On February 9, 2017, the U.S. Tax Court released its opinion in Schieber v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2017-32, ruling that the lump-sum value of CalPERS pension benefits should not be included in asset calculations to determine a taxpayer's ability to immediately pay tax on canceled debt income.
What happens when the chief of staff to a Congressman (and former Democratic staff director for the Homeland Security Committee) fails to file or pay income tax for six or more years in a row? It appears, not much.
Be careful who you share your offshore account information with---whistleblowing just got more lucrative. On August 3, 2016, the US Tax Court issued an opinion in a whistleblower claim case finding that the whistleblowers were entitled to an award based upon a percentage of $74,131,694 in tax restitution, a criminal fine, and civil forfeitures paid to the government. 147 T.C. No. 4. The targeted taxpayer pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the IRS and was ordered to pay $20,000,001 in tax restitution, a $22,050,000 criminal fine, and $15,821,000 civil forfeiture.
On July 8, 2016, Judge Mark V. Holmes issued an order in US Tax Court case Ernest S. Ryder & Associates, Inc., APLC, et al., v. Commissioner requiring the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to notify the taxpayer of any and all subpoenas, with their responses and responsive documents, issued by the IRS to third parties. In this case, there were 77 such subpoenas issued and not yet disclosed, due to the absence of any direct requirement to do so within the Tax Court rules.
According to the IRS, Tyco International Ltd. (Tyco) and some of its former subsidiaries owes the United States government somewhere in the area of $883.3 million in back taxes that have accrued $154 million in penalties. Tyco has let the IRS know that it does not agree with the IRS assessment of Tyco's tax situation. The tax controversy could take many years to resolve.
In Kurek v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2013-64, the U.S. Tax Court held that a general contractor should have treated construction workers on his projects as employees rather than independent contractors. During the tax year at issue, Mieczyslaw Kurek hired approximately 30 workers to assist him on various home renovation projects. None of the workers worked full time for Mr. Kurek, and he paid them on a project-by-project basis. He paid each worker a flat fee based on the work completed for a particular job. The workers, in turn, set their own hours and work schedules. Mr. Kurek supervised the workers' progress on a project and made frequent visits to the worksite. The construction workers worked with other construction groups, not just with Mr. Kurek.