74 T.C. 768 (1980), 8066-76, Consolidated Freightways, Inc. v. C.I.R.

Docket Nº:8066-76.
Citation:74 T.C. 768
Opinion Judge:STERRETT, Judge:
Attorney:James E. Merritt, for the petitioner. Bryce A. Kranzthor, for the respondent.
Case Date:July 22, 1980
Court:United States Tax Court

Page 768

74 T.C. 768 (1980)




No. 8066-76.

United States Tax Court

July 22, 1980

Petitioner, through its various subsidiaries, is engaged in the transportation by truck of general commodities freight. As part of this business, petitioner invested in truck dock facilities. Petitioner also made deposits of security with a surety company under a contract whereby the surety agreed to file surety bonds with the various jurisdictions in which petitioner operates. These bonds were necessary so that petitioner could meet the financial responsibility requirements for operating in the various jurisdictions. Petitioner claimed an investment tax credit for the docking facilities and deducted its deposits of security with the surety under sec. 461(f), I.R.C. 1954. Held, the docking facilities are buildings and therefore fail to qualify for the investment tax credit. Held, further, various lighting fixtures, truck bay doors, and fences qualify for the credit. Held, further, the deposits with the surety are not deductible as money transferred to provide for the satisfaction of a contested liability under sec. 461(f).

James E. Merritt, for the petitioner.

Bryce A. Kranzthor, for the respondent.


By letter dated June 2, 1976, respondent determined deficiencies in income taxes due from petitioner[1] for the following taxable years and amounts:

