Shaping the Law

   Mark has demonstrated repeatedly that beyond technical competence, he sees opportunities to shape law to make it fairer to taxpayers.  The following examples achieved successful results and are frequently cited in case books and treatises on applicable law:

  • In Scar v Commissioner, 814 F.2d 1363, the IRS issued a notice to Mark’s clients determining a deficiency based on a tax shelter in which the clients did not participate. The IRS also assumed the highest tax bracket because the they did not have a copy of the taxpayers’ income tax return available to see that they were not in that tax shelter and not in the highest tax bracket.
  • Mark filed a petition in the Tax Court and challenged the validity of the notice on then-novel grounds.  Although the Tax Court agreed with the IRS, the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with Mark, reversed the Tax Court and threw the IRS out of court. The case was featured in the Wall Street Journal twice and is now part of most textbooks and treatises dealing with Federal Tax Procedure.
  • In U.S. v. Energy Resources, 110 S.Ct. 2139, Mark wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court arguing in favor of the debtors’ ability to allocate how money paid to the IRS in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan should be divided among different tax debts.  

The taxpayers prevailed, and lead counsel for the debtors in that case wrote:
“…If I did not say so before, let me add that your amicus brief and savvy ideas were quite valuable…”   and, “I also want to compliment you on your briefs to the 9th Circuit Court and the Supreme Court.  I thought that your return to first principles on the designation issue was imaginative and persuasive.”

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