Philadelphia tax lawyer Goldstein dies at 72

August 7, 2008 10:41:26 AM PDT
William M. Goldstein, a prominent tax lawyer who argued an appeal of the definition of income in 1990 that is still cited in textbooks, has died. He was 72. Goldstein died Wednesday after a yearlong battle with cancer, according to Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, the Philadelphia law firm where he was a partner for 26 years.

The 1990 case, Zarin v. Commissioner, involved the now deceased Atlantic City, N.J., developer David Zarin, who settled a $3.44 million debt with Resorts International Casino for $500,000 in 1981.

After the Internal Revenue Service ruled that the $2.94 million in forgiven debt should be taxed as income, Goldstein successfully appealed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the debt was not enforceable because the casino had illegally extended credit to Zarin, who later joined Gamblers Anonymous.

Goldstein was the deputy assistant secretary of the treasury for tax policy under President Ford and worked to determine the Treasury's position on tax and economic issues. He helped form the Tax Reform Act of 1976 and served as head of the U.S. delegation that worked out tax treaties with the Philippines and Brazil.

Goldstein is survived by his wife of 30 years, Lilia, a daughter, three sons and daughters-in-law from his first marriage. His burial is scheduled for Friday.

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