Every year, tax courts hear more than 600 federal tax cases, mostly by the U.S. Tax Court. The vast majority are trial court decisions, again, mostly from the U.S. Tax Court, but also district courts throughout the U.S.
Independent of the IRS, the court hears cases relating to income, estate, and gift tax and its rulings can be used as precedent for better interpreting the laws. It practically can provide a roadmap as to what the judges are looking for in defense of a taxpayer’s claim or position.
Among the Tax Court decisions, most are memorandum and summary opinions focused on figuring out facts so practitioners can apply the proper law. Annually, we might see fewer than 50 regular Tax Court decisions involving a new interpretation of the tax law. But this still leaves a lot of potentially significant cases in attempting to identify the top 10federal tax cases dating back to the start of our modern income tax in 1913.
Which are the most significant? That all depends on you and what you are trying to learn from each case. When it comes to tax planning, read on to learn about the top 10 cases of all time.