In Uncategorized on 04/25/2016 at 19:53

Means No Exclusion

International waters, that is, waters not subject to the dominion of any nation, aren’t foreign enough. That’s Judge Gerber’s message to Wendell Wilson and Angelica M. Wilson, 2016 T. C. Sum. Op. 19, filed 4./25/16.

Wendell is a “…ship’s engineer in the merchant marine, and his only employment during [the years at issue] was as an engineer on board oceangoing container ships. As an engineer, he was in charge of the ship’s engine room, including its electrical, mechanical, and electronic systems.” 2016 T.C. Sum. Op. 19, at pp. 2-3. Wendell is a US citizen, and serves on US flag ships. Angelica has dual US-Mexican citizenship; the Wilsons are bona fide residents of Mexico.

Here I would drop a kindly hint to Judge Gerber. Wendell is not a “merchant marine.” He is definitely not a “licensed merchant marine,” 2016 T. C. Sum. Op. 19, at p. 3.

The merchant marine comprises all the ships of a nation that, in the words of a classic 1939 documentary, “keep our larders full, increase foreign trade, bring out supplies to naval bases and navy ships,” and carry passengers. The ships of the merchant marine are crewed by merchant mariners. And please, Judge, never confuse a merchant mariner with a Marine (I use the capital letter advisedly). If you do so to a United States Marine, I will not be answerable for the consequences.

Anyway, the point of this little essay (and again my readers will doubtless say, “He has a point? How quaint.”) is that international waters, belonging to no nation, are not considered “foreign” for Section 911(a) exclusion, which Wendell seeks. “Foreign” means belonging to some government not the United States.

Wendell does get partial credit for time he sailed through truly foreign waters, which no doubt can be substantiated by logbooks.

And Wendell escapes the accuracy/negligence chops, because he used the same CPA to do his taxes for upwards of 20 years, with no previous ill effects.

  1. […] Taishoff covered the case with a post titled No One’s Water.  Lew caught the same subtlety I […]


  2. But perhaps Judge Gerber remembers Mark Twain’s words in Queen Guinevere’s mouth in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” Oh, call me pet names, dearest, call me a marine!”


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