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Tax judge declines to require attorneys represent LLCs in court

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The Indiana Department of State Revenue asked the Indiana Tax Court to create a rule requiring limited liability companies be represented by attorneys in court, similar to a rule pertaining to corporations, but Judge Martha Wentworth declined to “invent such a rule where one does not currently exist.”

Wireless Advocates LLC appealed the revenue department’s final determination denying its claim for refund of adjusted gross income tax for the 2006 tax year. Thomas Gaisser, a member, vice president and chief financial officer of the company, signed the verified petition for judicial review and notice of appearance filed with the clerk’s office. An attorney appeared on behalf of Wireless Advocates after the department filed its motion to dismiss.

The revenue department wants Wentworth to dismiss the case because Wireless Advocates as a company couldn’t initiate the appeal itself but needed an attorney to file it. Gaisser, as a non-attorney, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by signing and filing the verified petition and notice of appearance, the government argued.

Wentworth declined to create a rule for LLCs similar to that of corporations. She noted that she didn’t need to determine whether Indiana Small Claims Rule 8(C)(3) applied – which requires LLCs be represented by attorneys in matters of more than $1,500 – since neither attorney mentioned the rule. She also pointed out in the footnote that UPL determinations are for the Indiana Supreme Court to decide.

Corporations proceeding pro se are given an opportunity to retain counsel when its opponent contests the party proceeding pro se. A corporation must refuse before dismissing the action, Wentworth noted.

She rejected the government’s argument that Gaisser – over the advisement of the clerk’s office and a certified public accountant to consult with an attorney before appealing – attempted “to game the system and get additional time to hire an attorney.”

Wentworth pointed out Wireless Advocates hired an attorney just nine days after the department filed its motion to dismiss, and its petition reveals nothing to defeat an equitable result. The revenue department will have 30 days to file its answer to the complaint.  

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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