44 T.C. 39 (1965), 1246-63, Atkinson v. C. I. R.

Docket Nº:1246-63.
Citation:44 T.C. 39
Opinion Judge:HARRON, Judge:
Attorney:Sidney Goldstein, for the petitioners. Allan B. Muchin, for the respondent.
Case Date:April 06, 1965
Court:United States Tax Court

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44 T.C. 39 (1965)




No. 1246-63.

United States Tax Court.

April 6, 1965

Sidney Goldstein, for the petitioners.

Allan B. Muchin, for the respondent.

The doctor of petitioners' young son prescribed, for his poor adjustment to a public school and the home environment, attendance at any boarding school where a system of discipline would be maintained at all times. The purpose was to bring about the son's better adjustment through different environment and discipline, and was not to obtain medical treatment or care. Petitioners selected such school. It was not equipped to furnish and did not provide any medical services or care to any of the students or petitioners' son. Attendance at the school was generally beneficial and helped him to overcome his maladjustments to school, parents, and others. Petitioners paid $1,824 to the school, annual charge, for tuition, uniforms, incidentals, room, and board. Held: (1) $1,799 is non-deductible personal and family expense under section 262, 1954 Code; it was not expense of ‘ medical care’ within section 213(e)(1)(A); and is not deductible under section 213(a). (2) $25 is deductible under section 213(a) as medical expense.

HARRON, Judge:

The Commissioner determined a deficiency in income tax for the taxable year 1961 in the amount of $650.91.

Petitioners' son attended a boarding school, a military academy, to which petitioners paid $1,824 during 1961 for his tuition, room and board, and other school expenses. The school did not provide any special medical care or treatment for petitioners' son. The only issue is whether the $1,824 is deductible as a medical expense under section 213(a) and (e), 1954 Code; or whether the expenditure is a personal expense the deduction of which is proscribed by section 262.


The stipulated facts are found as stipulated and are incorporated herein by reference.

Petitioners filed a joint return for 1961 with the district director of internal revenue at Chicago. Petitioners reside in Evanston, Ill., where they maintained their residence during 1961.

Andrew Atkinson, hereinafter referred to as Andrew, is petitioners only child. He was 13 years old in 1961. The date of his birth is May 2, 1948.

Andrew attended Williams Military Academy in Wheaton, Ill., hereinafter referred to as Williams, during 3 school years, as follows: September 13, 1959, through June 5, 1960; September 11, 1960, through June 4, 1961; and September 10, 1961, until the time of his graduation on June 3, 1962.

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During 1961, petitioners paid $1,824 to Williams for the school year beginning on September 10, 1961, and ending on June 3, 1962.

Williams makes the same charge to each student for a school year of 36 weeks, $1,800, consisting of $1,500 for tuition, board, and lodging (which is not broken down into specific charges); $200 for school uniforms; and $100 for a general ‘ expense account.’ The record does not show why petitioners paid an additional $24. The head of the school testified that the charge of $100 includes a physical examination and minor medical care at the school, books, school supplies, laundry, and drycleaning, but the total sum is not broken down into any specific amounts.

Williams Military Academy is an accredited school for boys, of the ages of 7 to 14 years, in the elementary and junior high grades. It is chartered by the State of Illinois and is a member of the Illinois Elementary School Association and the Independent School Association of Greater Chicago. It is a preparatory school for high school, and is a boarding school. It is located in Wheaton, Ill., which is 25 miles west of Chicago and not more than 50 miles from Evanston. Col. Paul E. Williams is the superintendent. Williams Military Academy is primarily an educational institution which includes in its curriculum ‘ the regular course of study offered in any public school plus additional studies,‘ physical education and military training. The students are called cadets. Through a system of awards and commissions, the cadets are encouraged ‘ to earn officerships' in the school's system of commissions, which are ‘ Acting Officer,’ ‘ P.F.C.,’ ‘ Corporal,’ ‘ Sergeant,’ ‘ Second Lieutenant,’ ‘ Captain,‘ and ‘ Major.’ The military training, which includes military drill, teaches the cadets discipline, punctuality, routine, orderliness, neatness, and manners, how to give orders and take orders, and how to get along with people. The system of discipline involves giving a cadet merits for good performance, and demerits for failure to comply with rules and regulations. For too many demerits the individual is denied certain privileges, such as visits to his home or visits with his parents at the school. In general, the cadets are supervised at all times; each day the assignments for the day must be completed. The extra courses given in the eighth grade include certain high school courses, such as algebra, Latin, grammar, and biology, as well as military training. Williams is located on a campus consisting of various buildings and grounds; there are living quarters, study halls, library, recreation rooms, gymnasium, and a swimming pool.

