In Thompson v. Commissioner, 148 T.C. No. 3 148 (2017), the US Tax Court confirmed that the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 6662A penalty for reportable transactions is constitutional and does not violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment.
IRC Section 6662A(a) imposes a penalty on any “reportable transaction understatement.” A “reportable transaction understatement” generally refers to the difference between the increase in the amount of federal income tax that is calculated from the proper treatment of an item that results from a reportable or listed transaction and the taxpayers actually treatment of that item. IRC Section 6662A(b). If a taxpayer fails to adequately disclose a reportable transaction giving rise to an understatement under IRC section 6662A, the penalty is imposed at a rate of 30 percent, and there are no available defenses. IRC Section 6662A(c). However, if a taxpayer sufficiently discloses the details of the transaction, the penalty rate is 20 percent of the amount of the reportable transaction understatement. IRC Section 6662A(a). In this latter instance, a taxpayer may avoid the penalty if he shows reasonable cause and good faith, as well as that there is substantial authority for a position he claimed on the tax return, and the taxpayer reasonably believed that such treatment was more likely than not the proper treatment of the transaction in question. IRC Section 6664(d)(1) and (3).