The new California Office of Tax Appeals (OTA) just released its first seven opinions. All seven opinions were decided in the favor of the Franchise Tax Board (FTB); none of the taxpayer-appellants opted for representation by an attorney, although three appellants were represented by an Enrolled Agent or Certified Public Accountant. The first appeals heard by the OTA covered a variety of issues, including penalty and interest assessments, filing status, and ridesharing credits. Six of the opinions are confirmed as "nonprecedential," and one opinion is pending precedential status. To read the opinions in full, click here: https://ota.ca.gov/opinions/
As we inch closer to the January 1, 2018 official changeover of many responsibilities from the Board of Equalization to California's two new tax agencies (the Department of Tax and Fee Administration [TFA], and the Office of Tax Appeals [OTA]), legislators are refining and narrowing the details of future responsibilities and processes for taxpayers to avail themselves of these administrative bodies.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is launching a pilot program to offer a web-based virtual conference option for taxpayers and their representatives in Appeals cases. The Office of Appeals hears over 100,000 cases each year for taxpayers who would like to resolve their tax disputes outside the Tax Court, and is hoping this new program will be a convenient, efficient, and flexible way to address the needs of taxpayers, particularly those who live far from an IRS Appeals office.
Earlier this week the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Mallo v. IRS, holding that certain income tax liabilities were not discharged in bankruptcy because the taxpayers filed late returns after the IRS had already assessed the taxes. Mallo v. IRS, No. 13-1464 (10th Cir. 2014). The issue in that case was whether or not those late tax returns should count as "returns" for dischargeability purposes.
On Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Tax Court's decision to disallow a capital loss deduction on the ground that the underlying transaction lacked economic substance and was designed to create substantial capital losses. Reddam v. Commissioner, No. 12-72135 (9th Cir. Jun. 13, 2014).
On Tuesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the IRS had exceeded its statutory authority when it attempted to regulate tax return preparers. Loving v. Internal Revenue Service, No. 13-5061 (Feb. 11, 2014).
Last Friday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court's refusal to quash subpoenas related to foreign bank account records that were required to be maintained under the Bank Secrecy Act and Treasury Regulations.
Earlier this week the U.S. Tax Court issued a court-reviewed opinion finding that the IRS has been improperly calculating accuracy-related penalties in certain cases involving refundable credits (i.e., the earned income credit, the additional child tax credit, and the recovery rebate credit). Rand v. Commissioner, 141 T.C. No. 12.