United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss (Dkt. # 12). For the reasons that follow, the Court
DENIES Defendants' Motion.
following is taken from the Government's Complaint, which
is assumed to be true for the purposes of this motion to
dismiss, as well as other documents that have been judicially
noticed as noted below. Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d
903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007). The parties in this action appear
to have a lengthy history, beginning as early as 2000, when
the Government began assessing tax liabilities against
Defendant Elmer Buckardt (“Mr. Buckardt”) for
unpaid federal income taxes. Dkt. # 18 at 4. In 2002, Mr.
Buckardt filed a petition in Tax Court contesting the
IRS' notice of deficiency for income tax year 2002. Dkt.
# 18-2, Ex. 16. The Tax Court subsequently found Mr.
Buckardt liable for a deficiency in federal income taxes and
penalties and cautioned him against advancing frivolous and
groundless arguments. Dkt. # 18-2, Ex. 21. And so it
continued. Over the next several years, the Government
continued to assess tax liabilities against Mr. Buckardt and
Mr. Buckardt continued to file petitions contesting the
IRS' notices of deficiency. See Dkt. # 18-2,
Exs. 16, 19-21, 24.
recently, on October 10, 2017, Mr. Buckardt filed another
petition in Tax Court alleging that he never received notices
of deficiency or notices of determination for tax years
2000-2015. Dkt. # 18-1, Ex. C. In response, the IRS moved to
dismiss Mr. Buckardt's petition for lack of jurisdiction.
Dkt. # 12-1 at 6. The Tax Court granted the motion to
dismiss, noting that the IRS had not issued a notice of
deficiency or notice of determination for tax years
2000-2015, within the timeframe sufficient to confer
jurisdiction. Dkt. # 12-1 at 2.
January 11, 2019, the Government filed a Complaint against
Elmer Buckardt, Karen Buckardt, the D'Skell Agape
Society, and Snohomish County, asking the Court to: (1)
reduce the outstanding tax assessments against Mr. Buckardt
to judgments, (2) set aside transfers of two of the
Buckardt's properties to the D'Skell Agape Society,
(3) foreclose federal tax liens on the properties, and (4)
sell the properties. Dkt. # 1.
Elmer Buckardt, Karen Buckardt, and the D'Skell Agape
Society (collectively the “Defendants”)
subsequently moved to dismiss this action for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction. Dkt. # 12. The Government
opposes the Motion. Dkt. # 18.
courts are tribunals of limited jurisdiction and may only
hear cases authorized by the Constitution or a statutory
grant. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The burden of
establishing subject-matter jurisdiction rests upon the party
seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction. Id. Once it
is determined that a federal court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court has no choice but to dismiss the
suit. Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514
(2006); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court determines
at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the
court must dismiss the action.”).
appear to assert three arguments in support of their two-page
Motion to Dismiss: (1) the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over this action, (2) the IRS cannot assert any
liens or levies against Defendants because the Tax Court
previously concluded that no statutory notices of deficiency
or determination were filed against Defendants, and (3) 26
U.S.C. §7608(a) deprives the Court of jurisdiction.
The Court Has Subject Matter Jurisdiction Over This
argue that the Court lacks jurisdiction over this matter
because a Tax Court decision dismissing Defendant Elmer
Buckardt's petition for lack of jurisdiction applies in
this action and precludes the Court from ...