The United States Tax Court (Tax Court) has held that in innocent spouse cases under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 6015 it will consider evidence at trial that was not part of the administrative record. Porter v. Commissioner, 130 T.C. No. 10 (2008). The innocent spouse ruling in Porter was consistent with the Tax Court’s earlier ruling in Ewing v. Commissioner, 122 T.C. 32 (2004), vacated on unrelated jurisdictional grounds 439 F.3d 1009 (9th Cir. 2006).
Ms. Porter submitted a Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief to the IRS. Ultimately, the IRS granted innocent spouse relief as to a portion of the tax liability, but denied innocent spouse relief with respect to the remainder. Ms. Porter filed a Petition with the Tax Court to dispute the Internal Revenue Service’s unfavorable determination. When she got to the Tax Court, the IRS tried to prevent Ms. Porter, who was not represented by a tax attorney, from presenting all of her evidence. The IRS tax attorneys argued that judge could only here evidence that had previously been submitted to the IRS. The Tax Court held that in cases where someone is requesting innocent spouse relief, he or she is entitled to a trial de novo. That is she is entitled to present all of her evidence without regard to whether it was previously provided to the IRS.