POLITZ, Chief Judge:
Carol Ann Hammers, a tax protestor, appeals the dismissal of her Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. Finding no error, we affirm.
From 1978 through 1984 Hammers filed federal income tax returns containing only her name and address. In response to all other questions she repeated "Objection, Self-Incrimination." When the Commissioner of Internal Revenue asserted deficiencies in her taxes for those years she brought suit in the tax court. The tax court sustained the Commissioner's deficiency determinations and imposed sanctions. These decisions were affirmed on appeal.
On September 20, 1990 Hammers filed for protection under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. The IRS, her only creditor, filed a proof of claim in the amount of $112,412.75. The bankruptcy court determined that only $2,200 of this amount was secured. The Standing Chapter 13 Trustee filed an objection to the confirmation of Hammers' proposed plan. The Trustee invoked section 109(e) of the Bankruptcy Code which limits relief under Chapter 13 based on the amount of the debtor's noncontingent, liquidated, and unsecured debts.
Hammers appeared at a hearing on her plan and argued that portions of the IRS's claim should be disallowed or deemed unliquidated, notwithstanding the final determination of over $106,000 in unsecured debt in the previous adjudications. Hammers maintained that tax penalties are inherently punitive, do not compensate for lost revenue, and are usurious, and, therefore, the bankruptcy court should have disallowed that portion of the IRS's claim pursuant to its equitable power. She also argued that the claim was unliquidated because of discrepancies in the notices of deficiency, assessment, lien, and levy.
The bankruptcy court determined that Hammers' noncontingent, liquidated, and unsecured debt to the IRS exceeded the statutory maximum and ordered her to convert to another chapter or face dismissal. She refused and, as promised, the court dismissed the Chapter 13 filing. The district court affirmed and Hammers, proceeding pro se, filed a timely notice of appeal.
The IRS and the Trustee contend that Hammers' case was ineligible under Chapter 13 because her unsecured, liquidated, and noncontingent debt to the IRS exceeded the $100,000 maximum provided in section 109(e).
Hammers insisted, and continues to insist on appeal, that the bankruptcy court should have employed its equitable powers to look behind the judgments and disallow substantial portions of the IRS's claim, because those decrees included amounts unrelated to actual loss to the IRS. This submission lacks merit; section 505(a)(2)(A) expressly prohibits relitigation of any "tax, fine, penalty, or addition to tax if such amount or legality was contested before and adjudicated by a judicial or administrative tribunal of competent jurisdiction before the commencement of the case under this title."
Undaunted, Hammers contends section 109(e) admits of latent ambiguity which should be resolved in her favor. She argues that the $100,000 limit was intended only "to prevent large business from utilizing Chapter 13, not to thwart or inhibit the small proprietor or individual whose debt may stretch those limits." Thus, even if her outstanding noncontingent, liquidated, and unsecured debt is more than $100,000, the limitation does not, or should not, apply to her. The statute belies the argument.
The text is clear and unambiguous — an individual is an individual, and $100,000 is $100,000.
The sole purpose of statutory construction including, when appropriate, a review of all available legislative history, is to ascertain the intent of the legislative authority.
Cases decided after the amendment support what is apparent from the face of section 105(a) — the bankruptcy court may take up the question of eligibility sua sponte.
Hammers' due process argument is singularly unpersuasive. She had notice of the issue long before she raised it at the hearing on the Trustee's objection to her plan. It was not until after hearing extended argument that the court ruled that her debt exceeded the $100,000 limitation.
The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.