In Uncategorized on 09/09/2020 at 16:15

All y’all will recollect Melissa Coffey Hulett, a.k.a. Melissa Coffey, the maybe-non-Virgin (Islander) who starred in my blogpost “Another Non-Virgin,” 1/30/18. Well, today Melissa gets a reprise as she bails out Robin J. Fowler, 155 T. C. 7, filed 9/9/20, whose proper and timely e-filed return got kicked by IRS for want of an IP PIN.

No, that’s not what you get when your heartthrob hands you his/her gold-and-carnelian from Iota Pi (Gimmel chapter, 1875), domiciled at that lovely old Victorian gingerbread on College Walk. That’s an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN), and Judge Travis A. (“Tag”) Greaves will tell you a lot more about that than you really want to know.

Robin’s ERO (Electronic Return Originator, one blessed by IRS to e-file returns) sent in Robin’s return on extension due date, with his CPA’s P PIN (Practitioner’s Personal Identification Number), and got back the 20-digit confirm. But IRS kicked same, saying PI PIN was invalid.

Two weeks later, Robin’s CPA sent a DocuSigned paper return (same info except PI PIN) to correct Service Center Certified RRR, and got a receipt signed by an IRS employee thereat.

Two months later, Robin got a billet doux from IRS stating he hadn’t filed. So four (count ’em, four) months later, Robin got his own IP PIN, e-filed his own self (same everything except IP PIN), and that got accepted. Then as the three years from the last of these filings was slip-sliding away, IRS hits Robin with a SNOD.

Robin says SOL.

The classic test is Beard and Hulett (a.k.a Coffey). Right form, enough info, good faith attempt and signed. IRS hangs whatever hat it has on “signed.” No IP PIN, no signed.

“Despite the authority delegated in section 6061, there is little regulatory guidance as to what constitutes a valid signature. Section 1.6061-1(a), Income Tax Regs., provides only that each individual “shall sign” his income tax return. Section 1.6695-1(b)(2), Income Tax Regs., directs a signing tax return preparer to ‘electronically sign the return in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner in forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance.’ We therefore look to the instructions to the [year at issue] Form 1040 itself. Under the heading ‘IRS e-file: Electronic Return Signatures!’, the instructions state that the taxpayer ‘must sign the return electronically using a personal identification number (PIN)’, either a Self-Select PIN or a Practitioner PIN. [Year at issue] Form 1040 Instructions, at 73 (emphasis added). Here, Mr. CPA included a Practitioner PIN on petitioner’s efiled return in accordance with the instructions.” 155 T. C. 7, at pp. 11-12 (Emphasis by the Court). (Name omitted, but I bet the poor guy got The Phone Call from Robin, and Robin should apologize; and pay whatever part of the fee he didn’t).

IRS cannot disavow, rewrite, duck, shuck or jive to get around its own instructions. See Hulett, a.k.a. Coffey.

“Respondent does not refer us to any form, regulation, or other taxpayer-directed guidance that defines an IP PIN as part of the signature. Instead, respondent cites the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), an explanation of IRS administrative practices, which provides that if an electronic return is filed with a missing or incorrect IP PIN, ‘the e-filed return will reject.’ IRM pt. (Jan. 16, 2014). An IP PIN does not become part of the signature requirement simply because respondent’s software will reject an efiled return without it. Furthermore, the Modernized e-File (MeF) system, which the IRS uses to process efiled returns, see infra Part II.B, rejects returns for numerous errors that may not cause a return to fail the Beard test. None of the authorities Respondent cites makes the IP PIN part of the prescribed signature method.” 155 T. C. 7, at p. 14. (Footnotes omitted, but read footnote 10: “We do not decide here whether respondent may make the IP PIN part of the efiling signature requirement; we conclude only that the IP PIN was not part of the efiling signature requirement for the year at issue.” 155 T. C. 7, at p. 14, footnote 10)).

Robin wins, SOL, SNOD invalid.

Watch for the IP PIN mandate to become ubiquitous on campus.

And that’s another reason why I paper-file.

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