July 31, 2015

Nonemployee compensation received in exchange for services rendered is taxable income, despite tax protester arguments to the contrary.

Stephan Foryan, a resident of the state of Washington and an apparent tax protester, did not file a tax return for 2009. He also did not make any estimated tax payments for the 2009 tax year.

Foryan admits to having received nonemployee compensation for services rendered, but he told the U.S. Tax Court that the compensation was not taxable. He mistakenly relied on a court case from 1920 to support this argument. Unfortunately for him, a 1955 Supreme Court case superseded the 1920 case, making it not applicable to the present matter.

Internal Revenue Code Section 61(a) provides that “gross income means all income from whatever source derived,” including compensation for services.

Using information obtained from third parties, the IRS had calculated Foryan’s income for 2009 to be $137,282. Against this income, Foryan was allowed a self-employment income tax deduction of $8,460, a standard deduction of $5,700 and a personal exemption of $3,650.

Foryan had been involved in a prior court case a few years earlier regarding a tax matter. He lost that case, and the court put him on notice regarding raising tax protester arguments.

The same situation arose in this case. The court rejected Foryan’s arguments as frivolous tax protester arguments. In addition, the court fined him $1,000 because it felt that his position in this case was frivolous or groundless.

Therefore, the court agreed with the IRS in this case, finding that Foryan had received $137,282 in compensation for services performed at various farms during the year and including that amount in his gross income for 2009. He was allowed the deductions calculated by the IRS (Stephan Foryan v. Commissioner, U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo 2015-114, June 22, 2015).

This article was originally posted on July 31, 2015 and the information may no longer be current. For questions, please contact GRF CPAs & Advisors at marketing@grfcpa.com.