More on The Legislative Intent Behind 26 USC 6702: frivolous return penalty

What The Chief IRS Attorneys Say About "Frivolous" Penalties And Valid Returns

Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel Memorandum 200107035:

"Section 6702 of the Code was enacted by the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, P.L. 97-248, 96 Stat. 324. According to the Senate Report, S. Rep. No. 97-494, Vol. 1, 97th Cong., 2d. Sess. 277 (1982), the penalty is intended to attack a variety of tax protest activities including: (1) irregular forms 1040 not in processible form because of altered or incorrect descriptions of line items or other provisions; (2) references to spurious constitutional arguments instead of required completion of a tax form; (3) forms on which there is incomplete information to calculate tax liability; (4) presentation of information which is clearly inconsistent, such as the listing of only a few dependents by a person who claims 99 exemptions; (5) "gold standard " or "war tax" deductions; and (6) deliberate use of incorrect tax tables."


"Virtually all of the authority for treating a signed Form 1040 as a nullity relies upon the fact that the taxpayer refused to provide any information pertaining to his or her income, or provided de minimis income information and accompanied the purported return with tax protestor type arguments."

Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel Memorandum 200114033:

"[T]he Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in United States v. Long, 618 F.2d 74 (9th Cir. 1980), that a return containing zeros on most of the lines and signed by the taxpayer without modifications, additions, or deletions to the attestation statement [such as to render the affirmation as to what is reported on the return in doubt] would be sufficient to calculate tax liability, and, therefore, constitute a valid return."

Clarification/amplification of one of the six purposes for the 6702 provision from a case:

[T]he legislative history of 6702... ...indicates that the frivolous return penalty was meant to apply to returns "in which many or all of the line items are not filled in except for reference to spurious constitutional objections." S.Rep. No. 494, 97th Cong., 2d Sess. 278, reprinted in 1982 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 781, 1024. Leogrande v. U.S. 811 F.2d 147 C.A.2 (N.Y.) (1987)