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Taxation for Decision Makers

Taxation for Decision Makers


Shirley Dennis-Escoffier and

Karen A. Fortin


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To the memory of Marty Escoffier who was always

ready with a willing hand to help, a word of

encouragement as deadlines neared, and a sense of

humor that never failed to make us laugh when we

needed it most. His presence has been missed as we

have worked on this revision.

Shirley Dennis-Escoffier and Karen A. Fortin


Preface xx About the Authors xxv


1 An Introduction to Taxation 2

2 The Tax Practice Environment 47


3 Determining Gross Income 110

4 Employee Compensation 155

5 Deductions for Individuals and Tax Determination 209


6 Business Expenses 274

7 Property Acquisitions and Cost Recovery Deductions 324


8 Property Dispositions 360

9 Tax-Deferred Exchanges 407


10 Taxation of Corporations 458

11 Sole Proprietorships and Flow- Through Entities 507


12 Estates, Gifts, and Trusts 566

Appendix Selected Tax Tables for 2019 and 2018 609

Index 619 

Brief Table of Contents


Preface xx About the Authors xxv

PART I Introduction to Taxation and Its Environment

1 An Introduction to Taxation 2

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 3

1.1. An Introduction to Taxes, 3

1.1.1. What Is a Tax?, 3

1.1.2. Evolution of the Federal Income Tax, 4

1.1.3. State and Local Income Taxes, 5

1.1.4. Employment Taxes, 7

1.1.5. Wealth Taxes, 8

1.1.6. Wealth Transfer Taxes, 9

1.1.7. Consumption Taxes, 10

1.1.8. Tariffs and Duties, 12

1.2. Types of Tax Rate Systems, 13

1.2.1. The Progressive Tax Rate System, 13

1.2.2. Proportional “Flat” Tax Rate, 15

1.2.3. Regressive Taxes, 15

1.3. Characteristics of a Good Tax, 16

1.3.1. Equity, 16

1.3.2. Economy, 17

1.3.3. Certainty, 18

1.3.4. Convenience, 18

1.4. The Taxing Units and the Basic Income Tax Model, 19

1.4.1. The Basic Tax Model, 20

1.4.2. Trusts and Estates, 29

1.5. Choice of Business Entity, 30

1.5.1. Sole Proprietorships, 32

1.5.2. Partnerships, 33

1.5.3. C Corporations, 36

Table of Contents

viii Table of Contents

1.5.4. S Corporations, 37

1.5.5. Comparing Business Entity Attributes, 38

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 40

Summary, 40

Key Terms, 41

Test Yourself, 41

Problem Assignments, 42

Answers to Test Yourself, 46

2 The Tax Practice Environment 47

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 48

2.1. Tax Compliance, 48

2.1.1. Filing a Tax Return, 48

2.1.2. Selecting Returns for Audit, 51

2.1.3. Types of Audits, 52

2.1.4. The Appeals Procedure, 53

2.1.5. Taxpayer Noncompliance Penalties, 54

2.1.6. Collection Procedures, 55

2.2. Professional Responsibil ities and Ethics, 56

2.2.1. Avoidance versus Evasion, 56

2.2.2. Tax Preparer Registration, 56

2.2.3. Tax Preparer Penalties, 56

2.2.4. Tax Professionals’ Dual Responsibilities, 57

2.2.5. Sources of Professional Guidance, 58

2.3. Tax Planning, 61

2.3.1. Cash Flows and Present Value, 62

2.3.2. Significance of the Marginal Tax Rate, 63

2.3.3. Timing Income and Deductions, 63

2.3.4. Income Shifting, 66

2.3.5. Changing the Character of Income, 67

2.3.6. Other Factors Affecting Tax Planning, 68

2.4. Tax Research, 71

2.4.1. Gather the Facts and Identify the Issues, 72

2.4.2. Locate Relevant Authority, 72

2.4.3. Evaluate the Sources of Authority, 79

2.4.4. Communicate the Recommendations, 86

2.4.5. Keeping Up-to-Date, 86

2.4.6. Sample Research Problem, 87

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 91

Summary, 91

Table of Contents ix

Key Terms, 92

Test Yourself, 92

Problem Assignments, 92

Answers to Test Yourself, 99

Appendix: Authorities for Sample Research Problem, 99

PART II Income, Expenses, and Individual Taxes

3 Determining Gross Income 110

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 111

3.1. What Is Income?, 111

3.1.1. Taxable versus Gross Income, 112

3.1.2. Tax versus Financial Accounting, 112

