Sunday, December 4, 2011

Time To Purge The Draft Posts

This was originally published on PAOO on November 12th, 2010.

In case you have ever wondered what the secret is to having a tax blog with conceivably scores of readers, who rarely click on ads, here is how I do it. Whenever I get a chance I scan all the primary source federal tax stuff I have that is available to me through RIA. Federal court decisions, private letter rulings, revenue procedures, chief counsel advice, program manager technical assistance, etc. etc. If something looks promising, I copy it into a draft post. I then work on which ever one the spirit moves me to whenever I get a chance. I've committed to publishing posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and have kept up pretty well. The draft posts accumulate at a faster rate than three per week. There are ones that I find kind of interesting, but just don't seem to be able to expand on to have something worth saying.

So in order to keep my draft posts from being cluttered with material that is going stale, I'm going to do a bit of a purge. However, when I first looked at these things, I thought there was something worth sharing, so I at least want to mention them. Once I have done that I will delete them which will make me feel more pressure when I am scanning new stuff, because I am always worried about running out. You can rescue any of these embryonic posts from oblivion by posting a comment.

Martha A. Olson v. Commissioner, TC Summary Opinion 2010-96 is a classic tax court summary opinion, the reality TV of the system. The taxpayers were trying to deduct expenses from a business that they had run several years before. They explained why they hadn't reported the business (a pay day loan operation) in the years it actually operated as follows:

Petitioner did not believe that she needed to report anything from the Checkrite business on the 1996 and 1997 returns because, in her view, she reinvested all the income back into the business; i.e., as customers would make payments against their outstanding liabilities, petitioner would collect the payments and then make additional loans to new or existing customers.

I thought that was kind of amusing and was going to title the post "Consider Taking Accounting 101"

Estate of Marie J. Jensen, et al. v. Commissioner, TC Memo 2010-182 is a valuation case. In valuing a C corporation that owned a moribund summer camp, there was a substantial discount allowed for the potential corporate income taxes on a sale of the property. I gave it a brief mention in my post on purging earnings and profits, since I believe their income tax problem might have been somewhat more manageable than they either thought or at least let on. I haven't felt inspired to give it a full treatment though.

PLR 201016053 is an example of something that is incredibly interesting if you are a total tax geek and rather difficult to make meaningful for a normal human being. Here is the headnote:
Self-created customer relationships are severable and distinct asset from acquired customer relationships such that any gain with respect to sale of self-created customer relationships won't be subject to Code Sec. 1245; recapture as result of amortization deductions claimed with respect to acquired customer relationships

I swear if they ever have a machine to test for tax geekiness where they attach and insert all sorts of devices that monitor your reactions and then flash things on the screen that will be one of the things they use. If you just had a WOW - That's really interesting, you are a total tax geek (Maybe some sort of highly specialized business broker just to be open to other possibilities. ). If you just had a WTF (That stands for What The ?) you are a normal human being.

Gordon Kaufman, et ux. v. Commissioner, 134 T.C. No. 9 was about a charitable contribution of a facade easement. The IRS was granted summary judgement on the issue of a deduction for the easement because the property was mortgaged, but it was not granted summary judgement on the issue of the cash contribution that the taxpayers made as part of the deal or their reliance on their accountant to be relieved of penalties. Who knows ? Maybe this case will be back on those two issues.

Gregory J. Bahas, et ux. v. Commissioner, TC Summary Opinion 2010-115 is about the real estate professional exception to the passive activity loss rules. I gave it a brief mention in one of my other posts on that topic. The interesting thing is that I think there is a mistake in it:

Mrs. Bahas misconstrues section 469. Because petitioners did not elect to aggregate their real estate rental activities, pursuant to section 469(c)(7)(A) petitioners must treat each of these interests in the rental real estate as if it were a separate activity. See sec. 469(c)(7)(A)(ii). Thus, Mrs. Bahas is required to establish that she worked for more than 750 hours each year with respect to each of the three rental properties. But, petitioners presented no documents or other evidence with respect to the number of hours Mrs. Bahas worked managing the three rental properties in question. Indeed, the parties stipulated that “petitioners spent less than 750 hours managing the rental properties” in question.

Absent the election, I don't think you need 750 hours in each of the properties. I think you would just have to materially participate in each of the properties. At any rate, I'm beginning to wonder if the actual real estate professionals are beginning to regret that they lobbied for this relief given the number of amateurs that it ends up attracting. Regardless I've probably said enough about Bahas.

Well I guess those five are enough for this post. I still have a decent backlog. If nothing interesting comes out between now and January, I'll be out of material. Not very likely.

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