In Uncategorized on 11/17/2017 at 21:04

At the the end of a busy week, six (count ‘em, six) pages of orders from 400 Second Street, NW, fail to outstrip something cold, clear and containing an olive. Still, the blogger cannot disappoint his readers.

I regret that Obliging Jurist, Judge David Gustafson, didn’t have a better subject for a twenty-one page designated hitter than Isaiah Bongam, Docket No. 201014-14L, filed 11/17/17. Isaiah had a full-dress T. C. all to himself (see my blogpost “Getting the NOD,” 2/11/16) concerning jurisdiction to hear his beef with IRS.

Now he’s relegated to an off-the-bencher, and loses the big one for poor recordkeeping, although he wins the small one for lack of command-and-control. It’s the usual TFRP story, and there’s not a lot to tell. Judge David Gustafson tells it all.

But never fear, dear reader, Judge Vasquez has drawn a blueprint for petitioners in strands afar remote to lay it on Tax Court. Here’s Jonathan Zuhovitzky & Esther Zuhovitzky, Docket No. 3489-16, filed 11/17/17.

Elderly Jon and his bad back (“severe scoliosis, nerve root compression syndrome, herniated discs, osteochondrosis, and sciatica”; order, at p. 2) reside in Germany. Jon’s doctor urges Jon not to travel, and puts it in writing. Esther, though also elderly, is fine, but has to take care of Jon, and their children live in Israel. They want to testify, and are willing to cough up for technical support and equipment, including without in any way limiting the generality of the foregoing (as my high-priced colleagues say) video equipment, to testify at the trial in Our Fair City.

IRS wants its representative, or maybe a U.S. government official, to be present with Jon and Esther as they tell their tales. That’s OK with Jon and Esther, and Judge Vasquez finds that fits the “appropriate safeguards” requirement of Rule 143(b).

IRS claims Tax Court can’t administer oaths outside the Land of the Free, but Judge Vasquez says FRE 603 can be satisfied if Jon and Esther can see Judge Vasquez and the clerk of the court as the oath is administered.

Now I know my astute readers are concerned about the Hague Evidence Convention. IRS is too, and suggests dragging Jon and his bad back to the US Consulate.

Gotta give IRS credit. Like the famous rabbit tympanist, they just keep on going. And going, and going. But Judge Vasquez stops IRS thus.

“However, respondent has failed to cite a specific rule of domestic or international law prohibiting petitioners from voluntarily testifying in this proceeding via live video transmission from Germany.” Order, at p. 2.

And besides, Tax Court permitted testimony via TV from Germany a couple years ago (hi, Judge Holmes).

So guys, report on any difficulties, but be ready to go next April.

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