In Uncategorized on 09/06/2013 at 18:00

 You’ll remember, maybe, my early blogposts about the impossible Tax Court admission examination; if you don’t, no problem, just see my blogposts “A Book And A Modest Proposal”, 5/22/12, and “Another Argument”, 6/7/12, anent the murderers’ row that is the Tax Court admissions examination.

But Judge Halpern likes tough questions. And I wonder how many attorneys, to say nothing of Tax Court practitioners and would-be admittees, can provide passing answers to the conundra Judge Halpern volleys at IRS’s counsel John Schmittdiel, Esq., (who I dare say never did Judge Halpern any harm) in Stephanie Lynn Christie A.K.A. Stephanie Lynn Foran, Petitioner,  and John Foran A.K.A. Arthur J. Maurello, Intervenor, Docket No. 24515-12S, filed 9/6/13.

It’s a run-of-the-mill Section 6015 joust over who’s responsible for what part of the income taxes for the year at issue, until John F. a.k.a. Arthur J. throws in a curveball. The State court  divorce decree and judgment that separated Stephanie Lynn from John F a.k.a. Arthur J. supposedly says who carries whose burdens taxwise, and John F. a.k.a. Arthur J. says Stephanie Lynn is estopped to claim otherwise.

So John F. a.k.a. Arthur J. moves for summary J., and Mr. Schmittdiel, representing IRS, has no objection. Stephanie Lynn says nothing.

But Judge Halpern has plenty to say. “Respondent [IRS] was not a party to the proceeding giving rise to judgment. We have, on numerous occasions, held that the Commissioner is not bound by a provision in a divorce agreement allocating tax liability. See, e.g., Pesch v. Commissioner, 78 T.C. 100, 129 (1982). Moreover, in Bruner v. Commissioner, 39 T.C. 534 (1962), concerning the allocation of dependency exemptions to divorced spouses, we held that we are not bound by a community property settlement approved by the divorce court.”

It’s already a bad day for family law attorneys, and it doesn’t get much better, even for IRS counsel.

Judge Halpern asks Mr. Schmittdiel to consult the High Command at IRS National Office as he answers the following Bar exam questions: “May an intervenor move for summary adjudication in a proceeding brought pursuant to section 6015(e)? If so, does intervenor present an issue for which there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and with respect to which a decision may be rendered as a matter of law? See Rule 121(b), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. In answering the last question, discuss whether interpretation of the judgment presents an issue of fact. If the issue presented by intervenor is ripe for summary adjudication, does petitioner’s claim for relief in this proceeding raise any issue identical to an issue decided in the judgment, by the State Court? If so, are the other elements of collateral estoppel satisfied? If they are, what is the issue and what effect does it have on us to determine the appropriate relief we may accord petitioner under section 6013(e)[sic; should be 6015(e)]. Respondent may address any other issues that he deems relevant.” Order, at p. 2.

Oh yes, answers are due by October 9. I presume neatness counts, and briefing page limits apply. Mr. Schmittdiel, I feel your pain.

On another note, I see  Ch J. Thornton  transferred a barrelful of cases from Judge Gustafson to Judge Laro today. I hope all is well with the Obliging Judge.


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