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US Tax Reform: Potential Role of the APA Program

US tax reform finally occurred in 2017 with what was formerly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act). The headline from a corporate standpoint is reduction in the maximum rate from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning in 2018. In the international context, the Act: (i) embraces a territorial system as exists with most of its trading partners; (ii) seeks to protect the US tax base from perceived cross-border erosion; and (iii) enacts an incentive for certain economic investments in the United States at a globally attractive effective tax rate (13.125 percent).

The purpose of this post is not to review the technical provisions of the Act, but to note that as each multinational enterprise (MNE) evaluates its impact on its effective tax rate strategy (both opportunities and hazards), an item to keep on the agenda may be “could a bilateral APA be of assistance?” (more…)




Tax Planning in a World of Increased Transparency

Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) are facing an evolving international tax landscape with long-term implications for tax compliance, planning and controversy. Understanding these changes requires continual effort. Tax Executives Institute recently invited us to explore Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting issues at the 2017 Global Tax Symposium in Houston, Texas. We had a lively discussion and know this will be a hot topic as jurisdictions begin reviewing the CbC reports.

As background, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project has been a key driver of international tax reform.  BEPS “Action 13” outlined a CbC reporting standard that has been adopted in more than 55 jurisdictions. The CbC report is an annual filing obligation identifying, among other things, the amount of revenue, profit before income tax, and income tax paid and accrued for each tax jurisdiction in which the taxpayer does business. The resulting transparency directly affects global tax strategies since the CbC report is subject to automatic exchange provisions and more than 1,000 such relationships have been established worldwide. Tax authorities will be using this information to perform tax risk assessments so taxpayers need heightened sensitivity to the breadth and depth of information available through the CbC report. If you are involved in the process of preparing a CbC report, discussing the CbC report with a tax authority, or are otherwise interested in how the CbC report could be used by a tax authority, the OECD’s Handbook on Effective Tax Risk Assessment is a valuable resource.

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A 360-Degree View: September and October 2017

Wrapping Up September – and Looking Forward to October

Upcoming Tax Controversy Activities in October:

October 12, 2017: Cate Battin, Kristen Hazel, Britt Haxton, Jane May, Sandra McGill, Diann Smith and Elizabeth Chao are hosting and presenting at the inaugural Tax in the City® event in Seattle, Washington. They will cover topics such as attorney-client privilege and the ethics of social media (CLE/CPE), recent developments around US Tax Reform, and updates on state and local tax issues for Seattle and the surrounding areas.

 October 25, 2017: Todd Welty and Lowell Yoder are speaking at the TEI 72nd Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario, and will present “Repatriation: Strategy, Practice and the Road Ahead.”

November 2, 2017: Laura Gavioli, Kristen Hazel, Michael Louis, Cym Lowell, Damon Lyon, Denise Mudigere, Dave Noren, Kristina Novak, Andrew Roberson, Jay Singer, Mark Thomas and Michael Wilder are speaking at the TEI Global Tax Symposium in Houston, Texas, and covering the following topics: Multilateral Instruments & European Developments, Country by Country Reporting, Repatriation Strategies and the IRS Repatriation Campaign, Disclosures for Global Tax Strategies, and Treasury Center/Currency Issues. (more…)




A 360-Degree View: July and August 2017

Wrapping up July—and Looking Forward to August

Tax Controversy Activities in August:

August 7, 2017: Elizabeth Erickson and Kristen Hazel will be representing McDermott Will & Emery at the 2017 US Captive Awards in Burlington, Vermont. McDermott has been shortlisted in the Law Firm category.

August 8, 2017: Tom Jones is presenting an update on Captive Insurance Tax in Burlington, Vermont, at the Vermont Captive Insurance Association Annual Conference “Mission: Possible”— the largest captive insurance conference in the US by number of paid attendees.

August 18, 2017: Todd Welty is speaking at the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants Advanced Estate Planning Conference about:

  • Current developments in federal transfer taxes
  • Current state of federal tax reform
  • Proposed changes to state death tax laws and the impact of those changes on estate
  • Gift and trust planning
  • Consistent basis regulations
  • The state of valuation discounts
  • Recent rulings on defined value clauses and charitable gifts

August 23, 2017: Tom Jones is presenting an update on Annual Federal & State Tax at the North Carolina Captive Insurance Association Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Wrapping up July:

Our July 2017 blog posts are available on taxcontroversy360.com, or read each article by clicking on the titles below. To receive the latest on state and local tax news and commentary directly in your inbox as they are posted, click here to subscribe to our email list.

