There are many lessons in this case, but the one Foreign Service families will find most useful is that about "reasonable cause" for which late fees and penalties will be waived for a late filing. If you find yourself too pre-occupied to file and pay outstanding income taxes by April 15, the IRS allows for automatic extensions (form 4868) of time to file without inquiry into the reasons for requesting that extension. Any late fees, interest or other penalties might apply unless the taxpayer can furnish "reasonable cause." The case of Roberts v. IRS recently decided (though not binding precedent) that a former girlfriend's destruction of taxpayer's records in a fireplace though "formidable" was did not constitute reasonable cause.
Thanks to Thomson Reuters Westlaw for sharing this quote as a Headnote of the Day.
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