Methvin v. Commissioner: A Decision Worth Watching

Date
2016-08-12
Authors
Harl, Neil
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Abstract

A very brief decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on June 24, 2016, Methvin v. Commissioner,1 bears watching, not because it affects, directly, the agricultural sector, but because of what it likely portends. The case involved liability for self-employment tax for investors who are not partners in a partnership but were swept up by the language of the Internal Revenue Code defining a “partnership and partner” as including “. . .a syndicate, group, pool, joint venture, or other unincorporated organization, through or by means of which any business, financial operation, or venture is carried on, and which is not, within the meaning of this title, a trust or estate or a corporation; and the term ‘partner’ includes a member in such a syndicate, group, pool, joint venture, or organization.”2 That language effectively disregards the meaning of those terms under state law, as proved to be the case in the Methvin case.

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