H&H Trim & Upholstery Co., Inc. - Page 7

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          mean “fair”.  As we view the matter, when used in the context of            
          interest, the plain meaning of the word “excessive” takes into              
          account the concept of what is fair, or more appropriate here,              
               According to petitioner, it would be unfair to hold it                 
          liable for any amount of interest in excess of the erroneous                
          payoff amount provided by respondent in January 1997.4                      
          Petitioner’s position extends to all of the unpaid interest                 
          related to its employment tax liability for the fourth quarter of           
          1993, but we think it is more appropriate to focus on                       
          petitioner’s position as it relates to specific periods over                
          which the interest accrued.  Cf. Donovan v. Commissioner, T.C.              
          Memo. 2000-220.                                                             

               4  Petitioner’s position implicitly suggests that the                  
          obligation to keep track of its employment tax liability                    
          (including interest) was respondent’s, rather than its own.                 
          Neither party expressly addressed this point, and, in the absence           
          of a disagreement between the parties, we likewise decline to do            
          so.  Nevertheless, under the circumstances of this case, we                 
          proceed as though petitioner could, and did, reasonably expect              
          that the information provided by respondent’s employee was                  
          accurate.  Cf. Krugman v. Commissioner, 112 T.C. 230 (1999)                 
          (respondent conceded that the Government’s failure to provide a             
          taxpayer with the correct payoff amount was an appropriate ground           
          for an interest abatement); Douponce v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo.            
          1999-398 (holding that, where the Government mistakenly provided            
          a taxpayer with an incorrect payoff amount, the Government’s                
          failure to abate some of the interest that accrued thereafter was           
          an abuse of discretion).                                                    

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