Thursday, July 14, 2011

Venting Frustration by Turning the Tables

You know, there’s a plethora of wisecracks about tax auditors. For instance, one says that the Postal Service just recalled its newest stamps because they picture famous IRS agents on them. People couldn't figure out on which side to spit. Another witticism asks, “What do you call twenty-five IRS agents buried up to their chins in cement?”

“Inadequate cement.”

Venting frustration through humor makes sense. An additional way to vent is to turn the tables on a tax auditor with solid documentation of your hard work and preparation, enabling you to claim a few of the tax perks for self-employed persons. Of course, the ruling administration always claims that the IRS is simply liberating people—primarily, the working middle and lower classes—from fiscal burden.

A tax case involving a writing activity played out in Tax Court in Arlington, Virginia, the case of Ralph Louis Vitale, Jr.1 Let’s look at it relative to preparation and expertise. I don’t know if Mr. Vitale goes by Ralph or Louis or some other appellation among friends and acquaintances, but I’d like to call him Ralph. It seems such an improbable name for what his writing focused on after retirement. To me his last name, Vitale—reminding me of “vital” or “vitality”—seems more apropos. Anyway, the guy had verve, although some might say he was just libidinous. You be the judge.

Let me give you the facts in the next posting.

1 Ralph Louis Vitale, Jr. v. Commissioner, TC Memo. 1999-131 affirmed by unpublished opinion of the Fourth Circuit at 217 F.3d 843.

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