The Howard Hughes Company sold lots, and provided necessary infrastructure, in a planned development near Las Vegas. The IRS did not let it take advantage of a special gain calculation for “home construction contracts,” and the Fifth Circuit agreed. The key statutory interpretation principle (after the basic one that tax exemptions are strictly construed) was “the rule against superfluities,” under which an argument about one statutory provision fails if it makes another one redundant. Howard Hughes Co. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 14-60915 (revised Dec. 7, 2015).
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