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Williams v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

May 21, 2013

Oliver W. Williams, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Respondent-Appellee. Harriet S. Williams, Petitioner,

Submitted: May 13, 2013

Appeal from an Order and Decision of the United States Tax Court (Armen, J.) granting summary judgment in favor of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and sustaining a proposed levy to recover outstanding income tax liabilities for the 2000, 2001, and 2002 taxable years.

Oliver W. Williams, pro se, Ossining, New York, Petitioner-Appellant.

Patricia McDonald Bowman, Joan I. Oppenheimer, for Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, Tax Division, Washington, District of Columbia, for Respondent-Appellee.

Before: Chin and Lohier, Circuit Judges, and Swain, District Judge.[*]

Per Curiam:

Petitioner-appellant Oliver W. Williams, an attorney, appeals pro se from an Order and Decision dated May 14, 2012 of the United States Tax Court (Armen, J.) granting summary judgment in favor of respondent-appellee Commissioner of Internal Revenue (the "Commissioner") and sustaining a proposed levy to collect outstanding income tax liabilities owed by Williams and his wife for the 2000, 2001, and 2002 taxable years. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

Between 1995 and 2002, Williams and his wife ("taxpayers") underpaid their federal income taxes. In 2006, the Internal Revenue Service (the "IRS") notified taxpayers that it planned to seek a federal tax lien against the outstanding tax liability. The tax court ruled against the taxpayers, sustaining the IRS's proposed tax lien, and on appeal -- where taxpayers did not contest the underlying tax liability for those taxable years -- we affirmed. See Williams v. Comm'r, 299 F.App'x 92, 93-94 (2d Cir. 2008) (summary order).

By 2010, of the tax liability at issue in the previous litigation, only three years of income tax liability remained in dispute: 2000, 2001, and 2002. On October 15, 2010, the IRS sent taxpayers a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and of Your Right to a Hearing. The notice stated that the IRS intended to levy $17, 949.76, $22, 698.26, and $19, 955.01, inclusive of penalties and interest, for the 2000, 2001, and 2002 taxable years, respectively. In addition, the IRS notified taxpayers of their right to contest the levy in a collection due process ("CDP") hearing. Taxpayers, proceeding without representation, timely requested a CDP hearing; they (1) claimed they had no tax liability; (2) contended that, even if tax were owed, it was not collectible; and (3) challenged certain IRS procedures.

By letter dated January 25, 2011, Thomas A. Conley, a settlement officer with the IRS Office of Appeals ("Appeals Office") scheduled a February 24, 2011 telephone conference with taxpayers. The letter indicated that Conley could not consider collection alternatives unless taxpayers completed a Collection Information Statement and verified their income and expenses. Conley further informed taxpayers that they were required to submit all outstanding federal income tax returns. In response, on three separate occasions, taxpayers requested an in-person hearing in New York City; Conley told them, however, that an in-person CDP hearing was not possible unless taxpayers provided the requested information. Taxpayers did not comply with the document request and did not call in for the scheduled telephone conference.

On March 21, 2011, the Appeals Office issued a Notice of Determination sustaining the proposed levy. Taxpayers timely filed a petition in the tax court, appealing the determination and alleging, inter alia, that the Appeals Office had failed to grant them a face-to-face CDP hearing and wrongly sustained the levy. The Commissioner moved for summary judgment, arguing that Conley had acted within his discretion in sustaining the levy without granting the request for an in-person hearing. The tax court granted the motion. Williams timely appealed.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of ...


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