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April 22, 2008

leaseinleaseout.jpgA Cincinnati jury didn't buy the LILO tax shelter. The jury ruled Friday that Fifth Third Bancorporation wasn't entitled to deductions arising from a sale-leaseback of rail cars in the foreign countries of France, Germany and Massachusetts.* A Justice department press release said that this was "the first large, complex corporate tax shelter case tried by a jury."

More from the press release:

"The success in this case is due to the great teamwork by lawyers from both the Justice Department's Tax Division and our IRS Office of Chief Counsel," said IRS Chief Counsel Don Korb. "This is just the beginning of the enhanced collaboration between the Tax Division and the Office of Chief Counsel in litigating cases. This enhanced collaboration will be more and more evident in the coming months, and will, I believe, significantly increase the government's effectiveness in combating tax sheltering activity like the LILOs at issue in this case."

Given that the verdict disallowed $5.6 million in tax refunds, an appeal by Fifth Third wouldn't be surprising.

The TaxProf has more.

*Yes, technically speaking, Massachusetts isn't a foreign country, even though it is much too hard to spell.

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