Supreme Court Denies Cert in Altera

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June 22, 2020

Despite the glut of high-powered amicus briefs in support of the taxpayer’s petition for certiorari and last week’s landmark APA decision on DACA (the relevance of which to the issues in Altera we covered here), the Supreme Court declined to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Altera this morning.… Read More

Supreme Court’s DACA Decision May Affect Altera

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June 18, 2020

Altera’s petition for certiorari is pending at the Supreme Court. With the support of several amici, Altera has asked the Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision (see our prior coverage here) to uphold the validity of Treasury’s transfer-pricing regulation (Treas. Reg. § 1.482-7A(d)(2)) requiring taxpayers to include employee-stock-option costs in the pool of costs that parties to cost-sharing arrangements must share. Two APA arguments loom large in Altera’s petition. Today’s Supreme Court decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the APA in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, No. 18-587, … Read More

Supreme Court to Hear Tax Anti-Injunction Act Dispute in the Fall

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June 10, 2020

The Supreme Court granted certiorari in CIC Services, LLC v. IRS, No. 19-930, to address the scope of the Tax Anti-Injunction Act, 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a). The briefing in the case will occur over the summer, with oral argument to occur sometime in the fall.

The basic issue in the case is how narrowly to read the Act’s prohibition on actions seeking to enjoin “the assessment or collection of any tax.” That prohibition means taxpayers who dispute a tax assessment must pay their taxes first before they can litigate the dispute in a refund suit. The CIC case, however, … Read More

Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege and Work-Product Protection Issues Return to Ninth Circuit in Sanmina

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February 10, 2020

We previously reported on the Ninth Circuit’s earlier consideration of attorney-client privilege and waiver issues in the Sanmina case here. That first appeal ended with a whimper of an unpublished opinion when the court of appeals decided that it could better assess the issues after the trial court had reviewed the relevant documents in camera. As explained in more detail in our previous reports, the taxpayer sought to protect the contents of two memoranda prepared by in-house counsel concerning the tax consequences of certain transactions. Those memoranda were furnished to DLA Piper for its use in preparing a stock … Read More

Ninth Circuit Preparing for Oral Argument in Mazzei

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February 6, 2020

We have previously reported at length on the taxpayers’ pending appeal in Mazzei involving the Tax Court’s rejection on substance-over-form grounds of what the IRS has described as an “abusive Roth IRA transaction,” notwithstanding the Sixth Circuit’s pro-taxpayer ruling in Summa Holdings regarding essentially the same kind of transaction.

Oral argument in the case is scheduled for February 14, and the Ninth Circuit has now announced the three-judge panel that will hear the case:  Senior Circuit Judge Jay Bybee (appointed by Bush in 2003), Circuit Judge Daniel Collins (appointed by Trump in 2019), and Senior District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz … Read More

Cert Denied in SIH Partners

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January 13, 2020

As expected, the Supreme Court this morning declined to review the Third Circuit’s decision in SIH Partners, thus bringing the litigation to a close.… Read More

Supreme Court Poised to Rule on SIH Partners Cert Petition

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January 7, 2020

We noted in our prior coverage of this case that SIH Partners was likely to seek Supreme Court review of the adverse decision it received in the Third Circuit regarding loan guarantees issued by a CFC, even if a grant of certiorari was a longshot.  The Court is now scheduled to consider the taxpayer’s cert petition at its January 10 conference and will likely announce its determination on January 13.

In an effort to interest the Court in the case, the taxpayer chose to focus entirely on the administrative law issues presented by the case, not on the substantive tax … Read More

Ninth Circuit Denies Petition for Rehearing

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November 21, 2019

On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit denied Altera’s petition for rehearing en banc (which petition we discussed in our recent post here). The order issuing that denial includes a strong, 22-page dissent written by Judge Smith and joined by Judges Callahan and Bade. (Ten judges recused themselves, meaning that the vote was 10-3 against rehearing.) The dissent made several arguments for why the petition should have been granted, taking aim at the panel’s reasoning in upholding the regulation and warning about the decision’s broader effects.

Quoting State Farm, the dissent stated that it would have invalidated the regulations because … Read More

Reflections on the Ninth Circuit’s Decision in Amazon.com

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October 17, 2019

Although some time has passed (and we’ve fallen short of our hope here to get something up “soon”), we nevertheless wanted to post some thoughts on the Ninth Circuit’s unanimous affirmance of the taxpayer’s victory in the Tax Court in Amazon.com while also revisiting some of the topics that we covered here after oral argument. The panel’s opinion is brief, but it touched on several important aspects of the law under section 482.

Finding Ambiguity in the Regulatory Definition of “Intangible”

As you’ll recall, the primary dispute on appeal was whether the regulatory definition of “intangible” under Treas. Reg. § … Read More

Ninth Circuit Affirms Tax Court in Amazon.com

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August 16, 2019

In a unanimous opinion issued today, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the taxpayer’s victory in the Tax Court in Amazon.com. We previously covered the case and oral argument here. We will take some time to digest the opinion and post on its finer points soon. In the meantime, one key sentence in the opinion is worth noting because it appears to capture the thrust of the Ninth Circuit’s decision about the disputed scope of the relevant regulatory definition for the term “intangible”: “Although the language of the definition is ambiguous, the drafting history of the regulations shows that ‘intangible’ … Read More

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