May 16th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Miscellaneous

Boechler, P.C. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 2022 U.S. LEXIS 2095 (S. Ct. April 21, 2022) (Barrett, J.)  The Internal Revenue Service can seize taxpayer property to collect tax debts. Before it does so, however, the taxpayer is typically entitled to a “collection due process hearing”—a proceeding at which the taxpayer can challenge the levy or offer collection alternatives like payment by installment. That hearing may have a happy (or at least relatively happy) ending from the taxpayer’s perspective. But if not, the taxpayer has 30 days to petition the Tax Court for review. Boechler, P.C., the petitioner in this case, missed the deadline by one day. According to the Commissioner of the IRS, this tardiness extinguished Boechler’s opportunity to seek review of the agency’s determination. The Commissioner insists that the deadline is jurisdictional, which means that the Tax Court has no authority to consider late-filed petitions. And even if it is not jurisdictional, the Commissioner argues, the Tax Court lacks the power to accept a tardy filing by applying the doctrine of equitable tolling. We disagree with the Commissioner on both scores. We are not convinced that the possibility of equitable tolling for the relatively small number of petitions at issue in this case will appreciably add to the uncertainty already present in the process. To take the most obvious example, petitions for review are considered filed when mailed. 26 U. S. C. §7502(a)(1). The 30-day deadline thus may come and go before a petition “filed” within that time comes to the IRS’s attention. Presumably, the IRS does not monitor when petitions for review are mailed. So it is not as if the IRS can confidently rush to seize property on day 31 anyway. None of this is to say that Boechler is entitled to equitable tolling on the facts of this case. That should be determined on remand. We simply hold that §6330(d)(1)’s filing deadline, like most others, can be equitably tolled in appropriate cases.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]



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