The Recent Tax Court Decision Demonstrates Jurisdictional Limitations

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Matthew L. Roberts

Matthew L. Roberts



Mr. Roberts is a Principal of the firm. He devotes a substantial portion of his legal practice to helping his clients successfully navigate and resolve their federal tax disputes, either administratively, or, if necessary, through litigation. As a trusted advisor he has provided legal advice and counsel to hundreds of clients, including individuals and entrepreneurs, non-profits, trusts and estates, partnerships, and corporations.

Having served nearly three years as an attorney-advisor to the Chief Judge of the United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C., Mr. Roberts leverages his unique insight into government processes to offer his clients creative, innovative, and cost-effective solutions to their tax problems. In private practice, he has successfully represented clients in all phases of a federal tax dispute, including IRS audits, appeals, litigation, and collection matters. He also has significant experience representing clients in employment tax audits, voluntary disclosures, FBAR penalties and litigation, trust fund penalties, penalty abatement and waiver requests, and criminal tax matters.

Often times, Mr. Roberts has been engaged to utilize his extensive knowledge of tax controversy matters to assist clients in their transactional matters. For example, he has provided tax advice to businesses on complex tax matters related to domestic and international transactions, formations, acquisitions, dispositions, mergers, spin-offs, liquidations, and partnership divisions.

In addition to federal tax disputes, Mr. Roberts has represented clients in matters relating to white-collar crimes, estate and probate disputes, fiduciary disputes, complex contractual and settlement disputes, business disparagement and defamation claims, and other complex civil litigation matters.

Pope v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2020-62 | May 18, 2020 | Lauber, J. | Dkt. No. 3411-19

Short SummaryThe IRS disallowed Taxpayer’s withholding credits of $7,856.  In conjunction with the disallowance, the IRS issued a notice of deficiency for 2017 of “$.00.”  Although the notice erroneously referred to adjusting Taxpayer’s earned income tax credit, the Taxpayer had not claimed the earned income tax credit on his return.  After Taxpayer filed a petition with the Tax Court, the IRS moved to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction under I.R.C. § 6213.  On these facts, the Tax Court granted the IRS’ motion.

Key IssueWhether the Tax Court has jurisdiction to redetermine an adjustment to withholding credits under I.R.C. § 31.

Primary Holdings:

Key Points of Law:

Insight:  The Pope case demonstrates the fundamental principle that the Tax Court is a court of limited jurisdiction.  Its jurisdiction is therefore limited to that expressly provided by Congress.


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