In Uncategorized on 10/21/2020 at 16:19

That is the question for Don R. Means, Docket No. 2078-17L, filed 10/21/20. But whatever Don’s answer might be, Judge James S (“Big Jim”) Halpern doesn’t stay for an answer. According to his designated hitter, “…we issued to petitioner an order to show cause in writing on or before September 24, 2020, why this case should not be dismissed and a decision entered for respondent. In that order and in our orders of April 29, 2019, June 13, 2019, and March 10, 2020, we recited petitioner’s history of noncompliance with the Court’s orders regarding the filing of briefs in this case.” Order, at p.1.

The years at issue begin with 1984. Don R. seems to have been part of the legendary Kersting dodgeucopeia, the longest running show on Broadway (or anywhere else). Don R.’s defense to Judge Big Jim’s recitation of his missing briefs is “…that the case has been going on too long–‘for over 40 years’– and, from day one, he has ‘never done anything illegal or been late in this case.'” Order, at p. 1.

No, says Judge Big Jim, Don R. has definitely blown it this time.

“The last claim concerning tardiness is clearly wrong. We see no reason to spend more time addressing petitioner’s case when he fails to obey our orders to assist us by filing briefs.” Order, at p. 1. (Citation omitted).

See Rule 123(b). Plenty of discretion for a judge to toss your case. So the right answer is “to brief.”


In Uncategorized on 10/20/2020 at 17:35

That Obliging Jurist, Judge David Gustafson, is on another tear. This one takes the form of two (count ’em, two) designated hitters. One target is a frivolite, and the other a trifle casual with amending his petition. Judge Gustafson has scant patience for either.

Leonard William Tobin, Docket No. 19687-19, filed 10/20/20, wants IRS to admit “… largely purported statements of law. Moreover, they–like the contentions in his petition–are frivolous statements to the effect that his income is not subject to income tax because it is not ‘federally privileged’.” Order, at p. 1.

Remember, “Rule 90(a) permits requests for admission ‘only if such matters … relate to statements … of fact or of the application of law to fact.'” Order, at p.1.

So IRS gets the protective order it wants, and need not respond to Leonard William’s frivolities.

Of course, Leonard William is an old-time rounder, with no fewer than fourteen (count ’em, fourteen) orders to his debit. So Judge Gustafson shows Leonard William the Section 6673 yellow card, and politely suggests Leonard William eschew frivolity and “… prepare instead to present any non-frivolous arguments that he can present in good faith, such as proving his entitlement to deductions or credits not allowed in the IRS’s notice of deficiency.” Order, at p. 2.

Judge, don’t hang by anything sensitive until he does.  

Next is Dean Kalivas, Docket No. 25934-17, filed 10/20/20, and at first blush it looks like Dean may have a valid point. Dean is on for trial next month, but 49 (count ’em, 49) days before trial, Dean files a document styled “Petitioner’s Motion to Allow Evidence at Trial of Net Operating Losses as Offsets to Alleged Tax Liabilities for Years 2008-2013″ (Doc. 54).” Order, at p. 1.

As I can’t see the papers, I don’t know if this is like the famous Status Report with Attachments in the Nature of Evidence, unknown to the Tax Court Rules but nevertheless beloved by IRS, but barred from petitioners, some of whom actually pay IRS’ salaries. See my blogpost “‘Discussion, Deliberation,”‘ 9/24/20.

But Judge Gustafson did read it. “Because the motion was in the nature of a motion for leave to file an amendment to the petition stating an additional issue, we issued our order dated October 1, 2020 (Doc. 58), directing the Clerk of the Court to recharacterize petitioner’s filing as a motion for leave to file an amendment to the petition.” Order, at p. 1.

But said Order did more. Judge Gustafson gave Dean a scheduling order, when to lodge his proposed amendment, and when and how to serve it (overnight PDS, with an electronic boost). But no delays allowed, IRS having a scant ten days to respond.

Dean lodges and serves nothing and today is DD-Day. Wherefore, “petitioner’s motion for leave to file an amendment to the petition (Doc. 54) is denied, (a) for the reason that petitioner failed to comply with our order (Doc. 54), Rule 41(a), and Rule 34(b)(4), and (b) for the additional reasons stated in respondent’s response (Doc. 65).” Order, at p. 2.


In Uncategorized on 10/20/2020 at 09:39

Months ago I floated the notion of a United States Tax Court Bar Association; see my blogpost “A Rock in Svithjod,” 5/18/20. The silence is deafening. Were such an organization ever to be formed, it might offer continuing education courses. It might even venture so far as to provide basic instruction in Tax Court Law and Practice to both private-practice and pro bono members of the fifty-buck battalion that surges postally and electronically through the COVID-barred doors of The Glasshouse.

Two cases, or rather, orders. I post these not to embarrass the practitioners, but as part of the res gest√¶ in support of my case for a USTC Bar Ass’n.

Armando Miranda Ornelas & Clara Estrada Quiroz, Docket No. 010735-20, filed 10/20/20, are represented by a pro bono, pure of heart but seemingly unaware that an Entry of Appearance does not cure the want of a wet-ink petition from the hands of the petitioners.

Same, Cole Equipment Inc., Docket No. 3039-20, filed 10/2020. Here the private practitioner gets the Form 6 Ownership Disclosure in as soon as he gets onboard, so he knows the hawks from the handsaws, wherever the wind may blow. But there is no wet-ink from his client, and he didn’t sign the petition either.

Now I’m not launching another cockleshell into Dawson’s Creek. My solo proposals to buoy and chart that legal whitewater have run on the rocks before they’ve fairly wetted their lapstrakes.

But maybe, just maybe, an association of ordinary types, like me, a “general practitioner with very limited experience and mediocre qualifications”, as a much finer writer put it, might furnish a seasonable word or two even to such hotshots as are permitted to comment on the oracular pronouncements from the headwaters of Dawson’s Creek.

Like perhaps electronic filing of petitions. Like maybe Entry of Appearance countersigned by petitioners to serve as ratifications; or even Entry of Appearance for law firms. Like (oh, audacious one!) the end of The Stealth Subpoena.

I can dream, can’t I?