Taxes: Airy Argument

Hit for $23,617 in back federal taxes, Contractor John J. Sexton countered with a remarkable claim for depreciating the 88.8-acre garbage dump that he owns in Chicago. Had he bought it for normal use, he said, the land would have cost $44,000. But the seller, realizing what the plot was to be used for, charged and got $150,000. The purchase included two 60-ft. garbage pits. When the holes are filled, Sexton told the Internal Revenue Service, the land will again be worth only $44,000. Sexton thus claimed a tax deduction for "wasting assets."

What assets? Easy, replied Sexton. The holes...

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