ADVICE FROM THE GENERAL COUNSEL
Security Clearance Attorney Sean M. Bigley represents clients worldwide in security clearance denials and revocations. He is a former investigator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. For more information, please visit www.bigleylaw.com
This article is the second installment of a three-part series on the craziest ways to lose your security clearance. All case details have been taken directly from publicly-available Department of Defense decisions. The attorney has not represented any of the referenced applicants.
One of the hallmarks of any good defense attorney is the ability to remain non-judgmental. I pride myself on that, as do my colleagues. A great many of our clients are good people who happened to make a mistake or fall on hard times.
But some attorneys confuse being non-judgmental with having no sense of humor. I believe that a sense of humor is critical for success in the legal world; without it, constant adversarial experiences will turn any attorney into a combative, angry person.
I frequently joke with my clients and try to help them keep perspective on their situation. In that spirit, here is a reminder that – no matter how bad your cleared career prospects appear – there is always someone with more serious issues.
Uncle Sam Gets His Due – ISCR Case No. 03-26277
A frequent issue we see in our cases is the late-filing of tax returns. There are a variety of legitimate reasons why it happens, ranging from disorganization to medical situations, to being deployed overseas. Most of these cases can be mitigated; we’ve done it successfully with as many as eight (8) years of late-filed taxes.*
Twenty-three years, however, is slightly more problematic.
In this case, issues first arose when the Applicant filed his tax year 1981 return in 1984. “He asked that any overpayment owed to him be applied to any subsequent tax years’ liabilities. The IRS acknowledged he had overpaid his taxes for 1981, but informed him that because he filed his 1981 return outside of the three-year statute of limitations, he had forfeited his reimbursement.”
Applicant disputed the IRS interpretation of the statute of limitations and, from 1991 to the June 2006 hearing date, he continued to dispute the IRS ruling by simply refusing to file his tax returns.
Notwithstanding these “minor” hiccups, the Applicant was confident that he had established mitigation: “Since 1991 (i.e. for 15 years) he had been in frequent contact with the IRS in an effort to resolve his situation.”
It was only after “the IRS imposed a $191,095 lien on the Applicant for his failure to pay taxes, interest, and penalties for tax years 1989-2002” that he decided to stop talking with the IRS and actually just file his tax returns.
“Applicant contended that if the IRS had applied his overpayments to subsequent tax obligations, he would only owe approximately $1,000.” Of course, he believed he would ultimately win his dispute with the IRS…
He just hadn’t filed his appeal yet.
*Per legal ethics requirements, please be advised that past results are not a predictor, guarantee, or warranty of future success. Nothing herein is to be construed as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your specific situation.