Cheryl Kunsman - Page 5

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          not a jointly filed return,2 and (2) that even if the 1999 return           
          is a jointly filed return, petitioner was unaware of the                    
          retirement distribution since it was not included on the 1999               
          Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, she signed.                   
               The Court will treat these assertions as alternate defenses:           
          (1) That the return filed is not a joint return because                     
          petitioner did not sign the return, and (2) that if the 1999                
          return is a valid joint return, petitioner is eligible for relief           
          because she did not know about the early distribution from her              
          former spouse’s IRA.3                                                       
          Relief Under Section 6015                                                   
               A predicate to relief under section 6015 is that a joint               
          return was filed.  Sec. 6015(a)(1), (b)(1)(A).  Accordingly, if             
          the Court should find that petitioner did not file a joint                  
          return, we would be required to deny petitioner’s claim for                 
          section 6015 relief.  Raymond v. Commissioner, 119 T.C. 191, 194-           
          197 (2002).                                                                 
               Married taxpayers may elect to file a joint Federal income             
          tax return.  Sec. 6013(a).  Generally, a joint return must be               

               2 If we were to decide in favor of petitioner on this issue,           
          petitioner would not be entitled to relief.  Sec. 6015(a)(1),               
          (b)(1)(A).  Inasmuch as petitioner filed a joint return, we do              
          not otherwise view petitioner’s assertions as a bar to                      
          consideration of her claim for relief under sec. 6015.                      
               3 Rule 31(c) permits parties to set forth claims and                   
          defenses alternatively or hypothetically and allows parties to              
          plead inconsistent claims and defenses.                                     

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