Attorney-at-Law

APPRAISALS – FROM HYATTSVILLE TO HYATTSVILLE

In Uncategorized on 08/28/2019 at 16:15

Ordinarily I skip the unsubstantiated car and truck mileage cases. They are truly much-of-a-muchness: diaries, spreadsheets, back-of-the-envelope guesstimates, all prepared long after the years at issue, often after the SNOD had issued and trial looms ahead.

But today Suresh Hatte, 2019 T. C. Memo. 109, filed 8/28/19, lets Judge Albert G. (“Scholar Al”) Lauber shows us a rare example.

Suresh was a taxi driver and a real estate appraiser. He claims business expenses for three (count ‘em, three) passenger vehicles he used in his appraisal business. And produces spreadsheets.

“On May 7, 2015, for example, he flew to Detroit, Michigan, to complete a seven-hour training course. His spreadsheet asserts that, on the same day, he made three trips totaling 334 miles to conduct appraisals in Maryland and Virginia.  It is beyond implausible that he flew to Michigan, completed a seven-hour course, flew back to Maryland, and then drove 334 miles to take photographs in the dark.  The spreadsheets allege multiple appraisal trips on four other days on which he attended seven-hour continuing education classes in Maryland.  On cross examination he admitted that the mileage he recorded for those days could not possibly be correct.” 2019 T. C. Memo. 109, at pp. 9-10.

It gets better, but not for Suresh.

“On at least six occasions, the spreadsheets implausibly show two roundtrips to the same address on the same day.  And some of these entries lack credibility for other reasons.  On January 3, 2014, petitioner alleges that he made two trips–one of 34 miles and the other of 36 miles–to the same address in Hyattsville, Maryland.  Since petitioner lived in Hyattsville, these numbers are highly suspect.  And even if we assume that petitioner drove from Hyattsville to Silver Spring and then back to Hyattsville–and did so twice on the same day–the distance from Silver Spring to Hyattsville is less than 10 miles.” 2019 T. C. Memo. 109, at p. 11.

Judge Lauber sums up a lot better than I could. “These examples only scratch the surface of the improbabilities that pervade petitioner’s spreadsheets.” 2019 T. C. Memo. 109, at p. 12.

A word to Judge Courtney D. Jones, newly joined USTC: Look what you have to look forward to.

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