Professional Tax Research Solutions from the Founder of Kleinrock. tax and accounting research
Parker Tax Pro Library
Accounting News Tax Analysts professional tax research software Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn Find us on Pinterest
federal tax research
Professional Tax Software
tax and accounting
Tax Research Articles Tax Research Parker's Tax Research Articles Accounting Research CPA Client Letters Tax Research Software Client Testimonials Tax Research Software Federal Tax Research tax research

Accounting Software for Accountants, CPA, Bookeepers, and Enrolled Agents

Daughter Wasn't Authorized to Represent Deceased Mother in Tax Court

(Parker Tax Publishing October 2022)

The Tax Court held that a decedent's daughter, who became the sole trustee of the decedent's lifetime trust upon the decedent's death, was not authorized to represent the decedent before the Tax Court in a deficiency proceeding. The court found that only a state court in its probate capacity has the power to appoint an administrator to represent a decedent's estate, and no state court had done so in this case. Sander v. Comm'r, T.C. Memo. 2022-103.


Before her death, Sandra Sander established the Sandra E. Sander Lifetime Trust (the trust). She was a co-trustee of the trust with her daughter Leda. Leda was nominated as personal representative by Sandra's will. On July 4, 2016, Sandra died a resident of Florida. Under the terms of the trust, at Sandra's death (1) Leda was to become the sole trustee, and (2) the assets of the trust were to be transferred to three new separate trusts for each of Sandra's three children (including Leda).

In 2016, the IRS issued a notice of deficiency to Sandra determining income tax deficiencies for 2013 and 2014. Leda filed a petition for redetermination of the deficiencies in her mother's name. She also filed a Motion to Substitute Parties and Change Caption seeking to substitute herself, as trustee of the original trust, for Sandra. The IRS filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. Under Tax Court Rule 60(a), a Tax Court case must be brought by and in the name of the person against whom the IRS determined a deficiency, or by the fiduciary entitled to institute a case on behalf of such person. Tax Court Rule 60(c) provides that the capacity of a fiduciary or other representative to litigate in the Tax Court must be determined in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction from which such person's authority is derived.

Leda claimed that she was so authorized to act in this case as the trustee for the trust. She relied on the Tax Court's precedent in Estate of Galloway v. Comm'r, 103 T.C. 700 (1994). In that case, a California taxpayer died before the mailing of a notice of deficiency and the taxpayer's daughter, who was named the executor in the taxpayer's will, filed a Tax Court petition in the taxpayer's name. The relevant provision of California law stated that a person named executor in a will may be appointed as a personal representative but does not have power to administer the estate until such appointment is made. The daughter had not been appointed as a personal representative of the taxpayer by a California court. Nevertheless, the Tax Court held that it was authorized under California law to order that the daughter could represent the decedent's estate in the Tax Court deficiency action. The Tax Court explained that it interpreted the California law "in very broad terms" to give the court "the authority to make an appropriate order in the interest of justice."

Leda argued, based on Estate of Galloway, that the Tax Court should exercise its discretion and appoint her as a special administrator for her mother. Leda also contended that under Section 736.0816(23) of the 2022 Florida Statutes, she had authority to act for her mother's estate in this case. That provision authorizes a trustee to "prosecute or action, claim, or judicial proceeding in any jurisdiction to protect trust property." In the event that the court denied her motion for substitution, Leda asked that the court defer ruling on the IRS's motion to dismiss to give her time to open a probate proceeding in order to have a personal representative appointed.


The Tax Court held that Leda was not authorized to be substituted for her mother as a party in this case. The court found that the nearest counterpart under Florida law to the operative California provision in Estate of Galloway was Florida Probate Code Section 733.308. That section provides that when an estate must be represented, and the personal representative is unable to do so, "the court" shall appoint an administrator ad litem to represent the estate in that proceeding. The Tax Court found that under the Florida Probate Code, the word "court" in this context means the Florida county court acting it its probate capacity. Thus, the Tax Court concluded that only a Florida probate court could appoint an administrator ad litem to represent the estate under that provision.

The court rejected Leda's argument that she was authorized under Florida law to act for her mother's estate in order to protect trust property because the court found that trust property was not directly involved in this case. Rather, the court said that this case involved the redetermination of Sandra's income tax deficiencies for the 2013 and 2014 tax years. To collect any liabilities from the trust, the court explained, the IRS would need to invoke transferee liability concepts and show that the trust was a liable transferee of Sandra. However, the court noted that such liability is a "secondary liability." The court concluded that allowing the trust to litigate this case merely because of its secondary liability would elevate that entity over all other persons who might be held secondarily liable for the income tax liabilities (i.e., any persons to whom Sandra may have potentially transferred property after the due dates for her 2013 and 2014 tax returns).

The Tax Court agreed to defer ruling on the IRS's motion to dismiss for six months in order to allow a personal representative of Sandra's estate to be appointed in a probate proceeding.

Disclaimer: This publication does not, and is not intended to, provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations. This analysis is not tax advice and is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The information contained herein is general in nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Parker Tax Publishing guarantees neither the accuracy nor completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for results obtained by others as a result of reliance upon such information. Parker Tax Publishing assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect information contained herein.

Parker Tax Pro Library - An Affordable Professional Tax Research Solution.

Professional tax research

We hope you find our professional tax research articles comprehensive and informative. Parker Tax Pro Library gives you unlimited online access all of our past Biweekly Tax Bulletins, 22 volumes of expert analysis, 250 Client Letters, Bob Jennings Practice Aids, time saving election statements and our comprehensive, fully updated primary source library.

Parker Tax Research

Try Our Easy, Powerful Search Engine

A Professional Tax Research Solution that gives you instant access to 22 volumes of expert analysis and 185,000 authoritative source documents. But having access won’t help if you can’t quickly and easily find the materials that answer your questions. That’s where Parker’s search engine – and it’s uncanny knack for finding the right documents – comes into play

Things that take half a dozen steps in other products take two steps in ours. Search results come up instantly and browsing them is a cinch. So is linking from Parker’s analysis to practice aids and cited primary source documents. Parker’s powerful, user-friendly search engine ensures that you quickly find what you need every time you visit Our Tax Research Library.

Parker Tax Research Library

Dear Tax Professional,

My name is James Levey, and a few years back I founded a company named Kleinrock Publishing. I started Kleinrock out of frustration with the prohibitively high prices and difficult search engines of BNA, CCH, and RIA tax research products ... kind of reminiscent of the situation practitioners face today.

Now that Kleinrock has disappeared into CCH, prices are soaring again and ease-of-use has fallen by the wayside. The needs of smaller firms and sole practitioners are simply not being met.

To address the problem, I’ve partnered with a group of highly talented tax writers to create Parker Tax Publishing ... a company dedicated to the idea that comprehensive, authoritative tax information service can be both easy-to-use and highly affordable.

Our product, the Parker Tax Pro Library, is breathtaking in its scope. Check out the contents listing to the left to get a sense of all the valuable material you'll have access to when you subscribe.

Or better yet, take a minute to sign yourself up for a free trial, so you can experience first-hand just how easy it is to get results with the Pro Library!


James Levey

Parker Tax Pro Library - An Affordable Professional Tax Research Solution.

    ®2012-2022 Parker Tax Publishing. Use of content subject to Website Terms and Conditions.

IRS Codes and Regs
Tax Court Cases IRS guidance