Tax strategies don't just come from nowhere. They arise out of necessity and typically are reactive, constructed as work-arounds to avoid certain tax pitfalls or to meet certain rules. Viewed from this perspective and appropriate to the start of a New Year, we offer our list of the Top 10 tax developments of 2006 that will shape tax strategies in 2007.* No. 1: The IRS's use of the economic substance doctrine. Under the economic substance doctrine as adroitly used by the Internal Revenue Service Chief Counsel's Office in the Coltec case, Black & Decker and other tax-shelter-related litigation, a tax strategy can conform to the letter of the Revenue Code, yet fail to win the desired result.
This happens because the underlying transaction is without economic substance. The courts lately have been reading into each grant of any business-related deduction, credit or other tax benefit the underlying intention of Congress that it is done for some market-driven purpose, rather than solely for tax savings.
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