Project Description

The U.S. Tax Court denied a corporation a $98 million ordinary abandonment loss on investment in securities. The corporation’s Board of Directors turned down an offer to redeem the securities for $20 million because it decided an abandonment loss would be more valuable, and took nothing in return. The Tax Court reasoned that the loss was a termination of the corporation’s rights with respect to the securities and that § 1234A applied requiring capital loss treatment. § 1234A states that “the cancellation, lapse, expiration, or termination of … a right … with respect to property which is … a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer … shall be treated as gain or loss from the sale of a capital asset.” The Tax Court’s decision discusses the reach of § 1234A, and argues it can apply to the outright ownership of property. The taxpayer relied in part on the IRS’s Rev. Rul. 93-80 that suggests a taxpayer could receive ordinary loss treatment for an abandonment of a partnership interest. The Tax Court noted in its decision that Rev. Rul. 93-80 predates the current version of § 1234A, and that the IRS is not required to assert a particular position as soon as a statute authorizes it .

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, 141 T.C. No. 17 (2013)