Skip to content


News Posted on March 22, 2013

Professor Ventry Co-authors Brief in Ninth Circuit Tax Case

Professor Dennis J. Ventry, Jr. co-authored an amici curiae brief submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of tax law professors in Sophy v. Commissioner. The case involves whether the dollar limitations in the federal statute allowing taxpayers to deduct interest on home mortgage indebtedness ($1 million limitation on principal) and home equity indebtedness ($100,000) should be determined on the basis of "per residence" or "per taxpayer." If "per residence," two unmarried co-owners of a primary residence are limited to a proportionate share of interest on $1.1 million of principal. But if "per taxpayer," two unmarried co-owners of a primary residence would apply the limitations separately such that each could deduct interest on $1.1 million of principal.

In the underlying case, the U.S. Tax Court held that the limitation applies "per residence" rather than "per taxpayer." The amici curiae brief urges reversal on grounds that the statute is unclear as to application of the statutory limit. The question before the court has broad implications, including the proper tax treatment of same-sex couples, a group of taxpayers that is considered unmarried in the eyes of federal tax law but treated the same as opposite-sex married couples with respect to the limitation on the deductibility of qualified mortgage debt.

Professor Ventry is an expert in tax policy and legal ethics. His research interests include tax expenditure analysis, family taxation, professional responsibility and standards of care, tax filing and administration, tax compliance, public finance, and tax and legal history. In addition, he was recently added as a co-author on the casebook, Legal Ethics and Corporate Practice.

 Amicus Brief re: Mortgage Interest Deduction