We previously discussed the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) surprising position that for taxpayers making an election under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 965(h) to pay the transition tax over 8 years through installment payments, any overpayments of 2017 tax liabilities cannot be used as credits for 2018 estimated tax payments or refunded, unless and until the overpayment amount exceeds the full 8 years of installment payments. The IRS’s position has affected many taxpayers, and practitioners have expressed their concerns to the IRS.

On June 4, 2018, the IRS responded to these concerns. Rather than changing its position, the IRS has doubled down; however, the IRS has taken the small but welcome step of allowing some penalty relief for taxpayers affected by the earlier guidance as set forth in new Questions and Answers 15, 16 and 17.

Based on discussions with the IRS, it appears that the IRS’s position is based on the view that it has broad authority under Code Section 6402 to apply overpayments against other taxes owed, and that Code Section 6403 requires an overpayment of an installment payment to be applied against unpaid installments. Thus, the IRS maintains that the Code Section 965 tax liability is simply a part of the tax year 2017 liability, and it is, except for Code Section 965(h) and a timely election thereunder, payable and due by the due date of the 2017 tax return. Any future installments for the Code Section 965 liability are, in the IRS’s view, not part of a tax for a future tax year that has yet to have been determined, as the tax has already been self-assessed by the taxpayer for 2017. Accordingly, the IRS views any overpayments as being applied within the same tax period to the outstanding Code Section 965 tax owed by the taxpayer even though taxpayers making a timely Code Section 965(h) election are not legally required to make additional payments until subsequent years. Continue Reading Tax Reform Insight: IRS Doubles Down on Retention of 2017 Overpayments to Satisfy Future Section 965 Installment Payments

Here’s what happened in the world of IRS guidance for the week June 11 – 15, 2018.

June 11, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2018-55 describing potential proposed regulations that would offer relief to some private colleges and universities by providing a stepped-up basis rule that could reduce the amount of gain subject to a new 1.4 percent excise tax on their endowments.

June 12, 2018: The IRS issued proposed regulations, under Code section 148 applicable to tax-exempt and other tax-advantaged bonds, aimed to restrict arbitrage investments and providing an exception to the definition of investment-type property for capital projects that further the public purpose for which the bonds were issued.

June 12, 2018: Pursuant to its continuing effort to reduce paperwork, the IRS requested comments on a number of published guidance, including: Rev. Proc. 2003-33 (extension of time to file a section 338 election to treat stock purchases as asset acquisitions); TD 8379 and TD 9407 (regulations regarding the manner and method of reporting and paying the excise tax on the receipt of greenmail); TD 8791 (relating to charitable remainder trusts and to special valuation rules for transfers of interests in trusts); and, TD 8571 (relating to the reporting of certain information relating to payments of mortgage interest). All comments are due by August 13, 2018.

June 15, 2018: The IRS announced the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the 24-month average segments rats, the 30-year Treasury securities interest rate, the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate, and the minimum present-value segment rates in Notice 2018-56.

June 15, 2018: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandum and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Christy Vouri and Greg Berson in our DC office for this week’s round-up.

In order to continue to keep our readers informed on tax matters, we will be rolling out weekly posts on significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax cases. This post marks our first round-up of IRS guidance for the week June 4 – 8, 2018.

June 4, 2018: The IRS issued 3 new FAQs (supplementing the original 14 tax reform FAQs) which announce that it will waive certain late-payment penalties relating to the section 965 transition tax.

June 4, 2018: The IRS issued Internal Revenue Bulletin No. 2018-23 including: Rev. Proc. 2018-32 (combining guidance for grantors and contributors to tax-exempt organizations); Rev. Proc. 2018-34 (providing indexing adjustments for certain provisions under section 36B); Rev. Rul. 2018-14 (obsoleting Rev. Rul. 68-59, 1968-1 C.B. 273); Rev. Rul 2018-15 (obsoleting Rev. Rul. 74-487, 1974-2 C.B. 82; Rev. Rul. 75-211, 1975-1 C.B. 86; Rev. Rul. 77-115, 1977-1 C.B. 154; Rev. Rul. 77-407, 1977-2 C.B. 77; and, Rev. Rul. 80-11, 1980-1 C.B. 58); and Rev. Rul. 2018-16 (providing the prescribed federal interest rates for June 2018).

June 7, 2018: The IRS issued an early release draft of Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate seeking comments from industry.

