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Rosenspan v. United States

    Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff was a traveling jewelry salesman. He traveled up to 300 days a year and did not have a permanent residence. He stayed in hotels, motels and inns and occasionally with family.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Traveling expenses while away from home may be deducted when they are ordinary and necessary expenses in carrying on a trade or business.

    Facts. Plaintiff, Robert Rosenspan, was a jewelry salesman who worked on commission. He paid his own traveling expenses without reimbursement. He traveled up to 300 days a year. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue did not allow deductions for meals and lodging while in his sales territory because he had not “home” to be away from while traveling. He would usually stay in motels and inns and occasionally with his brother. Plaintiff claimed that his home was his business headquarters where he would occasionally return to conduct business activities related to his job as a salesman.

    Issue. Should the traveling expenses be allowed as a deduction?

    Held. Circuit Judge Friendly issued the opinion for the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals in holding the expenses may not be deducted because Plaintiff had not “home.”

    Discussion. The Court of Appeals found that the intent of Congress was to prevent someone from having to duplicate their home expenses and those incurred while away on business. In this case, Plaintiff had no home and no duplicative expenses. Further, plain meaning should be given to the word “home,” which would not normally mean business headquarters.



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