In Uncategorized on 06/24/2014 at 16:13

No, neither leaving the premises nor indulging in a certain herbaceous substance legal in 23 States and the District of Columbia (for medicinal purposes only in most of them), but rather the plight of Donald Thomas Salzer, 2014 T. C. Sum. Op. 59, filed 6/24/14.

Don’s problems arise when Mrs. Don, his wife of almost thirty years, gets into some kind of dispute with former President Bush the Second. The nature of the dispute is not stated by STJ Armen (it’s really irrelevant), but howbeit, she refuses to sign the joint returns they’ve been tendering annually through all their marital years theretofore.

So Don doesn’t file for two tax years, since he can’t get Mrs. Don’s autograph.

IRS, heedless of the niceties of Mrs. Don’s disagreement, gives Don SFRs for both years, and a deficiency for each of the two, “irregardless”, as the grammatically-challenged might say.

Don says “if I am married and filed joint returns, I’d owe nothing, as I was adequately withheld.”

STJ Armen, although The Judge with a Heart, is still bound by the law.

“Joint return rates apply only if a married individual files a return jointly with his or her spouse under section 6013. Sec. 1(a)(1). With exceptions not applicable herein, section 6013(a) provides that a husband and wife may file a return jointly even though one of the spouses has neither gross income nor deductions. See sec. 1.6013-1(a), Income Tax Regs. To file jointly, however, both spouses must intend to do so.” 2014 T. C. Sum. Op. 59, at p. 5.

But neither filed. So Don is on his own, and his status is MFS, not MFJ, which is a major tax hit. Mrs. Don is a woman of principle, but as she had no taxable income and thus no liability or obligation to file, Don might point out that her principles cost them both plenty.

Don is persistent, though: “Petitioner contends that he would have filed joint returns for the years in issue had it not been for his wife’s refusal to do so. Petitioner also contends that it would be ‘illogical’ to pay tax as a married person filing separately given his history of filing joint returns from 1985 through 2007. However, as the U.S. Supreme Court instructs, we give effect to what actually happened and not what might have happened.” 2014 T. C. Sum. Op. 59, at pp. 5-6 (Citations omitted, but our old friend Nat’l Alfalfa is in on the tackle.)

And of course, in dealing with taxes, we might paraphrase Tina Turner’s 1984 classic: what’s logic got to do with it?

STJ Armen: “However much one might sympathize with petitioner, who faces much higher tax liabilities than those that would otherwise be required, the fact remains that joint filing status cannot be imputed. Taxpayers can secure such status only by filing a joint return.” 2014 T. C. Sum. Op. 59, at p. 6.

Moreover, when confronted with nonfiling and nonpayment chops, Don is on his own again. “…petitioner’s wife’s refusal to file joint returns does not constitute reasonable cause for his failure to timely file or his failure to timely pay or otherwise excuse him from liability.” 2014 T. C. Sum. Op. 59, at p.7. (Footnote omitted).

My diligent readers may ask why I haven’t blogposted 142 T. C. 24, filed this date, featuring our old acquaintance Eric Onyango. You’ll remember Eric from my blogpost “You Have To Fulfill The Requirements”, 8/20/13. Well, this is another of those full-dress T. C.’s that make me wonder why an ordinary T. C. Memo. wouldn’t do. See my blogpost “This Old House”, 1/30/12.

Eric never bothered picking up his certified mail, like the letter with the SNOD in it, so he gets no shot at fighting his underlying tax liabilities at the CDP.

Don’t know why Tax Court issued a full-dress on that proposition.


  1. […] In June, Lew Taishoff wrote about Mr. Salzer’s Tax Court loss on the same issue for the earlier tax year in a post titled “Blowing The Joint”. […]


  2. The commenter stated in his/her blog that it was Mr. Salzer that disagreed with the government; as I read the opinion, it was Mr. Salzer who disagreed. That said, s/he and I agree that the return was held to be filed as MFS, not MFJ.


  3. Whoops, typo. It was Mrs. Salzer who disagreed and didn’t sign the return.


  4. […] In June, Lew Taishoff wrote about Mr. Salzer’s Tax Court loss on the same issue for the earlier tax year in a post titled “Blowing The Joint”. […]


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