I am going to nominate the Clark Raymond opinion as the best tax story of the year. At least, it is the best one for CPAs. You have to tease it out of the opinion, but there is a kind of rollicking story of troubled partner relationships. I did 40 years in large local and regional public accounting with a little bit of national icing on the cake and never encountered so much apparent dysfunction. Other commentary on the case has concluded that the lesson is about doing a good job maintaining your capital accounts, but I think the real lessons may be a little different.
It is public record, but the guys in the conflict are still practicing so out of professional courtesy I will refer to them as Tom, Dick, and Harry. There is another partner who is part of the story that I will call Jane. Also, for simplicity, I will ignore the fact that they held their partnership interests through single member entities and in Tom’s case in an entity with his wife who did administrative work. And I will refer to the entity involved as “the firm.”
The story is every accountant’s nightmare (and would make for a great tax-themed soap opera). Partners disagree. Partners walk out. Clients follow exiting partners to their new business leaving the old partner with debt.
Here is the story.