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Thursday, February 20, 2003


Kathryn Bernal got screwed by Congressional stupidity in legislative writing. She applied for relief from joint and several liability for the year 1992 under section 6015(f), and relief from the effects of community income for years 1993 through 1996 under section 66(c). In this decision, Tax Court granted IRS�s motion to dismiss the petition with regards to tax years 1993 through 1996 for lack of jurisdiction. It seems that while provisions for Tax Court jurisdiction were written into section 6015, none were written into section 66. Tax Court applied correct judicial reasoning and statutory construction in determining that this was a meaningful omission that should be given effect. But the actual fact of it being a Congressional oversight is obvious from the lack of any discernable reason for the disparate treatments of sections 6015 and 66 on this issue. In fact the form the IRS sent to Ms. Bernal denying relief from the effects of community property even told her that she had the right to appeal to Tax Court. (I was at first blush upset that Tax Court did not consider this to be an equitable waiver to claims of a lack of jurisdiction. But if I remember correctly, personal jurisdiction can be waived, but not subject matter jurisdiction. So once again the IRS avoids responsibility for false information it gives to taxpayers.)

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