Lost, but still taxed . . .

lostAs part of a sale transaction, the board of “Gold Kist” (more widely known as Pilgrim’s Pride), decided to abandon certain securities for no consideration.  For tax purposes, the company then reported a $98.6 million ordinary loss.  Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 14-60295 (Feb. 25, 2015).  The IRS contended that this was a capital loss, rather than an ordinary loss, creating a tax deficiency of close to $30 million.  The Court agreed with the company, finding: “By its plain terms, [26 U.S.C.] § 1234A(1) applies to the termination of rights or obligations with respect to capital assets (e.g. derivative or contractual rights to buy or sell capital assets).  It does not apply to the termination of ownership of the capital asset itself.”  In rejecting a contrary view of the statute, Judge Elrod gives a powerful summary of several canons of construction: “We disagree.  Congress does not legislate in logic puzzles . . . “

Recent Related Posts