In Uncategorized on 12/14/2015 at 17:12

Happily, Tax Court blogging can be amusing as well as instructive. Blogging the 400 Second Street gang, and their colleagues at 1111 Constitution Ave, is more than plowing through pages of “long-winded arguments on law.” Though it’s often that, too.

But here’s a happy tale of a Mississippi lawyer who finds fulfillment and Section 469 deduction allowances, Clarence McDonald Leland, Jr., and Myna Green Leland, 2015 T. C. Memo. 240, filed 12/14/15.

I don’t know if Clarence McDonald is particularly old, but he does own a farm, in Turkey, Texas, wherever that is;  it’s many miles of hard travellin’ from Mac’s Jackson, MS law office. And Mac has to drive to and fro on the earth between farm and office.

Now for the years at issue, Mac had a tenant farmer on the place, Mr. Pigg. Mr. Pigg wasn’t the problem, although he lacked a certain work ethic when it came to plantin’ cotton. What the problem was, the problem was the hogs.

Mac had to drive the Bush Hog a lot. No, that’s neither a mammal nor a person (this is not a political blog). I’ll let Judge Nega explain.

“Petitioner visits the farm several times each year in order to perform necessary tasks, commuting approximately 13-16 hours each way, including the time it takes to load equipment onto his trailer. The farm has approximately 6-8 miles of perimeter roads and 18-20 miles of interior roads that must be bush hogged and disced regularly in order to remain passable. A Bush Hog is a device that is pulled behind a tractor to cut vegetation and clear land. Discing involves churning and plowing soil to uproot any existing vegetation. Trees and brush that grow near the roads must be controlled through spraying and chopping down limbs that protrude onto the roadways. Because high winds can erode soil on the roads, wheat must be planted each fall to prevent erosion on the roads and on acreage that is not part of the 130 acres planted and harvested by Mr. Pigg.” 2015 T. C. Memo. 240, at pp. 3-4.

But that’s not all. Although Mac has his son (unnamed) and his friend Mr. Coke to help out, he does most of the work. And a significant part of the work has Mac doing what I haven’t done for nearly fifty years, and earnestly pray no one ever has to do again, namely and to wit, hide out with a semiautomatic rifle.

“Wild hogs are a continuing problem at the farm. They dig underneath fences to get to edible crops and have dug up and broken water lines on the farm. In a year before the tax years 2009 and 2010, wild hogs ate 250,000 pounds of peanuts that petitioner and Mr. Pigg had grown on the farm. As a result, petitioner has to spend significant time controlling the wild hog population, which he accomplishes through hunting and trapping. Petitioner usually hunts hogs for three hours each morning and afternoon while at the farm, for a total of six hours per day. In addition, he spends time building traps and baiting them with corn millet and Kool-Aid to lure hogs to a specific area, where he waits in a tripod stand with semiautomatic weapons in order to eradicate them.” 2015 T. C. Memo. 240-, at p. 4.

It’s a break from practicing law, waiting in the tree for the makin’s of wildschweinbraten to drink the Kool-Aid and get blasted with a couple rounds of 7.62 ball. But the net result, with a couple steins Rude Pitter, (hi, Judge Holmes), is a bit of all right. Don’t forget the red cabbage. Oh, to be back at Frueh am Dom!

Anyway, the case goes off on Mac’s credit card receipts, reconstructed time slips (despite IRS’s unavailing objection that they’re not contemporaneous), farm invoices, and credible testimony. At close of play, Mac has 100 hours (more than) and no one else has more; apparently Mr. Pigg is not from the schwer arbeiters, to use a technical phrase.

See, Tax Court blogging can be fun. But legal research and the cost of publishing one’s results are certainly a necessary part of a lawyer’s profession, and therefore deductible. No one said one has to suffer to make money.





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