Jasko v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue

Full title: Ivan A. JASKO and Judith L. Jasko, Petitioners, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.

Court: United States Tax Court.

Date published: Aug 20, 1996

Facts

The respondent determined a deficiency in the petitioners’ 1992 federal income tax in the amount of $6,225. The issue is whether petitioners may deduct legal fees paid during 1992 and incurred as a result of a dispute with their insurance carrier over the replacement cost of their residence, which had been destroyed by fire.

All section references are to the Internal Revenue Code in effect for the year in issue.

All the facts have been stipulated. The stipulation of facts and attached exhibits are incorporated herein by reference.

At the time their petition was filed, the petitioners resided in Piedmont, California.

On October 20, 1991, the petitioners’ then-principal residence in Oakland, California, (the Oakland Hills residence) was destroyed by a firestorm. Petitioners had lived in that residence continuously from the time they purchased it in 1967 until its destruction. The residence was not held either for rental or sale during 1991.

Issue

Decision

The Supreme Court ruled in Ticket Office Equipment Co. v. Commissioner, 20 T.C. 272 (1953), that legal expenses were nondeductible under Section 263 and offset against the gain represented by insurance proceeds. The court emphasized that the expenditures arose in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s business and that a loss was involved, suggesting that a gain might involve different treatment. The case is distinguishable from United States v. Pate.

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