Taxes in New York (TiNY) is a blog by the Hodgson Russ LLP State and Local Tax Practice Group members Chris Doyle, Peter Calleri, and Zoe Peppas. The weekly reports are intended to go out every Tuesday after the New York State Division of Tax Appeals (DTA) publishes new ALJ Determinations and Tribunal Decisions. In addition to the weekly reports, TiNY may provide analysis of and commentary on other developments in the world of New York tax law.

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Posts from January 2024.

There’s only one Determination to analyze from last week, and it involves earned income credits. I don’t have a great love for these types of cases since: (1) they are generally fact-based cases that rarely involve subtle legal issues that require parsing the Tax Law to determine the proper application of the statute, (2) the petitioners often represent themselves resulting in positions that are not properly-framed or argued, (3) most of these cases are resolved based on the burden of proof, and those types of cases either bore or frustrate me; (4) the cost/benefit analysis of litigating these cases is illogical; (5) and I despair for the people who need to rely on earned income credits. The whole area of law just makes me sad.

And then I read this case, and I got a little mad too. Or maybe my emotional state is a Buffalo Bills play-off loss hangover.

I’m trying to get back into my normal rotation again, and the DTA accommodated me by posting four ALJ determinations yesterday. Three are ho-hums, but Time Warner is an interesting study of what happens when the digital economy collides with an analog statute. In a more rational world, the Legislature would recognize that antiquated statutes haven’t kept pace and would pass new laws that more clearly apply to modern transactions. But as my colleagues frequently remind me: “We don’t live in Christopia.”  So, we are stuck with the Division and the courts trying to pound round-peg modern transactions into square-hole legacy laws. The result is an inefficient mess.

I’ve been off the air for a while. I took a vacation abroad that put me behind schedule, and it took until the holidays to dig out. But that wasn’t the only thing that was going on. During my vacation, the DTA issued a determination on one of our cases. As regular readers know, I try to “Joe Friday” the cases in which Hodgson represents the taxpayer. But I found this particular determination so irksome that I couldn’t objectively describe it.  

And I froze-up. Yep, full-on “bloggers block.”  Couldn’t write up a DTA case … for months.

But it’s time to get back on the horse. I am going to cover all the December cases in this edition of TiNY. I don’t plan on going back before then and covering the other cases that fell through the cracks. And the next time I get jammed-up like this, I’m just going to list the determination/decision’s name, indicate it is a Hodgson Russ case and not write it up.

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