Williams does not have a doctor on its staff, but it engages one on the basis of being subject to call. He gives the students their physical examinations, and minor medical care, if needed. A practical nurse is

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in attendance at the school to take care of minor complaints, such as a cut finger. Major medical care is the responsibility of the parents. If a student is ill, the school doctor is called in; if the nature of the illness is other than minor, the doctor who serves the school will advise the school authority to notify the parents. The cost of major medical care must be paid by the student's parents.

Williams does not have any special medical program, and it does not represent to prospective patrons that it is an institution to which individuals may be sent for any general or particular medical care. Williams is not equipped to handle any unusual mental or emotional problem of a student; it does not have any special classes or regimen for emotionally disturbed children, outside of the general counseling that may be given to any boy attending the school.

The general program of Williams involves spending 7 hours each day in the classroom, 5 days a week, and the incentives are emphasized of earning merits, obtaining the ‘ commission’ of an ‘ officer,‘ making the ‘ crack squad’ drill team, and earning various honors. Williams regards its systems of discipline and various activities as beneficial to a growing boy because he has something to do at all times and is busy, he learns self-reliance and self-discipline, he can earn a place of importance in the school, and he receives good mental and physical training.

After graduating from Williams in June 1962, Andrew attended a public school in Evanston, the Township High School, which he still attends; and he lived at home with his parents.

Andrew developed an epileptic condition when he was 5 years old, in 1953, which he still has. Ocassionally, he has had the grand mal which is a severe attack in which the individual becomes unconscious. But usually his attacks or spells are of the relatively milder type which last for a few seconds or minutes. He had these spells periodically and irregularly, but not with great frequency, during the period involved here, 1959-61, and thereafter. During such spells, there is a distortion of his awareness, he will sit rigidly or very quietly, sounds become very dim, he does not hear what is said to him, he is unable to talk, and afterwards he is nervous and weak. At all times, Andrew has been under a doctor's care and has taken medication for this condition. He will continue to take the medication after the spells end so that they will not return. Doctors cannot predict how many years an epileptic condition will persist. Such condition has been known to end when an individual is about 22 years old, or at an earlier age; and it has been known to continue well into a person's adult years, even up to 77 years of age.

Except for the epileptic attacks, Andrew was apparently in good physical condition, i.e., he could take physical exercise, he did not

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have any physical handicap; he walked normally; he did not have any abnormal discoordination or lack of muscular control.

The following is indicative of the extent of the occurrence of Andrew's epileptic spells during the years 1959-64: He had 4 spells between January 15, and September 15, 1959; from September 15, 1959, to June 1960 there were none; between June and August 6, 1960, it was reported to his doctor that he had 3 or 4 spells, but the doctor had some doubt because nobody witnessed any; from September 1960 to September 1961, there was 1 mild spell; from September 1961 to June 1962, there were 3 spells, but Andrew was taking his medication very irregularly; from June 1962, until June 1963, there were none, but after school closed in June 1963, he reported that he had about 12 spells. Thereafter, in January 1964, he had a severe attack which persisted for several minutes. He was taken to a hospital emergency room in a state of unconsciousness and rested there until the attack was over, rest being the only ‘ treatment’ that is given.

In the treatment of epilepsy continuous and regular medication is necessary. If no medication is taken or if it is taken irregularly, the attacks recur.

In Evanston, Andrew's doctor at first was Lawrence Breslow. Early in 1959, petitioners took Andrew to another physician in Evanston, Meyer Brown, who has looked...

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