Fifth Circuit Upholds Penalties in NPR

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January 31, 2014

The Fifth Circuit has finally issued its opinion in NPR (as reflected in our prior coverage, this case was argued almost two years ago), a case involving a Son-of-BOSS tax shelter in which the district court absolved the taxpayers of penalties.  The taxpayers were not as fortunate on appeal, as the Fifth Circuit handed the government a complete victory.

The court’s consideration of the two issues before the court of broadest applicability were overtaken by events — specifically, the Supreme Court’s December 2013 decision in United States v. WoodsSee our report here.  In line with that … Read More

NPR Court Asks Parties for Additional Information on Jurisdictional Questions

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October 2, 2013

It has been almost two years since the Fifth Circuit heard oral argument in the NPR Investments case, which involves a “son-of-BOSS” tax shelter and associated questions regarding penalties and jurisdiction under TEFRA.  See our previous reports on the oral argument and describing the issues.  Last week, the court issued an order directing the parties to file short “letter briefs,” answering some specific questions involving TEFRA jurisdiction over penalties.  In particular, the court asked the parties to address how NPR compares to the Petaluma (D.C. Cir.) and Jade Trading (Fed. Cir.) cases in which the courts found a lack … Read More

NPR Oral Argument

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March 1, 2012

On December 7th, oral argument was held in the Fifth Circuit in the NPR case before Judges Dennis, Clement, and Owen.  You can find a detailed explanation of the issues here but in summary the questions involve whether, in the context of a Son of BOSS case: the gross valuation penalty applies when the basis producing transaction is not invalidated solely due to a bad valuation; whether other penalties apply; how the TEFRA jurisdictional rules function as to those penalties; and whether an FPAA issued after a non-TEFRA partnership no-change letter falls afoul of the no-second-FPAA rule. 

Although both parties … Read More

NPR Calendared for Argument

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November 7, 2011

The NPR case (involving penalty application and TEFRA issues in the context of a Son of BOSS transaction: see latest substantive discussion here) has been calendared for argument in New Orleans on December 7th in the East Courtroom.… Read More

Briefing Complete in NPR

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August 18, 2011

As we mentioned in our last post, the only brief remaining to be filed in NPR was the taxpayer’s reply brief.  That brief has now been filed and with it a DOJ motion to strike part of that reply as an inappropriate sur-reply.  The motion concerns a section in the reply in which the taxpayer takes on DOJ for arguing (in its previously filed reply brief ) that the only relevant factor in determining the incidence of the valuation misstatement penalty (between partnership and partner) is whether there are partnership items involved and not where the specific misstatement results … Read More

NPR Update

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August 12, 2011

It has been a while since we published an update on NPR (please no comments on Supreme Court Justices, schoolchildren, and bloggers taking summers off).  Since our last post discussing the government’s opening brief, the taxpayer filed its brief responding to the government and opening the briefing on their cross-appeal.  The government also filed its response/reply.  All that remains now is the taxpayer’s reply brief on its cross-appeal, currently due on August 15.  There are a slew of technical TEFRA issues that are raised by the parties.  The taxpayer is appealing the district court’s rulings regarding whether a no … Read More

NPR Still Dragging Itself Out of the Minefield

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April 27, 2011

The Government has filed its brief in its Fifth Circuit appeal from the denial of penalties in the NPR Investments case (for prior discussion go here).  There are no surprises.  The Government takes the position that the district court’s reliance on Heasley v. Commissioner, 902 F.2d 380 (5th Cir. 1990) (likely abrogated by Treas. Reg. § 1.6662-5(g) and certainly weakened on these facts by Weiner v. United States, 389 F.3d 152 (5th Cir. 2004)) is misplaced.  Thus, the government argues that the mere fact that the taxpayer’s entire transaction (and not just a valuation or basis item) … Read More

Update on Canal Corp. and NPR Investments

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January 21, 2011

In our prior post on these cases, we compared the different factual findings made by the courts in analyzing penalty exposure under section 6664 and discussed the very factual nature of a reasonable cause and good faith penalty defense.  Both cases were subsequently appealed.  Canal Corp.looks like it is going to settle with the Fourth Circuit granting a motion to hold the appeal in abeyance pending finalization of that settlement (the company is in bankruptcy).  Thus, those hoping for an appellate smack-down of the penalty supporting opinion from the Tax Court will be disappointed.  NPR Investments is a different … Read More

Schizophrenic Application of Tax Penalties (Part III)

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September 13, 2010

We have been promising a post on the application of the section 6664 reasonable cause and good faith defense to tax penalties as it relates to reliance on tax advisers.  Here it is.  

There has been much activity in this area in the district courts and the Tax Court and not much winnowing or rule setting in the circuits.  This is understandable; the application of the standards is highly factual and is well-placed in the hands of trial judges.  We will analyze here some potential inconsistencies in two recent high-profile section 6664 decisions, Canal Corp. v. Commissioner, (Slip Read More