Attorney-at-Law

LAWYERS CAN’T ADD – PART DEUX

In Uncategorized on 08/03/2021 at 17:25

I learned this fact three-quarters through the last century of the last millennium, and it’s stayed with me. Today I offer for your reading pleasure and enlightenment Jerry R. Abraham and Debra J. Abraham, 2021 T.  C. Memo. 97, filed 8/3/21, as told by Judge Patrick J (“Scholar Pat”) Urda. That’s Jerry R. Abraham, Esq.

Jerry and Debra have four (count ’em, four) years’ worth of partially unpaid taxes, plus failure to pay tax and failure to pay estimateds add-ons, which don’t need Boss Hossery, 2021 T. C. Memo 97, at p. 12, footnote 6. IRS hits them with a NFTL, Jerry and Debra riposte with an OIC of $50K to settle a $204K liability. This gets bounced, and Jerry and Debra petition.

Jerry claims the SO at Appeals should have allowed the $2900 per month for their childrens religious education (they had ten, count ’em, ten children, and claimed the Code was biased against large families; “…they supported four of their children (ages 16, 18, 21, and 23), who lived with them.” 2021 T. C. Memo. 97, at p. 4. The SO allows two of the kids, but cuts those two non-minors whom Jerry says are ” underemployed or unemployed.” 2021 T. C. Memo. 97, at p. 8.

Jerry wanted to wild-card in a year for which he had neither SNOD nor NOD, but that gets dumped for want of jurisdiction.

The real fight is RCP. Appeals says Jerry can pay in full in the ten-year window.

They assert that the offer specialist’s financial analysis incorrectly disallowed monthly religious education expenses of $2,932 for their dependent daughters in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488. The Abrahams further argue that the financial analysis incorrectly included as assets $61,075 ‘set aside for taxes and IRA contributions.’ Finally, they contend that the financial analysis incorrectly computed the RCP by multiplying the monthly disposable income by 33 months rather than 12 months.” 2021 T. C. Memo. 97, at pp. 14-15.

Scholar Pat says “So what?”

“Assuming, arguendo, that the Abrahams are correct in each regard, we nonetheless will uphold the settlement officer’s decision to reject the Abrahams’ OIC. We have previously explained that ‘even if the settlement officer made errors in calculating * * * [the taxpayer’s] RCP, we will uphold his decision when the taxpayer’s offer is far less than the correct RCP.” 2021 T. C. Memo. 97, at p. 15. (Citations omitted).

Scholar Pat runs the numbers, gives Jerry his claimed amounts, and still Jerry is offering one-sixth of what he owes, and can pay.

Jerry’s claim that he might file bankruptcy doesn’t help.

“In their response to the motion for summary judgment the Abrahams also contend that the settlement officer abused her discretion by not performing a bankruptcy analysis, as purportedly required by IRM pt. 8.23.3.3.2.3(2) (Aug. 18, 2017), in response to Mr. Abraham’s statement at the CDP hearing that he ‘may file bankruptcy.’ The IRM ‘does not have the force of law and does not confer rights on taxpayers.’ In any event, IRM pt. 23.3.3.2.3(2) states that ‘[s]hould the taxpayer state an intent to file bankruptcy’, the settlement officer should ‘make a general analysis of collectibility and the liabilities that would be discharged.’ As explained at length, such an analysis had been performed by the offer specialist and adopted by the settlement officer, and that analysis demonstrated that the Abrahams could fully pay their outstanding liabilities.” 2021 T. C. Memo. 97, at pp. 15-16, footnote 7. (Citation omitted).

Finally, that Jerry cashed out his gov’t retirement twenty-five years ago, so he wouldn’t get a pension, isn’t a special circumstance.

  1. All I know about Jerry Abraham I found on the Internet. First, he’s a former IRS lawyer who left to start a tax practice in Detroit that still specializes in helping clients with tax collection issues. (He has since retired from Abraham & Rose.) Second, he was a good friend of David Tenenbaum, a neighbor (not a client) in their Orthodox Jewish community, who was falsely accused of spying for Israel in 1997. You can read about it in Tenenbaum’s online book, “Accused of Treason.”

    The book describes how Abraham was angered by the 24-hour government surveillance of his friend, so he occasionally approached or followed the government agents. This led to a knock on his door just before midnight, with the local police asking to enter the family home although they did not have a warrant.

    Tenenbaum has been exonerated but his career as a civilian engineer for the Army remains ruined. He blames it on anti-Semitism. The Abrahams have apparently retired to Florida, the requested place of trial when this case was filed in 2019. I wonder if they sold the house, and if the lien was then paid off. I can understand why they might prefer to pay 3% interest while delaying eventual settlement with a government they have seen in action.

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  2. I’m not sure what relevance this comment has to the facts of the case, or the law. I allowed it as a matter of record.

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