From Strip Club to Horses - Court Says Profit Intent Present...At Least For Some of the Years Involved.

The petitioner bought an abandoned restaurant building in the late 1960s and operated it successfully until a kitchen fire shut it down.  The petitioner later reopened the business as a bar which eventually became a strip club.  The petitioner sold that business for moral reasons and opened a pizza parlor about five miles away.  He later reclaimed the strip club because the buyer defaulted on payments.  He continued to operate the club (having apparently jettisoned his prior moral concerns) successfully  and opened other strip clubs and restaurants and participated in strip club trade organizations.  In the late 1980s, petitioner bought farmland adjacent to the strip club and bought additional farmland in the late 1990s near the strip club on which a stable was located.  With the purchases, the petitioner created a 95-acre contiguous plot.  Petitioner relinquished control of the strip club businesses to his children and started an insulation business and used car dealership.  He ultimately terminated involvement in both of those businesses, and turned the 95-acre tract into a horse training facility to support his interest in horse racing.  He expanded the business and obtained a trainer's license.  The petitioner got crosswise with county officials with respect to building codes and his horse activities and ultimately sold the 95-acre tract in 2005 to an unrelated party for $2.2 million in a part-sale part like-kind exchange transaction.  The next year, petitioner bought a 180-acre parcel 16 miles from his home for horse-related activities, where he built a first-class training facility.  Petitioner was deeply involved in the activities, but due to mishaps in the early years involving, in part, disease and death of numerous horses, and his deductions for the four years in issue far exceeded his income from horse-related activities with cumulative losses just shy of $1.5 million.  The court determined that the taxpayer conducted the horse activities in a business-like manner, consulted experts, but significant time into the activities, had a legitimate expectation that the new property would appreciate in value, had successfully conducted other activities that were relevant to an expectation of profit in horse activities, was neutral on the history of loss issue, had a legitimate expectation of future profit, was not an "excessively wealthy" individual and had elements of personal please or recreation for only the first two of the four tax years under review, and while initially started the horse activities without profit objective, turned that intent into one with a profit objective.  As a result, the petitioner had the requisite profit intent for the last two years at issue, but not the first two.  Accuracy-related penalty not imposed, but petitioner liable for addition to tax for one of the tax years under review.  Roberts v. Comr., T.C. Memo. 2014-74.

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