A brief of Crane v. Commissioner, 331 U.S. 1 (1947)

A brief of Crane v. Commissioner, 331 U.S. 1 (1947)

Facts: In the year 1932, the plaintiff Mrs., Crane benefited from an apartment lot and building upon her husband’s death. The lot and building had been subjected to a mortgage that consisted of $7,042.50 interest in default and a $255,000.00 principal debt and later on Crane benefited from proceeds of the sale.

Issues: 1) Is there a provision in Tax law that allows a plaintiff to original basis? 2) Is there a provision in Appellate law that allows debt assumed to be passed on to the plaintiff?

Analysis: The IRS came up with the argument that the building had depreciated and Ms. Crane did not mention that in the taxes. Therefore, the building lost value when it was sold and she gained $30000. The 162 (b) section affirms that during inheritance, debt and tax can be incurred by the plaintiff. The Tax Court established that Ms. Crane had inherited equity. This refers to difference of the value of the building and the land, which is in excess of the mortgage value. However, the Appellate court reversed the ruling and ruled that she had inherited property and not equity. This means that Crane obtained an income equal to the debts total amount that was assumed by the purchaser. Thereafter, the US Supreme Court also affirmed and was in favor of the IRS. Crane had profited from the sale of the property for a price more than its original worth. This is despite the fact that she did not get the actual money upon the sale. It is evident that Crane claimed that she had lost $28000 based on the property’s value when calculating the tax depreciation. While making calculations, she counted for the fair market value and not equity. This proves that she was inconsistent when she claimed that she had no form of equity with regards to her property.

Conclusion: Because of the existing statute Ms. Crane gained upon selling the house as it was sold for a higher price than its original value. This is a case of non-recourse liability that will have a similar posture as full resource liability for tax purposes.


Crane v. Commissioner, 331 U.S. 1 (1947)