June 7, 2018: With hurricane season underway, the IRS warns taxpayers that scammers often try to take advantage of the generosity of taxpayers who want to help victims of major disasters.

June 8, 2018: The IRS issued final regulations under sections 337 and 732 that: (1) prevent a corporate partner from avoiding corporate-level gain through transactions with a partnership involving equity interests of the partner or certain related entities, (2) allow consolidated group members that are partners in the same partnership to aggregate their bases in stock for certain purposes and (3) that may require certain corporations that engage in gain elimination transactions to reduce the basis of corporate assets or to recognize gain.

June 8, 2018: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandum and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Christy Vouri-Misso in our DC office for this week’s round-up.

Just 10 days after his inauguration, President Trump signed Executive Order 13771, establishing the tenet of deregulation to be adopted by the Trump administration. Executive Order 13771 outlined the Trump administration’s vision for reducing regulation and controlling regulatory costs, and established a principle that for every one new regulation issued at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination — the “one in, two out” principle. President Trump’s Call for Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens.

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Originally published in Law360, June 2018.

Wrapping Up May – and Looking Forward to June

Top May Posts You Might Have Missed

LB&I Announces Six New Campaigns

SOL and the 1603 Cash Grant – File Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

IRS Implementation of Tax Reform Continues to Move Forward

Upcoming Tax Controversy Activities in June

Our lawyers will present on key tax topics during the month of June. We hope to see you.

June 21, 2018: Britt Haxton, Kristen Hazel, Enrica Ma, Jane May, Sandra McGill, Alysse McLoughlin, Maureen O’Brien and Diann Smith are presenting at Tax in the City® New York about the various impacts of tax reform on state and local taxes, on digital commerce, on cross-border transactions, and on compensation structures and fringe benefits, along with a CLE/CPE session on the ethical considerations around tax reform. Email Maria Dubinets at mdubinets@mwe.com to register.

June 21, 2018: Todd Welty is presenting a tax court update as part of the “Tax Compliance and Enforcement Update Part I” panel at the New York University Tax Controversy Forum in New York, NY.

Following up on our prior post, Judge Maurice B. Foley takes over today as Chief Judge of the US Tax Court (Tax Court). The term as Chief Judge spans two years and involves several statutory and administrative duties, including but not limited to the assignment of cases, appointment of Special Trial Judges, review of draft opinions, and determination of which cases will be reviewed by the full court. For those interested in a historical analysis of the Tax Court, which was recently revised in 2014, see here.

The second meeting of McDermott’s Tax in the City® initiative in Seattle was held on May 22, 2018 at the Amazon headquarters. McDermott established Tax in the City® in 2014 as a discussion and networking group for women in tax aimed to foster collaboration and mentorship, and to facilitate in-person connections and roundtable events around the country. With the highest attendance rate of any Tax in the City® event to date, the May meeting featured a CLE/CPE presentation about Ethical Considerations around Tax Reform by Elizabeth Chao, Kirsten Hazel, Jane May and Erin Turley, followed by a roundtable discussion about recent tax reform insights led by Britt HaxtonSandra McGill and Diann Smith.

Here’s what we covered at last week’s Tax in the City® Seattle:

