Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of February 17 – 21, 2020.

February 18, 2020:  The IRS issued a revenue ruling providing various prescribed rates for federal income tax purposes for March 2020, including various applicable federal rates (AFRs) for purposes of IRC section 1274(d) and adjusted AFRs for purposes of IRC section 1288(b) and section 382(f). The revenue ruling also contains the federal rate to determine the present value of annuities and other future interests for purposes of IRC section 7520.

February 19, 2020:  The IRS issued a revenue procedure establishing a safe harbor under which the IRS will treat partnerships as properly allocating, in accordance with IRC section 704(b), the credit for carbon oxide sequestration under IRC section 45Q. In a related news release, the IRS stated that the safe harbor is similar to the safe harbors developed for partnerships receiving the wind energy production tax credit and the rehabilitation credit. The safe harbor will be effective for transactions entered into on or after March 9, 2020, and provides rules that allow for prior transactions to qualify for similar treatment.

February 19, 2020:  The IRS published final regulations that correct TD 9885, the base erosion and anti-abuse regulations that were published on December 6, 2019. The amendments restructure the sentence addressing “a principal purpose” of avoiding a base erosion payment; the amendments also correct Treas. Reg. § 1.6038A-2(g) to say that returns must be included “on or after” June 7, 2021.

February 19, 2020:  The IRS issued a notice providing guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the corresponding spot segment rates used under IRC section 417(e)(3), and the 24-month average segment rates under IRC section 430(h)(2). The notice also provides guidance as to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury securities under IRC section 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(II) as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008 and the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate under IRC section 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I).

February 19, 2020:  The IRS issued a news release reporting that the J5 tax chiefs—leaders from five international tax organizations, including the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit—met in Sydney this past week to review the J5’s progress in their fight against transnational crime. The J5 was formed upon the OECD’s suggestion and has recently engaged in a globally coordinated “day of action” against an international financial institution suspected of facilitating money laundering and tax evasion.

February 19, 2020:  The Treasury and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released a final rule to reflect inflation adjustments to its civil monetary penalties. The updated penalty adjustment table is listed in 31 CFR Section 1010.821, and it includes civil monetary penalties for various types of violations, including penalties for violations of Bank Secrecy Act requirements.

February 20, 2020:  The IRS released draft instructions to Form 8978, Partner’s Additional Reporting Year Tax, to reflect changes to the audit procedures of partnerships under the 2015 BBA. Under IRC section 6226, a partnership may elect to have each reviewed year partner take into account the partner’s share of the partnership’s adjustments, instead of the partnership paying the imputed underpayment determined under Section 6221.

February 21, 2020:  The IRS issued a publication explaining that Pub. 525, which discusses canceled debt that is excluded from income, should be corrected to clarify that debt discharged from principal residence indebtedness shall not be included in gross income, as required under the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. The IRS stated that Pub. 525 will be reposted to reflect this information, but that neither the 2019 nor the 2018 version will be reprinted.

February 21, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Jenni Saperstein in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of February 10 – 14, 2020.

February 10, 2020:  The IRS issued a revenue ruling providing guidance regarding how to determine the adjusted basis life of insurance contracts under IRC section 1011 and 1012 given the recent amendments to IRC section 1016(a), which the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act amended to provide that in determining the basis of a life insurance contract or an annuity contract, no adjustment is made for mortality, expense, or other reasonable charges incurred under the contract. The IRS updated Revenue Ruling 2009-13 and 2009-14 to reflect these changes.

February 10, 2020:  The Joint Committee on Taxation released a report addressing domestic corporations’ federal tax receipts and tax liabilities. The report summarized the present law and accounting rules regarding corporate taxation, specifically addressing behavioral responses relating to recent tax changes, including the acceleration of deductions, deferral of income, and treatment of NOLs and NOL carryovers. The House Committee on Ways and Means discussed the report in a public hearing on February 11, 2020.

February 10, 2020:  The Treasury published a notice of a current list of countries that require or may require participation in, or cooperation with, an international boycott within the meaning of IRC section 999(b)(3). The countries include Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

February 11, 2020:  The Joint Committee on Taxation released a report addressing an amendment that would provide for additional reporting by certain investors with respect to certain specified medical care providers. Under the proposal, reporting persons are required to file annual information returns with respect to certain specified medical care providers in which the reporting person holds an interest. The House Committee on Ways and Means discussed the report in a public hearing on February 12, 2020.