3.1.3. Return of Capital Principle, 113

3.2. When Is Income Recognized?, 114

3.2.1. The Tax Year, 115

3.2.2. Accounting Methods, 116

3.3. Who Recognizes the Income?, 120

3.3.1. Assignment of Income Doctrine, 120

3.3.2. Community Property Laws, 120

3.4. Sources of Income, 121

3.4.1. Interest Income, 121

3.4.2. Dividend Income, 126

3.4.3. Annuity Income, 128

3.4.4. Transfers from Others, 129

3.4.5. Discharge of Indebtedness, 134

3.4.6. Tax Benefit Rule, 135

3.4.7. System for Reporting Income, 135

3.5. Exclusions, 136

3.5.1. Gifts and Inheritances, 136

3.5.2. Insurance Proceeds, 137

3.5.3. Scholarships, 139

3.5.4. Other Exclusions, 140

3.6. Expanded Topics—Jurisdictional Issues, 141

3.6.1. International Issues, 141

3.6.2. Taxpayers Subject to U.S. Taxation, 141

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 144

Summary, 144

Key Terms, 145

x Table of Contents

Test Yourself, 145

Problem Assignments, 146

Answers to Test Yourself, 154

4 Employee Compensation 155

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 156

4.1. Employee Compensation, 156

4.1.1. Payroll Taxes, 156

4.1.2. Employee versus Independent Contractor, 158

4.1.3. Timing of Compensation Deduction, 161

4.1.4. Reasonable Compensation, 161

4.2. Employee Fringe Benefits, 163

4.2.1. Group Term Life Insurance Premiums, 165

4.2.2. Health and Accident Insurance Premiums, 166

4.2.3. Child and Dependent Care Programs, 167

4.2.4. Cafeteria Plans and Flexible Spending Arrangements, 167

4.2.5. No-Additional-Cost Services, 169

4.2.6. Employee Purchase Discounts, 169

4.2.7. Employee Achievement Awards, 170

4.2.8. De Minimis Fringe Benefits, 170

4.2.9. Working Condition Fringe Benefits, 171

4.2.10. Education Expenses, 173

4.2.11. Employee Relocation Expenses, 174

4.2.12. Substantiating Business Expenses, 175

4.3. Employee Stock and Stock Options, 176

4.3.1. Restricted Stock, 176

4.3.2. Stock Options, 179

4.3.3. Phantom Stock and Stock Appreciation Rights, 181

4.4. Deferred Compensation and Retirement Planning, 182

4.4.1. Qualified Retirement Plans, 182

4.4.2. Types of Retirement Plans, 183

4.4.3. Contribution Limits, 185

4.4.4. Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans, 186

4.4.5. Individual Retirement Accounts, 187

4.5. Self-Employed Individuals, 190

4.5.1. Employment Tax Consequences, 190

4.5.2. Fringe Benefits Limited, 192

4.5.3. Retirement Plans, 193

4.6. Expanded Topics—Foreign Assignments, 194

4.6.1. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, 194

4.6.2. Excess Housing Cost Exclusion, 196

Table of Contents xi

4.6.3. Credit for Foreign Taxes, 196

4.6.4. Tax Reimbursement Plans, 197

4.6.5. Tax Treaties, 197

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 198

Summary, 198

Key Terms, 199

Test Yourself, 200

Problem Assignments, 201

Answers to Test Yourself, 208

5 Deductions for Individuals and Tax Determination 209

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 210

5.1. The Individual Tax Model, 210

5.2. Adjustments to Income, 212

5.2.1. Student Loan Interest Deduction, 213

5.2.2. Educator Expenses, 214

5.2.3. Health Savings Accounts, 214

5.2.4. Penalty on Early Withdrawal of Savings, 215

5.2.5. Other Adjustments to Income, 215

5.3. Standard Deduction, 216

5.3.1. Standard Deduction Amounts, 216

5.3.2. Married Filing Jointly, 218

5.3.3. Surviving Spouse, 218

5.3.4. Married Filing Separately, 219

5.3.5. Head of Household, 220

5.3.6. Single (Unmarried) Individual, 221

5.4. Itemized Deductions, 221

5.4.1. Medical Expenses, 222

5.4.2. Taxes, 223

5.4.3. Interest Expense, 224

5.4.4. Charitable Contributions, 227

5.4.5. Casualty Losses, 230

5.4.6. Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions, 231

5.5. Qualified Business Income Deduction, 233

5.6. Dependents, 235

5.6.1. Qualifying Child, 235

5.6.2. Qualifying Relatives, 236

5.7. Tax Credits, 238

5.7.1. Credits versus Deductions, 238

5.7.2. Child Tax Credit, 238

5.7.3. Education Credits, 239

