Camp, Bryan T.
MetadataShow full item record
In every era and area of law you find a never-ending battle between two groups of legal thinkers: formalists and functionalists. Each is connected to long-standing and honorable traditions in Anglo- American jurisprudence. The formalists tend toward the law side of those traditions - the search for order and certainty - and the functionalists tend toward the equity side - the search for justice and meaning. All can agree that there is a time and a place for each mode of analysis, but the devil is in the details. Thus, the never-ending battle. This column lingers once again in that part of the tax administration forest where grows the tangle of doctrines over what constitutes a return. Part I starts by putting the issue in its current statutory context. Part II puts the issue into its historical tax administration context. Part III explains the functional approach of Rev. Rul. 74-203. Part IV looks at the formalist foreshadowing of Rev. Rul. 2005-59 which threatens a return to the formalist-only approach.