February 13, 2020:  The IRS published proposed regulations that provide guidance for employers concerning the amount of federal income tax to withhold from employee’s wages, implementing recent changes due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the redesigned 2020 Form W-4 and related IRS publications. In a related news release, the IRS stated that employees who have a Form W-4 on file with their employer from years prior to 2020 generally will continue to have their withholding determined based on that form.

February 14, 2020:  The IRS released final regulations to correct final regulations contained in T.D. 9891, which was published on January 23, 2020, and provided guidance applicable to transfers of appreciated property by US persons to partnerships with foreign partners related to the transferor. The regulations are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on February 18, 2020.

February 14, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Jenni Saperstein in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

 

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of February 3 – 7, 2020.

February 3, 2020:  The IRS and the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services jointly announced frequently asked questions about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The agencies noted that they are tasked with developing standards for use by a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage in compiling a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC). The 2021 iterations of the SBC template, instructions, coverage example guide and narratives—all of which have been recently released—must be used beginning with the first day of the first open enrollment period for any plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2021.

February 4, 2020:  The IRS issued an issue snapshot regarding self-dealing under IRC section 4941(d), focusing largely on the furnishing of goods, services or facilities between a private foundation and a disqualified person. The IRS provided resources and guidance that delineate exceptions to the excise tax that typically applies to any direct or indirect act of self-dealing under IRC section 4941. The IRS also provided issue indicators and audit tips on the subject.

February 5, 2020:  The IRS published final regulations regarding special valuation rules for employers and employees to use in determining the amount to include in an employee’s gross income for personal use of an employer-provided vehicle. These regulations incorporate changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The regulations became effective upon publication.

February 6, 2020:  The IRS published final regulations correcting Treasury Decision 9884, which addressed the effect of recent legislative changes to the basic exclusion amount allowable in computing federal gift and estate taxes. These regulations affect donors of gifts made after 2017 and the estates of decedents dying after 2017. The regulations became effective upon publication.

February 6, 2020:  The IRS released draft Instructions to Form 1118, Foreign Tax Credit for Corporations, to reflect the recently published final regulations. The Instructions note a change in the manner in which foreign source exchange losses are reported on Schedule A. They also note that since most domestic partnerships and S corporations are no longer required to include amounts under IRC section 951A, most domestic corporations will only need to complete one line in Schedule D.

February 7, 2020:  The IRS issued a notice releasing the 2018 and 2019 inflation adjustment factors used to determine the availability of the Indian coal production credit under IRC section 45. The 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act extended the credit period for Indian coal production.

February 7, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Jenni Saperstein in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

 

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of January 27 – 31, 2020.

January 27, 2020: The Joint Committee on Taxation released a report regarding an overview of selected provisions and options relating to funding and financing infrastructure investments. The report addresses the use of private activity bonds, new markets tax credits, and the opportunity zones incentive to fund infrastructure projects. The House Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a hearing entitled “Paving the Way for Funding and Financing Infrastructure Investments” on January 29, 2020.

January 29, 2020: The IRS issued a notice stating that the health coverage tax credit (HCTC) has been extended for all coverage months beginning in 2020. The IRS explained that eligible individuals can receive a tax credit to offset the cost of their monthly health insurance premiums so long as they have qualified health coverage. This notice supersedes the October 2019 letter from the IRS advising participants in the HCTC program to seek alternative insurance options due to the expiration of the HCTC law in December 2019.

January 30, 2020: The IRS issued final regulations that update the due dates and available extensions of time to file certain tax returns and information returns. The dates are updated to reflect the statutory requirements set by section 2006 of the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 and section 201 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015. The regulations also remove a provision for electing large partnerships that was obsoleted by section 1101(b)(1) of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

January 31, 2020: The IRS issued a news release announcing that nearly 80% of the taxpayers that received a settlement offer letter while under audit for their participation in abusive micro-captive insurance transactions have elected to accept the IRS’ settlement terms. The IRS also announced that it is establishing 12 new examination teams that are expected to open thousands of audits in the coming months. Abusive micro-captives have been a recurring feature on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams since 2014.

January 31, 2020: The IRS issued a revenue procedure detailing its revision of Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)(3), announcing that the Form must be filed electronically beginning January 31, 2020, subject to a 90-day grace period during which the IRS will continue to receive paper forms. The IRS also revised the Instructions to Form 1023.

January 31, 2020: The IRS revised Form 8996, Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF), to reflect final regulations on the subject. Form 8996 allows corporations and partnerships to certify that they are organized to invest in qualified opportunity zone (QOZ) property and to report that the QOF meets the 90% investment standard that section 1400Z-2 imposes. The IRS also revised the Instructions to Form 8966.

