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Tax Research Project

Briefly describe which court is hearing each case.

Estate of Elkins v. Comm’r, 767 F.3d 443

The United States Tax Court is the court hearing the case of the Estate of Elkins against the commissioner of international revenue (WIENER, 2018 Pg.4). The case was petitioned at this court to re-examine and in the end scrap off the deficiency in the federal tax evaluated against the estate by the appellee who is the respondent. The Tax Court is a forum for prepaid services. This means that the taxpayers can get assistance from the Tax Court without the need to offer the disputed tax in advance. It has authority over several concerns, including actions of declaratory verdicts, appeals from collection due process cases, and employment status determination.

Estate of Jackson v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo 2021-48

The Jackson against the commissioner of international revenue is tax-related litigation, and therefore, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Tax Court (HOLMES, 2021 Pg. 6). The procedures of the court, the extent of the burden of proof and the managing precedent all qualifies it to be heard by the Tax Court. The Jackson’s case can be attributed to the Tax Court because they can litigate without incurring tax upfront. All they need to do is petition the case within ninety days once the Notice of Deficiency has been offered.

Cavallaro v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo 2019-144

Similarly, the case of Cavallaro against the commission is heard at the Tax Court. This is because there is an issue of Cavallaro bearing the burden of proof to ascertain the right value of the tax liability (GUSTAFSON, 2019 Pg. 5). The case also qualifies for the Tax Court because Cavallaro as the taxpayer, does not have to pay the amount evaluated against him. This fact stands even if he cannot provide proof for the right amount of tax he owes.

Briefly describe the background of each case and outline the main issue that the court is dealing with.

Estate of Elkins v. Comm’r, 767 F.3d 443

Decent and his wife acquired both real and personal property throughout their marriage. Among their acquisitions were real estates, sixty-four artworks, racehorses, and interest-generating businesses. He and his wife made inter vivos GRIT (Grantor retained income trust) bearing the name of their interest, which was half each of 3 of the sixty-four works. After the demise of his wife, her fifty percent was shared among their three children. Under the will by his wife, he owns another 23.05 percent of the remaining works relinquishing the remaining 26.94 percent to their children so that at the point of his death, he had a total of 73. 05 percent interest (WIENER, 2018 Pg.4). Decent and his children subjected their interest to a number of restraints on alienation, partition, and possession. Also, Decent and his children restricted all the 61-art works using a cotenants agreement. Among the various concerns, it stipulated that the co-owners right of ownership for particular days in any period of a year. The prohibition against selling interest of any artwork by a co-owner without earlier permission from other owners. The main issue that the court is dealing with in this case is to determine the taxable value for the interest of the 64 artworks of personal and business property that is collectively owned by the Decedent’s family.

Estate of Jackson v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo 2021-48

Michael died with no drafted will to settle various legal issues. The items of value in his name included Jackson’s image as a brand, his New Horizon Trust interest which he owned Sony, the company for publishing music, other interests in the third new horizon and the music catalog of the publisher which Michael Jackson wrote with the songs (HOLMES, 2021 Pg. 34). After his death the evaluation done indicated a very big variation between the values provided by the estate and the value computed by the International Revenue Service (IRS). The main issue that the court is dealing with is the conflict over determining the market value of Jackson’s intangible personal property, including His title and prestige, and two other interest-holding trusts in music catalog and music publishing firm.

Cavallaro v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo 2019-144

In 1979 Cavallaro and his wife integrated their knight tool company, contract manufacturer, and machine shop, with Mr. Cavallaro owning forty-nine percent of the knights stock and fifty-one percent of his wife’s (GUSTAFSON, 2019 Pg. 5). In 1994, Ernest and Young, Cavallaros’ accountants examined the situation of Camelot and Cavallaro’s Knight. Lawrence, one of the accountants, recommended joining the two companies. In such a merger, he estimated that the larger part of the shares would be offered to Patti and Bill of Camelot. Dorr and Hale, however, thought that Cavallaros had the bigger potion of the intangible property. Eventually, after the merger, Cavallaro and his wife received the bigger part of the shares. The main issue the court is dealing with in this case is the examination of gift tax in gift tax liabilities.

Briefly discuss why, how, and when the court may use the opinion of Experts.

