Attorney-at-Law

GOING POSTAL

In Uncategorized on 02/04/2013 at 18:19

Once again the Section 7502 saga is played out, this time by a lawyer who should know better than to entrust to a post office employee the mailing of a petition on the last day for file-by-mail. The lawyer escapes, but this is a cautionary tale (and I doubt the lawyer’s client was paying for this Tax Court trial).

The case is Earl D. Glenn and Carolyn J. Glenn, 2013 T. C. Memo. 33, filed 1/4/13, as told to Judge Marvel.

Here’s the background. “Petitioners retained Attorney Julie M.T. Walker to file their petition. Ms. Walker received her bachelor of arts degree from Hampshire College in 1977, her juris doctor degree from Howard University School of Law in 1980, and her master of laws degree in taxation from Emory University School of Law in 1984. From October 6, 1980, through May 4, 1998, Ms. Walker was employed as an attorney by respondent’s Office of District Counsel in Atlanta, Georgia. From May 5, 1998, through December 31, 2005, Ms. Walker served as a full-time judge on the City Court of Atlanta. In April 2006 Ms. Walker started a solo law practice.” 2013 T. C. Memo. 33, at p. 2.

Maybe the bio is there to show Julie M.T. is a member of the judges’ club in good standing, so she gets cut some slack.

Howbeit, Julie M. T.’s clients got a SNOD, so Julie M. T. prepared a petition, got it signed, assembled her supporting documents, made copies and headed to the post office. She filled out her certified mail slips, prepared a return receipt, prepared a return envelope to her office for the “stamped filed” copy she wanted to get back, and asked the postal employee to figure out the postage and put the petition and copies in the right envelopes, and send them.

Of course, the postal employee put the wrong labels on the wrong envelopes, got the postage wrong, and Julie M. T. never checked that the postal employee had got it right. So Tax Court never got the petition until Julie M.T. discovered the mistake, eleven days too late, whereupon she fired off the petition to Tax Court. Of course, IRS moved to dismiss for late filing want of jurisdiction.

But Judge Marvel sustains Tax Court jurisdiction. Julie M.T. has certified mail receipts showing the mailing on the magic day to the right address, and the postal employee testifies on the trial that he didn’t remember whether he messed up the envelopes (I wonder how much that trial cost). And Tax Court did ultimately get the petition, albeit late.

So Julie M.T. gets a bye.

Takeaway–Remember the unlucky Portney; see my blogpost “Wait Just A Minute, Mr. Postman – Part Deux”, 9/11/12. Prepare the envelopes and receipts yourself. Buy a postage scale if you don’t have one, if there isn’t one at the local PO, or better still, use the self-service machine if your PO has such a thing (mine has two). Don‘t trust anyone else; unlike Julie M.T., with her high-priced resume, you might not be so lucky.

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