On Oct. 1, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the government’s petition for writ of certiorari in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., et al., 693 F.3d (6th Cir. 2012), which held that certain severance payments received by employees were not subject to taxation under the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA). The Supreme Court’s decision to grant the government’s petition is not surprising given the split between the Sixth Circuit and the Federal Circuit (CSX Corp. v. United States, 518 F.3d 1328 (Fed. Cir. 2008)), the amount of revenue tied to this issue, and the agreement of the Sixth Circuit and Federal Circuit that “this issue of statutory construction is complex and that the correct resolution of the issue is far from obvious.” For a description of the facts in the case, see FICA Tax on Severance Payments Questioned. For a discussion of the government’s petition, see Federal Government Seeks Supreme Court Review of Quality Stores Decision Excluding Severance Payments from FICA.
McGuireWoods will continue to monitor any developments in this area and keep you informed. For further information on the Quality Stores decision and its impact, please contact either of the authors of this article, Douglas W. Charnas and Jeffrey R. Capwell, or any other member of McGuireWoods’ federal tax controversy and litigation and employee benefits teams.