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Chamales v. Commissioner

United States Tax Court
T.C.M. 2000-33 (2000)


On June 2, 1994, Gerald and Kathleen Chamales (plaintiffs) contracted to purchase a home in Los Angeles, California. On June 12, 1994, the adjacent property owner, O.J. Simpson, was arrested for murder. The high-profile Simpson murder cases caused a steady influx of media attention, police barricades, and public crowds right outside the Chamaleses’ home for several years. Based on consultations with local real-estate agents and an accountant, the Chamaleses sought a federal casualty-loss tax deduction equal to 30 percent of their home’s value, asserting that the events surrounding Simpson’s murder trial had stigmatized their home, permanently reducing its market value. The federal tax commissioner (commissioner) (defendant) denied the casualty-loss deduction and imposed an accuracy-related penalty on the Chamaleses for understating their tax liability. The Chamaleses petitioned the United States Tax Court for a redetermination.

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