The court may utilize an expert’s opinion because of a lack of practical evidence in a case to decide upon the secure implications of the path of action. It is careless, however, to apply experts’ opinion when the collected evidence contradicts the offered opinion. At a point where the court is provided with expert opinion and empirical evidence, the court should make verdicts relying on the empirical evidence. This is because factual evidence is usually prioritized over the opinions of experts. The opinion of expert is used by formally acknowledging a witness in the court as a person with experience in the field that relates to the needed opinion. The role of the expert is not to establish significant facts to the case but offers the court a particular imperative explanation and specific information over the facts. This aids in evaluating the evidence amassed from the perspective of the expert. Therefore not acceptable to invite an expert to draft an opinion on provisions of law interpretations. Expert opinion is used when there is no or less factual evidence. The opinion only becomes acceptable when the expert has been evaluated as a witness to a proceeding in a court. Their opinion also does not count without concrete reasons to support their evidence. An examination is done by cross-evaluation by the negating party.

Briefly outline what each taxpayer’s expert said and what the IRS experts said.

In the case of the Estate of Elkins versus the IRS, the taxpayer expert said that only 62 pieces of artwork were restricted by the agreement they were covered with. They suggested that the code section provided by law had no influence on the cotenant’s agreement (WIENER, 2018 Pg.4). That means that the disposal of cotenants’ fractional interests was not restricted in the work. It was therefore, not the artwork itself but the fractional interests of Elkins’ that needed to be estimated for tax purposes. They made no response to the work of art that was rented out. On the other hand, the IRS argued that there was no warranted discount for the 64 artworks for Decedent’s interest because the constraints on disposal in the agreement of the cotenants and the lease had to be overlooked under section 2703(a)(2). It also added that holders of fractional interest were not allowed for any discount for their returns since the effective market in which to ascertain the market value of fractional returns in the artworks was the market in which the whole market was usually disposed at market value.

For the case of Estate of Jackson v. Comm’r, the taxpayer’s expert said that it was prudent for Roesler and Fishman to look back for more than thirty years before Jackson’s death (HOLMES, 2021 Pg. 64). That way, they could ascertain that even though Jackson was well known he could not promote his likeness and image in the last period of his life. They also said they were contented with Roesler’s projection of Jackson’s revenue. The IRS experts said they were against Anson’s evaluation because it was fantasy. That Anson valued the wrong property, he did not value image and likeness as expected. They also argued that Anson included revenue that was not foreseeable at the time of Jackson’s demise.

Lastly, for Cavallaro v. Commissioner’s case, Mr. Cavallaro and his wife presented two expert reports with distinct but reconcilable analyses (GUSTAFSON, 2019 Pg. 7). In the first expert report said that the worth of the merged company was of value around seventy and seventy-five million dollars and that thirteen to fifteen million dollars could be entitled to the knight. They also provided the 1996 report as proof that they obtained a thorough valuation. Their next taxpayer’s expert opinion was by Mr. Murphy. His report highlighted comparable between the company for knight and the recently made joint company. Murphy mentioned in his statement that no better company could be compared to Camelot, and therefore he did not value it as a separate company instead, he found that the value of knight before the merger subtracted from Camelot’s value after the merger resulted to the value of Camelot before the merger.

The commissioner’s expert, on the other hand, accepted that the value of gifts is below the determined in the deficiency notices (GUSTAFSON, 2019 Pg. 8). Also, Mr. Bello, an opinion expert for the commissioner pointed out that to display the Camelot’s strategy of bigger profitability and premium pricing for the date of valuation he had to make adjustments. The commissioner also agreed that taxable gifts amounted to 29.6 million dollars, not forty-six million. The commissioner allowance also shifted the burden of proof to the petitioners. Additionally, the commissioner expert affirms that section 6662(a) precision-related fifty penalties were not evaluated in the deficiency’s notice, unlike the surmounted tax for missing to file on time, and hence it comprises a new matter and bears the burden of proof that applies to such penalties.


WIENER, C. J. (2018, September 15). Estate of Elkins v. Comm’r. Legal research tools from Casetext. Retrieved December 3, 2022, from

HOLMES, J. (2021, May 3). Jackson v. Comm’r. Legal research tools from Casetext. Retrieved December 3, 2022, from

GUSTAFSON, J. (2019, October 24). Cavallaro v. Comm’r. Legal research tools from Casetext. Retrieved December 3, 2022, from


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