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Instant Replay, Weak Teams, and Bad Calls: An Empirical Study of Alleged Tax Court Judge Bias
University of Tennessee Law Review (1999)
  • James Edward Maule
This article summarizes and analyzes empirical data collected in an effort to determine if there is underlying justification for allegations that the United States Tax Court is biased against taxpayers. After reviewing the history of the debate as it appears in legal literature, the article describes the Tax Court and its procedures. The article develops a new methodology for dealing with the issue, by abandoning the traditional case-by-case analysis and instead analyzing each issue decided by the Court. Four hundred thirty cases, providing the opportunity for 1,327 issue decisions, were explored to determine the extent to which bias opportunity exists. To measure bias existence, 407 deteminations in the areas of reasonable compensation, estate tax valuation, and charitable contribution valuation were studied. Taxpayer prevalence scores were calculated for each judge and for the Court. The existence of alleged correlation between a judge's taxpayer prevalence score and the judge's background was studied. Other corroborative findings, rebutting the allegations of bias, are discussed. The article concludes that the Tax Court is not biased in favor of the IRS, and might be biased in favor of taxpayers. The article demonstrates that a judge's background does not predict the outcome of issues in terms of taxpayer or IRS prevalence.
Publication Date
August, 1999
Citation Information
James Edward Maule. "Instant Replay, Weak Teams, and Bad Calls: An Empirical Study of Alleged Tax Court Judge Bias" University of Tennessee Law Review (1999)
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