Thompson v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 8792-20

CourtUnited States Tax Court
Writing for the CourtAlbert G. Lauber Judge
Docket Number8792-20
Decision Date12 January 2023



No. 8792-20

United States Tax Court

January 12, 2023


Albert G. Lauber Judge

This case is calendared for trial at a special session in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning August 28, 2023. The case involves charitable contribution deductions claimed by petitioner for a conservation easement and accuracy-related penalties determined for tax years 2016-2018. In his petition petitioner alleged that "Respondent bears the burden of proof as to all issues."

On November 28, 2022, respondent filed a Motion in Limine requesting rulings that: (1) all of the requirements for claiming charitable contribution deductions under I.R.C. § 170 and the regulations promulgated thereunder are at issue, and (2) petitioner bears the burden of proving that he satisfied all of these requirements.[1] On January 4, 2023, petitioner filed an Objection to the Motion in which he disputed respondent's contentions and argued that the only issue for decision is the proper valuation of the easement. On January 6, 2023, respondent filed a Response to petitioner's Objection.

The taxpayer generally bears the burden of proving his entitlement to any deduction claimed. See Rule 142(a)(1); Welch v. Helvering, 290 U.S. Ill. 115 (1933). Under Rule 142(a)(1), the burden shifts to the Commissioner "in respect of any new matter." The burden may also shift to respondent under I.R.C. § 7491(a) with respect to a particular factual issue if the taxpayer meets specified requirements. One of these requirements is that the taxpayer must "introduce[] credible evidence with respect to [that] issue."


It would be premature for us to rule on the burden of proof at this juncture. It is not yet clear what grounds respondent will advance, apart from alleged overvaluation of the easement, in challenging petitioner's claimed deductions. Nor is it clear which (if any) of such grounds would constitute "new matter." Although respondent contends in his Motion that all statutory and regulatory requirements are at issue, the parties are apparently negotiating a stipulation that may narrow the issues remaining for decision. We expect that respondent will clarify in his pre-trial memorandum (PTM) the issues that he intends to raise at trial. If petitioner believes that any issues respondent identifies in the PTM constitute "new matter," he may then file a motion to shift the burden of proof to respondent as to those...

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