Articles Posted in Tax Law

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The Miccosukee Indian Tribe and one of its members raised an affirmative defense that revenue distributions from gaming activities were exempt from taxation as Indian general welfare benefits under the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act (GWEA), 26 U.S.C. 139E. The Eleventh Circuit held that the distribution payments could not qualify as Indian general welfare benefits under GWEA because Congress specifically subjected such distributions to federal taxation in the Indian Gaming Revenue Act (IGRA), 25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.; the member waived any arguments as to penalties or the amount assessed against her, and the tribe lacked a legal interest in those issues; and the district court did not err in entering judgment against the tribe because the tribe intervened as of right and the Government sought to establish its obligation to withhold taxes on the distributions. View "United States v. Jim" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied petitioner's challenge to the tax court's dismissal of his petition for review for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner argued that the IRS should have provided notice to him at his prison address when it intended to levy on a restitution-based assessment against him. The court held that petitioner did not file a request for a CDP hearing within 30 days and was thus not entitled to a hearing or a notice of determination. Furthermore, he had no right to request review by the tax court. The court also held that petitioner did not properly preserve his legislative history argument in the tax court because he first presented it in his motion to vacate the order of dismissal. Therefore, the tax court was within its discretion to deny his motion to vacate. View "Berkun v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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Defendant appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the United States for unpaid federal income taxes, late penalties, and interest accrued. The Eleventh Circuit initially affirmed but then later granted rehearing en banc and overruled Mays v. United States, 763 F.2d 1295 (11th Cir. 1985). On remand to the original panel, the parties raised arguments that no longer resemble the arguments they had made to the district court. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded to the district court to consider the new arguments in the first instance. View "United States v. Stein" on Justia Law

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Alabama rail carriers pay a 4% sales and use tax on diesel fuel. Motor carriers and water carriers are exempt from that tax but motor carriers pay a Motor Fuels Excise Tax of $0.19 per gallon of diesel. Water carriers pay no tax for diesel fuel. The Eleventh Circuit previously determined that Alabama failed to sufficiently justify the scheme under the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act, 49 U.S.C. 11501, which forbids states from discriminating against rail carriers in assessing property or imposing taxes. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded. On remand, the district court again ruled that Alabama’s tax scheme does not violate the Act. The Eleventh Circuit then reversed. The excise tax justifies the motor carrier exemption. As to water carriers, their exemption is not “compelled by federal law.” Although imposing the sales and use tax on water carriers transporting freight interstate might “expose” the state to a lawsuit under federal law, compulsion requires more than exposure. The water carrier exemption is “compelled by federal law” only if imposition of the sales and use tax would violate federal law. It would not, so it violates the Act. View "CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Alabama Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act prohibits states from imposing a tax that discriminates against a rail carrier. 49 U.S.C. 11501(b)(4). The Eleventh Circuit held that Alabama's tax scheme, which imposes either a sales or use tax on rail carriers when they buy or consume diesel fuel but exempts competing motor and water carriers from those taxes, violates the Act as to water carriers, but not to motor carriers. The court held that the district court correctly concluded that the excise tax was roughly equivalent to the sales and use tax and thus the excise tax justified the motor carrier sales-tax exemption. However, unlike the motor carrier exemption, the State could offer no rough equivalency justification for the water carrier exemption because water carriers pay no state taxes at all when they buy or consume diesel. View "CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Alabama Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act prohibits states from imposing a tax that discriminates against a rail carrier. 49 U.S.C. 11501(b)(4). The Eleventh Circuit held that Alabama's tax scheme, which imposes either a sales or use tax on rail carriers when they buy or consume diesel fuel but exempts competing motor and water carriers from those taxes, violates the Act as to water carriers, but not to motor carriers. The court held that the district court correctly concluded that the excise tax was roughly equivalent to the sales and use tax and thus the excise tax justified the motor carrier sales-tax exemption. However, unlike the motor carrier exemption, the State could offer no rough equivalency justification for the water carrier exemption because water carriers pay no state taxes at all when they buy or consume diesel. View "CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Alabama Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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A taxpayer that contracts to sell property used in its trade or business is not entitled to treat as capital gain an advance deposit that it rightfully retains when its would-be buyer defaults and cancels the deal. In this partnership tax case, CRI-Leslie filed a petition for readjustment in the tax court, asserting that the Internal Revenue Code was meant to prescribe the same tax treatment for gains related to the disposition of "trade or business" property regardless of whether the property was successfully sold or the sale agreement was canceled. The Eleventh Circuit held that I.R.C. 1234A provides for capital-gains treatment of income resulting from canceled sales only where the underlying property constitutes a "capital asset," and I.R.C. 1221 defines "capital asset" in a way that all agree excludes the property at issue here. Therefore, CRI-Leslie was not entitled to treat its $9.7 million deposit as capital gain. View "Cri-Leslie, LLC v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the decisions of the tax court upholding the Commissioner's transferee liability assessment against petitioners. Terry and Sandra Shockley sold their company, SCC, and reported their gains from this sale on timely federal income tax returns for calendar year 2001. The Commissioner assessed additional tax liabilities against SCC and thus asserted transferee liability under I.R.C. 6901 against each of eight of the largest selling shareholders of SCC. The court held that the tax court appropriately used substance over form and its related judicial doctrines to determine the true nature of the transaction at issue. The court agreed with the Commissioner, the tax court, and the Seventh Circuit that substance-over-form analysis was appropriate in context of the Wisconsin Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. Under the circumstances, the Commissioner was permitted to assess transferee liability for unpaid taxes against petitioners by applying the procedural device supplied by I.R.C. 6901. View "Shockley v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The money that a homosexual man paid to father children through in vitro fertilization—and in particular, to identify, retain, compensate, and care for the women who served as an egg donor and a gestational surrogate—was not spent "for the purpose of affecting" his body's reproductive "function" within the meaning of I.R.C. 213. In this case, the Eleventh Circuit held that it was constrained by I.R.C. 213's plain language where taxpayer's own function within the human reproductive process was to produce and provide healthy sperm, and because taxpayer was and remained capable of performing that function without the aid of IVF-related treatments, those treatments did not affect any function of his body and did not qualify as deductible "medical care" within the meaning of Section 213(a). The court also held that the IRS's disallowance of taxpayer's claimed deduction neither violated any fundamental right nor discriminated on the basis of any suspect (or quasi-suspect) characteristic. View "Morrissey v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the Tax Court's determination that petitioner was liable as a transferee under 26 U.S.C. 6901 for his former employer's unpaid taxes. Because the state substantive law in this case does not require exhaustion for liability to exist, the court held that the Commissioner was not required to exhaust remedies against the company before proceeding against petitioner as a transferee. In this case, applying Florida law, the court held that petitioner could not definitively prove that the Dividend Payments were a part of his employment with FECP and because he did not raise any other argument for why FECP might have received reasonably equivalent value even if the dividends were not compensation, the court must conclude that they were dividends for which FECP did not receive reasonably equivalent value. As such, the court affirmed the Tax Court's determination that the reasonable-value element of constructive fraud under the Florida Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act was satisfied for all of the Dividend Payments. When considered together, those dividend payments were substantial enough for the Tax Court to conclude that they led to the insolvency of FECP. View "Kardash v. Commissioner of IRS" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Tax Law