Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Tax Problem That Might Hurt Sotomayor

From the TaxProf Blog:

'she was either doing the side legal work for free or for almost-free. Does the amount of work that she did and the income that she brought amount to a trade or business, justifying Schedule C (above the line) deductions? If she had represented the clients through the firm, then expenses either would have been the firm’s expenses (perhaps deductible by the firm but not by Judge Sotomayor) or, if she paid them herself, they would have been deductible below the line since she was an employee'

Moreover, what were the expenses? If they were minimal, who really cares. But suppose she was taking home office deductions. If my earlier presumption is correct, then the receipts from her side practice were likely to have been trivial or insignificant at best. Maybe she claimed to run a law practice out of her home so that she could take home office deductions when she was really (just) an employee whose employer provided her with an office, and the home office deductions would then have been improper. (Employees generally are not permitted to deduct the costs associated with home offices, no matter how much work they actually perform at home. But people who run businesses out of their homes often can.)

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