January 31, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Jenni Saperstein in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of January 20 – 24, 2020.

January 20, 2020: The IRS released new Instructions to IRS Form 1120-S, US Income Tax Return for an S Corporation. These changes conform to the new regulations, which changed the qualified business income deduction, addressed qualified opportunity fund investments, and removed the AMT refundable credit. In conjunction with these changes, the IRS also released updated Instructions to Form 1065, Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc., so that it complied with the new rules regarding the qualified business income deduction.

January 21, 2020: The IRS issued a notice updating both the corporate bond weighted average interest rates and the permissible range of interest rates used to calculate pension plan minimum funding for plan years beginning in January 2020. The IRS updated various projections, including the yield curve, 24-month segment rates, 30-year Treasury securities interest rates, and the minimum present value segment rates.

January 22, 2020: The IRS issued interim guidance to its appeals employees regarding employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP) cases under IRC section 4980H, which requires applicable large employers to provide minimum essential coverage to a certain percentage of their employees. The guidance affects IRM 8.7.21 and is effective immediately.

January 22, 2020: The IRS released a Large Business and International Concept Practice Unit addressing payments of Fixed Determinable Annual Periodic (FDAP) income. The Unit focuses on the statistical sampling and projection procedures that IRS agents utilize when auditing a US withholding agent, focusing especially one that has a large number of Forms 1042-S (regarding a foreign person’s US source income subject to withholding) or FDAP payments, whether or not those payments had been reported. 

January 23, 2020: The IRS issued a news release announcing that various global tax chiefs undertook a multi-country day of action dedicated to investigating the facilitation of offshore tax evasion. The day of action involved evidence and intelligence collection activities such as search warrants, interviews and subpoenas. It is expected that further criminal, civil and regulatory action will arise from these actions.

January 23, 2020: The IRS released an issue snapshot about third-party payer arrangements, focusing specifically on professional employer organizations (PEOs) and their related employment tax responsibilities under IRC section 3511. The IRS provided tax resources to help taxpayers address issues that arise when a common law employer’s employment tax obligations are shared by or shifted to a PEO. The IRS also provided audit tips to these taxpayers.

January 24, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Jenni Saperstein in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of January 6 – January 10, 2020.

January 6, 2020: The IRS issued a News Release confirming that the 2019 tax filing season will be open for individual filers—and that the IRS will begin accepting and processing 2019 tax year returns—on January 27, 2020. The IRS explained that though taxpayers may prepare returns through the IRS’ Free File program before that date, the IRS will begin processing these returns when their systems open on January 27. The IRS also noted that the deadline to file 2019 tax returns and to pay any tax owed is April 15, 2020.

January 8, 2020: The Acting National Taxpayer Advocate released her 2019 Annual Report to Congress, highlighting challenges such as the implementation of the Taxpayer First Act, inadequate taxpayer service and limited funding of the agency. Also released was the third edition of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s Purple Book, which presents 58 legislative recommendations designed to strengthen taxpayer rights and improve tax administration. Among other issues, the Report emphasized that the IRS is struggling to meet its stated Mission because it is underfunded, and stressed that the IRS should use the Taxpayer First Act as an opportunity to identify taxpayer needs and preferences and to develop initiatives to meet them.

January 9, 2020: The IRS issued a News Release reminding taxpayers that signing up for direct deposit is the fastest way to receive their federal tax refund. The IRS explained that by using direct deposit, a taxpayer could split their refund into up to three financial accounts, including Individual Retirement Accounts.

January 9, 2020: The IRS issued a News Release announcing the launch of the Gig Economy Tax Center on IRS.gov, citing the various resources that will make it easier for taxpayers to find information about the tax implications for both the companies that provide the services and for the individuals who perform them. The IRS touted the Center’s necessity, given that many gig workers do not receive a W-2 or a Form 1099 but must still pay taxes on that income.

January 10, 2020: The IRS issued proposed regulations that revise the applicability dates for previously proposed regulations under section 382(h), delaying the applicability of those proposed rules and providing transition relief for eligible taxpayers. The proposed regulations were initially published in September 2019 and would revise the rules in §§1.382-2 and 1.382-7, affecting the determination of the net built-in gains and losses and recognized built-in gains and losses under section 382(h) that, in turn, affect the limitation under section 382 on net operating losses and disallowed business interest expense under section 163(j).

