Polselli v. United States Department of the Treasury, No. 21-1010 (6th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Polselli underpaid his federal taxes. The IRS has made formal assessments against him; the outstanding balance is over $2 million. While investigating assets to satisfy those liabilities, IRS Officer Bryant learned that Remo used entities to shield assets and that Remo “may have access to and use of” bank accounts held in the name of his wife, Hanna. Bryant served a summons on a bank, seeking account and financial records of Hanna “concerning” Remo. Remo was a client of the law firm Abraham & Rose; Bryant served the firm with a summons. The firm asserted attorney-client privilege and represented that it did not retain any of the requested documents. Bryant then issued identical summonses against banks, seeking any financial records of Abraham & Rose and a related law firm, “concerning” Remo. Bryant did not notify Hanna or the law firms of the bank summonses.
After receiving notices from their banks, Hanna and the law firms petitioned to quash the summonses, alleging that the IRS failed properly to notify them under 26 U.S.C. 7609(a). The district court and Sixth Circuit agreed with the IRS that 7609(b)(2) and (h) waived sovereign immunity only for parties entitled to notice of the summonses and because the IRS was seeking the bank records “in aid of the collection” of Remo’s assessed liability, there was no entitlement to notice under 7609(c)(2)(D)(i). The district court, therefore, lacked subject-matter jurisdiction.