Shamrock v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 16-3811 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
After the IRS assessed tax deficiencies and penalties, the taxpayers filed a pro se petition for review. Acting on advice from Niehus, a lawyer who was not authorized to practice in Illinois, the couple stipulated that only half of the tax relief they sought was appropriate. Upon discovering that Niehus was not a member of the Illinois bar, they asked the court to set aside the stipulation. The Tax Court refused and entered judgment against the couple. On remand, with the couple represented by a CPA, Drobny, who was authorized to practice before the Tax Court, the court held that the couple had not been prejudiced by Niehus’s ineligibility to practice and that the advice he had given them had been valid. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, agreeing that Niehus provided “competent, valuable, diligent, and effective” assistance, and noting that there is no right to counsel in a Tax Court proceeding.