Phyllis J. Merendino - Page 21

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                         vi. Requesting Spouse’s Legal Obligation                     
               The Merendinos were married during all relevant times and              
          remain so.  In addition, neither petitioner nor Dr. Merendino had           
          legally assumed sole responsibility to pay unpaid tax liability             
          at issue.  Therefore, this factor is not present in this case and           
          is a neutral factor.                                                        
          III. Conclusion                                                             
               The testimony in this case is not informative as to what               
          actually led petitioner to sign the joint return for the tax year           
          1996 in December 1998.  Understanding the motivation for that               
          decision would have been preferable to petitioner’s mistaken                
          attempt to assert that she never actually signed the return.  We            
          cannot speculate as to how petitioner was led to sign the return,           
          and she has not accurately explained why she did.  We find as               
          fact that she signed the return, and we conclude that petitioner            
          has failed to carry her burden of showing that respondent abused            
          his discretion in denying petitioner equitable relief under                 
          section 6015(f) with respect to the unpaid 1996 tax liability.              
               To reflect the foregoing,                                              
                                                   Decision will be entered           
                                             for respondent.                          

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