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Basic Income Tax

Second Edition


William Kratzke

Professor of Law

The University of Memphis


CALI eLangdell® Press 2013

About the Author





Professor William Kratzke is a Cecil C. Humphreys Professor of Law at the University of Memphis. He received his B.A. in Political Science and the Far Eastern & Russian Institute from the University of Washington in 1971. This naturally caused him to be interested in attending law school. He received his J.D. from Valparaiso University in 1974 and was a member of the Valparaiso University Law Review’s editorial board. He received his LL.M. from Georgetown University in 1977.

Professor William Kratzke teaches tax law courses at the University of Memphis. He has been a faculty member there since 1979. He has taught courses across the curriculum. In addition to tax courses, he has taught trademarks, torts, civil procedure, world trade law, economic analysis, and other courses. He visited Santa Clara University and the University of Mississippi. He received Fulbright Teaching Awards in 1997 (Moldova) and 2001-2002 (Russia).

Professor Kratzke has written in the areas of tax law, trademark law, tort law, and antitrust law.

Notices


This is the first version of the Second Edition of this casebook, updated December 23, 2013. Visit http://elangdell.cali.org/ for the latest version and for revision history.

This work by William Kratzke is licensed and published by CALI eLangdell Press under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. CALI and CALI eLangdell Press reserve under copyright all rights not expressly granted by this Creative Commons license. CALI and CALI eLangdell Press do not assert copyright in US Government works or other public domain material included herein. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available through feedback@cali.org.



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William Kratzke, Basic Income Tax, Second Edition, Published by CALI eLangdell Press. Available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License.



CALI® and eLangdell® are United States federally registered trademarks owned by the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. The cover art design is a copyrighted work of CALI, all rights reserved. The CALI graphical logo is a trademark and may not be used without permission.

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This material does not contain nor is intended to be legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a licensed attorney in their jurisdiction. The editors have endeavored to provide complete and accurate information in this book. However, CALI does not warrant that the information provided is complete and accurate. CALI disclaims all liability to any person for any loss caused by errors or omissions in this collection of information.

The author wishes to express thanks to his research assistants, Magdalene Smith and Jay Clifton.

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Preface


This book is a basic income tax text. I intend this text to be suitable for a three-hour course for a class comprised of law students with widely different backgrounds.

Certain principles permeate all of tax law. I have found that certain axioms or principles will carry us a long way. For example, income is taxed once – or treated as if it has been taxed. Once it has been taxed, its investment gives the taxpayer basis – which I define not as cost but as money that will not be subject to tax again. Etc. The text returns to these principles throughout. I usually put these matters in text boxes.

At a minimum, I want students who have completed basic income tax to know these principles and to be able to apply them, i.e., to develop some “tax intuition.” This intuition will serve well the student who wishes to take more tax classes. I tried to identify what I want students to know before enrolling in corporate tax or partnership tax – and to make certain that I covered these principles in the basic course. Such intuition will also serve well the student for whom the basic course is a “one and done” experience. Like it or not, tax law affects most legal topics, and such intuition should at least give students working in other areas of the law an idea of when it is time to ask questions concerning lurking tax issues.

In some areas, I have relied heavily on the CALI drills by Professor James Edward Maule (Villanova University). These drills both review and, in some instances, teach a little substance. Each zeroes in on a specific topic and should take a student about twenty minutes to complete if she has adequately prepared to do the drill. Of course, students can work through such drills at their own speed.

I have tried to make this text very readable – so that students can easily understand. I have aimed at law students who “know” they have no interest in income tax – but who may find that they in fact have a considerable interest in tax law. With my political science background, I was such a student. I am proof that one does not have to have an accounting background to find income tax law both important and interesting. Additionally, Magdalene Smith and Jay Clifton III were two such students; they assisted me greatly in making this text as accessible as possible to all law students. I thank them now for their work.

WPK


Memphis, Tennessee, July 2013

First Edition

Table of Contents


Second Edition 1

About the Author 3

About CALI eLangdell Press 6

Preface 7

Chapter 1: The Government Raises Money: Introduction to Some Basic Concepts of Taxes and Taxing Income 10

I. Introduction to Some Basic Concepts 10

II. Taxing Income 14

III. Some Definitions 22

IV. Not All Income Is Taxed Alike 27

V. Layout of the Code 28

VI. Illustration of the Tax Formula: 28

VII. Sources of Tax Law and the Role of Courts 32

VIII. Some Income Tax Policy and Some Income Tax Principles 34

IX. What Is Income? 35

Wrap-up Questions for Chapter 1 44

Chapter 2: What Is Gross Income: Section 61 and the Sixteenth Amendment 45

I. The Constitutional and Statutory Definitions of “Gross Income” 45

II. The Constitutional and Statutory Definitions of “Gross Income:” Accessions to Wealth 76

III. The Constitutional and Statutory Definitions of “Gross Income:” Realization 113

IV. The Constitutional and Statutory Definitions of “Gross Income:” Dominion and Control 125

Wrap-up Questions for Chapter 2: 131



Chapter 3: Exclusions from Gross Income 131

I. The Society and Government that We Want 132

II. Social Benefits 155

III. Employment-Based Exclusions from Gross Income 167

Wrap-up Questions for Chapter 3: 187

Chapter 4: Loans and Cancellation of Indebtedness 187

II. Cancellation of Indebtedness 266

III. Is It a Loan? Is There an Accession to Wealth? 271

IV. Section 108(a)'s Other Provisions 292

V. Transactions Involving Property Subject to a Loan 294

VI. Transactions Treated as Loans 319

Wrap-up Questions for Chapter 4 319

Chapter 5: Assignment of Income 319

I. Compensation for Services 319

II. Income Splitting and the Joint Return 319

III. Income Derived from Property 319

IV. Interest Free Loans and Unstated Interest 319

Wrap-Up Questions for Chapter 5 319



Chapter 6: Deductions: Business Expenses 320

I. Expense or Capital 322

II. Deductibility Under §§ 162 or 212 374

III. Depreciation, Amortization, and Cost Recovery 437

Wrap-Up Questions for Chapter 6 450

Chapter 7: Personal Deductions 451

I. “Tax Expenditures” 478

II. Denial of Discretion in Choosing How or What to Consume 490

III. Creating a More Efficient and Productive Economy 499

Wrap-Up Questions for Chapter 7 502

Chapter 8: Tax Consequences of Divorce and Intra-Family Transactions 504

I. Introduction 504

II. Before Marriage 505

III. During Marriage 509

IV. After Marriage: Tax Consequences of Divorce 515

Wrap-Up Questions for Chapter 8 532



Chapter 9: Timing of Income and Deductions: Annual Accounting and Accounting Principles 532

II. Deferral Mechanisms 543

III. Basic Accounting Rules 547

Wrap-Up Questions for Chapter 9: 565



Chapter 10: Character of Income and Computation of Tax 566

I. Capital Gain 567

II. Sections 1245 and 1250: Depreciation Recapture 575

III. Section 1231: Some Limited Mismatching 578

IV. Some Basis Transfer Transactions: §§ 1031, 1033 580

V. More Matching 581

Wrap-Up Questions for Chapter 10 585




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