Law360 Speaks to Elizabeth Stevens About Retiring Tax Court Judge Robert Wherry
Senior Judge Robert A. Wherry Jr. of the U.S. Tax Court retired Jan. 1 after serving nearly 15 years on the court, during which he authored major rulings touching on judicial deference to the IRS and abusive tax shelters.
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Judge Wherry penned multiple important rulings in the tax shelter area. For example, a series of related cases involved an alleged tax shelter scheme devised by former Seyfarth Shaw LLP partner John E. Rogers and promoted through a company called Sugarloaf Fund LLC. Judge Wherry found that the complex web of trusts and companies at issue was a sham arranged to illegally lower customers’ taxable income using distressed Brazilian debt.
“Sugarloaf and its progeny involve iterations of a tax shelter that has since been shut down,” said Elizabeth J. Stevens, an associate at Caplin & Drysdale who also served as a law clerk to Judge Wherry. “They are illustrative of Judge Wherry’s judicial career, in that he has tried and issued T.C. opinions in a fair number of cases involving partnership tax shelters to which the economic substance and/or step transaction doctrines were applied.”
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Excerpt taken from the article “Retired Tax Court Judge Leaves Legacy On Deference, Shams” by Amy Lee Rosen for Law360.