In Uncategorized on 01/19/2022 at 16:55

For most of us, which legal paths we trod over the years were determined by chance or inclination quite early in our careers; as the specialist superseded the generalist we most of us stuck to the well-trodden paths.

So I am sure CSTJ Lewis (“That Man Sure Can Spell!”) Carluzzo, whose career began as clerk to a State Court judge before migrating to distinguished roles at IRS, never expected the grist that came to his judicial mill would include the psychodrama and histrionics associated with divorce court.

But today Joseph Francis Farmer, Docket No. 1117-20S, filed 1/19/21, provides that. Joe objects to loved-once’s innocent spousery.


When IRS hit Joe and loved-once with SNODs for the two (count ’em, two) years at issue, they never petitioned. And the deficiencies concerned Joe’s unreporteds, nothing for loved-once. And the AZ divorce court decree said tax for Year One Joe and loved-once “…’shall abide by federal jurisdiction due to [petitioner’s former spouse] claiming innocent spouse.’ According to the decree, along with many other provisions that it includes, petitioner and his former spouse ‘reached a full agreement on the issues.'” Transcript, at pp. 4-5.

Yeah, roger that, says STJ Lew. “The position advanced by petitioner in this case, and his presentation at trial suggests that the divorce proceedings and his relationship with his former spouse were less than cordial.” Transcript, at p. 5. I can almost hear CSTJ Lew’s sigh, as he had to try this mess, with Joe pro se (natch).

Joe says he never got loved-once’s Form 8857 application for innocent spousery, but CSTJ Lew gleans from Joe’s testimony that he sure would have done. So Joe applied his own self, IRS’ innocent spousers said negatory, these were all Joe’s items, so Joe petitions.

CSTJ Lew gives us a really good rundown on the three (count ’em, three) varieties of innocent spousery. Useful checklist for the practitioner, at pp. 6-9.

But it availeth Joe naught.

“Although petitioner did not expressly concede that he is not entitled to section 6015 relief for either year in issue, at trial he did not dispute any of the facts relied upon by respondent in the denial of his requests for section 6015 relief, and he did not argue that the Court should allow him the relief that respondent denied. Instead, he challenged the section 6015 relief that respondent has already allowed to his former spouse. According to petitioner, for various reasons including the lack of opportunity to challenge her request at the administrative level, it would be unfair to allow his former spouse to escape the joint and several liability that resulted from assessments made on the basis of the joint Federal income tax returns and subsequently determined deficiencies. Apparently, he would not consider it “unfair” to hold his former spouse responsible for the Federal income taxes attributable to his income, the technical consequences that result from the filing of a joint return, notwithstanding.” Transcript, at pp. 9-10.

CSTJ Lew’s forbearing nature shines through.

“Domestic disputes can have a tendency to blur reason, and we suspect that, at least in part, influenced petitioner’s approach to the situation he has found himself in with respect to his income tax liabilities for the years at issue and the position he has taken in this case.” Transcript, at pp. 10-11.

CSTJ Lew gently man’splains to Joe that he’s not getting anywhere.

“… as we explained at trial, although we expect the explanation was not well-received, the Court is without authority to reverse or adjust the section 6015 relief respondent allowed to his former spouse.” Transcript, at p. 11.

Great speller, learned jurist, and master of understatement, that’s CSTJ Lew.


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