Author Archives: Andy Grewal

When IRS Guidance Backfires

by Andy Grewal — Friday, Sept. 7, 2018

This week, the IRS tried to clarify how proposed regulations on state tax credit programs apply to Section 162(a) business deductions. But its attempted clarification has created only more problems. Under the proposed regulations, a taxpayer who makes a transfer to a Section 170(c) organization must reduce her charitable contribution deduction by the amount of any state […]

This entry was tagged .

The New SALT Regulations Need a Few More Sprinkles

by Andy Grewal — Friday, Aug. 24, 2018

After Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, several states adopted a charitable contribution strategy to help their residents avoid the new Section 164 deduction limits for state and local tax payments. Under the strategy, taxpayers would make donations to state-controlled funds and receive state tax credits for those donations. Taxpayers would then use […]

This entry was tagged .

Can Montana Force the IRS to Break the Law?

by Andy Grewal — Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The IRS recently changed the rules on how some tax-exempt organizations must report information related to their “substantial contributors” (that is, those who donate $5,000 or more in a year). This change has sparked a political controversy, fueled by concerns over “dark money” in politics and the Citizens United decision. One state (Montana) has already […]

This entry was tagged .

District Court Adopts Purpose-Based Approach in Emoluments Lawsuit

by Andy Grewal — Thursday, July 26, 2018

This week, a federal district court ruled that a lawsuit brought by D.C. and Maryland under the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses, against President Trump, could proceed. See D.C. v. Trump, 2018 WL 3559027 (D. Md. 2018). The decision is notable because it offers the first extended judicial interpretation of “emolument,” as that term appears […]

This entry was tagged .

The Charitable Contribution Strategy: An Ineffective SALT Substitute

by Andy Grewal — Monday, July 23, 2018

In May, the IRS announced that it would issue regulations addressing state efforts to avoid some new deduction limits enacted under the 2017 tax bill. My prior blog post on the states’ strategy is here. I have also posted my full length article, The Charitable Contribution Strategy: An Ineffective SALT Substitute, on SSRN. Here’s the abstract: The Tax […]

This entry was tagged .

The DOJ Quietly Made Campaign Finance Violations Easier to Prosecute

by Andy Grewal — Thursday, May 3, 2018

My prior post examined the often-overlooked and extremely strict requirements for establishing criminal violations under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Although ignorance of the law usually provides no defense to criminal liability, in FECA, it does. That is, under 52 U.S.C. 30109(d)(1)(A), criminal violations arise only when someone “knowingly and willfully” violates FECA’s requirements. Under the Department […]

This entry was tagged .

Scott Pruitt’s Security Detail–A Tax Problem?

by Andy Grewal — Monday, Apr. 16, 2018

Over at PostEverything, Professors Daniel Hemel and David Herzig argue that Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, “could be in tax trouble on top of his ethical and political problems.” Hemel & Herzig, “Scott Pruitt’s travel could leave him with a big tax bill,” (April 16, 2018). The authors note that Pruitt’s […]

This entry was tagged .

The Supreme Court’s Weird Definition of Tax Obstruction

by Andy Grewal — Monday, Apr. 2, 2018

In Marinello v. United States, 584 U.S. — (2018), the Supreme Court wrestled with whether the federal tax obstruction statute reaches conduct unrelated to an ongoing or contemplated IRS proceeding. Section 7212(a) states, in relevant part, that anyone who “corruptly or by force . . . obstructs or impedes, or endeavors to obstruct or impede […]

This entry was tagged .

Involuntary Rulemaking?

by Andy Grewal — Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018

As the various entries in this Symposium show, agencies enjoy considerable flexibility in determining whether, when, and how to publicly communicate their enforcement priorities and legal interpretations. But sometimes, through statutes like the Freedom of Information Act, an agency may be forced to reveal things that it would otherwise keep out of the public’s eye. For […]

This entry was tagged .

Can States Game the Republican Tax Bill with the Charitable Contribution Strategy?

by Andy Grewal — Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018

As part of the new tax bill, Congress imposed limits on the Section 164 deduction for state and local taxes paid or accrued. Under prior law, taxpayers could generally deduct those taxes without limitation, even when those taxes were personal in nature (that is, when those taxes were not connected to business or investment activities). […]

This entry was tagged .