In Uncategorized on 07/01/2021 at 11:21

No, this is not a CDP case where the RCP includes assets petitioner diverted to creditors other than the fisc. This is Judge Gale’s tale of a petitioner from a Section 6015(f) NOD, wherein said petitioner, like the Ancient Mariner, stoppeth one of three. Kimberly Ann Jones, Docket No. 5700-19S, filed 7/1/21, got innocence for Year One, but lost Years Two and Three.

Kimberly petitioned, and then did nothing. It took a year before the case was on the trial calendar, during which the two (count ’em, two) IRS attorneys assigned to the case attempted to contact Kimberly for the usual stip-or-disagree and file pretrial memos. Then trial was postponed and reassigned due to COVID-19. Whereupon there followed the usual epistolary barrage.

“Petitioner has failed to properly prosecute this case. Petitioner did not appear for trial on March 9, 2020, despite being warned by the Trial Notice, Standing Pretrial Notice, Reminder Notice, and the Court’s Order dated February 18, 2020, that failure to appear could result in dismissal of the case and entry of a decision against her. Moreover, petitioner has failed to cooperate with respondent’s counsel to prepare for trial or otherwise resolve this case as directed in the Standing Pretrial Notice. Finally, petitioner has failed to file a pretrial memorandum as directed by the Standing Pretrial Notice.” Order, at p. 3.

Now I yield to no one in vociferous advocacy that everyone with anything like a colorable claim deserves their day in court. But is not Tax Court solving the wrong problem here?

A docket search reveals that Kimberly applied for and got a waiver of the sixty George filing fee. Wherefore I doubt she petitioned to stave off IRS’ collection efforts. I’m guessing that what Kimberly probably wanted is CNC; obviously she hasn’t a clue that she can’t get there by taking the innocent spouse route.

Judge Gale’s chronology points out the inordinate waste of resources in cases like this, brought by a deer-in-the-headlights pro se. And that’s obvious. But the sledgehammer solution is not the answer.

“Petitioner’s failure to appear for trial and failure to comply with the terms of the Standing Pretrial Notice requiring adequate pretrial preparation have prejudiced respondent by causing him to expend resources that could have been expended elsewhere. Moreover, petitioner’s failure to appear for trial and failure to comply with the Standing Pretrial Notice have hindered the Court’s management of its docket. See Tebedo v. Commissioner, 676 F. App’x at 752 (finding taxpayer’s ‘interference with the judicial process’ was ‘obvious’ where “he failed to comply with any of the court’s orders, and decided not to appear for trial with no advance notice to the court’); Franklin v. Commissioner, 297 F. App’x 307, 309-310 (5th Cir. 2008) (finding ‘a clear record of * * * delay and contumacious conduct’ where taxpayer failed to appear for trial, failed to cooperate with the Commissioner, failed to comply with a court order, and failed to file a pretrial memorandum as directed by the standing pretrial order). None of petitioner’s failures are excused.” Order, at pp. 3-4. (Some citations omitted; there’s enough “somber reasoning and copious citation of precedent” already).

Now I don’t say that Kimberly is an innocent here. She should have said something; that might have invoked an LITC or calendar call commando. But to presume Kimberly is a wit, wag or wiseacre because she did nothing does not consider the fact that she applied for and got the filing fee waiver. The wits, wags, and wiseacres that litter the Tax Court docket and this my blog all of them either get their waiver apps tossed or come up with the three Andys off the bat, so as to kick off their wiseguy antics at The Glasshouse on Second Street, NW.

Must I say again that Tax Court, as much as or even more than the USDCs, need an Office for the Self-Represented? I most respectfully submit that the cost thereof has to be less than what gets wasted in these tossed-for-non-action cases.


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