Attorney-at-Law

WE DON’T NEED NO AUTHORITY

In Uncategorized on 01/14/2021 at 17:56

Wiley Ramey, 155 T. C. 1, filed 1/14/21, claims whoever signed for the certified letter, containing the NITL for which Wiley filed Form 12153 too late, had no authority.

Here’s Wiley’s story.

“In this collection due process (‘CDP’) case, we are asked to consider what appears to be a question of first impression for our Court: whether a notice of intent to levy that is sent to a taxpayer’s actual (and last known) address by United States Postal Service (‘USPS’) certified mail, return receipt requested, starts the running of the 30-day period for requesting a hearing under section 6330, even though the taxpayer does not personally receive the notice because the taxpayer’s address is shared by multiple businesses and the USPS Form carrier leaves the notice at that address with someone who neither works for the taxpayer nor is authorized to receive mail on the taxpayer’s behalf.” 156 T. C. 1, at p. 4.

I can’t answer that question. IRS says yes, Wiley says no, but Judge Emin (“Eminent”) Toro gets to decide.

Turns out Wiley is a lawyer. Although nowhere stated, it sounds like the NITL went to an office shared by a bunch of unrelated lawyers, with a sprinkling of other small operations, a not-uncommon practice, with a harried receptionist (probably a temp) getting all the mail for all the co-tenants, while dealing with myriad phonecalls and dozens of people marching through the office, each with a story that would give Chekhov (the playwright, not the Ensign) enough material for three good acts.

But nevertheless the street address was right, and Wiley got the NITL before the thirty days to send in Form 12153 had run. Wiley sent in the Form 12153, but was a couple days late (hi, Judge Holmes). So IRS says Wiley gets only an equivalent (unappealable) hearing, not a CDP. Wiley petitions.

Wiley’s tale is that whoever signed for the certified Form wasn’t his employee and wasn’t authorized to accept his mail.

Judge Eminent isn’t buying.

“The statutory text refutes Mr. Ramey’s argument, and this conclusion is confirmed by the regulations. Section 6330(a)(2) provides three separate ways in which the IRS may provide a taxpayer with notice of its intent to levy and the taxpayer’s right to a hearing: (1) the notice may be given in person; (2) it may be left at the taxpayer’s dwelling or usual place of business; or (3) it may be “sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested,” to the taxpayer’s last known address. The third method of providing notice focuses on the sending of the notice, not the taxpayer’s receipt of it. It describes the type of USPS service the IRS must select–certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. See supra note 4. The primary responsibility of the IRS under this method of service is to place the notice in the hands of the USPS. So long as the IRS properly addresses the notice to the taxpayer’s last known address and selects the correct type of service from the USPS–either certified or registered mail, with return receipt requested–the IRS complies with the terms of the statute. And while some courts have held that the IRS must do more in certain analogous cases–for example, if the correct address is in doubt or if there are clear indications that the notice was not delivered–none of those circumstances is present here.” 156 T. C. 1, at pp. 21-22. (Footnotes containing “(S)ober reasoning and copious citations of precedent” omitted).

Unlike Antonio Lepore, Wiley makes no claim that the NITL was improperly intercepted; see my blogpost “You Didn’t Get It – Part Deux,” 5/31/13.

“Mr. Ramey is free to organize his business affairs as he sees appropriate, including by choosing to share a business address with other businesses. But, having made that choice, and having provided to the IRS an address shared by multiple businesses, he cannot properly complain when the IRS uses that very address to reach him. In short, the IRS correctly followed one of the methods of service provided by the statute, thereby starting the 30-day period for seeking a hearing under section 6330(a)(3)(B). The fact that Mr. Ramey’s address was used by multiple businesses and that (as we assume for purposes of this Opinion) the USPS left the notice with a person at that address who neither worked for Mr. Ramey nor was authorized to receive mail on his behalf does not change this conclusion.” 156 T. C. 1, at pp. 23-24.

Of course, Wiley can always pay the $247K IRS claims he owes, and sue for a refund. Or, if he’s broke, he can try for an administrative resolution. And put a room or suite number on his tax returns.

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