Terri Merriam


PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS


Terri has over 25 years’ experience in federal tax planning and controversy.  Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Merriam was a Trial Attorney at the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service for approximately 10 years where she was an experienced and successful litigator.  At the Service, Terri was responsible for preparing all aspects of complex income tax cases for trial.  This included first chair responsibilities in over 200 motion and trial proceedings. 

While at the Office of Chief Counsel, Terri advised the Service on a variety of multi-million dollar cases, including Puerto Rican tax credits, insurance, and accounting issues.  While there, Terri developed a specialty in producer owned reinsurance companies advising agents across the nation about the issues.  The expertise began with Wright v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1993-328, aff'd 73 F.3d 372 (9th Cir. 1995), the case that set the precedent concerning acceptable practices in the producer owned reinsurance company industry.  After Wright, Terri continued to advise and litigate producer insurance issues including Hinshaw's Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1994-327, this concerned the timing when gross income from the sale of vehicle service contracts had to be taken into income and amortization of insurance payments.

Terri left the Office of Chief Counsel in 1997 and in the years after that, Terri has advised clients regarding international and insurance tax issues, focusing on issues concerning captive insurance and producer-owned insurance companies.  She has successfully defended numerous producers and other parties to reinsurance transactions in IRS audits.

She is also a frequent lecturer on international and insurance tax issues.  Terri's tax controversy practice includes representation at all stages of the process, including during audit, appeal, investigation, collection, and litigation in Tax Court, District Court and the Appellate Courts. 

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Tax controversy, litigation and planning
Reinsurance - Offshore and Domestic

BAR ADMISSIONS

U.S. District Court Western District of Washington, 1987
U.S. Tax Court, 1987
Washington, 1987
U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1998
U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1999
U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 2003
U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit, 2005
U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, 2011

PAST EMPLOYMENT

Office of Chief Counsel, IRS, Trial Attorney, 1987 - 1997

EDUCATION

University of Washington School of Law, Seattle, Washington
J.D. - May, 1987


Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington
B.A., Bachelor of Arts cum laude - May, 1983
Honors: Dean's List

REPRESENTATIVE PUBLISHED CASES

Wright v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1992-344, aff'd 73 F.3d 372 (9th Cir. 1995), While at the IRS Counsel’s office, Terri convinced the United States Tax Court that purported reinsurance transactions were fraudulent. This case now sets the standard for what not to do in a producer owned reinsurance company.
Stevedoring Services of America v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1997-160, While with Counsel’s office, Terri convinced the Tax Court that the taxpayer was not allowed to deduct amounts paid to a related offshore insurance company under I.R.C. section 162.
Hinshaw's Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1994-327, While still with Counsel’s office, Terri convinced the Tax Court that amounts collected by automobile dealerships for vehicle service contracts must be included as income in the year of receipt. The court further determined that payments made to third-parties for insurance was to be amortized over the life of the vehicle service contracts.
Keller v. Commissioner, 556 F.3d 1056 (9th Cir. 2009), Now in private practice, Terri convinced the Ninth Circuit that the IRS could not impose a 40% overvaluation penalty
Owen v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2005-115, After the Internal Revenue Service conceded that Terri's client Mrs. Owen was entitled to innocent spouse relief under I.R.C. section 6015(c), Terri convinced the Tax Court that the Service’s position was not substantially justified and awarded attorney fees and costs.
Foy v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2005-116 , After the Internal Revenue Service conceded that Mrs. Foy was entitled to innocent spouse relief under I.R.C. section 6015(c), the Tax Court further held that the Service’s position was not substantially justified and awarded attorney fees and costs.
Bulger v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2005-147, After the Internal Revenue Service conceded that Terri's client, Mrs. Bulger was entitled to innocent spouse relief under I.R.C. section 6015(c), Terri convinced the Tax Court that the Service’s position was not substantially justified and awarded attorney fees and costs.
Dale v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2012-146, After the Internal Revenue Service conceded that Terri's client Mr. Dale was entitled to innocent spouse relief under I.R.C. section 6015(c), Terri convinced the Tax Court that he Service’s position was not substantially justified and awarded attorney fees and costs.
River City Ranches #1, et al. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2007-171, Terri, along with Monty Cobb convinced the Tax Court found that the Internal Revenue Service could not rely on statute extensions signed by the Tax Matters Partner, where the IRS knew that the Tax Matters Partner was violating his fiduciary duties to the individual partners.
River City Ranches #1, et al. v. Commissioner, 401 F.3d 1136 (9th Cir. 2005), The Ninth Circuit found that the Tax Court had jurisdiction to make factual findings as to whether the partnerships' transactions were tax-motivated for purposes of imposing section 6621(c) penalty-interest against investor-partners. Terri and Monty Cobb convinced the Ninth Circuit that held that the partnerships were entitled to discovery of the IRS’ central Hoyt files to find out the facts concerning Hoyt's interests in his dealings with respondent and what respondent knew about Hoyt's interests and his treatment of the partners' interests. (9th Cir. 2005)
Ertz v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2007-15, Terri convinced the Tax Court determined that the taxpayer had not had a previous opportunity to be heard. Therefore, the Court has jurisdiction under I.R.C. section 6330(d) to review the underlying tax liability in a collection due process proceeding.

River City Ranches #1, et al. v. Commissioner, 313 Fed.Appx. 935 (9th Cir. 2009)
Hansen v. Commissioner, 471 F.3d 1021 (9th Cir. 2006).
Mortensen v. Commissioner, 440 F.3d 375 (6th Cir. 2006)
Van Scoten v. Commissioner, 439 F.3d 1243 (10th Cir. 2006)
Mekulsia v. Commissioner, 389 F. 3d 601 (6th Cir. 2004)
Abelein, et al. v. United States, 323 F.3d 1210 (9th Cir. 2003)
Cameron v. Commissioner, 98 T.C. 123 (1992)
Malsom v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2010-231
McIntyre v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2010-273
Hay v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2009-265
Capehart v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2007-73.
Keller v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2006-131
Pope & Talbot, Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1997-1399
Pope & Talbot, Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1997-116
Klukwan, Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1994-402
Davis v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1991-333
Kahle v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1991-203
Gleason v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1990-110
Cook v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1991-541
Gorman v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1990-136
Martinez v. Commissioner, T. C. Memo 1990-112
Sutherland v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1990-19
Martinez v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1989-649
Ash V. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1989-367