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Vol. 35 No. 3 - June 2016

Assisting the IRS

From the Chair

Assisting the IRS

The IRS now more than ever needs the help of the Section and its members. This column describes some of the ways that the Section is providing assistance to the IRS.

Speculation abounds on the impact on pending cases and major issues, such as abortion and the Second Amendment, of Justice Scalia’s departure from the Supreme Court. Some have tried to focus that speculation on tax issues, but that effort faces two hurdles.

Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson led the captive insurance promoter Foster & Dunhill, which marketed a Business Protection Plan (BPP) that the government alleges was fraudulent. This article takes a look at the unconventional move by a judge to reject a plea agreement, but offers a cautionary tale and some lessons for defense counsel.

In In re United States (United States v. NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al.), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit adopted a relatively narrow interpretation of section 6103’s scope. What remains unclear, however, is whether this relatively minor crack in the taxpayer privacy protections provided by section 6103 could be used to reach a broader range of information held by the IRS.

On January 28, 2016, the European Commission (EC) published its Anti-Tax-Avoidance Package (ATA Package). The package is part of a wider plan of the European Commission to address tax avoidance by multinational enterprises (MNEs). This article provides an overview of the proposed measures and the reactions from a Dutch perspective.

Beyond the three year, 240 day, and two year rules, there are other rules and traps for the unwary that should be on a tax practitioner’s radar. These include finding ways to make your client a non-consumer debtor, conversion of Chapter 7 cases to Chapter 11 under section 706(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, denial of discharges under section 727(a)(2)(A), and filing too soon after a prior bankruptcy discharge has been granted. The following provides a brief discussion of each of these topics.

As tax attorneys we are comfortable with numbers, but the District’s income statistics are harrowing. Income and wealth gaps seem to be widening and the consequences are reverberating throughout the District’s divergent neighborhoods.

As tax attorneys, we are taught to see loss as a number. Loss is malleable: losses are captured, losses are spread over a period of years, and losses can be a benefit to our clients. The term loss, however, means something different to tax attorneys than it does to others. To victims of natural disasters, a loss is not a number, but something that is felt; it is something that is grieved.

Given the challenges of poverty and the complex legal structure, Native Americans and their tribes have a unique set of needs within the tax system. At Oklahoma Indian Legal Services (OILS), Daniel Knudsen is working hard to make a difference. Dan is a 2015-2017 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellow, engaged in tax representation and outreach for taxpayers throughout Oklahoma, with a focus on the experiences of Native Americans.

Tax law became somewhat simplified for same-sex couples on June 26, 2013, the date of the Windsor opinion. It became even more simplified on June 26, 2015, the date of the Obergefell decision. Scott Squillace’s book, Whether to Wed, was published in the interim between Windsor and Obergefell, but the book continues to set forth important issues for same-sex couples to consider as they ponder whether or not to marry. Of course, now that we live in a world of marriage equality going forward, the issues are pretty much the same for opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

One of the defining characteristics of the ABA Tax Section membership is the fascinating variety of our career paths. Each of us brings a different perspective to being a tax lawyer. Our unique backgrounds and experiences combine with the many possibilities within our profession to produce a profoundly interesting set of stories on how we each arrived where we are today, and where we want to go next.

The Section of Taxation, the Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Bar Association Tax Section cosponsored the 2nd Annual Young Tax Lawyers Symposium at Caplin & Drysdale’s Washington, DC office on April 1, 2016. The event brought together more than 65 young attorneys and law students to hear judges, government attorneys, and private practitioners discuss various areas of tax law as well as to network and learn from other tax professionals.

In her 2015 Annual Report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina E. Olson raised concerns about the IRS’s comprehensive “Future State” plan to overhaul agency operations as it adapts to an environment of constrained funding and expanding responsibilities. She announced a series of public forums around the country to permit taxpayers and tax professionals to comment on the IRS Future State. The first of these public forums was held at the IRS Headquarters in Washington, DC, on February 23, 2016.

Each year in early spring, approximately 300 state and local tax (SALT) professionals convene in New Orleans for the Advanced Tax Seminars, which have been cosponsored for over 20 years by the ABA Section of Taxation and the Institute for Professionals in Taxation. This unique conference is presented over the course of one week and comprises three distinct seminars focusing on state income, sales and use, and ad valorem taxation.

Sing along with Tax Bits to the tune of “Uptown.”

The Section of Taxation posthumously honors Kenneth W. (“Ken”) Gideon as the recipient of its 2016 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his service to the profession, service to the government, and service to the Section of Taxation.

The Section of Taxation is pleased to announce the 2016–2018 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship class.

In fiscal year 2016, Congress reversed a multi-year trend of reductions in Internal Revenue Service funding with a welcome $260 million increase. Nevertheless, the Section believes additional funding will be necessary to restore a properly functioning Service.

Since January 1, 2016, the Section has coordinated the following government submissions, which are available to the public on the Section’s website.

ABA Tax Times (ATT) is looking for volunteers to join its ranks as associate editors to assist in writing and acquiring articles for publication.

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.

Videos from the November 18 – 19, 2015, inaugural International Conference on Taxpayer Rights are now available on the conference website.

The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) will be holding its national conference August 1-3, 2016, at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, NV.

Registration for the 2016 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.

On April 27, 2016, the Tax Section cosponsored “The Tax Code and Income Inequality: Limitations and Political Opportunities,” a free webinar presented by the Section of Civil Rights on Social Justice.

Our move to a digital-only format has allowed us to expand the types of materials we publish. One new feature is reviews of books and articles on topics of interest to our members.

ABA Tax Section meetings are a great way to get connected, get educated, and get the most from your membership!

Listen at your convenience to high-quality tax law CLE on a variety of topics.

ABA Section of Taxation Meetings are the premier venues for tax practitioners and government guests to connect on the latest developments in tax law and practice.

Written by some of the most experienced tax controversy lawyers in the United States, this two-volume reference provides an in-depth discussion of the law and is replete with realistic examples and hundreds of practice tips to aid tax practitioners during all stages of representation before the IRS in controversy matters, including exam, appeals, Tax Court, refund actions, and collection matters.

Did you know that Tax Section members have access to thousands of pages of cutting-edge committee program materials presented at Section of Taxation Meetings?

The Section of Taxation thanks the sponsors and exhibitors of the 2016 May Meeting for their generous support.

Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Catalyst™ delivers tax research framed in an entirely new way, so you see the clarity, color and context you need to get the whole picture of each business tax issue.

Volume 35


August 2016

June 2016

February 2016

October 2015

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ABA Tax Times (ISSN 2381-5868) (formerly the NewsQuarterly) reports on developments pertaining to taxation, Tax Section news and meeting updates, and other information of professional interest to Tax Section members and other readers.

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