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Texas zoning laws and taxation

Sarah is an economist for Smith LLC. In January 2009, she inherited three parcels of land in Texas County from her mother. Her mother's estate valued the parcels, which are all adjacent to each other and total 30 acres, at $15,750. Sarah thought the parcels were worth more than $15,750, so she asked the estate's appraiser why the parcels weren't valued higher. The appraiser told her that the zoning on the land allows only one residence every two acres, which severely diminishes the resale value.

In 2010, Sarah applied to Texas County for a change in zoning. The Texas County Board of Supervisors denied her application in December 2010. Sarah filed a constitutional challenge to Texas County's zoning law in 2011. The board of supervisors denied her constitutional challenge. Sarah filed an appeal of the denial in Texas County District Court on October 15, 2011. On November 5, 2011, the Texas County Board of Supervisors began consideration of a new zoning law that would allow land, such as Sarah's, a zoning designation of two residences per acre. Sarah withdrew her appeal pending the outcome of the new zoning law. On February 10, 2011, the new zoning law was adopted. Sarah estimated that the value of the land increased to at least $25,000 as a result of the rezoning.

Sarah incurred $11,000 in attorney's fees and other costs in challenging the zoning requirements. She paid half of the expenditures in 2010 and half in 2011. What is the correct tax treatment of the $11,000 in attorney's fees?

Solution Preview

The main issue in this case is that the attorney fees weren't incurred due to the estate, the fees were incurred due to Sarah challenging the zoning laws regarding the land that she inherited. Therefore, the attorney fees are not an estate expense. Sarah has incurred the ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the scenario of Sarah and Smith LLC. A full discussion is provided, answering all questions and explaining each answer.