If the decision is not stipulated, is the Tax Court required to issue an opinion giving its reasons for the decision?
What about Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a), which says that if a judgment is based on fact without a jury, the court has to issue a finding of fact and conclusions of law, unless there is a motion for summary judgment or for judgment on the pleadings?
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Surprisingly, no. This is especially the case for smaller matters within a larger overall case. In those situations, as well as sometimes for the whole case, a summary disposition may be sufficient, particularly if it is immediately obvious why the court ruled the way that it did (ie. failure to state a claim, default by one party, etc.) I'd be a bit surprised if there isn't SOME rationale given in the decision (in case of appeal)--such as by citing to a Tax Court rule that explains the decision, but sometimes one or a few sentences are sufficient to dispose of a case or issue.
Douglas Lloyd is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Answers provided on Avvo are intended for informational purposes only; they are not intended as legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. The material is presented with the understanding and agreement that I am not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services by posting it.
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To address your question about Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a), practice and procedure before the Tax Court is governed by the "Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure", not the FRCP rules you asked about. In general, Tax Court Rule 152(a) allows the Judge to issue an oral opinion if the Judge is satisfied with the factual conclusions reached and the applicable law is clear.