Avoiding Constructive Receipt: Paying Tuesday for a Hamburger Today

Wellington Wimpy, the gluttonous gourmand from the Popeye comics famously said, “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Although the payment was to be made at a later date (if at all), the agreement between Wimpy and the Rough House diner was made at the time the “sale” was consummated. Assuming Wimpy made good on his promise and paid for the hamburger on Tuesday, when did the diner receive its income? As even the most cursory glance at the burgeoning Internal Revenue Code will attest, this basic question of “When is income received?” is not as simple as …