Friday, September 14, 2012
Mootness and Tax Court Proceedings (9/14/12)
OK, I know the reaction of most readers for this blog is going to be "So What." That is probably a good reaction, but I persist in wanting to evoke that reaction. Here goes.
In Media Space Inc. v. Commissioner, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS _____ (2d Cir. 2012), here, the Second Circuit remands to the Tax Court "with instructions to dismiss the petition." The IRS appealed because it thought the decision document did not determine enough of a tax liability for Media Space. On appeal, , Media Space, advised the 2d Circuit that, notwithstanding the Tax Court decision, it had paid all of the amounts in issue. If that is true, and the Government apparently did not contest it the representation, the Government has seemingly won the case despite the Tax Court decision which at least partially favored the taxpayer (which is, of course, why the Government appealed). So, with the Government having practically won, despite the Tax Court decision, the Court of Appeals dismissed on grounds of mootness over the Government's objection.
I think there is something going on that is not evident from the Second Circuit's cryptic opinion. I think the appropriate resolution of the case would be to remand for entry of decision in the full amount for the IRS. Maybe there is something I am missing there, so hopefully readers will let me know if I am missing something.
Moreover, despite the payment, the Government still wanted the Second Circuit to decide an issue it felt important. The Second Circuit punted on the case or controversy dodge, citing as "'established practice' of federal courts is to 'vacate the judgment below and remand with a direction to dismiss.' Oh well,