Well, here’s a fun little Friday item.
According to a bone dry piece of meta-trolling from Bloomberg, noted hedge fund advisor Joshua Rosner has been trying to get some overpaid taxes back from Uncle Sam. But there’s been a bit of a hiccup:
For years, even as he made federal tax payments, Rosner failed to file his returns with the Internal Revenue Service. When he and his accountants finally sorted things out, they discovered he had overpaid hundreds of thousands of dollars. His request for refunds, however, was denied because he sought them too late.
Well, that hardly seems fair, even someone who’s paid for his financial acumen can’t be expected to fully grasp the Kafkaesque US tax code. We’re sure a guy like Rosner has a super clever way of getting his money back…
Now, Rosner is suing the government to get the money back. And, he’s making a novel argument for somebody who earns a living as a financial expert, contending the Sept. 11 attacks rendered him “financially disabled.” He also asserts that the IRS has targeted him as retaliation for his public criticism of the Treasury Department’s $700 billion bank bailout a decade ago.
The roots of Rosner’s lawsuit revolve around a law that sets a three-year IRS deadline for taxpayers to collect overpayments.
In 2013, Rosner filed his tax returns for 2006 through 2010. They showed he was due refunds for 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Rosner also refers in one motion to negotiations with the IRS over his 2011 through 2014 taxes. While they aren’t part of the lawsuit, he wrote that he owed the government about $280,000 for two of the years, and had overpaid about $416,000 in the others.
The law allows taxpayers with a financial disability to collect refunds even after the deadline has lapsed. The condition is defined as a “physical or mental impairment of the individual which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
We’re no lawyer, but the notion that you’re too mentally impaired to properly file your income taxes, but fully brilliant enough to get Paul Singer to pay you to tell him how to short Fannie and Freddie strikes us as a verrry ballsy legal maneuver. Just imagine Paul Singer’s surprise. But since we’re not lawyers, we love it!
And to add a level to this beauty, Rosner is going balls deep on the reasoning behind his problems…
Rosner submitted two doctors’ assessments to the IRS, concluding that that he suffered from post-traumatic stress and adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood, largely due to the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
According to the piece, it’s clear that Rosner did not want this being written about. And we can see why…
The IRS has used “intimidation, harassment, extortive actions and personal attacks,” Rosner wrote in a court filing last year. He added that the “tactics placed me under extreme duress and compelled me to liquidate nearly all of my financial assets.”
The IRS, however, says Rosner couldn’t have run a business or held himself out as an expert if he were truly disabled. Rosner “authored sophisticated financial publications and gave testimony before congressional committees on financial matters, affirmatively demonstrating an absence of financial disability,” the agency’s lawyers wrote in a January 2018 motion.
Maybe Rosner could do something to put himself over the top here. Really show that he’s a guy who makes really bad decisions that end up backfiring spectacularly…
Rosner, who is not a lawyer, is representing himself. The case could go to trial next year.
This guy’s good…
Josh Rosner, Hedge-Fund Adviser, Claimed Financial Disability [Bloomberg]