In re Moorthy, No. 1–13–2077.

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtPresiding Justice PALMER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Citation29 N.E.3d 604
Decision Date13 March 2015
Docket NumberNo. 1–13–2077.
PartiesIn re MARRIAGE OF Deepalakshmi MOORTHY, Petitioner–Appellant, and Channa Mallik ARJUNA, Respondent–Appellee.

29 N.E.3d 604

In re MARRIAGE OF Deepalakshmi MOORTHY, Petitioner–Appellant
and
Channa Mallik ARJUNA, Respondent–Appellee.

No. 1–13–2077.

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division.

March 13, 2015.


29 N.E.3d 608

August Staas, of Chicago, for appellant.

Law Office of Annette M. Fernholz, P.C. (Annette M. Fernholz and Nicole McKinnon, of counsel), and Badesch Abramovitch, both of Chicago, for appellee.

OPINION

Presiding Justice PALMER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 In June 2003, the trial court entered a judgment dissolving the marriage of petitioner, Deepalakshmi Moorthy, and respondent, Channa Mallik Arjuna. In May 2011, Moorthy filed a petition to modify the amount of child support Arjuna paid for their daughter. Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court entered an order on May 29, 2013, in which it increased the amount of child support based on Arjuna's current yearly salary, but the trial court held that Arjuna's proportionate share of the retained earnings from his majority-owned subchapter S corporation should not be imputed to him for purposes of calculating his child support obligation. Moorthy appeals that order, contending that the proportionate share of the retained corporate earnings should be included in Arjuna's net income in calculating Arjuna's child support obligation. We affirm.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND1

¶ 3 The parties married in December 2000 and, as noted, had one child, Seema Lakshmi Arjuna, born in March 2002. Moorthy filed a petition for dissolution of marriage on August 27, 2002. The parties do not dispute that the trial court entered a default judgment for dissolution of marriage on June 5, 2003. It awarded sole custody of the minor to Moorthy and ordered Arjuna to pay $480 in monthly child support based on 20% of his average net monthly income of $2,401 as an employee of Mahantech Corp. (Mahantech), a company located in West Virginia. The parties were ordered to share equally any medical expenses not covered by Moorthy's insurance. At the time, Arjuna lived in West Virginia and he continues to reside there, although he subsequently remarried and has one child with his current wife, and a stepchild. Moorthy and Seema have lived in metropolitan Chicago since the filing of the petition for dissolution.

¶ 4 On May 26, 2011, Moorthy filed a petition to increase child support pursuant to section 510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the Act) (750 ILCS 5/510 (West 2010) ) asserting that a substantial change in circumstances occurred. In the petition, Moorthy argued that, as eight years had passed since the judgment of dissolution was entered, the minor child, who was now nine years old, had increased needs, and Arjuna's income had also increased. Moorthy requested that the court order Arjuna to pay increased child support, to pay half of the medical insurance for the minor, and to

29 N.E.3d 609

pay a reasonable portion of Moorthy's daycare expenses. Arjuna filed a response on July 8, 2011, and the parties engaged in discovery. An evidentiary hearing was conducted on April 5, 2012, and May 22, 2012, at which Moorthy and Arjuna testified.

¶ 5 A. Arjuna's Testimony

¶ 6 Arjuna was called to testify by Moorthy as an adverse witness. Arjuna testified that he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, with his current wife, their son, and a stepdaughter. In 2003, when the dissolution judgment was entered, Arjuna earned a salary of approximately $45,000 as an employee of Mahantech, which is a software consulting and networking services business. Arjuna testified that Mahantech was incorporated in Delaware in 1997 or 1998, and a distant relative, Gorli Hjrash, purchased the company from the original owners. Arjuna explained that the company was losing money and was going to be shut down, but Arjuna decided to buy it so that he could take over and run the corporation. He obtained 38% ownership in 2006. He did not pay anything for the ownership share because the company “was completely negative” and about to be shut down, and because he had been with Mahantech since 1999. In 2007, he acquired 91% of Mahantech, with the remaining 9% owned by Hjrash. Arjuna paid $500 for the 91%. He also testified that loans were taken out for the business, but he did not know whether he personally guaranteed them. He testified that he believed it was less than $200,000, but this had since been paid off.

¶ 7 Arjuna explained that because Mahantech is a subchapter S corporation, it does not pay federal corporate taxes on its income. Instead, he receives a schedule K–1 form from the company as one of the owners. His federal tax return for 2007 showed K–1 income of $108,433, but he testified that this amount was the K–1 income from Mahantech. He explained that this amount was not money that he actually took home. He testified that the money “stays in the company” and that “[t]he company paid the tax” under his name. Arjuna testified that an accountant handles Mahantech's taxes. He indicated that his accountant calculates the taxes owed from Mahantech's income and the taxes are paid by Mahantech but under Arjuna's name since the subchapter S corporation does not pay taxes. He testified that his accountant logs on to Mahantech's online account with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and inputs the amount of money owed, and the money is paid out of Mahantech's bank account. Arjuna conceded that the taxes owed for Mahantech's income were his liability and not the corporation's liability. He testified that the “S corporation cannot pay the taxes. It has to be paid by the owner of the corporation.” Arjuna testified that he includes the corporation's K–1 income on his personal tax return and the amount shown as total taxes owed on his tax return included the tax on Mahantech's income. He testified that on his W–2 form, he received $50,000 in gross income and he paid taxes on that as well. His individual tax return also showed that his wife had income of $31,759 as a database administrator and income of $35,000 as a contractor for other companies. She was previously employed by Mahantech, but she left when Arjuna bought the company because he did not want family to be involved. However, she occasionally did some contract work for the company.

