I would argue this issue In Tax Court. Under Section 1 of the tax code, income is defined as an acsession too wealth. Since you did not reap any benefits, you may be able to argue that you did not experience the definition of income as mentioned above. However, this may only be successful if the tickets are something that you never really wanted in the first place and you can prove that you never went on the trip . It will be a tough uphill battle, but if you succeed it may be worth your time.
Interesting question. I would like to tell you that you do not have to pay income tax on the trip because you were unable to take it. The problem is that you received the free tickets so you had the ability to use them. The fact that you let them go to waste is your fault. You can't just walk away from income, unfortunately.
I agree with Mr. Givner. Unfortunately, by not either refusing delivery of the tickets or sending them back shortly after acceptance, you probably have the same liability as if you took the trip, since you had the means to go.
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