Attorney-at-Law

THE KID AND THE COMPUTER

In Uncategorized on 06/11/2013 at 15:58

Now all of us senior citizens (I hate that phrase, but what will you? We’re stuck with it) know that when confronted with a computer wardrobe malfunction, younger is better. It’s the old phrase made famous by the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (and if any of this makes sense to you, you probably should heed it when dealing with a computer): “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.”

Well, Javad Bigdeli and Ashraf Bigdeli took that advice in 2013 T. C. Memo. 148, filed 6/11/13, but Judge Morrison wasn’t impressed.

Javad was a traveling dentist who tried to write off his commute and stayovers. And Ashraf defaults at the trial. It’s the usual Section 162 meets Section 274; nothing to long detain the tourist here.

Here’s the rub: “The Bigdelis’ daughter, who did not have experience in tax, accounting, or any related fields, helped them prepare their tax returns using TurboTax computer software for both tax years 2008 and 2009.” 2013 T. C. Memo. 148, at p. 4.

So even though IRS argues the Bigdelis conceded the Section 6662(b)(1) penalties by not addressing same in their petition (see Rule 34(b)(4), and my blogpost of even date herewith, “An Interest(ing) Question – Or Two”), Judge Morrison says he’ll assume but not decide that the Bigdelis did say something about penalties somewhere. Howbeit, they were still negligent.

Judge Morrison: “In preparing their tax returns, they relied entirely on their daughter and on TurboTax. They attempted to deduct personal expenditures without doing any research or consulting any expert to decide whether the deductions were proper. A reasonable and prudent person would not have tried to claim the deductions they claimed without making at least a minimal effort to ensure that they had some legal basis for doing so.” 2013 T. C. Memo. 148, at p. 13.

A young computer whiz with no tax background doesn’t cut it in Tax Court.

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