¶ 8 Similarly, for 2008, Arjuna testified that his tax return showed that he earned a salary of $50,000 with K–1 income of $91,071. Arjuna testified that the 2008 corporate tax return for Mahantech showed business income of $102,000.

29 N.E.3d 610

¶ 9 In 2009, Arjuna's tax return showed that he again received a salary of $50,000. He testified that the 2009 corporate tax return for Mahantech showed ordinary business income of $129,634. Thus, $117,967 was attributed to Arjuna for his 91% share. Arjuna testified that on his 2009 schedule K–1, it showed a nontaxable distribution of $211,077. Arjuna testified that under state tax law in West Virginia, a company pays a 2% tax on any money in its bank account as of the last business day of the year. Therefore, his accountant advised Arjuna to take the money out of Mahantech's account on the last business day of the year, and then put the money back into the account on the first business day of the next year in order to avoid paying this tax. Arjuna explained that he obtained a cashier's check for the amount, he did not deposit it in his own account or anywhere else, and he redeposited the same cashier's check into the corporation's account on the first business day of the next year. Arjuna therefore held the cashier's check in his possession for approximately 48 hours.

¶ 10 With respect to 2010, Arjuna testified that his K–1 income from Mahantech was $117,281. The 2010 tax return for Mahantech showed ordinary business income of $129,119. As in 2009, the 2010 return also showed a distribution of $116,000, and Arjuna testified that he repeated the same action—taking out the amount in the Mahantech account at the end of the year in a cashier's check and then redepositing the same check back into the corporate account in the new year.

¶ 11 Arjuna testified that his W–2 form from 2011 showed that he received a salary of $50,000. He testified that he was unsure whether he would receive the same salary in 2012 because business was down, and he would pay his employees before himself. A paystub from March 31, 2012, showed he earned a monthly income of $4,166.67. He testified that in 2011, Mahantech showed ordinary business income of only $25,429, which was significantly less than in prior years. The schedule K–1 form for 2011 showed income attributed to him in the amount of $21,105. Arjuna also testified that he went through the same procedure as in prior years in obtaining a cashier's check for the amount in Mahantech's bank account on the last business day of the year and redepositing the amount back into the account in the new year. He testified that he believed that Mahantech's bank account had a balance of approximately $220,000 on the last day of 2011.

¶ 12 Arjuna agreed that in the years 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, the corporation's earnings were greater than its expenses. Arjuna testified that he has never taken any money out of Mahantech other than for his salary and to pay taxes, except that in 2010, he took approximately $7,000 out to...

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7 practice notes
  • Hamilton v. Hamilton, NO. 5-17-0295
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 5, 2019
    ...tutoring, sports programs, clubs, and summer camps); In re Marriage of Moorthy , 2015 IL App (1st) 132077, ¶ 28, 390 Ill.Dec. 672, 29 N.E.3d 604 (considering a parent's obligation to pay for a child's classes in various sports, hobbies, and academic interests, some of which were offered by ......
  • In re Hill, No. 2–14–0345.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 28, 2015
    ...to the father. Id. ¶ ¶ 14–15.¶ 26 We further note that in a recent case, In re Marriage of Moorthy, 2015 IL App (1st) 132077, ¶ ¶ 64–65, 29 N.E.3d 604, the reviewing court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the father's proportionate share of the reta......
  • Scott v. City of Chi., No. 1–14–0570.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 13, 2015
    ...is affirmed.¶ 40 Affirmed.Presiding Justice PALMER concurred in the judgment and opinion.Justice GORDON specially concurred, with opinion.29 N.E.3d 604 ¶ 41 Justice GORDON, specially concurring.¶ 42 I am specially concurring in this case only because I have something to add to the well-writ......
  • Bornhorst v. Bornhorst, No. A-18-903.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Nebraska
    • April 14, 2020
    ...to pay taxes on pass-through income properly excluded for child support purposes); In re Marriage of Moorthy , 2015 IL App (1st) 132077, 29 N.E.3d 604, 390 Ill. Dec. 672 (2015) (concluding that amounts used to pay father’s proportionate share of taxes on S corporation’s earnings did not con......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Hamilton v. Hamilton, NO. 5-17-0295
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 5, 2019
    ...tutoring, sports programs, clubs, and summer camps); In re Marriage of Moorthy , 2015 IL App (1st) 132077, ¶ 28, 390 Ill.Dec. 672, 29 N.E.3d 604 (considering a parent's obligation to pay for a child's classes in various sports, hobbies, and academic interests, some of which were offered by ......
  • In re Hill, No. 2–14–0345.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 28, 2015
    ...to the father. Id. ¶ ¶ 14–15.¶ 26 We further note that in a recent case, In re Marriage of Moorthy, 2015 IL App (1st) 132077, ¶ ¶ 64–65, 29 N.E.3d 604, the reviewing court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the father's proportionate share of the reta......
  • Scott v. City of Chi., No. 1–14–0570.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 13, 2015
    ...is affirmed.¶ 40 Affirmed.Presiding Justice PALMER concurred in the judgment and opinion.Justice GORDON specially concurred, with opinion.29 N.E.3d 604 ¶ 41 Justice GORDON, specially concurring.¶ 42 I am specially concurring in this case only because I have something to add to the well-writ......
  • Bornhorst v. Bornhorst, No. A-18-903.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Nebraska
    • April 14, 2020
    ...to pay taxes on pass-through income properly excluded for child support purposes); In re Marriage of Moorthy , 2015 IL App (1st) 132077, 29 N.E.3d 604, 390 Ill. Dec. 672 (2015) (concluding that amounts used to pay father’s proportionate share of taxes on S corporation’s earnings did not con......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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