David Bruce Billings - Page 15

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               The opinions from the Eighth and Ninth Circuits create one             
          of the unique problems that our Court sometimes has to face--we             
          have always believed that Congress meant us to decide like cases            
          alike, no matter where in the nation they arose, so that our                
          precedents could be relied on by all taxpayers.  Appeals from our           
          decisions, though, go to twelve different circuit courts and so             
          we have often had to react to appellate reversal by only one of             

          under � 6015(e) unless a deficiency was asserted against the                
          individual petitioning for review,” Bartman, 446 F.3d at 787.               
          Future cases may well show that Congress meant to give us                   
          jurisdiction when a deficiency was “asserted” because it wanted             
          to allow taxpayers to petition for relief well before the IRS               
          sends out a notice of deficiency or makes an assessment--perhaps            
          as soon as issuance of a revenue agent’s report, or some other              
          time during an examination, when the IRS first “states that                 
          additional taxes may be owed.”  H. Conf. Rept. 106-1033, 1023               
          (2000), 2000-3 C.B. 304, 353 (quoted in Ewing I, 118 T.C. at                
               The terms “determination” and “assessment” are not                     
          customarily regarded as synonyms in tax law.  A “determination”             
          is the IRS’s final decision, see, e.g., secs. 6212(a),                      
          6230(a)(3)(B).  And an “assessment” is the specific procedure by            
          which the IRS officially records a liability, see sec. 6203,                
          triggering its power to collect taxes administratively.  (The               
          Code generally bars the IRS from assessing taxes that are being             
          contested in our Court.  See sec. 6213(a).)                                 
               We note too that, although notices of deficiency establish             
          jurisdiction in most of our cases, see Bartman, 446 F.3d at 787,            
          Congress has given us jurisdiction over cases in which there need           
          be no deficiency--for example, review of the Commissioner’s                 
          determinations after IRS collection due process hearings.  Sec.             
          6330(d)(1).  However, because there was no deficiency lurking in            
          this case at all, we need not decide whether an “assertion of               
          deficiency” is synonymous with a “notice of deficiency,” much               
          less an “assessment”, in defining the limits of our jurisdiction            
          under section 6015(e).  See generally sec. 1.6015-5(b)(5), Income           
          Tax Regs.                                                                   

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