In Uncategorized on 07/31/2019 at 18:06

The star of my blogpost “A. Nonymous, Serial Blower,” 6/28/17, took my advice, and took up Judge James S (“Big Jim”) Halpern’s suggestion, and ran to DC Cir to maintain his anonymity. And got help from a court-appointed amicus; Mr. Qian and his team get a Taishoff  “Good job!”

And my colleague Peter Reilly, CPA, ever on the trail of follow-ups to my blogposts, has found In Re: Sealed Case, 124 AFTR 2d 2019-XXXX, filed 7/26/19.

And Senior Circuit Judge Ginsburg doesn’t buy Judge Big Jim’s need to tell all.

Judge Big Jim thought that serial blowers, using publicly-available information and with no inside dope, therefore bound to lose under Section 7623, should be made known.

Judge Ginsburg: “It simply does not follow that the public must know the serial filers’ names in order to determine either the extent to which serial filers affect the work of the Tax Court or whether any particular whistleblower is a serial filer. As the Appellant correctly points out, the Tax Court can serve those interests by alerting the public to the serial filer’s history and by explaining the burdens that serial filers impose upon the court; indeed, that is precisely what it did in this case. The use of a unique pseudonym (John Doe, Jane Roe and the like) in all the cases filed by a particular filer would similarly inform the public in the two respects identified by the Tax Court.” (Citation omitted).

A. Nonymous remains A. Nonymous, and the serial goes unspilled.

Thanks, Mr. Reilly.

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  4. This whistleblower was challenging the IRS’s denial of his claims, a challenge which always loses under current law (unless the IRS used his submission and just won’t pay him). It’s a pity to waste time on this when the case-in-chief is frivolous. And it even was appealed! The best thing might have been to grant the whistleblower anonymity and then to fine him for bringing a frivolous case, if there’s something like Rule 11 for Tax Court. (But there probably isn’t— too many pro se cases brought sincerely but misguidedly.)


    • Note that appellate courts have allowed interlocutory appeals from a refusal to seal. See footnote 2 at page 3 of Judge Halpern’s 6/28/17 decision, which I blogged. As for FRCP Rule 11 in Tax Court, I know of no whistleblower case in Tax Court where that Rule was invoked. The only analogous IRC provision is Section 6673 delay-of-the-game in collecting tax, which whistleblowing clearly isn’t. But if Judge Halpern is lobbying for a statute dealing with such obviously noncompliant whistleblowing claims, he should say so, rather than claiming that the public cares in the least.


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