Penny Mitchell



The Taxpayer and her husband filed joint 2001 federal and state income tax returns.  In 2003, the IRS assessed them for additional federal income tax.  Neither the Taxpayer nor her husband called the Department or consulted a tax professional to determine how this federal adjustment would impact their state liabilities.  The couple later divorced.  In 2005, the Department assessed them for additional state tax resulting from the federal adjustment to their 2001 return.  The Taxpayer protested the assessment of interest and began making monthly payments against the tax principal.  During the course of making these payments, the Department advised the Taxpayer that her ex-husband’s tax refund would be applied toward the remaining tax principal.  The Taxpayer later discovered that this was not done and that her ex-husband had received and spent his tax refund.  At the administrative hearing, the Taxpayer argued that she should not be responsible for the interest that accrued as a result of the Department’s failure to apply her ex-husband’s refund to the assessment.  She also asked the Department to consider the fact that she was a single mother and student and that paying the interest would create a financial hardship.  The Hearing Officer held that both parties to a joint return remain liable for both tax principal and interest related to that return.  In addition, the Department is not authorized to abate interest based on a taxpayer’s personal or financial situation.  The Taxpayer’s protest was denied.