In Uncategorized on 05/26/2022 at 16:14

Law office miscues are a fact of life. I remember a couple I’ve done that bring a cold sweat decades later. So please, reader, don’t think I’m indulging in schadenfreude when I tell the tale of Angela M. Hammock, Docket No. 5290-18L, filed 5/26/22, as related off the bench by Judge Ronald L. (“Ingenuity”) Buch.

Angela inherited her parents’ business. A close family friend who’d invested with her parents took over running it. The friend not only helped Angela, but helped himself.  Apparently to the company’s money. Angela hired a CFO, who discovers the family friend’s defalcations. So of course TFRPs rain down. Angela as treasurer and occasional checksigner is in the IRS crosshairs, so she retains counsel. The CFO lawyers up with the same firm as Angela.

Judge Ingenuity Buch takes up the story.

“…her counsel faxed the revenue officer a Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. Upon receipt of the Form 2848, the revenue officer notified one of Ms. Hammock’s lawyers that the form was not processible because it was not completed correctly. The form did not identify the tax form number or tax period for which counsel was representing Ms. Hammock. In response, Ms. Hammock’s lawyers submitted a corrected Form 2848 the following day, but that form was not signed by Ms. Hammock. Instead, the new form relied on Ms. Hammock’s…signature from the previous Form 2848. The revenue officer rejected the new Form 2848 for that reason. The revenue officer’s contemporaneous notes…indicate that Ms. Hammock’s lawyers were still trying to obtain Ms.  Hammock’s signature on the new form from her. The record does not show any further activity regarding securing or submitting a corrected or properly signed Form 2848 for Ms. Hammock until after the revenue officer closed the examination.

“In the meantime, a parallel process was taking place with respect to Mr. L, the CFO of [business]. He was represented by the same lawyers as Ms. Hammock. His initial Form 2848 was rejected for similar reasons; but his updated form was accepted.” Transcript, at pp. 6-7. (Name omitted).

So counsel never got the Letter 1153 for Angela, and couldn’t represent her at Appeals, as they hadn’t a proper POA. Angela claims she never got the Letter 1153, as she was out of town at a rodeo when it arrived. Except IRS has USPS certified mail receipts showing the Letter 1153 was delivered to an individual at Angela’s  last known address.

Nonreceipt by Representative doesn’t defeat a prior opportunity lockout, and Angela doesn’t have the interception evidence that saved Antonio Lepore. See my blogpost “You Didn’t Get It – Part Deux,” 5/31/13 for Antonio’s story.

Angela’s lawyers strive mightily, but the evidence is against them, and Angela has BoP and loses.

I doubt I’ll ever know what happened in Angela’s lawyers’ office, either during or after. But I don’t doubt it will not be pretty.

Takeaway is obvious: POAs are essential. Fill them out with care. Make sure each gets to the right IRS service center timely, and into the Central Authorization File. Get the CAF number inscribed on the file.

Unless thine is the power, thine will be neither the kingdom nor the glory.


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