It's Time for the Supreme Court to Review the Economic Substance Doctrine

Andy Grewal, University of Iowa College of Law


In United States v. Woods, this writer submitted an amicus brief arguing that the Supreme Court should reserve its judgment about the economic substance doctrine, which the district court had applied below. The Supreme Court agreed with that argument, expressly leaving its opinion about the proper application of the economic substance doctrine to a future case.

That future case has arrived. This amicus brief, supporting the taxpayer’s petition in WFC Holdings v. United States, explains why this case presents the perfect opportunity for the Court to explain what weight, if any, legislative enactments enjoy in deciding economic substance cases. Although this brief is directed to the Justices, it should appeal to anyone who follows developments related to the economic substance doctrine.