United States of America v. Connors
ORDER Granting 3 Petition to Enforce Internal Revenue Service Summons. Respondent is directed to appear before Revenue Officer Wooldridge on 3/16/2018, at 9:30 a.m., at the offices of the Internal Revenue Service located at 1 Civic Center Drive, S uite 400, San Marcos, California, 92069, and to produce the documents and give testimony as directed in the summonses. Respondent is hereby notified that failure to comply with this Order may subject him to sanctions for contempt of court. Signed by Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz on 2/12/2018. (mxn)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
10 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
13 GEORGE CONNORS III,
Case No. 17cv2218 BTM
ORDER GRANTING PETITION
TO ENFORCE INTERNAL
REVENUE SERVICE SUMMONS
The Government has petitioned the Court for an order enforcing Internal
17 Revenue Service (“IRS”) Summonses issued to George Connors III (“Respondent”).
18 On November 27, 2017, the Court issued an order setting a hearing on the petition to
19 enforce. On November 29, 2017, the IRS served Respondent with a copy of the
20 Court’s order, the Government’s petition to enforce, and the supporting declaration
21 by leaving a copy with his wife, Patricia Connors, at Respondent’s last known address.
22 Respondent did not file a written response to the order.
The hearing was held on the Government’s petition on February 9, 2018, at 2:00
24 p.m. The Government was represented by Boris Bourget. Respondent appeared and
25 was represented by Chris Cooke. For the reasons explained herein, the Government’s
26 petition to enforce the summonses is granted.
On April 11, 2017, W. Wooldridge, a Revenue Officer employed by the IRS,
issued two IRS summonses to Respondent. [Amended Declaration of Revenue
Officer W. Wooldridge in Support of Petition, (“Wooldridge Decl.”), ¶ 5.] The IRS
is conducting an investigation to determine the collectability of Respondent’s tax
liabilities for the 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 tax years and to
determine his tax liabilities for the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 tax
years. [Id. at ¶ 4.] On April 11, 2017, Revenue Officer Wooldridge served the
summonses on Respondent by leaving copies with Respondent’s wife, Patricia
Connors, at Respondent’s last known address. [Id. at ¶ 8.] The summonses called for
Respondent to appear before the IRS on May 10th, 2017. [Id. at ¶ 6.]
Respondent failed to appear and provide the summoned information. [Id. at ¶
9.] On May 18, 2017, the Office of Division Counsel of the IRS sent letters to
Respondent directing him to appear before Revenue Officer Wooldridge on May 31,
2017. [Id. at Ex. B.] Respondent again failed to appear for this meeting and provide
the summoned information. On June 13, 2017, Respondent’s attorney contacted
Revenue Officer Wooldridge, and Ms. Wooldridge agreed to give Respondent until
June 27, 2017, to appear before her and provided the summoned information. [Id. at ¶
10, Ex. C.] Respondent did not appear. To date, Respondent has not provided the IRS
with any of the summoned information.
On November 27, 2017, the Government filed an amended petition to enforce
the IRS summonses. That same day, Respondent was ordered to appear before the
Court on January 12, 2018. That hearing was continued until February 9, 2018. The
Court also ordered Respondent to respond with any defense or opposition to the
petition at least 14 days prior to the hearing date. Respondent did not file a written
response but did appear at the hearing. Respondent did not object to the issuance of
an order enforcing the summonses.
Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7602(a)(1), the Secretary of the Treasury may “examine
any books, papers, records, or other data which may be relevant or material” in
connection with “ascertaining the correctness of any return, making a return where
none has been made, determining the liability of any person for any internal revenue
. . . or collecting any such liability.” Section 7602(a)(1) authorizes the Secretary to
issue summonses to compel persons in possession of such books, papers, records, or
other data to appear and produce the same and/or give testimony.
In order to obtain judicial enforcement of an IRS summons, the United States
“must first establish its ‘good faith’ by showing that the summons: (1) is issued for a
legitimate purpose; (2) seeks information relevant to that purpose; (3) seeks
information that is not already within the IRS’ possession; and (4) satisfies all
administrative steps required by the United States Code.” Fortney v. United States,
59 F.3d 117, 119 (9th Cir. 1995) (citing United States v. Powell, 379 U.S. 48, 57-58
(1964)). “The government’s burden is a ‘slight one’ and typically is satisfied by the
introduction of the sworn declaration of the revenue agent who issued the summons
that Powell requirements have been met.” Id. at 120. Once the government has made
a prima facie showing that enforcement of the summons is appropriate, the burden
shifts to the Respondent to show that enforcement of the summons would be an abuse
of the court’s process. Powell, 379 U.S. at 58. The Supreme Court has characterized
Respondent’s burden as a heavy one. Id.
Respondent does not object to granting the Government’s petition, but in any
case, the Government’s petition and Revenue Officer Wooldridge’s supporting
declaration satisfy all four elements of the Powell standard.
First, the IRS is
conducting an investigation to determine the collectability of Respondent’s tax
liabilities for the 2002–2008 tax years and to determine his tax liabilities for the 2009–
2015 tax years. [Wooldridge Decl., ¶ 4.] Such an investigation is expressly authorized
by 26 U.S.C. § 7602(a). The Internal Revenue Code explicitly allows the issuance of
a summons for the purpose of determining “the liability of any person for any internal
revenue tax . . . or collecting any such liability . . .” 26 U.S.C. § 7602(a). Thus, the
summonses were issued for a legitimate purpose.
Second, Revenue Officer
Wooldridge has declared in her declaration that the information requested by the
summonses may be relevant to determine Respondent’s tax liabilities and
collectability of his tax liabilities. [Id. at ¶ 14.] Third, the IRS does not already
possess the testimony, papers, records, and other data sought by the summonses issued
to Respondent. [Id. ¶ 12.] Finally, the IRS has followed and exhausted all required
administrative steps, but Respondent has not complied with the summonses. [Id. at ¶
13.] Thus, the Government has made a prima facie showing that it is entitled to
judicial enforcement of the summonses.
For the reasons set forth herein, the Government’s petition to enforce the IRS
summonses is GRANTED. Respondent, George Connors III, is directed to appear
before Revenue Officer Wooldridge on March 16, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., at the offices of
the Internal Revenue Service located at 1 Civic Center Drive, Suite 400, San Marcos,
California, 92069, and to produce the documents and give testimony as directed in the
Respondent is hereby notified that failure to comply with this Order may subject
him to sanctions for contempt of court.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: February 12, 2018
BARRY TED MOSKOWITZ, Chief Judge
United States District Court
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