Gross Valuation Overstatement Penalty Imposed For Charitable Easement Donation.

The petitioner, a banker, and spouse contributed a permanent conservation easement on more than 80 acres to a land trust, valuing the easement at $1,418,500 million.  They claimed a phased-in deduction over several years.  The IRS, on audit, proposed the complete disallowance of the deduction and sought a 20 percent penalty or a zero valuation of the easement and a 40 percent penalty for gross overvaluation of the easement.   IRS Appeals took the position that the 40 percent penalty should apply due to a zero valuation of the easement, and that if that weren't approved judicially a 20 percent penalty for valuation misstatement should apply.  The parties stipulated to a easement valuation of $80,000 and that the petitioner had no reasonable cause defense to raise against the 40 percent penalty, but that the defense could apply against the 20 percent penalty.  The court upheld the 40 percent penalty.  The IRS also conceded, in order to clear the table for the penalty issue, that the petitioner, a non-farmer, was not subject to self-employment tax on CRP rental income for years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.  The concession was made after the IRS issued it's non-acquiescence to the Morehouse decision in the 8th Circuit in which the court determined that CRP rents in the hands of a non-farmer were not subject to self-employment tax.  Legg v. Comr., 145 T.C. No. 13 (2015).