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Friday, February 07, 2003


Tax Court dismissed Mary Lou and Allen E. Jones� petition for lack of jurisdiction because it was filed more than 30 days after the date of the notices of deficiency. The Jones� claimed that they should be allowed to file the petition because there were two dates stamped on each notice. Tax Court was right to state that they could not consider equities in a jurisdictional matter, but they were wrong to state that the equities do not favor the Jones. Tax Court faulted the Jones for not calling the IRS to clarify what turned out to be the IRS�s mistake until more than 30 days after what turned out to be the correct date. While it would be appropriate to hold an attorney to this standard of clarifying a confusion in a form letter within a set time, the Jones seemed to have believed the wrong date without realizing there was a confusion, and it is not stated by the Tax Court whether they were represented at the time of the notice. (There is a representative listed currently in the matter.) I hardly think it is equitable to hold citizens responsible for correcting mistakes the IRS makes in form letters they send to the people whose hard-earned money they take.

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