Expenses Denied For Lack of Substantiation.

The petitioners, a married couple, bought a 10-acre tract in 2006 on which they built their residence and also barns and a horse riding arena used in their LLC's  horse boarding and sales business.  The business sustained a loss of almost $100,000 in 2009 showing up as negative gross income on their joint return.  The riding arena suffered from construction defects, requiring additional sums to be spent to resolve the problem.  During 2009, the husband conducted his (very limited) law practice from an office in the residence.  The petitioner shared the office with his (much younger) wife who is an equestrian a realtor and experienced horse jumper.  The couple's joint return included over $12,000 of "other expenses" consisting, in part, of telephone expenses and $25 of "miscellaneous" expenses.  The petitioners claimed expenses for five telephone lines and internet service.  The IRS disallowed half of the deductions for telephone expenses and all of the miscellaneous expenses, and a claimed casualty loss deduction.  The IRS also imposed an accuracy-related penalty.  the court sustained the IRS determinations.  On the telephone expenses, the court noted that the petitioners did not tie any expenses to any particular telephone line or business activity.  The miscellaneous deductions were also disallowed for lack of explanation.  The riding arena did not sustain a casualty loss because the construction defects giving rise to the extra expenses were not "sudden, unusual or unexpected in nature."  Costs associated with faulty construction are not deductible.  In addition, the loss was not sustained in the conduct of a trade or business and the petitioners continued to use the asset.  The riding arena was not sold, abandoned or permanently withdrawn from use during 2009.  The court upheld the accuracy-related penalty with respect to the adjustments conceded to and the disallowance of the deduction for miscellaneous expenses.  Wideman v. Comr., T.C. Summary Op. 2015-61.