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Hinck v. US
No. 06-376
    John F. Hinck, et ux. v. United States


    Tax Abatements, Prepayment Jurisdiction, Tax Law
    Before 1996, the circuits held that district courts and the Court of Federal Claims had 28 U.S.C. section 1346(a)(1) and 1491(a)(1) refund jurisdiction over claims to abate interest under 26 U.S.C. section 6404(e)(1), but were barred from exercising that jurisdiction because abatement was discretionary and there was no articulated standard for reviewing denials of those requests. The Tax Court held it had no prepayment jurisdiction over section 6404(e)(1) at all and followed the circuit courts' discretionary analysis in the exceptional cases where it had overpayment jurisdiction.

    In 1996, Congress amended section 6404, giving the Tax Court prepayment jurisdiction to review IRS denials of some taxpayer section 6404(e)(1) abatement requests using an abuse of discretion standard.

    The IRS now asserts the Tax Court has exclusive jurisdiction over both section 6404(e)(1) prepayment and refund cases. In Beall v. U.S., 336 F.3d 419 (5th Cir. 2003), the Fifth Circuit held that the 1996 amendments resolved the lack of a justiciable standard issue that precluded exercise of district court refund jurisdiction and resulted in exclusive but limited Tax Court prepayment jurisdiction and limited concurrent refund jurisdiction. The Federal Circuit acknowledged it created a conflict with the Fifth Circuit. The Federal Circuit's exclusivity holding precludes any judicial review of many claims.

    The question presented here is:

  • Did the grant of selective, limited jurisdiction in the 1996 amendments give the Tax Court exclusive jurisdiction over all section 6404(e)(1) claims, deny all relief for many taxpayers, and repeal by implication the existing 28 U.S.C. section 1346(a)(1) and 1491 (a)(1) refund jurisdiction of the district courts and the Court of Federal Claims?


  • Docket Sheet From the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Counsel of Record

For Petitioner:

Thomas E. Redding
Redding & Associates PC
Houston, TX
For Respondent:
Paul D. Clement
Solicitor General
Washington, DC


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