Attorney-at-Law

TAX REFORM – PART DEUX

In Uncategorized on 10/13/2017 at 16:06

Tax reform is in the air (or, perhaps more accurately, up in the air). As this is a non-political blog, I eschew discussion of the multitudinous proposed excisions and additions and a thousand indecisions (especially the last-named).

Rather, I offer what I hope is the odd non-controversial proposal that really doesn’t require legislative or executive intervention.

Preamble: Tax Court is the prepayment ticket to justice. While its jurisdiction is shackled with fetters of bronze to its narrow rock, thereupon it affords low-cost or no-cost relief to the humble taxpayer with a few hundred dollars deficiency (hi, Judge Holmes). Almost all such are self-represented until the calendar call, at which time pleadings and proof are set in stone.

Perhaps the administrative arm of the Court might make access a wee bit easier than the rigmarole that faces Arobert Tonoghanua, Docket No. 19656-16, filed 10/12/17. And no, I’m not picking on Judge Chiechi; there are plenty of such orders every working day, but it’s Friday, with neither opinion nor designated hitter, and all is cliché that comes to my mill.

A-Rob is pro se, and the filing fee has been waived. Clearly A-Rob has a long way to go to join the One Percent, and such luxuries as an attorney or a USTCP are out of the question.

A-Rob started alone, and was told to amend his petition. He did, and IRS dropped its motion to dismiss for untimely filing. Now A-Rob wants to amend again, and add one M. Magsonoc as an additional petitioner.

This he did by a document styled “PETITIONER’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED TAX PETITION NAMING M. MAGSANOC AS AN ADDITIONAL PETITIONER”.

Now of course that is an inappropriate title, but exactly how A-Rob is supposed to know the correct one is unclear.

So Judge Chiechi puts A-Rob on the path: “That is an inappropriately titled document. Morever [sic], Mr. Tonogbanua did not submit at the time he filed that inappropriately titled document a second amended petition. Finally, M. Magsonoc (Ms. Magsonoc) is required to file a ratification of both the petition … and the amended petition…, before she may become a party in this case.” Order, at p. 1.

OK, that should be easy enough. Do an amended petition (No.2), and have M-Mag sign both that and the original petition. Right?

Wrong.

“In order to add Ms. Magsonoc as a party in this case the following, as ordered below, is the proper procedure to follow: (1) Ms. Magsonoc should sign, date, and file with the Court a ratification of both the petition and the amended petition ratifying and affirming the petition… and the amended petition…  (2) at the same time Ms. Magsonoc files a ratification of both the petition and the amended petition, Mr. Tonogbanua and Ms. Magsonoc should sign, date, and file with the Court a motion titled “motion for leave to file second amended petition”; (3) at the same time Ms. Magsonoc files a ratification of both the petition and the amended petition and Mr. Tonogbanua and Ms. Magsonoc file a motion for leave to file second amended petition, Mr. Tonogbanua and Ms. Magsonoc should submit to the Court with respect to that motion for leave a document titled “second amended petition”; and (4) in that second amended petition, Mr. Tonogbanua and Ms. Magsonoc must restate all of the allegations set forth in the amended petition…, as well as any allegations with respect to the claim by Ms. Magsonoc for relief under section 6015 of the Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.).” Order, at pp. 1-2.

And they have exactly two weeks to get it to Judge Chiechi, but if not electronically, delay on account of the nuclear threat (see my blogpost “The Nuclear Threat,” 10/11/17) will not excuse late delivery.

Why all this rigmarole? A-Rob and M-Mag aren’t a Wall Street 500-lawyer megalith. If A-Rob was excused coughing up 60 clams, he clearly isn’t hiring any Wall Street megalith.

How about simplifying procedures, like a one-page online motion for leave to amend with amendment attached? How about an Office of the Self-Represented, just to help with paperwork, not give legal advice? How about allowing deadlines to take into account the nuclear threat?

Any comments?

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