Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mini-Symposium on Taxing Eggs

EggFollowing up on my prior post, Tax Court Seeks Amicus Briefs on Tax Treatment of Egg Donation (more here):  Kim Krawiec (Duke) has hosted a Mini-Symposium on Taxing Eggs based on Perez v. Commissioner, No. 9103-12 (Feb. 14, 2014) (Holmes, J.) at The Faculty Lounge:

Update #1:  Kim Krawiec (Duke), Taxing Eggs: What Have We Learned?:

I wanted to take a stab at recapping/synthesizing some of the points that have emerged from the discussion, ask a few more questions, and play devil’s advocate (as any good moderator should.)

First, the point on which all of our experts seem united is the weakness of the 104(a)(2) claim – that is, the payments to Perez are not taxable because they are compensation for her pain and suffering.  Yet, this is precisely the ground on which the IRS has apparently allowed Perez and other egg donors to exclude such income in the past.  Why have they allowed this if the argument is so weak? ...

Second is the sale of bodily property versus compensation for service question.

Update #2:  Kim Krawiec (Duke), Taxing Eggs: The Wrap-up:

I wanted to again thank our guest bloggers, commenters, and readers of last week’s Taxing Eggs mini-symposium and collect the links to all of the posts in one place for easy reference (see below).  In wrapping up, I also wanted to move away from the specific tax questions we’ve been debating, and address some larger issues raised by the case.

As my colleague Larry Zelenak says in his post, “It is striking that, despite one hundred years of development of federal income tax doctrine, and despite the fact that sales/donations of eggs, sperm, blood, hair, etc., are far from rare, we still don’t have clear answers to these questions.”  Perez v. Commissioner, then, may illustrate yet another of the ways in which our discomfort with these transactions involving the body impedes a rational development of the law governing them.

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This is going to be a landmark case for sure. I can't wait to see what happens.

Posted by: Seth Lavine | Feb 27, 2014 12:40:39 PM