Government Brief Filed in PPL

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January 15, 2013

[Note:  Miller & Chevalier filed amicus briefs in this case on behalf of American Electric Power Co. in support of PPL in both the Third Circuit and the Supreme Court.]

The government has filed its response brief in the Supreme Court in PPL.  The arguments in the brief do not closely track the analysis of the Third Circuit’s opinion.  Indeed, the government pointedly distances itself from the Third Circuit’s heavy reliance on Treas. Reg. § 1.901-2(b)(3)(ii), Ex. 3.  The Third Circuit had suggested that PPL’s position was foreclosed by Example 3, but the government’s Supreme Court brief suggests only that the example provides a “useful analogy,” while acknowledging that “the example is not directly applicable because it analyzes imputed gross receipts rather than actual gross receipts.”  [See our prior observations on Example 3 here.]

Instead, the government’s brief asks the Supreme Court to accept the characterization of the U.K. Windfall Tax as “a tax on value,” rather than an income tax.  According to the government, “[t]hat is so both because the U.K. government wrote it as a tax on value and because a company’s windfall tax liability is determined pursuant to a method of valuing property that is familiar to U.S. tax law,” where “it is common to calculate the value of property by taking into account the property’s ability to generate income.”  The brief stops short of declaring that the label attached to the tax by Parliament is “determinative,” but asserts that “the ‘labels’ and ‘form’ that a foreign government uses to formulate a tax are relevant.”

PPL’s reply brief is due February 13, with oral argument scheduled for February 20.

PPL- Supreme Court Brief for the Commissioner

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