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

Taxpayer and Supporting Amicus Briefs Filed in Home Concrete

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December 28, 2011

The taxpayer has filed its brief in Home Concrete.  The brief argues forcefully that the case is controlled by Colony, characterizing the underlying statutory issue as “settled by stare decisis.”   The brief disputes the government’s arguments that the changes made by Congress in the 1954 Code had the effect of extending the six-year statute to overstatements of basis outside the trade or business context, observing that the 1954 Code changes were all designed to favor taxpayers. 

With respect to the regulations, the taxpayer first argues that Colony should be understood as having held that the statutory language … 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

D.C. Circuit Gives the Government Another Victory in Intermountain

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June 22, 2011

The D.C. Circuit yesterday reversed the Tax Court in Intermountain, handing the government more ammunition to use if, as appears increasingly likely, the Supreme Court considers the question of the applicability to overstatements of basis of the six-year statute of limitations found in Code sections 6229(c)(2) and 6501(e)(1)(A).  This now makes the score 4-2 for the government and represents the third straight court of appeals to adopt the government’s primary argument that courts owe Chevron deference to the relatively recent Treasury regulations interpreting the six-year statutes to apply to overstatements of basis.

The D.C. Circuit’s opinion is comprehensive, tracing … Read More

Taxpayer Petitions for Rehearing in Grapevine

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April 15, 2011

The taxpayer has filed a petition for rehearing en banc in the Federal Circuit in Grapevine.  Because Grapevine is the first appellate decision to rely on the new regulations (see here), the petition focuses part of its argument on criticizing the Federal Circuit’s decision to defer to those regulations, especially after the same court in Salman Ranch had rejected the statutory interpretation embodied in the regulations.  The petition also argues that applying the regulations to Grapevine is unlawful, even if the regulations could be controlling in future cases, because Grapevine had already obtained a favorable judgment … Read More

Federal Circuit Adds to Intermountain Conflict by Deferring to New Regulations That Apply Six-Year Statute to Overstatements of Basis

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March 11, 2011

The Federal Circuit has ruled for the government in Grapevine, throwing the circuits into further disarray by adopting an approach that differs from all three of the courts of appeals that have previously addressed the Intermountain issue subsequent to the issuance of the new regulations.  Becuase the Federal Circuit had already rejected the government’s construction of the statute in Salman Ranch, the Grapevine case starkly posed the question whether the new regulations had the effect of requiring the court to disregard its prior decision and reach the opposite result.  As we previously reported, at oral argument the … 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

Son-of-BOSS Statute of Limitations Issue Inundates the Courts of Appeals

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November 30, 2010

The government has successfully challenged understatements of income attributable to stepped-up basis in so-called Son-of-BOSS tax shelters.  See, e.g., American Boat Co., LLC v. United States, 583 F.3d 471, 473 (7th Cir. 2009).  But it has been stymied in some cases by the three-year statute of limitations for issuing notices of deficiency.  Code section 6501(e)(1)(A) provides for a six-year statute “[i]f the taxpayer omits from gross income an amount” that exceeds the stated gross income by 25 percent.  Section 6229(c)(2) provides a similar six-year statute for cases governed by the TEFRA partnership rules.  The IRS has argued, unsuccessfully … Read More