Tax Court Feed

Personal note, Saturday, June 10, 2017: Batman has always been my favorite comic book superhero. While I love the Caped Crusader's dark history and how it is reflected in his crime-fighting style, when I was a kid Batman was pure fun thanks to the character's TV portrayal by actor Adam West. On this sad day that I learned of Mr. West's passing on June 9, I realize that Batman came with me from those joyful childhood "Bam" and "Ka-Pow" graphic days of diversion into my mostly more serious adult tax world. Thanks for always being there when I needed you,... Read more →

It was a good Summer Olympics in Rio not only for Team USA, which won 121 medals, but also for Nike. A Nike factory store (NikeFactoryStoreVaughanMills_Wikimedia) The Oregon-based athletic apparel and shoe maker got lots of attention for its neon yellow/green shoes that most of the U.S. athletes sported on track and atop assorted medal podiums. Now, however, Nike is in an unwanted tax spotlight. Nike vs. IRS: Nike Inc. is fighting a nearly $223 million tax deficiency notice from the Internal Revenue Service. Uncle Sam's tax collector says the company owes the money after the agency rejected the way... Read more →

A married couple who helped the federal government collect more than $74 million from a tax criminal finally got their financial reward last week. U.S. Tax Court building in downtown Washington, D.C. On Aug. 3, after fighting for the whistleblowing payment for four years, the anonymous tax tattletales, referred to as Petitioner 21276-13W and Petitioner 21277-13W in court documents, were awarded $17,791,607. The U.S. Tax Court ruled the husband and wife deserved the nearly $17.8 million whistleblower award, which is this week's By the Numbers figure, despite the federal government's argument that the claim was outside the scope of the... Read more →

Work-related moving expenses are tax deductible. You don't even have to itemize. The claim is made as one of the adjustments to income, generally referred to as an above-the-line deduction, right on the long Form 1040. Vintage moving van | Alden Jewell via Flickr But don't think just because this is a relative easy tax write-off that the Internal Revenue Service will just give the claim a cursory glance. IRS examiners will be looking. Just as Giliard Schwartz. A really big move: The San Antonio, Texas, woman claimed $330,000 in moving expenses on her 2012 tax return. Instead of that... Read more →

Diane L. Kroupa was appointed as judge to the U.S. Tax Court in June 2013. Her term was supposed to have run for 15 years, but in June 2014 she retired early. This week Kroupa, 60, was indicted on two counts each of tax evasion, filing false returns and obstruction of an IRS audit. Her husband, Robert E. Fackler, 62, also was indicted on the same six tax-related charges. The couple is accused of understating their income by approximately $1 million on tax filings for the 2004 through 2010 tax years. Much of that too-low amount was arrived at by... Read more →

Marriage means doing things together, even things you hate, like visiting the in-laws, cleaning out the garage and filing taxes. You might be able to let those first two slide, but when it comes to taxes, no such luck. Most couples file a joint tax return. That single Form 1040 is a legal document and if you ignore filing it or mess it up, you'll face consequences worse than your spouse's wrath. Her forced smile makes me think she's not buying what he's saying as they work together on their joint tax return. The Internal Revenue Service considers both spouses... Read more →

Somebody is $11.6 million richer and somebody else (or some company) is in big trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Sorry for the vagueness, but that's basically how things work when you rat out tax cheats. The feds are eager to get the scoop on whoever is not paying up, but the whistleblowers often don't want the world to know who they are. As for the identity of the alleged tax evaders, we're at the mercy of Uncle Sam's willingness to announce his whistleblower-assisted collection success. What we do know about this latest case comes from attorneys Stephen Kohn and... Read more →

Allgreens, a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver, has won its cash payment battle with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS demands electronic payroll tax deposits. Allgreens, however, began making its federal employee withholding tax payments in cash after its bank, leery of working with a business that Uncle Sam deems illegal, closed the dispensary's account. So although Allgreens was meeting its federal tax obligations in full and on time, it also was racking up penalty charges for not making them in the form the IRS wants. Allgreens headed to U.S. Tax Court. Now, however, the case is moot. The IRS... Read more →

By now, most Americans have wrapped up their annual tax-filing duties. And it's probably safe to say that a lot of folks are feeling a lot poorer after fulfilling their tax responsibilities. Some individuals, however, have tried to use a religious vow of poverty to avoid taxes altogether. In these egregious tax evasion cases, they haven't been successful. Poverty vow was a poor tax argument: Take the case of Timothy Dale Jackson. The 50-year-old orthopedic surgeon from Pass Christian, Mississippi, claimed to have taken a vow of poverty with a Utah-based church. Jackson said that his monetary sacrifice exempted him... Read more →

The hubby and I enjoy fine art. Most of our vacations include trips to museums. We even own a few original pieces by artists other than my grandmother, although I must say her work, like the Texas bluebonnet field below, is among my favorites. Her landscapes and more lighthearted pieces are very valuable to us. But Vera K originals and the handful of other paintings we own by more famous painters won't one day produce any big estate tax issues. Estate tax issues with art values: Wealthier art patrons, however, often find that their collections could produce tax problems for... Read more →

