Keith Fogg, Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law, has made available for download his article “Setting Aside a Settlement”, published on the Procedurally Taxing blog. The abstract is as follows:
Several years ago, a settlement reached by the Villanova clinic with an Appeals Officer was set aside when the AO’s manager would not accept the settlement recommendation. Every settlement with an AO or a Chief Counsel docket attorney must receive approval from their manager. Usually, the AO or the Chief Counsel attorney makes explicit statements about the limitations of their authority. However, when time permits, these individuals also usually discuss a proposed settlement with their manager so that the formal submission of the settlement does not result in a surprise to the taxpayer and the employee.
Following the unpleasant surprise created by the rejection of a settlement that resulted from months of discussion with the AO, the clinic researched when a settlement could bind the government. The research did not lead us to the conclusion that we could bind the government in this instance, despite the fact that the AO had led us on for some time. I wrote a three part blog post series, linked here, here, and here, about our case and an article on the binding nature of settlements in general. Les wrote a subsequent post involving a different case that also raised the binding nature of a settlement.
Posted by Anthony Tran, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal