The Tax Court in Brief September 13 – September 17, 2021

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The Tax Court in Brief September 13 – September 17, 2021

Freeman Law’s “The Tax Court in Brief” covers every substantive Tax Court opinion, providing a weekly brief of its decisions in clear, concise prose.

For a link to our podcast covering the Tax Court in Brief, download here or check out other episodes of The Freeman Law Project.

Tax Court Litigation: The Week of September 13 – September 17, 2021


Donna M. Sutherland v. Comm’r, No. 3634-18, T.C. Memo 2021-110

September 16, 2021 | Lauber | Dkt. No. 3634-18

Short SummaryThis is an innocent spouse case in which the taxpayer, Ms. Sutherland, sought relief from joint and several liability under the equitable relief provision of 26 U.S.C. 6015(f).  The Court ultimately found that the taxpayer was not entitled to the relief requested

Key Issues:

Facts and Primary Holdings:

Key Points of Law:

    1. marital status;
    2. economic hardship;
    3. significant benefit;
    4. subsequent compliance with Federal tax laws;
    5. legal obligation to pay the outstanding tax liability;
    6. knowledge or reason to know that the tax liability would not be paid, and
    7. mental or physical health.

Insight: Innocent spouse claims are inherently fact-intensive matters.  The taxpayer in this case simply failed to build a strong case for any such relief.  The Court notes on multiple occasions where certain helpful testimony that might have been proffered was, in fact not.  The rules and corresponding factors used to analyze innocent spouse claims are well laid, and taxpayers would be well-served to seek out competent counsel familiar with these factors prior to making such claims.  While professionals cannot manufacture facts, they can certainly highlight facts that would be relevant based on the applicable law.


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