In Uncategorized on 03/29/2019 at 14:49

Today I blog the first of what I am sure will be many off-the-benchers from Judge Elizabeth A. Copeland, R&L Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., Docket No. 5495-18L, filed 3/29/19.

The case is the usual small business running up massive nonpayments of withheld payroll taxes. After being hit with a NFTL for three (count ‘em, three) whole years, R&L goes to Appeals, and coughs up four more quarters’ worth of Forms 940.

“In addition, petitioner failed to make any federal tax deposits for these tax periods, failed to submit Forms 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return, for tax years 2014 and 2015, failed to submit the proof of federal tax deposits in the then current quarter, failed to provide the specific basis for lien withdrawal, failed to provide the specific basis for the penalty and interest abatements, and failed to submit a proposal for resolution.” Transcript, at p. 5.

Ordinarily, reading this far, I’m sure my readers would echo The Commentator From Adelaide: “And we can stop here.”

But I think Judge Copeland might have spared one sentence to enlighten R&L.

R&L’s story is as follows. “”We are in the process trying to obtain a loan to pay [down] the outstanding tax liabilities[.]  [A]ny further action will hinder my ability to obtain the loan[.] We asking [sic] that the lien to be [sic] removed so it will be easier getting the loan[.] The penalties and interest assessment imposed on [the] firm very high [sic] and would it [sic] to be set aside[.]” Transcript, at p. 6. (Editorial emendations by the Court).

Judge Copeland gives R&L the skinny on summary J.

But R&L claims a factual dispute. “Petitioner supported with a document stating ‘there are factual issues that are in disputes [sic], therefore the summary judgment motion not [sic] appropriate.’ Petitioner further stated, ‘Work was completed [sic]on public buildings by our firm and never been [sic) compensated for this work. This created a hardship for this company causing us to fall behind with the taxes which is no fault of our own.’” Transcript, at p. 7. (Editorial emendations by the Court).

Now of course none of this excuses either nonfiling or nonpayment. So summary J is perfectly appropriate.

But it’s obvious R&L is neither an attorney nor a Tax Court admittee. So perhaps a word of explanation should have been considered, along these lines. “While R&L may have experienced difficulties, whether or not of their own making, nevertheless the monies withheld are not R&L’s property, and the statutory obligation to timely pay these taxes overrides whatever those difficulties might be.”

Just a suggestion.

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