Articles Posted in Tax Law

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California Attorney General's Form 990 Schedule B requirement, which obligates charities to submit the very information they already file each year with the IRS, survived exacting scrutiny as applied to plaintiffs because it was substantially related to an important state interest in policing charitable fraud. The Ninth Circuit held that, even assuming arguendo that plaintiffs' contributors would face substantial harassment if Schedule B information became public, the strength of the state's interest in collecting Schedule B information reflected the actual burden on First Amendment rights because the information was collected solely for nonpublic use, and the risk of inadvertent public disclosure was slight. Accordingly, the panel vacated the district court's permanent injunctions, reversed the bench trial judgments, and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of the California Attorney General. View "Americans for Prosperity v. Becerra" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment for the United States in an action seeking to collect delinquent federal excise taxes and penalties for the manufacture of tobacco products under 26 U.S.C. 5701. Determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal, the panel held that the amended judgment sufficiently specified both the amount of money due to the plaintiff and a formula for computing that amount of money. The panel also held that a tobacco manufacturer located on trust land was subject to a federal excise tax applicable to all tobacco products manufactured in the United States under 26 U.S.C. 5702. In this case, King Mountain manufactures and grows tobacco products on lands held in trust by the United States, within the boundaries of the Yakama Nation. Finally, the panel rejected King Mountain's claim of exemption based on either the General Allotment Act of 1887 or the Treaty with the Yakamas of 1855. View "United States v. King Mountain Tobacco Co." on Justia Law

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These consolidated appeals stemmed from the Commissioner's efforts to hold the former shareholders of a close corporation, Slone Broadcasting, responsible for taxes owed on the proceeds of its sale of assets to another broadcasting company, Citadel. The shareholders followed up the asset sale to Citadel by selling Slone Broadcasting's stock to another company, Berlinetta, an affiliate of Fortrend. Berlinetta and Slone Broadcasting then merged into a new company called Arizona Media. The Ninth Circuit reversed the tax court's judgment on the petition for redetermination of federal income tax deficiency challenging the shareholders' liability for taxes in connection with an asset and stock sale. The panel applied Arizona's Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act and held that the transaction was constructively fraudulent as to the creditor (the IRS) because the debtor (Slone Broadcasting) did not receive a reasonably equivalent value in exchange for the transfer to the shareholders and was left unable to satisfy its tax obligation. In this case, the purpose of the shareholders' transaction with Berlinetta was tax avoidance and thus reasonable actors in the shareholders' position would have been on notice that Berlinetta never intended to pay Slone Broadcasting's tax obligation. The panel held that the shareholders' sale to Berlinetta was a cash-for-cash exchange lacking independent economic substance beyond tax avoidance. The panel also held that the shareholders were liable to the government for Slone Broadcasting's federal tax obligation as "transferees" under 26 U.S.C. 6901, because Slone Broadcasting's liquidating distribution to the shareholders was a constructively fraudulent transfer under Arizona law. View "Slone v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Tax Law

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26 C.F.R. 1.482-7A(d)(2), under which related entities must share the cost of employee stock compensation in order for their cost-sharing arrangements to be classified as qualified cost-sharing arrangements and thus avoid an IRS adjustment, was not invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Ninth Circuit reversed the tax court's decision declaring 26 C.F.R. 1.482-7A(d)(2) invalid and held that the challenged regulation was not arbitrary and capricious, but rather a reasonable execution of the authority delegated by Congress to Treasury. Therefore, the regulation was entitled to Chevron deference. View "Altera Corporation & Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in an action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, challenging the constitutionality of California Revenue and Tax Code 19195, which establishes a public list of the top 500 delinquent state taxpayers, and California Business and Professions Code 494.5, which provides for suspension of the driver's license of anyone on the top 500 list. The panel held that taxpayer was not deprived of procedural due process and rejected taxpayer's claim that he had an inadequate opportunity to be heard prior to license revocation; taxpayer was not deprived of substantive due process and the panel rejected his claims that the statutory scheme impermissibly burdened his right to choose a profession and that the scheme was retroactive; taxpayer's equal protection claim failed because there was a rational basis for state action against a citizen for failing to pay two years' worth of past-due taxes; and the panel rejected taxpayer's claim that the combined effect of the challenged statutes was to single out the largest 500 tax debtors for legislative punishment, amounting to a bill of attainder View "Franceschi v. Yee" on Justia Law

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Because the text of I.R.C. 6630(d)(1) conditions the tax court’s jurisdiction on the timely filing of a petition for review, the thirty-day deadline in I.R.C. 6330(d)(1) is jurisdictional. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the tax court's dismissal of a petition for review of two Internal Revenue Service Notices of Determination based on lack of jurisdiction. In this case, petitioner mistakenly counted the first day after the date of the IRS's notices as day "zero" for purposes of calculating the 30-day period for filing a petition for review. The panel held that petitioner's failure to meet his deadline divested the tax court of the power to hear his case and foreclosed any argument for equitable tolling. View "Duggan v. CIR" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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If the patent holder effectively controls the corporation such that he or she did not transfer all substantial rights to the patents, then the tax treatment allowed by 26 U.S.C. 1235 does not apply. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the Tax Court's decision on a petition for redetermination of federal income tax deficiencies in which taxpayers sought capital gains treatment of patent-generated royalties pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 1235(a). In this case, taxpayers did not transfer all substantial rights to the patents. The panel agreed with the Tax Court that taxpayers failed to meet their burden of showing that they actually relied in good faith on an adviser's judgment in order to avoid accuracy-related penalties. View "Cooper v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the tax court's decision on a petition for redetermination of federal income tax deficiencies that turned on whether an investment by HP could be treated as equity for which HP could claim foreign tax credits. In this case, HP wanted its investment in a foreign entity to be treated as equity, so that HP would be entitled to the foreign tax credits that the entity—a so-called "FTC generator"—produces. FTC generators are entities that churn out foreign credits for U.S. multinationals, which companies typically desire if they pay foreign taxes at a lower average rate than domestic taxes. The panel held that its test was "primarily directed" at determining whether the parties subjectively intended to craft an instrument that is more debt-like or equity-like, and the tax court did not err in finding that HP's investment was best characterized as a debt. The panel also held that the tax court did not err in considering HP's put, purchased from ABN, as part of the "overall transaction" in characterizing HP's interest in the entity as debt or equity. Finally, the tax court's judgment—that HP's purported capital loss was really a fee paid for a tax shelter—was certainly based on a permissible view of the evidence. View "Hewlett-Packard Co. v. CIR" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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District courts have discretion to award the equitable relief of a "gross-up" adjustment to compensate for increased income-tax liability resulting from a plaintiff's receipt of a back-pay award in one lump sum. In this case, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's order denying plaintiff a tax adjustment of a damages award in a Title VII case. The jury awarded damages for back pay and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages. The district court refused to consider adjusting plaintiff's lump sum back-pay award to account for the corresponding increse in his tax liability. The panel reversed and remanded for further proceedings, and addressed other issues in a concurrently filed memorandum disposition. View "Clements, Jr. v. CenturyLink Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, for 22 years, contested in administrative proceedings a California Franchise Tax Board ruling that he owed close to $7.4 million in taxes, penalties, and interest. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, which arose from his administrative proceedings. The panel held that the Tax Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. 1341, barred plaintiff's suit because plaintiff could either pay now and litigate later, or the pay-then-protest remedy provided plaintiff a speedy remedy, even if the protest-then-pay remedy had not. The court also held that, if plaintiff pays and then protests, the California state courts would likely allow plaintiff to add constitutional claims to a state court action challenging the tax. View "Hyatt v. Yee" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Rights, Tax Law