xii Table of Contents

5.7.4. Dependent Care Credit, 241

5.7.5. Earned Income Credit, 242

5.7.6. Excess Payroll Tax Withheld, 243

5.7.7. Other Credits, 243

5.8. Computing the Tax, 244

5.8.1. Medicare Surtaxes, 246

5.8.2. Alternative Minimum Tax, 248

5.8.3. Other Taxes, 252

5.9. Payment of Tax and Filing the Return, 252

5.9.1. Payment of Tax, 252

5.9.2. NOL, 253

5.9.3. Who Must File a Return?, 253

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 258

Summary, 259

Key Terms, 259

Test Yourself, 260

Problem Assignments, 261

Answers to Test Yourself, 271

PART III Business and Property Concepts

6 Business Expenses 274

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 275

6.1. Criteria for Deductibility, 275

6.1.1. General Provisions for Trade or Business Expenses, 275

6.1.2. Ordinary and Necessary, 276

6.1.3. Contrary to Public Policy, 277

6.1.4. Related to Tax-Exempt Income, 278

6.1.5. Accrued to Related Party, 278

6.1.6. Obligation of Another Taxpayer, 278

6.1.7. Substantiation, 279

6.2. Timing of Deductions, 279

6.2.1. Accrual Method, 280

6.2.2. Cash Method, 280

6.2.3. Restrictions on Prepaid Expenses, 282

6.2.4. Disputed Liabilities, 283

6.3. Costs of Starting a Business, 283

6.3.1. Business Investigation and Start-Up Expenses, 283

6.3.2. Organization Costs, 284

Table of Contents xiii

6.4. Operating Expenses, 285

6.4.1. Business Meals and Entertainment, 285

6.4.2. Travel and Transportation Expenses, 286

6.4.3. Combining Business with Pleasure Travel, 289

6.4.4. Bad Debt Expenses, 291

6.4.5. Insurance Premiums, 292

6.4.6. Interest Expense, 292

6.4.7. Legal Expenses, 293

6.4.8. Taxes, 293

6.5. Limited Expense Deductions, 294

6.5.1. Residential Rental Property, 294

6.5.2. Home Office Expenses, 297

6.5.3. Hobby Expenses, 300

6.6. Expanded Topics—Book/Tax Differences, 300

6.6.1. Accounting for Income Tax Expense, 300

6.6.2. UNICAP Rules and Inventory, 307

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 309

Summary, 311

Key Terms, 312

Test Yourself, 312

Problem Assignments, 313

Answers to Test Yourself, 323

7 Property Acquisitions and Cost Recovery Deductions 324

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 325

7.1. Capital Expenditures, 325

7.1.1. Capitalize or Expense, 326

7.1.2. Basis of Property, 327

7.2. MACRS, 330

7.2.1. Averaging Conventions, 331

7.2.2. Year of Disposition, 335

7.2.3. Alternative Depreciation System (ADS), 336

7.3. Special Expensing Provisions, 337

7.3.1. Section 179 Expensing Election, 337

7.3.2. Bonus Depreciation, 339

7.4. Provisions Limiting Depreciation, 341

7.4.1. Mixed-Use Assets, 341

7.4.2. Limits for Passenger Vehicles, 342

7.5. Depletion, 344

xiv Table of Contents

7.6. Amortization, 345

7.6.1. Research and Experimentation Expenditures, 346

7.6.2. Software, 347

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 347

Summary, 348

Key Terms, 348

Test Yourself, 348

Problem Assignments, 349

Answers to Test Yourself, 357

PART IV Property Dispositions

8 Property Dispositions 360

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 361

8.1. Determining Gain or Loss on Dispositions, 362

8.1.1. Property Dispositions and Cash Flow, 362

8.1.2. Types of Dispositions, 363

8.1.3. Amount Realized, 364

8.1.4. Realized versus Recognized Gain or Loss, 365

8.1.5. Holding Period, 365

8.1.6. Character of Gains and Losses, 367

8.1.7. Mixed-Use Assets, 369

8.2. Disposition of Capital Assets, 369

8.2.1. The Capital Gain and Loss Netting Process, 369

8.2.2. Tax Treatment of Net Capital Gains and Losses, 371

8.3. Disposition of Section 1231 Property, 377

8.3.1. Depreciation Recapture, 378

8.3.2. Unrecaptured Section 1250 Gains for Individuals, 381

8.3.3. Section 1231 Look-Back Rules, 382

8.4. Mixed-Use Property, 384

8.5. Special Rules for Small Business Stock, 385

8.5.1. Losses on Section 1244 Stock, 385

8.5.2. Section 1202 Gains on Qualified Small Business Stock, 386

8.5.3. Comparison of Sections 1244 and 1202, 387

