Don’t Expect The IRS to Cover Your Expensive Lawyer

Don't Expect The IRS to Cover Your Expensive Lawyer
I get daily updates about the new and exciting (as if anything tax related were exciting) developments coming from both our friends in Washington and our illustrious judicial branch. The legislative updates I usually understand just by reading the headlines. The court cases. . .not so much. Today was a bad one with TC Memo 2016-192 and its ...

173 Pairs of Shoes – a Non-Cash Charitable Deduction Tax Case

173 Pairs of Shoes - a Non-Cash Charitable Deduction Tax Case
Right now, sitting in my garage, I have an unused microwave (works, just doesn’t match the other appliances we had to replace) and a washing machine (works great as an unsightly shelf, not so much as a washing machine). We’ve been planning to donate them to anyone who wants them, preferably to a charity that’ll ...

We All Love Taxes–Hobby Lobby As A Tax Case

We All Love Taxes--Hobby Lobby As A Tax Case
Every morning the great people over at ThomsonReuters’s Checkpoint inundate my RSS feed with tax related court cases and newly passed tax regulation. Reading them all is usually about as exciting as taking an elementary school standardized comprehension tests, with unhelpful headlines followed by rambling gibberish (like today’s disbarred lawyer who claimed the IRS owed him hundreds of billions ...

Beware the Tax Refund Mistake In Your Favor

Beware the Tax Refund Mistake In Your Favor
Some things are too good to be true. Unicorns. Godzilla. Going the speed limit during rush hour. And tax refund mistakes in your favor. If, by chance, you do see any of these, that red flag in the back of your head better be waving faster than a cheerleader’s fingers after drinking a case of Mountain Dew. ...

American Atheists, Inc. v Shulman Fizzles

American Atheists, Inc. v Shulman Fizzles
I get it. Life isn’t fair. Filing taxes is the worst. I can understand American Atheists, Inc.’s frustration that they’re filing a return as a non-profit organization while the church down the street has no such obligation. Just like when someone has that toy that you want, it’s human nature to want it too. But when, instead ...

Is Cosmetic Surgery Tax Deductible

Is Cosmetic Surgery Tax Deductible
I recently saw a question on Quora asking if cosmetic surgery is tax deductible. The answer to the question is almost always ‘no’, but it reminded me of an old landmark tax court case known as Hess v. Commissioner. I’d heard about it in college, but the actual case is even more interesting than the summary. ...

Alleged Bootlegging Tax Evader Exonerated

Alleged Bootlegging Tax Evader Exonerated
Sometimes news agencies get a little caught up in the excitement of the story the tone is tilted a bit in one direction or another. I’ve personally known examples of innocent people basically crucified on the court of public opinion based on the media presentation (Even Biggest Loser does it. And that’s reality TV!). It ...

Dispute on Horse Racing Tax Turns into Memoir

Dispute on Horse Racing Tax Turns into Memoir
I don’t even know where to start with this case. It begins a standard hobby loss dispute on whether a Merrill Roberts can take a deduction on his horse racing losses, but turns into a full blown novel. I’ve even come up with a catchy title: “From Strippers to the Triple Crown: the Story of My ...

MIT and Harvard don’t prepare student for Stipend Tax

MIT and Harvard don't prepare student for Stipend Tax
It’s always annoyed me how movies and TV shows always have these geniuses who know everything hat exists in the world of knowledge. That can’t be possible. Anyway, the defendant in today’s case sounds like the background story of one of these brainiac movie characters: graduated from MIT with a bachelor’s in Being Awesome (a.k.a. the ...

Tax Court: IRS Not Immune from Using Common Sense

Tax Court: IRS Not Immune from Using Common Sense
Side note before starting: You might be interested in my write up on my tax blogging experience posted over at Going Concern. The honor for best tax quote of the day goes to Justice William O’Kelley in court case Music v. U.S.: “this statutory and regulatory framework does not immunize the IRS from using common sense.” Oh, if ...