TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Brody and Richmond Quoted in NLJ Story on Sklar Case

We previously blogged the pending Tax Court case of Michael and Marla Sklar, who are trying to deduct their children's private school tuition based on the IRS's decision involving the Church of Scientology. Tax Profs Evelyn Brody (Chicago-Kent) and Gail Levin Richmond (Nova) are quoted in a recent National Law Journal article, Scientology Settlement Puts IRS in a Kosher Pickle:

  • "It's not clear that [plaintiffs] Michael and Marla Sklar will win, but if they do, it may well mean that millions of families will be able to deduct some portion of private religious school education," said professor Evelyn Brody, a Chicago-Kent College of Law tax specialist. "It would force the IRS to deal with millions of dollars in new deductions and it would overwhelm them."...Brody, who serves on the American Bar Association Tax Committee, said the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has already ruled on the disparate treatment argument. "They said it doesn't matter how the Scientologists are treated, and, anyway, the Scientologists shouldn't have gotten what they did," Brody said. "That's why we're all watching the case -- we've been expecting it. [She] added, "When the IRS settled with the Scientologists, after they'd beaten them, we knew deductions for tuition would come into question."
  • If the Sklars prevail, it will drive the issue back to Congress, according to Gail Richmond, a professor of law and associate dean at the Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University in Florida. "It will force the IRS to come up with a calculation and the next fight will be over where that line is," she said.

For further discussion of the issues raised in Sklar, see Allan Samansky, Deductibility of Contributions to Religious Institutions, 24 Va. Tax Rev. 65 (2004), previously blogged here.

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