8.6. Sale of Principal Residence—Section 121, 388

8.6.1. Debt Reductions, Short Sales, and Foreclosures, 391

8.7. Navigating Individual Capital Gains Tax Rates, 391

8.7.1. Determining the Long-Term Capital Gains Tax Rate, 392

8.7.2. Planning with Multiple Tax Rates, 393

Table of Contents xv

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 394

Summary, 395

Key Terms, 396

Test Yourself, 396

Problem Assignments, 397

Answers to Test Yourself, 406

9 Tax-Deferred Exchanges 407

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 408

9.1. Basics of Tax-Deferred Exchanges, 408

9.1.1. Basis Adjustments, 409

9.1.2. Holding Period, 410

9.2. Like-Kind Exchanges—Section 1031, 410

9.2.1. Qualifying Properties, 411

9.2.2. Determining Realized Gain or Loss and the Effect of Boot, 411

9.2.3. Basis and Holding Period of Like-Kind Property, 413

9.2.4. Indirect Exchanges, 414

9.3. Involuntary Conversions, 415

9.3.1. Casualty and Theft Losses, 415

9.3.2. Gains on Involuntary Conversions—Section 1033, 421

9.3.3. Involuntary Conversion of a Principal Residence, 424

9.4. Other Tax-Deferred Exchanges or Dispositions, 424

9.4.1. Wash Sales, 424

9.4.2. Installment Sales, 425

9.4.3. Related-Party Sales, 426

9.4.4. Other Deferrals, 428

9.5. Asset Transfers to Businesses, 428

9.5.1. Transfers to Sole Proprietorships, 428

9.5.2. Transfers to Controlled Corporations—Section 351, 429

9.5.3. Transfers of Property to a Partnership, 434

9.5.4. Formation of a Limited Liability Company, 437

9.6. An Introduction to Corporate Reorganizations, 437

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 438

Summary, 438

Key Terms, 439

Test Yourself, 439

Problem Assignments, 440

Answers to Test Yourself, 449

Appendix: Corporate Reorganizations, 450

xvi Table of Contents

PART V Business Taxation

10 Taxation of Corporations 458

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 459

10.1. Introduction to Corporations, 459

10.1.1. Corporate Advantages, 460

10.1.2. Disadvantages of the Corporate Form, 461

10.1.3. Capital Structure, 461

10.2. Taxation of C Corporations, 463

10.2.1. Dividend Received Deduction, 463

10.2.2. Charitable Contribution Deduction, 464

10.2.3. Capital Gains and Losses, 465

10.2.4. Net Operating Losses, 466

10.2.5. Computing the Corporate Income Tax, 466

10.2.6. Reconciling Book and Taxable Income, 467

10.2.7. Tax Credits, 471

10.2.8. Filing and Payment Requirements, 472

10.3. Corporate Dividend Distributions, 472

10.3.1. Tax Effects of Dividend Distributions, 473

10.3.2. Calculating Earnings and Profits, 473

10.3.3. Applying E&P to Distributions, 474

10.3.4. Property Distributions, 477

10.3.5. Stock Dividends, 478

10.4. Corporate Redemptions and Liquidations, 479

10.4.1. Redemption Sale Requirements, 479

10.4.2. Partial Liquidation, 481

10.4.3. Liquidating Distributions, 482

10.4.4. Dividend and Redemption Planning Issues, 482

10.5. Issues for Closely Held Corporations, 484

10.5.1. Constructive Dividends, 484

10.5.2. Penalty Taxes to Encourage Dividend Payments, 485

10.5.3. Controlled Corporate Groups, 486

10.6. Consolidated Returns, 488

10.6.1. Consolidated Net Income, 489

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 490

Summary, 491

Key Terms, 491

Test Yourself, 492

Problem Assignments, 492

Table of Contents xvii

Answers to Test Yourself, 502

Appendix: Exempt Organizations, 502

11 Sole Proprietorships and Flow- Through Entities 507

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 508

11.1. Intro duction to Flow-Through Business Entities, 508

11.2. The Sole Pro prietorship, 509

11.2.1. Forming the Sole Proprietorship, 509

11.2.2. Operating the Sole Proprietorship, 511

11.2.3. Limitation on Excess Losses, 513

11.2.4. Qualified Business Income Deduction, 514

11.2.5. Self-Employment Taxes, 515

11.3. Partnerships, 516

11.3.1. Types of Partnerships, 516

11.3.2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Partnerships and LLCs, 517

11.3.3. Entity versus Aggregate Concepts, 517

11.3.4. Partnership Operations, 518

11.3.5. Partner’s Basis Account, 523

11.3.6. Loss Limitation Rules, 525

11.3.7. Guaranteed and Nonguaranteed Payments, 527

11.3.8. Partnership Distributions, 528

11.3.9. Selling a Partnership Interest, 532

11.3.10. Qualified Business Income Deduction, 533

11.4. S Corpo ration Char acteristics, 534

11.4.1. Eligibility Requirements for S Status, 535

11.4.2. Making the S Election, 536

11.4.3. Terminating the S Election, 536

11.4.4. S Corporation Operations, 537

11.4.5. Loss Limitations, 541

11.4.6. Tracking Basis, 541

11.4.7. Property Distributions, 542

11.4.8. The S Corporation Schedules M-1, M-2, and M-3, 542

11.4.9. The Accumulated Adjustments Account, 543

11.4.10. S Corporation Taxes, 544

11.4.11. Redemptions and Liquidations by S Corporations, 545

11.5. Expanded Topics—The Passive Deduction Limitations, 546

11.5.1. Material Participation, 547

11.5.2. Real Property Business Exception, 548

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 549

Summary, 550

Key Terms, 551

xviii Table of Contents

Test Yourself, 551

Problem Assignments, 552

Answers to Test Yourself, 564

PART VI Wealth Taxation

12 Estates, Gifts, and Trusts 566

Setting the Stage—An Introductory Case, 567

12.1. Overview of Wealth Transfer Taxation, 567

12.1.1. The Unified Transfer Tax, 567

12.1.2. Features of the Unified Transfer Tax, 569

12.1.3. Major Exclusions, 569

12.2. The Federal Gift Tax, 572

12.2.1. Transfers Subject to Gift Taxes, 572

12.2.2. Transfers Excluded from Gift Taxes, 575

12.2.3. Valuation of Gift Property, 576

12.2.4. Special Rules Affecting the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion, 576

12.2.5. Gift Tax Deductions, 579

12.3. Tax Consequences for Donees, 580

12.3.1. Kiddie Tax, 581

12.3.2. Special Education Savings Plans, 582

12.4. The Taxable Estate, 583

12.4.1. Identifying the Gross Estate, 584

12.4.2. Valuation Issues, 586

12.4.3. Estate Deductions, 587

12.4.4. Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes, 587

12.5. Transfer Tax Planning, 588

12.5.1. Selecting the Right Property to Give, 588

12.5.2. Advantages of Making Lifetime Gifts, 589

12.5.3. Disadvantages of Lifetime Gifts, 591

12.6. Fiduciary Income Tax Issues, 591

12.6.1. The Decedent’s Final Tax Return, 591

12.6.2. Income Tax Consequences of Inherited Property, 592

12.6.3. Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates, 593

12.7. Expanded Topics—The Tax Calculations, 594

12.7.1. Computing the Gift Tax, 594

12.7.2. Computing the Estate Tax, 595

12.7.3. Computing the Fiduciary Income Tax, 596

Revisiting the Introductory Case, 598

Table of Contents xix

Summary, 598

Key Terms, 599

Test Yourself, 599

Problem Assignments, 600

Answers to Test Yourself, 607

Appendix Selected Tax Tables for 2019 and 2018 609

Corporate Tax Rates for 2019 and 2018, 609

Individual Income Tax Rate Schedules for 2019 and 2018, 609

Social Security and Medicare Taxes for 2019 and 2018, 611

Standard Deductions for 2019 and 2018, 612

Tax Rates for Estates, Gifts, and Trusts for 2019 and 2018, 612

Depreciation Tables, 613

Present Value and Future Value Tables, 615

Index 619 



