United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
United States of America commenced this action seeking to
secure Jane Ritland's federal income tax liability by
foreclosing federal tax liens, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §
6321, pertaining to certain real property at ¶ 7104
Frailing Road, Shawano, Wisconsin (the Shawano property). The
matter is currently before the Court on the United
States' motion for summary judgment. The United States
seeks a judgment that, for the tax years 2004 through 2012,
Ritland is liable for $138, 458.16 in unpaid federal income
taxes, penalties, and interest through September 23, 2016 to
the present. It further argues that the Court should enforce
the federal tax liens against the Shawano property and order
a sale of the property. For the following reasons, the United
States' motion for summary judgment is granted.
judgment is appropriate when the moving party shows that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). All reasonable inferences are construed
in favor of the nonmoving party. Foley v. City of
Lafayette, 359 F.3d 925, 928 (7th Cir. 2004). The party
opposing the motion for summary judgment must “submit
evidentiary materials that set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Siegel v.
Shell Oil Co., 612 F.3d 932, 937 (7th Cir. 2010)
(citations omitted). “The nonmoving party must do more
than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to
the material facts.” Id. Summary judgment is
properly entered against a party “who fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to the party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Parent v.
Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 694 F.3d 919, 922 (7th Cir.
2012) (internal quotations omitted).
district, Civil Local Rule 56 sets forth specific summary
judgment procedures that parties are required to follow.
Under the rule, the party moving for summary judgment must
submit a statement of stipulated material facts, if any, and
“a statement of proposed material facts as to which the
moving party contends there is no genuine issue and that
entitle the moving party to a judgment as a matter of
law.” Civil L.R. 56(b)(1). The party opposing the
motion must then file a “concise response to the moving
party's statement of facts, ” particularly
“in the case of any disagreement.” Civil L.R.
56(b)(2)(B)(i). If the opposing party does not contest the
moving party's statement of facts, “[t]he Court
will deem uncontroverted statements of material fact admitted
solely for the purpose of deciding summary judgment.”
Civil L.R. 56(b)(4).
Ritland, through counsel, did not follow these rules. She did
not respond to the United States' statement of facts,
submit her own statement of facts, or provide any evidence
tending to show that a genuine factual dispute exists.
Consequently, the United States' facts are deemed
admitted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2); see also Apex Digital,
Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th
following facts are taken from the parties' stipulated
material facts and the United States' statement of
undisputed material facts. (Stipulated Material Facts (SMF),
ECF No. 28-2; Undisputed Material Facts (UMF), ECF No. 28-3.)
For the taxable years 2004 through 2012, Ritland filed
self-prepared federal income tax returns. (SMF at ¶ 1.)
For each of the tax years at issue, a delegate of the
Secretary of the Treasury assessed a tax penalty against
Ritland for her federal income taxes. Despite notices of the
assessments and demands for payment, Ritland has failed to
pay the amounts she owes. (UMF at ¶ 50.)
April 11, 2008, the United States filed a notice of a federal
tax lien on the Shawano property with the Shawano County
Register of Deeds. The United States filed additional notices
of a federal tax lien on the Shawano property with Shawano
County in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014. Ritland is the sole
owner of the Shawano property, and there are no mortgages on
the property. (SMF at ¶¶ 6-7.) As of September 23,
2016, the outstanding balance of Ritland's federal income
tax liabilities, including all penalties and interest, is
$138, 458.16, computed as follows:
(UMF at ¶ 51.) On September 1, 2015, the United States
commenced the present action under 26 U.S.C. § 7403,
which allows a district court to order the sale of property
that is subject to a federal tax lien.
Assessed Federal Tax Liabilities
United States first seeks to reduce Ritland's assessed
federal tax liabilities for the tax years 2004 through 2012
to judgment. In an action to collect taxes from a person, the
United States has the initial burden to show the amount of
taxes due. See, e.g., Nakano v. United
States, 742 F.3d 1208, 1211 (9th Cir. 2014) (citation
omitted). A taxpayer's liability to pay a tax is
established by an “assessment, ” the IRS's
evaluation of the amount the taxpayer owes in unpaid taxes.
United States v. Fior D'Italia, Inc., 536 U.S.
238, 242 (2002). The IRS uses Form 4340, the certificate of
assessments, payments, and other specified matters, to assist
in its calculation. Form 4340 establishes the presumption of
a valid tax assessment of the amounts the taxpayer owes.
See Id. (“It is well established in the tax
law that an assessment is entitled to a legal presumption of
correctness . . . .”). This presumption of correctness
shifts the burden of proof to the taxpayer to show that ...