Attorney-at-Law

WHISTLEBLOWERS, BEWARE!

In Uncategorized on 09/07/2011 at 16:27

Or, It’s Still the Same Old Story

Remember poor Murray S. Friedland, who has an unbroken record of disastrous failures in getting his whistleblowing paid for. See 2011 T.C. Mem 90, filed 4/25/11, where he was told by an IRS representative to file with U.S. Court of Federal Claims; that the advice was wrong didn’t help Murray when he filed with Tax Court 217 days after the “determination”, which took the form of the usual “laundry list letter” (see also Cooper, 136 T.C. 30, filed 6/20/11, and my blog “The Whistleblower Blows It” of the same date). Tax Court’s jurisdiction is limited by statute; a rejected whistleblower must knock on Tax Court’s door within thirty days after issuance of the determination. Jurisdiction comes from Congress. Jurisdiction cannot be created by estoppel.

But Murray, nothing deterred, tries again, this time in Murray S. Friedland, 2011 T.C. Mem. 217, filed 9/17/11. Once again, Murray drops a Form 211, Application for Award for Original Information on Ogden, UT. Once again, the laundry list goes forth, which Tax Court knows Murray receives because he starts telephoning IRS asking for reconsideration, objecting to the denial, and doing everything but immediately filing a petition with Tax Court. The last contact Murray has with IRS is March 11. He sends in his petition April 12.

Too late, says Tax Court. Even though IRS again futilely argued that their laundry list letter (“we have the info, it was public record, and we didn’t get any money”), dated in this case March 3, wasn’t a determination within the meaning of Section 7623, IRS still won, even though, as in Cooper, they couldn’t prove mailing to Murray’s last known address. Murray alleged his March 11 phone call and his protests therein, and that’s enough to prove he got the letter.

Moreover, even if Tax Court takes March 11 as the start date for Murray’s thirty days, he doesn’t file until April 12. Too late.

Moral: If you blow the whistle, don’t blow the 30-day filing period. Send in your petition on day one. If necessary, amend as of right or seek leave to amend (see Rule 41(a)). But don’t waste time with telephone calls, prayer or fasting. Get on your bike to 400 Second Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20217.

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