Patricia H. Devlin - Page 8
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knew or had reason to know that Collins would not pay the tax
liability shown on the joint return for 1999 that she signed.
Both of these factors weigh against granting petitioner relief.
Petitioner argues that, as part of their divorce settlement,
she and Collins agreed that Collins would be responsible for all
personal and business bills. Petitioner acknowledges that the
agreement did not specifically include the tax liability, which
was not then known. There is no reliable evidence that Collins
has a legal obligation pursuant to the divorce decree to pay the
entire joint tax liability for 1999; thus, this factor does not
favor granting petitioner relief from liability.
Petitioner did not, however, benefit beyond normal support
from the underpayment in tax for 1999. In mid-1999, petitioner
separated from Collins and moved into a modest apartment with her
daughter. She continued to work as the bookkeeper for Collins’s
business until March 2000, at which time she left her job because
Collins wanted to hire his girlfriend to work for the business.
Petitioner received spousal and child support from Collins after
leaving the business, and she found other employment shortly
thereafter. For the most part, petitioner has supported herself
since she left Collins. She has not benefited substantially
beyond basic reasonable support from the underpayment in taxes.
Finally, respondent acknowledges that petitioner has complied
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Last modified: March 27, 2008