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Tax Blawg

Tax Talk for Tax Pros

Introduction

Welcome to TaxBlawg, a resource for news and analysis of current legal issues facing tax practitioners. Although blawg.com identifies nearly 1,400 active “blawgs,” including 20+ blawgs related to taxation and estate planning, the needs of tax professionals have received surprisingly little attention. The Wall Street Journal's Tax Blog gives “tips and advice for filers,” and Paul Caron’s legendary TaxProf Blog is an excellent clearinghouse for academic and policy-oriented news. Yet, tax practitioners still lack a dedicated resource to call their own. For those intrepid souls, we offer TaxBlawg, a forum of tax talk for tax pros.

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Who's Afraid of the APA?: The Application Of Administrative Law To Tax Regulations

The Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research v. United States means that tax practitioners must be more sensitive to administrative law and judicial deference to administrative rules.  This includes gaining some familiarity with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the major cases that deal with judicial deference to administrative action, starting with Chevron USA Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc.  While the Supreme Court spends a lot more time considering issues of administrative law rather than tax law, the many decisions don’t result in a clear set of rules as to how courts are to treat administrative pronouncements.

In “Who's Afraid of the APA?,” I identify the important issues in the application of general rules of administrative law to tax regulations.  The discussion should help tax practitioners identify the issues that are raised when the validity of an IRS pronouncement is open to question.  Further guidance may be available when the Supreme Court hands down its decision in Home Concrete & Supply LLC v. United States, which was argued before the Supreme Court in January.  This article appeared in 134 Tax Notes 825 (Feb. 13, 2012).