Attorney-at-Law

A HEARTBREAKER

In Uncategorized on 02/07/2017 at 15:38

No, not the feeling in Atlanta on Sunday night. This is the sad tale of patient Grisel A. Smyth, 2017 T. C. Memo. 29, filed 2/7/17.

Before getting to the upright and decent behavior of Grisel, and the scoundrelly behavior of her deadbeat drug-pushing son, I wish to quote Judge Holmes’ praise of Grisel’s pro bono calendar-call attorney, Ira A. Lipstet, Esq., of Austin, TX. “The Court notes that petitioner’s counsel volunteered to help generally at calendar call. He was moved by Ms. Smyth’s testimony and entered an appearance for her after trial. We are very grateful for his exceptional pro bono work on her case.” 2017 T. C. Memo. 29, at p. 1, footnote 1.

Grisel is a certified nursing assistant, working long hours for not a lot of money. She provided therewith a home for her two very young grandchildren and her stay-at-home daughter-in-law, who looked after them.

Grisel claimed the usual child credit and dependency for the infants, as she provided all their support and they lived with her the whole year.

Son (unnamed) doesn’t work and spent his time trafficking drugs. He told Grisel he wouldn’t claim the tax benefits, but of course he did, grabbed the refund and refundable credit, and spent it on dope.

I am reminded of Rudy Kipling’s story of an India long ago, where the hero handed the victim of an equally despicable fraud a horsewhip, and left the scene.

Son offers IRS’ counsel an amended return disclaiming the credit two weeks before trial. That doesn’t fly, of course, because it wasn’t filed with the proper service center, says Judge Holmes, but the real reason is that son already spent the refund. Judge Holmes doesn’t have to go there.

I would suggest to any such deadbeats who try this that it won’t work unless they fork over what they stole.

But in the end, the grandkids are the qualifying children of daughter-in-law and scoundrel, so Grisel gets nothing. IRS remits the substantial understatement penalty, but Grisel owes the money.

Judge Holmes: “We are sympathetic to Smyth’s position. She provided all of the financial support for J.H.K.S. and J.H.Y.S., had been told by her son that she should claim the children as her dependents, and is now stuck with a hefty tax bill. It is difficult for us to explain to a hardworking taxpayer like Smyth why this should be so, except to say that we are bound by the law. And it is impossible for us to convince ourselves that the result we reach today–that the IRS was right to send money meant to help those who care for small children to someone who spent it on drugs instead–is in any way just. Except for the theory of justice that requires a judge to follow the law as it is but explain his decision in writing so that those responsible for changing it might notice.” 2017 T. C. Memo. 29, at pp. 13-14.

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