26 CFR § 301.6404-3 - Abatement of penalty or addition to tax attributable to erroneous written advice of the Internal Revenue Service.
(a) General rule. Any portion of any penalty or addition to tax that is attributable to erroneous advice furnished to the taxpayer in writing by an officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service (Service), acting in his or her official capacity, shall be abated, provided the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section are met.
(b) Requirements -
(1) In general. Paragraph (a) of this section shall apply only if -
(i) The written advice was reasonably relied upon by the taxpayer;
(2) Advice was reasonably relied upon -
(ii) Advice relating to a tax return. In the case of written advice from the Service that relates to an item included on a federal tax return of a taxpayer, if such advice is received by the taxpayer subsequent to the date on which the taxpayer filed such return, the taxpayer shall not be considered to have reasonably relied upon such written advice for purposes of this section, except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section.
(iii) Amended returns. If a taxpayer files an amended federal tax return that conforms with written advice received by the taxpayer from the Service, the taxpayer will be considered to have reasonably relied upon the advice for purposes of the position set forth in the amended return.
(iv) Advice not related to a tax return. In the case of written advice that does not relate to an item included on a federal tax return (for example, the payment of estimated taxes), if such written advice is received by the taxpayer subsequent to the act or omission of the taxpayer that is the basis for the penalty or addition of tax, then the taxpayer shall not be considered to have reasonably relied upon such written advice for purposes of this section.
(v) Period of reliance. If the written advice received by the taxpayer relates to a continuing action or series of actions, the taxpayer may rely on that advice until the taxpayer is put on notice that the advice is no longer consistent with Service position and, thus, no longer valid. For purposes of this section, the taxpayer will be put on notice that written advice is no longer valid if the taxpayer receives correspondence from the Service stating that the advice no longer represents Service position. Further, any of the following events, occurring subsequent to the issuance of the advice, that set forth a position that is inconsistent with the written advice received from the Service shall be deemed to put the taxpayer on notice that the advice is no longer valid -
(A) Enactment of legislation or ratification of a tax treaty;
(B) A decision of the United States Supreme Court;
(C) The issuance of temporary or final regulations; or
(3) Advice was in response to written request. No abatement under paragraph (a) of this section shall be allowed unless the penalty or addition to tax is attributable to advice issued in response to a specific written request for advice by the taxpayer. For purposes of the preceding sentence, a written request from a representative of the taxpayer shall be considered a written request by the taxpayer only if -
(i) The taxpayer's representative is an attorney, a certified public accountant, an enrolled agent, an enrolled actuary, or any other person permitted to represent the taxpayer before the Service and who is not disbarred or suspended from practice before the Service; and
(ii) The written request for advice either is accompanied by a power of attorney that is signed by the taxpayer and that authorizes the representative to represent the taxpayer for purposes of the request, or such a power of attorney is currently on file with the Service.
(4) Taxpayer's information must be adequate and accurate. No abatement under paragraph (a) of this section shall be allowed with respect to any portion of any penalty or addition to tax that resulted because the taxpayer requesting the advice did not provide the Service with adequate and accurate information. The Service has no obligation to verify or correct the taxpayer's submitted information.
(c) Definitions -
(1) Advice. For purposes of section 6404(f) and the regulations thereunder, a written response issued to a taxpayer by an officer or employee of the Service shall constitute “advice” if, and only if, the response applies the tax laws to the specific facts submitted in writing by the taxpayer and provides a conclusion regarding the tax treatment to be accorded the taxpayer upon the application of the tax law to those facts.
(2) Penalty and addition to tax. For purposes of section 6404(f) and the regulations thereunder, the terms “penalty” and “addition to tax” refer to any liability of a particular taxpayer imposed under subtitle F, chapter 68, subchapter A and subchapter B of the Internal Revenue Code, and the liabilities imposed by sections 6038(b), 6038(c), 6038A(d), 6038B(b), 6039E(c), and 6332(d)(2). In addition, the terms “penalty” and “addition to tax” shall include any liability resulting from the application of other provisions of the Code where the Commissioner of Internal Revenue has designated by regulation, revenue ruling, or other guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin that such provision shall be considered a penalty or addition to tax for purposes of section 6404(f). The terms “penalty” and “addition to tax” shall also include interest imposed with respect to any penalty or addition to tax.
(d) Procedures for abatement. Taxpayers entitled to an abatement of a penalty or addition to tax pursuant to section 6404(f) and this section should complete and file Form 843. If the erroneous advice received relates to an item on a federal tax return, taxpayers should submit Form 843 to the Internal Revenue Service Center where the return was filed. If the advice does not relate to an item on a federal tax return, the taxpayer should submit Form 843 to the Service Center where the taxpayer's return was filed for the taxable year in which the taxpayer relied on the erroneous advice. At the top of Form 843 taxpayers should write, “Abatement of penalty or addition to tax pursuant to section 6404(f).” Further, taxpayers must state on Form 843 whether the penalty or addition to tax has been paid. Taxpayers must submit, with Form 843, copies of the following -
(e) Period for requesting abatement. An abatement of any penalty or addition to tax pursuant to section 6404(f) and this section shall be allowed only if the request for abatement described in paragraph (d) of this section is submitted within the period allowed for collection of such penalty or addition to tax, or, if the penalty or addition to tax has been paid, the period allowed for claiming a credit or refund of such penalty or addition to tax.
(f) Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of section 6404(f) of the Code and the regulations thereunder:
(g) Effective date. Section 6404(f) shall apply with respect to advice requested on or after January 1, 1989.
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