Congressman Nadler Statement Supporting The Protecting Access to the Courts for Taxpayers Act

Oct 12, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, delivered the following statement during markup of the Protecting Access to the Courts for Taxpayers Act, which passed in Committee. The bipartisan legislation, of which Rep. Nadler is an original cosponsor, closes a loophole in the current law under which taxpayers who mistakenly file their case in federal district court are prevented from having their claims heard in Tax Court.

Below is a copy of Congressman Nadler’s remarks, as prepared, during the House Judiciary Committee markup of H.R. 3996, the Protecting Access to the Courts for Taxpayers Act:

“Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the “Protecting Access to the Courts for Taxpayers Act.”  This bipartisan legislation would ensure that taxpayers who mistakenly file certain claims in the wrong venue can still have their day in court.

“Under current law, when a court does not have jurisdiction over a case, it may transfer that case to any court that does have proper jurisdiction.  However, due to a quirk in the law, the United States Tax Court is not authorized to have cases transferred to it, even when the Tax Court is the proper—and, in many instances, the only—court with jurisdiction to hear the case.  This legislation would close that gap in the law, and would enable federal courts to transfer cases directly to the Tax Court, where appropriate.

“The need for this bill is not simply a matter of judicial efficiency; it is one of access to justice.  The Tax Court was established to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the IRS, and many taxpayers choose to represent themselves in Tax Court proceedings.  Unfortunately, this can lead to procedural errors, like filing in the wrong court.

“In most instances, by the time a taxpayer’s claim is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, the strict deadlines for filing in the Tax Court—generally 90 days or fewer—have long passed, and the taxpayer is barred from filing a claim altogether.  By allowing these cases to be transferred directly to the Tax Court, however, the case will retain its original filing date, and the taxpayer will preserve his or her claim.

“H.R. 3996 makes a simple, but important, change that will protect the rights of taxpayers to be heard in court.  I appreciate the Tax Court for bringing this issue to our attention, and for helping to develop the legislation.  I am pleased to join Mr. Issa, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, in introducing this bill, and I thank Chairman Goodlatte for advancing it today.

“I urge my colleagues to support the bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.”

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