Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Harvard Law Prof Who Was Ousted From Deanship For Representing Harvey Weinstein Failed To File Tax Returns For Nearly A Decade

Following up on my previous posts:

Sullivan v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2019-153 (Nov. 19, 2019):

Petitioner is a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and the faculty director of the Harvard Trial Advocacy Workshop and the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute. He did not file a Federal income tax return for 2012 or 2013; IRS records indicate that he likewise failed to file returns for 2005-2011. ...

[P]etitioner’s aggregate outstanding liability for 2012 and 2013 was $1,231,775. The bulk of this assessed liability, for 2013, appears to be attributable to petitioner’s sale during 2013, for $1,865,000, of his former residence at the Newton address.

Petitioner timely filed Form 12153, Request for a Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing, listing his address as the Winthrop House address. He checked the box captioned “I cannot pay balance.” Referring to the 2013 liability in particular he stated: “I did not (nor have I ever made) enough money to justify a $1.2M tax.”

On July 3, 2017, the IRS sent petitioner a letter, addressed to his Winthrop House address, acknowledging receipt of his hearing request. The letter advised him that, to be eligible for a collection alternative, he would need to file Federal income tax returns for 2012-2015 and supply a completed Form 433-A, Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals. He did not respond to this letter and did not supply any of the requested documents. ...

Finding no abuse of discretion in any respect, we will grant summary judgment for respondent and sustain the proposed collection action.

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There are many lawyers who fail to file Federal income tax returns. The state bars do not seem to care that much.

Posted by: Chris | Nov 24, 2019 5:38:05 AM

@ruralcounsel, in most states, it’s only a post-admission issue if there’s a conviction.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 23, 2019 10:38:24 PM

Presumably he holds a law license from some state. That state's character and fitness committee should be taking a long hard look at this. Intentionally failing to file tax returns is a far more serious indicator of unsuitable character than say, unpaid parking tickets. In a society like ours, at a level of socioeconomic standing that he had achieved, it shows a level of moral turpitude.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Nov 21, 2019 3:29:49 AM

He must have had an excellent criminal tax defense attorney.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 20, 2019 2:57:47 PM

Failing to file tax returns for nearly a decade does not set a very good example for Prof. Sullivan's students. If he were a partner in a law firm, he would be fired.

Posted by: Theodore Seto | Nov 20, 2019 6:54:37 AM