January 10, 2020: The IRS released a supplement to the 2019 instructions for Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s US Source Income Subject to Withholding. The instructions now reflect proposed regulations that would reduce taxpayers’ burdens with respect to certain requirements under FATCA. The instructions also now include the revised backup withholding tax rate of 24%, as enacted by the TCJA.

January 10, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Jenni Saperstein in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

On January 6, 2020, the IRS Whistleblower Office released its annual report to Congress. The Office reported that it collected $616.8 million in fiscal year 2019 as a result of information provided by whistleblowers, out of which $120.3 million was paid out as whistleblower awards, for net collections of $496.5 million. This is a decrease from the $1.13 billion in net collections in fiscal year 2018 (which has been described as an outlier year), but an increase from the $156.6 million in net collections in fiscal year 2017. A total of 3,640 whistleblowers filed claims in fiscal year 2019, including 282 whistleblowers from outside of the United States.

Practice Point:  Whistleblower actions are a good reminder to make sure that your privileged and confidential tax information remains in the hands and minds of only those employees and officers who have a need to know. A disgruntled or terminated employee may take the opportunity to play the “whistleblower lottery,” removing sensitive and privileged material and handing it over to the IRS. With the start of the new year, it’s a worthwhile investment of time and resources to make sure your sensitive tax strategies and information are stored and protected.

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of December 30, 2019 – January 3, 2020.

December 30, 2019:  The IRS issued a news release announcing an agreement with Free File, Inc. that is designed to bring more clarity for taxpayers choosing to use free online software during the 2020 filing season. The IRS hopes for the agreement to make the Free File program more taxpayer-friendly while strengthening consumer protections in several key areas.

December 31, 2019:  The IRS issued a news release regarding a notice that provides the optional 2020 standard mileage rates for taxpayers to use in computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving expense purposes. The notice also provides the amount that taxpayers must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, as well as the maximum standard automobile cost that may be used in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) plan. The guidance is generally effective for deductible transportation expenses paid or incurred on or after January 1, 2020.

January 2, 2020:  The IRS officially set January 13, 2020, as the publication date in the Federal Register for final regulations on investments in qualified opportunity zones.

January 2, 2020:  The IRS issued its annual revenue procedures listing no-rule areas under the jurisdiction of the Associate Chief Counsels (Corporate, Financial Institutions and Products, Income Tax and Accounting, Passthroughs and Special Industries, Procedure and Administration, and Tax Exempt and Government Entities). The revenue procedures provide a detailed list of areas in which letter rulings and determination letters will not be issued, under any circumstances. The revenue procedures also provide a detailed list of areas in which letter rulings and determination letters will not ordinarily be issued, but may be issued under unique and compelling circumstances. 

January 2, 2020:  The IRS issued a revenue procedure that provides determination letter procedures for applications, including applicable user fees for requesting determination letters. It provides specific procedures for determination letter requests for recognition of exempt status under section 501 and section 521, as well as for determination letter requests on Form 8940. It provides additional guidance on the exhaustion of administrative remedies for purposes of declaratory judgment under section 7428. The IRS provided a list of significant changes from the prior year’s guidance.

January 2, 2020:  The IRS issued a revenue procedure that provides determination letter procedures on matters under the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division’s Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements Office. Again, the IRS provided a list of significant changes from the prior year’s guidance.

January 2, 2020:  The IRS issued a revenue procedure detailing procedures regarding when and how an Associate office provides technical advice through a technical advice memorandum (TAM). The revenue procedure also provides guidance regarding taxpayers’ rights when a field office requests a TAM regarding a tax matter.

January 3, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice). 

Special thanks to Jenni Saperstein in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

Code Sec. 367(a) and (d) subject to taxation a transfer of tangible and intangible property by a U.S. person to a foreign corporation in an otherwise tax-free transaction. While for many years exceptions were provided for transfers of certain types of property, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) amended Code Sec. 367, removing the exceptions and broadening the definition of intangible property.

Specifically, Code Sec. 367(a)(1) provides generally that gain realized on the transfer of property by a U.S. person to a foreign corporation is subject to taxation. Former Code Sec. 367(a)(3) had provided an exception for property transferred to a foreign corporation for use in an active trade or business outside the United States. For example, this exception was available for the transfer of a foreign plant and equipment. The exception did not apply to a transfer of inventory, accounts receivable, intangible property within the meaning of former Code Sec. 936(h)(3) (B), or foreign currency. The TCJA eliminated this exception, such that gain on a transfer of property by a US person to a foreign corporation is now subject to immediate taxation, except for property subject to Code Sec. 367(d).

Access the full article.

Originally published by International Tax Journal: November/December 2019