Weekly IRS Roundup November 22 – November 26, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of November 22, 2021 – November 26, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum concerning a temporary deviation from the handwritten signature requirement for certain tax forms. To alleviate COVID-19 concerns while promoting timely filing, the IRS will allow taxpayers and representatives to use electronic or digital signatures when signing listed forms that currently require a handwritten signature. No specific technology is required to create the signature. The IRS has listed the eligible forms, which must be postmarked on August 28, 2020, or later.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum extending through October 31, 2023, temporary deviations that allow IRS employees to: (1) accept images of signatures and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability and (2) send or receive documents to or from taxpayers using emails with encrypted attachments when no other approved electronic alternative is available.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum providing guidance concerning employee retention credits and the deferral of paying social security taxes in 2020.

November 23, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing the launch of a new Spanish-language version of the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC-UP). Families who are already receiving monthly payments use the CTC-UP to update their accounts. Now, all the features that have only been available in English are also available in Spanish.

November 26, 2021: The IRS published a notice and request for comments on Form 944, Employer’s Annual Employment Tax Return, and Form 944-X, Adjusted Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, which are used in part to ensure the smallest non-agricultural and non-household employers are paying the correct amount of social security tax, Medicare tax and withheld federal income tax. Comments are due on or before January 25, 2022.

November 26, 2021: The IRS published a notice and request for comments concerning TD 8857 (addressing the determination of underwriting income by non-life insurance companies), which allows a non-life insurance company to increase unpaid losses on a yearly basis by the amount of estimated salvage recoverable if the company discloses this to the state insurance regulatory authority. Comments are due on or before January 28, 2022.

November 26, 2021: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Robbie Alipour in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.




Weekly IRS Roundup November 15 – November 19, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of November 15, 2021 – November 19, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

November 15, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing the launch of a new online tool designed to help US withholding agents comply with their reporting and withholding responsibilities with respect to IRS Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding. The tool performs a quality review of data before submitting to the IRS. Use of the tool does not change a withholding agent’s obligations to file Form 1042-S with the IRS and furnish a copy to the payee.

November 15, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that victims of wildfires that began July 14, 2021, now have until January 3, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

November 16, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that, effective November 15, 2021, tax professionals are able to order up to 30 Transcript Delivery System transcripts per client through the Practitioner Priority Service line. This is an increase from the previous 10 transcripts per client limit.

November 16, 2021: The IRS published a news release regarding Notice 2021-63, which details how the temporary 100% business deduction for food or beverages from restaurants applies to taxpayers properly applying the rules of Revenue Procedure 2019-48 when using per diem rates.

November 17, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that victims of Hurricane Ida throughout Mississippi now have additional time—until January 3, 2022—to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

November 17, 2021: The Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) published a news release announcing its annual report for 2021, which includes recommendations to the IRS regarding new and continuing issues in tax administration. The 2021 report includes recommendations on 24 issues, covering a broad range of topics. The IRSAC is a federal advisory committee that provides an organized public forum for the discussion of relevant tax administration issues between IRS officials and representatives of the public. IRSAC members offer constructive observations regarding current or proposed IRS policies, programs and procedures.

November 17, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing it unveiled a new how-to video series enabling taxpayers to avoid potential scams by considering and applying for an Offer in Compromise themselves and to avoid paying excessive fees to companies advertising outlandish claims.

November 17, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing the launch of an improved identity verification and sign-in process that enables more people to securely access IRS online tools and applications.

November 17, 2021: The IRS’s National Taxpayer Advocate published a blog post indicating that US Congress [...]

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Special Trial Judge Receives Tax Court’s Highest Award

On November 21, 2021, the US Tax Court announced that Special Trial Judge Daniel A. Guy, Jr., received the J. Edgar Murdock Award for his distinguished service to the Tax Court. The Murdock Award commemorates Judge John Edgar Murdock, who served on the Tax Court from 1926 to 1968 and has been described as probably the most influential person to serve on it. A story recited in the publication referenced below (and which may be more folklore than fact) is that a taxpayer once concluded their argument before Judge Murdock saying, “as God is my judge I do not owe this tax,” and Judge Murdock retorted, “He isn’t, I am, and you do.” Further background on Judge Murdock can be found here.

The Murdock Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Tax Court. It has been presented only 13 times since its creation in 1973, with the most recent recipients being former Chief Special Trial Judge Peter J. Panuthos (2012), former Judge Robert P. Ruwe (2012) and current Chief Special Trial Judge Lewis R. Carluzzo (2020).

The Tax Court is composed of 19 presidentially appointed members and also includes senior judges serving in recall and special trial judges. As explained in the publication “The United States Tax Court: A Historical Analysis” (2d ed. 2014), the Tax Court established a small tax case division following statutory changes made in the Tax Reform Act of 1969. The purpose of special trial judges is to lessen the workload of the Tax Court and allow these judges to hear cases with smaller amounts in controversy. The range of cases that may be assigned to a special trial judge has expanded over the years, and they play an important role in the tax judicial system.

Special Trial Judge Daniel has served the Tax Court in various roles, ranging from law clerk to general counsel, for more than 30 years. He was appointed as a Special Trial Judge on May 31, 2012. Partners Andrew Roberson and Kevin Spencer worked with Special Trial Judge Daniel when they clerked at the Tax Court and saw the invaluable services he provided firsthand. McDermott congratulates him on this well-deserved honor.




IRS Announces Nonacquiescence in Mayo Tax Regulation Invalidity Holding

We previously wrote here and here about decisions made by the District Court of Minnesota and the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Mayo Clinic v. United States regarding challenges to the validity of certain Treasury Regulations promulgated under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 170. In that case, the Eighth Circuit held for the taxpayer in part and the government in part and remanded to the district court to further develop the record and address certain issues.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced in an Action on Decision (AOD) that it will not acquiesce in the Eighth Circuit’s holding, which invalidated Treas. Reg. § 1.170A-9(c)(1)’s requirement that the primary function of an education organization described in Code Section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) must be the presentation of formal instruction. This means that in all cases not appealable to the Eighth Circuit, the IRS will not follow this holding and will continue to litigate the issue.

The IRS’s policy is to announce at an early date whether it will follow the holdings in certain cases, and it does so by making an announcement in an AOD. A nonacquiescence is not binding on courts or the taxpayers but merely signals the IRS’s position that it disagrees with a court decision. (Sometimes the IRS will acquiesce in a decision.) Given that an AOD is published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, it could be argued that the IRS’s action constitutes published guidance taxpayers can rely on. The IRS’s list of AODs, with links to each action, can be found here.




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