In Uncategorized on 12/29/2015 at 07:47

Returning from my break in the Magnolia City and the great hospitality of nearest and dearest, I find Judge Lauber so admonishing Samuel Striker, 2015 T. C. Memo. 248, filed 12/28/15.

Sam, a social scientist, desires to serve his country and “breathe short-winded accents of new broils to be commenced in strands afar remote,” as a far better writer than I put it. Sam gets his wish, and signs up as what we used to call a DAC (Department of the Army Civilian).

Only instead of broiling, Sam serves two successive hitches, first as a GS12 and next as a GS13, with the usual DoD fringe benefits, putting his social science to work helping the Afghan government and NATO, to which organization Sam was attached.

“Petitioner’s mission as a social science expert was to act as a liaison between the NATO command and the local people of Kandahar and its surrounding area. He sought to help military officers gain a better cultural understanding of this population. He also gathered and analyzed information concerning local commerce (including illicit commerce) with the aim of helping NATO create a successful local security apparatus. Petitioner regularly participated in NATO- sponsored training and workshops, some of which were mandatory.

“Petitioner wore a NATO-ISAF civilian name tag and a NATO badge when rendering these services, which he performed as part of a Human Terrain Team (HTT). The HTT was composed of citizens from various NATO countries, and the team’s composition changed as personnel came and went.” 2015 T. C. Memo. 248, at p. 5.

Sam was never employed directly by NATO, although a NATO officer evaluated his performance. While the NATO officer could throw him off the HTT, only the US Army could fire him. Sam never knew where he would be deployed or what he would be doing until the Army told him when he landed at Bagram.

So why is Sam in Tax Court? He wanted the foreign earned income exclusion, claiming he was out of the country the requisite days (IRS agrees) and working for NATO (not! says IRS, and wins).

The US Army had hired Sam, and had hire-fire power over him. Sam’s claim about IC-EE status is not to the point. Even without day-to-day supervision or evaluation by a US Army person, his employment fate was in the hands of the US Army, not NATO.

And his paychecks came from Defense Finance & Accounting Services.

Section 911(b)(1(B)(ii) puts paid to Sam’s exclusions. He was in the Army.

  1. […] Taishoff covered the case in a post titled “You’re In The Army Now”.  Lew also could not resist the temptation to get […]


  2. Mr Reilly, Something about reading Tax Court opinions makes us all free-associate.


  3. […] Taishoff covered the case in a post titled “You’re In The Army Now”.  Lew also could not resist the temptation to get […]


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