In Uncategorized on 10/19/2018 at 16:41

And There Are Days

There are days when the life of a blogger is a land of milk and cliché, when surfeit becomes embarras de richesses, as Sinaiatical full-dress T. C.s and no less weighty T. C. Memo.s vie with designated hitters. The cornucopia overflows with “somber reasoning and copious citation of precedent,” combined with literary skill, and gravitas without over-portentousness.

And then there are days. Usually Fridays, more often than not before three-day weekends, but not necessarily.

I remember a super-efficient office manager three (or was it four?) law firms ago, whose word was law. Offending her meant being sent to a real estate closing of unendurable length, at the outermost reaches of public transport, on a Friday afternoon, before a three-day weekend, in a snowstorm.

Fortunately, such is no longer my fate, but today is a day of drought. No opinions, no designated hitters, only Judge Holmes again dissing the partitive genitive and Ch J Foley correcting a caption to show reports of petitioner’s death were greatly exaggerated.

Enough. See y’all Monday.



In Uncategorized on 10/18/2018 at 17:16

More than a couple times (hi, Judge Holmes) have I torn up tickets on the leader at the top of the stretch who never quite got there at the wire. Sometimes it was accompanied by just a sigh; other times, it featured imprecations hurled to the heavens, excoriating owner, trainer, jockey, stablehands, dam, sire, and the track announcer. But at the end, it was just another loss.

Well, I feel that way today, although I send no imprecations to the Glasshouse crew, and only my deepest respects to STJ Daniel A. (“Yuda”) Guy, who presided at today’s off-the-bencher, Xiangcun Shi, Docket No. 6852-17S, filed 10/18/18.

First, the post parade.

X e-filed a detailed 1040, with schedules, showing all kinds of numbers for his “international sales” business. The return featured his name, SSAN, address and phone number. The tax due stated therein was paid by credit card.

It wasn’t clear from the record who prepared same, but IRS small-d (this is a nonpolitical blog) democratically issued a SNOD, disallowing deductions in all directions.

X timely petitions.

Now the bell sounds, and X leaps from the starting gate, as the Taishoff no-prize, best-excuse sweepstakes is off.

“Petitioner alleged in the petition and asserted at trial that the tax return in question was totally fabricated, that he did not work or otherwise conduct any trade or business in [year at issue], and that the tax return was filed without his knowledge to ‘trap’ him.” Transcript, at p. 5.

X claims he graduated college in China, came to the US and ran a travel business for 10 years, filing returns all the while, and then retired. In the year at issue, he was supported by his “affluent daughter” in China (a consummation devoutly to be wished), who apparently bankrolled X’s trips to the homeland that year to care for his aging parents. And, while there, he apparently attended various health and wellness seminars, all paid for by said daughter.

Now we come to the top of the stretch.

“Petitioner testified that on one of his trips to China in [year at issue], his girlfriend had suggested that he meet with an individual in Beijing who might assist him in obtaining U.S. citizenship. Petitioner says he met with the unnamed individual who told him that he should file a Federal income tax return to enhance his chances of gaining U.S. citizenship. Petitioner further testified that he provided this individual with personal information, including his social security number and credit card information. Finally, petitioner testified that the individual later became unhappy with him after he rejected the individual’s request for a loan. Petitioner failed to identify the individual in question.” Transcript, at p. 6.

X claims the unnamed person filed the phony return. Now, while there are many bogus returns filed by identity thieves fraudulently seeking refunds, I’ve yet to hear of an identity thief who pays taxes in someone else’s name.

Still, X is leading in the stretch.

We come to the wire.

“Although petitioner asserts that the tax return was a fabrication, he nevertheless offered a few receipts in an attempt to substantiate some of the expenses claimed on Schedule C. The Court finds that petitioner did not present any objective evidence to corroborate his testimony that the tax return was a complete fabrication. There would seem to have been a number of avenues available to petitioner to provide his case, but he offered the Court nothing but his own self-serving testimony.” Transcript, at p. 8.

STJ Yuda, it’s hardly fair to call testimony “self-serving” when the witness stipulates in evidence that totally destroys the witness’ own case. However, see my blogpost “A Joy Forever? – Not Hardly,” 3/31/14, where distinguished counsel did just that.

So X fades to also-ran status. “The receipts attached to the stipulation of facts bear no discernable relationship to the professional and legal expenses in dispute. On this record, respondent’s determination that petitioner is liable for a Federal income tax deficiency is sustained.” Transcript, at p. 9.

Too bad. I had high hopes for X.


In Uncategorized on 10/17/2018 at 18:29

Mega-movie-mogul Samuel Goldwyn (the pivot man in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, a/k/a MGM) was noted for his Berra-like (or better, Goldwyn-like) neologisms. Among these was the term “definite maybe,” apparently meaning a proposition to which he would accord just a trifle more consideration than a flat “maybe,” meaning “no.”

Today, absent any opinions, we have a designated hitter from STJ Robert N. Armen, The Judge with a Heart. Unfortunately, Dana Ann Cheshier, Docket No. 19154-16SL, filed 10/17/18, gives him nothing with which to work his sympathies, not even a definite maybe. She provides neither missing returns, nor a petition from the SFR-derived deficiencies, nor timely responses to orders, nor yet a Form 8857 innocent spouse request.

Even when remanded, Dana Ann failed to deliver. Uncontested summary J for IRS.

“On her Form 12153 petitioner did not check the box for “Innocent Spouse Relief” but she did write “Maybe ?” opposite the printed words on the form preceding that box. However, petitioner never submitted Form 8857 (“Request For Innocent Spouse Relief”), nor did she otherwise pursue the matter during the administrative proceeding. Accordingly, such matter need not be considered further.” Order, at p. 7. (Citations omitted).

Long ago, a casual reader reprimanded me for taking lightly the plight of those finding themselves in Tax Court with little or no comprehension of what they must do. I noted my interlocutor was light on specifics and long on invective. As a lawyer, I’m used to that.

Still, Dana Ann’s plight is exemplified by “Maybe?”

Might have been better to send her to a LITC, if such is available in Dana Ann’s part of TN.