In Uncategorized on 11/16/2016 at 22:11

I have said it so often that my readers must be bored: this is a non-political blog. While tax law and tax policy ignite virulent denunciations, philippics and polemics, I steer clear. I mean I steer clear here.

So I was of two minds whether or not to blog Patricia M. Rodriguez, Docket No. 6261-16S, filed 11/16/16. It might be that the fact pattern would indicate my political position, making me seem two-faced.

But the issues raised in this designated off-the-bencher from Judge Holmes need careful thought, not philippics. And I leave off my usual light-hearted honorifics for that reason. The matters raised, or implicated, in this case, are too important for levity.

Petitioner claims Schedule C waitress income of $13,000, exactly. And a bushelbasketful of child-based credits, that “swamp” (Judge Holmes’ word) the trifling SE tax she has to pay.

Judge Holmes: “Ms. Rodriguez didn’t know the full name of her employer. The business that she worked at was a bar that has closed; there were absolutely no written records of her employment there. There was no report by her employer of any wages paid, there was no report of tip income, and that caused her to use the wrong part of the form which she reported her self-employment tax.

“Even the amount of income, in exact amount of $13,000, suggests credibility problems. Few people have wages that end with three zeros.” Transcript, at p. 4.

So Judge Holmes blows off the claimed earned income. Petitioner is not credible.

And this gambit is played so often I’m surprised none of those who play have figured out that Sched C income doesn’t end with three zeros, or engender no deductions.

But the opinion has another side. Yes, there are minor children, but they aren’t petitioner’s, by blood, marriage or adoption.

“I find as a matter of fact, more likely than not, that MB and LPB were both small children during the [year at issue]. They were both birthright-citizen children. Their biological mother, who testified, Ms. Karina Rodriguez, is their mom. Their biological father, Mr. Efrain Bustamante, is their father. Neither of them are here in the country legally, and their unlawful presence might have affected the ability of the Rodriguezes to claim these children and some of the tax advantages that caring for small children have.” Transcript, at pp. 5-6.

Bustamante may have had a common-law marriage with Petitioner. Texas, where this case takes place, recognizes these, but Bustamante had enough of those, both in Texas and elsewhere, to befuddle Judge Holmes completely. It’s unclear from which, if any, of his several common-law wives he was divorced, or which of them died, if any.

Petitioner is legally in this country.

But Petitioner loses on all counts.

I leave it to my readers to draw what conclusions they want, if any, after reading this brief resume and after reading Judge Holmes’ opinion.


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