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Letter to the Editor

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Publication Title

Tax Notes

Publication Title (Abbreviation)

Tax Notes



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A recent decision again raises questions about the powers that the Tax Court does and should possess. In Mobley v. Commissioner, No. 07-2019 (6th Cir. July 8, 2008), Doc 2008-14970, 2008 TNT 132-13, the Sixth Circuit affirmed a procedural decision of the Tax Court. The Tax Court dismissed a petition because it lacked jurisdiction, and it rejected the taxpayers’ request to transfer the case to a district court. The Tax Court concluded, and the Sixth Circuit agreed, that the Tax Court lacks transfer power. Under 28 U.S.C sections 1631 and 610, the power to transfer cases is conferred only upon “courts,” as that term is defined in those sections. The Tax Court and the Sixth Circuit concluded that the Tax Court is not a "court" as so defined.

In my view, the Mobley case was soundly reasoned as a matter of statutory construction and thus was correctly decided. However, the decision raises three topics, which are discussed below in the order of least significant to most significant. The second and third topics are proposed changes that I hope Congress will consider.


© 2008 Steve R. Johnson


First published in Tax Notes.

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