In our previous post, we pontificated on the merits of the Freedom of Information Act, and the benefits of obtaining a case file pursuant to the FOIA while a case is on appeal, or being docketed for United States Tax Court.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts also has a “Freedom of Information Act,” known as the Massachusetts Public Records Request System.
Similar to our comments with respect to the FOIA, the Massachusetts Public Records Request System is a valuable tool for case preparation, especially when a case is pending before the Office of Appeals or Appellate Tax Board.
We prefer to address our Massachusetts requests directly to the Commissioner of Revenue. A request was once made to an examiner for the correct address, and the one we were provided was incorrect. It was an old address, actually. We were prudent (or lucky) in that we sent a duplicate copy directly to the Commissioner (the former was sent back to us “return to sender”). Since that time, we go directly to the Commissioner, and we’ve had luck in that regard.
Incidentally, the Commonwealth actually has a better system that the U.S. Government. They send the file by very secure email, from which we simply print out the data. In addition, the examining agent should have detailed case notes, which more often than not, are extremely informative. We’ve found it to be a great view of the case from the standpoint of the examining agent. How a case can go to Appeals without the case file obtained pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Request System is beyond me. It is that useful, yet it is rarely used.
We are attaching herein a sample request for the benefit of our readers and visitors!
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