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United States v. Beckwith

United States District Court, D. Maine

December 4, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN D. BECKWITH, JULIA A. HUNTER a/k/a Julia A. McAuliffe f/k/a Julia A. Beckwith, MAINE REVENUE SERVICES, and TOWN OF PORTER, Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Nancy Torresen United States District Judge.

         The Plaintiff, the United States of America, commenced this action against the Defendant, Brian D. Beckwith, to recover unpaid tax liabilities and to enforce federal tax liens that encumber a parcel of real property (the “Property”) located in Porter, Maine, through a forced sale. See Compl. (ECF No. 1). The Plaintiff joined as Defendants Julia A. McAuliffe, [1] Mr. Beckwith's ex-wife; the Maine Revenue Services; and the Town of Porter (the “Town”). For the reasons stated below, the Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment on Counts I and II[2] is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND[3]

         On or about September 7, 2010, Mr. Beckwith filed his federal income tax returns for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 showing tax due in the amounts of $47, 681.00, $77, 168.00, $37, 199.00, $63, 775.00, $48, 598.00, and $31, 122.00, respectively. He filed his 2010 federal income tax return on or about April 15, 2011, showing tax due in the amount of $47, 987.00. He filed his 2011 federal income tax return on or about April 15, 2012, showing tax due in the amount of $4, 250.00.

         The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) made assessments against Mr. Beckwith of federal income tax liabilities based on each of these returns. The assessments for 2004-2006 were made on October 25, 2010; the assessments for 2007-2009 were made on October 4, 2010; the assessment for 2010 was made on May 30, 2011; and the assessment for 2011 was made on May 28, 2012.[4]

         In addition to these assessments, the IRS assessed penalties against Mr. Beckwith for his failure to make estimated tax payments pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6654, his failure to make timely payments of taxes due pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6651(a)(2), and, for the years 2004-2009 his failure to file timely returns pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6651(a)(1). The IRS made further assessments against Mr. Beckwith for underpayment of interest pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §§ 6601 and 6621.

         The IRS gave Mr. Beckwith notice of the assessed liabilities and made demand for payment, [5] but Mr. Beckwith has failed to pay the liabilities in full. After application of all abatements, payments, and credits, Mr. Beckwith owes federal income taxes, penalties, and interest for the tax years 2004-2011 in the total amount of $819, 265.78 as of August 9, 2019, plus the ongoing accrual of interest and statutory penalties from that date.

         Upon the IRS's assessments against Mr. Beckwith for his federal income tax liabilities for 2004-2011, federal tax liens attached to all of Mr. Beckwith's property and rights to property under 26 U.S.C. §§ 6321 and 6322. The IRS recorded notices of federal tax liens for these liabilities with the Oxford (West) County Registry of Deeds on August 15, 2011, February 25, 2013, and June 9, 2014.

         The United States seeks to enforce its tax liens through the sale of real property owned, at least in part, by Mr. Beckwith, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §§ 7401 and 7403. The Property is located at 568 Kennard Hill Road, Porter, Maine, and is more fully described as follows:

A certain lot or parcel of land in Porter (a portion of R-10-24), County of Oxford and State of Maine, situated north of the White Road (a/k/a Foss Mountain Road), west of the Kennard Hill Road and east of the New Hampshire State Line and being more particularly described as follows, to wit:
Bounded on the south by lands now or formerly of Libby and also by lands now or formerly of Becker; on the west by the State Line of New Hampshire; on the north by the northern line of Porter Township and on the east by the westerly sideline of Kennard Hill Road and also by lands now or formerly of Vierra, Johnson, O'Brien, Dahl, Vierra, Staples, Leonard and Becker. Said parcel contains 226 acres, more or less. Also conveying to said Grantees, their heirs and assigns, in common with others, any rights that Skylark, Inc., may have in the White Road (a/k/a Foss Mountain Road).
Subject to an easement for access and utilities and certain restrictions as set forth in a deed from Scott Paper Company to Thomas H. Carpenter, dated January 26, 1977, and recorded in the Oxford County Registry of Deeds, Western District, at Book 225, Page 415.
Also, excepting and reserving from the above described parcel all easements whether prescriptive or of record, including, without limitation, rights of way, road use agreements and utility easements. Also excepting any rights of others to take water from the spring in the field.
Also conveying to the Grantees, their heirs and assigns, a certain lot or parcel of land located in the Town of Porter, County of Oxford, and State of Maine, being the Marshal Libby Homestead, so-called, and more particularly bounded and described as follows, to wit: North by land of R.J. Hanna heirs, East and South by Highway, and West by the New Hampshire line. Being the same premises conveyed by The Inhabitants of the Town of Porter by Collector's Tax Deed of Jacob L. Mason, Collector of Taxes of said Porter, dated February 3, 1926, and recorded in said Registry of Deeds at Book 122, Page 37A.
Being all and the same premises conveyed by Constance R. Hertel to Fortin and Redmond Associates as described in a quitclaim deed dated November 23, 1998 and recorded in the Oxford County (Western Division) Registry of Deeds in Book 392, Page 98.

         Mr. Beckwith and his ex-wife, Lorry A. Beckwith, jointly acquired the property in 2001. After their divorce, Mr. Beckwith and Lorry A. Beckwith conveyed sole ownership of the Property to Mr. Beckwith by a quitclaim deed dated February 10, 2005, and recorded on January 13, 2006. In 2009, Mr. Beckwith conveyed the Property to himself and to Ms. McAuliffe, who was his wife at the time, as joint tenants.

         Mr. Beckwith and Ms. McAuliffe divorced in 2013. As an addendum to the divorce judgment, the Maine District Court converted ownership of the Property into a tenancy in common, with Mr. Beckwith and Ms. McAuliffe each possessing one-half interest.[6] The court ordered that the Property be immediately placed on the market for sale and that the net proceeds be divided between Mr. Beckwith and Ms. McAuliffe. The Property was never sold. Rather, Mr. Beckwith continued to live at the Property. On September 16, 2016, the Town of Porter executed a municipal quitclaim deed, ...


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