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Lawyer Does Not Qualify as Innocent Spouse for Tax Purposes

The IRS determined that a husband-wife attorney team owed $207,000 in back taxes and $77,000 in penalties.  The husband was a tax attorney.  The wife had a law degree and taught school.  After the Tax Court affirmed the decisiosn of the IRS, the wife, an attorney with MBA and Doctorate degrees in addition to her law degree, petitioned the Tax Court for relief from the tax bill under a section of the Tax Code that allows relief for "innocent spouses".  She testified that she did not understand the joint tax return, financial matters, checking accounts or credit card statements.  The Tax Court ruled that her testimony was not credible and that she did not qualify as an innocent spouse for that reason and because she had participated in the original tax case by sitting at the table for parties and their attorneys.  The Court of Appeals affirmed.  The attorney-wife was represented by her tax-attorney-husband throughout.  Frances Rogers v. The IRS (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Nov., 2018).

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