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Kuretski v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service

755 F.3d 929 (2014)

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Kuretski v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

755 F.3d 929 (2014)

Facts

Peter and Kathleen Kuretski (plaintiffs) failed to pay their 2007 tax liability. The Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) (defendant) attempted to collect the unpaid taxes by placing a levy on the Kuretskis’ house. The Kuretskis petitioned the United States Tax Court for a redetermination, and the tax court upheld the levy. The Kuretskis then argued that the tax court judge was biased in favor of the IRS. The Kuretskis based their argument on § 7443(f) of the Internal Revenue Code, which gives the president the power to remove tax court judges for cause. The Kuretskis argued that the tax court was an Article III court within the judicial branch. The Kuretskis based this argument on Freytag v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 501 U.S. 868 (1991), in which the United States Supreme Court stated that the tax court is a court of law that exercises part of the judicial power of the United States. Alternately, the Kuretskis argued that the tax court was an Article I legislative court within the legislative branch. The Kuretskis concluded that, because the tax court was not within the executive branch, § 7443(f) allowed for unconstitutional interbranch removal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Srinivasan, J.)

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