In Uncategorized on 09/14/2012 at 16:45

That’s the problem for Enterprise Water Works, Docket No. 20441-12L, filed 9/14/12. No decisions out of Tax Court today, and no Designated Orders, so this is the best of the plain-vanilla orders, from Chief Judge Thornton.

Enterprise files what looks like a timely petition, but it’s signed by “Tom B. King, ‘CPA – POA’”. Order, P. 1.

Chief Judge Thornton checks the shortlist of Tax Court admitteds, that miniscule number who made their way through the eye of the needle that is the admissions examination (see my blogposts “A Book and A Modest Proposal,” 5/22/12, and “Another Argument,” 6/7/12), and doesn’t find Tom’s name among the elect.

So he admonishes the waterworkers thus: “The Tax Court does not recognize powers of attorney.” Order, p. 1. Throw away those Form 2848s, guys.

He then directs the powerless waterworkers to “…file an amendment to petition, duly signed and bearing the original signature of its president or another officer authorized to institute this litigation on its behalf, ratifying and affirming the filing of the petition on its behalf.” Order, p. 1.

Chief Judge Thornton mercifully directs the Clerk of the Court to send a form to the waterworkers for the proper person to sign, ratifying whatever Tom did, because obviously the waterworkers will never get the paperwork right, and Tom is not among the chosen few who can advise them.

The relevant Rule is 23(a)(3), which requires that all papers filed with Tax Court shall be signed as follows: “The original signature, either of the party or the party’s counsel, shall be subscribed in writing to the original of every paper filed by or for that party with the Court, except as otherwise provided by these Rules. An individual rather than a firm name shall be used, except that the signature of a petitioner corporation or unincorporated association shall be in the name of the corporation or association by one of its active and authorized officers or members, as for example “‘Mary Doe, Inc., by Richard Roe, President’”.

And waterworkers, see also Rule 33. An unsigned pleading can be stricken, and if filed for an improper purpose can result in sanctions to the signer.

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