Weekly IRS Roundup April 19 – April 23, 2021

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

April 19, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing the establishment of a new office, the IRS Office of Promoter Investigations (OPI), which will address promoters of abusive tax avoidance transactions, such as certain syndicated conservation easements and micro-captive insurance arrangements.

April 20, 2021: The IRS issued a news release reminding taxpayers of common filing errors that could delay the processing of returns and refunds.

April 21, 2021: The IRS issued a fact sheet and an accompanying news release, providing details about small business tax credits available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), including credits for the cost of providing leave for employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19 and credits for the cost of providing leave for employees to receive, or recover from, COVID-19 vaccinations.

April 22, 2021: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2021-20 and an accompanying news release, providing a safe harbor for certain businesses that received COVID-related Paycheck Protection Program loans and did not deduct the associated expenses for the 2020 taxable year. In response to recent legislation permitting the deduction of such expenses, the Revenue Procedure provides that such businesses may deduct such expenses for the 2021 taxable year in lieu of filing an amended return for the 2020 taxable year.

April 22, 2021: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2021-21, waiving the residence requirements to qualify for benefits under section 911 of the Code for the 2020 taxable year, with respect to certain individual taxpayers who departed from Iraq after March 25, 2020.

April 22, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing a sixth round of Economic Impact Payments consisting of nearly two million payments totaling nearly $3.4 billion, bringing the total amount of disbursements under ARPA to approximately 161 million payments worth more than $379 billion.

April 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.




IRS Extends Use of Digital Signatures for Certain Forms until End of 2021

The list of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms that can be digitally signed continues to grow. On August 28, 2020, the IRS issued a memorandum indicating that it would accept the use of digital signatures on various IRS forms because of the restrictions involved with the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, it announced the addition of several more forms. Then, on April 15, 2021, the IRS announced it is extending the authorization to a large number of IRS forms until December 31, 2021. The IRS has not specified which digital signature product tax professionals must use but has advised that there are several commercial products available.

The current list of IRS forms that can be digitally signed are:

  • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering
  • Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit
  • Form 637, Application for Registration (for Certain Excise Tax Activities)
  • Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return
  • Form 706-A, U.S. Additional Estate Tax Return
  • Form 706-GS(D), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Distributions
  • Form 706-GS(D-1), Notification of Distribution From a Generation-Skipping Trust
  • Form 706-GS(T), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Terminations
  • Form 706-QDT, U.S. Estate Tax Return for Qualified Domestic Trusts
  • Form 706, Schedule R-1, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax
  • Form 706-NA, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return
  • Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return
  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers
  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations
  • Form 1120-FSC, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation
  • Form 1120-H, U.S. Income Tax Return for Homeowners Associations
  • Form 1120-IC DISC, Interest Charge Domestic International Sales — Corporation Return
  • Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return
  • Form 1120-ND, Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons
  • Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return
  • Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies
  • Form 1120-SF, U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds (Under Section 468B)
  • Form 1127, Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship
  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change or Retain a Tax Year
  • Form 2678, Employer/Payer Appointment of Agent
  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method
  • Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts
  • Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner
  • Form 4421, Declaration — Executor’s Commissions and Attorney’s Fees
  • Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time to File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes
  • Form 8038, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bond Issues
  • Form 8038-G, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Governmental Bonds
  • Form 8038-GC; Information Return for Small Tax-Exempt Governmental Bond Issues, Leases, and Installment Sales
  • Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions
  • Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms
  • Form 8802, Application for U.S. [...]

    Continue Reading



Biden Spending Proposal Calls for 10% IRS Budget Increase

The Biden Administration has requested a $1.2 billion increase in funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of its proposal for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) discretionary funding released in a letter from Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Shalanda Young on April 9, 2021. The additional funding would bring the IRS FY 2022 budget to $13.2 billion, which represents a 10.4% increase over the 2021 enacted budget.

The additional funding would be used to increase IRS enforcement, especially for oversight of high-income individuals and corporate tax returns to ensure compliance with existing tax laws. The discretionary request also seeks an additional $417 million to fund a multiyear tax enforcement initiative aimed at increasing tax compliance and revenues. In total, the discretionary request would increase resources for tax enforcement by nearly $1 billion. Other funds appropriated to the IRS would be used for development and improvement of online tools and better telephone and in-person customer service for taxpayers.

Apart from IRS spending, the discretionary spending proposal includes $191 million for the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to create a database that tracks the ownership and control of certain companies and organizations.

