Haig Simmons operates an anthracite coal home heating and delivery service in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties. She must have a supply of anthracite coal on hand so that customers may get the coal they need to heat their homes. As a convenience to her customers (and to prevent high bills over the winter and low bills in the summer), she allows them to buy coal in advance at set prices and to pay for the coal ratably over a calendar year. To ensure herself a steady, reliable, and affordable supply of coal and to protect against price fluctuations, Haig Simmons enters into certain futures contracts to buy coal at a future date and at a set price. Haig Simmons clearly indicates beforehand that the futures contract in which she enters to buy coal is simply to secure a supply of coal and to protect her from losses on her futures contracts with her customers to sell coal and that she does not intend to profit from the contract itself.
Assume that Haig Simmons realizes a loss on the futures contract in which she entered to buy coal. That is, the price per her contract to buy coal is higher than the actual spot market price of coal the day she acquires a new supply of coal. How should Haig Simmons classify the loss–as ordinary or as capital?
Be sure to demonstrate the research skills you have learned. You must cite the relevant code section(s) (including section 1221), and at least two (2) Supreme Court cases (the two key cases are dated 1955 and 1988). You must also address the general principle of classifying assets–as capital or as operating–and the exceptions thereto.
The format for ALL tax briefings is as follows (for this class, don’t forget your name and the date):
Subject (one line here)
Facts (Taxpayer xxx. Xxx. Xxxx.)
Issue (May taxpayer deduct xxxxxxx?)
Conclusion (In this situation, xxxxxx.)
Analysis (Code section xx(a) contains…..It states……. Reg. sec. clarifies…..Rev Ruling…..Court case XXX vs. XXXX holds that…..)
Cornell University Law School, (n.d.). US Code § 1221 – Capital Asset. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/
Cornell University Law School, (n.d.). 485 U.S. 212 – Arkansas Best Company. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/
Cornell University Law School, (n.d.). 350 U.S. 46 – Corn Products Refining Company. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/
National Timbertax Website, (n.d.). Capital Asset Definition. Retrieved from http://www.timbertax.org/
U.S. Government Printing Office, (n.d.). US Code § 64 – Ordinary Income Defined. Retrieved from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/
U.S. Government Printing Office, (n.d.). US Code § 65 – Ordinary Loss Defined. Retrieved from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/
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