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Vol. 37 No. 2 - Winter 2018


At Court


Estate Portability: Sowers Reap Unexpected Harvest in Estate of Sower v. Commissioner

In 2010, Congress introduced into the tax code the concept of portability for certain estates. Each estate has an applicable exclusion amount. Under portability, the executor of the estate of a deceased spouse may elect to give the surviving spouse that deceased spouse’s unused applicable exclusion amount (DSUE). In the recent case of Estate of Sower v. Commissioner, the Tax Court provided some guidance on the audit of the return of the first deceased spouse.

Practice Points


Agency Policy Challenges: A Different Way to Fight an Assessment

When challenging an assessment, arguments can range from procedural to substantive. Perhaps the auditor miscalculated or failed to properly sample a taxpayer’s records. Alternatively, perhaps the auditor assessed on transactions that are not taxable under state law. While challenging the assessment directly is certainly the most straightforward approach to reducing a tax liability, another option may exist in states to challenge the taxing agency itself.

Opinion Point


1986 v. 2017? No Comparison

The Tax Reform Act of 1986, which produced the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, was a huge success for the democratic process. It was not the last (mostly) bipartisan tax bill, but it was at the crest of a hill from which a long downhill slide began. At the end of the slide is the 2017 budget reconciliation act, which was so one-sided and political that it could not even hold onto its politicized original title: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. How did we get here?

Pro Bono Matters

People in Tax

Young Lawyers Corner


Avoiding Related-Party Traps under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Public Law 115-97, colloquially known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the 2017 Act), has introduced several new provisions to the Internal Revenue Code. Unsurprisingly, these new provisions rely on longstanding concepts in the tax law, including the concept that related-party transactions will be subject to extra scrutiny. This short article discusses two provisions within the 2017 Act—a modification to section 168(k) and new section 199A—and describes how the related-party rules apply to these provisions.

Tax Bits

In the Stacks

News & Announcements

Events & Promotions

Sponsor Acknowledgements

About ABA Tax Times

ABA Tax Times (ISSN 2381-5868) (formerly 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: [email protected].

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