Houston v. Smith

In Houston v. Smith, 882 P.2d 240 (Wyo. 1994), the Court held that "federal income tax computations differ in significant respects from the computations required by the child support statute, and the district court erred in substituting the federal income tax concepts to arrive at those critical amounts." Id. at 240-41. In Houston, the district court had followed the federal income tax computation by deducting from the obligor's income, as an "unreimbursed legitimate business expense," the amortized depreciation for business property to which obligor was entitled on his federal taxes. Since amortized depreciation does not directly affect cash flow in later years, we ruled that it was not appropriate, for child support purposes, to recognize the same deduction from income as federal tax law allows. "Since the purpose of depreciation is to assist a person in regaining their expenditures, it does not follow that depreciation is a business expense for the calculation of disposable income under the Guidelines." Id. at 244.