Attorney-at-Law

MY COLLEAGUE PETER REILLY, CPA

In Uncategorized on 04/28/2021 at 20:23

My colleague, Peter Reilly, CPA, is a widely-read blogger who always brings an interesting point of view to everything he writes. We mostly agree as to method and analysis, and I’m always learning from his observations.

But today, as I’m blogging Jeffrey B. Stankiewicz & Leslie A. Stankiewicz, Docket No. 3139-20, filed 4/28/21, I observe once again a long-time divergence of approach between my colleague and me.

I’ll let Mr. Reilly express his viewpoint. Here’s a recent comment he made to my blogpost “Shy? Try This,” 6/29/17, citing that post in a blogpost of his made at around that time. “The name of the petitioner is there for you if you want to know, but I figure he doesn’t need me to help make him famous. * * * * Mr. Taishoff includes the names.  By odd coincidence, yesterday Mr. Taishoff had a piece on how to keep some of your personal information out of the Tax Court record.”

Obviously, we differ. The names of the petitioners are public record of course, save in the rare instances where a Rule 27 sealing is ordered, or a Rule 345 protector arises in a whistleblower case. At least this was so pre-DAWSON, but that’s another story.

To my way of thinking, it’s not fame, it’s making the petitioner a person in the reader’s eyes. To tell the tale of an abstract “taxpayer” or “Petitioner” takes way the humanity, for good or for ill, and turns the case into a chess puzzle. Chess puzzles can be fun, but I chose to follow the law because there are people here, not chess pieces.

Jeff is a protester, and Judge Kathleen Kerrigan has little patience for such as Jeff.

“Petitioners did not make any valid arguments that petitioner husband’s wages are excludable from gross income because of any specific provision of law. Instead, they advanced frivolous arguments that his wages are not taxable. We do not need to discuss petitioner’s frivolous and groundless arguments. We shall not painstakingly address petitioner’s assertions ‘with somber reasoning and copious citation of precedent; to do so might suggest that these arguments have some colorable merit.’ Crain v. Commissioner, 737 F.2d 1417 (5th Cir. 1984).” Transcript, at p. 6. (Citations omitted).

Now I doubt Mr. Reilly would blog a case like this; it’s too ordinary, commonplace. But to me, it shows Tax Court at work, plodding through the dodgers and protesters until some interesting facts or novel question of law arises to let these highly-qualified judges and STJs show what they can do.

But dodgers and protesters, be they big-ticket highrollers grabbing a too-good-to-be-true solar energy dodge or a marked-up, strip-mined GA backwoods conservation easement, or a run-of-the-mine, wage-worker dodger claiming wages aren’t taxable or the Sixteenth Amendment wasn’t ratified, earn my ire. They want all the benefits of living in this great country without paying for it. They want all the rights and privileges, and all the due process of law, but someone else should pay. Well, if y’all want to go to court, be prepared to have your story told.

And the ordinary petitioner, enmeshed in the wrinkled tangles of our tax system, also needs their story told, with a human face, so that maybe so, just possibly, might could be, the Congress or Treasury might fix things.

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