinquishing, respectively, their citizenship or permanent resident status. ...

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