March 2020: David Dickieson Wins IRS “Innocent Spouse” Status for Widow from the U.S. Tax Court
On March 13, 2020, the United States Tax Court issued a decision granting innocent spouse status for a widow whose now-deceased husband had failed to report several million dollars of income on their joint tax returns. Without innocent spouse status, the widow would have owed the IRS more than $1.3 million plus interest. With innocent spouse status as decided by the Tax Court, the taxpayer widow owes less than $20,000. The decision departed from the standard IRS guidelines that provide that innocent spouse status is not available to a spouse who benefited from the unreported income. Schertler Onorato Mead & Sears partner David Dickieson presented a strong equitable case to the IRS to justify its favorable stipulation, which the Tax Court then adopted.