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Tuesday, February 25, 2003


Virgie R. Porter was in dire need or representation. She had a sex discrimination case against her employer in which she won $12,000 in back wages and $71,600 in �damages�. In addition, she received a worker�s comp settlement from the same company after being injured on a job assigned after the alleged discrimination. Tax Court noted that to be excluded, the damages must be on account of person physical injuries or physical sickness. She argued pro se that the $71,600 damages were excludable due to pain and suffering from not being able to work or pay bills and knowing she was discriminated against. Also, she said that the damages compensated her for physical injuries on the job they gave her as opposed to the one they passed over her for in the alleged discrimination. Tax Court rightly rejected both of these arguments.

However, Tax Court also let stand a substantial underpayment penalty because Ms. Porter presented no evidence that she had reasonable cause for the underpayment or that she acted in good faith. I do not know if her reasoning represents such a misunderstanding of the underlying facts leading to the overpayment such as to be considered good faith or reasonable cause, but she really needed a representative to make that case for her.

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