Jack A. Upchurch - Page 10

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          proposed collection actions because he claims that the notice of            
          deficiency and the subsequent assessment were invalid for his               
          gift tax liability for 1996.                                                
               The case before us presents the unique situation in this               
          Court where the taxpayer challenging the validity of the notice             
          of deficiency completely disregarded it and waited to break his             
          silence until the IRS proceeded with collection action almost 2             
          years after the date of said notice.  Because of the unusual                
          context, the parties have spent a considerable amount of effort             
          arguing which standard of review, de novo or abuse of discretion,           
          applies to the issue of the validity of the notice of deficiency.           
               We have held that a determination to proceed with collection           
          of an assessment made without following proper deficiency                   
          procedures is an error as a matter of law, and accordingly, an              
          abuse of discretion.  Swanson v. Commissioner, 121 T.C. 111, 119            
          (2003); see also Freije v. Commissioner, 125 T.C. 14, 36 (2005).            
          In holding that respondent could not proceed with collection in             
          Freije v. Commissioner, supra at 36, we said that “The Appeals              
          officer’s verification that the requirements of applicable law              
          had been met was incorrect.”  We therefore analyze the validity             
          of the notice of deficiency within this framework.                          

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