Weekly IRS Roundup July 26 – July 30, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of July 26, 2021 – July 30, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

July 26, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-46 as a supplement to Notice 2021-31 issued in May, providing additional guidance on the temporary premium assistance for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health insurance benefits and the associated COBRA premium assistance credit—enacted by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

July 27, 2021: The IRS issued a news release urging tax professionals to raise awareness amongst clients about the availability of Identity Protection PINs, a tax return security feature designed to protect against tax-related identity theft.

July 28, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing the imminent issuance of another round of tax refunds to those who paid taxes on unemployment compensation in 2020, pursuant to the retroactive exclusion of such compensation from 2020 taxable income under ARPA. The refunds will be issued to approximately 1.5 million taxpayers, averaging more than $1,600.

July 29, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing an update to previously-released FAQs regarding paid sick and family leave tax credits under ARPA.

July 30, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-45, providing a list of counties and parishes that constitute as qualified disaster zones for purposes of determining low-income housing tax credits under section 42 of the Code, as expanded by the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020.

July 30, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-48, providing guidance on changes made under ARPA to the funding rules for single-employer defined benefit pension plans.

July 30, 2021: The IRS issued Announcement 2021-12, revealing recent disciplinary sanctions imposed on certain tax practitioners pursuant to the Circular 230 rules for practice before the IRS.

July 30, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing the awarding of a $100,000 Low Income Taxpayer Clinic grant to West Virginia University College of Law to assist the university in providing tax controversy litigation services to low-income and English as a second language (ESL) taxpayers.

July 30, 2021: The IRS issued a news release reminding taxpayers who hold Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) of their responsibility to file Form 8822-B, updating their information with the IRS upon a change of responsible party or contact information.

July 30, 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 Le Chen in our Washington, DC, office for this week’s roundup.




Key Takeaways | Cryptocurrency Global Tax Enforcement: What Investors and Companies in the Industry Need to Know NOW

During a recent program discussing the latest government enforcement efforts related to cryptocurrency, we spoke with Gary Alford, one of the leading Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents in their crypto enforcement efforts, Perry Carbone, Chief of the White Plains Office (US Attorney’s Office – SDNY) and Andy Cole, former Director of Specialist Investigations at HM Revenue & Customs in the United Kingdom, about how investors and companies in the virtual currency industry should address enforcement actions. Below are key takeaways from the conversation.

ENHANCED ENFORCEMENT – UNITED STATES

  • The time to act is now. The IRS and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) are collecting virtual currency data at a rapid pace while simultaneously moving forward with tax enforcement cases. The IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) revamped its operations to “do more with less” using new technology that will move investigations at a faster pace.
  • The IRS joined its civil and criminal units through Operation Hidden Treasure and is also working with outside experts in the field—along with specially-trained IRS agents—to pursue tax enforcement and asset seizure. This is a key agenda item for the US Department of the Treasury and is not going away any time soon.
  • The IRS and the DOJ expect taxpayers to comply voluntarily with all tax obligations. Despite these recent developments, US taxpayers have limited guidance from the IRS. Engaging with professionals in the space to evaluate the options available to taxpayers is crucial to assessing and ensuring compliance with cryptocurrency taxation.

INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS

  • Global collaboration is nothing new, but it is now on the rise. Agencies around the world are enhancing their cross-border information and resource sharing to investigate tax crimes efficiently and effectively. The J5, an important component of this global collaboration, is prepared to pool some of the world’s most sophisticated data analytical tools so that intelligence can be screened, searched and/or identified.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and its governing body will likely start requiring cryptocurrency exchanges to collect customer due diligence information. The window of anonymity around cryptocurrency transactions has closed rapidly in recent years.
  • The global Common Reporting Standard (CRS) has been in force since 2017. Under the CRS, tax authorities of over 100 countries (including most of the traditional “tax havens”) automatically exchange tax, account and payment information with each other in order to assist in tax collection and enforcement action.

FOR INDIVIDUALS

  • Moving forward, the “knowledge and willfulness” element needed for criminal cases will be much easier for the DOJ to prove because the “virtual currency question” is now at the top of Form 1040. The prominent location of this question is “a game changer” for criminal tax prosecutions.
  • Cryptocurrency tax crimes are no longer “add on” charges to other criminal prosecutions, such as narcotics or fraud crimes. The DOJ expects to bring independent cryptocurrency criminal tax cases and take these prosecutions to “the next level,” including prosecutions of more routine tax matters.
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Weekly IRS Roundup July 19 – July 23, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of July 19, 2021 – July 23, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

July 19, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing an enhancement to its online account systems, specifically that tax professionals and taxpayers may now initiate and execute a Power of Attorney or Tax Information Authorization online in lieu of using Forms 2848 and 8821, respectively.

July 20, 2021: The IRS issued a news release urging tax professionals to use multi-factor authentication technology to protect taxpayers’ information from identity and data theft.

July 21, 2021: The IRS issued proposed regulations expanding electronic filing requirements with respect to various business tax returns and statements, pursuant to the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 provisions and related legislation.

July 21, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing that, in partnership with local civic organizations, events will be held in several cities across the country on July 23 – 24, 2021, to assist eligible families in registering for advance payments of the Child Tax Credit.

July 21, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing the disbursement of more than 2.2 million Economic Impact Payments worth more than $4 billion, bringing the total amount of disbursements under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to more than 171 million payments worth more than $400 billion.

July 23, 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 Le Chen in our Washington, DC, office for this week’s roundup.




McDermott Partner Recognized as a Legal Influencer

We are pleased to share that partner and blog editor Kevin Spencer was recognized as a leading author in the Lexology Legal Influencers Q2 2021 for Corporate – US. He is acknowledged for his continued contributions of high-quality legal content.

Through our various blogs, thought leadership pieces and tax-focused events, we are dedicated to maintaining our position as a leading firm for tax work and keeping clients abreast of significant and relevant topics in the industry.




Weekly IRS Roundup July 12 – July 16, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of July 12, 2021 – July 16, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

July 12, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing the launch of a Spanish-language version of the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant, an online tool designed to assist families in determining their eligibility for advance payments of the Child Tax Credit.

July 13, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing the imminent issuance of another round of tax refunds to taxpayers who paid taxes on unemployment compensation in 2020, pursuant to the retroactive exclusion of such compensation from 2020 taxable income under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

July 14, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing the start of a summer campaign by the Security Summit, a partnership between the IRS, state tax agencies and private organizations to raise awareness within the tax community about identity theft and data security.

July 15, 2021: The IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2021-14, providing various prescribed interest rates for federal income tax purposes for August 2021.

July 15, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-44, providing the monthly update to certain interest rates used for pension plan funding and distribution purposes.

July 15, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing the disbursement of the July round of advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, consisting of approximately 35 million payments worth approximately $15 billion.

July 16, 2021: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2021-30, updating the procedures for the correction programs under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), a program for retirement plans to come into compliance with certain requirements under sections 401, 403 and 408 of the Code.

July 16, 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 Le Chen in our Washington, DC, office for this week’s roundup.




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