In Uncategorized on 11/02/2022 at 23:09

Administrative Remedies, That Is

I’ve styled Judge David Gustafson The Obliging Jurist. Like Geoff Chaucer’s Clerke of Oxenford, his orders are full of moral virtue, and “gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.”

Today he directs his teaching both to IRS and to Trace T. Watkins & Lauree L. Watkins, Docket No. 20981-18, filed 11/2/22. After an allegedly prolonged waltz around promised substantiation for Trace’s & Lauree’s indocumentado SNODs, Trace & Lauree produced “a few new documents,” at the sight of which IRS folded and settled. Order, at p. 4.

Now Trace & Lauree want Section 7430 legals & admins, and so move. IRS claims delay of the game, excessive legals & admins claimed, and failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

But Judge Gustafson needs “… additional filings, in order to determine whether a hearing is necessary or whether instead the motion can be decided on the parties’ written submissions.” Order, at p. 1.

“A taxpayer exhausts his or her administrative remedies if (1) before filing a petition, he or she participates in an IRS Appeals conference, or (2) if no IRS Appeals conference is granted, the taxpayer,  before issuance of a notice of deficiency in the case of a Tax Court petition, (a) requests an IRS Appeals conference and (b) files a written protest if a written protest is required to obtain an IRS Appeals conference. Treas. Reg. § 301.7430-1(a) and (b)(1).

“Here, we understand petitioners to argue that they met this requirement, claiming on brief that they ‘asked for a meeting with appeals which was not granted.’  (Doc. 316 at 26, 27). But petitioners do not cite any record evidence that they requested an IRS Appeals conference either orally or in writing prior to receiving an NOD. (Doc. 316 at 26). Furthermore, little information is presented about the timing of petitioners’ purported request for an IRS Appeals conference or about which tax year or years an IRS Appeals conference was requested. Petitioners’ argument is unclear and apparently fails to show that they exhausted all available administrative remedies prior to filing their Petitions. Moreover, the circumstantial evidence regarding IRS Appeals’ activity on petitioners’ … tax years seems to suggest that IRS Appeals did not review these years prior to the filing of the Petitions in Tax Court—presumably because either no IRS Appeals conference was granted (a hypothesis difficult to square with the explicit invitation in the 30-day letters), or none was requested. We will therefore require petitioners to file a supplement to their motion for costs, wherein they should provide any available evidentiary support for their allegations that (1) they requested an IRS Appeals conference for any or all the tax years at issue, and (2) they did so prior to filing their Petitions in Tax Court. A failure to make a showing of these crucial facts may result in denial of their motion for costs. See § 7430(b)(1); see also Treas. Reg. § 301.7430-1(a) and (b)(1). The facts about the nature and timing of any requests petitioners made for an Appeals conference should be established by affidavit (or an unsworn declaration made under penalty of perjury in lieu of affidavit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1746). No hearing would be warranted in this case without a showing that admissible evidence supporting exhaustion of remedies is available to be offered at a hearing.” Order, at p. 5.

But IRS is not faultless. IRS “… maintains that ‘[p]etitioners unreasonably protracted litigation by failing to produce all relevant documents until the eve of the third trial date’ (Doc. 312 at 32-33) and that respondent was finally provided on such date a ‘few new documents that could give some justification to lowering his settlement offer[.]’ (Doc. 312 at 16). However, respondent neither identifies the supporting documents nor explains their contents, and it would be helpful to the Court to understand precisely what documents petitioners provided pre-trial (but had not provided previously) that prompted settlement of the case, so that we may adequately evaluate whether petitioners could or should have provided them sooner and whether respondent’s position throughout the examination and litigation was substantially justified. See § 7430(b)(3), (c)(4)(B).” Order, at pp. 5-6.

I can’t close this post without noting that it’s late because Jaap van Sweden and the NY Philharmonic played a stormer tonight with the Bruckner Seventh Symphony. A performance to remember.


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