This text is designed for a one-semester introductory tax course at either the undergraduate or graduate level. It is ideal for an MBA course or any program emphasizing a decision-making approach. This text introduces all tax topics on the CPA exam in only 12 chapters.


This text covers basic taxation of all taxable entities—individuals, corporations, S corporations, partnerships, and fiduciary entities, emphasizing a balance between concepts and details. Tax concepts and applications are presented in a clear, concise, student-friendly writing style with sufficient technical detail to provide a foundation for future practice in taxation and consulting while not overwhelming the student with seldom-encountered details.


This text has been completely updated for all law changes and pronouncements issued through the first four months of 2019. In addition to updating all chapters for these changes, Chapter 1 was modified to better introduce the taxation of corporations and flow-through businesses including an introductory discussion of the qualified business income deduction. Additional details are provided in Chapter  5 regarding reporting on the individual tax return and in Chapter 11 on the returns for the flow-through businesses. Chapter 5 was rewritten and new sample filled-in tax forms have been introduced in this chapter as well as in other several chap- ters of the text.


The importance of tax planning is emphasized throughout the text. Margin icons are woven into each chapter to highlight planning opportunities. Tax planning strategies are introduced early in Chapter 2 along with the impact of taxes on cash flow.


Each chapter begins with learning objectives for that specific chapter as well as a basic introduction to the included topics, emphasizing why decision makers need to understand these topics. Each chapter is organized by learning objective making is easy to identify rele- vant topics.


Each chapter opens with a case that focuses on one or more key issues within the chapter to promote critical analysis and decision-making skills. The case is then revisited at the end of the chapter with a suggested solution to stimulate further class discussion.


Preface xxi


Rigorous topics are tackled through numerous simple but realistic examples.


Key Cases bring real world applications into the classroom.

KEY CASES In 2008, actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced to 3 years in prison for willfully failing to file tax returns for years 1999–2004, a period in which he earned more than $38 million. Follow- ing an unsuccessful appeal, he served his sentence in a medium-security prison in Pennsylvania.

In December 2014, Representative Michael Grimm, who had just been re-elected to his third term in Congress, resigned from Congress after agreeing to plead guilty to felony tax fraud. The indictment alleged that he kept two sets of records for a restaurant he previously owned con- cealing more than $1 million in gross receipts and underreporting his employees’ wages to avoid federal and state taxes. He served 7 months in prison.


The Expanded Topics section included at the end of Chapters 3, 4, 6, 11, and 12 contains more advanced topics for instructors who wish to challenge their students. These advanced discussions relate to the other material within the chapters, but which our adopters and reviewers have indi- cated could be omitted to allow more time for the more critical material.


