Attorney-at-Law

“ADD A ZERO”

In Uncategorized on 06/26/2015 at 09:21

Judge Holmes made it clear to me at last month’s US Tax Court Judicial Conference that all judges’ remarks were strictly off the record.

As a responsible journalist (and even more as an attorney), I am bound by that directive. It is disappointing, as I hoped for really good blogfodder.

But there is one comment, made at a public meeting, which I believe I can quote here, without attribution of course, as it sends us all a message.

“Add a zero,” said the judge.

The judge was speaking of the small-claimer, the Section 7463 Sum. Op. or the Section 7459 off-the-bencher, not precedential and certainly not headed for Circuit Court review.

This case means as much to the taxpayer-petitioner-pro se litigant as the full-dress T. C. with the last six digits omitted means to the multinational publicly-traded behemoth. If not more to the little guy or gal.

No compensation committee of the Board of Directors meets to determine their bonus, if any. And the little guy or gal, though they may be bought and sold, are not publicly-traded.

Now I’ll get off the soapbox, although I’ve been on it before. By way of illustration of the foregoing, as my already-out-on-the-golf-course colleagues would say, see my blogpost “A Rant,” 3/7/13.

So while we may wonder at the multi-year fight over a four-figure deficiency where even the pennies are not omitted, the judge got it right.

To the litigants it matters. It matters very much.

So add a zero to such as Stephanie Lynn Christie a.k.a. Stephanie Lynn Foran, Petitioner and Arthur J. Maurello f.k.a. John Foran, Intervenor, Docket No. 24515-12S, which took up four (count ‘em, four) blogposts over two years, and only ended yesterday (see my blogpost “Dénouement,” 6/25/15).

Not only were the legal points of intervention and summary judgment of interest to practitioners, but the two-grand-vs-four-grand deficiency tussle becomes much more real to us if we deem this dispute to be a fight over twenty grand.

So add a zero.

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