TYE Dec. 31- Deficiency
1966 $84,395
1967 152,664
1968 181,428
1969 493,076
1970 41,661
Total 953,224
Page 769 After concessions, the primary issues for our decision are (1) whether petitioner's investments in certain truck docks qualify for the investment credit, and (2) whether petitioner's payments to a surety are deductible within the meaning of section 461(f). FINDINGS OF FACT Some of the facts were stipulated and are so found. The stipulation of facts, and first, third, fourth, and fifth supplemental stipulations of facts, and the exhibits attached thereto, are incorporated herein by this reference.[2] Petitioner timely filed its accrual basis consolidated Federal income tax returns for the taxable years in issue with either the Page 770 District Director of Internal Revenue, San Francisco, Calif., or the Director, Internal Revenue Service Center, Ogden, Utah. On April 23, 1979, petitioner filed a motion for leave to amend petition to state two additional issues: (1) That respondent is estopped to deny that petitioner's terminal facilities qualify under section 38, and (2) that petitioner is entitled to an award of attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1988. Also, on April 23, 1979, petitioner filed a motion to sever and for a separate hearing wherein it moved to sever the attorney's-fees issue pending the outcome of the main case. Petitioner's motion for leave to file an amendment to its petition was granted on April 25, 1979. On that same date, petitioner's amendment to petition was filed. Petitioner's motion to sever was granted by order of the Court dated April 30, 1979. Petitioner is a corporation duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Delaware, with its principal place of business in San Francisco, Calif. Based on either the total amount of gross revenue or the number of route miles operated, petitioner, principally due to the operations of its subsidiary Consolidated Freightways Corp. of Delaware (CFCD), was one of the five largest motor common carriers of freight in the United States in each of the years 1966 through 1970. CFCD, the subsidiary corporation principally involved in this case, was at all times pertinent hereto a motor common carrier engaged in the transportation of general commodities freight. CFCD is a Delaware corporation. Either CFCD or its predecessors have been continuously engaged in the motor common carriage of freight since 1929. Petitioner is, and was at all times relevant hereto, engaged in the common carriage of freight in 45 of the 48 contiguous States, Alaska, Canada, and the District of Columbia. Petitioner operated pursuant to licenses issued by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) and appropriate State or local agencies. During the years 1966 through 1970 petitioner, principally through CFCD, operated between 159 million and 253 million route miles per year. Petitioner's gross revenues from the motor carriage of freight was $177,920,669 in 1966; $198,279,321 in 1967; $241,534,633 in 1968; $274,789,197 in 1969; and $261,444,920 in 1970. During each of the years 1966 through 1970, petitioner employed from 4,612 to 6,672 linehaul and local services drivers. CFCD is principally a carrier of general commodities, as Page 771 opposed to a bulk carrier of special products. A bulk carrier of special products normally is involved in transportation of one material or one type of material requiring specially designed equipment particularly suited to the requirements of transporting that material in bulk. Examples would be oil and gasoline carriers and lumber carriers. A carrier of general commodities is involved in transportation of a wide variety of commodities. " General commodities" consist of more than 200,000 different categories of goods which can be shipped in a standard trailer. During the period from 1966 through 1970, inclusive, CFCD owned or operated approximately 145 trucking terminals or other facilities through which a customer could engage the services of CFCD to pick up general commodities freight for shipment. During the period from 1966 to 1970, inclusive, CFCD operated a fleet of equipment including from 7,852 to 13,371 tractors (the motorized unit of tractor-trailer combinations) and trailers. The transportation services furnished by petitioner during all periods relevant to this case involved the pickup of general commodities freight from a customer, carriage by a motor carrier unit consisting of a tractor and one or more trailers, and delivery to the recipient designated by the customer. The operations generally involved in such a shipment are local pickups of the freight shipments from customers, transfer from the local unit at an origination terminal, shipment on a linehaul unit to the dock facilities at a destinational terminal, transfer to a local delivery unit, and delivery by a local delivery unit to the designated recipient. In many instances, a single linehaul trailer will not carry the freight from origination to destination terminal facilities without an intermediate transfer or reshipment. To make such a transfer, the linehaul unit will deliver the freight to one of several terminal facilities which provide break bulk operations (also referred to as " reship" operations). In break bulk operations, freight shipments to be delivered to various destinations will be unloaded at the break bulk terminal, and shipments for each destination will be consolidated with shipments from other trailers for the same destination and loaded into other linehaul trailer units which will carry the shipments to the destination terminals or to another break bulk terminal. Occasionally, a shipment may be involved in break bulk operations at more than Page 772 one interim terminal facility. In instances in which the contents of an entire trailer constitute a shipment to one consignee, delivery will be made by the linehaul unit without the use of the dock facilities at the destination terminal. Break bulk services are provided only at certain terminal facilities, and are separately recorded by the terminal facility. Break bulk services do not require the use of local pickup and delivery personnel or equipment. However, most of petitioner's break bulk terminals also provide inbound, outbound, and local delivery services from a portion of the same dock facility used for the break bulk operations. Petitioner also provided local pickup and delivery services. Local units are often smaller than linehaul units to allow easier access to city streets. Local pickup and delivery drivers operate along regular routes generally organized by reference to the ZIP codes or commercial zones. The routes and sequence of deliveries, pickups, and loadings are planned in offices located at the terminal facilities. At the customer's designated point for pickup of the freight shipment, the driver will place the shipment in the trailer unit. Shipments may be picked up at the customers' docks at the same level as the trailer. In other situations, shipments are picked up from ground level and placed into the trailer. Some of the local pickup units are equipped with automatic lifts to assist the driver when it is necessary to load a shipment from ground level into the trailer of the local pickup unit. A shipment may consist of one or more of the various " general commodity" categories. Upon completing his pickup of freight shipments, the driver returns to the origination terminal. The origination terminal is the freight terminal at which shipments are transferred from local pickup units into linehaul units for transportation to destination terminals. At the origination terminal, the local pickup trailer unit will be removed from the tractor and taken to the dock facilities where the shipment will be removed from the trailer and moved across the dock to the appropriate linehaul trailer unit. The operations performed at the dock facilities in the local pickup of freight and movement from the local pickup unit to the linehaul unit are referred to as " outbound services" because, from the point of view of the origination terminal, the freight shipments are moving out from the point of origin. At the destination terminal, freight...

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