People in Tax

Interview with Pat Metzer

Patricia Ann (Pat) Metzer practices tax law with Vacovec, Mayotte & Singer, LLP, in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a long-serving member of the Tax Section who has served in various leadership positions, including as chair of the Committee on Government Submissions (1993-1995), Council Director (1996-1999), Vice-Chair (Publications) and Editor-in-Chief of The Tax Lawyer (2000-2002). She also served as Associate Tax Legislative Counsel at Treasury at the end of the Ford Administration and into the Carter Administration.

Practice Point

Sales and Use Tax Laws – Differentiating Between Exemptions and Exclusions Under Louisiana Law

Most U.S. states and many local governments raise revenues through the imposition and collection of sales and use taxes. Compliance with the welter of sales and use tax laws that impact interstate commerce is becoming increasingly complicated. Even the best, most expensive software may not be accurate. In the last few years, another complication has arisen as an increasing number of states have begun to challenge the long-standing Supreme Court decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, that limited the exercise of state tax jurisdiction over nonresident businesses.

At Court

Sexton Opinion Further Restricts What Conduct Can Be Regulated Under “Practice” Before the IRS

On March 17, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada issued its decision in Sexton, becoming the first court outside of the District of Columbia to adopt the D.C. Circuit’s holding in Loving. While the acceptance of Loving outside the District of Columbia is not surprising, Sexton potentially extends the reach of Loving outside of the tax return preparation context and calls into question the regulation of advice rendered by tax professionals.

Dealing with Tax Court Judges’ Conflicts of Interest: Battat v. Commissioner

Battat v. Commissioner, 148 Tax Ct. 2 (2017), is a deficiency case in which the IRS determined a 2008 deficiency of more than $1.7 million, with additional amounts totaling $426,772. The petitioners attempted to disqualify Tax Court judges through a motion for recusal and, alternatively, a declaration that the President’s power in section 7443(f) to remove Tax Court judges (after notice and hearing for cause due to “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office”) is unconstitutional. The opinion in the case provides a good historical review of the development of the Tax Court from the original Board of Tax Appeals, established as an independent agency in the Executive Branch, to an Article I court.

Canadian Tax Authorities Denied Routine Access to Tax Accrual Working Papers

A recent decision by the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal in BP Canada Energy Company v. MNR reversed the judgment of the lower court and held that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is not entitled to routinely demand access to taxpayers’ tax accrual working papers in the course of an audit. Taxpayers view this as a welcome curtailment of the CRA’s broad audit powers, reinforcing the public interest in encouraging full disclosure to independent financial statement auditors.

Captive Transaction Disclosures Remain for Now: Federal Court Rejects Last-Minute Injunction Request and Affirms Anti-Injunction Act Applies to Penalties

On November 1, 2016, the IRS issued Notice 2016-66, designating certain micro-captive insurance arrangements under section 831(b) as “transactions of interest” that, the IRS contends, have “a potential for tax avoidance or evasion.” The designation requires participating taxpayers and their advisers to file disclosures by May 1, 2017.

Pro Bono Matters

An Interview with 2016-2018 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellow Catherine Strouse

As a nation, we owe a great deal to our veterans for the sacrifices they make in service to this country. The active duty challenges faced by soldiers are enormous, but veterans also encounter well-documented obstacles when they transition back to civilian life. Catherine Strouse, a 2016-2018 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellow, works at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego (LASSD) to help struggling veterans returning from active duty understand the special rules applicable to them. ATT recently contacted Catherine (CS) to discuss the important work she is doing through her Fellowship.

In the Stacks

A Practitioner's Guide to Tax Evidence, Second Edition

As I read the Second Edition of A Practitioner’s Guide to Tax Evidence in preparation for writing this foreword, I was struck by how many questions it answered that students and practitioners had asked me in the past few years. The book provides a useful guide for the practitioner preparing for a Tax Court trial or evaluating a case for settlement. Re-reading it in its entirety reminded me that I should be consulting it more often.

Tax Bits

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About ABA Tax Times

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. Questions regarding ABA Tax Times can be sent to: taxweb@americanbar.org.

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