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Estate of Nicol v. Commissioner

56 T.C. 179 (1971)

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Estate of Nicol v. Commissioner

United States Tax Court

56 T.C. 179 (1971)

Facts

Marie Nicol deeded full ownership of a parcel of farmland to her daughter. However, through a preexisting lease agreement, Nicol retained a right to receive rent from her daughter for the parcel for the duration of the lease. Specifically, although the daughter now owned the parcel, the daughter was obligated to give Nicol one-third of all grain crops grown on the parcel as rent. Less than half the parcel was farmable, and the remaining portion was low-quality pastureland. The lease arrangement was still in effect when Nicol died. The commissioner of Internal Revenue (commissioner) (defendant) determined that the transferred parcel should be included in Nicol’s gross estate under the retained-life-estate provision because Nicol had retained a right to receive income from the parcel and that right had not ended before she died. Nicol’s estate (plaintiff) petitioned the United States Tax Court for a determination that the parcel was not part of the gross estate because (1) the parcel had been fully deeded to Nicol’s daughter and (2) Nicol’s retained rent interest was technically not a life estate. Alternatively, Nicol’s estate argued that only the portion of the parcel that generated the crops used to pay the rent, not the unproductive-pasture portion, should be included in the gross estate.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Featherston, J.)

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