In Uncategorized on 06/23/2015 at 15:31

Or, Petition Early, Petition Often

See my blogpost, “Fake Out,” 12/16/14. IRS is at it again with another specimen from its cubby of happy tricks, feints and ruses.

Here’s the story of Bernard Hope, Docket No. 7198-15S, filed 6/23/15, told by Ch J Michael B. (“Iron Mike”) Thornton.

Bernie’s petition was postmarked 3/2/15 (dates are important here, although I usually omit them).

Annexed thereto were “(1) a Letter 525, dated April 22, 2014, proposing changes to petitioner’s 2012 return and attaching a Form 4549, Income Tax Examination Changes, and a Form 886-A, Explanation of Items, detailing those changes; (2) a Letter 692, dated October 6, 2014, affirming the prior proposals for 2012; (3) a Letter 525, dated October 6, 2014, proposing changes to petitioner’s 2013 return and attaching a Form 4549 and a Form 886-A detailing those changes; (4) a Letter 3501, dated January 20, 2015, advising that the IRS was still reviewing information sent by petitioner regarding 2013; and (5) a Letter 692, dated February 17, 2015, affirming the prior proposals for 2013.” Order, at p. 1.

What’s wrong with this picture? No prize for the correct answer, but we all shouted “No SNOD!”

So IRS plays the fake-out gambit, moving to dismiss because no SNOD. OK so far.

But wait, there’s more!

“Respondent [IRS] further explained that notices of deficiency for 2012 and 2013, copies of which were attached to the motion, had been issued to petitioner on March 10 and March 30, 2015, respectively.” Order, at p. 1.

Well-played, IRS, drop the bomb after Bernie filed.

Responding to the motion to dismiss, Bernie claims “…that reliance had been placed on a statement in the Form 886-A accompanying the Letter 525 dated October 6, 2014, and reading as follows: ‘Your time to petition the United States Tax Court will end on 03/02/2015. However you may continue to work with us to resolve your tax matter, but we cannot extend your time to petition the United States Tax Court beyond 03/02/2015.’ Petitioner additionally emphasized, and attached supporting documentation corroborating, that the petition had been mailed via the United States Postal Service on March 2, 2015. Given those circumstances, petitioner maintained that respondent’s attempts now to characterize the just-quoted statement as erroneous were irrelevant and disingenuous.” Order, at p. 2.

Yes, Bernie, but Tax Court has limited jurisdiction, and no SNOD, no jurisdiction, no matter what misinformation, disinformation or other claptrap IRS may have fed you.

So Bernie is out?

Not so fast.

Bernie is a counter-puncher, and nails IRS with a quick left hook.

“However, review of Court records reveals that an available remedy for petitioner has been preserved. Specifically, the Court on June 15, 2015, received from petitioner a new petition for 2012 and 2013, bearing a postmark dated June 8, 2015, and thereby timely within the period prescribed by section 6213(a) or 7502, I.R.C., as to the notices of deficiency for both years. That petition was filed to commence a new case at Docket No. 15321-15S.” Order, at p. 3.

Takeaway—File early, file often. If IRS gives you the wrong advice, file anyway. When they get around to sending the SNOD, file again and apply for a filing fee waiver based on earlier filing provoked by IRS misinformation. Maybe misleading info can’t confer jurisdiction, but it could save you sixty bucks, maybe. I can’t tell if Bernie asked for a waiver for Petition No. 2, but it’s worth a shot.

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