United States Ninth Circuit

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Gardner v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 13-72699

In a petition for redetermination of federal income tax deficiencies that challenged the taxability of alleged maintenance payments received by taxpayers who have taken vows of poverty, the Tax Court's denial of the petition is affirmed where: 1) substantial evidence supports the Tax Court’s determinations that the payments taxpayers received were not contributions to Bethel Aram Ministries (BAM), a church for which taxpayer petitioner is its corporation sole, but were instead quid pro quo payments for taxpayers' services (in setting up corporations sole and LLCs); and 2) taxpayers retained complete dominion and control over the payments even after they were deposited in BAM’s accounts. Accordingly, the payments to tax payers are taxable and subject to self-employment tax.

Appellate Information

  • Decided
  • Published 2017/01/12




  • United States Ninth Circuit