In Uncategorized on 02/11/2019 at 16:52

Some Ambiguity Won’t Help You

I’ve had occasion before now to refer to Wm. Empson’s 1930 literary criticism classic, but today the ambiguities tilt the scale against the ambiguitists in Ronald Laudner, Jr. & Kathy Douglass, et al., Docket No. 30578-14, filed 2/11/19, a designated hitter from CSTJ Lewis (“Nom d’un Nom”) Carluzzo.

IRS his Ron & Kathy with a bunch of interrogs, but found “…several responses to interrogatories requesting background information with respect to various disallowed deductions are incomplete and/or vague. According to respondent, those responses need to be supplemented so that respondent can properly prepare for trial.” Order at p. 1.

Sounds reasonable enough. But CSTJ Lew goes beneath the surface.

“As we view the matter, the objectionable responses present more of a problem for petitioners than for respondent. As we have noted in opinions too numerous to count, deductions are matters of legislative grace…, and must properly be substantiated. See I.R.C. §6001. The responses that respondent describes as incomplete or vague strongly suggest that petitioners cannot substantiate the deductions to which the responses relate, and petitioners are bound by those responses.” Order, at p. 1. (Citation omitted, but it’s Colonial Ice, entering its 85th year and still going strong).

IRS suggests that maybe so Ron & Kathy engaged in spoliation of evidence. CSTJ Lew won’t go that far. And I concur; you don’t destroy evidence that would help your case.

But if IRS has proof of spoliation, they can raise that at trial before the trial judge.

Speaking of which, CSTJ Lew tells the parties to avoid further delays.

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