United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN, CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Government's Motion for
Summary Judgment [ECF No. 93], filed on October 6, 2017. For
the reasons stated below, the Government's Motion for
Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Supreme Court has explained that
“the burden on the moving party may be discharged by
‘showing'-that is, pointing out to the district
court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). “If the moving
party has properly supported his motion, the burden shifts to
the non-moving party to come forward with specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Spierer v. Rossman, 798 F.3d 502, 507 (7th Cir.
2015). “To survive summary judgment, the nonmoving
party must establish some genuine issue for trial such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict in [his] favor.”
Gordon v. FedEx Freight, Inc., 674 F.3d 769, 772-73
(7th Cir. 2012). Within this context, the Court must construe
all facts and reasonable inferences from those facts in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Frakes v.
Peoria Sch. Dist. No. 150, 872 F.3d 545, 550 (7th Cir.
2017). However, the nonmoving party “is only entitled
to the benefit of inferences supported by admissible
evidence, not those ‘supported by only speculation or
conjecture.'” Grant v. Trs. of Ind. Univ.,
870 F.3d 562, 568 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing Nichols v.
Michigan City Plant Planning Dep't, 755 F.3d 594,
599 (7th Cir. 2014)). Likewise, irrelevant or unnecessary
factual disputes do not preclude the entry of summary
judgment. Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th
Cir. 2012) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).
OF MATERIAL FACTS
H. LaFevre (the Taxpayer) was the sole owner of Applied
Computer Techniques (ACT) from 1994 through 1999. Decl. of
Yvette Stiger, ¶ 4, ECF No. 38-2. The Taxpayer closed
ACT at the end of 1999. Id. However, the Taxpayer
did not file timely returns for (1) certain liabilities
associated with withheld income and taxes pursuant to the
Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA); (2) the
employer's portion of FICA taxes (employment taxes),
reportable on Internal Revenue Service Form 941; and (3)
Federal Unemployment Tax Act taxes (federal unemployment
taxes), reportable on Internal Revenue Service Form 940.
Id. ¶ 5.
1994 through 1998, a delegate of the Secretary of the
Treasury made assessments against the Taxpayer for
liabilities associated with (1) withheld income and FICA
taxes, (2) the employer's portion of FICA taxes, and (3)
federal unemployment taxes. Id. ¶ 6. The dates
of the assessments for “tax type” 941 were June
30, 1994, September 30, 1994, December 31, 1994, March 31,
1995, June 30, 1995, September 30, 1995, December 31, 1995,
March 31, 1996, June 30, 1996, September 30, 1996, December
31, 1996, March 31, 1997, June 30, 1997, September 30, 1997,
December 31, 1997, March 31, 1998, June 30, 1998, September
30, 1998, and December 31, 1998. The date of the assessments
for “tax type” 940 were December 31, 1994,
December 31, 1995, December 31, 1996, December 31, 1997, and
December 31, 1998. Id. Delegates of the Secretary of
the Treasury issued notice of these assessments and demanded
payment from the Taxpayer. Id. ¶ 8. However,
the Taxpayer failed, neglected, or refused to fully pay the
assessed liabilities and statutory interest. Id.
sent the Taxpayer notices of collection, including notices of
intent to levy. Id. ¶ 10. In 2007, the Taxpayer
filed requests for collection due process hearings, which
were considered by the IRS Appeals Office and then the United
States Tax Court. Id. ¶¶ 11-13. In
February 2009, the United States Tax Court upheld the
IRS's actions. Id. ¶ 13. In June 2009, the
Taxpayer made an offer in compromise regarding his tax
liability. Id. ¶ 15. In May 2011, a delegate of
the Secretary of the Treasury denied the offer in compromise.
Id. ¶ 16.
Taxpayer died testate on January 11, 2013. Id.
¶ 17. His health was compromised by his military service
in the Vietnam War. See Def.'s Trial Rule 56 Designation
of Facts Precluding Summ. J., ¶¶ 1-5, ECF No. 73.
On February 7, 2013, the Taxpayer's probate case, which
remains pending, was filed in the Superior Court of Porter
County, Indiana. Decl. of Yvette Stiger, ¶ 18. James E.
LaFevre was named Executor of his father's estate.
Id. ¶ 19. The IRS filed a claim for internal
revenue taxes against the Defendant, which is the
Taxpayer's estate. Id. ¶ 20. Yvette Stiger,
a revenue officer with the IRS, states within her declaration
that the Taxpayer “has failed, neglected or refused to
fully pay the assessed [(tax)] liabilities” and that
the Defendant owes “$3, 423, 621.48 as of September 30,
2017, plus statutory additions and interest according to law
that continue to accrue after September 30, 2017.”
Id. ¶ 9. Stiger based her conclusion upon the
IRS Certificates of Assessments, Payments, and Other
Specified Matters (Forms 4340) and an IRS computer generated
payoff calculator showing total interest owed as of September
30, 2017. Id. ¶ 7; see also Ex. A, Certificates
of Assessments, Payments, and Other Specified Matters, ECF
Nos. 38-3 through 38-10; and Ex. B, Payoff Calculations, ECF
Government requests that the Court grant its Motion for
Summary Judgment and order that judgment be entered against
the Defendant in the amount of $3, 423, 621.48, plus
applicable fees and interest until the judgment is satisfied.
The Defendant responds that (1) there is a question of
material fact as to the amount of taxes owed and (2) the
Court should enjoin collection of any applicable taxes due to
“special circumstances.” The Court addresses
these issues in turn.
Amount of Taxes Owed
Defendant argues there is a question of material fact as to
the amount of taxes owed. The Court disagrees.
‘assessment' amounts to an IRS determination that a
taxpayer owes the Federal Government a certain amount of
unpaid taxes.” United States v. Fior D'Italia,
Inc.,536 U.S. 238, 242 (2002). “Certificates of
Assessments and Payments establish the fact of assessment and
carry with them a presumption of validity and that the
assessments they reflect were properly made.” Hefti
v. Internal Revenue Serv.,8 F.3d 1169, 1172 (7th Cir.
1993); see also United States v. Maier, No. 17 C
08433, 2019 WL 1399983, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 28, 2019)
(“The IRS records its assessments on Forms 4340, which
‘establish the fact of assessment and carry with them a
presumption of validity and that the assessments they reflect
were properly made.'” (quoting Hefti, 8
F.3d at 1172)); United States v. Ritland, No. 15 C
1062, 2017 WL 25468, at *2 (E.D. Wis. Jan. 3, 2017)
(“The IRS uses Form 4340, the certificate of
assessments, payments, and other specified matters, to assist
in its calculation. Form 4340 establishes the presumption of
a valid tax assessment of the amounts the taxpayer