Friday, March 16, 2007

Don't Even Try That Line of B.S. on Us, Young Taxpayer...

The IRS has published a list of "frivolous positions that taxpayers should avoid" when filling out their returns.

When I first saw the title "IRS Identifies 40 Frivolous Positions for Taxpayers to Avoid," I thought it referred to jobs that had somehow been deemed as beneath the dignity of an American taxpayer.

Not so, according to the "Purpose" section of IRS Notice 2007-30 (PDF).
Positions that are the same as or similar to the positions listed in this Notice are identified as frivolous for purposes of the penalty for a “frivolous tax return” under section 6702(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and the penalty for a “specified frivolous submission” under section 6702(b).
That seems clear enough. In other words, "Yeah, right. Nice try, Sparky."
Persons who file a purported return of tax, including an original or amended return, based on one or more of these positions are subject to a penalty of $5,000 if the purported return of tax does not contain information on which the substantial correctness of the self-assessed determination of tax may be judged or contains information that on its face indicates the self-assessed determination of tax is substantially incorrect.
Wait... what?

I have no idea, but I'm guessing that this means that trying any of the listed lines of ... stuff in a tax return is a bad idea.

There really are 40 frivolous arguments listed, several with corollaries and related claims. It reads like the mass of bumper-stickers on the back of a ratty old pick-up driven by a bitter, grizzly, glowering tax-protester.

The final words of the Notice, on page 13, are somehow appropriate (and emphasized [by me] just so you don't miss the irony):
For further information regarding this notice contact the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure & Administration), Administrative Provisions & Judicial Practice Division, Branch 2, at (202) 622-4940 (not a toll-free call).

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