Our Country Home Enterprises, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 16-1279 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Taxpayer, having challenged a penalty in a pre-assessment hearing, may not again contest its liability in a CDP hearing. The employer had an employee‐benefit plan with one employee-participant and took tax deductions for its payments into the plan. The employee claimed no income. The IRS proposed a section 6707A penalty for the company’s failure to report its participation in the plan; deficiency penalties; a section 6662(a) penalty, for making a substantial understatement and acting with negligence or disregard of the rules or regulations; and a section 6662A penalty, for making an understatement related to a reportable transaction that was disclosed inadequately. An appeals officer sustained a $200,000 penalty. After the IRS assessed the penalty and issued a final notice of intent to levy, the company requested a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing. An appeals officer reviewed transcripts from the earlier pre-assessment hearing and determined that the Appeals Office had already considered a liability challenge to the same penalty, so that section 6330(c)(2)(B) precluded another liability challenge. The Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the government. Under section 6330(c)(4)(A)’s plain language, because the company raised the issue of its liability in a prior hearing before the Appeals Office, and participated meaningfully in that hearing, the company could not contest its liability again in its CDP hearing.