An Ohio-based private jet company entangled in a multi-million dollar lawsuit with the Internal Revenue Service filed a motion this week asserting the tax agency is missing emails from three separate employees that would be evidence in the case, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
In this March 5, 2014 file photo, former IRS official Lois Lerner is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
The court motion and the federal case are unrelated to the IRS targeting scandal. Nevertheless, it comes after extensive congressional inquiries in Washington over missing emails from Lois Lerner, the former head of IRS tax-exempt organizations unit, who last year admitted to giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for exempt status.
The jet company, NetJets, asserts that the IRS “wiped clean a number of computer hard drives containing emails and other electronic documents that the government was required to produce,” according to the motion filed with U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr., the Dispatch reported.
The motion further says that three IRS employees erased the computer of “an excise-tax policy manager and a key decision maker regarding the application of the section 4261 ticket tax to whole and fractional aircraft-management companies.”
NetJets is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, and first sued the IRS in 2011, asserting the government owed them a tax refund. The IRS countersued in March.
Attorneys John W. Zeiger and Bradley T. Farrell are representing NetJets. The plaintiff’s attorneys did not immediately respond to calls from TheBlaze Thursday.
The motion on the missing emails says that the lost evidence supports the legal arguments from NetJets. Both parties have filed separate motions for summary judgment.
The November 2011 NetJets lawsuit, made well before the IRS targeting controversy, sought a $218 million tax refund as well as a $330 million tax abatement, claiming the federal government wrongly applied a ticket tax on users of its private jets that is meant only for commercial airline passengers.
The IRS countersued in March of this year, claiming that NetJets owed $366.3 million and arguing the company “has failed, neglected or refused to pay its federal tax liabilities ... in full.”
Congress passed legislation in 2012 amending the tax laws to say that a ticket tax does not apply to private jet companies such as NetJets, whose customers purchase a small ownership in the planes that are operated by NetJets, the Dispatch reported. But that 2012 change would not cover 2003 through 2009, which are the years in question.
(H/T: Personal Liberty)