Ranch Owner Didn't Materially Participate in Ranch Activities

The Tax Court in Iverson, TC Memo 2012-19, has disallowed losses incurred in a cattle ranch owned by Mr. Iverson. The taxpayer was the founder and an executive with a company based in Minnesota and appeared to use the ranch to entertain clients of his Minnesota company. So, the decision is not surprising in that regard. The decision could nonetheless spell trouble for other ranch owners. The court seemed to focus on the fact that the taxpayer did not live at the ranch, did not keep detailed records on participation in ranch activities, and had a full-time paid ranch manager who ran the day to day activities of the ranch. Many owners of ranches in Texas do not live and work full-time at their ranch and have paid employees who handle the day to day activities. Where the taxpayers do not keep extensive files, to-do lists, home and mobile phone records, business plans, project descriptions and instructions to employees documenting and establishing their active involvement in the regular, continuous, and substantial management and day-to-day activities of ranch, they may have difficultly persuading the fact finder that they have the necessary involvement in the ranch activities to avoid passive activity classification. This would particularly be true of taxpayers who do not live at the ranch or actually “work” the ranch when they are at the ranch.

Highlights of Tax Changes Becoming Effective in 2013

There are many important tax changes taking effect in 2013, as well as some that took effect late last year and thus are “new.” They are the result of tax legislation enacted in prior years, or are triggered by effective dates in regs, rulings and other guidance, or will occur by default in 2013 absent Congressional action. The following is a list derived from Checkpoint of the key non-inflation-indexed tax changes, categorized by those affecting businesses and individuals. In addition, a list of provisions that expired at the end of last year is provided.

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