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From Nobel Prizes to Wooden Arrows—A Look at Niche Tax Exemptions

Nov. 23, 2018, 1:29 PM

The tax code is full of odd, and oddly specific, ways to lower an individual’s tax bill.

The 2017 tax overhaul killed off some of those exemptions, like a provision that allowed tax-free like-kind exchanges of personal property. Like-kind property could even include cows—but with a caveat.

“For the purposes of this provision, cattle of opposite sexes are not like property,” said Lawrence Zelenak, a professor at Duke University School of Law.

Unfortunately for cattle traders, even cow-for-cow trades are no longer exempt. “Now any trade of cattle is taxable, because any trade of real property is taxable,” Zelenak...

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