Home Concrete Decision Leaves Administrative Law Questions Unsettled While Excluding Overstatements of Basis from Six-Year Statute of Limitations

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May 3, 2012

[A shorter version of this blog post appears on SCOTUSblog.]

The Supreme Court last week ruled 5-4 in favor of the taxpayer in Home Concrete, thus putting an end to the long-running saga of the Intermountain litigation on which we have been reporting for the past 18 months.  The opinion was authored by Justice Breyer and joined in full by three other Justices, but Justice Scalia joined only in part.  The result is a definitive resolution of the specific tax issue – the six-year statute of limitations does not apply to an overstatement of basis.  But the Court’s … Read More

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Home Concrete Case to Address Six-Year Statute Issues

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September 27, 2011

The Court this morning granted certiorari in the Home Concrete case from the Fourth Circuit, thus paving the way for a definitive, nationwide resolution of the issues presented in the Intermountain cases.  We had previously indicated that it was more likely that the Court would hear the Beard case, since the petition in that case was filed first.  It is ironic that the Court chose to hear the Home Concrete case, since that is the one case that neither party urged the Court to take.  (The government asked the Court to grant Beard and hold the Home Concrete case, and … Read More

Update on Intermountain Cases

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September 15, 2011

Although our blog coverage might reasonably be accused of hibernating over the summer, court calendars inexorably marched on, and there were several developments in the various Intermountain cases.  If the Supreme Court grants cert in Beard on September 26, as we have predicted, these developments will not be of much moment, since all of the cases will likely be governed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Beard.  The one possible exception is the Federal Circuit’s decision in Grapevine, where the taxpayer’s cert petition has been fully briefed and is ready for consideration by the Supreme Court on September … Read More

Government Acquiesces in Beard Petition for Certiorari

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July 29, 2011

The government has now filed its response to the taxpayer’s petition for certiorari in Beard, the first of the Intermountain cases to reach the Supreme Court.  As expected, the government filed an “acquiescence,” meaning that it told the Court that the Seventh Circuit had correctly ruled against the taxpayer, but the government agreed that it is appropriate for the Supreme Court to hear the case in order to resolve the conflict in the circuits.   In the words of the response, “[a]lthough the decision below is correct, . . . [i]n light of the square circuit conflict, and the importance … Read More

Beard Becomes First Intermountain Case to Reach the Supreme Court

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June 30, 2011

We have been noting for the past few months that the Intermountain issue would be heading to the Supreme Court soon, with the government’s petition in the Home Concrete case due on July 5.  The taxpayers in Beard have jumped the line, however, by seeking certiorari ahead of the deadline, and that case is now docketed in the Supreme Court as No. 10-1553.  Meanwhile, the government has obtained a 30-day extension until August 3 to file its certiorari petition in Home Concrete.  Thus, unless the taxpayer in either Salman Ranch, Grapevine, or one of the D.C. Circuit … Read More

Seventh Circuit Denies Rehearing in Beard

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April 8, 2011

The Seventh Circuit today denied the taxpayer’s rehearing petition in Beard.  Coupled with the Fourth Circuit’s denial of rehearing in Home Concrete a few days ago, this action removes the faint theoretical possibility of resolving the circuit conflict in the Intermountain cases short of the Supreme Court.  A petition for certiorari in Beard would be due on July 7.… Read More

New Government Filings Try to Unify Courts of Appeals Behind the Six-Year Statute for Overstatements of Basis

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March 24, 2011

As we have reported extensively (e.g. here and here), the courts of appeals appear to be hopelessly split on the “Intermountain” issue of whether a six-year statute of limitations applies to overstatements of basis.  Nevertheless, the government has not given up on the possibility of winning this issue in all courts of appeals and thus eliminating the need for it to go to the Supreme Court.  To that end, it filed in two cases at the rehearing stage yesterday. 

In the Beard case in the Seventh Circuit, the government filed a response opposing the taxpayer’s petition for … Read More

Seventh Circuit to Consider Petition for Rehearing in Beard

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March 11, 2011

On March 7, the taxpayer filed a petition for rehearing en banc (attached below) with the Seventh Circuit in Beard, emphasizing that both the Fifth and Fourth Circuits had explicitly disagreed with that decision and reached the opposite result on the Intermountain issue.  Although courts of appeals often deny such petitions without a response, the Seventh Circuit almost immediately directed the government to file a response, which is due March 23.  Today’s pro-government decision by the Federal Circuit in Grapevine perhaps takes a little steam out of the possibility of rehearing since a circuit conflict will likely persist even … Read More

Federal Circuit Plunges Deep Into the Weeds of Chevron Analysis in Grapevine Oral Argument

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January 26, 2011

It took less than a day for the government to try out its new Mayo Foundation toy – that is, the Supreme Court’s ruling that deference to Treasury regulations is governed by the same Chevron principles that apply to regulations issued by other agencies.  (See our report on the Mayo decision here.)  The Intermountain­-type litigation posed the perfect opportunity to examine the impact of Mayo, as the regulations at issue in those cases clearly are more vulnerable under the National Muffler approach of looking to factors like whether the regulation is contemporaneous or designed to reverse judicial … Read More

Seventh Circuit Sets Up Likely Supreme Court Showdown By Reversing Tax Court on Intermountain Issue

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January 26, 2011

The Seventh Circuit today became the first court of appeals to weigh in on the Intermountain issue subsequent to the issuance of the temporary regulations, and it handed the government a big victory.  Interestingly, the court did not rely on the regulations, instead ruling that the term “omission from gross income” is best read to include overstatements of basis – at least in “non-trade or business situations.”  The Court ruled that Colony did not control this issue because that case involved a construction of the 1939 Code, not the 1954 Code.  Describing it as a “close call,” the Seventh … Read More

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