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United States v. Gilmore

United States Supreme Court
372 U.S. 39 (1963)


Facts

Mr. Gilmore (plaintiff) owned a franchised automobile dealership. In a divorce litigation, Gilmore’s wife claimed a community-property share of Gilmore’s dealership property. The state supreme court granted the divorce but rejected the wife’s property claim. If the wife had won her claim, Gilmore might have lost his franchise and the income it produced. Under § 212 of the federal tax code, Gilmore deducted the legal costs incurred in defending his property. The commissioner of internal revenue (commissioner) (defendant) determined that all of Gilmore’s legal expenses were personal in nature. As a result, the commissioner denied Gilmore’s § 212 deduction and assessed back taxes. Gilmore paid the assessment and then sued for a refund in the United States Court of Claims, which ruled in Gilmore’s favor. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Harlan, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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