In Uncategorized on 07/22/2022 at 15:44

Back on 2/7/20, I said Tax Court had no Office For the Self-Represented, and wasn’t likely to have one. Well, I wasn’t exactly right. Ch J Kathleen (“TBS = The Big Shillelagh”) Kerrigan assumes that role today for Brenda Martinez, Docket No. 34587-21, filed 7/22/22.

“…petitioner filed with the Court a copy of a notice of deficiency regarding a deficiency in her 2019 federal income taxes and attached copies of tax forms for the same year. The Court characterized the filing of these documents as a Petition. Petitioner did not file either Form 4, Taxpayer Identification Number,  or Form 5, Request for Place of Trial. Petitioner did not pay any filing fee nor did she file an Application for Waiver of Filing Fee.” Order, at p. 1.

Not surprising; the old statistic was 70% of petitioners were self-represented, and of those the vast majority were first-timers in Tax Court. And the greatest part of those crashed before they ever got to the calendar call commandos.

So IRS moves to toss for failure to state a claim.

Ch J TBS to the rescue. She holds the motion in abeyance.

“To help petitioner in this process the Court is providing petitioner with the following attached forms which petitioner should complete and file with the Court as ordered below: (1) Amended Petition, to which petitioner should attach the notice of deficiency she received from the IRS for the year or years in dispute; (2) Form 4, Statement of Taxpayer Identification Number; and (3) Request for Place of Trial. Further, petitioner must pay the filing fee or file an Application for Waiver of Filing Fee, a copy of which is also attached to this order.” Order, at p. 1.

Far be it from me to cast any shade on this laudable attempt to rescue an out-of-depth petitioner. How well Ms Martinez can cope with these papers remains to be seen. Perhaps a suggestion she contact a LITC might be seasonable.

Better still, Tax Court, of all courts, needs an Office For the Self-Represented. It gets more of them than any other Federal Court, I daresay, and the Ch J has enough to do without adding that function to her many burdens.


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