Conservation Easements: The Importance of Proper Planning and Compliance

The United States Tax Court recently decided yet another case[1] involving conservation easements and the corresponding charitable contribution deduction. Such cases have been prevalent lately, although recent cases have dealt more with syndicated conservation easements and the IRS’s failure to follow certain procedural rules.[2] In the subject case of this article, however, the Court, for…
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Gifts to Employees – Fields v. Commissioner

Being in the midst of the holiday season, many people are making gifts to friends, family members, employees, and others important to them. Rarely is much thought given to the income tax consequences of such gifts. A recent case from the Tax Court illustrates how gifts between an employer and employee are treated.[1] Income Tax…
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Post-Settlement Tax Woes – Tillman-Kelly

In a recent case from the Tax Court, two married taxpayers failed to establish that their settlement proceeds fell within a statutory exception to taxation.[1] This case is a bit more straightforward than others we may write about from time to time. Factual Background In September 2009, Chicago State University (“CSU”) hired Mr. Bryant Tillman-Kelly…
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Corporation Denied Deduction Where Compensation Paid to Officer Was Unreasonably High

Reasonable compensation has been a relatively hot topic this year. Charles Allen previously discussed the Blossom case in which the taxpayers were penalized for understating the compensation of the two owners/officers of an S corporation.[1] While Charles’s discussion focused on employment taxation, Josh Sage followed up with an article on the resulting income taxation consequences…
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Goodbye Notice 2017-10

In a recent full Tax Court opinion[1], the Tax Court set aside Notice 2017-10, holding IRC § 6662A penalties are not to be imposed upon the taxpayer.[2] The Court’s reasoning was that the IRS failed to properly follow the notice-and-comment procedure, required under the Administrative Procedure Act. On December 23, 2016, the IRS issued Notice…
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Checks Written Before But Cashed After Death Includible in Gross Estate

In a recent Tax Court case[1], the Court held that the combined value of ten checks written prior to the decedent’s death, but cashed after his death, was included in the gross estate of the decedent. However, as discussed below, the IRS had conceded that three of the ten checks were not included in the…
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Deductibility of Son-in-Law’s Tuition Expense

In the recent Tax Court Opinion of Sherwin Community Painters, Inc. v. Comm’r, a corporation was denied a Section 162 business deduction for amounts paid for the boyfriend of the sole shareholder’s daughter to take a course in coding.[1] Gray Edmondson discussed the importance of being in a trade or business years ago, one of…
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Once Again, the “Tax Plan” Fails

On February 2, 2022, the Tax Court issued a memorandum opinion in the case of John M. Larson (“Larson”).[1] This case involves a dispute going back more than 20 years. Mr. Larson was an attorney and CPA. He and two other men, Robert A. Plaff and David Amir Makov, promoted a fraudulent tax shelter transaction…
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