The opinion of the court was delivered by: COHILL
Currently before us is plaintiff's Motion to Amend Order to Include All Costs, Interest and Attorneys' Fees filed pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7430. After careful consideration of the parties' memoranda and the applicable law, we will deny the plaintiff's motion.
The plaintiff brought this action under 26 U.S.C. § 7429 for a summary review of the income tax assessment made against him by the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") for the period of January 1, 1983 to May 25, 1983. The amount of the assessment was $29,342.00.
The assessment was made subsequent to a seizure of cash by the Allegheny County Police from the plaintiff's residence and person. The seizure occurred on May 25, 1983, the date the Allegheny County Police arrested the plaintiff for possession of cocaine, charges which were subsequently dismissed. After the arrest, the police searched the plaintiff's residence and found $50,415.00 in cash in a safe in his bedroom and $1,973.00 on his person. During an interview with plaintiff that afternoon, an IRS agent was told that the plaintiff had purchased a Cadillac car two weeks prior to the arrest for $10,500.00, and had purchased a Chevrolet Corvette in April, 1983.
Concerned that the plaintiff might be seeking to circumvent the collection of income tax by hiding his property beyond the government's reach, the IRS conducted an emergency assessment pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6851(a). The assessment amount of $29,342.00 was retained by the IRS, and the rest of the money seized was returned to the plaintiff.
On August 12, 1983, the plaintiff filed a complaint in this court pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7429 in which he sought a court review of the jeopardy assessment conducted by the IRS.
On December 20, 1983, we conducted a hearing on the plaintiff's complaint. After taking testimony and hearing counsel's arguments, we found that the government would not be jeopardized if the money were returned to the plaintiff, and we granted plaintiff's motion for the return of the assessment.
On December 21, 1983, we signed a written order which entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff and ordered the defendants to return forthwith to the plaintiff the sum of $29,342.00. See Court's Order.
The plaintiff now seeks a modification of the court order to include costs and attorneys' fees.
Before an award of attorneys' fees or costs can be levied against the United States, the doctrine of sovereign immunity must be overcome. Fidelity Construction Company v. United States, 700 F.2d 1379 (Fed. Cir. 1983). To do this, we must find specific statutory language which expressly authorizes such an award. Id.
In civil proceedings regarding tax issues, Congress has expressly provided that a party may be awarded attorneys' fees and costs against the United States. This authority is embodied in 26 U.S.C. § 7430, which provides in pertinent part:
(a) In general. -- In the case of any civil proceeding which is --
(1) brought by or against the United States in connection with the determination, collection, or refund of any tax, interest, ...