United States District Court, D. Minnesota
LaQuita Taylor-Phillips, Esq., and Michael R. Pahl, Esq.,
United States Department of Justice, Tax Division, counsel
B. Robbin, pro se, and Lynette R. Robbin, pro se, Defendants.
Sherwood McKinnis and Jacob G. Peterson, Esq., counsel for
Defendant North American State Bank.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
dispute centers on the IRS's assessment of taxes and
penalties against a taxpayer who refused to pay taxes and
filed frivolous tax returns. The government moved for summary
judgment against the taxpayer (Doc. No. 44). The taxpayer
then cross-moved for summary judgment contending that the IRS
had failed to follow the proper procedures to assess the
taxes and penalties. (Doc. No. 50.) For the reasons set forth
below, the Court grants the government's motion and
denies the taxpayer's motion.
Ronny Robbin is a tax protestor. For example, in filling out
his IRS Form 1040A for 2004, Mr. Robbin stated that he had no
income, which he defines as only corporate profits. (Doc. No.
48 (“Pahl Decl.”) ¶ 3, Ex. 9 (Robbin:
“‘[I]ncome' for income tax purposes is
synonymous with corporate profits . . .
.”).) The IRS disagreed with Mr. Robbin's
interpretation and assessed him for unpaid taxes for 2003 and
2005. The IRS has determined that Mr. Robbin's unpaid
taxes, including penalties and interest, to be $213, 862.79.
Additionally, the IRS assessed civil penalties against Mr.
Robbin for filing frivolous tax returns in 2004 and 2005-the
forms where he said he had zero income. The fines, with
interest and penalties, are $7, 276.72. The IRS filed notices
of federal tax liens with the Kandiyohi County Recorder's
Office on the Robbins' home in Belgrade, Minnesota, for
the unpaid taxes and penalties. (Generally, the
“Belgrade Property.”) The Robbins co-own the
Belgrade Property as joint tenants.
January 14, 2016, the United States (generally, the
“Government”) filed suit against the Robbins for
unpaid taxes for 2003 and 2005 and for penalties from
frivolous tax returns for 2004 and 2005. The Government also
sued North American State Bank and the State of Minnesota as
entities with possible interests in the Belgrade Property.
According to property-tax assessments, the Belgrade Property
is worth $145, 800 and is encumbered by a $40, 000 mortgage
held by North American State Bank. Minnesota has stipulated
that it holds no interest. (Doc. No. 17.) Ultimately, the
Government seeks to force a sale of the Belgrade Property.
April 14, 2017, the Government moved for summary judgement
against only Mr. Robbin seeking to force a sale of the
Belgrade Property. On June 1, 2017, the Robbins cross-moved
for summary judgment contending that the Government had not
properly assessed the taxes and fines.
judgment is appropriate 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). Courts must view the evidence, and the
inferences that may be reasonably drawn from the evidence, in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Weitz
Co., LLC v. Lloyd's of London, 574 F.3d 885, 892
(8th Cir. 2009). However, “[s]ummary judgment procedure
is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut,
but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a
whole, which are designed ‘to secure the just, speedy,
and inexpensive determination of every action.'”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 1).
moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Enter. Bank v. Magna
Bank, 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The nonmoving
party must demonstrate the existence of specific facts in the
record that create a genuine issue for trial. Krenik v.
Cty. of Le Sueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995). A
party opposing a properly supported motion for summary
judgment “may not rest upon the mere allegations or
denials of his pleading, but ...