Bryan T. Camp, a professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law, and Elizabeth A. Copeland, a partner in Strasburger Price Oppenheimer Blend in San Antonio, were among 10 nominees for the 2012 Tax Person of the Year named by Tax Analysts Inc. in the Jan. 7 issue of Tax Notes.
“It is an honor,” says Camp (pictured), the only academic on the list, which also included Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and others in law, business and government.
As noted in Tax Notes, Tax Analysts recognized the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center as the Person of the Year for its report examining Romney’s tax proposals.
Camp says he was a co-author of a brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court when it was considering National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which challenged the individual mandate to buy health insurance included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the PPAC, a penalty can be assessed against those who do not obtain the insurance. In their amicus curiae brief, Camp and his co-authors urged the court to apply the Anti-Injunction Act to bar the suit against PPAC. However, the high court majority decided that the AIA’s Section 7421 did not bar federal courts from hearing a challenge to what Congress called a penalty in the PPAC.
Camp says he also wrote a critique of the court’s decision in National Federation. In his “Jesus and the Anti-Injunction Act,” Camp wrote that “by ignoring the purpose of the AIA, the Court’s literalist opinion becomes mischievous for future litigation.”
Tax Analysts recognized Coleman for being “a major force in ensuring that financially strapped Texans no longer have to face Tax Court calendar calls without the guidance of a lawyer.”
Coleman says that in 2008, while the chairwoman of the State Bar of Texas Section of Taxation’s Pro Bono Committee, she helped form a statewide bar-sponsored pro bono program that provides attorneys to advise taxpayers who appear for the calendar calls of the U.S. Tax Court in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Lubbock. She says the program provides an attorney for a day to a instruct a taxpayer involved in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service on how to present evidence, how to bring witnesses and how to talk to the judge.
In 2012, the program assisted more than 70 taxpayers in 30 separate calendar calls, Coleman says. “It’s probably been, of all the programs in the country, the most successful,” she says, noting that the American Bar Association Tax Section has adopted the Texas forms and rules to share with other bar groups.
Coleman, a 1992 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, says she served as an attorney adviser to U.S. Tax Court Judge Mary Ann Cohen from 1992-1993. She is currently the chairwoman-elect of the State Bar’s tax section.
— Mary Alice Robbins
Robbins is an Austin-based freelance writer and a former Texas Lawyer senior reporter.