Innocent SpouseMay 31, 2016
In the recent case of Hiramaneck v. Comm., (Tax Court May 10, 2016), the U.S. Tax Court was faced with two spouses successively seeking to be granted innocent spouse relief for the same deficiency. The ploy did not work. In the earlier case, the wife was granted relief because it was determined the return was signed under duress of the husband. In the earlier case, the husband was allowed to participate in that decision as an intervenor. Because the Court allowed husband to participate in the trial in that case, he is bound by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Under collateral estoppel, the husband is bound by the Court's determination that she signed the 2006 return under duress. Held, further, because the return under duress was not a joint return, he has no claim for relief under I.R.C. sec. 6015 for that year. Thus, the Commissioner's motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted.