By Madison Barnett and Timothy Gustafson
The Tennessee Department of Revenue announced that the existing opportunity to compromise prior year liabilities related to the disallowance of certain intangible expense deductions will be closing on September 30, 2013. For several years, Tennessee has been issuing wide-scale assessments—using the Department’s discretionary authority—to taxpayers that deducted intangible expenses paid to related parties. The mass compromise program was first announced in November 2011. See Tenn. Important Notice No. 11-17. While not set forth in the notices, the terms of the compromise typically consist of a 25% disallowance of the intangible expense deduction with interest due on any additional tax that may result from the disallowance. A waiver of penalties associated with a failure to disclose the deduction must generally be requested separately. According to the most recent notice, “the Department will not continue to recommend compromises on the same terms if contacted by the taxpayer after September 30, 2013.” Taxpayers with existing assessments or potential exposure related to this issue should consider whether to request participation in the compromise program in advance of the September 30 deadline. Tenn. Important Notice No. 13-06 (June 2013).
The add-back statute has been amended, effective for tax periods ending on or after July 1, 2012, to require pre-approval from the Commissioner before a taxpayer may deduct specified intangible expenses, subject to certain safe harbors that do not require pre-approval. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-2006(b)(2)(N).