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Johnson v. Internal Revenue Service

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

August 1, 2014

ROBERT JOHNSON
v.
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

MEMORANDUM ON DEFENDANT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA'S MOTION TO DISMISS

RICHARD G. STEARNS, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the motion of defendant United States of America to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.[1] Subsequent to the filing of the motion to dismiss, plaintiff Robert Johnson filed a "Repeated Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief, "[2] a "Motion for Mandatory Judicial Review, " and a "Judicial Notice in Support of an Order to Show Cause" with an attached "Memorandum of Law." It is not clear whether these filings are intended to serve as an opposition to the motion to dismiss.[3] Nonetheless, the court will treat them as such as the time to file a formal opposition has expired.

As the court noted in denying Johnson's prior motion for "emergency preliminary injunctive relief, " the Anti-Injunction Act, 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a), mandates that, with limited exceptions, "no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or not such person in the person against whom such tax was assessed." 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a). For this reason, the Complaint must be dismissed, as further explained below.

In his Complaint, Johnson requests that the court order the IRS to "release all levies and liens against the TAXPAYERS" and "release current wage garnishments with TAXPAYERS respective employers." Compl. ¶¶ 8 & 9. Johnson elaborates on his request in subsequent filings, arguing for:

relief from [the IRS's] actions to collect on an ACCOUNT that they have agreed is closed, namely
1) Existing wage garnishments levied against TAXPAYERS with TAXPAYERS employers
2) Existing levies on all asset accounts in the name of TAXPAYER

Dkt. #13, at 5 (emphasis in original).

Despite Johnson's protestations, [4] the requested relief squarely places this action in the category of suits maintained "for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of [a] tax, " prohibited by § 7421(a). Regardless of whether a taxpayer is ultimately correct or incorrect in his or her belief that a tax assessment is inaccurate and that a collection action is as a result unwarranted, the Anti-Injunction Act serves "to withdraw jurisdiction from the state and federal courts to entertain suits seeking injunctions prohibiting the collection of federal taxes." Enochs v. Williams Packing & Navigation Co., Inc. , 370 U.S. 1, 5-6 (1962). That the taxpayer's belief in the wrongfulness of the levy collection is based on an alleged contract (here a purported agreement by the IRS to "zero-out" his account) makes no difference.[5] This case does not fall under any statutory or judicial exception to the Anti-Injunction Act, and therefore, if Johnson wishes to appeal to the courts to resolve his alleged dispute with the IRS, he must first pay the contested tax and then sue for a refund. See Enochs, 370 U.S. at 7 ("The manifest purpose of s 7421(a) is to permit the United States to assess and collect taxes alleged to be due without judicial intervention, and to require that the legal right to the disputed sums be determined in a suit for refund. In this manner the United States is assured of prompt collection of its lawful revenue.").

ORDER

For the foregoing reasons, the United States motion to dismiss is ALLOWED. Plaintiff's various miscellaneous motions are collectively DENIED.

SO ORDERED.


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