Respect for Statutory Text versus 'Blithe Unconcern': A Reply to Professor Coverdale
11 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2009
In Tufts v. Commissioner, the Supreme Court in 1983 had concluded that relief from a nonrecourse liability on disposition of property should be reflected in the seller's amount realized, even if the value of the property had dropped below the principal amount of the obligation. Professor Coverdale quite reasonably complained that the statutory definition of amount realized makes no mention of liabilities and that, not quite so reasonably, commentators had shown blithe unconcern about statutory language. A great fan of adhering to statutory language, the author nevertheless argues that interpreters must take into account judicial developments, in this case beginning with Crane v. Commissioner (1947), in arriving at any reasonable understanding of statutory language.
Keywords: Tufts v. Commissioner, Nonrecourse Liability, Property, John F. Coverdale, Text as Limit: A Plea for a Decent Respect for the Tax Code
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation