NPR Oral Argument

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March 1, 2012

On December 7th, oral argument was held in the Fifth Circuit in the NPR case before Judges Dennis, Clement, and Owen.  You can find a detailed explanation of the issues here but in summary the questions involve whether, in the context of a Son of BOSS case: the gross valuation penalty applies when the basis producing transaction is not invalidated solely due to a bad valuation; whether other penalties apply; how the TEFRA jurisdictional rules function as to those penalties; and whether an FPAA issued after a non-TEFRA partnership no-change letter falls afoul of the no-second-FPAA rule. 

Although both parties … Read More

NPR Calendared for Argument

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November 7, 2011

The NPR case (involving penalty application and TEFRA issues in the context of a Son of BOSS transaction: see latest substantive discussion here) has been calendared for argument in New Orleans on December 7th in the East Courtroom.… Read More

Briefing Complete in NPR

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August 18, 2011

As we mentioned in our last post, the only brief remaining to be filed in NPR was the taxpayer’s reply brief.  That brief has now been filed and with it a DOJ motion to strike part of that reply as an inappropriate sur-reply.  The motion concerns a section in the reply in which the taxpayer takes on DOJ for arguing (in its previously filed reply brief ) that the only relevant factor in determining the incidence of the valuation misstatement penalty (between partnership and partner) is whether there are partnership items involved and not where the specific misstatement results … Read More

NPR Update

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August 12, 2011

It has been a while since we published an update on NPR (please no comments on Supreme Court Justices, schoolchildren, and bloggers taking summers off).  Since our last post discussing the government’s opening brief, the taxpayer filed its brief responding to the government and opening the briefing on their cross-appeal.  The government also filed its response/reply.  All that remains now is the taxpayer’s reply brief on its cross-appeal, currently due on August 15.  There are a slew of technical TEFRA issues that are raised by the parties.  The taxpayer is appealing the district court’s rulings regarding whether a no … Read More

NPR Still Dragging Itself Out of the Minefield

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April 27, 2011

The Government has filed its brief in its Fifth Circuit appeal from the denial of penalties in the NPR Investments case (for prior discussion go here).  There are no surprises.  The Government takes the position that the district court’s reliance on Heasley v. Commissioner, 902 F.2d 380 (5th Cir. 1990) (likely abrogated by Treas. Reg. § 1.6662-5(g) and certainly weakened on these facts by Weiner v. United States, 389 F.3d 152 (5th Cir. 2004)) is misplaced.  Thus, the government argues that the mere fact that the taxpayer’s entire transaction (and not just a valuation or basis item) … Read More

Telebriefing on Mayo Decision – February 28

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February 23, 2011

I will be participating in what promises to be an interesting panel discussion on the Mayo Foundation decision on Monday February 28 at 1:00 EST.  The other two distinguished members of the panel are:  Gil Rothenberg, Chief of the Appellate Section of the United States Department of Justice’s Tax Division, who is also currently serving as Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Review and Appellate; and Emily Parker, partner at Thompson & Knight LLP, and former Acting Chief Counsel and Deputy Chief Counsel for the IRS. 

Information on how to register for the program can be found here.

We … Read More

Supreme Court Opts for Chevron Analysis of Treasury Regulations, Discarding the Traditional National Muffler Dealers Analysis

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January 11, 2011

The Supreme Court this morning issued its opinion in the Mayo Foundation case, ruling unanimously that medical residents are not “students” exempt from FICA taxation.  As previously discussed several times on this blog (see here, here, and here), the Mayo case carried the potential for broad ramifications beyond its specific context because the parties had framed the question of whether deference to Treasury regulations is governed solely by general Chevron principles that supersede the deference analysis previously developed in tax cases like National Muffler Dealers.  The Court in fact addressed that question and has now endorsed … Read More

Mayo Foundation Oral Argument Tilts Towards the Government and Raises Doubts About the Continuing Vitality of National Muffler Dealers

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November 10, 2010

At oral argument on November 8, several Supreme Court Justices expressed skepticism regarding the claim that medical residents fall within the “student exemption” from FICA taxation.  Although it is always hazardous to predict the outcome of a case from the questions asked at oral argument, it is difficult to envision the taxpayer getting the five votes needed to overturn the court of appeals’ rejection of the exemption.

The Justices’ objections to the taxpayer’s position came from a variety of angles.  Justice Sotomayor focused on the essence of what a medical resident does, suggesting that a person working unsupervised for more … Read More

Government Argues for Abandoning the Muffler Dealers Test for Deference to IRS Regulations

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October 20, 2010

In our initial post on the Mayo Foundation case pending in the Supreme Court, which concerns whether medical residents are exempt from FICA taxation, we noted that the case potentially raised a broad question that has surfaced in the courts of appeals and the Tax Court in recent years – namely, whether Chevron deference principles have supplanted the traditional Muffler Dealers approach to analyzing the deference owed to Treasury regulations.  Although that issue was not flagged by the parties at the certiorari stage, we later observed that the taxpayers’ opening merits brief served that ball into the government’s court by … Read More

Mayo Foundation Oral Argument Scheduled for November 8

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August 30, 2010

The Supreme Court has released the oral argument schedule for its November session.  The argument in Mayo Foundation is scheduled as the second case on Monday November 8, meaning it will begin around 11:00.  A decision is expected to issue in the spring, almost certainly no later than June 2011.  We will provide a report on the argument in November.… Read More

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