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Summary Opinions for 1/24/2014 (100th Post!!!)

Posted on Jan. 27, 2014

100th Post!!  When we started discussing this blog, I assumed 100 posts would take us five years, and we would probably quit before then. A few short months later, and here we are.  Thanks to all the readers for your comments, feedback, encouragement, and guest posts.  The first 100 has been a lot of fun, largely due to you all.  On to the tax procedure:

  • Starting off the 100th post with a quick congratulations to Procedurally Taxing’s own Keith Fogg, who was elected to Council for the  ABA Section on Tax.  Many of our readers know Keith, and know he is more than deserving of this honor and that he will continue to serve the ABA with distinction in this new role.
  • For our first procedure matter we have Chief Counsel advice indicating that Exam can disclose its findings and decisions to OPR before the case is resolved in Appeals when OPR referred the practitioner to Exam. Chief Counsel concluded that disclosure is appropriate under Section 6103(h)(1).  Section 6103 generally requires Service employees to keep return information confidential.  Section (h)(1) allows disclosure to Dept. of Treasury employees whose official duties require such inspection or disclosure for tax administration.  The advice essentially says OPR employees are Treasury employees, and Circ 230 authorizes OPR to conduct investigations in the furtherance of tax administration.
  • From TaxProfBlog, I found this post on the NY Post about a business man who tripped during his audit at an IRS office, and obtained an $862,000 judgment against the Service for his pain and suffering.  The article does not indicate how the $60,000 tax debt was handled.  Hopefully, paid in full, as the Fisc won’t be taxing his judgment.
  • Another day, another summons case where the 5th Amendment is thwarted by the required records doctrine.  Link is to Jack Townsend’s Federal Tax Crimes blog.  Mr. Townsend’s blog also covers the Court’s discussion of the forgone conclusion doctrine, which isn’t as often discussed in these cases.  As always, Mr. Townsend gives readers an obscene amount of information and knowledge.
  • The Ninth Circuit has affirmed the Tax Court’s holding in Nakano v. Comm’r, which had held that a levy notice contained sufficient information to also serve as the required notice and demand under Section 6303 for the TFRP.  The Service had assessed tax on March 28, 2006, issued the notice of the levy on May 22, 2006, and issued notice of the tax due on June 6, 2006.  Section 6303 requires notice and demand within sixty days, and the June notice was outside of sixty days, but he levy notice was within the sixty day period.
  • Here is a nice article written by June K. Campbell, who is a lawyer at Lane Powell in Seattle, where she discusses her experience with volunteering to serve as a tax return preparer through the United Way.  She highlights some of the particularly tricky aspects of volunteering for this work, but also covers the great rewards.  Finally, she hammers home the point that the demand for this service is great.  I’ve volunteered before for the VITA tax program, and it can be very overwhelming at first, but you do get the hang of it quickly.  There is immediate gratification too, as people are thrilled to have the return done and done for free.
  • There are two phrases from 2013 that I am fairly sick of.  One of which is “thought leaders”.  It seems like I see someone self-apply that title twice a day now.  It is driving me crazy.  The other is “the internet of things”.  Although the use of the term is bothering me, I am intrigued and scared by the idea.  It seems like it may become a non-military skynet.  I don’t have a tax tie in with this, but I’m working on it.  Here is an article by Pedro Pavon of Carlton Fields about the internet of things.  I am sure there are more in depth articles on this subject, but this one happened across my email this week.  It also touches on the We are Watching You Act, which is a creepy name for a creepy need for a law, where home electronics would have to provide notification to the consumer before collecting visual or audio information from the consumer.  If I were in law enforcement, I would certainly be trying to figure out ways to get authorization to do this instead of just wiretapping a phone.
  • Shameless/full self-promotion!  Villanova Law has revamped its curriculum in what I think is a very positive way.  It is also freezing tuition prices for each class, and it is offering 50 additional full scholarships.  Can I retroactively get a full scholarship?  And, my firm was named the Chester County small business of the year.  I’m fairly certain it is because I launched this blog with Keith and Les.
  • Call me old fashion, but I think tax shelter schemes should have dumb acronyms, and things like a “Dutch sandwich” and “double Irish” should be references to occurrences found on web pages polite society won’t visit.  Whether it is legal tax avoidance, or adult content, silicon valley is trying to ensure it is here to stay.
  • From Tax Trials, a review of Willie Nelson’s IRS troubles, and his settlement offer that allowed him to write an album and have the proceeds pay off his debt. I wonder why MC Hammer didn’t suggest this….
  • Forbes had an interesting article on envy in tax policy.
  • Forbes also had some tax haiku by Tax Girl.  I found this link from Joe Kristan’s tax blog, and he also provided one of his own:

Here comes tax season

April 15 arrives swiftly

I need a stiff drink

  • I’m more of an epic tax procedure poem type of guy, which is why I am thrilled to be working with Les on the revised version of IRS Practice and Procedure.
  • Thompson Reuters’ Checkpoint reminded me that protective refund claims for FICA taxes for 2010 severance pay should be made by April 2014.  This should be done because of SCOTUS’ review whether or not severance pay is subject to FICA tax in US v. Quality Stores.
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