The Newport Beach Tax Attorney blog is dedicated to tax issues serving Orange County and Southern California. Posts cover recent news and tax cases including offshore disclosures, tax litigation, IRS, and marijuana tax issues. For more on the Orange County Tax Attorney Joseph P. Wilson, visit www.wilsontaxlaw.com or 949.397.2292
Just like the IRS, the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) also has a program to allow one spouse to be relieved of existing joint liabilities if that spouse can prove that she or he meets the requirements for "innocent spouse" relief. These types of cases whether at the IRS or FTB level can be hotly contested and the other ex-spouse can intervene and attempt to impede the determination to relieve the liability for the claimant spouse. In a recent case, McShea, California State Board of Equalization, No. 509192, April 22, 2014, released August 2014, a taxpayer demonstrated that the FTB erred in its denial of her request for innocent spouse relief from unpaid California personal income tax liabilities.
In the McShea case, the FTB initially granted the taxpayer complete equitable relief for 1993 and partial equitable relief for 1994. However, the taxpayer’s ex-husband appealed the grant of relief, arguing that they had agreed to share the tax liabilities for the tax years…
The IRS suffered a major defeat last week in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in Carlson v. United States, Case No. 12-13736 (June 13, 2014), as the appellate court reversed in part and vacated and remanded in part a decision from a Florida district court holding a tax preparer liable for penalties under Code Section 6701. The eleventh circuit held that the burden of proof was not the usual minimum of a "preponderance of the evidence" (sometimes described as "more likely than not") but the higher "clear and convincing evidence" usually applied in civil fraud cases. (Note: the clear/convincing standard is lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.) Appellant, Frances Carlson, was a return preparer for Jackson Hewitt tax services.
Section 6701(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C., provides for a penalty to be imposed on any person:
(1)who aids or assists in, procures, or
advises with respect to, the preparation or presenta…