Merchant Mariner Tax Deduction “Kapp-sized” By IRS

John Konrad
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September 15, 2007

DOJ Martin Kapp Letterhead

I was recently reading Robert Greene’s; The 48 Laws of Power and took a few tips from it but more often than not I break them. Today’s infraction is listed under Law 24 “Never Be the Bearer of Bad News”

The Ruling

U.S. District Court Ruling; United States V Martin A Kapp:

  • Judgment is entered against Defendant Martin Kapp
  • The United States may recover its costs
  • Defendant and his agent… are enjoined from preparing tax returns…(2 page list)
  • Within 21 days of this Order Defendant shall provide a list of all persons or entities for whom he prepared returns (any portion of a return, amended returns, or refund claims)… This list is to cover materials that were prepared at any time from January 1, 2000 to present… Defendant must state name, contact information, social security number or employer id number and tax period for which the returns … relate.
  • This is a difficult pill to swallow and a source of much debate within the maritime community. I have yet to sign aboard a ship, attend a training class or participate in any gathering of U.S. mariners where this topic was not discussed… or debated.

    While my wife and I personally used Kapp’s services only once, our first full year after the academy, we missed the January 1st judgment date by a matter of months. We thus have a vested interest in this decision so expect full coverage including answers, interviews and insight here on gCaptain in the coming months.

    The Good News

    We are not tax experts but it seems that the Judge upheld all parts of the “Mariner’s Deduction” except for meal expenses taken while aboard ship, so penalties should be somewhat limited. Apparently the DOJ had the same question that sparks the most debate among mariners; “How can you deduct the food you eat that the company pays for?

    The Reason

    According to the complaint, Kapp has taught college-level tax and accounting classes…

    The IRS recently listed return-prepared fraud as part of its 2006 list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams which is posted HERE . Since 2001, the Justice Department has sought and obtained injunctions against more than 160 tax-return preparers and tax-fraud promoters. ref

    Here is the basic info:

    Have you been Kappsized? Enter a comment below or contact us [details in sidebar | contact form] with the questions you’d like answered. All future Kappsized articles will be filed HERE so check back often.

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