Attorney-at-Law

ROBOSIGNER? – PART DEUX

In Uncategorized on 04/05/2018 at 19:24

The Section 6751(b) Boss Hoss is a gift that keeps on giving. Today we have Scott T. Blackburn, 150 T. C. 9, filed 4/5/18, a full-dress revisitation, wherein Judge Goeke, writing for a unanimous court, concludes that the signature of the Boss Hoss need not be manifest or manual, but an electronic abstract naming the Boss Hoss is sufficient.

Scott is fighting the chops on a Section 6672 TFRP. He admits he owes the TFRP.

“…petitioner asserts that the Form 4183 does not have an actual signature.  This is true; however, the form does show Ms. R as the party who approved the TFRP as the revenue officer’s supervisor.  A finding of fact that Ms. R signed the Form 4183 might be based upon rule 803(6) of the Federal Rule of Evidence, but in the context of an abuse of discretion determination the mere existence of the form in the administrative record supports the settlement officer’s verification.” 150 T. C. 9, at p. 9. (Name omitted).

Judge Goeke doesn’t have to deal with whether or not Section 6751(b) applies to TFRPs, because IRS got one. Says the administrative record.

But this begs the question. It assumes assertion of a mere signature is sufficient to satisfy Section 6751(b). Scott objects, says there has to be some kind of evaluation manifested.

Here’s Judge David Gustafson dissenting in Graev I.

“Through its Conference Report, Congress made its intent clear:

‘The Committee believes that penalties should only be imposed where appropriate and not as a bargaining chip.’ S. Rept. No. 105-174, at 65 (1998), 1998-3 C.B. 537, 601. Taxpayers had complained to Congress that, in disputes about income tax liability, IRS agents sometimes unreasonably asserted penalty liability on top of the tax liability in order to create a bargaining chip for use in settlement negotiations with taxpayers.” 147 T. C. 16, at p. 85.

So Congress wanted someone with shoulder boards to see that the grunt wasn’t overdoing it.

What assures the taxpayer that there was the “second look” Congress directed? Anyone can drag-and-drop a name into an electronic document. And even if the Boss Hoss did sign something, was there even a second look?

I’ll reiterate what I wrote back in 2016, in my blogpost “Robosigner?” 12/23/16. When the subprime mortgage debacle exploded and foreclosures rained from the skies, we dirt lawyers “…saw the flurry of ‘robosigners,’ junior clerks given titles above their pay grades who signed affidavits and pleadings at the rate of ten a minute, with flailing notaries at their elbows stamping their nights away. None had any idea what they were signing or to what they were swearing.”

Eventually these got torn up in court, as the pro bonos and the defendants’ wolfpack deposed the signers.

Judge Gustafson, where are you?

Scott is Golsenized to 5 Cir., unless stiped otherwise. Might be worth a visit.

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