In Uncategorized on 02/25/2015 at 16:20

I wanted to subtitle this blogpost “Until What Freezes Over?” for reasons that shall appear hereinafter. But first, the moving part.

Judge Morrison follows the trail of Jeffrey B. Palmer, in 2015 T. C. Memo. 30, filed 2/25/15, but Jeff fetches up fewer than fifty (50) miles from his old home base in search of employment.

Jeff wants to deduct expenses for moving his new wife (referred to in the opinion as “Palmer’s wife”, 2015 T. C. Memo. 30, at p. 4), plus her two children and her mother from South Carolina to Minnesota.

The nameless wife reminds me of a children’s book I used to read to a now-managing director in a Big Four accounting firm and a now-store manager for Starbuck’s. It featured Stephen of Blois, a Twelfth-Century King of England, also with a nameless wife. We had a lot of laughs about Stephen.

Anyway, Section 217 only refers to the employed, and mandates the over-fifty-mile limit. While Jeff does amble around the Great North Woods, from start to finish he’s fewer than fifty miles farther from work than he was at his old home. “No deduction is allowed under section 217 unless the taxpayer’s new principal place of work is at least 50 miles farther from the taxpayer’s old residence than was the taxpayer’s old principal place of work. Sec. 217(c)(1)(A).” 2015 T. C. Memo. 30, at p. 8.

Moreover, moving spouses count only when spouses shared old home; Jeff and Palmer’s wife (sorry, Ma’am) never lived together in South Carolina.

Simple enough case, with a textbook application of Section 217, but there is a delightful twist. And that sets up my subtitle “Until What Freezes Over?”. It’s the freeze that gives Jeff an entry in the maiden-claimer division of the Taishoff “no-prize good excuses” sweepstakes.

Jeff never bothered to file returns for the years at issue, although he did get extensions for both of them. Here’s his entry.

“Palmer alleges that he could not access his 2007 tax records and that these records were necessary for him to file his 2008 return. Palmer alleges that his 2007 records were in outside storage units and that the doors to these units were frozen over until the spring of 2009. However, because of an extension, Palmer’s 2008 return was not due until October 15, 2009. Any ice would have melted before October 15, 2009. Thus, the ice is not a reasonable cause for Palmer’s failure to file a tax return on or before October 15, 2009. See Stevens Bros. Found. v. Commissioner, 39 T.C. 93, 130 (1962) (‘[A]n acceptable reason for failure to file a return will excuse such failure only so long as the reason remains valid.’), aff’d in part, rev’d in part on another issue, 324 F.2d 633 (8th Cir. 1963).

Hey Judge, given the weather for the last couple weeks (hi, Judge Holmes), it isn’t a bad try.

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