San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


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Recent Cases


Lawrence D. Sullivan, a wire lather employed by a New York City construction company incurred $1,494.72 of expenses for the use of his car in driving to and from his Staten Island home and different job sites in and around New York City. He deducted this amount as an ordinary and necessary business expense on his federal income tax return for 1962. Sullivan carried the tools of his trade in a briefcase-sized bag which weighed approximately thirty-two pounds when filled with tools. He was unable to leave his tools at the various job sites as there were no safe storage places, and often, his employer would telephone him in the evening and direct him to go to a different job site the following morning. Sullivan testified that he had a bad ruling involving the same facts, implied that a deduction for the total cost of private transportation would be allowed under Section 162 if the taxpayer would have used public transportation but for the tools. The Tax Court held that Sullivan's transportation expenses were purely personal, distinguishing the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Crowther as applicable only to the "very special facts of that case." The Tax Court's ruling that the taxpayer's carrying of his tools did not transform the expense into a business expense placed the Tax court in opposition to the district court decision in Rice and the subsequent Revenue Ruling. The Second Circuit also considered the Internal Revenue Service's Revenue Ruling too narrow and would allow the taxpayer to deduct the reasonable cost of transporting his tools even if he would not have used public transportation.

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