Tuesday, March 31, 2009

10th Circuit Denies $300k Charitable Deduction Claimed by Timothy McVeigh's Lawyer

Just another denial by the court of a tax deduction but this means a little bit more to us, locally:
(TaxProf Blog) previously blogged the Tax Court's denial of a $300,000 charitable deduction claimed by Leslie Stephen Jones, lead counsel for the defense of Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, for the donation of his papers in the case to the University of Texas. Jones v. Commissioner, 129 T.C. 146 (2007). The Tenth Circuit yesterday affirmed the Tax Court's decision. Jones v. Commissioner, No.08-9001 (10th Cir. Mar. 27, 2009):
[T]he tax court held that Taxpayer was not entitled to claim a deduction on the donation of the discovery material for two reasons: (1) Taxpayer did not own the discovery material, and (2) the discovery material was not a capital asset [and thus Taxpayer's charitable deduction was limited to his basis in the donated material -- zero]. Because we hold that the discovery material is not a capital asset, we need not decide whether Taxpayer owned the discovery material under Oklahoma law. As the following discussion demonstrates, however, our rationale for determining that the discovery material is not a capital asset differs from that of the tax court.

Besides the sound ruling, I have to admit I'm glad Jones couldn't profit any more than he has in his representation of McVeigh. Sure, I know, McVeigh was entitled to a spirited defense, and Jones gave him one, but to try to profit further from his relationship by claiming a dubious deduction?

Can't say I'm disappointed with this ruling.

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