On December 20, 2018, the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2019-9, which covers the circumstances when a disclosure on a taxpayer’s income tax return regarding an item or position is adequate to reduce the understatement of income tax under section 6662(d) for the substantial understatement aspect of the accuracy-related penalty. It also discusses when a disclosure is adequate to avoid the tax return preparer penalty under section 6694 for understatements due to unreasonable positions. The guidance applies to any income tax return filed on 2018 tax forms. Rev. Proc. 2019-9 does not apply with respect to any other penalty provisions.

If section 6662 applies to any portion of an underpayment of tax required to be shown on a return, an amount equal to 20 percent of the portion of the underpayment is added to the tax. The penalty rate increases to 40 percent in the case of gross valuation misstatements under section 6662(h), nondisclosed noneconomic substance transactions under section 6662(i), or undisclosed foreign financial asset understatements under section 6662(j). Section 6662(b)(2) applies to the portion of an underpayment of tax that is attributable to a substantial understatement of income tax.

There is a substantial understatement of income tax if the amount of the understatement exceeds the greater of (i) 10 percent of the amount of tax required to be shown on the return for the taxable year or (ii) $5,000. Section 6662(d)(1)(B) provides a special rule for corporations. A corporation (other than an S corporation or a personal holding company) has a substantial understatement of income tax if the amount of the understatement exceeds the lesser of (i) 10 percent of the tax required to be shown on the return for a taxable year (or, if greater, $10,000) or (ii) $10,000,000. An understatement is the excess of the amount of tax required to be shown on the return for the taxable year over the amount of the tax that is shown on the return reduced by any rebate. In the case of an item not attributable to a tax shelter, if the taxpayer has a reasonable basis for the tax treatment of the item, the amount of the understatement is reduced by the portion of the understatement attributable to the item with respect to which the relevant facts affecting the item’s tax treatment are adequately disclosed in the return or in a statement attached to the return.

GENERAL

In general, this revenue procedure provides guidance for determining when disclosure by return is adequate for purposes of section 6662(d)(2)(B)(ii) and section 6694(a)(2)(B). For purposes of this revenue procedure, the taxpayer must furnish all required information in accordance with the applicable forms and instructions, and the money amounts entered on these forms must be verifiable. Pursuant to Rev. Proc. 2019-9, additional disclosure of facts relevant to, or positions taken with respect to, issues involving any of the items set forth below is unnecessary for purposes of reducing any understatement of income tax under section 6662(d)(except as otherwise provided in section 4.02(3) concerning Schedules M-1 and M-3), provided that the forms and attachments are completed in a clear manner and in accordance with their instructions.

For Schedule M-1 and all Schedules M-3, including those listed in (a)-(f) below, the information provided must reasonably apprise the Service of the potential controversy concerning the tax treatment of the item.

If the information provided does not so apprise the IRS, a Form 8275 or Form 8275-R must be used to adequately disclose the item.

According to the IRS, combining unlike items, whether on Schedule M-1 or Schedule M-3 (or on an attachment when directed by the instructions), will not constitute an adequate disclosure.

 Additionally, taxpayers that file Schedule M-3 (Form 1120), Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation for Corporations with Total Assets of $10 Million or More, may be required to complete Schedule B (Form 1120), Additional Information for Schedule M-3 Filers. Taxpayers that file the Schedule M-3 (Form 1065), Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation for Certain Partnerships, may be required to complete Schedule C (Form 1065), Additional Information for Schedule M-3 Filers. When required, these schedules are necessary to constitute adequate disclosure:

  1. Form 1065. Schedule M-3 (Form 1065), Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation for Certain Partnerships: Column (a), Income (Loss) per Income Statement, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (a), Expense per Income Statement, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); Column (b), Temporary Difference, and Column (c), Permanent Difference, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); and Column (d), Income (Loss) per Tax Return, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (d), Deduction per Tax Return, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items).
  2. Form 1120. (i) Schedule M-1, Reconciliation of Income (Loss) per Books With Income per Return. (ii) Schedule M-3 (Form 1120), Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation for Corporations With Total Assets of $10 Million or More: Column (a), Income (Loss) per Income Statement, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (a), Expense per Income Statement, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); Column (b), Temporary Difference, and Column (c), Permanent Difference, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); and Column (d), Income (Loss) per Tax Return, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (d), Deduction per Tax Return, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items).
  3. Form 1120-L. Schedule M-3 (Form 1120-L), Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation for U.S. Life Insurance Companies With Total Assets of $10 Million or More: Column (a), Income (Loss) per Income Statement, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (a), Expense per Income Statement, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); Column (b), Temporary Difference, and Column (c), Permanent Difference, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); and Column (d), Income (Loss) per Tax Return, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (d), Deduction per Tax Return, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items).
  4. Form 1120-PC. Schedule M-3 (Form 1120-PC), Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation for U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Companies With Total Assets of $10 Million or More: Column (a), Income (Loss) per Income Statement, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (a), Expense per Income Statement, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); Column (b), Temporary Difference, and Column (c), Permanent Difference, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); and Column (d), Income (Loss) per Tax Return, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (d), Deduction per Tax Return, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items).
  5. Form 1120-S. Schedule M-3 (Form 1120-S), Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation for S Corporations With Total Assets of $10 Million or More: Column (a), Income (Loss) per Income Statement, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (a), Expense per Income Statement, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); Column (b), Temporary Difference, and Column (c), Permanent Difference, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items); and Column (d),Income (Loss) per Tax Return, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Column (d), Deduction per Tax Return, of Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items).
  6. Form 1120-F. Schedule M-3 (Form 1120-F), Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation for Foreign Corporations With Reportable Assets of $10 Million or More: Column (b), Temporary Differences, Column (c), Permanent Differences, and Column (d), Other Permanent Differences for Allocations to Non-ECI and ECI, of Part II (reconciliation of income (loss) items) and Part III (reconciliation of expense/deduction items).

 This revenue procedure applies to any income tax return filed on a 2018 tax form for a taxable year beginning in 2018 and to any income tax return filed on a 2018 tax form in 2019 for a short taxable year beginning in 2019.