D. Jean Bartelma and Dan F. Bartelma - Page 8

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          apply to this case because they apply only to interest accruing             
          with respect to deficiencies or payments for tax years beginning            
          after July 30, 1996.  Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2, Pub. L. 104-168,           
          sec. 301, 110 Stat. 1457 (1996).)  A “ministerial act” is a                 
          procedural or mechanical act that does not involve the exercise             
          of judgment or discretion and that occurs during the processing             
          of a taxpayer’s case after all prerequisites to the act have                
          taken place.  Sec. 301.6404-2T(b)(1), Temporary Proced. & Admin.            
          Regs., 52 Fed. Reg. 30163 (Aug. 13, 1987).  The “mere passage of            
          time” during a tax dispute does not establish error or delay in             
          performing a ministerial act.  Lee v. Commissioner, 113 T.C. 145,           
          150 (1999).  The Court may order abatement where the Commissioner           
          abuses his discretion by failing to abate interest.  Sec.                   
          6404(h)(1).  In order to prevail, a taxpayer must prove that the            
          Commissioner exercised this discretion arbitrarily, capriciously,           
          or without sound basis in fact or law.  Lee v. Commissioner,                
          supra at 149; Woodral v. Commissioner, 112 T.C. 19, 23 (1999).              
               Petitioners argue that there were a number of delays and               
          errors throughout the protest and appeals process.  At trial of             
          these cases, however, petitioners failed to identify any specific           
          instances that would qualify, under the statute, as an error or             
          delay by an officer or employee of the IRS in performing a                  
          ministerial act during the processing of their various protests,            
          appeals, and Tax Court cases.  Only broad allegations regarding a           

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