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Houston Texas Form 8379: What You Should Know

It all started in 1995 with my client, Mrs. Elizabeth D. who filed a Form 8379. Her husband filed for 2,717,500,000 (the equivalent of one million dollars today). Mrs. D's entire estate consisted of one dollar value. The couple filed a tax return, and their 2.7 million dollar estate was taxed as personal income at a rate of 3.5% Mrs. D was in an abusive relationship with the perpetrator. When her abuser left, they continued the marriage. The IRS filed a 25 million tax liens in the next filing cycle. After many months of back and forth negotiations, Mrs. D and her husband met and reached a deal where their money was shared. Mrs. D was paid 100,000,000 for a value of 100,000,000. Mrs. D was still entitled to her share under both the standard and the amended versions of the Form 8379. The IRS agreed to release the remaining 35,000,000 in her money as a compromise. However, they refused to release 1.75 million of Mrs. D's personal property, i.e., the original 2.7 million dollar value of the estate. So Mrs. D went to an appellate judge who ruled that 2.7 million dollars was her “actual cash value” which was subject to capital gain tax and thus had to be returned. Mrs. D did not object to the ruling. The IRS appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. So the case went to the Supreme Court. What made this particular case unique was that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Mrs. D did not have a right to a jury trial. The Supreme Court affirmed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling when its 4-3 majority ruled that Mrs. D “did not enjoy the right either to a jury trial with adversarial procedures or to an open trial.”  Furthermore, the high Court ruled that a “Jury Trial” could not be held for two or more years. In June 2002, in response to various taxpayer demands for information on the IRS's handling of the case, the IRS released its information for 2,717,000,000. This was more than double the amount it had claimed was the “true value” of the estate of Mrs. D's husband.

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