Revenooer Rants: Play games with the deadline at your own risk
October 16, 2013
As the extension deadline looms (Tuesday, Oct. 15), if you're right up against it, be sure to dot your Is and cross your Ts if you go down to the wire.
That's what Mr. and Mrs. Stocker faced, when the October 15, 2007 deadline came along — seems they traveled to their local post office and handed envelopes containing their 2006 Federal tax return, their 2006 Michigan return, and an amended 2003 return to the clerk. Unfortunately, they didn't obtain proof that the October 15 postmark was properly slapped on the envelopes.
Where as Michigan apparently received their return with a postmark of October 15, and the IRS Revenooers also concede that they received one of the envelopes with a postmark of October 15, they claim that the 2003 amended return wasn't postmarked until October 19.
And to add insult to injury, IRS lost or destroyed the envelope – in violation of IRS policy, we might add. This debacle caused IRS to deny the Stockers their 2003 refund (of over $64,000), claiming the amended return was filed late. The taxpayers appealed, providing evidence from their accountant and Michigan as to the likelihood of a timely filing.
The trial court and the Sixth Circus Court of Appeals upheld the Revenooers, claiming that only the actual physical envelope (which IRS lost or destroyed, admittedly) can be accepted as evidence of a timely filing. Other "extrinsic" evidence, such as affidavits or contemporaneously filed tax returns are inadmissible.
The Stockers are looking for the Supremes to knock a little sense into the bureaucrats, with the urging of a friend of the court brief filed by the Tax Foundation which claims, among other things, that the Sixth Circus' interpretation stacks the deck against taxpayers by adding a restrictive evidentiary rule which could have the future effect, in situations where IRS "loses" the only admissible evidence, of forcing taxpayers to automatically lose the argument, which is not the intent of Congress. Stay tuned on this one — meanwhile, get that certified mail evidence when pushing the deadline.
And here comes Revenooer Sarah Hall Ingram, last week, who testified before Congress that she has made 165 visits to the White House in recent years, a paltry 155 of which were coffee klatches with Jeanne Lambrew, Obama's deputy assistant for health policy.
And if that track record isn't enough to raise queries, Ms. Ingram also acknowledged that she apparently revealed some confidential taxpayer info, for which, by the way, she could face five years in the slammer if convicted. (Hah! And the grubby Revenooers won't even talk to us about the most routine of taxpayer matters until they have first received their hallowed "power of attorney" form in hand.)
Ms. Ingram used to head up the IRS office which oversaw tax-exempt organizations (between 2009 and 2012) before leaving to take charge of IRS' oversight of Obamacare implementation.
CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISER – This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation. Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at http://blog.nolo.com/taxes.
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