Boecher Scores a Major Win in Supreme Court Collections Case

The Supreme Court certainly kept busy in 2022. While many decisions were controversial, one managed to squeak through without a whole lot of uproar: Boechler, P.C. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

This case has largely been overlooked by everyday taxpayers, who are far more interested in the Court’s more memorable decisions. Still, it holds major implications, as explained below:

What Happened to Boechler, P.C.?

Boechler, P.C. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue arose when the IRS sent word of its intent to levy the property of the North Dakota law firm Boechler, P.C. While the law firm sought an appeal, the IRS ultimately sustained the levy.

Boechler was granted thirty days to request a Tax Court review but missed this deadline by a mere one day. The petition was thus deemed untimely and therefore, dismissed.

Why Was the Dismissal Reversed?

Here’s where things get confusing: in a rare unanimous opinion (which was authored by Justice Amy Coney Barrett), the Supreme Court stated that procedural rules should not be treated as jurisdictional.

The only exception? If Congress clearly stated otherwise. However, the Court’s opinion added that, in any such statute, it should be clear that, “Congress imbued a procedural bar with jurisdictional consequences.”

Ultimately, as the Journal of Accountancy explains, the main disagreement between Boechler and the IRS focused on “whether the timeliness of the petition was a condition of the Tax Court’s jurisdiction.”

Much of this dispute revolved around the seemingly simple phrase “such matter.” Boechler argued that provisions from Sec. 6330(d)(1) indicate that the Tax Court has jurisdiction, regardless of whether a particular petition is filed late.

This decision may seem complicated, but don’t worry: it represents a win for taxpayers. This should expand opportunities to appeal Collection Due Process (CDP) decisions. Still, the need for quality representation remains strong, so don’t hesitate to work with an enrolled agent from the Highland Tax Group.