San Diego State University Tax Research Case – Memorandum

Ron Burgundy is a single taxpayer and lives in San Diego, CA.  Ron is an on-air personality for KVWN Channel 4, the San Diego news leader.   Ron prepared his 2018 income taxes, and like many relatively well-to-do Californians, found that his state income tax deduction was limited to $10,000.  Ron paid state income taxes of $6,845 and property taxes on his principal residence in San Diego County of $3,207 in 2018.  Ron’s total itemized deductions in 2018 were $12,756 which he deducted since the standard deduction for a single taxpayer was only $12,000 in 2018. In April 2019, Ron had his accountant prepare and file both his Federal and California state income tax returns. His California state income tax return revealed a $982 state income tax refund, which Ron had direct deposited into his bank account.  Unfortunately, in May 2019, Ron’s accountant was attacked by a vicious panda bear after falling into the panda exhibit at the zoo and died a few days after from attack-related injuries.  Ron is showing an amazing interest in forecasting his tax liability for 2019 and has asked you to determine what part of his California state income tax refund will be included in his 2019 taxable income.

Your Assignment:

Prepare a tax research memo addressed to the filesthat explains what Ron’s taxable income will be from the CA state income tax refund.  

You will need to support your conclusion using primary sources of tax law.  Your textbook is NOT primary authority.  You may research ANY tax authority (primary or secondary) but your solution must be derived and supported using only primary authority.

Youmust use proper citation formin your memo (see Exhibit 2-9 in Chapter 2 of your textbook).  The form for this communication should be professional and in the form of a tax research memo (see example on p.2-20 or 2-21, I cannot tell in the e-book which page).  

This memo should be whatever length you feel is appropriate to resolve the issues.  We do NOT use a bibliography or list of references in a tax research memo. You will see that citations are within the text of the document.  

Your memo will be graded using a modified version of the College of Business Administration’s written communications rubric (posted in Blackboard).  For this assignment, points are distributed as follows:

Content              15

Organization        3

Audience             3

Style                   3

Mechanics            3

References         3

Total                    30

Content will be broken down into 3 components: (1) Facts, (2) Analysis and (3) Conclusion.  


Exceeds Expectations


Content – Facts

All pertinent facts have been described in a clear and concise manner.  Distinguishing features of the fact pattern are highlighted.

Critical facts omitted.  Unable to apply or distinguish from other possible fact patterns or facts are merely copied from case.

Content – Analysis

All necessary references to authority have been made.  Authority which could apply but does not has been distinguished from that which does.  The analysis follows a logical pattern of application to the facts and supports author’s conclusion.

Analysis is deficient in reference to authoritative tax law.  Analysis lacks cohesion and does not support conclusion.  


Conclusion is clear and integrates with facts and analysis.  More than a simple sentence stating conclusion.  Cause and effect relationship between facts and analysis are made.  All open issues are responded to. Conclusion drawn is correct.

Conclusion is unclear and unsupported by analysis. Reader is not able to form educated opinion on tax treatment of facts pattern.

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