Attorney-at-Law

“AND/OR”

In Uncategorized on 03/04/2020 at 16:07

Judge Courtney D. Jones gets a Taishoff “Good Job” in her whistleblowing debut. Michael J. Keane, Docket Nos. 22897-18W and 23240-18W, both filed 3/4/20, claims a REMIC (Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit, a subspecies of REIT) fraudulently stole his home.

Unhappily, the classifiers, and then the Ogden Sunseteers, tossed Mike’s claim. In each case the Ogden Sunseteers listened to Lacey and handed off to SBSE, or maybe LBI, so their classifiers could lay a blast on Mike’s Form 211. And it doesn’t matter to Judge Courtney D. (cognomen to follow: nominations accepted, but no prize for winning entry; watch this space) Jones whether the classifier worked for LBI or SBSE. In any case, “…the information provided was speculative and/or did not provide specific or credible information regarding tax underpayments or violations of internal revenue laws.” Order 897, at p. 5.

The pages aren’t numbered in the original, so you’ll have to do your own counting.

OK, so Judge Courtney D. (NCY = No Cognomen Yet) Jones got it right. But why a “good job”?

Because she picks up on Judge Gustafson’s pickup of my pet peeve.

“The WBO’s form letter contained the same ‘and/or’ conjunction that led to a lack of clarity in Lacey v. Commissioner, 153 T.C. __,__ (slip op. at 39-40) (Nov. 25, 2019). Here the record establishes that two of the three reasons stated in the letter are justified. As a result, this case will not turn on the general lack of clarity attendant to the ‘and/or’ conjunction. But the Court continues to be concerned that, in a closer case, this form text may create confusion when we review a summary rejection of a whistleblower claim. See Alber v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2020-20, at *8-9 n. 5.” Order 897, at p. 3, footnote 5.

“And/or” is the sloppy writer’s expression of sloppy thinking. Or perhaps timidity at being unable to make a decision.

But Judge Courtney D. (NCY) Jones can make a decision: summary J for IRS in both cases. No abuse of discretion, as they listened to Lacey.

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