In Uncategorized on 05/23/2015 at 21:31

That hackneyed phrase describing a Johannes fac totum is surely far from the dignity one would ascribe to the Chief Judge of the United States Tax Court.

Indeed, Ch J Michael B. (“Iron Mike”) Thornton is a pleasant-spoken gentleman of unquestionable judicial demeanor, who kept both presenters and audience up to the mark these last few days. Although far from the mental picture I had formed of the external man, he certainly fills the role.

And it must be a grand thing to be chief among all the extraordinarily-qualified jurists who make up that distinguished bench.

How hard it must be to “waste his sweetness on the desert air” on the hundred-or-so “pay the sixty bucks or seek a waiver” orders, directed to the battalions of self-representeds blundering about the thicket of Tax Court practice.

And it’s worse when he must admonish IRS’s counsel.

Here’s a sample: Louis M. Gachette, 17178-12SL, filed 5/22/15.

I’d meant to blog this yesterday, but after flying into JFK from the conference, I ignored the advice of my former neighbor, the late great Duke Ellington, and took the E train. I finally got home two-and-a-half hours later, and after a restorative Martinez at a local rest stop, I was in no shape for anything but unconsciousness.

So here’s Louis (hereinafter “TWW”, meaning The Wrong Way).

TWW attached to his petition “a Form 668-W(c), Notice of Levy on Wages, Salary, and Other Income.” Order at p. 1.

As another former neighbor, this one from my Bronx days, remarked, “only this, and nothing more.”

Such an attachment should provoke at least a modest “huh?” from IRS’s counsel in their answer.

Except their answer didn’t, so Ch J Iron Mike, rather than grappling with Eaton discovery and Amazon multiplexity, is reduced to the following.

“However, respondent failed to attach thereto any notice of deficiency or determination, instead merely denying that any Notice of Determination Concerning Collection Action was attached to the petition and emphasizing that the attached document was a notice of levy. Respondent did not, however, otherwise address the jurisdictional status of this case.” Order, at p. 1.

Necessary perhaps, but not sufficient, so Ch J Iron Mike must teach IRS’s counsel Tax Court practice and procedure, as well as enlighten the aforesaid benighted pro se battalions.

“Respondent shall file either: (1) An appropriate jurisdictional motion; or (2) a report addressing the basis or bases for the Court’s jurisdiction and attaching thereto a copy of any further supporting documentation.” Order, at p. 1.

I don’t think I’d want that job.

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