Driscoll v. Commissioner, 2012-1 U.S.T.C. ¶50,187 (11th Cir. 2012)
In 2010, the United States Tax Court ruled that a minister could apply a housing allowance to expenses incurred in owning two homes. The court acknowledged that section 107 of the tax code, which contains the housing allowance exclusion, refers to a minister's "home" in the singular, but it concluded that this did not limit the application of a housing allowance to only one home.
In early 2012, a federal appeals court reversed the Tax Court's opinion, and limited the application of a minister's housing allowance to expenses incurred in only one home (the principal residence).
The appeals court conceded that the tax code states that singular terms also include their plural forms, but it noted that this rule did not apply if "the context indicates otherwise." Therefore, the "singular includes the plural provision" should only apply if the context of the housing allowance reasonably supports such an application. The court concluded that it did not, for two reasons: