Bryan Camp has published an article on the TaxProf Blog, titled “Lesson From The Tax Court: Not Every Decision Comes With An Opinion,” which discusses Tax courts’ discretion to issue an opinion when the IRS concedes a case. The article begins as follows:
Once a taxpayer petitions the Tax Court to contest a Notice of Deficiency (NOD), the Tax Court will issue a decision in the case. The taxpayer has no option to nonsuit the case like plaintiffs can do in state courts or in federal district courts. It’s what I call the Hotel California rule: the taxpayer might check out (e.g. by abandoning the case), but can never leave (the Court’s decision will issue). For details, see Lesson From The Tax Court: The Hotel California Rule, TaxProf Blog (Nov. 12, 2018).
Today we learn that even though the Tax Court will issue a decision, it may not issue an opinion. More, we learn why that is so. In Paul Puglisi & Ann Marie Puglisi, et. al., v. Commissioner (4796-20, 4799-20, 4826-20, 13487-20, 13488-20, 13489-20) (Nov. 5, 2021) (Judge Gustafson), the IRS conceded all of a proposed deficiency (except for a small part that the taxpayers had conceded). It asked the Court to enter decisions in favor of the taxpayers. The taxpayers objected! They wanted more than a victory. They wanted fries with that: an opinion to go with the decision. Judge Gustafson decided to accept the IRS concession and enter a decision for the taxpayers without an accompanying opinion on the merits. In a 17-page Order he teaches us that while the Tax Court has the discretion to issue an opinion even when the IRS concedes a case, it will do so only under extraordinary circumstances.
Click here to see the full article: “Lesson From The Tax Court: Not Every Decision Comes With An Opinion.”
Posted by Bennett Mansour, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.