Respondent determined deficiencies in Federal individual income tax and additions to tax under sections 6653(b)
Additions to tax ------------------------------ Year Deficiency Sec. 6653(b) Sec. 6654(a) 1975 $2,005.07 $1,002.54 $71.99 1976 1,813.00 906.50 69.40 1977 1,994.00 997.00 71.02
By amendment to answer, respondent asserts in the alternative that, if the Court determines that petitioner's underpayments were not due to fraud, then petitioner is liable for additions to tax under sections 6651(a) (failure to file return) and 6653(a)(negligence) as follows:
Additions to tax ------------------------------ Year Sec. 6653(b) Sec. 6654(a) 1975 $501.27 $100.25 1976 453.25 90.65 1977 498.50 99.70
The issues for decision are:
(1) Whether petitioner is exempt from the payment of Federal income tax;
(2) (a) Whether petitioner is liable for additions to tax under section 6653(b) (fraud), or (b) alternatively, if petitioner's underpayments are not due to fraud, whether petitioner is liable for additions to tax under sections 6651(a) (failure to file return) and 6653(a) (negligence);
(3) Whether petitioner is entitled to personal exemption deductions and credits on account of her two sons, head-of-household status, and the standard deduction (zero bracket amount for 1977); and
(4) Whether petitioner is liable for additions to tax under section 6654 (estimated tax).
FINDINGS OF FACT
Some of the facts have been stipulated; the stipulations and the stipulated exhibits are incorporated herein by this reference.
When the petition in this case was filed, petitioner resided in Baltimore, Md.
Petitioner has been employed as a direct care hospital worker since 1967. During the years in issue, petitioner was employed by the State of Maryland as a direct care worker for the hospital and nursing service at Spring Grove Hospital Center. In that capacity, petitioner has received some training in matters relating to Spring Grove Hospital Center's psychiatric care, including training in psychiatry, sociology, medicine, surgery, nursing, mental retardation, the duties of a ward clerk, and filing. During the years in issue, petitioner earned wages, and Federal income tax was withheld from such wages, in the amounts shown in table I:
Year Wages Tax withheld 1975 $10,196.67 $193.69 1976 9,743.95 0 1977 10,154.10 0
Throughout each of the years in issue, petitioner lived separately from her then-husband, Leonard J. Habersham (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Habersham). Petitioner and Habersham were divorced in 1978. Habersham itemized his deductions on his 1975, 1976, and 1977 Federal income tax returns.
Petitioner's two sons, Leonard Habersham-Bey (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Leonard, Jr.) and Clarence R. Reynolds-El (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Clarence), lived with petitioner throughout each of the years in issue. During the years in issue, Clarence was becoming a teenager and Leonard, Jr., was entering elementary school. On occasion, Leonard, Jr., stayed with Habersham for short visits which may have aggregated a few weeks each year. Petitioner received a total of $200 to $300 each year from Habersham for Leonard, Jr., and herself. Clarence received small amounts of money ($5 or $10) from his father once or twice a year.
For each of the years in issue, petitioner provided over half
In the notice of deficiency, respondent determined that petitioner had gross income from wages in the amounts shown in table I supra, and was entitled to one personal exemption for each year in issue. No itemized deductions or standard deductions were allowed for 1975 and 1976. Although it is not clear from the notice of deficiency, it does not appear that either itemized deductions or the zero bracket amount was allowed for 1977. Respondent computed petitioner's tax liability for each year based on the tax imposed by section 1(d) (married individuals filing separate returns).
Petitioner considers herself to be a "Moorish American," and rejects the terms "Negro," "African," and "Colored" as misnomers.
Since 1975, petitioner has been a member of the Moorish Science Temple.
In November 1974, a list of 22 Moorish Americans claiming to be exempt from Federal taxes was sent to respondent. Petitioner's name was not included in this list.
Before February 19, 1975, petitioner had submitted to her employer a Form W-4 on which she claimed three exemptions (for petitioner and her two sons). On February 19, 1975, petitioner prepared and submitted to her employer a Form W-4 on which she claimed 13 exemptions (for petitioner and 12 dependents).
When petitioner submitted the Form W-4 claiming 13 exemptions, petitioner knew that she was not entitled to 13 exemptions and she knew and intended that the effect of claiming 13 exemptions would be to stop the withholding of Federal income tax from her wages. There was no statement on the Form W-4 (or attached to it) explaining the 13 exemptions claimed thereon.
