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Mark
Mark, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
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Experience:  14 years, real estate, tax, bankruptcy, debt resolution, and criminal law
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Below is the actual case I am working on. I am preparing

Customer Question

Below is the actual case I am working on.

I am preparing a memorandum for a graduate taxation course. I have a lot of notes on it but I am unsure if I am correct.

Using the following problem, I have to identify and discuss the main issues, identify and discuss other issues, calculate the basis, identify and discuss the ethical issues and resolve the problem. Any guidance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Actual Case

John and XXXXX XXXXX are U.S. taxpayers. The Smiths have resided in New State since 1995. In 2002 XXXXX XXXXX was declared the winner of a $ 6.24 million prize in the New State Lottery. $1.00 was paid for the winning Lottery ticket which entitled its holder to participate in the bi-weekly drawings. Under the Lottery Rules, Mary became entitled to receive 20 annual payments of$ 312,000 each, less mandatory Federal Income Tax Withholding. The first payment was made on May 1, 2002 and 19 subsequent installments of$ 312,000 (reduced by Federal Income Tax withholding) were scheduled to be paid on May 1 of each successive year.

The New State Lottery rules did not offer Mary the option of receiving a lump-sum payment at the time she claimed the Lottery prize. Under the New State Lottery Rules, Mary could not transfer her right to receive all or any portion of the future installment payments without first obtaining the approval of the Superior Court. This provision was included in the law to insure against fraud.

On or about July 2, 2011, after obtaining the approval of the Superior Court, Mary entered into an agreement with Lottery Payment Finance Company, LLC ("Finance"). Under the Agreement, Mary sold all of her rights to receive the remaining 10 installment payments (10 x $ 312,000 = $ 3.2 million) in exchange for a lump-sum payment by Finance in the amount of$ 2.125 million. On the joint Form 1040 Return she filed with her husband John, Mary reported a long-term capital gain of$ 2, 124,599 from the transfer. The Internal Revenue Service has asserted a deficiency assessment, including penalties and interest. The Internal Revenue Service takes the position that the $ 2.125 million lump-sum payment is taxable at ordinary income rates.

John and Mary have requested your advice regarding the Internal Revenue
Service's position; they wonder whether they should they fight it? During your conference with them Mary tells you that the ticket was actually purchased by her sister, Rose. When Rose won she asked Mary to claim the prize money since Rose was about to declare personal bankruptcy (her assets were then valued at $ 250,000 and her liabilities were $ 1,800,000). Mary agreed and accepted the prize. Mary has kept track of the money received from the New State Lottery and accounted to Rose for any monies Mary used.

Rose has completed her bankruptcy action and receives money from Mary from time to time. Rose (and Mary) treat these transfers as "gifts" for Federal Income Tax purposes.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Mark replied 2 years ago.

I would say that she will probably loose on appeal because the courts have held that it is ordinary income:

http://www.imanet.org/PDFs/Public/SF/2005_10/1005taxes.pdf

http://web.law.und.edu/lawreview/issues/web_assets/pdf/83/83-1/83NDLR27.pdf

I would be more concerned that the trustee in bankruptcy would claim it was property of Rose's bankruptcy estate and should be included to pay creditors. I hope this answers your question. If not, then please reply. Thank you.

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