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Schramm v. Commissioner
United States Tax Court
T.C. Memo 2011-212 (2011)
From 1999 to 2007, Schramm (plaintiff) worked as an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), teaching up to 12 online classes per year. Schramm signed a separate employment contract for each course and was bound by various employment policies. In 2006, Schramm entered into a series of contracts and earned $20,000 total from NSU. NSU prescribed the syllabus and textbook Schramm was required to use, set the course dates and times, and provided the technology to support the online classroom. Schramm set his own work hours and could work from anywhere. At one point, Schramm asked NSU to clarify his employment status, and he was told that all adjunct professors were employees. For 2006, NSU withheld income taxes from Schramm’s paychecks and issued him a W-2. On his 2006 income tax return, Schramm reported his earnings from NSU as business income on Schedule C, profit or loss from a business, rather than as wages from an employer. Additionally, Schramm reported business expenses on Schedule C totaling $2,785.63 related to his work at NSU rather than claiming those as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A as an employee would do. The commissioner of internal revenue (defendant) determined that the expenses were misclassified and found a deficiency on that basis. Schramm argued that he was an independent contractor for NSU and thus was permitted to deduct his business expenses without limitation on Schedule C.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ruwe, J.)
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