The discretionary spending proposal is intended as a starting point for congressional appropriators and will be followed by the president’s full budget proposal—including tax changes and pay-fors—later in the spring.

Practice Point: We believe that the US Congress is likely to appropriate additional funds for tax enforcement in the FY 2022 budget. Taxpayers should begin preparing for additional IRS audits and scrutiny of return positions. Such preparation may include examining prior tax return positions and ensuring they have audit-ready files.




Finding John Doe: IRS Steps up Enforcement Efforts to Take the Anonymity Out of Virtual Currency

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is stepping up its virtual currency enforcement, and taxpayers who have engaged in a cryptocurrency transaction should immediately assess any potential tax implications as the IRS has recently issued two John Doe summonses to popular exchanges. These are the first it has issued in about three years, sending a very clear signal that the IRS is ready to tackle what it believes to be a continuing noncompliance. A US Federal District Court in Massachusetts upheld the summons issued to Circle Internet Financial Inc., including the popular cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, while a US Federal Court for the Northern District of California required the government to submit a response explaining its need for the information requested in its summons to Kraken. (See: In re Tax Liability of John Does, No. 21-cv-2201, ECF No. 8 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 31, 2021)).

Filed on April 14, 2021, the government’s response provided numerous examples of how the data received in the Coinbase summons required additional requests in order for the exchange to locate actual taxpayers. The response argued that the need for multiple follow-ups defeated the purpose of the summons. It also described how information in Kraken’s possession, such as accountholder telephone numbers and email addresses, will facilitate the IRS’s ability to utilize relevant cryptocurrency platform data in its possession that was received from other sources relating to foreign-based cryptocurrency exchanges. Noting the potential for abuse by an accountholder, the response provided an example of an individual falsifying their identity as the basis for its need for complete account history in order to catch these issues. In addition, the response stated, “[m]atching the IP addresses for Kraken users to IP addresses and other data points in the IRS’s information will allow the IRS to link substantive account information from multiple sources for a single individual taxpayer and make a more accurate initial determination of whether that individual is in compliance with the internal revenue laws.”

It remains to be seen how the court will react to the government’s response. What is clear, though, from the response and the accompanying affidavit is that the IRS has made significant progress in its analysis of this data and its ability to follow leads. As a result, now is the time for individuals involved in these transactions to consult a tax professional to determine if they have any tax liability or potential exposure, including criminal exposure. After the Coinbase summons, the IRS issued 10,000 letters to taxpayers regarding virtual currency transactions. In the wake of these summonses, and potentially others, it is only a matter of time before the IRS reaches out to thousands of other taxpayers.

It is also clear that the enforcement arm of the IRS is working very closely with its counterparts around the world. The need for email addresses and phone numbers mentioned above to use foreign data certainly drives this point home. Even more so, as a precursor of things to [...]

Continue Reading




Weekly IRS Roundup April 12 – April 16, 2021

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

April 12, 2021: The IRS issued proposed regulations setting forth requirements that certain foreign taxpayers must meet in order to obtain the benefits of investing in a qualified opportunity fund (QOF) under section 1400Z-2 of the Code. The proposed regulations also expand the flexibility of a disaster-related working capital safe harbor in the existing QOF regulations.

April 13, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-24, extending previously announced relief from penalties for failure to make timely deposits of employment taxes. The Notice extends relief to apply to deposits reduced in anticipation of certain employment tax credits with respect to qualified leave wages and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation coverage premiums during 2021.

April 13, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-27, providing the monthly update to certain interest rates used for pension plan funding and distribution purposes.

April 13, 2021: The IRS issued a news release urging low and moderate income taxpayers to use IRS Free File to prepare and electronically file their tax returns.

April 14, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-28, inviting the public to submit recommendations for items to be included on the 2021-2022 Priority Guidance Plan.

April 14, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing a fifth round of Economic Impact Payments consisting of over two million payments totaling over $3.4 billion, bringing the total amount of disbursements under the American Rescue Plan of 2021 to approximately 159 million payments worth more than $376 billion.

April 15, 2021: The IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2021-08, providing various prescribed interest rates for federal income tax purposes for May 2021.

April 15, 2021: The IRS issued a news release emphasizing that individuals experiencing homelessness may still qualify for tax benefits such as Economic Impact Payments and urged community groups and employers to share information and help such individuals file tax returns so that they can obtain such benefits.

April 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.




STAY CONNECTED

TOPICS

ARCHIVES