Ted and Tammy Estes - Page 12

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          not weighed as heavily by respondent.  Furthermore, the record              
          shows that the parties were actively engaged in negotiations                
          throughout the administrative and litigation process, and that              
          respondent did not unreasonably delay acting upon any information           
          which he received from petitioners.                                         
               In view of the foregoing, we find that the position of the             
          United States was substantially justified.  Accordingly, we hold            
          that petitioners are not entitled to administrative and                     
          litigation costs under section 7430.  Based on this holding, we             
          need not consider respondent’s alternative argument that the                
          administrative and litigation costs requested by petitioners are            
          not reasonable.  Petitioners’ motion will therefore be denied.              
                                             An appropriate order and                 
                                        decision will be entered.                     

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