50 T.C.M. (CCH) 832
JAMES W. CONLOW, Petitioner
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent
United States Tax Court
August 19, 1985
TERRENCE W. ANDREWS, for the petitioner.
DEBRA A. BOWE, STEVEN J. MOPSICK, for the respondent.
MEMORANDUM FINDINGS OF FACT AND OPINION
Respondent determined the following deficiencies and additions to tax against James W. Conlow (hereinafter ‘ petitioner‘ ) for his tax years 1979, 1980, 1981:
| Tax year ended
|| Section 6653(a)1
The issues for decision are: (1) Whether petitioner is entitled to deductions for amounts allegedly contributed to the Universal Life Church; (2) whether any part of the underpayment of tax for each of the three years was due to negligence or intentional disregard of the rules and regulations; and (3) whether petitioner is liable for damages under section 6673. FINDINGS OF FACT 
Petitioner resided in California at the time his petition was filed. On his Federal income for returns for the years in issue petitioner claimed deductions for the following amounts as charitable contributions:
The 1981 return specified that the claimed contributions were made to ‘ Universal Life Church.‘ Respondent disallowed the deductions in their entirety. 
At all times here pertinent, petitioner was employed as a carpenter. Petitioner attended but did not graduate from high school. During the summer of 1979, petitioner sought to become a minister in the Universal Life Church of Modesto, California (hereinafter ‘ ULC/Modesto ‘ ). ULC/Modesto held tax-exempt status during the years in issue, but such status was revoked on September 4, 1984. 
To become a minister in ULC/Modesto, an applicant was required to pay a fee, but was not required to have any special training. On July 5, 1979, bank account number 1954-4195 was opened at the Bank of America in the name of ULC/Modesto. Only petitioner and one Lucy D. Hagelberg had signature authority on the account, petitioner being described on the application as ‘ pastor,‘ and Hagelberg as ‘ secretary.‘ Subsequently, petitioner and Hagelberg caused the account to be retitled in the name of ‘ the Universal Life Church of Pacheco.‘ At all times here pertinent, petitioner and Lucy D. Hagelberg lived together in a mobile home owned by Hagelberg and located at 249 Kaima Drive in Pacheco, California. Petitioner described his relationship with Hagelberg as being ‘ good friends.‘ OPINION
According to petitioner, he became a minister in ULC/Modesto in June of 1979, and then paid the subject amounts as charitable donations during the years in issue to Lucy D. Hagelberg, a member of ULC/Modesto who was eligible to receive donations on its behalf, and who either...