Redlark v. C.I.R., 96-70398

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtFLETCHER
Citation141 F.3d 936
Parties-1483, 98-1 USTC P 50,322, 98 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 2647, 98 Daily Journal D.A.R. 3669 James L. REDLARK; Cheryl L. Redlark, Petitioners-Appellees, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 96-70398,96-70398
Decision Date10 April 1998

Page 936

141 F.3d 936
81 A.F.T.R.2d 98-1483, 98-1 USTC P 50,322,
98 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 2647,
98 Daily Journal D.A.R. 3669
James L. REDLARK; Cheryl L. Redlark, Petitioners-Appellees,
No. 96-70398.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Aug. 7, 1997.
Decided April 10, 1998.

Page 937

Charles Bricken, Tax Division, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for the respondent-appellant.

Clare Golnick, Clare Golnick Professional Corporation, Reno, Nevada, for the petitioners-appellees.

Appeal from a Reviewed Decision of the United States Tax Court; Cohen, Beghe, Chabot, Chiechi, Colvin, Foley, Gerber, Halpern, Jacobs, Laro, Parr, Ruwe, Swift, Vasquez, Wells, Whalen, Hamblen, Tannenwald and Wright, Judges. T.C. No. 4445-94.

Before: FLETCHER, BOOCHEVER and REINHARDT, Circuit Judges.

FLETCHER, Circuit Judge:

The Commissioner of Internal Revenue appeals the decision of the tax court striking

Page 938

down Temporary Treasury Regulation § 1.163-9T(b)(2)(i)(A). That regulation disallows the deduction of interest paid on overdue individual income taxes, even when the source of the personal income that gives rise to the tax deficiency is a business or trade. Plaintiffs James and Cheryl Redlark claim that the regulation is in conflict with the relevant provision of the tax code, 26 U.S.C. ("I.R.C.") § 163(h)(2)(A). A sharply divided tax court accepted the Redlarks' position. See Redlark v. C.I.R., 106 T.C. No. 2, 1996 WL 10243 (1996). The only other circuit to address this question, however, has concluded that the regulation constitutes a permissible construction of a facially ambiguous statutory provision. See Miller v. U.S., 65 F.3d 687 (8th Cir.1995). We agree with the Eighth Circuit and reverse the decision of the tax court.


The facts in this case are not in dispute, so we summarize them only briefly. Between 1979 and 1985, James and Cheryl Redlark operated an unincorporated business, Carrier Communications, that installed telephone equipment. The Redlarks kept the books and records of the business using the accrual method of accounting. They reported the income and expenses on their joint federal income tax returns, however, using the cash-basis method of accounting. When the Internal Revenue Service examined the Redlarks' returns for these years, it determined that extensive adjustments were necessary. After the parties settled several tax shelter issues and corrected various accounting errors, the adjustments resulted in additional assessments for tax, penalties, and interest for the years 1982-84.

The interest on these assessments amounted to $361,345 for 1982, $42,279 for 1984, and $42,126 for 1985. The Redlarks made the interest payments in installments from 1987 to 1990. They then claimed deductions on their personal income tax returns for portions of the interest payments: On their 1989 return, they claimed a business expense of $195,463 based on the interest paid in that year on their 1982, 1984 and 1985 tax deficiencies; and in 1990, they claimed $23,323 as a business expense for the interest paid on their 1985 deficiency. These deductions represented the interest payments on the portions of the deficiencies that the Redlarks determined to have resulted from accounting errors and that were thus (they asserted) allocable to Carrier Communications. During an audit of the Redlarks' 1989 and 1990 returns, however, the Commissioner determined that none of the interest on tax deficiencies was properly deductible. The controlling regulation, Temporary Treasury Regulation § 1.163-9T(b)(2)(i)(A), specifies that interest on income tax deficiencies is not attributable to a taxpayer's conduct of trade or business, regardless of the source of the income, but rather is "personal interest" within the meaning of I.R.C. § 163(h).

