In Uncategorized on 02/09/2018 at 16:25

A precept from my long-ago apprenticeship days popped into my mind; don’t make the judge guess, or speculate. Tell your client’s story as plainly as you can. That wisdom seemed apposite as I read Judge Morrison’s advice to Carolyn D. Young, Docket No. 9613-17, filed 2/9/18.

Carolyn D. got a SNOD challenging her HOH filing and the personal exemption she claimed for one Jim Smith, for whom no other information is furnished. Carolyn D. petitioned the SNOD timely, but leaves out some important stuff.

Judge Morrison: “…according to respondent [IRS], the petition challenges the federal government’s use of the petitioner’s 2015 tax refund to offset an education loan owed by her to the Department of Education. This last issue, respondent contends, is outside the jurisdiction of the Tax Court.” Order, at p. 1.

So IRS moves per Rule 34 to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

But Carolyn D. will get a shot at a course correction.

“Petitioner should be given the opportunity to file an amended petition to clarify whether she challenges the notice of deficiency’s determinations regarding head-of-household filing status and the personal exemption for Jim Smith. Petitioner should also have the opportunity to explain why the Tax Court has jurisdiction to resolve the educational-loan offset issue.” Order, at p. 1.

I’d be glad to know why Section 6402(g) doesn’t knock out all education loan offset challenges. The only work-around I know of is the Chapter 13 gambit in United Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Espinosa, 559 U.S. 260 (2010).

But I’m always glad to learn.

In the unlikely event anybody is interested, I took a pass on today’s designated hitters. One was a Graev-reopener (enough already), one was an unsubstantiated everything, and one was a hardscrabble farmer’s third attempt to overturn a decision five years after it became final, and after 9 Cir. had tossed his appeals (twice). Sisyphean endeavors rarely end well…at least, in Tax Court.



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