Linda K. Haltom - Page 10

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         Tax Regs.3  Our precedents taught us that this meant whether “a              
         reasonably prudent taxpayer in his or her position, at the time              
         he or she signed the return, could be expected to know that the              
         return contained an understatement or that further investigation             
         was warranted.”  Butler, 114 T.C. at 283; see also Park v.                   
         Commissioner, 25 F.3d 1289, 1293 (5th Cir. 1994), affg. T.C.                 
         Memo. 1993-252.  In shorthand form, this means that a spouse                 
         seeking relief has a “duty of inquiry.”  Butler, 114 T.C. at 283.            
              This duty is a subjective test--its focus is on the                     
         individual seeking innocent spouse relief.  It recognizes that               
         the suspicions of a spouse who is a highly skilled lawyer or                 
         accountant should reasonably be triggered more easily than a                 
         stay-at-home mom with a high school education.  Compare Ohrman v.            
         Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2003-301 (requesting spouse was lending              
         officer at two large banks who controlled the family finances),              
         with Pietromonaco v. Commissioner, 3 F.3d 1342, 1345-1347 (9th               
         Cir. 1993) (requesting spouse was stay-at-home mom with high                 
         school education), revg. T.C. Memo. 1991-472.  We have a large               

               3 Section 6015 took effect on July 22, 1998, but the                   
          regulations interpreting the section didn’t take effect until               
          July 18, 2002.  See sec. 1.6015-2, Income Tax Regs.  For requests           
          (like the one at issue in this case) made during the intervening            
          four years, we apply the regulations interpreting section 6013,             
          the predecessor of section 6015, in cases arising under section             
          6015(b).  See Kling v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2001-78; Braden             
          v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2001-69.  See generally Shirley v.              
          Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2004-188 (proper to use regulations of             
          repealed section if new section nearly identical).                          

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