In Uncategorized on 12/09/2021 at 18:39

Depositions might be an “extraordinary means of discovery” in US Tax Court, but they’re the flavor du jour everywhere else. So the interjection “asked and answered” when examining counsel tries a second round of the same question is commonplace.

Well, today I have a new take on the old rejoinder. Here’s my e-mail to Public Affairs anent the current petition inundation, and the reply I got (name omitted).

Dec. 4, 3:04 p.m.: “Ms. S, There has been much discussion lately, not only by me but also by commenters on my blog, about the flood of petitions in calendar 2021. Two recent press releases have stated that the Court itself has sought to address one consequence, the need to prevent IRS enforcement proceedings when a petition has been filed but, because of the processing backlog, has not yet been served on IRS.

“But so far no particulars have issued from the Court, discussing how the staff are dealing with the backlog generally. Is there a preliminary screening of petitions? For example, are petitions divided between those accompanied by the filing fee and those that are not? Are the petitions themselves subjected to a quick-peek, to see if they meet any applicable standard of adequate pleading (whatever that is; Conley, Twombley, Iqbal or some sui generis Tax Court standard)? If classified, how is each class dealt with? Has any stay-of-enforcement protocol directed to the backlog been adopted?

“I suggest an interview with staff might yield valuable guidance for the public. I would like to interview a member of the staff by telephone and publish the results. Can this be arranged?”

Reply, Dec. 9, 4:00 p.m.: “Thank you for your email. The Court does not comment on internal operations, but you may refer to the press release issued December 9, 2021.”

So I did. And here is something worth repeating. “Of the total petitions filed, approximately 20% were filed electronically. The Court continues to process petitions expeditiously, and the number of paper-filed petitions that have yet to be processed continues to drop as the number of electronic petitions increases. Electronic petitions were up to 30% in October and increased to 36% in November. There is no backlog with respect to electronically filed petitions.” Press Release, 12/9/21.

Btw, Tax Court reports that, as at 11/30/21, 33,300 petitions have been filed so far this year.

Anyone want to start a no-cash, air-bet pool on the final number?

Oh yes, there was an opinion today, a small-claimer. Libia Higuita Wheeler, 2021 T. C. Sum. Op. 42, filed 12/9/21*, had a beef with her ex about their Sub S and their divorce decree. But inasmuch as the case involves Section 66(c) community property issues, of which I know nothing and do not practice in community property jurisdictions, and inasmuch as I was having barbecue beef and a delightful chat with my colleague Peter Reilly, any communist proprietors will have to read Judge Pugh’s opinion without my gloss.

*Libia Higuita Wheeler 2021 T C Sum Op 42 12 9 21


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