- Ag Docket
The petitioners bought a vacation home in 2007 over 300 miles from their home, and spent time remodeling it over the next three years. The petitioners stayed overnight on numerous trips to the vacation home with some of those trips being exclusively for the purpose of remodeling the vacation home. However, some trips were exclusively for personal purposes and others were for both business and pleasure. The petitioners claimed deductions for rental real estate losses, but the IRS limited the loss deductions in accordance with I.R.C. §280A which bars deductions for expenses associated with a personal residence unless business use (including a rental use but not including repairs and maintenance) can be established. At issue was how many days the petitioners spent at the vacation home were personal use days, and how the first and last days of each trip were to be characterized. The court determined that days traveling to the vacation home would not be classified as personal days if the principal purpose of the trip was to perform repairs and maintenance. Based on the evidence, the court determined that six of the 12 days at issue were for the purposes of repairing and maintaining the vacation home. Thus, the first and last day of the trip counted as business days. The balance of the trips was for a combination of business and personal purposes. For those trips where most days were devoted to repairing and maintaining the vacation home, the court counted the first and last days of the trip as business days. The converse was also true with respect to some trips. While the petitioners claimed that a relative paid approximately $1,000 to rent the home for a week, the petitioners could not substantiate the alleged payment. Thus, the relative’s days were counted as personal use days of the petitioners. The bottom line was that the petitioners were able to counter, based on records, some of the IRS assertions. Van Malssen v. Comr., T.C. Memo. 2014-236.
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