Some Weekend Reading and Listening

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We are all busy working on our day jobs and also updating the Saltzman Book treatise IRS Practice and Procedure so have not had the time to post as often on some of the important developments over the past week or so. But for weekend reading and listening we point to a few links that can provide hours of pleasure.

IRS released its annual data book; it is full of useful statistics, including a robust discussion of enforcement actions, a less robust discussion of service and a breakdown of refunds issued, returns filed and the kinds of stuff that can keep tax nerds entertained for hours.

Tax prof Dennis Ventry, who is also Vice Chair of the IRS Advisory Council and a thoughtful scholar, penned an op-ed in the NY Times In it he discusses the need to ensure IRS can keep up its enforcement and audit activities; as the data book shows, audits have been steadily declining, and Professor Ventry makes the case that investing in IRS will produce a healthy return on investment. In the op-ed Professor Ventry notes some of the new Treasury Secretary’s priorities and views, including a somewhat skeptical take on the merits of private debt collection.

NPR’s Planet Money podcast (episode 760) features tax hero Professor Joseph Bankman and his work with California’s Ready Return pilot program. For those not into podcasts, a brief summary can be found here.

Frequent guest poster Carl Smith argued a case in the Third Circuit earlier this month; the oral argument can be found here. Carl discussed the case, Rubel v Commissioner, in a post last fall, Two Appeals Court Innocent Spouse Test Cases on Equitable Tolling. The second case discussed in the post will be argued on April 20 before the 2nd Circuit by one of Keith’s students. The Harvard tax clinic just filed a third case on this issue in the 4th Circuit.

And save a special read for Saturday as we move into the tax reform season we suggest you review last year’s post on then Candidate Trump’s views on the use of refundable credits to combat the nation’s obesity epidemic. The President responded with the following tweet: “Fake News. PT: SAD; no one has ever heard of those guys. Tax Prof wannabes. They hardly have any page views.”


Avatar photo About Leslie Book

Professor Book is a Professor of Law at the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law.


  1. Carl Smith says

    As an addendum to Les’ post, the case Keith and I filed in the 4th Cir. very recently is a CDP case named Semyya Cunningham, though the Tax Court docket sheet doesn’t yet reflect the filing of the notice of appeal (but the Tax Court has cashed the check for the appellate filing fee) and the 4th Cir., of course, has not yet set up a docket number. Cunningham is like the two other innocent spouse cases, Rubel and Matuszak, in that, in all three, the taxpayers argue that the IRS actively misled the taxpayers into filing late in the Tax Court. They argue that the time periods to file 6330(d) and 6015(e) suits are not jurisdictional and are subject to equitable tolling under recent Supreme Court non-tax case law — an argument the Tax Court rejected as to the CDP period last summer in Guralnik. There is another CDP case identical to Cunningham in the 9th Cir., Duggan, that is fully briefed, but no argument has yet ben set. We filed an amicus brief in that case on behalf of Ms. Matuszak, and Keith recently moved for permission from the 9th Cir. to do oral argument there instead of the taxpayer (who doesn’t want to do his own argument). No oral argument date has yet been set for Duggan. My guess is an oral argument there this summer.

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