In Uncategorized on 08/16/2016 at 16:46

Among my other tasks on this blog is to try, in my own humble way, to make a wee bit of sense out of what comes from the judicial gristmill; speaking of gristmills, I’ll spare you W. H. Auden’s classic limerick.

However, when it comes to innocent spousery, I must throw up my hands.

Between threshold, streamline and the Big Seven Factors, falls a shadow. Here we go ‘round the lot, and come up guessing. The cases seem to be all over the lot.

But every so often the light of reason breaks through.

Case in point. Melissa A. Sermonetta, 2016 T. C. Sum. Op. 43, filed 8/16/16.

Mel and loved-once Chris are divorced. Mel was always salaried when she worked at all, and Chris ran a business close to his vest. Chris never let Mel see the real numbers, but she wasn’t forced into signing the MFJs for the years at issue.

And more than once Judge Chiechi notes that Mel would suffer no economic hardship if she didn’t get 6015(f) equity.

No abuse, no illness. Although their kids were sick “at least” during the years at issue, that doesn’t seem to enter into the calculus.

And though Mel’s parents had to bail out Chris and Mel twice when facing foreclosure, Judge Chiechi finds that Mel could have reasonably believed that Chris would stump up the $33K or so that they owed IRS.

And Mel had satisfied her tax obligations thereafter. Judge Chiechi points out that Mel was earning $64K per year after the trial at a Big Four accounting firm.

Mel gets innocent spousery.

I was looking at the facts and trying to figure out how that could happen. Joint return, no abuse, no duress, no hardship, no health issues for Mel, kids’ health issues apparently not that bad…but then I found the answer.

Judge Chiechi: “It is respondent’s position that Ms. Simonetta is not entitled to the relief under section 6015(f) that she is seeking.  In support of that position, respondent called Mr. Simonetta as respondent’s witness at the trial in this case.  We did not find Mr. Simonetta to be credible.  We shall not rely on his testimony in order to establish respondent’s position (and his) that Ms. Simonetta is not entitled to relief under section 6015(f) with respect to each of the Simonettas’ taxable years….” 2016 T. C. Sum. Op. 43, at p. 12.

Forget factors. If IRS puts on the ex, and the ex doesn’t wow the judge, fuggedaboutit.


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