The Fifth Circuit in March 2019 raised, but did not answer, the question of whether it was still appropriate to hold that taxpayers could not reasonably rely on a return preparer for timely filing of a return in the age of electronic filing. A U.S. District in Court in Tennessee decided that, since taxpayers could prepare their own paper return or obtain paper returns from the preparer, the prior rule should continue to apply. The Court also held that the taxpayer could not seek first-time abatement (FTA) relief in Court—rather, that is fully under the IRS’s control.
The US Supreme Court held in the Boyle case that a taxpayer could not establish reasonable cause for failing to file a tax return by claiming he/she relied upon a tax preparer to timely file the return. The Court found that the duty required no special knowledge or skill to file a return (a trip to the Post Office or local IRS office) and, as such, could not be delegated to a third party—the taxpayer had a duty to insure the third party actually took the desired action.Read More