Allyson Christina Briggs - Page 7

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               shown on your 1999 return and your taxable income for 1999             
               is increased $3,478.00.                                                
               Petitioner contends “that earned income is only the positive           
          amount”; she contrasts this to “net earnings from self-                     
          employment”, which could be (and was for petitioner for 1999), a            
               Respondent draws our attention to legislative history                  
          language to the effect that the Congress intended that the                  
          standard deduction could be used “only to offset earned income”             
          (H. Conf. Rept. 99-841 (Vol. II) at II-9 (1986); 1986-3 C.B.                
          (Vol. 4) 9), and argues that petitioner’s contention must be                
          incorrect because it would allow petitioner to use the standard             
          deduction to offset income that was not earned income.5                     
               Respondent urges us to follow the approach of section 32,              
          relating to the credit for earned income.  Section 32 provides,             
          in pertinent part, as follows:                                              

               5  However, this expression of congressional intent supports           
          respondent’s statutory interpretation only by circular reasoning,           
          or “begging the question”.  That is, respondent assumes that                
          “earned income” in the conference report includes the concept of            
          net earnings from self-employment, and then asks us to conclude             
          that “earned income” in sec. 63(c)(5)(B) includes the concept of            
          net earnings from self-employment.  See, e.g., Follett, Modern              
          American Usage 252 (Avenel 1980 ed.) (“begging the question * * *           
          means only: using as an argument some disguised form of the                 
          proposition to be proved”); Fowler, Modern English Usage 449 (2d            
          ed. 1965) (“‘begging the question’.  The fallacy of founding a              
          conclusion on a basis that as much needs to be proved as the                
          conclusion itself.  ARGUING IN A CIRCLE is a common variety”);              
          Aldisert, Logic for Lawyers: A Guide To Clear Legal Thinking 208-           
          216 (NITA 3d ed. 1997).                                                     

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