Attorney-at-Law

DO I HEAR A WALTZ?

In Uncategorized on 07/01/2012 at 23:50

I take my text from the 1965 Richard Rodgers-Stephen Sondheim musical, because we are given a waltz indeed, courtesy of Steven J. Stanwyck, Petitioner, and Joan Stanwyck, Intervenor, 2012 T.C. Mem. 180, filed 6/28/12. I come late to this dance, having been absorbed by, and absorbing, the National Society of Tax Professionals summer jamboree in sunny Williamsburg, VA.

The chief waltzer here is Steve the disbarred attorney. Joan was his wife of 32 years and his bookkeeper, but we hear nothing about her.

Steve did plenty. Judge Kroupa: “Petitioner continues his pattern of delay and attempts to prolong our review by failing to provide a post-trial brief.  Instead he has made various nontraditional motions.  Petitioner is an experienced trial attorney.  The Court warned him on several occasions that we would decide this case based on the record if he failed to provide a post-trial brief.  The Court established a briefing schedule at the end of trial.  Petitioner disregarded the Court’s order, and his inaction is independent grounds to deny his request for us to consider respondent’s denial of his claims. See Rule 123.  Failure to provide the post-trial brief is also grounds to decide against the party with the burden of proof.” 2012 T.C. Mem. 180, at pp. 7-8. (Citations omitted.)

Not a whit dismayed, Steve asks for innocent spouse relief. This is denied, as the items giving rise to the deficiencies are entirely Steve’s.

Finally, Steve objects to the collection process. Judge Kroupa: “We again note that petitioner failed to file any post-trial brief. Petitioner’s testimony and examination of witnesses were incoherent and irrelevant.  We therefore must look to the defects petitioner set forth in the petition.  They are the same issues petitioner raised in requesting a hearing.” 2012 T.C. Mem. 180, at p. 16.

Steve claimed he was disabled and not accommodated, but later admitted he was not disabled. He sought discovery, but that isn’t allowed on a CDP. What is allowed is the filing of a NFTL while a section 6015 innocent spouse request is being decided by Appeals.

To sum up, “In toto, petitioner bombarded respondent for 18 months with irrelevant information, failed to provide requested information and ultimately ignored communications from respondent.  Petitioner requested in-person hearings to resolve each issue, yet failed to appear.  There were more than 20 written communications and 10 phone calls between petitioner and respondent. Respondent verified that legal requirements were met, considered all issues raised, and concluded that the collection action was no more intrusive than necessary. Respondent did not abuse his discretion by sustaining the collection action.

“As a final matter, we address whether it is appropriate for us to impose a penalty against petitioner on our own motion under section 6673.  This section authorizes the Tax Court to require a taxpayer to pay to the United States a penalty of up to $25,000 whenever it appears that proceedings have been instituted or maintained primarily for delay or that the taxpayer’s position in such proceedings is frivolous or groundless. The Court has indicated its willingness to impose such penalties in collection review cases.

“It is apparent from the record that petitioner instituted this proceeding in continuation of his refusal to acknowledge and satisfy his tax obligations.  Such proceedings waste the Court’s and respondent’s limited resources, taking time away from taxpayers with legitimate disputes.  Although we do not impose a penalty on petitioner pursuant to section 6673(a)(1) at this time, we admonish petitioner that the Court will consider imposing such a penalty if he advances arguments similar to those raised here.” 2012 T. C.Mem. 180, at pp. 19-20 (Citations omitted.)

Judge, if you don’t impose the section 6673 penalty in this case, in what case will you impose it?

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