October 23, 2019

October 22, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

October 21, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Case Involving Auer Deference

On October 28, 2016, the US Supreme Court (Supreme Court) granted certiorari in the case of Gloucester County Sch. Bd. V. G.G., No. 16-273, which involves a dispute as to whether an unpublished letter by a Department of Education (Department) official purporting to interpret the agency’s regulatory interpretation relating to discrimination on the basis of sex is entitled to Auer deference. The petition for writ of certiorari specifically asked the Court to consider three questions: (1) whether the Court should retain the Auer doctrine; (2) if Auer is retained, whether deference extends to the unpublished agency letter; and (3) with or without deference, whether the Department’s interpretation of its own regulation should be given effect. The Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari was limited to Questions 2 and 3 presented by the petition.

We have previously discussed Auer deference in the tax context here and here. Although the Supreme Court has declined to address whether the Auer doctrine should be retained, it will be interesting to see if the Court follows its recent opinions in this area and further curtails the application of the doctrine given the unpublished form in which the Department’s interpretation was rendered in the Gloucester County case. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has taken the position in prior litigation that interpretations in unpublished IRS guidance are eligible for Auer deference. The Tax Court, on the other hand, has indicated that to be entitled to Auer deference an IRS pronouncement must be issued in published form so that taxpayers are aware of such guidance in preparing their tax returns.

© 2019 McDermott Will & Emery

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Andrew R. Roberson tax attorney McDermott Will. Andy handles tax cases in Federal court, United States Tax Court
Partner

Andrew R. Roberson is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Chicago office.  Andy specializes in tax controversy and litigation matters, and has been involved in over 30 matters at all levels of the Federal court system, including the United States Tax Court, several US Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court. 

Andy also represents clients, including participants in the CAP program, before the Internal Revenue Service Examination Division and Appeals Office, and has been successful in settling...

312-984-2732
M Miller Baker, Appellate Law, McDermott Will and Emery Law Firm
Partner

M. Miller Baker is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Washington, D.C., office.  Miller co-heads the Firm’s Appellate Practice group, and focuses his practice on appellate and constitutional litigation. 

202-756-8233