Heedram v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 030718 FEDTAX, 679-17

Docket Nº:679-17
Opinion Judge:PUGH, Judge
Party Name:JEFFREY WILFRED HEEDRAM, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent
Attorney:Jeffrey Wilfred Heedram, pro se. Adam L. Flick, Stephanie J. Rakoski, and Hannah K. Wikins (specially recognized), for respondent.
Case Date:March 07, 2018
Court:United States Tax Court
 
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T.C. Memo. 2018-25

JEFFREY WILFRED HEEDRAM, Petitioner

v.

COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent

No. 679-17

United States Tax Court

March 7, 2018

Jeffrey Wilfred Heedram, pro se.

Adam L. Flick, Stephanie J. Rakoski, and Hannah K. Wikins (specially recognized), for respondent.

MEMORANDUM FINDINGS OF FACT AND OPINION

PUGH, Judge

Petitioner seeks review under section 6015(e)(1) of respondent's determination that he is not entitled to relief from joint and several liability for taxable year 2014 with respect to unpaid tax of $1, 206 that was reported on the joint Federal income tax return he filed with Delphia Fegans, his former spouse.1

The issue for decision is whether Mr. Heedram is entitled to equitable relief from joint and several liability under section 6015(f).

FINDINGS OF FACT

Some of the facts have been stipulated and are so found. The stipulated facts are incorporated herein by this reference. Petitioner resided in the State of Texas when he timely filed his petition.

Petitioner, a native of Jamaica, met Ms. Fegans in 2009. They married in 2011 and remained married in 2014. Their divorce became final in October 2015, but they continued to live in the same house for financial reasons until August 2016. The couple filed joint Federal income tax returns for tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014. During their marriage Ms. Fegans was responsible for financial matters, including preparing and filing their joint income tax returns. She had unpaid Federal tax debts before their marriage. She had entered into a payment plan but stopped payment on that plan after only a couple of months.

The couple's 2014 joint Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (joint return), reported total wages of $45, 735, total Federal income tax owed of $2, 805, tax withheld of $1, 599, and tax due of $1, 206. Of the tax liability reported as owed on the joint return, $147 is attributable to petitioner's wages reported on the return (after taking into account withholding credits). The remaining $1, 059 tax liability is attributable to Ms. Fegans' wages.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Wage and Income Transcript for 2014 also shows that petitioner received wages reported on a Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, by R.J. Carroll Co. (R.J. Carroll) of $5, 631. These wages were not reported on the joint return. Petitioner had stopped working for R.J. Carroll in 2013, and the record includes no other evidence to connect petitioner with this income. Petitioner and Ms. Fegans credibly testified that petitioner did not work for R.J. Carroll in 2014.

Ms. Fegans timely filed their 2014 joint return. Petitioner reviewed and signed the joint return before it was filed. He was aware at the time the joint return was filed that they were having difficulty meeting mortgage payments and were seeking relief under the "HARP" program. He also was aware that the joint return showed tax owed, and he was aware of Ms. Fegans' prior Federal tax debt. Still, while Ms. Fegans explained the financial difficulties to petitioner, he had only a general understanding of the tax issues that the couple faced. And she told him that she would arrange a payment plan for the outstanding tax debt.

In the Agreed Final Decree of Divorce signed October 20, 2015, petitioner and Ms. Fegans agreed that Ms. Fegans would pay "[a]ll federal income taxes, including all penalty and interest, on income taxes due on * * * [Ms. Fegans'] income from and after January 1, 2011." They also agreed that petitioner would pay "[a]ll federal income taxes, including all penalty and interest, on income taxes due on * * * [petitioner's] income from and after January 1, 2011."

On June 17, 2015, respondent's Cincinnati Centralized Innocent Spouse Operation received petitioner's Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, for 2014. On the Form 8857, petitioner indicated that he remained married to, and continued to live with, Ms. Fegans and that the couple was having financial issues because he knew that "[t]here was a challenge paying the monthly mortgage". On October 3, 2016, respondent issued a Final Determination letter denying petitioner innocent spouse relief for tax year 2014 under section 6015(f).

Petitioner is employed currently. He sends approximately $400 per month to his mother, who lives in Jamaica. He is not required to send this amount but does so to support his mother and his two children...

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