Southgate Master Fund, L.L.C. v. United States, No. 09-11166 (5th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff partnership was formed for the purpose of facilitating the acquisition of a portfolio of Chinese nonperforming loans (NPLs). The IRS determined that plaintiff was a sham partnership that need not be respected for tax purposes and that plaintiff's allocation of the $200 million loss to the deducting partner should be disallowed. At issue on appeal are the income-tax consequences of three interrelated transactions entered into by plaintiff and its three members. The court held that the district court correctly held that, while the acquisition of an interest in a portfolio of Chinese NPLs had economic substance, the plaintiff partnership was a sham that must be disregarded for federal income-tax purposes. As a consequence, that acquisition must be recharacterized as a direct sale. The court also held that the district court was correct to disallow all accuracy-related penalties on the ground that plaintiff had reasonable cause for, and exhibited good faith in, reporting the positions it took on its 2002 partnership return. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.