(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Friday, December 06, 2002

Supreme Court

First case on the docket next week is Boeing Co. v. U.S.. It's a tax case. The case is apparently worth more than $400 million to Boeing, in a tax refund that it will get if successful. Cynical note: Maybe the government should invoke the "war on terrorism" defense – after all, if invoking the "war" is good enough reason to deny a total of billion dollars or so in expected raises to thousands upon thousands of government employees (as the President decided, the other day), maybe the "war" is likewise a good enough reason to deny about 2/5 of that amount to a single corporation. Yes, I recognize that tax law doesn't work that way. Neither should the federal government's employment policies, especially in light of the Administration's tax policies, which are costing lots lots more than that now-denied raise. But I digress.

I will now let you in on a secret about myself: I know absolutely nothing about corporate taxation. And another secret: I don't really care very much. So, for the first time all Term, I am not even going to spend the time necessary to figure out what the issue is, much less how it will probably come out. If you want to read up on it yourself – a course of action that I don't recommend unless you’re a tax lawyer or a law student taking Tax – here's (pdf) the Ninth Circuit's decision, and here's the government's brief.

How do you predict an outcome when you don't understand the issues? Easy: you say "pro- reversal is the fact that it's the Ninth Circuit, plus the Supreme Court reverses most cases on which it grants cert. Pro-affirmance on the other hand, is that the federal government won below, and the federal government wins more often than not." Add them up, and I come out weakly saying "REVERSE". My apologies to all of those who are interested in the minutiae of the law of corporate taxation.

posted by sam 11:43 AM 0 comments


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