In Uncategorized on 05/05/2020 at 12:19

Maybe it carries caution beyond excess, and makes assurance triply (rather than doubly) sure, but I won’t say that Fred R. Martin, Docket No. 9016-19, filed 5/5/20, got it wrong.

Once again, Judge Gale takes the podium to give the lecture to Fred and his outgoing counsel, whom I’ll designate as MCP.

MCP started with a foot-fault. It’s one so common that I’d hardly expend a blogpost on what is really a rookie error.

“…petitioner’s counsel filed a document titled Substitution of Counsel designated as Counsel’s Motion to Withdraw as Counsel. The Motion does not state whether there is any objection thereto as required by Rule 24(c), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure.” Order, at p. 1. So poll IRS and Fred to see if either minds.

But Judge Gale gives the lecture on the next page.

“Counsel is advised that under Rule 24(c), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure, it is their responsibility to advise the Court of petitioner’s current mailing address and telephone number when seeking to withdraw; however, in view of the fact that petitioner provided that information under his own signature, the Court will treat that requirement as satisfied. Counsel and petitioner are also advised that it is unnecessary for petitioner to enter an appearance in the case. Instead, upon granting of the Motion for all of petitioner’s counsel to withdraw from the case, petitioner necessarily assumes pro se status representing himself.” Order, at p. 2.

Yes, logic certainly dictates the second sentence of the last-hereinabove paragraph (as my expensive colleagues would say).

But I wouldn’t heap easy scorn on MCP, given Tax Court’s unique Rules and practices, which do not follow FRCP. Indeed, in many cases Tax Court Rules and practices differ so widely from the rules and practices of all other Federal Courts that it took an Act of Congress to remind Tax Court that it should follow FRE (see H.R. 2029, 114th Cong., the so-called “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act” of 2015, Section 425). Although even there Congress got it wrong. But don’t get me started.

Moral: See Section 7453; procedurally, Tax Court is a free-fire zone.

So yes, when in doubt I’d file. Even f not in doubt, I’d think twice before I didn’t file.


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