In Uncategorized on 11/04/2022 at 13:29

Among the casualties of the DAWSON shift, with its concomitant obliteration of the old Tax Court website, was the designated order, which I called the designated hitter. If you remember, the designated order was one which the Judge or STJ designated for whatever reason, and therefore was given special mention in the list of the day’s orders.

While some judges and STJs may have overused that function (which may have contributed to its removal, although no public explanation was ever given), and other Judges and STJs never used it (ditto), for bloggers like me it saved a great deal of time.

Opinions are not issued on the majority of working days and never (well, hardly ever) issued on Fridays. Press releases are even rarer. So I perforce must root through orders for blogfodder.

It’s rarer still when fewer than 200 (count ’em, 200, and I have) orders show up. The overwhelming majority are one-page “file status report” or “continuance GRANTED” or “pay the sixty bucks.” Then there’s the Standing Pretrials deluge, hundreds of orders for trials that will never happen; tossed for want of prosecution or settled out.

Of course, one can use the search function for number of pages, using the Charlie Dickens Weller principle: “Vidth and visdom, Sammy, alvays grows together.” And this works most of the time.

But sometimes there’s an interesting twist in a one-or-two-pager, like Michael S. Debalski, Docket No. 17146-22S, filed 11/4/22.

Mike, self-represented of course, filed a petition and tried to amend, but that got treated as duplicative petitions, so Ch J Kathleen (“TBS = The Big Shillelagh”) Kerrigan tossed the first back in August. Now Mike wants to “dismiss” the surviving petition.

We all know that Section 7459(d) requires entry of decision for IRS in the full amount of the SNOD. So Ch J TBS says “(B)ecause this case is based on a notice of deficiency issued to petitioner for 2020, the Court is required to enter a decision and, accordingly, the petition in this case may not be withdrawn with or without prejudice by petitioner.” Order, at p. 1.

OK, Ch J TBS is trying to save a pro se from himself; maybe IRS’ counsel is talking settlement and Mike thinks that dropping the petition will help him get a good settlement. Except, of course, that if talks break down, Mike has lost his chance to contest the SNOD.

So maybe a wee clarification is in order. Perhaps something like this: “Because this case is based on a notice of deficiency issued to petitioner for 2020, the Court is required to enter a decision in favor of Respondent in the full amount of the deficiency stated in said notice. Therefore, the Court will deny this motion. If Petitioner nevertheless wishes to agree to pay all or part of the full amount stated in said notice, Petitioner should consult with Respondent’s counsel in this case, and move for entry of decision in the agreed amount. If Petitioner and Respondent’s counsel cannot agree by December 5, 2022, they shall file a status report.”

Just a thought.

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