Divorce is No Excuse for Not Filing Tax Returns

November 04, 2012 | Court Decisions, Legal Perspective, Tax Issues

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the IRS generally will not consider divorce as a good excuse for being late in filing income tax returns. In Cayabyab v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2012-89 (2012), the taxpayer did not file his 2006 federal income tax return by the deadline (April 15, 2007). The IRS sent him a letter in September 2009, requesting that he file his 2006 return, which was already overdue by 2-1/2 years. The taxpayer filed his 2006 in October 2010, a few months after the IRS issued a deficiency notice in February 2010.

The taxpayer appealed the penalties demanded by the IRS, which were over $100,000. He claimed that he was too distracted by his divorce and custody battles, and did not have access to all of the records he might need, to file his return on time. Noting that it was the taxpayer’s burden to prove a “reasonable cause” for not filing on time, the Tax Court dismissed the appeal.

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