Robert B. Kemp, Jr. - Page 7

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               Interest on a Federal income tax liability, including a                
          fraud penalty, generally begins to accrue on the due date of the            
          return.  Secs. 6601(a), (e)(2)(B), 6622.                                    
               The Commissioner has authority to abate an assessment of               
          interest on a deficiency or payment of income tax if the accrual            
          of such interest is attributable to an error or delay by an                 
          officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service in performing           
          a ministerial act.  Sec. 6404(e)(1).3  A ministerial act means a            
          procedural or mechanical act that does not involve the exercise             
          of judgment.  Lee v. Commissioner, 113 T.C. 145, 149-150 (1999);            
          sec. 301.6404-2T, Temporary Proced. & Admin. Regs., 52 Fed. Reg.            
          30163 (Aug. 13, 1987).  Any such error or delay shall be taken              
          into account “only * * * after the Internal Revenue Service has             
          contacted the taxpayer in writing with respect to * * * [the]               
          deficiency or payment” on which the interest has accrued.  Sec.             
          6404(e)(1).  Finally, the legislative history indicates that                
          Congress did not intend the abatement authority to be used                  
          routinely to avoid payment of interest; rather, Congress intended           
          the provision to be used in instances “where failure to abate               

               3 Sec. 6404(e) was amended by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2,           
          Pub. L. 104-168, sec. 301, 110 Stat. 1457 (1996), to permit the             
          Commissioner to abate interest with respect to an “unreasonable”            
          error or delay resulting from “managerial” or ministerial acts.             
          The amendment is effective for interest accruing with respect to            
          deficiencies or payments for tax years beginning after July 30,             
          1996, and is therefore inapplicable here.                                   

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