Although petitioner had filed a Federal income tax return for 1974, she did not file a Federal income tax return (or any document purporting to be an income tax return) with respondent for any of the years in issue.
A part of petitioner's underpayment for each of the years in issue was due to fraud.
As a preliminary matter, we note that respondent's determinations as to matters of fact in the notice of deficiency are presumed to be correct and petitioner has the burden of proving otherwise. Welch v. Helvering, 290 U.S. 111 (1933); Rule 142(a), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. However, respondent has the burden of proof with respect to the additions to tax for fraud and the additions to tax which were asserted in his amended answer.
I. Exemption From Income Tax
Petitioner does not dispute that she received wages
We agree with respondent.
Section 1 imposes an income tax on the taxable income of every individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States. Sec. 1.1-1(a)(1), Income Tax Regs. It cannot be seriously contended that the Congress lacks the power under the 16th Amendment to impose such an income tax without apportionment, or that the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional. Brushaber v. United States, 240 U.S. 1 (1916).
On this issue, we hold for respondent.
II. Section 6653(b) Additions to Tax (Fraud)
Respondent determined that all or part of an underpayment in petitioner's income taxes for each of the years in issue was due to fraud. Respondent asserts in the alternative that, if for any year we do not find fraud, then petitioner is liable for additions to tax under sections 6651(a) (failure to file return) and 6653(a) (negligence) for that year. Petitioner denies that any underpayment in income tax for the years in issue was due to fraud or negligence.
We agree with respondent as to fraud for each of the years in issue.
For each year in issue, petitioner has an underpayment
Fraud is an actual intentional wrongdoing, and the intent required is the specific purpose to evade a tax believed to be owing. E.g., Webb v. Commissioner, 394 F.2d 366, 377 (5th Cir. 1968), affg. a Memorandum Opinion of this Court;
Viewing the record as a whole, we conclude that respondent has sustained his burden of showing fraud by clear and convincing evidence for each of the years at issue.
We must not find fraud on the basis of petitioner's failure to meet her burden of proving error in the determination of the deficiencies. E.g., Otsuki v. Commissioner, 53 T.C. at 106; Nicholson v. Commissioner, 32 B.T.A. 977, 989 (1935), affd. 90 F.2d 978 (8th Cir. 1937). See Estate of Beck v. Commissioner, 56 T.C. 297, 363 (1971). Our finding of fraud is not based on any such failure of proof. (See note 12 supra.) Instead, we believe the following factors point toward a fraudulent intent by petitioner:
(1) Although petitioner filed an income tax return for 1974, she did not file an income tax return with respondent for any of the years in issue. Petitioner made no effort to disclose her income for these years and her alleged tax-exempt status to respondent.
(3) We do not believe that petitioner could have honestly believed that membership in the Moorish Science Temple somehow exempted her from Federal income taxation. Furthermore, we do not believe petitioner's assertion that her actions were taken, not to defraud the Government, but to create a legal proceeding to litigate her claims against the United States (i.e., naturalization, colonization (see note 5 supra), and compensation of Moorish Americans). We reject her argument that in so doing she "followed a perfectly legal recourse in finding a `JUST FORUM' for her claims." Petitioner's actions are far from "a perfectly legal recourse." Petitioner had a legal obligation to file Federal income tax returns for each of the years in issue, to report her income on such returns, and to pay income taxes. Petitioner had a legal obligation to file truthful Forms W-4. Petitioner had a legal obligation to file estimated tax returns and pay estimated taxes if her income tax withholding fell too far below her actual income tax liabilities. Disclosure which was truthful,
We conclude that petitioner knew what she was doing — i.e., that petitioner was evading the payment of her Federal income tax liability (United States v. Pomponio, 429 U.S. 10, 12 (1976)); petitioner's fraud has been shown by clear and convincing evidence for each of the years in issue.
On this issue, we hold for respondent.
III. Amounts of Deficiencies
Petitioner claims personal exemption deductions and credits on account of her two sons, head-of-household status, and the standard deduction (zero bracket amount for 1977) for each of the years in issue. Respondent determined that petitioner is not entitled to dependency exemption deductions or credits, that she is taxable as a married person filing separately, that she is not entitled to use the standard deduction (or zero bracket amount), and that she is not entitled to any itemized deductions.
We agree with petitioner.
