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Local Attorney argues for the First Time in Front of The U.S. Court of Appeals

BELLEVILLE, Ill., Sept. 11, 2013 . . . On July 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided in favor of Belleville tax and business attorney, Philip D. Speicher’s, appeal against a decision made by the Tax Court in June 2011. Speicher argued that the U.S. Tax Court did not have authority to vacate decisions that had previously become final simply because those decisions contained a clerical error.

Speicher, a shareholder for Mathis, Marifian & Richter (MM&R), explains that the IRS was trying to find a way to resurrect a statute of limitations that had already expired. The IRS made an error that allowed the statute of limitations to expire, and essentially, were trying to unwind their mistake by asking the Tax Court to withdraw the decision that triggered the expiration of the statute of limitations. However, with the guidance of Pat Mathis, a shareholder of the firm, and assistance of Natalie Lorenz, MM&R’s newest associate, Speicher persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals to rule that the U.S. Tax Court did not have the authority to vacate decisions that had become final unless fraud is present, and the IRS acknowledged that their mistake was not a product of fraud.

“This ruling not only helps resolve issues for our clients, it also helps answer questions for other taxpayers who might face a similar situation,” states Speicher. “The IRS is subject to the law just like everyone else, so we are very pleased with the decision that halts the IRS's attempt to find a way around the law. It brings fairness and consistency for taxpayers.”

Speicher has been with MM&R for nine years and became a shareholder in January 2012. His practice concentrates in taxation, business law, estate planning, and real estate law. He has a considerable amount of experience representing businesses and individuals in IRS audits and in litigation before the United States Tax Court.

This was his first argument before the U.S Court of Appeals. “We are very proud of Phil’s accomplishments,” said Pat Mathis. “He did a phenomenal job arguing this case and finding justice for taxpayers. This type of case affects many business owners and taxpayers alike – his work will benefit many.”

Mathis initiated this case by defending his client in front of the Tax Court earlier this year. He then mentored Speicher through the evolution of the case.

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