On February 7, 2018, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released its second quarter update to the 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan to identify tax issues it believes should be addressed through regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices and other published administrative guidance. The Priority Guidance Plan contains projects the Treasury hopes to complete during the 12-month period from July 2, 2017 through June 30, 2018. We previously posted on the first quarter 2017-2018 Priority Guidance plan here.

Most of the projects do not involve the issuance of new regulations, instead focus on guidance to taxpayers on a variety of tax issues important to individuals and businesses in the form of: (1) revocations of final, temporary, or proposed regulations (for our prior coverage, see here); (2) notices, revenue rulings and revenue procedures; (3) simplifying and burden reducing amendments to existing regulations; (4) proposed regulations; or (5) final regulations adopting proposed regulations. The initial 2017-2108 Priority Guidance Plan consisted of 198 guidance projects, 30 of which have already been completed. The second quarter update reflects 29 additional projects, including priority items as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) legislation enacted on December 22, 2017, and guidance published or released from October 13, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Guidance under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 162(f) and new Code Section 6050X
  • Accounting method guidance under new Code Sections 451(b) and (c)
  • Guidance implementing new Code Section 965 and other international sections of the TCJA
  • Guidance regarding the participation of attorneys described in Code Section 6103(n) in a summons interview
  • Delay and removal of documentation regulations under Code Section 385 and review of other regulations under this provision
  • Proposed modification of regulations under code Section 367 regarding the treatment of certain transfers of property to foreign corporations
  • General guidance under the new partnership audit rules
  • Guidance under Code Section 355
  • Certain employee benefits guidance
  • Certain excise tax guidance
  • Regulations under Code Section 199 relating to computer software and qualified films
  • Guidance under Code Section 2032 and 2053 on estate tax matters
  • Guidance under Code Section 956
  • Foreign tax credit guidance
  • Certain transfer pricing guidance
  • Guidance on penalties under Code Sections 6662, 6662A, and 6664

Practice Point: As we have previously noted, the Priority Guidance Plan is a useful tool for taxpayers in that it highlights areas in which the Treasury is focused, both in the short term and the long term. Although subject to modification, these items provide a blueprint for issues the Treasury views as important. Much of the guidance centers on the implementation of tax reform. As we recently reported, we expect increased controversy relating to the positions that taxpayers took in preparation for the new law.