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Estate of Powell v. United States
United States District Court for the District of West Virginia
166 F. Supp. 2d 468 (2001)
Jane Hudson-Young was employed as the executive secretary of Hampton O. Powell (Mr. Powell) at Lane Company, where Mr. Powell was CEO. When employed at Lane, Hudson-Young handled many of Mr. Powell’s personal and financial affairs until his retirement in 1984. Hudson-Young continued to assist Mr. Powell and his wife, Beverly W. Powell (Mrs. Powell), with their personal and financial affairs until Mr. Powell’s death in 1994. Mrs. Powell died in 1995. Between the years 1989 and 1993, Mr. Powell made a series of large payments of cash and stock to Hudson-Young totaling $798,250. Mr. Powell filed gift-tax returns for the payments, and Hudson-Young did not include the payments as taxable income on her tax returns. In 1996, the estate of Beverly W. Powell (the estate) (plaintiff) filed amended gift-tax returns for the years 1989 through 1993, claiming that the payments were compensation to Hudson-Young, not gifts, and seeking a refund. The estate argued that the court should analogize to section 102(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides that amounts transferred to an employee by an employer are almost never excludable from gross income as gifts and that the detached generosity of gift giving cannot exist if the recipient provided substantial, continuous, and ongoing services to the payor. The Internal Revenue Service (defendant) denied the request for gift-tax refunds, and the estate filed suit. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Moon, J.)
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