Arkansas Best Corp. v. Commissioner

In Arkansas Best Corp. v. Commissioner, 485 U.S. 212, 108 S.Ct. 971, 99 L.Ed.2d 183 (1988), the Court ruled that stock in a local bank acquired for the business-related purpose of preserving the taxpayer's financial reputation, id. at 215, 108 S.Ct. at 973, fell "outside the classes of property excluded from capital-asset status" under 1221, thus the loss arising from its sale was "a capital loss." (Id. at 223, 108 S.Ct. at 978.) In determining whether property qualifies for exclusion from capital asset treatment, the Supreme Court has indicated that a taxpayer's business purpose is relevant only in the very narrow circumstance wherein an otherwise non-inventory asset may be regarded as a substitute for inventory--i.e., property acquired in a "hedging transaction that was an integral part of a business' inventory-purchase system." (Arkansas Best, 485 U.S. at 221-22, 108 S.Ct. at 977.)