Fletcher H. Hyler - Page 27

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          was inconsistent with the balance shown on the copy of the return           
          later produced.  There was no explanation of the failure to                 
          follow up on the uncleared check.  There is no evidence that a              
          1995 return was received by the IRS before March 31, 1997, when             
          an unsigned and undated copy was delivered after an inquiry from            
          the IRS.  The record shows that petitioner was chronically                  
          delinquent in his tax obligations, and we cannot accept these               
          unpersuasive assertions that a particular return was timely.  We            
          conclude that the assessment for 1995 was timely.  (We need not,            
          therefore, address respondent’s contention that the return                  
          described by Stone was invalid for lack of petitioner’s                     
               The addition to tax under section 6651(a) is applicable                
          unless a taxpayer establishes that the failure to file was due to           
          reasonable cause and not willful neglect.  Petitioner failed to             
          exercise ordinary care and prudence in filing his 1995 return.              
          Stone’s office procedures may have contributed to the failure to            
          make or to prove a timely filing.  Nevertheless, reliance on an             
          agent to file a timely return when the due date of the returns              
          was ascertainable by the taxpayer does not constitute reasonable            
          cause for excusing the taxpayer from statutory penalties for late           
          filing.  United States v. Boyle, 469 U.S. 241 (1985).  Petitioner           
          was aware that he had not signed a return for 1995.  Accordingly,           

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