“You Know What I Meant”

In order to determine the income tax consequences of a given transaction, a court must sometimes ascertain the intention of the taxpayers who were parties to the transaction. In making its determination, the court will consider all of the relevant facts and circumstances, including the terms of any written agreement

Form v. Substance

It is a basic precept of the tax law that the substance of a transaction, rather than its form, should determine its tax consequences when the form of the transaction does not coincide with its economic reality. This substance-over-form argument is a powerful tool in the hands of a taxing authority.

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