Robert POWELL, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant., United States District Court, District of Columbia., 478 F.Supp.2d 66, No. 06CV1860 RJL., March 21, 2007
Robert POWELL, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant.
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
478 F.Supp.2d 66
No. 06CV1860 RJL.
March 21, 2007.
Robert Powell, Memphis, TN, Pro se.
Anne E. Blaess, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendant.
LEON, District Judge.
Robert Powell, pro se, has sued the United States pursuant to 26 U.S.C. ╖ 7431 alleging that agents of the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") unlawfully dis╜closed his confidential tax return informa╜tion when they caused notices of tax liens to be recorded with the Register of Deeds of Shelby County, Tennessee and the Clerk of the Chancery Court for Tate County, Mississippi. Currently before the Court is defendant's motion to dismiss for, inter alia , lack of subject matter jurisdic╜tion. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion will be GRANTED.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
"Once a defendant has moved to dismiss a case pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), ▒the plaintiff bears the burden of establish╜ing the factual predicates of jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence.' " Lind╜ sey v. United States , 448 F.Supp.2d 37, 42 (D.D.C.2006) (quoting Erby v. United States , 424 F.Supp.2d 180, 182 (D.D.C. 2006)). "The [C]ourt, in turn, has an affir╜mative obligation to ensure that it is acting within the scope of its jurisdictional au╜thority." Id. at 42-43 (alteration in origi╜nal) (quoting Abu Ali v. Gonzales , 387 F.Supp.2d 16, 17 (D.D.C.2005)).
Under 26 U.S.C. ╖ 6103, tax re╜turns and return information must be kept confidential. 26 U.S.C. ╖ 6103 (2006). Under ╖ 7431, if "any officer or employee of the United States knowingly, or by rea╜son of negligence, discloses any return or return information . . . in violation of any provision of section 6103, such taxpayer may bring a civil action for damages." 26 U.S.C. ╖ 7431(a) (2006).
Section 7433, also creates a private right of action against the United States if "in connection with any collection of Federal tax . . . any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service recklessly or in╜tentionally, or by reason of negligence dis╜regards any provision of [Title 26], or any regulation promulgated under [that] title." 26 U.S.C. ╖ 7433(a) (2006). Section ╖ 7433 further provides that "[e]xcept as provided by section 7432, [a] civil action [under ╖ 7433] shall be the exclusive reme╜dy for recovering damages from such ac╜tions." Id.
Given its exclusivity provision, it re╜mains unclear whether ╖ 7433 bars suits brought under ╖ 7431. Although our Cir╜cuit has not addressed the issue, given the plain language of ╖ 7433 (which was added after ╖ 7431 was enacted) the Court con╜cludes that the statute provides the sole remedy for claims of unauthorized disclo╜sure made in the course of collection activi╜ty. See Shwarz v. United States , 234 F.3d 428 (9th Cir.2000)(holding that ╖ 7433 was the exclusive remedy for unauthorized disclosure claims); Koerner v. United States , 2007 WL 159716 (D.D.C.2006)(holding that the court lacked subject matter jurisdic╜tion over nearly identical claims because plaintiff had brought suit under ╖ 7431).
As plaintiff's claims that the IRS illegal╜ly caused notice of his tax liens to be publicly recorded and as the filing of notice of a tax lien is considered a "collection activity," see Opdahl v. United States , 2001 WL 1137296 (D.D.C.2001), plaintiff has im╜properly brought suit under ╖ 7431. As a result, the Court lacks subject matter ju╜risdiction to hear plaintiff's claims. Ac╜cordingly, defendant's motion to dismiss will be GRANTED.
For the reasons set forth in the Memo╜randum Opinion issued on this date, it is, this 15th day of March 2007, hereby
ORDERED that defendant's Motion to Dismiss [# 4] is GRANTED;