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Antrel Rolle of NFL's Cardinals slammed with IRS bill

It hasn't been a fun January for Arizona Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle. First, his team was eliminated from the NFL playoffs by the Super Bowl-bound New Orleans Saints. Rolle left that game early with a head injury.

Now the IRS is giving Rolle a second pounding with a bill for $2.2 million bill in back taxes, interest and penalties.
The IRS alleges that Rolle understated his taxable income by more than 50% for 2005 and 2006. For 2005, Rolle reported taxable income of $669,000; the IRS claims he made $2.15 million. For 2006, Rolle reported $3.2 million; the IRS said it should have been $6.1 million.

What likely attracted IRS attention in the first place was Rolle's Schedule C for "management and consulting" in both years. A Schedule C with large losses and little in the way of revenue can sometimes be an audit trigger. Rolle might have raised some eyebrows when he claimed $557,000 in revenue but a whopping $1.9 million in expenses, including $372,000 for renting and leasing vehicles. The IRS disallowed all but $71,000 of the expenses.

Rolle also claimed $2.5 million in cash contributions to two churches: the Victory Chapel Christian Fellowship Church (VCCFC) and Victory Chapel Church (VCC). Rolle was unable to produce sufficient records to verify these donations. The letter that he produced to verify the contributions for one church contained errors, and the address of the church was similar to Rolle's home. The address listed for the other church was actually a doctor's office.

Rolle isn't quibbling with most of the findings of the audit. Nonetheless, he filed a lawsuit in U.S. Tax Court on Dec. 11, 2009, claiming that the IRS violated the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, denied him due process and failed to treat him fairly. He has requested a Los Angeles trial -- even though he initially claimed he lived in Sacramento -- but that might be on hold while he resolves a more important issue: He (or his lawyer) forgot to pay the filing fee. The judge has ordered that the fee must be paid by Feb. 1, 2010, or Rolle's case will be dismissed.

Rolle's attorney isn't offering much in the way of comment. It's likely that the matter will not be resolved for some time; it's not unusual for matters filed in Tax Court to sit for about a year before trial. Of course, if the Cards manage to make it to the Super Bowl next year, Rolle might have some serious rearranging to do with respect to his schedule. I'm not betting on that one.

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