Each chapter closes with a Summary of the most important topics introduced in the chapter, rein- forcing important concepts for students.


A list of Key Terms is included at the end of each chapter. They appear in bold print and are keyed to the first page on which the term is discussed.


Each chapter includes a Test Yourself section of five multiple-choice questions for students to assess their understanding of topics covered in the chapter. Answers to these questions follow the end-of-chapter materials.

Example 1.1When Alex Rodriguez, the former Texas Rangers shortstop, lived in Texas (a state with no individual income tax), he owed more than $271,000 to California (which assesses a nonresident income tax) for games he played in that state during baseball season. It was estimated that if the Rangers had played all their games at home, A-Rod’s state tax bill could have been reduced by more than half a million dollars a year. When A-Rod switched to the New York Yankees, his state and local tax burden increased dramatically. On the $155 million that A-Rod was to be paid over his initial seven-year contract, he was expected to owe $3.57 million to New York City and an additional $6.19 million to the State of New York for income taxes.

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More than 60 problems are included at the end of each chapter. Check Your Understanding includes a wide variety of noncomputational questions that review the topics included in the chapter. Crunch the Numbers presents quantitative problems covering the computational aspects of chapter materials. Comprehensive problems integrate topics covered in several different chapters.


Develop Planning Skills problems give students the opportunity to test their knowledge in planning situations. The tax planning suggestions integrated throughout the text continually remind students of the importance of developing appropriate planning strategies.


For instructors wishing to challenge their students, Think Outside the Text questions develop critical thinking skills by requiring students to expand their thinking beyond the material covered in the chapter.


Identify the Issues includes short scenarios designed to challenge the students to identify issues and formulate research questions. These scenarios, however, do not provide enough information to enable students to develop definitive solutions but are designed to help students practice the issue- identification step in the research process, a step that many new tax students consider the most difficult.


Develop Research Skills requires students to research the relevant authorities and present possible solutions. These can be solved using a subscription-based tax service or free Internet sources. Citations to relevant Internal Revenue Code sections, cases, and rulings are included only in the Instructor’s Manual along with solutions to these research problems, allowing each instructor to decide what, if any, hints should be given to students when a problem is assigned.


Most of the chapters have problems that require completion of one of more tax forms in a Fill-in the Forms section. Some of these are very basic and may simply require completion of forms for earlier problems—usually one or two forms—and will assist in familiarizing the student with basic tax forms. There are, however, several chapters that have more comprehensive problems that require completion of a number of forms. These will present a challenge to the student and lend themselves to completion in small groups. These include returns for individuals and the four types of business entities covered. All or parts of these problems may be assigned when the instructor feels the students are ready for additional challenges presented in translating tax knowledge to form completion. The solutions for these problems are only included in the Instructor’s Manual.


End-of-chapter appendices introduce topics not typically covered in a first tax course including corporate reorganizations and taxation of nonprofit entities. These materials are placed in chapter appendices to allow instructors the flexibility to include or omit them as deemed appropriate.

Preface xxiii


This text has been completely updated for all recent legislation and for all IRS pronouncements available as of April 2019.


This text is ideal for schools with only one required tax course. Its 12 chapters can be covered in one semester, with time for assessments, eliminating the need to omit chapters. The text empha- sizes tax planning to stimulate students’ thinking in terms of the effect taxation has on decisions for both individuals and entities.

There are two introductory chapters in Part I. The first chapter includes a brief introduction to the different types of taxes and introduces Adams Smith’s Canons of Taxation that can be used throughout the text to evaluate specific tax legislation. To emphasize to students the decision- making focus of this text, the first chapter introduces simple problems on the choice of business entity and provides an easily understood background for the more complex material to follow. The second chapter covers tax compliance issues, an introduction to tax planning, and the basics of tax research. A sample research problem (with sources included in an appendix) is included that can be used to guide students in performing basic tax research at any time during the course.

