A case currently before the Supreme Court, Charles Moore, G. Moore et ux. v. United States , has the court looking at some of the fundamentals of the Constitution’s treatment of taxation. Advocates of various views are hoping for an earthshaking result. Also, many “tax protester” arguments base themselves on misreading of Supreme Court decisions from around the time of the 16th Amendment. Knowing a fuller version of what surrounds the snippets they feed you probably won’t help you bring them around if they have drunk deep of the tax protester Kool-Aid, but it will help you maintain your own sanity. Let’s start with what the Moore case is about.
Tax shelters offered high income taxpayers an easy way to reduce and even eliminate federal income taxes at the individual level. The growing tax avoidance schemes, many questionable in nature, threatened to collapse the U.S. tax system. Hence the need for tax reform and the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA). New rules cannot keep a tax professional down. Real estate was once again the favorite tool for reducing taxes. Enter cost segregation. Couple that with bonus depreciation and the automatic change of accounting method using Form 3115 , and you have a recipe for serious tax reduction. The tax shelters of the 1970s were often questionable. Cost segregation is still a valid way to accelerate deductions for income property owners. But none of that compares to the tax benefits available under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the IRA).