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Thursday, February 9, 2012

11th Circuit: § 107 Parsonage Allowance Applies to Only One Home

The 11th Circuit yesterday reversed a sharply divided Tax Court (135 T.C. 557 (2010) and held that the § 107 parsonage allowance applies to only one home.  Christian singer Phil Driscoll and his wife had claimed parsonage allowances on both their principal residence and a vacation home in these amounts:

Year

Principal Residence

Vacation Home

1996

$78,469

$25,843

1997

$42,708

$70.708

1998

$71,704

$116,309

1999

$87,254

$195,779

The Driscolls argue that if Congress had intended to limit the income exclusion under § 107(2) to one’s principal place of residence, it could have added language to that effect. They point to language in other provisions, like I.R.C. §§ 121, 123, that exclude from gross income gains relating to a taxpayer’s “principal residence.” However, that Congress refers to “principal residence” in these other provisions does not ineluctably lead to the conclusion that we should read “home” in § 107 to imply a plural meaning, especially when the context of the use of the word “home” does not readily support plural connotations.

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Comments

This would be the same Phil Driscoll who was found guilty in 2006 on two counts of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy to evade taxes. The same Phil Driscol who was sentenced to serve one year in federal prison. And the same wife--Lynn Driscoll--who beat two charges of tax evasion and got a hung jury on the third.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Feb 9, 2012 12:05:01 PM

Talk about a greed factor. For those who don't know, Phil is a professional trumpet player/entertainer. I am sure Congress never intended the manse allowance to apply in a case similar to his even if he does color his entertainment profession with clerical robes.

Posted by: Shotgun | Feb 9, 2012 12:30:30 PM