The best day in auto racing is two-thirds over, with the checkers having waved for the Formula 1 race along Monte Carlo's streets and at the Indianapolis 500. We race faces now await the green flag for NASCAR's longest race of the season, 600 miles that will end under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway. One of the reasons I like watching races is that I get glimpses of incredible pieces of engineering. That's especially true of the F1 vehicles. I seen some of these magnificent autos, both the racetrack and regular road versions, on trips the hubby and I... Read more →

Every tax filing season we hear the stories. Folks claim, often successfully, a variety of wacky tax deductions. There's the bodybuilder (No, not Arnold, but c'mon, what a great poster shot! I had to use it!) who was allowed to write off body oil as a business expense. The exotic dancer whose breast implants were deemed deductible stage props for her job. (Did you really think I'd go there with the image choice for this post?) The gas station owner who gave his customers free beer and then legally deducted the brewski promotion as a business expense. As all my... Read more →

When is fair market value not the appropriate valuation for tax purposes? When the Internal Revenue Service says it isn't. The value controversy is part of the tax fight now underway between heirs of New York art dealer Ileana Sonnabend and the IRS. Included in Sonnabend's estate is the Robert Rauschenberg work "Canyon." The piece, described as a sculptural combine, contains a stuffed bald eagle. That's right, the symbol of the United States. Sonnabend got an informal OK from Uncle Sam to hold onto "Canyon" even though the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the 1918 Migratory Bird... Read more →

Receiving one of the various 1099 forms usually means that you also received taxable income. Note the word "usually." A recent Tax Court ruling in the favor of one debtor underscores the importance of knowing credit and tax laws. And that ruling is why 1099 is the latest By the Numbers figure. The specific 1099 involved in the Tax Court case was Form 1099-C, issued when a taxpayer has unpaid debt forgiven by the creditor. This information form is filed because such amounts generally are taxable income. Read on to find out what happened to one man who got a... Read more →

First Golfer proposes end to golf course charitable tax deduction

President Obama is a golfer. And I suspect like a lot of duffers this weekend, he's watching The Masters tournament being played at Augusta, Ga. But Obama also is a golfer facing a $777 billion dollar federal deficit in the first half of fiscal year 2012. So his love of a good walk spoiled apparently was set aside in the drafting of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. Obama's latest financial blueprint for the country includes a provision to eliminate charitable deductions for golf course easements. Under current law, explains the Green Book (aka the General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal... Read more →

Admit it. You bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket. Heck, as you can see from the photo below, we've been buying them for a few weeks. And yes, I am making a to-do list if our numbers come up in the $540 million drawing. Hey, someone has to win. It might as well be me (and the hubby). Taxes and gambling: I know you know that Uncle Sam considers lottery winnings, like other forms of gambling, taxable income. And when a jackpot is this big -- nearly $390 if you take the cash value option -- there's no question that... Read more →

Starting a business is a big move. It also can pay off at tax time thanks to the many deductions an owner can claim as he or she works to make it a success. But a businessman or woman better make sure that those tax breaks truly are for a business that's started with the intention of turning a profit. One business operator didn't convince the IRS or a Tax Court judge of his commitment to making money and he ended up owing $3,955.55 in added taxes. The core issue before Tax Court Judge Carolyn P. Chiechi was whether Theodore... Read more →

IRS follows tax court ruling and allows sex change costs as medical deductions

Someone alert Chaz Bono's accountant. Sonny and Cher's son might want to file an amended tax return since the IRS has decided that it will allow some sex change costs to be deducted as medical expenses. The IRS decision basically follows a U.S. Tax Court ruling last year in O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner. In that case, the Court held that the cost of hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery qualified as deductible medical expenses. The IRS originally had disallowed the $5,679 medical expense deduction claimed by Rhiannon G. O'Donnabhain, who was born Robert Donovann, on her 2001 taxes as a cosmetic,... Read more →

California's statewide tax amnesty for owners of offshore accounts closes Oct. 31. That Halloween date also is the deadline for Cook County, Ill., which includes most of the city of Chicago and many of its nearby suburbs. But taxpayers who owe in Denver and Los Angeles have a bit more time to pay up and avoid many of the usual associated penalties. California's offshore voluntary compliance initiative: Encouraged by the Internal Revenue Service's success in collecting taxes from hidden offshore accounts, California tax collectors decided to get in on the act. Through Oct. 31, the Golden State is now allowing... Read more →

Tax Court grants innocent spouse relief to gambler's ex-husband

I love it when real life taxes coincide with my tax scribblings. Take the latest Weekly Tax Tip. It dealt with innocent spouse issues. And what just happens to pop up on the tax radar a few days later? A U.S. Tax Court ruling granting a husband innocent spouse status because he didn't know the full extent of his wife's gambling winnings. Leonard Harbin filed a petition with the Tax Court seeking relief from joint and several liability for his and his now ex-wife's taxes. The Internal Revenue Service disagreed, saying that Harbin didn't qualify for innocent spouse relief because... Read more →