Vol. 36 No. 4 - August 2017

It Was a Very Good Year

From the Chair

It Was a Very Good Year

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

ATT welcomes the submission of book and article reviews on tax topics that may be of interest to our members.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Tax Lawyer, the nation’s premier tax law journal, is published quarterly as a service to members of the Tax Section.

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.

Through the Tax Assistance Public Service (TAPS) endowment fund, the Section of Taxation seeks to provide stable, long-term funding for its tax-related public service programs.

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

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.

Opportunities are available to enhance your visibility, grow your network, and expand your reach at ABA Section of Taxation meetings.

New editions of the ABA Section of Taxation State & Local Tax Deskbooks are now available to order!

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 2017 US-Europe and US-Latin America Tax Planning Strategies Conferences.

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 36

August 2017

June 2017

February 2017

November 2016

ABA Tax Times Archives


ABA Tax Times, June 2017

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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