Friday, November 18, 2011

Commissioner v. Flowers case brief

Commissioner v. Flowers

The taxpayer lived and practiced law in Jackson, Mississippi for a railroad.
-The railroad’s home offices were in Mobile, Alabama.
-The taxpayer was offered a job in Mobile (185 miles away), but was unwilling to move from Jackson.
-The taxpayer arranged, with the railroad, to stay in Jackson on the condition that he pay his own traveling expenses between Mobile and Jackson and his own living expenses in both places.
-The taxpayer deducted the amounts incurred to travel between Jackson and Mobile as traveling expenses under §162(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.

-May the taxpayer deduct the costs incurred to travel between Jackson and Mobile?


-26 U.S.C. § 162(a)(2): Traveling expenses (including amounts expended for meals and lodging other than amounts which are lavish or extravagant under the circumstances) while away from home on the pursuit of a trade or business.
-In order to deduct the expense of traveling under §162, the expense must be incurred while away from home, and must be a reasonable expense necessary or appropriate to the development and pursuit of a trade or business.

-The Supreme Court held that the expenses could not be deducted on the ground that the expenses in question had been incurred by the taxpayer for his own convenience rather than for business reasons.
-The relevant test for deductibility was whether the travel had been motivated by “exigencies of business” or by considerations of personal preference.
-The court stated: the facts demonstrate clearly that the expenses were not incurred in the pursuit of the business of the taxpayer's employer, the railroad.
-The court further held that the expenses in question were incurred solely as a the result of the taxpayer’s desire to maintain a home in Jackson whole working in Mobile, a factor irrelevant to the maintenance and prosecution of the railroad’s legal business.
-Relevant test for deductibility is whether the travel had been motivated by “exigencies of business” or by considerations of personal preference.
-The attorney in question could only deduct traveling expenses from her gross income when the railroad's business forced attorney to travel and live temporarily at some place other than the railroad's principal place of business.
-Where attorney preferred for personal reasons to live in a different state from the location of his employer's principal office, and his duties required frequent trips to that office, the evidence sustained Tax Court's finding that the necessary relation between expenses of such trips and the railroad's business was lacking.

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