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May 26, 2022 In the Stacks

Tax Section Publishes New Edition of Tax Evidence Book

This winter, the ABA Tax Section published the third edition of A Practitioner’s Guide to Tax Evidence, by Joni Larson. The book provides a primer to practitioners preparing for a trial before the U.S. Tax Court, as well as those evaluating a case for settlement.

The book takes the reader step-by-step through the Federal Rules of Evidence as applied by the Tax Court. The result is an easy-to-follow collection of cases to support or guide a practitioner facing an evidentiary problem before the Court.

“Over the years, evidentiary issues seem to have become more complex, the judges more exacting, and the parties needing a more nuanced understanding of the rules,” notes Larson. “Not having the necessary depth of knowledge can result in crucial testimony or documents not being admitted into the record. Of course, the more important the document or testimony is to the outcome of the case, the more the judge will scrutinize its admissibility. The hazards seem particularly high in the increasing number of cases where both parties are offering expert witness testimony. A misstep and one party can be left trying to win the case without the testimony of their expert.”

New material in the third edition includes a discussion of the scope of review for different types of cases and additional examples of how the Tax Court has applied the rules of evidence. A new chapter focuses on the principal areas in which the Court reviews the administrative record rather than taking new evidence, highlighting the types of cases in which practitioners need to focus on evidence well prior to the Court date. The new edition also adds cases decided since the last edition in 2017, including the many Tax Court decisions following Graev v. Commissioner, bringing coverage current through 2021.

“The book provides a useful guide to evidentiary issues allowing experienced practitioners to quickly find new cases and trends at the Tax Court,” said Keith Fogg, clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and director of the Federal Tax Clinic at the Harvard Legal Services Center. “Newer practitioners will appreciate the opportunity to think about evidentiary issues they may face in the Tax Court setting. All practitioners benefit from thinking about evidentiary issues before an objection in a trial occurs preceding the judge’s question asking for the basis for the objection or support for allowing the evidence into the record.”

Updated by an experienced tax litigator, the book is designed for litigators and all those practitioners preparing for a U.S. Tax Court trial or evaluating a case for settlement. A Practitioner’s Guide to Tax Evidence, third edition, is part of the Tax Practitioner Guide Series and is available for purchase in the ABA Store in paperback and ebook formats.

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