A. Personal Exemptions, Deductions, and Credits
With exceptions not relevant here, section 151
B. Head-of-Household Status
Section 1(b) provides more favorable income tax rates for heads of households than are available for married people who do not file joint tax returns. Section 2(b),
Section 2(c) provides as follows:
(c) CERTAIN MARRIED INDIVIDUALS LIVING APART. — For purposes of this part, an individual who, under section 143(b), is not to be considered as married shall not be considered as married.
Our inquiry, then, turns to section 143(b).
Throughout the years in issue, petitioner lived separately from Habersham. We have already determined that petitioner has satisfied the requirements as to household and dependents.
The question remaining is whether petitioner satisfies the section 143(b)(1) requirement that she be "an individual * * * who files a separate return."
We read the separate return language of section 143(b) as a requirement that the taxpayer be treated as filing separately for income tax purposes because a joint return was not filed with the taxpayer's spouse, rather than as a strict requirement that the taxpayer in fact file a separate return.
Section 143(b) was enacted by section 802(b) of the Tax Reform Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-172, 83 Stat. 487, 677) as a relief provision in connection with the low income allowance.
Both versions of the bill provide that married couples filing separate returns in 1970 and 1971 generally are not to have the benefit of the additional allowance provided by the bill. However, to provide for the case of a family abandoned by one of the parents, both versions of the bill specify that a married individual, under certain conditions, may obtain the full low income allowance even though not filing a joint return. In addition, such an individual when electing the percentage standard deduction may deduct an
Cf. H. Rept. 91-413 (Part 1) 207 (1969), 1969-3 C.B. 200, 330; H. Rept. 91-413 (Part 2, Supp.) 138-139 (1969), 1969-3 C.B. 420-421. Similarly, Staff of the Joint Comm. on Taxation, General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act of 1969, at 219, characterized the requirements of section 143(b), as follows:
Married couples filing separate returns for 1970 and 1971 are limited to a minimum standard deduction of $100 plus $100 per exemption with a $500 limit and do not receive the additional allowance. For 1972 and thereafter, they each are limited to a $500 minimum standard deduction or one-half the minimum available to those filing a joint return. However, to make provision for a family abandoned by one of the parents, the Act provides that a married individual, under certain conditions, may obtain the full low-income allowance even though not filing a joint return. To receive this treatment the individual must not file a joint return, but must maintain a household which is the principal place of abode of one or more dependents for more than one-half of the taxable year. The dependent in question must be a son or daughter (or step-son or step-daughter) for which the individual is entitled to a dependency exemption. In addition, the individual must furnish more than half the cost of maintaining the household and during the entire taxable year the individual's spouse must not be a member of the household in question. [Emphasis supplied; fn. ref. omitted.]
At the very least, this legislative history indicates congressional recognition that section 143(b) proscribes the filing of a joint return by a taxpayer seeking the application of that section. Whether the Congress contemplated the application of section 143(b) when no return is filed is not disclosed in its legislative history. Although it is not free from doubt, we perceive the critical inquiry to be whether a joint return was filed, thereby eliminating the need for relief under section 143(b), rather than an inquiry into whether or not a return has in fact been filed. Since respondent's regulations (sec. 1.143-1(b), Income Tax Regs.) do no more than track the statutory language, we accord them a similar interpretation.
In view of the foregoing, we conclude that section 143(b) applies to a married individual who may not have actually filed a separate return but is treated as filing separately by virtue of not filing a joint return with his or her spouse. We further conclude that petitioner has satisfied all of the requirements of section 143(b) and, accordingly, is considered as not married for each of the years in issue. It follows, therefore, that petitioner, having furnished over half the cost of maintaining the household which was her home and the principal place of abode for her two sons, was a head of household for each of the years in issue and is entitled to use the tax rate schedule of section 1(b) for each of these years.
C. Standard Deductions and Zero Bracket Amount
Since we hold that petitioner is entitled to be treated as not married under section 143(b), it follows that sections 141(d) and 142(a) do not prohibit petitioner from using the standard deduction provided by section 141 for 1975 and 1976; also section 63(e)(1)(A) does not require petitioner to increase her adjusted gross income by any unused zero bracket amount, under section 63(b)(2), for 1977.
On this issue, we hold for petitioner.
IV. Section 6654 Additions to Tax (Estimated Tax)
Petitioner has the burden of proving error in respondent's determination that additions to tax should be imposed under
We conclude that petitioner is liable for additions to tax under section 6654(a).
On this issue, we hold for respondent.
To reflect the foregoing,
Decisions will be entered under Rule 155.
Throughout these proceedings, petitioner apparently refers to these organizations interchangeably, and so we refer to these organizations collectively as the "Moorish Science Temple."
Initial Emancipation Proclamation (Sept. 22, 1862)
Annual Address before Congress (Dec. 1, 1862)
Compensated Emancipation Proclamation (Dec. 15, 1862)
Supplemental Emancipation Proclamation (Jan. 1, 1863)
Oath of Amnesty and Reconstruction (Dec. 8, 1863)
"The only permanent solution to the `RACE' problem in America is the complete implementation of Lincoln's Executive Will and the 13th Amendment with Twenty Sections of the Constitution as it was originally written and intended of the United States of America, the essence of which can be summarized as follows:
"1. COMPENSATION — the compensation of the descendants of slave-holders for their persons held as slaves (a sum presently estimated at $346 Billion) as well as the compensation of the Moors for their services rendered during their decades of servitude (a sum presently estimated at $2.16 Trillion).
"2. NATURALIZATION — the registration of ALL Moors into the Moorish National Bureau of Vital Statistics through which they MUST return their European names to the White American people; legally proclaim their True Free National Names, Race, Nationality and Religion (13th Amendment — Section I); and be officially declared citizens of the United States by the Federal Government.
"3. COLONIZATION — the colonization of Moors on their own land between the Alleghany and Rocky Mountains, which Lincoln called the `EGYPT OF THE WEST.'
"4. AMNESTY AND RECONSTRUCTION — amnesty to ALL states then in rebellion against the Union and the inhabitants thereof (to be administered via the Oath of Amnesty [)] and reconstruction of the properties destroyed in times of the Civil War."
(c) DEFINITION OF UNDERPAYMENT. — For purposes of this section, the term "underpayment" means —
(b) FRAUD. — If any part of any underpayment (as defined in subsection (c)) of tax required to be shown on a return is due to fraud, there shall be added to the tax an amount equal to 50 percent of the underpayment. * * *
(a) FRAUD. — In any proceeding involving the issue whether the petitioner has been guilty of fraud with intent to evade tax, the burden of proof in respect of such issue shall be upon the Secretary.
This language reflects a 1976 amendment which does not affect the instant case.
SEC. 151. ALLOWANCE OF DEDUCTIONS FOR PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS.
(a) ALLOWANCE OF DEDUCTIONS. — In the case of an individual, the exemptions provided by this section shall be allowed as deductions in computing taxable income.
* * * * * * *
(e) ADDITIONAL EXEMPTION FOR DEFENDENTS. —
(1) IN GENERAL. — An exemption of $750 for each dependent (as defined in section 152) —
* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
The subsequent amendments of sec. 151(e) (by sec. 102(a) of the Revenue Act of 1978, Pub. L. 95-600, 92 Stat. 2763, 2771, and by sec. 104(c) of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, Pub. L. 97-34, 95 Stat. 172, 189) do not affect the instant case.
(a) GENERAL DEFINITION. — For purposes of this subtitle, the term "dependent" means any of the following individuals over half of whose support, for the calendar year in which the taxable year of the taxpayer begins, was received from the taxpayer (or is treated under subsection (c) or (e) as received from the taxpayer):
(b) DEFINITION OF HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD. —
(2) DETERMINATION OF STATUS. — For purposes of this subsection —
(b) CERTAIN MARRIED INDIVIDUALS LIVING APART. — For purposes of this part, if —
such individual shall not be considered as married.
The subsequent amendments of this provision (by sec. 1901(a)(22) of the Tax Reform Act of 1976, Pub. L. 94-455, 90 Stat. 1520, 1767, and sec. 101(d)(4) of tit. I of the Tax Reduction and Simplification Act of 1977, Pub. L. 95-30, 91 Stat. 127, 133) do not affect the instant case.
(b) JOINT RETURN AFTER FILING SEPARATE RETURN. —
* * * * * * *
(2) LIMITATIONS FOR MAKING OF ELECTION. — The election provided for in paragraph (1) may not be made —
* * * * * * *
(a) ADDITION TO THE TAX. — In the case of any underpayment of estimated tax by an individual, except as provided in subsection (d), there shall be added to the tax under chapter 1 * * * for the taxable year an amount determined at an annual rate established under section 6621 upon the amount of the underpayment (determined under subsection (b)) for the period of the underpayment (determined under subsection (c)).