Gloria M. Stark - Page 7

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          the tax liability.  Sec. 6330(c)(2)(B); see Sego v. Commissioner,           
          114 T.C. 604, 609 (2000).  If the underlying tax liability is not           
          properly at issue, we review respondent’s determination for an              
          abuse of discretion.  Sego v. Commissioner, supra at 610.                   
          Otherwise, we review the matter de novo.  Id.                               
               The only issue petitioner has raised is whether payments               
          received from her former husband pursuant to a disputed divorce             
          judgment should be included in her taxable income.  Respondent              
          argues that in the circumstances of this case, section                      
          6330(c)(2)(B) bars petitioner from challenging her underlying tax           
          liability.  We need not resolve this issue, however; as discussed           
          below, even if petitioner were allowed to challenge her                     
          underlying tax liability, she would not prevail on the merits.              
          Cf. Young v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2003-6; Horn v.                       
          Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2002-207.                                          
               Under section 71(a), “Gross income includes amounts                    
          received as alimony or separate maintenance payments.”  Section             
          71(b)(1) defines alimony as “any payment in cash if--(A) such               
          payment is received by (or on behalf of) a spouse under a divorce           
          or separation instrument”.  Petitioner argues that the payments             
          she received from her former husband were not alimony because               
          they were made pursuant to an invalid divorce decree.  She                  
          contends that the divorce decree was invalid because the Midland            
          County, Michigan, circuit judge who entered it had previously               
          disqualified himself from the case.                                         

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