In Uncategorized on 05/28/2020 at 18:11

I have discomposed numberless electrons praising the obliging nature of Judge David Gustafson. But there are limits, and today he establishes that Daniel E. Larkin and Christine L. Larkin, 2020 T. C. Memo. 70, filed 5/28/20, have stretched his patience to the limit.

Dan is a high-priced colleague in a big-time Cleveland OH firm, to an associate’s berth in which we were taught to aspire in my young day on the Hill Far Above. Needless to say, I never got there. Y’all might recall Dan and Chris from my blogpost “Obliging? He Lets It All In,” 3/14/18.

Well, after the continuances, the lawyer swaps, the trial and the post-trial briefing, Dan does less than brilliantly in USTC, despite his equally high-priced counsel.

“The Larkins did not make a plausible showing of reasonable cause and good faith. Their record-keeping was in disarray; they failed to timely report large amounts of income; they claimed substantial deductions for which they had no proof at all and others for which their proof was insufficient.

“The Larkins are sophisticated business people. Mr. Larkin is a highly educated attorney with more than 20 years’ experience dealing in a variety of complex transactional matters. He was certainly capable of keeping appropriate, contemporaneous records, preparing detailed notes, and distinguishing personal from business expenses, yet the evidence he used to substantiate their deductions shows that he failed to make these efforts. Mr. Larkin disregarded instructions for properly completing his returns, as evidenced by his failure to attach underlying documents and the forms and calculations required to claim certain loss deductions. Such inaccurate and misleading income tax reporting does not reflect a reasonable attempt to comply with the Code.

“There is no evidence besides Mr. Larkin’s testimony that the Larkins sought advice in the preparation of their returns. The evidence shows that Mr. Larkin did little more than briefly consult with individuals at his place of employ; and he did not say who those individuals were, what information the Larkins provided to them, or what specific advice they supposedly gave. Moreover, Mr. Larkin clearly assumed the ultimate responsibility for the preparation of his returns.” 2020 T. C. Memo. 70, at pp. 71-72.

But before I go, there’s one point Judge Gustafson makes that wants repeating. Dan tries three (count ‘em, three) separate tries to reopen the record to put in stuff. At the end of trial, Dan moved to leave the record open yet again.

Judge Gustafson has about lost patience with Dan and his delaying tactics. This is from the bench.

“I’m going to deny your very broad motion to leave the record open so that you can bring in anything that relates to any deduction already at issue in the case.

“However, I am going to do so without prejudice to your renewing that motion when you have specific documents that you wish to offer. * * * You are free to file whatever motion you wish. I will tell you that a motion filed after 45 days…when Respondent [’s counsel] begins to work on her brief and invests time in it, and then you would be changing the ground underneath her, that would not be just.” 2020 T. C. Memo. 70, at p. 16.

My kind of Judge.




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