In Uncategorized on 08/07/2018 at 16:26

Tax Court is truly the “small court.” While the big cases get my colleagues in the trade press and blogosphere rocking and rolling, the Alteras, Ileana Sonnabends and Michael Jacksons are few and far between. It’s the “mute, inglorious” stories that are the daily grist of the Glasshouse mill.

Here’s Ira J. Blair and Mary l. Blair, 2018 T. C. Memo. 125, filed 8/7/18, who present a novel question to Judge James S. (“Big Jim”) Halpern.

When concessions and stipulations are concluded, “(W)hat they want to know is: What happened to the TaxBrain return?” 2018 T. C. Memo. 1245, at p. 4.

Ira and Mary timely filed their own electronically, and stipulated to same. But they have a letter from a tax prep outfit called TaxBrain enclosing a 1040 supposedly filed for the same year, which claimed a smaller credit than that which IRS blew off based upon the return Ira and Mary stipulated they filed.

There’s no dispute about the amount of IRS’ blow-off. But Ira and Mary claim the lower number for the credit that TaxBrain put in would lower the deficiency (maybe).

But IRS only processed the return Ira and Mary filed, and Tax Brain’s version never got processed.

Judge Big Jim has no idea what happened to the Brains.

“We do not know.  We held the record open in this case for 90 days for either party to provide information concerning the discrepancy between respondent’s records and petitioners’ claim.  Neither party has provided any information.  The TaxBrain letter is dated November 11, 2014, more than a year and a half after the normal April 15, 2013, due date for 2012 individual income tax returns.  The TaxBrain return is not dated.  As explained at trial, it is incumbent on petitioners to show error in the notice.  Taking into account the parties’ stipulations and concessions, petitioners have shown no error.” 2018 T. C. Memo. 125, at p. 5. (Footnote omitted, but it says even if Ira and Mary want out of their stipulation concerning their own return, it won’t change the outcome.)


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