Bryan T. Camp

PRO

George H. Mahon Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law

The Mysteries of Erroneous Refunds

I love my yearly tax refund. I know I’m not supposed to, but I do. Theorists argue that my refund represents an interest-free loan to the government and I am supposed to resent that for reasons grounded in the obsessive individualism of our culture. But even accepting the argument’s premise, ...

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Today’s column discusses the Tax Court’s jurisdiction to hear stand-alone petitions from taxpayers who have been denied equitable relief under section 6015(f), one of the three spousal relief provisions contained in section 6015. Congress enacted section 6015 in the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) ...

A Brief Analysis of Governor Palin’s Tax Returns for 2006 and 2007

The release of an opinion letter by attorney Roger M. Olsen dated September 30, 2008, has stirred up the pot once again about the accuracy of Sarah and Todd Palin’s 2006 and 2007 tax returns. Not only that, but Mr. Olsen’s letter raises a couple of new issues.

This paper focuses ...

What Good Is The National Taxpayer Advocate?

Bryan Camp and George H. Mahon

Have you read the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2009 Annual Report? You know, the yearly 800-page compendium listing the 20 most serious taxpayer problems, recommending legislative changes, and reporting the most litigated tax issues? I thought not. Frankly, neither have I. But I will: it’s ...

Tax Return Preparer Fraud and the Assessment Limitation Period

I have a confession: I can’t spell. Not that you can tell from my columns, where I successfully hide behind the spell-check function and the good efforts of Tax Analysts’ editors. How bad am I? Well, in sixth grade I won the English prize, but instead of the usual plaque, ...

The Never-Ending Battle

In every era and area of law you find a never-ending battle between two groups of legal thinkers: formalists and functionalists. Each is connected to long-standing and honorable traditions in Anglo-American jurisprudence. The formalists tend toward the law side of those traditions the search for order and certainty and the ...

Interpreting Statutory Silence

Like fences, the statutes in subtitle F of the code define the operational area in which the IRS administers the tax laws. Statutory words — like pickets — place important boundaries on IRS action. Statutory silence — the spaces surrounding the words — can be just as important in understanding ...

The Play’s the Thing: A Theory of Taxing Virtual Worlds

Introduction

Taxation is shadow life. As our culture monetizes more and more life activities, the shadow grows. This Article looks at the potential tax issues arising from a new life activity: online role-playing games in virtual worlds. Currently, some thirty million people regularly play such games and the number is growing.[1] ...

The Unhappy Marriage of Law and Equity in Joint Return Liability

It is no accident that Justice Holmes penned those words in a tax case. Of all the corners in all the laws governing citizen interaction with government, tax laws contain some of the squarest. Today’s column discusses what happens when Congress attempts to smooth out the sharp corners of the ...

Theory and Practice in Tax Administration

Good articles deserve to be read. Great ones deserve to be re-read. What Mortimer Caplin wrote some forty-five years ago deserves our renewed attention for the value it adds to the theory of tax administration. The insights and observations of a subtle intellect about his experience as Commissioner of the ...

The Failure of Adversarial Process in the Administrative State

INTRODUCTION

“Distrust of the bureaucracy is surely one reason for the clamor for adversary proceedings in the United States.”[1]

In a series of hearings in 1997 and 1998, Congress heard allegations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS or “Service”) abused taxpayers during the process of collecting taxes.[2] The resulting distrust of the ...

Protecting Trust Assets From the Federal Tax Lien

I. INTRODUCTION

One common issue facing those who create trusts is how to protect beneficiaries from creditors. One of the biggest, worst creditors out there is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS or Service), wielding two weapons of mass collection: the federal tax lien and the federal tax levy. These weapons regularly ...

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