  • Tax Reform: Ethical Considerations – Because of tax reform, taxpayers face increased uncertainty and will likely face increased IRS/state scrutiny for their 2017 & 2018 returns. Therefore, it’s crucial for taxpayers to be intentional about post-reform planning and compliance, including by coordinating among various departments (federal tax, state and local tax, employee benefits, treasury, operations, etc.). Taxpayers should understand the weight of various IRS/state revenue authority guidance, the IRS’s authority to issue retroactive regulations within 18 months of passing legislation, and how to take reasonable positions in the absence of guidance. They should also understand when the IRS has longer than three years to assess tax, including when there is an omission of global intangible low taxed income (GILTI) or when the tax relates to the section 965 transition tax.
  • Tax Reform Changes to Employee Compensation and Benefit Deductions – Post-tax reform, all employees of US public companies, private companies with US publicly traded debt, and foreign issuers with ADRs traded on the US market are covered employees subject to the $1 million limit for deductible compensation. Though a grandfather rule applies if existing contracts are not materially modified, key questions about how to apply this rule remain. Tax reform eliminated the employer deduction for transportation subsidies (other than bicycle subsidies). It also reduced employers’ ability to deduct meal and entertainment expenses, and removed employers’ and employees’ ability to deduct moving expenses.
  • Supreme Court Update: Wayfair – Jurisdiction to Tax – Following the Wayfair oral arguments, it is difficult to predict whether the Supreme Court will uphold as constitutional South Dakota’s tax on online retailers. Wayfair raises the fundamental question of when the courts should settle tax issues, and when they should wait for Congress to act.
  • Interaction of Cross-Border Tax Reform Provisions – Income of a US multinational is subject to varying rates of US tax depending on where it is earned. The US parent’s income from selling to US customers will be subject to the full rate of 21 percent and its income from selling to foreign customers will generally be subject to the foreign derived intangible income (FDII) rate of 13.125 percent. If the income is earned by a controlled foreign corporation (CFC), then amounts above a deemed tangible asset return generally will be subject to 10.5 percent US tax as GILTI. Taxpayers cannot analyze these provisions in isolation. Because the new provisions sometimes interact in unintuitive ways, it is crucial to do models to determine the impact of various transactions. For instance, if the US parent must pay a royalty to a CFC, then that payment may cause the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT) to apply, which could eliminate any tax benefit from having an intangible return earned by the CFC.
  • Tax Reform: Spotlight on Partnerships – Several tax reform provisions do not clearly indicate how they apply to partnerships. One key question is whether the 50 percent GILTI deduction should be applied at the partner or partnership level.
  • EU Proposal to Tax Income from Digital Commerce – On March 21, the European Commission made two proposals regarding the taxation of digital activities in the EU. First, it proposed expanding the definition of permanent establishment (PE) to include companies that have no physical presence in a country but meet a minimum threshold of annual revenues or users there (a digital PE).  Second, it proposed a 3 percent tax on gross revenues from the sale of data generated from user-provided information, digital activities which allow users to interact with one another, and online advertising.

We invite all tax professionals who identify as female to continue the conversation and share tax developments with the official LinkedIn group for Tax in the City®! Click here to join.

The next Tax in the City® meeting will take place in New York on June 21. Please contact Mia Dubinets if you’d like to be added to the New York Tax in the City® mailing list, and register for the June event. Additionally, stay tuned for information regarding an inaugural Dallas Tax in the City® meeting in fall 2018!

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been busy in recent months working on implementing the recent tax reform legislation. The latest announcement by the IRS focuses on the $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted for federal income tax purposes. In a press release and release of guidance in the form of Notice 2018-54, the IRS announced that proposed regulations will be issued addressing this issue to help taxpayers understand the relationship between federal charitable contribution deductions in exchange for a tax credit against state and local taxes owed. The press release, Notice and forthcoming proposed regulations are in response to workarounds by various high property tax states allowing local governments to set up charitable organizations that can accept property tax statements. Based on these materials, it is anticipated that the IRS will disagree with the workarounds:

The Treasury Department and the IRS intend to propose regulations addressing the federal income tax treatment of transfers to funds controlled by state and local governments (or other state-specified transferees) that the transferor can treat in whole or in part as satisfying state and local tax obligations. The proposed regulations will make clear that the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, informed by substance-over-form principles, govern the federal income tax treatment of such transfers. The proposed regulations will assist taxpayers in understanding the relationship between the federal charitable contribution deduction and the new statutory limitation on the deduction for state and local tax payments.

The IRS’s website provides information on the latest IRS news releases, fact sheets and statements. Additionally, we have a dedicated webpage with insights on significant developments related to tax reform.

On May 21, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Large Business and International Division (LB&I) announced the identification and selection of six new campaigns. These new campaigns follow the initial 13 campaigns announced on January 31, 2017, followed by 11 campaigns announced on November 3, 2017, and 5 campaigns announced on March 13, 2018. Continue Reading LB&I Announces Six New Campaigns

Taxpayers are running out of time to file refund claims against the government. If the government reduced or denied your Section 1603 cash grant, you can file suit in the Court of Federal Claims against the government to reclaim your lost grant money. Don’t worry, you will not be alone. There are numerous taxpayers lining up actions against the government and seeking refunds from this mismanaged renewable energy incentive program. Indeed, the government lost in round one of Alta Wind I Owner-Lessor C. v. United States, 128 Fed. Cl. 702 (2016). In that case, the trial court awarded the plaintiffs more than $206 million in damages ruling that the government unreasonably reduced their Section 1603 cash grants.

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