Brian Kelley is a retired partner from a public accounting firm Kelley

Tax Research Case 2

Brian Kelley is a retired partner from a public accounting firm Kelley and Hubbard. He maintains a license as a certified public accountant in Indiana and has a small tax, accounting and consulting practice that makes about $15,000 annually which is reported on a schedule C. His primary employment is as an Accounting Instructor at the University of Southern Indiana where he earns about $75,000. In order to teach at USI, he was required to have both his CPA license and a master’s degree. To maintain his CPA license he is required to have at least 40 hours of continuing education annually.

Brian’s employment with USI is on a three year contract. Without a doctoral degree, he can never be eligible for a tenure track position as an Assistant Professor. He also cannot ever receive tenure. An Assistant Professor position pays significantly more than an Instructor position. Because of this and other personal reasons, Brian has decided to pursue his Doctor of
Business Administration degree with a concentration in accountancy. He is attending Jacksonville University in Florida. The tuition and fees for the program are about $30,000 annually. He will be traveling to Jacksonville 10 times a year for the next 2 years and 2 more times the third year. Evansville has just started an inexpensive flight from Evansville to Orlando that costs $160 round trip. Brian will be renting a car that costs $120 per trip plus gas of $30. Each trip he will also stay in a motel room at a cost of $200 per trip. The distance from his home to the Evansville airport is 20 miles roundtrip, and he will pay $30 for parking at the airport. He expects his meals to cost about $80 for each trip (4 days at a time). Brian was planning on deducting the costs of the doctoral degree because he receives 45 hours of continuing education credit for every 3 hour class.

Brian mentioned his plans to a friend who happens to be with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS examiner said Brian’s deductions would not be allowed. “Obtaining a doctorate degree qualifies you for a new position. Therefore, you cannot deduct the cost of the education.” His friend went on to say that it was similar to going to law school, and he could not deduct those costs in total. Since Brian was primarily in audit and accounting services and not tax, he’s unsure if he should deduct the costs. He has come to you for advice. What, if any, of his education expenses are deductible and how? Please write a memo to Brian explaining your conclusions.

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