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115th Congress      }                                          {   Report
                          HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session         }                                          {  115-598

======================================================================



 
           PROTECTING ACCESS TO THE COURTS FOR TAXPAYERS ACT

                                _______
                                

 March 14, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Goodlatte, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3996]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 3996) to amend title 28, United States Code, to 
permit other courts to transfer certain cases to United States 
Tax Court, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     1
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     2
Committee Votes..................................................     2
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     2
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     2
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     4
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     4
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     4

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 3996 would expand the existing statutory authority for 
Article III judges to transfer misfiled cases that belong in 
Article III courts to cover misfiled tax cases that belong in 
the United States Tax Court to that Court.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Current law grants Article III judges the authority to cure 
jurisdictional errors for misfiled cases by transferring cases 
to another Article III court, both as a matter of judicial 
efficiency as well as to reduce the potential procedural harms 
to a plaintiff who may otherwise miss a filing deadline if the 
case cannot be transferred. However, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1631 does 
not contain the necessary authority to transfer federal tax 
cases to the United States Tax Court where venue is proper.
    Every year, a limited number of typically pro se filers 
file their tax cases in their nearest federal district court, 
rather than the Tax Court. By the time the district court 
recognizes the plaintiff's filing error and dismisses the 
misfiled case, the taxpayer has usually missed the deadline to 
timely refile in Tax Court, thereby depriving the taxpayer of 
having their day in court. The Tax Court has identified this 
issue with the Judicial Conference which is in support of this 
change. By enacting the missing statutory authority for the 
transfer of Tax Court cases, judicial efficiency will be 
restored, taxpayers who misfile will not have to pay two filing 
fees, and taxpayers will have their day in court even if they 
initially file their case in the wrong venue. The Committee has 
heard of no objections to resolving this issue for what may 
impact only a few dozen taxpayers a year.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
3996.

                        Committee Consideration

    On October 12, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill, H.R. 3996, favorably reported without 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 3996.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 3996 the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, November 1, 2017.
Hon. Bob Goodlatte,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3996, the 
Protecting Access to the Courts for Taxpayers Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.
cc:
        Honorable John Conyers Jr.
        Ranking Member




      H.R. 3996--Protecting Access to the Courts for Taxpayers Act


As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on October 
                                12, 2017




    H.R. 3996 would authorize district court judges to transfer 
to the U.S. Tax Court (USTC) cases for which the USTC has 
jurisdiction. Under current law, certain federal tax payment 
cases that are incorrectly filed with a district court must be 
dismissed and refiled with the USTC.
    According to the USTC, a small number of cases are 
incorrectly filed each year. CBO estimates that any 
administrative costs associated with transferring cases between 
the district courts and the USTC would be insignificant and 
would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    Enacting H.R. 3996 would affect direct spending and 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. The USTC 
collects a fee for each case filed within its jurisdiction; 
those fees are recorded as revenues in the budget. Under 
current law, the fees are deposited into a special Treasury 
account for USTC activities and are spent without further 
appropriation. CBO estimates that enacting the bill would 
decrease USTC collections of filing fees, and the associated 
direct spending, by an insignificant amount because cases 
transferred from district courts would not require additional 
filing fees. In addition, CBO expects that implementing the 
bill could affect the timing of federal tax payments and 
refunds associated with the transferred cases. However, CBO 
estimates that the net effects would be insignificant for each 
year.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3996 would not 
significantly affect net direct spending or on-budget deficits 
in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 
2028.
    H.R. 3996 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 3996 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee finds that H.R. 3996 contains no directed 
rule making within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 551.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee states that H.R. 3996, 
extends the existing judicial authority to transfer certain 
misfiled cases to include misfiled Tax Court cases.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 3996 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Section 1. Short Title. Section 1 sets forth the short 
title of the bill as the ``Protecting Access to the Courts for 
Taxpayers Act.''
    Sec. 2. Section 2 amends 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1631, by adding a 
new clause to the existing provision to enable Article III 
courts to transfer cases within the jurisdiction of the United 
States Tax Court to that court. The existing statutory 
provision concerning maintaining the original filing date 
applies to this newly added transfer authority.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 28, UNITED STATES CODE



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
PART IV--JURISDICTION AND VENUE

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CHAPTER 99--GENERAL PROVISIONS

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Sec. 1631. Transfer to cure want of jurisdiction

  Whenever a civil action is filed in a court as defined in 
section 610 of this title or an appeal, including a petition 
for review of administrative action, is noticed for or filed 
with such a court and that court finds that there is a want of 
jurisdiction, the court shall, if it is in the interest of 
justice, transfer such action or appeal to any other such court 
(or, for cases within the jurisdiction of the United States Tax 
Court, to that court) in which the action or appeal could have 
been brought at the time it was filed or noticed, and the 
action or appeal shall proceed as if it had been filed in or 
noticed for the court to which it is transferred on the date 
upon which it was actually filed in or noticed for the court 
from which it is transferred.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *