In Uncategorized on 10/14/2022 at 17:45

Back on 7/28/20, I said “Never doubt the long reach of Tax Court Judges.” See my blogpost “The Long Arm of Judge Scholar Al,” 7/28/20.

Apparently none of the seven (count ’em, seven) trusty attorneys for North Donald LA Property, LLC, North Donald LA Investors, LLC, Tax Matters Partner, Docket No. 24703-21, filed 10/14/22, is a reader of this my blog. When IRS moves for a remote hearing in aid of issuing a document subpoena, said trusty attorneys object. But like many another high-priced squadron, they find United States Tax Court is more than the village traffic court to which the late Justice Scalia compared it.

Judge Albert G (“Scholar Al”) Lauber reminds the seven of his long arm and strong arm.

“…petitioner contends that this Court lacks the authority to hold hearings regarding subpoenas for the production of documents, asserting that a document subpoena cannot be made returnable at any date prior to the date on which the case is called for trial. Petitioner also contends that a remote hearing is ‘procedurally improper’ because, although respondent has requested a remote hearing, neither party has requested a remote trial.” Order, at p. 1.

Well, the seven should have read Rule 147(b). But Judge Scholar Al needn’t resort to the Rules.

“Petitioner’s arguments are baseless. This Court is statutorily authorized to order the production of documents ‘at any designated place of hearing.’ I.R.C. §7456(a). Petitioner cites no authority to support its position that a party cannot be subpoenaed to produce documents at a pre-trial hearing, and there is none. Petitioner asserts that a remote subpoena hearing is ‘procedurally improper’ because neither party has a requested a remote trial. This argument is illogical: This Court’s authority to conduct a remote hearing (or to convene a conference call) is not affected by whether the trial itself will be conducted in person or remotely. For more than two years the Court has been holding regular document subpoena hearings, conducted remotely via Zoomgov, for the convenience of the parties and the subpoenaed person. Petitioner asserts that ‘the [COVID] pandemic is over, and any procedures that were needed during that time are no longer necessary.'” Order, at p. 1.

The seven should have quit while they were behind. Don’t raise when you’ve drawn dead on the river. Judge Scholar Al goes all-in.

“It is up to the Court, not petitioner, to decide what procedures are necessary or desirable for the efficient conduct of the Court’s mission.” Order, at pp. 1-2.

Hearing scheduled.


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