Costs of Unsuccessful Criminal Defense Are Deductible “Ordinary and Necessary” Business Expenses–Tellier v. Commissioner

Taxpayer, a broker and underwriter, was convicted for violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and the federal mail fraud statute, and for conspiracy to violate those statutes. He claimed a deduction for the legal expenses incurred in his defense. The Commissioner’s disallowance of the deduction was sustained by the Tax Court. On appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sitting en banc, held, reversed. Legal expenses incurred in an unsuccessful defense against criminal charges arising out of a trade or occupation are deductible “ordinary and necessary” business expenses.