Attorney-at-Law

THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE

In Uncategorized on 03/10/2017 at 16:05

No, this is not another rap on the fallout from an unfortunate moment at a major motion picture event. Rather, this is the tale of the latest rounder ploy.

And Judge Pugh tells us all about it in Bonny Goselin, Docket No. 6293-14L, filed 3/10/17.

The Tax Court website was down for an hour this afternoon, seriously disrupting my blogging schedule, to say nothing of my office routine. I really wish I could have done my blogpost without waiting out the outage.

Bonny fought about her tax liabilities for seven (count ‘em, seven) years. She lost on one of them in a decision three-plus years ago, and IRS concedes three of the remainder for want of proofs that copies of the SNODs for those years were mailed to Bonny’s last known address.

So Bonny was fighting about the last three, claiming at her CDP that she never got the SNODs.

IRS produced USPS Forms 3877 proofs of mailing, Bonny claimed they were defective, and they were, enough to overcome the presumption of regularity. But that doesn’t help Bonny.

“In this case, petitioner relies on various uncompleted blanks in the Forms 3877. Although she claims to have identified errors and inconsistencies, they do not rebut the evidence of mailing. She does not give us any reason to believe that the statutory notices now in the record and the matching Forms 3877 are not authentic. Her arguments would require us to accept, without evidence, improbable failures in procedure over multiple separate mailings to what she has confirmed is her last known address. Respondent’s concessions as to earlier years, based on inability to locate records, apparently due to the passage of time, do not affect the adequacy of documentation produced for the later years. Other than petitioner’s unsworn but repeated assertion that she did not receive the notices, she has offered no evidence that they were not mailed.” Order, at p. 5.

“Just say no” doesn’t cut it, and Bonny wanted summary J.

But Bonny got inventive.

“Petitioner also objects that the envelopes themselves are not in the record; the envelopes would be in the record only if petitioner introduced them or if they had been returned to respondent as undeliverable or unclaimed (in which case they should appear in the administrative record, see Snodgrass v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-235, at *3).” Order, at pp. 3-4.

Moreover, Bonny apparently resorted to “drag-and-drop” (or maybe “copy-and-paste”) without reading what she submitted.

Judge Pugh is not amused.

“The language of the amended petition appears to have been copied from similar proceedings in that petitioner used the masculine ‘his rights’ in her allegations. Petitioner’s petition, amended petition, and motion for summary judgment incorporate identical language and are substantially similar to those in Docket No. 28049-14L, discussed in Garrett v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2015-228 and T.C. Memo. 2016-179. The proliferation of similar cases involving multiple years of unfiled tax returns may suggest that common sources have urged certain tactics to accomplish delay in collection matters. When the record does not reflect an individual’s sincere efforts to determine correct liability and collection alternatives, we may conclude that the claims are not made in good faith. See sec. 6673.” Order at p. 2, footnote 2.

Takeaway 1- Save envelopes in any contested matter. Very handy.

Takeaway 2- If you’re going to cut-and-paste, read the document again before you send it. To paraphrase an ancient Japanese saying, “A word once spoken, all the Emperor’s horsemen cannot recall it.”

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