Articles Posted in Tax Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the disqualification of tax-exempt status of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) because it exceeded the I.R.C. 415 contribution limit. In this case, the Tax Court did not clearly err in basing its findings of fact on the IRS's uncontested Explanation of Items, which established that DNA Pro Ventures' 2008 contribution to Dr. Daniel Prohaska's ESOP account substantially exceeded the section 415 contribution limit for that year. View "DNA Pro Ventures v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

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Taxpayer appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the government in this action to reduce a tax lien to judgment and foreclose upon real property. The court concluded that an underlying Tax Court appeal taxpayer filed in March 2006 served to toll the limitations period applicable to the government's current collection efforts. The court explained that, in the unique circumstances of this extremely tardy challenge, taxpayer cannot rely upon the absence of evidence of a date of mailing to carry her own heavy burden to disprove the Tax Court's jurisdiction over her 2006 appeal. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Giaimo" on Justia Law

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Diversified filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that the Interstate Income Act (IIA), 15 U.S.C. 381, deprives Ohio of jurisdiction to assess and collect the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) on Diversified's sales of goods manufactured and shipped from outside Ohio to locations in Ohio, and an order enjoining the State Tax Commissioner from asserting that jurisdiction. The district court dismissed the suit as barred by the Tax Injunction Act (TIA), 28 U.S.C. 1341, and by long-standing principles of comity. The court held that the TIA applies to a suit in federal court seeking to enjoin assessment, levy or collection of a state tax “where a plain, speedy and efficient remedy may be had in the courts of such State.” Here, Diversified's argument that the Ohio CAT does not provide a "plain" state court remedy is without merit. In this case, the Ohio Revenue Code provides taxpayers an appeal of right to an Ohio appellate court which will “hear and decide” a claim that a state tax has been invalidly assessed or collected. The court explained that this obviously includes authority to decide that imposing the CAT on Diversified’s out-of-state transactions violates the IIA, regardless of the Ohio Legislature’s contrary intention. The court further concluded that its decision that the TIA effectively transferred jurisdiction over Diversified’s equitable claims to the Ohio state courts is not at odds with comity principles. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Diversified Ingredients v. Testa" on Justia Law

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After Little Salt failed to pay its taxes, the Commissioner issued notices of transferee liability to the former shareholders. The tax court concluded that the former shareholders are liable for a portion of Little Salt's tax deficiency and the IRS appealed. The court agreed with the IRS that the Tax Court should have considered whether the stock sale should be recharacterized as a liquidating distribution to the shareholders under Nebraska law. However, the court declined to resolve the issue in the first instance. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment and remanded to the tax court to consider whether the IRS is entitled to a full recovery from the former shareholders as transferees under Nebraska law. View "Stuart, Jr. v. CIR" on Justia Law

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Bruce A. Hauptman, an investment consultant, sought judicial review of the Commissioner's notices of determination permitting a levy to collect Hauptman’s unpaid income tax liabilities for tax years 1992 through 1996. The tax court upheld the IRS’s determinations. The court rejected Hauptman’s challenge to the tax court’s jurisdiction where Hauptman cites to no authority to support his claim that there are additional requirements before a tax court can exercise jurisdiction over supplemental notices. The court agreed with the tax court’s conclusion that the Office of Appeals did not abuse its discretion when it rejected Hauptman’s offer-in-compromise based on its well-supported findings that Hauptman had not complied with his income tax obligations, that he had not fully disclosed his financial circumstances during the collection due process proceedings, and that he had not prioritized payment of his tax liabilities. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Hauptman v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

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The IRS disallowed all deductions and losses reported by RJT on its 2001 partnership return. It also determined that a 40-percent accuracy-related penalty for gross misstatement of partnership basis would be applied to any underpayment of tax by RJT partners resulting from the adjustments made to the RJT partnership return. RJT and Thompson challenged these adjustments in a partnership-level proceeding before the Tax Court, but the adjustments, including imposition of the penalty, were affirmed by the Tax Court and by this court on appeal. Then the Thompsons filed a petition in the Tax Court to challenge both the tax deficiency and the penalty. The IRS contends that the Thompsons are prohibited from challenging the Tax Court’s jurisdiction over the penalty issue under the law-of-the-case doctrine. The court affirmed the judgment, concluding that the Tax Court did not err by dismissing the penalty issue for lack of jurisdiction. View "Thompson v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

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About five hours prior to filing for bankruptcy, debtor received an income tax refund for her federal and state income taxes, including an earned income tax credit (EIC). The bankruptcy court exempted some of debtor’s 2012 income tax refund, but denied her claimed exemption of the EIC under Mo. Rev. Stat. 513.430.1(10)(a), requiring her to turn over the nonexempt portion. The court determined that the language of section 513.430.1(10)(a) does not exempt “public assistance benefit[s]” received by the debtor prior to filing for relief in bankruptcy court. In this case, the parties do not dispute that debtor received the EIC prior to filing for bankruptcy. Therefore, the district court correctly affirmed the bankruptcy court's judgment. View "Dittmaier v. Sosne" on Justia Law

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In 1966, DeBough purchased a Minnesota residence and surrounding 80 acres for $25,000. In 2006, DeBough sold the property for $1.4 million under an installment contract, secured by the property. Because the property was his principal residence,DeBough excluded $500,000 of gain from income on his 2006 tax return, 26 U.S.C. 121. DeBough received $505,000 from the buyers and reported $56,920 as taxable installment sale income for tax years 2006, 2007, and 2008. In 2009, the buyers defaulted. DeBough reacquired the property, incurring $3,723 in costs. DeBough kept the $505,000 previously received from the buyers as liquidated damages. On his 2009 tax return, DeBough treated this event as a reacquisition of property in full satisfaction of indebtedness under 26 U.S.C. 1038. In calculating his realized gain, DeBough again applied the $500,000 principal-residence exclusion. DeBough reported $97,153 as long-term capital gains related to the reacquisition for tax year 2009. The Commissioner sent DeBough a notice of deficiency, having determined DeBough had underreported $448,080 in long-term capital gain for tax year 2009 by applying the principal-residence exclusion in his calculation. The Tax Court and Eighth Circuit agreed that DeBough was not entitled to the principal-residence exclusion because he had not resold the property within one year. View "DeBough v. Shulman" on Justia Law

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Poynter operated an Original Issue Discount (OID) scheme, under which taxpayers falsely list large amounts of OID interest income from municipal bonds and certificates of deposit and corresponding amounts of withholding and claim large tax refunds. Johnson recruited clients and paid Poynter 50 percent of the fee. Her contract included a statement that Poynter’s material was not legal or tax advice. By signing the contract, Johnson agreed that she was not affiliated with the IRS. Clients signed a contract that listed a $20 million penalty for disclosure and certified that the client was not affiliated with any government agency. Johnson completed Kennedy’s 2008 return stating that Kennedy had earned $89,605 in OID income, that $87,492 was withheld, and that Kennedy was entitled to a $61,959 refund. Kennedy was unemployed and received only disability income, none of which was withheld. Kennedy paid Johnson $4117 by deposit into a third party’s bank account. Poynter submitted Gray’s 2007 tax return, listing income of $401,068 and withholding of $401,067. The IRS deposited a $278,874 refund; Gray paid Poynter $15,000. Gray filed additional fraudulent returns for other tax years. After Poynter’s scheme was uncovered, 14 defendants were indicted. Johnson and Gray were each convicted of making a false claim for a tax refund, 18 U.S.C. 287. Johnson was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment; Gray to 60 months. The Eighth Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence; to calculation of the intended amount of loss; and to application of an increase for an offense that involved sophisticated means. View "United States v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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Kaplan operated an illegal sports-booking business in New York that moved to Costa Rica in the 1990s. In 2004, the company went public on the London Stock Exchange. Before going public, Kaplan placed $98 million in trusts off the coast of France. Kaplan neglected to pay federal income or capital gains tax for the trusts for 2004 and 2005. In 2006, Kaplan was indicted for operating an illegal online gambling business within the U.S. Kaplan accepted a plea agreement, which stated: [N]othing contained in this document is meant to limit the rights and authority of the United States … to take any civil, civil tax or administrative action against the defendant. The court asked: Do you understand … that there is a difference between a criminal tax proceeding and a civil tax proceeding … that [this] doesn't preclude the initiation of any civil tax proceeding or administrative action against you? Kaplan replied, "I understand." The court sentenced Kaplan to 51 months of imprisonment, and ordered forfeiture of $43,650,000. Later, the IRS issued Kaplan a notice of deficiency with penalties, totaling more than $36,000,000. The Eighth Circuit affirmed: since Kaplan failed to file a return, the period to assess taxes never began to run; the plea agreement was unambiguous; and the government's failure to object to the Presentence Report did not prevent the government from bringing a civil tax proceeding. View "Kaplan v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law