The issue before us is whether § 1.163-9T(b)(2)(i)(A) is a permissible interpretation of I.R.C. § 163(h). On its face, I.R.C. § 163(h) does not address the deductibility of interest payments on business-related personal income tax deficiencies. The statute simply disallows deductions for all "personal interest," unless the interest in question is "paid or accrued on indebtedness properly allocable to a trade or business (other than the trade or business of performing services as an employee)." I.R.C. § 163(h)(2)(A) (emphasis added). In promulgating Temporary Treasury Regulation § 1.163-9T(b)(2)(i)(A), the Commissioner took the position that interest on personal income tax deficiencies always constitutes a personal obligation and so is never "properly allocable to a trade or business." The parties agree that the disputed interest amounts are not deductible under the regulation. The parties disagree vigorously as to whether the regulation constitutes a valid interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code.


This dispute centers on the meaning of the words, "properly allocable," in I.R.C. § 163(h)(2)(A). The Redlarks argue that those words refer narrowly and unambiguously to questions of accounting practice. Prior to the addition of § 163(h)(2)(A) to the tax code in the Tax Reform Act of 1986, they explain, there was a consistent body of case

Page 939

law holding that interest on business-related personal income tax deficiencies was deductible, provided that the deficiencies constituted an ordinary and necessary expense in the conduct of the business. See I.R.C. § 162(a) ("There shall be allowed as a deduction all the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business...."); Reise v. Commissioner, 35 T.C. 571, 1961 WL 1350 (1961), aff'd, 299 F.2d 380 (7th Cir.1962); Polk v. Commissioner, 31 T.C. 412, 1958 WL 1213 (1958), aff'd, 276 F.2d 601 (10th Cir.1960); Standing v. Commissioner, 28 T.C. 789, 1957 WL 1159 (1957), aff'd, 259 F.2d 450 (4th Cir.1958). See also Miller v. U.S., 65 F.3d 687, 690 (8th Cir.1995) ("Prior to the 1986 Tax Reform Act, courts consistently held that tax deficiency interest arising from business income was deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense under I.R.C. §§ 62(a)(1) and 162.") It is the Redlarks' position that Congress incorporated this body of case law into I.R.C. § 163(h)(2)(A) when it used the words, "properly allocable." Under their reading, those words refer only to the "propriety," from an accounting standpoint, of "allocating" personal income tax deficiencies to the conduct of a trade or business. The statute must be read, the Redlarks argue, to incorporate the pre-1986 case law and thus to provide unambiguously that interest from income tax deficiencies is deductible when the deficiencies in question constitute an ordinary and necessary expense in the relevant trade or business.

According to the Commissioner, however, the Redlarks' reading of I.R.C. § 163(h)(2)(A) is far too narrow. It is the Commissioner's position that the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
30 cases
  • Barapind v. Reno, Civ-F-98-5583 OWW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • June 4, 1999
    ...withheld decision on "whether the statute violates the Suspension Clause as to aliens who then have no avenue of judicial review." Hose, 141 F.3d at 936 n. Magana-Pizano vacated Hose, finding "[t]he district court retains jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 when the petitioner has no other ......
  • Magana-Pizano v. I.N.S., MAGANA-PIZAN
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 1, 1998
    ...violation because "Hose fail[ed] to establish how direct review of her claims by this court would be inadequate or ineffective." Hose, 141 F.3d at 936. However, the panel specifically noted that: "[w]e express no opinion on whether the statute violates the Suspension Clause as to aliens who......
  • Robinson v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 9574–99.
    • United States
    • United States Tax Court
    • September 5, 2002
    ...I.R.C.1986, these regulations are valid.2. Held, further, Redlark v. Commissioner, 106 T.C. 31, 1996 WL 10243 (1996), revd. and remanded 141 F.3d 936 (9th Cir.1998), will no longer be followed.3. Held, further, Ps are not entitled to deduct the interest they paid in 1995 on account of the u......
  • Hernandez v. U.S., CV 04-9365 SJO MANX.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • June 2, 2006 legislative history. See Pls.' Second Mot. at 10 n. 5, 12-13. In support of this assertion, Plaintiffs cite Redlark v. Comm'r, 141 F.3d 936 (9th Cir.1998), for the proposition that the Blue Book is entitled to minimal deference because the Court there did not consider it as part of the l......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT