UC Law SF Communications and Entertainment Journal


The IRS will grant deductions for money spent on charitable purposes. One such purpose is lessening the burdens of governments. In 1993 the IRS granted a deduction worth almost $100 million to the estate of Ewing M. Kauffman for his donation of the Kansas City Royals baseball team to a local community foundation under a "Succession Plan." That arrangement would give local buyers preference in bidding to purchase the team from the foundation. The IRS found that the Succession Plan lessened the burden of government insofar as it relieved Kansas City area governments of their burden in keeping the franchise local. This Note explores the complex plan, focusing on how it served the manifold objectives of the Royals, Ewing Kauffman's estate, Major League Baseball, and local businesspeople who run the team. It also analyzes the IRS's decision that the Succession Plan fulfilled the "lessening the burdens of government" test. Finally, in answer to criticism that the plan did not lessen the burden of a proper government burden, this Note explains the current restraints on the IRS in ruling on the propriety of burdens, and suggests a modification to the current test in order to enable the IRS to judge the propriety of future activities that claim to lessen the burden of government.