In Uncategorized on 08/10/2018 at 16:07

Echoing, without citing, the words of a much more exalted personage than any Tax Court Judge, Judge David Gustafson has a lesson in the first of two designated hitters (for there are two cases) for Debra L. March, Docket No. 6161-17L, 8/10/18.

IRS claims Deb isn’t playing nice, and unloads the usual Rule 91(f) “deemed admitted” OSC.

Without prejudging IRS’ claim that Deb is being recalcitrant, Judge Gustafson offers some advice.

“Under this Court’s rules, the parties have a duty to cooperate in preparing a joint stipulation (i.e., a written statement signed by both parties) setting out the agreed facts in the case. For Ms. March’s information, we note that the stipulation process is often a substantial help to the petitioner, especially a petitioner who does not have a lawyer. Offering documents into evidence during the trial of the case is a process that the self-represented petitioner may find somewhat difficult. However, the stipulation can include (and usually does include) documents that the petitioner would otherwise have to offer into evidence, and we encourage Ms. March to propose this to the Commissioner. If the parties include Ms. March’s documents in the stipulation, then those documents will come into evidence at the beginning of the trial without further effort by Ms. March. And in case Ms. March is concerned that her cooperating in preparation of the stipulation might somehow bar her from producing at trial additional evidence not included in the stipulation, we assure her that it does not. She can offer additional evidence not included in the stipulation.” Order, at pp. 1-2 (Emphasis by the Court).

Nobody asked me, but I’ve seen experienced counsel get flummoxed trying to get disputed documents into evidence on the trial.

However, maybe Deb has a point. In the second case, IRS is trying to collect on a SNOD that they had stipulated in an earlier case wasn’t sent to last known address.

So Judge Gustafson has a few questions for IRS, which has reassessed the taxes, filed a NFTL, and Appeals sustained same.

“We cannot tell the authority on which the IRS relied to assess the … income tax at issue in this case. The NOD cites ‘§6201’. Section 6201(a)(1) authorizes the IRS to assess ‘taxes … as to which returns … are made’, but it appears Ms. March has filed no return. We see no other obviously pertinent provision in section 6201, except for its cross reference in subsection (e) to ‘deficiencies’ in ‘subchapter B’–i.e., sections 6211 to 6216. Those provisions authorize the IRS to determine a deficiency, to mail the taxpayer an [sic] SNOD, and to assess the deficiency upon the passage of 90 days after that mailing (unless a Tax Court petition is timely filed); but the parties stipulated in Docket No. 10223-14 that no SNOD had been properly mailed, and the NOD appears to indicate that no SNOD was mailed thereafter.

“Rather, the “IRS restored the tax assessment’. We would benefit from an explanation of the authority for this action.” Order, at pp. 2-3.

And thanks, Judge, for using SNOD to distinguish from NOD.

Takeaway- Oh, those stips. Very useful, but as a much better writer than I put it, trust them “as I will adders fanged.”


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