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Allen J. and Jeanne M. McDonell , husband and wife, filed a joint tax return for 1960 in which they reported $600 as miscellaneous commissions in their tax return as the estimated cost to his employer DECO for his wife part of a trip to Hawaii that the company send him. They were informed that this trip was an assignment and not a vacation and therefore, they would have to be with contest winners at all times, they would participate with them in scheduled activities, and they would not be able to go on their own. The total cost for DECO for the McDonnells and attributable to them was $1,121.96. The couple performed their duties and did not have any spare time to go shopping or swimming.

In this case, the McDonell’s claim that they reported the $600 erroneously and they seek a refund. The Commissioner determined there was a deficiency based on the cost of the entire trip. The McDonell’s seek that that the deficiency stated by the Commissioner is declared an error.

Should any portion of the expenses of the trip taken by the McDonells be included in his income or if so, can it be deducted to calculate the adjusted gross income?

The opinion of the Tax Court, in 1967, determined that the trip did not represent an award, taxable, under section 74, or additional compensation under section 61. The McDonnells performed their services as required by his employer Deco, so it was indeed a business trip.

Under all the facts and circumstances, the court holds that the expenses of the trip are not includable in the gross income of the McDonells, the petitioners.

I wonder if their dependent children would have gone with them on the trip (assuming they had no choice but to take them with them as they had no one to leave them with) would the children expenses also be considered business expenses? Should the kids expenses be considered additional compensation under Section 61?

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