Part II has three chapters that cover income and expenses, as well as other topics needed for individual return preparation. Chapter 3 answers the question, “What is income?” by exploring the various facets of taxable and nontaxable income for entities as well as individuals. Chapter 4 introduces an example of a dual planning orientation (the two sides to any transaction) with the discussion of employee compensation, a subject often relegated to the end of a text where, unfor- tunately, many students are never introduced to it. This topic provides an opportunity for students to view transactions from an individual employee’s perspective (maximizing employee bene- fits while minimizing taxable income) and the employer’s perspective (designing an optimum compensation plans that combines salary and benefits to attract valuable employees). The chapter provides a broader view of income by including the perspective of the entity making the payments.

Chapter 5 includes deductions for individuals and the additional related information on credits and tax rates necessary to complete an individual tax return. This allows the assignment and completion of basic individual tax returns early in the term.

The focus in Parts III and IV turns primarily to business-related subjects covering general business expenses in Chapter 6 and then capital recovery through depreciation, depletion, and amortization in Chapter 7. Chapters 8 and 9 present discussions of taxable and nontaxable prop- erty dispositions, respectively.

With the completion of Chapters 6 through 9, the student is ready to apply the information to the basic business entities starting in Part V with the regular corporation in Chapter 10. The specifics of the sole proprietorship and the basic flow-through entities of partnerships and S cor- porations and their relationship to their owners are included in Chapter 11.

Part VI includes an introduction to wealth transfer taxes—estate and gift taxes. It also includes a discussion of income taxation of estates and trusts, the tax effects on beneficiaries, and the kiddie tax.


The organization of the text is designed primarily to respond to our adopters who have indicated that many students’ interest in taxation is delayed until they are introduced to the provisions affecting their own current or potential taxation. Chapters 3 through 5 now contain the primary information relevant to individual taxation (excluding property transactions) for instructors who prefer introducing individual taxation prior to taxation of entities. Alternatively, Chapter 3,

xxiv Preface

selected topics from Chapter 4, and Chapter 6 may be covered in sequence with topics unique to individuals tackled later in the term along with entity taxation. The flexibility of this text makes it easy to change the sequence of chapters as well as the topics within the chapters. Sections of the chapters are easily identifiable allowing instructors to pick and choose those they deem more important for classroom coverage. We have emphasized the readability of the text so that instruc- tors feel comfortable simply assigning sections to be read by students outside of the class while spending their limited classroom time on more complex topics. This text also works particularly well for instructors who use a flipped-classroom approach to their course.


Supplements include an author-prepared Solutions Manual, a separate Instructor’s Manual with solutions to the Research and Tax Return Problems, an extensive Test Bank, and PowerPoint slides.


We realize that it is almost impossible for a text to be completely free of technical errors or to include every relevant topic. We welcome comments and suggestions on how we can improve the next edition. Please email your comments and suggestions to


We wish to acknowledge and thank Saira Fida at the University of Miami for her extensive help in this edition. We are grateful to the entire Wiley team for their assistance.

Shirley Dennis-Escoffier and Karen A. Fortin


Shirley Dennis-Escoffier is an associate professor at the University of Miami, where she teaches both graduate and undergraduate tax classes. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Miami and returned to UM after teaching at the University of Hawaii and California State University in Hayward. She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed to practice in Florida. She is a Past President of the American Taxation Association and remains actively involved in the association receiving the Outstanding Service Award. She is also involved with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She has received several teaching awards including the University of Miami Excellence in Teaching Award and the Masters in Taxation Excellence in Teaching Award. She has published numerous articles in tax and accounting journals and is the recipient of an Ernst and Young Foundation tax research grant.

Karen A. Fortin retired from her position as Professor of Accounting and Taxation at the University of Baltimore, where she had been Department Chair and taught graduate and under- graduate tax classes in both the Business School and the Law School. She received her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina and held teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee and the University of Miami. She was a Wisconsin Certified Public Accountant and a recipient of a Sells Award. During her teaching years, she was active in the American Taxation Association and the American Accounting Association as an editor, reviewer, and chairperson for numerous events. As a member of the AICPA she served on several committees and task forces. She has published numerous articles in tax and accounting journals and has co-authored and edited a number of textbooks.

About the Authors


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