In Uncategorized on 07/24/2017 at 16:16

A phrase that brings back happy memories of my little girl laughing as she describes some story takes me to the present with Dean Matthew Vigon, 149 T. C. 4, filed 7/24/17.

IRS is being very crafty, and definitely kin to the weasel.

But Dean Matty is no angel, either; apparently he’s currently in a Canadian slammer.

Surely you remember Dean Matty and his Forms 1041, each of which IRS claims should get the $5K Section 6702 chop? What, no? See my blogposts “Robosigner?” 6/23/16, and “Not Moot Court,” 5/17/17. There now, you’re all caught up.

Once again that Obliging Jurist David Gustafson upends IRS. IRS seems to be trying to do an end-run around a bunch of missing Section 6751(b) Boss Hoss signoffs. These should have been obtained before IRS chopped Dean Matty. First IRS asked for and got a remand back to Appeals to get the Boss Hosses. IRS came back from Appeals and claimed they had them, but Judge Gustafson wasn’t convinced. My blogpost “Robosigner?” above-cited delves into the dubiety of the Boss Hosses asserted.

Remember Judge Gustafson trashed IRS’ summary J motion and ordered a trial.

So IRS gets truly crafty, akin to the weasel. “Instead, the Commissioner moved for a continuance, explaining:  that the IRS would abate the penalties at issue; that the process of abating those liabilities is almost complete; that the process of releasing the liens at issue has been initiated; and that once those processes have been completed, the IRS intends to file a motion to dismiss the case on grounds of mootness.” 149 T. C. 4, at pp. 6-7.

OK, says Judge Gustafson, that’s cool, but what about underlying liability? Isn’t Dean Matty entitled to a finding on underlying liability, as Section 6702 chops are non-assessible and he didn’t get a prior chance to contest?

No sweat, says IRS, there’s no statute of limitations on Section 6702 chops, so when we chop Dean Matty again, he gets another CDP. And we aren’t saying we won’t chop Dean Matty again.

And the famous release of lien says “With respect to each assessment below, unless notice of lien is refiled by the date in column(e) [i.e., dates in 2021 and 2022], this notice shall constitute the certificate of release of lien as defined in IRC 6325(a).” 149 T. C. 4, at p. 8.

So IRS claims it can refile four years from now, and go after Dean Matty, no doubt after it has gotten Section 6751(b)s from every Boss Hoss up to and including Com’r John (“Kosi”) Koskinen or his successor.

Tax Court review of a CDP determination is exactly that…the determination, not the NITL or NFTL, but what Appeals did and what Appeals found. And that means the underlying liability, if appropriate. Abating penalties and releasing the lien is all very well, but liability wasn’t determined.

Tax Court’s jurisdiction is determined when it is first invoked. Of course, circumstances may have changed since then. If a tax is paid, or if a lien is released and the statute of limitations has run such that the lien cannot be refiled, then the case is moot and should be dismissed.

Except here it isn’t.

“The Commissioner asserts, however, that the section 6702 penalty for ‘Frivolous Tax Submissions’, unlike the income tax, cf. sec. 6501(a), has no statute of limitations in the Code.  For purposes of the Commissioner’s motion to dismiss, we so assume.  The Commissioner has abated the previous penalty assessments against Mr. Vigon; but, as the Commissioner observes, if this case is dismissed, the IRS claims the right to reassess against and collect from Mr. Vigon identical section 6702 penalties for the same nine alleged frivolous submissions. Here, abatement is a tactical retreat but not a surrender.” 149 T. C. 4, at p. 19.

IRS says, “yeah, but Dean Matty gets the whole NFTL and right to a new CDP, so he can fight it out again.”

Judge Gustafson assumes for the purposes of this case that there is no SOL for Section 6702 chops.

“We assume this is true, but we see in the Commissioner’s position no reason that he could not do it again–abate the second set of assessments, moot the second CDP case, and lie in wait.  Mr. Vigon’s supposed remedy depends on his recognizing the second lien notice, timely requesting a CDP hearing before IRS Appeals, challenging the liability in that hearing, and then timely filing a Tax Court suit when IRS Appeals issues an adverse determination–all while he is incarcerated.  Our CDP jurisdiction is littered with the sad tales of taxpayers who, even when not in prison, stumble on one or more of those requirements.  But if Mr. Vigon did succeed in putting his reassessed liabilities before this Court in a future, second CDP case, the Commissioner has, in his view, the unilateral power to render the second case moot by abating the penalties, while retaining the prospect of reassessing yet again at any future time.” 149 T. C. 4, at pp. 20-21. (Footnote omitted, but IRS might be right about this one, because 6702s are about filings, not about “taxable periods to which the filing relates.”)

Don’tcha just love this stuff? It’s like the endless epistolary volleying between blowers and the Ogden Sunseteers. This could go on for decades.

Except Judge David Gustafson says “enough already.”

IRS’ weasel-wording and sleight-of-hand merely left the case sleeping, not dead. IRS doesn’t say they irrevocably release the lien or say they will not ever again assert the Section 6702 chops.

IRS, the case is not moot. Tax Court has jurisdiction.

Now about those Section 6751(b) Boss Hoss signoffs….



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