Attorney-at-Law

CPA = USTCP? – REDIVIVUS

In Uncategorized on 12/19/2016 at 15:10

Howard Feinberg & Gail Feinberg are in Tax Court today, having been tossed for failing to cough up the sixty bucks but now having raised the cash.

A quick docket search reveals that Howard & Gail are pro se. OK, most TC petitioners go pro se. There’s no requirement for them to retain counsel, and Tax Court certainly can’t appoint counsel (except sometimes; see my blogposts “Assigned Counsel?” 1/6/16 and “Assigned Counsel? – Part Deux,” 1/28/16).

But here’s the twist. Having reached a “no change” deal with IRS, having the sixty bucks ready to send in to Ch J L Paige (“Iron Fist”) Marvel, and wanting to submit a stipulated decision, they need a vacation…of Ch J Iron Fist’s earlier order tossing them for nonpayment. And they do it in this wise: “…a Letter… by Terry R. Fyffe on Behalf of Petitioners. In that letter, petitioners (1) state that they and the IRS have reached a “no change” agreement and (2) request that this case be reopened so that the parties’ stipulated decision may be submitted for the Court’s consideration. The letter was accompanied by payment of the Court’s filing fee.” Order, at p. 1.

Sound like a motion per Rule 162 to you? Well, it sure did to me. And Ch J Iron Fist agrees, and recharacterizes the Letter as a 162 motion.

The order doesn’t state whether Howard & Gail signed the letter. If they did, why mention who wrote it?

But if they didn’t, how do non-USTCPs or admitted attorneys go making motions?

Has Rule 200 been superseded? Or is Terry R. Fyffe an unusually modest USTCP or admitted attorney, who hides his light under a cliché? A quick on-line search turns up a website for a firm of CPAs, in which one Terry R. Fyffe is stated to be a founding member. But the site doesn’t state that Terry R. is a USTCP or an admitted attorney.

Ch J Iron Fist sidesteps the issue, holds the letter-cum-motion in abeyance until she sees the stipulated decision, and then will “take appropriate action.”

So people pay a fee, undergo a brutal examination, with an infinitesimal passing rate, and get sponsors, to become USTCPs. And the rest of us lawyers send in the thirty bucks, and take no exam. But if we appear without having filed Entry of Appearance, we get a smart right-about-face and get told to file one.

However, CPAs apparently need do none of the above. Section 7452 provides that “(N)o qualified person shall be denied admission to practice before the Tax Court because of his failure to be a member of any profession or calling.” But the immediately preceding sentence in Section 7452 says Tax Court can make rules about representation of petitioners.

I must have missed that one.

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