More Courts Treating Basis Overstatements as Triggering Six-Year Limitations Period

Late last year, the IRS issued final regulations under which an understated amount of gross income reported on a return resulting from an overstatement of unrecovered cost or other basis is an omission of gross income
for purposes of the 6-year period for assessing tax and the minimum period for assessment of tax attributable to partnership items. The 6-year limitations period applies when a taxpayer omits from gross income an amount that’s greater than 25% of the amount of gross income stated in the return. Several courts had held that a basis overstatement is not an omission of gross income for this purpose. In response to these decisions, the IRS issued the new regulations to clarify that an omission can arise in that fashion. Recently, two Courts of Appeals (the Tenth Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit) have upheld the regulations. While the momentum clearly is in favor of the IRS on this issue, others courts have rejected the regulations. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to resolve the dispute.

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