Beyond the utility of actual “credit,” the most important perk cardholders seek to capitalize on are the rewards that each cardholder’s particular credit card offers. Cardholders look for the most bang for their buck in terms of rewards and points. Ranging from frequent flyer miles to cash back to everything in between, rewards programs have expanded and diversified rapidly over the past several decades, and consumers cannot get enough. So much so that the question of whether, and when, consumer loyalty rewards should be taxable has arisen and persists today. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Tax Court have been presented with opportunities to address the taxability of what appears to be “clear accessions to wealth,” and thus taxable gross income. Yet, the Tax Court and the IRS have both failed to make the first move to end this deferential dance, as each body believes its counterparty to be responsible. Whose responsibility is it? Will the taxman finally prevail in this arena, or will cardholders, even scheming cardholders, continue to take the money and run? This Note examines the Tax Court’s most recent consumer loyalty rewards case, Anikeev, and the question of which governmental entity has the onus to make the first move to settle this enduring tax question.
"Stay Schemin’: Tax Court’s Recent Ruling on Credit Card Rewards and the Impact this Ruling Has on Future Rewards Programs,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 57:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol57/iss2/8