By Robert S. Schriebman
Each of us has our unique destiny in life. Looking back at over 40 years of the practice of tax law, it seems that my destiny has been to champion due process of the law for the American taxpayer. In the late 1990s I appeared before the US Senate Finance Committee, then chaired by Senator William Roth (Roth IRA fame), to raise the issue of the absence of due process of law for taxpayers who owe the IRS. At that time, the Internal Revenue Code as well as internal IRS procedures provided plenty of opportunities to challenge IRS audits. However, a taxpayer, who owed the IRS, had absolutely no due process at all. The Senators on the Finance Committee were stunned at this news. As a result of my testimony, and working with Senator Roth, over many months, Congress enacted elaborate new laws establishing and governing procedural safeguards for Collection Due Process and President Bill Clinton made it official. Today, Collection Due Process issues occupy both the IRS and the US Tax Court docket with substantial case loads.
A few months ago I received a call from the Chief Judge of the CUIAB, Madlyn Hilton. Judge Hilton asked me to argue, on behalf of California taxpayers, a case challenging the CUIAB's longtime position of refusing to grant administrative hearings to taxpayers who have paid assessed EDD's Worker Information Return Penalties (WIRPs) and now want to pursue a refund petition before the CUIAB. The CUIAB had a longstanding policy that it had no jurisdiction to hear WIRP refund matters and that a taxpayer's sole forum was to file a lawsuit for refund in the Superior Court. A great majority of employer-taxpayers did not want to go through the time and expense of a Superior Court trial. They "voted with their feet" and walked away from a potential refund. The end result was that the EDD kept the assessed taxes and soon realized that WIRP assessments were a "cash cow" to the State Treasury. This was not fair!
I have long felt that the refusal of the CUIAB to hear administrative refund claims constituted a serious violation of due process under both the US and California Constitutions. I was both happy and honored to be chosen by Judge Hilton.
Robert Schriebman Argues For Taxpayer Due Process
On July 18, 2017 I appeared before the CUIAB and argued my case in favor of abolishing the CUIAB's longstanding anti-refund position, and allowing "full-dress" administrative due process hearing before the CUIAB for WIRP refunds. The case was heard by ALJ Peter J. Wercinski.
In the closing days of July, Judge Wercinski published his opinion - the California employer-taxpayer won! My arguments were set forth in Articles 276 through 280 on this website.
Now no one is forced to go the Superior Court for justice. The CUIAB will now grant a full administrative hearing on WIRP refund matters.
Judge Wercinski's Decision
Attached to this article please find Judge Wercinski's landmark decision in its entirety.
Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States. He has successfully dedicated more than 40 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments.
Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures - A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures - A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.
Web Site Article 288