In Uncategorized on 08/07/2020 at 15:29

Though politics is in the air, and philippics and polemics proliferate, this blog remains immune to politics. But today we have elections again, albeit this one is a very basic election.

Craig Douglas Hoglund & Christine Joan Hoglund, Docket No. 18571-19, filed 8/7/20, are petitioning a SNOD for Year A issued solely to Chris. Craig wants in, and claims he and Chris always filed MFJ. Not only that, but Craig & Chris want to throw in tax years B through G, both inclusive.

IRS moves to toss, claiming Craig & Chris tried this move before, but Tax Court kept in only the years specifically addressed by the SNOD.

“The Hoglunds filed a response to the Commissioner’s motion. Their response makes to [sic; I think you meant “two,” Judge] principal arguments. They note that they have filed their returns ‘married filing jointly’ throughout their marriage, implying that this requires the Commissioner to issue a notice of deficiency addressed to them jointly. Citing authorities relating to collection cases, they also argue that ‘years not under consideration for a particular tax year’s hearing are considered in making a ‘Determination.'” Order, at p. 2.

Well, ya gotta check the box for MFJ. See my blogpost “Blowing the Joint,” 6/24/14. Judge Buch does a reprise.

“Under section 6013(a), married taxpayers ‘may make a single return jointly of income taxes,’ which is done by checking a box on an income tax return labeled ‘Married filing jointly.’ Choosing to make a joint return is an election. The statute permitting joint returns refers to it as an election. See sec. 6013(b). As do the underlying regulations. Treas. Reg. § 1.6013-1(a)(1). At the time the Commissioner issued his notice with respect to [Year A], the Hoglunds had not filed a joint return. As a consequence, they had not made an election to file a joint return for that year. As a result of there being no election to file jointly, it was proper for the Commissioner to issue his notice only to Mrs. Hoglund.” Order, at p. 2.

Now as to the out years, Tax Court is bound by Section 6214(b), and the immortal words of the Lieber-Stoller Coasters classic Poison Ivy: “You can look but you better not touch.”

“As this provision make clear, we can only redetermine the deficiency in the year before us, [Year A] in this case. We may look at facts from other years for the purpose of redetermining the [Year A] deficiency, but we cannot determine whether the Hoglunds have overpaid or underpaid their taxes in any year other than [Year A].” Order, at p. 3.

So Craig & Chris lose the election, and Year A is out there on its own.

Practice hint: Note the magic day for election here is the date of the SNOD, because Craig & Chris hadn’t yet filed their return. When you get a nonfiler case pre-SNOD, with spousery implications (innocent or otherwise), you might want to consider sending in a belated MFJ return. And tell ’em Craig & Chris sent ya.



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