The Taxpayer Advocate recently issued her annual report to Congress, identifying the ten tax issues that are most litigated in federal courts. For purposes of this list, the term “litigated” refers to cases in which a court issued an opinion—so the list does not necessarily capture all of the most heavily disputed issues that are typically disposed of short of judicial resolution. Nonetheless, the list provides insight into the world of tax controversy.
Those issues topping the most-litigated-tax-issues list include:
- Accuracy-Related Penalty (IRC §§ 6662(b)(1) (2));
- Trade or Business Expenses (IRC § 162(a) and related Code sections);
- Summons Enforcement (IRC §§ 7602(a), 7604(a), and 7609(a));
- Collection Due Process (CDP) hearings (IRC §§ 6320 and 6330);
- Gross Income (IRC § 61 and related Code sections);
- Failure to File Penalty (IRC § 6651(a)(1)), Failure to Pay Penalty (IRC § 6651(a)(2)), and Failure to Pay Estimated Tax Penalty (IRC § 6654);
- Civil Actions to Enforce Federal Tax Liens or to Subject Property to Payment of Tax (IRC § 7403);
- Charitable Deductions (IRC § 170);
- Family Status Issues Under IRC §§ 2, 24, 32, and 151; and
- Relief from Joint and Several Liability Under IRC § 6015.
Among these issues, family status and relief from joint and several liability were not on the list last year, replacing the trust fund recovery penalty and the frivolous issues penalty, which both dropped off.
Notably, the Taxpayer Advocate noticed a marked increase (almost 14%) in the number of litigated cases involving issues on her Most Litigated Issues list, indicating that tax litigation is on the rise.
Freeman Law provides guidance and representation in tax litigation matters. Freeman Law has substantial experience representing taxpayers in each of the categories topping the Taxpayer Advocate’s Most Litigated Tax Issues List.
For more tax resources, check out our other Insights, such as A Primer on the Tax Implications of Settlements and Judgments, The Colliot Decision: The Government Loses an FBAR Case that May Change International Reporting Penalties, or Litigating FBAR Penalties: The Burden of Proof and the Meaning of Willfulness.