United States District Court, D. Columbia.
Douglas William Hysell, Plaintiff, Pro se, Coalings, CA USA.
For Internal Revenue Service, Defendant: Timothy E. Broomhead, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC USA.
RICHARD W. ROBERTS, Chief United States District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 24]. For the reasons discussed below, the motion will be granted.
A. Douglas-William:Hysell and DOUGLAS WILLIAM HYSELL©
Plaintiff identifies himself as " Douglas-William of the Hysell Family, [A.K.A. Hysell, Douglas William and Douglas-William:Hysell]," who " is a real Natural Man upon the soil of the California Republic." Compl. at 1. He " is the Secured Party/Creditor and Holder-In-Due-Course of the Title to the Artificial Being/Entity, Ens Legis: DOUGLAS WILLIAM HYSELL® , and the only one with a valid claim, and registered priority security interest and priority lien, on DOUGLAS
WILLIAM HYSELL® , ENS LEGIS." Id. According to plaintiff, " DOUGLAS WILLIAM HYSELL© . . . is separate and distinct from Douglas-William:Hysell, the natural, sentient, real flesh-and-blood human being/Man." Opp'n to Def.'s Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. [ECF No. 25] (" Pl.'s Opp'n" ) at 1; see id. at 3 (describing DOUGLASS WILIAM HYSELL as " a straw man, or dummy corporation created by the government . . . without the knowledge or intent of . . . Douglas-William Hysell" ).
Plaintiff alleges that the Internal Revenue Service (" IRS" ) possesses " documents that contain information on DOUGLAS WILLIAM HYSELL® , EN LEGIS, with the Social Security Number [redacted]," Compl. at 3, and has not released them, see generally id. at 1-2, in response to any of his five requests, see generally id. at 2-3. He brings this action under the Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ), see 5 U.S.C. § 552, and now demands release of all the records he requested, see Compl. at 3.
B. The Master File and Non-Master File
To understand the handling of plaintiff's FOIA requests, it is helpful first to review defendant's descriptions of the relevant IRS systems of records. " The Master File is the IRS's official repository of taxpayer data" maintained on computers and microfilm. Def.'s Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of its Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. [ECF No. 24] (" Def.'s Mem." ), Second Decl. of Mark G. Spiry (" Second Spiry Decl." ) ¶ 7. Its Non-Master File (" NMF" ) maintains " taxpayer accounts that the other master files cannot process." Second Spiry Decl. ¶ 16. " For example, the IRS uses the [NMF] when a taxpayer's account has too many transactions or dollar amounts that are too large for the other master files to handle." Id.
When the IRS " receives a return from a taxpayer, makes a tax assessment, receives a payment, makes a refund, or takes other actions related to a taxpayer," data is entered into the Master File and " is stored in a record referred to as an 'account' or a 'tax module,'" depending on the action taken. Id. ¶ 7.
Within the Master File " are repositories for specific types of taxpayers," such as the Individual Master File (" IMF" ) for " individual account and return data," and the Business Master File (" BMF" ) for corporations and other non-individual taxpayer data. Id. ¶ 8. The Master File also contains other databases, including the Audit Information Management System (" AIMS" ) for " records related to taxpayer examinations or audits." Id. ¶ 9.
One retrieves information from the Master File through " the IRS's Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS)," a computer system developed in the 1970s, " by entering a 'command code' into IDRS with a taxpayer identification number," such as a Social Security Number (" SSN" ) or an Employer Identification Number (" EIN" ). Id. ¶ 10. A command code is five or six letters in length, id. ¶ 11, and it may be an acronym or abbreviation " that roughly describe[s] the output information." Id. ¶ 14. " For example, the IMFOL command code stands for Individual Master File On-Line," and when it is used in conjunction with a SSN, " the system returns basic taxpayer identifying information and account
information from the [IMF] for that individual." Id. A command code determines which database IDRS searches and the data IDRS retrieves. Id. ¶ 11. Search results appear " in a computer-created record referred to as a 'transcript'" viewable either on a computer screen or in hard copy form. Id. A transcript is a coded document, that is, " a collection of fields that are populated with data about the taxpayer" that the user deciphers by " consult[ing] a guide that tells . . . what the codes stand for and what information is in each field." Id.
" Depending on the command code entered into IDRS, [the user] can retrieve data from the Master File, which includes data from the Individual Master File, the Business Master File, [and] the Audit Information Management System," among other databases. Id. ¶ 12. Also accessible via IDRS are Wage and Information Returns Processing (" IRP" ), Pay Master, and Taxpayer Information Files (" TIF" ). IRP " contain[s] data from 'information returns," which are returns provided to the IRS by a third party that provide information regarding a taxpayer's possible tax liability." Id. ¶ 17. An example is a Form 1099-INT from a bank to report interest paid. See id. The Pay Master File " includes information regarding disclosures made by the IRS of taxpayer information protected by the Privacy Act." Id. ¶ 19. TIF " includes information regarding ...