Equitable Recoupment-Is it Beyond the Tax Court’s Jurisdiction?: Estate of Branson v. Commissioner
Luis C. Marini
In Estate of Branson v. Commissioner, the Tax Court held that it had jurisdiction to hear an equitable recoupment claim. The court reasoned that the Tax Reform Act of 1969 placed it in standing similar to a federal district court, thus allowing the Tax Court to exercise jurisdiction over equitable remedies. Moreover, the court held that equitable recoupment falls within the court’s jurisdiction under section 6214(a). Allowing the claim for equitable recoupment, the court further held that the required elements of the claim were met and awarded the taxpayer relief.Part I of this Note summarizes the background and facts of Branson. Part II explains the opinion of the Tax Court. Part III analyzes the court’s opinion and argues that it interpreted the Tax Reform Act of 1969 incorrectly, and improperly disregarded Supreme Court precedent in holding that it had jurisdiction to hear an equitable recoupment claim. Finally, Part IV discusses the implications of this decision for future tax planning.