When a taxpayer requests an installment agreement for larger tax liabilities or proposes an offer in compromise, the IRS applies allowable expense standards. Total allowable expenses include those expenses that meet the necessary expense test. The necessary expense test is defined as expenses that are necessary to provide for a taxpayer’s and his or her family’s health and welfare and/or production of income. The expenses must be reasonable. The total necessary expenses establish the minimum a taxpayer and family needs to live and serve as the basis for granting installment agreements and offers in compromise.
And Chicago tax lawyer Robert E. McKenzie, who has defended rich folks claiming losses on everything from deer farms to race horses to yachts, says the Romneys -–despite the fact that Ann Romney’s statements on what dressage has done for her personally suggests lack of profit motive– likely did all the paperwork right and can assert they thought they’d make a profit, even if they never do. “The way I would argue it is `this horse competed in the Olympics and we’ll breed it and make money off the foal’,’’ says McKenzie. “When you’re that rich you can afford to have talented tax advisers.”