Best of TaxLetter: Miscellaneous Deduction

It took Alexander Walter 61.8 hours to research, compile and prepare his tax return. Figuring that his time was worth $5 per hour, he claimed "Income Tax Cost...$309" as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on his return.

He admitted that under the Internal Revenue Code, as written, no deduction may be taken for the time a taxpayer spends in the preparation of his own income tax return. But the absence of a deduction causes the code to be unconstitutional under the Fifth and Thirteenth Amendments.

While agreeing that his time was valuable, the Tax Court denied the deduction because it was neither "self incrimination" nor "involuntary servitude". According to the court, the reward for filing an accurate return is the privilege of living in a civilized society. (May 1979)


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Created: March 21, 1996; Last updated: January 26, 2004
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