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Thursday, March 13, 2003


Jerome Edward Brown and Mary L. Smith Brown provide more evidence of why the working class needs affordable (free) tax assistance beyond merely filing. Jerome was the sole wage earner while his wife took care of their children. He took less than the proper amount of withholding to make ends meet, and filed taxes late, incurring severe interest and penalties. IRS abated some interest and penalties, but at this collection hearing, the Browns requested more be abated because they simply can not pay what is owed. Tax Court, following the law, allowed the collection.

The mechanisms could have helped the Browns exist, but are too complicated for many people in their situation to utilize without professional assistance. The case does not mention if they qualified for, received, or lost due to late filing the EITC. We also do not know if they qualified for Advanced EITC. Tax Court did mention that they did not file an Offer In Compromise, which is what their situation really called for and where a professional could have been most helpful, both in identifying and utilizing the option.

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