CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WESTERN UNITED STATES, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant. No. 91-322-K(CM). United States District Court, S.D. California. Oct. 15, 1992. ORDER KEEP, Chief Judge: *1 On March 21, 1991, the Internal Revenue Service issued a third-party summons to the First Interstate Bank, located at 401 B Street, San Diego, California, demanding the bank records of plaintiff Church of Scientology Western United States. On March 25, 1991, plaintiff filed a petition to quash the IRS summons. Upon receipt of the petition, the IRS withdrew the summons, and plaintiff stipulated to dismissal of the action, specifically reserving the issue of plaintiff's entitlement to fees and costs. On October 11, 1991, United States Magistrate Judge Harry McCue heard plaintiff's motion for an order awarding attorneys' fees, expenses, and costs to petitioner. Magistrate Judge McCue denied the motion on July 31, 1992. Plaintiff, however, did not have notice of Magistrate Judge McCue's denial until September 9, 1992, when the order was served as an attachment to the IRS's opposition to plaintiff's motion for a status conference. Plaintiff filed an objection to Magistrate Judge McCue's order on September 23, 1992, within the ten day period allotted by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 72 and 6. I. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a), incorporated herein by reference, provides that a district court reviews a magistrate's order concerning a non- dispositive question under a clearly erroneous standard. Magistrate orders concerning dispositive questions are reviewed, however, under a de nova standard. F.R.Civ.P. 72(b). In order to determine whether an issue is dispositive or non-dispositive, the court must determine how the issue would be characterized under the Federal Magistrates Act, 28 U.S.C. s 631, et seq. See Perales v. Casillas, 950 F.2d 1066, 1070 (5th Cir.1992). Section 636(b)(1)(A) allows a judge to hear and determine any nondispositive pretrial matter, such determination being subject to a clearly erroneous standard of review. On the other hand, section 636(b)(1)(B) states that a magistrate may only issue recommendations on eight listed dispositive matters, which are subject to a de nova standard of review. The question of whether to award attorney's fees is not among the eight listed matters. Thus, the court must determine whether the matter is in nature similarly dispositive by looking at the legislative intent underlying section 636(b)(1)(B). See 11 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure s 3076.5 at 46 (Supp.1992). Dispositive questions warrant a higher standard of review because "of the possible constitutional objection that only an article III judge may ultimately determine the litigation." See generally H.R.Rep. No. 94-1060, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 10-11 (1976). Thus, matters that affect that final outcome of the litigation are dispositive, whereas pretrial matters not integral to the determination of the merits of the action are non-dispositive. The question of whether an award of attorney's fees is dispositive has not been addressed in the Ninth Circuit. In West v. Redman, 530 F.Supp. 545 (D.Del.1982), the district court determined that an award of attorney's fees was a dispositive matter. The court reasoned that attorney's fees are "essential to a full disposition of the petitioner's claim and the defendant's liability." Id. at 548. Because the Third Circuit held that attorney's fees were integral to the merits of an action rather than collateral and "clearly part of the overall relief sought and granted," the court held that attorney's fees are dispositive. Id. (citing Croker v. Boeing, 662 F.2d 975, 983 (3d Cir.1981) (en banc)). I agree with the District Court of Delaware's analysis, and hold that an award of attorney's fees is dispositive in nature. I therefore will review Magistrate Judge McCue's order denying attorney's fees de novo. II. *2 Petitioner has requested attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to 26 U.S.C. s 7430, which provides that "[i]n any ... court proceeding which is brought ... against the United States in connection with the determination, collection, or refund of any tax ... under this title, the prevailing party may be awarded a judgment or a settlement for ... reasonable litigation costs." 26 U.S.C. s 7430(a). In order for a party to be awarded reasonable litigation costs under section 7430, three requirements must be met. First, the taxpayer must exhaust all administrative remedies available within the Internal Revenue Service. Id. at s 7430(b)(1). Second, the taxpayer must be the "prevailing party" as defined by section 7430(c)(4). Third, the taxpayer must show that the requested litigation costs are "reasonable." Id. at s 7430(c)(1). The government argues, and I agree, that Magistrate Judge McCue correctly denied petitioner's request for attorney's fees and costs because petitioner did not exhaust its administrative remedies. Although the Treasury Regulations promulgated under 26 U.S.C. s 7430 are no longer binding on cases filed after January 1, 1986 due to a "sunset" provision that renders them inapplicable to such proceedings, the Regulations still serve as a guide for taxpayers who wish to comply with the statutory requirement to exhaust administrative remedies. See Kenlin Industries, Inc. v. United States [91-1 USTC P 50,122], 927 F.2d 782, 786-88 (4th Cir.1991). Under the Regulations, a taxpayer is not considered to have exhausted his or her administrative remedies with regard to a summons unless the taxpayer submits the dispute to the district director before filing suit. See 26 C.F.R. s 301.7430-1. Even though the Regulations serve as only a guide to the taxpayer, in order to obtain attorneys' fees and costs under 26 U.S.C. s 7430(b)(1), the taxpayer must still show that he or she attempted to exhaust the administrative remedies offered by the IRS. In this case, plaintiff has failed to show that it took any steps to exhaust administrative remedies within the IRS before filing a suit to quash the summons in district court. Although the exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required to obtain the remedy of quashing the summons, the plaintiff is required to exhaust administrative remedies before it is entitled to reimbursement for its litigation expenses. III. For the reasons stated above, I affirm Magistrate Judge McCue's order denying attorneys' fees and costs. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the order of Magistrate Judge McCue is affirmed in its entirety.