D.C. Circuit Holds in Loving that IRS Lacks Authority to Regulate Tax-Return Preparers

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February 12, 2014

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit unanimously held in Loving v. IRS, that the IRS lacks statutory authority to regulate tax-return preparers.  See our previous coverage here.  In its February 11 decision, the court characterized the IRS’s interpretation as “atextual and ahistorical,” and, more humorously, as a large elephant trying to emerge from a small mousehole.

In 2011, the IRS for the first time attempted to regulate tax-return preparers, issuing regulations requiring that paid tax-return preparers pass an initial certification, pay annual fees, and complete at least 15 hours of continuing education courses each year.  The IRS estimated that the … Read More

Ninth Circuit Sides with Government’s Interpretation of QAR Regulations in Bergmann

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January 16, 2014

That didn’t take long.  Less than two weeks after learning that the parties would not be mediating their dispute (see our previous report here), the Ninth Circuit issued a brief five-page unpublished opinion affirming the Bergmann case in favor of the government.  The court held that the time for filing a qualified amended return for an undisclosed listed transaction terminates when the promoter (here, KPMG) is first contacted by the IRS about examining the transaction, not when the IRS later determines the transaction is a tax shelter.

To recap the issue (see our original report here), … Read More

Two Amicus Briefs Filed in Loving, Including One by a Group of Former IRS Commissioners

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April 10, 2013

[Note:  Miller & Chevalier member and former Commissioner of Internal Revenue Lawrence B. Gibbs is among the five former Commissioners who filed an amicus brief in support of the Government in the Loving appeal.]

Five former IRS Commissioners filed an amicus brief in support of the Government’s appeal of the district court decision invalidating the IRS’s registration regime for paid tax return preparers.  The former Commissioners “take no position regarding whether the manner in which the Treasury has chosen to regulate tax return preparers is advisable, but they strongly disagree with the District Court’s view that Congress has not empowered … Read More

Briefing Complete in Sophy on Treatment of Mortgage Interest Deduction for Non-Married Couples

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April 5, 2013

The Government has filed its brief in the taxpayers’ appeal to the Ninth Circuit of the Tax Court’s decision that the mortgage interest deduction applies on a per residence rather than per taxpayer basis.  See our previous coverage here.   Section 163(h)(3) limits deductible mortgage interest to “acquisition indebtedness” of $1,000,000 and “home equity indebtedness” of $100,000.   With their Beverly Hills home and Rancho Mirage secondary residence, domestic partners Bruce Voss and Charles Sophy had considerably more indebtedness, and argued that, together, they should be able to deduct interest paid on up to $2.2 million of acquisition and home equity … Read More

Government Files Opening Brief in Loving; Seeks Expedited Appeal

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April 2, 2013

Two days after the D.C. Circuit denied its motion for stay pending appeal, the Government moved for an expedited appeal and concurrently filed its opening brief.  The Government seeks an expedited resolution of its appeal of the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judge James E. Boasberg) invalidating a licensing regime for paid federal tax return preparers.  Under the Government’s proposed briefing schedule, briefing would be complete by May 31, 2013.  The Appellees have consented to the Government’s proposed briefing schedule.

In its opening brief, the Government argues that the tax return preparer regulations are … Read More

Reply Brief Filed on Stay Motion in Loving

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March 15, 2013

Yesterday, in Loving v. IRS (the subject of a recent post), the Government filed its reply brief in support of its motion to stay the district court’s injunction of the new registration regime for paid tax-return preparers.  With respect to its likelihood of success on the merits, the Government argued the ambiguity of the statute authorizing Treasury to “regulate the practice of representatives of persons before” it.   With respect to the threat of irreparable harm, the Government argued that the injunction risked delaying the implementation of the regulatory regime until the 2015 return-preparation season and that the problem of unregulated … Read More

Government Seeks Appellate Stay of Order Enjoining Enforcement of New Registration Regime for Paid Tax Return Preparers

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March 13, 2013

The Government has appealed to the D.C. Circuit from the district court decision enjoining the IRS from enforcing its new registration regime for paid tax return preparers.  Loving v. IRS, D.C. Cir. No. 13-5061.  The Government has also asked the court of appeals to stay the decision pending appeal, after the district court declined to grant a stay.  The Government’s stay motion recites that, the appeal has not yet been authorized by the Solicitor General’s office, but that, if the appeal is authorized, the Government intends to file its opening brief in March and to move for an expedited … Read More

Briefing Complete in Bergmann

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February 8, 2013

The Bergmanns participated in a listed transaction promoted by KPMG, known as the Short Option Strategy.  When the Bergmanns filed their amended return in March 2004, the IRS had already served KPMG with summonses targeted at KMPG’s promotion of the Short Option Strategy.  As discussed in an earlier post, the Tax Court held that the Bergmanns failed to timely file a qualified amended return and thus were subject to the 20-percent accuracy related penalty.  Under the regulations in effect when the taxpayers filed their return, the time for filing a qualified amended return terminated when “any person described in … Read More

Briefing Underway in Ninth Circuit on Question of Mortgage Interest Deduction for Non-married Couples

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February 6, 2013

Last spring, the Tax Court held in Sophy v. Commissioner, that the limitations on indebtedness for the mortgage interest deduction are applied on a per residence rather than per taxpayer basis.  The taxpayers appealed to the Ninth Circuit (Nos. 12-73257 and 12-73261), and filed their opening brief on January 30.  The government’s response is due in March.

Under I.R.C. § 163(h)(3), taxpayers are allowed to deduct “qualified residence interest,” which includes interest paid or accrued on acquisition indebtedness with respect to any qualified residence of the taxpayer, or home equity indebtedness with respect to any qualified residence of the … Read More

Ninth Circuit to Rule on Timing for Filing a Qualified Amended Return for an Undisclosed Listed Transaction

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May 1, 2012

The taxpayers in Bergmann v. Commissioner are appealing an adverse Tax Court decision, 137 T.C. No. 10, holding that they failed to timely file a qualified amended return for 2001 and thus are liable for the 20-percent accuracy related penalty.   The taxpayers participated in a listed transaction promoted by KPMG, known as the Short Option Strategy.  In 2004, two years after the IRS issued a summons to KPMG specifically identifying the Short Option Strategy transaction, the Bergmanns filed an amended return disclaiming the tax benefits of the transaction.  The case concerns the interpretation of Treas. Reg. § 1.6664-2(c)(3)(ii) (2004), which … Read More