Chemtech Royalty Ass'n, LP v. United States, No. 15-30577 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In a prior appeal of this tax case, the court affirmed the district court’s decision to disregard the partnership form of Chemtech Royalty Associates, L.P. (Chemtech I), and Chemtech II, L.P. (Chemtech II), for tax purposes but vacated and remanded as to the penalty award. On remand, the district court reinstated the vacated penalty award and further held that a tax penalty for gross-valuation misstatement applied to Chemtech II. Real party in interest Dow now appeals the penalty award solely as to Chemtech I. The court rejected Dow’s theory that the court's mandate required the district court to consider whether Dow had a reasonable basis and substantial authority for its sham-partnership position; the district court did not err in failing to justify the negligence and substantial-understatement penalties on the basis of the court's sham-partnership holding, but it could have done so; and the court affirmed the applicability of the negligence and substantial-understatement penalties on the ground that the district court would have been correct to do so. The court also concluded that Dow lacked substantial authority for its position that Chemtech I was a valid partnership. For substantially the same reasons, Dow fails to meet the lesser reasonable-basis standard. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.