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Global Tax 50 2016: Kathleen Kerrigan

Judge, US Tax Court

Kathleen Kerrigan

Kathleen Kerrigan is a new entry this year

US Tax Court Judge Kathleen Kerrigan has made it in this year's Global Tax 50 for her ruling in the Medtronic case, one of 2016's most significant transfer pricing judgments.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accused Medtronic, a US-based manufacturer of medical devices, of owing US taxes from its Puerto Rico operations. In a 144-page ruling, Kerrigan said that the IRS's transfer pricing adjustments, amounting to almost $1.4 billion for the tax years 2005 and 2006, were "arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable".

The decade-long dispute was over whether Medtronic's Puerto Rico operations were an autonomous manufacturer, or, as the IRS claimed, playing a minor role in the process of developing and manufacturing products. Medtronic argued that its Puerto Rican operations contributed to the design process, had a role in the product development, and bore market risks.

"Interestingly, the taxpayer and the IRS had reached an agreement on the royalty rates in a prior audit cycle, which resulted in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the parties regarding the royalties. However, after completing its examination of Medtronic's 2005 and 2006 tax returns, the IRS departed from the approach in the MoU and asserted a large royalty adjustment, which prompted Medtronic to then assert a refund based on its pre-MoU pricing," Andrew Kim and Larissa Neumann from Fenwick & West said in an article written for International Tax Review.

The ruling will be an important reference point for future transfer pricing cases involving how intellectual property and income are shared between subsidiaries of the same company. Fenwick & West's Kim and Neumann described it as a "significant victory for the taxpayer".

Kerrigan, a former partner at a law firm and tax counsel for Senator John Kerry, was appointed to be a judge of the US Tax Court in 2012 by US President Barack Obama. She was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and is set to serve as a judge until May 3 2017.

The Global Tax 50 2016

View the full list and introduction

The top 10 • Ranked in order of influence

1. Margrethe Vestager

2. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

3. Brexit

4. Arun Jaitley

5. Jacob Lew

6. Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet

7. Operation Zealots

8. Guy Verhofstadt

9. Theresa May (and the 'three Brexiteers')

10. Donald Trump

The remaining 40 • In alphabetic order

Kemi Adeosun

Piet Battiau

Elise Bean

Monica Bhatia

Allison Christians

Tim Cook

Rita de la Feria

Caroline Flint

Judith Freedman

Chrystia Freeland

Pravin Gordhan

Orrin Hatch

Meg Hillier

Mulyani Indrawati

Lou Jiwei

Paul Johnson

Stephanie Johnston

Chris Jordan

Pravind Jugnauth

Wang Jun

Jean-Claude Juncker

Kathleen Kerrigan

Christine Lagarde

Werner Langen

Jolyon Maugham

Angela Merkel

Narendra Modi

Will Morris

Michael Noonan

Grace Perez-Navarro

Platform for the Collaboration on Tax

Donato Raponi

Pascal Saint-Amans

Heather Self

Robert Stack

Tax Justice Network

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Transparency International

US Committee on Ways and Means

Rodrigo Valdés

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