July 14, 2017: Tracking Tax Guidance and Court Cases

July 17, 2017: New IRS CbC Resource

July 18, 2017: Courts Rejects Challenge to OVDP Transition Rules

July 19, 2017: Tax Court Rejects IRS Reliance on “Cursory” Analysis in Revenue Ruling

July 21, 2017: John Doe Intervenes in Virtual Currency Summons Enforcement Case

July 24, 2017: BEWARE: Whistleblowers Can “Out” You to the IRS!

July 26, 2017: Virtual IRS Appeals – A New Frontier?

July 27, 2017: IRS Rules (Again) That Taxpayers Are Not Entitled to Claimed Refined Coal Credits

July 28, 2017: Tax Court Hands Eaton a Complete Victory on the Cancellation of its Advance Pricing Agreements

July 31, 2017: Senate Attempts to Repeal Chevron Deference




New IRS CbC Resource

We have reported several times about the new Country-by-Country (CBC) reporting regime. Taxpayers and the tax bar have been desperate for clarity about the requirements for CbC reporting.  In response, today the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced the launch of its CbC resource on its www.IRS.gov website. The new information is designed to provide background on CbC, frequently asked questions and other information. One of the best features is a list of jurisdictions that have concluded Competent Authority Arrangements with the United States.




Taxpayer Rights Around the World (Follow-Up)

We previously wrote two blog posts about the 2nd International Conference on Taxpayer Rights held in Vienna, Austria in March 2017 here and here. Videos of each panel discussion are now available for viewing here. Planning is currently underway for the 3rd International Conference on Taxpayer Rights, which will be held in The Netherlands on May 3-4.




Taxpayer Rights Around the World (Part 1)

On March 13 and 14, the 2nd International Conference on Taxpayer Rights was held in Vienna, Austria. More than 150 individuals from more than 40 countries attended the conference, which connects government official, scholars and practitioners from around the world to explore how taxpayer rights globally serve as the foundation for effective tax administration. This is the first of two posts recapping the issues discussed at the conference.

Four panels were held on March 13: (1) The Framework and Justification for Taxpayer Rights; (2) Privacy and Transparency; (3) Protection of Taxpayer Rights in Multi-Jurisdictional Disputes; and (4) Access to Rights: the Right to Quality Service in an Era of Reduced Agency Budgets.

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Revenue Procedure 2017-23: IRS Releases Guidance on Form 8975 and Country by Country Reporting

As a follow-up to regulations issued last June, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued Revenue Procedure 2017-23, which sets forth the process for filing Form 8975, Country-by-Country (CbC) Report, and accompanying Schedules A, Tax Jurisdiction and Constituent Entity Information (collectively, Form 8975), by ultimate parent entities of US multinational enterprise (MNE) groups for reporting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2016, but before the applicability date of §1.6038-4 (early reporting periods).

The Treasury Department and the IRS published final regulations on June 30, 2016 –Treas. Reg. 1.6038-4– that require ultimate parent entities of US MNE groups to report CbC information about the group’s income, taxes paid and location of economic activity. The impacted taxpayers must report this information annually via Form 8975. The CbC reporting regulations apply to reporting periods of ultimate parent entities of US MNE groups that begin on or after the first day of the first taxable year of the ultimate parent entity that begins on or after June 30, 2016.

For annual accounting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2016, some jurisdictions have adopted CbC reporting that would require an entity in that jurisdiction to report CbC information if it is part of an MNE group in which the ultimate parent resides in a jurisdiction without CbC reporting requirements for the same annual accounting period. This can result in constituent entities of a US MNE group being subject to various local CbC filing requirements for early reporting periods unless the ultimate parent entity files a Form 8975 in the US, or reports CbC information through surrogate filing in another jurisdiction.

The preamble to the US CbC reporting regulations addressed this issue by indicating that the Treasury Department and the IRS would provide a procedure for ultimate parent entities of US MNE groups to file Form 8975 for early reporting periods; Revenue Procedure 2017-23 is the resulting procedure.

The Revenue Procedure provides that, beginning on September 1, 2017, taxpayers may file Form 8975 for an early reporting period with their income tax return or other return as provided in the Instructions to Form 8975 for the taxable year of the ultimate parent entity of the US MNE group with or within which the early reporting period ends. Taxpayers can amend an income tax return for a taxable year that includes an early reporting period without a Form 8975 attached if they follow the normal procedures for filing an amended return, and attach the Form 8975 to the amended return within twelve months of the close of the taxable year that includes the early reporting period. Filing an amended return for the sole purpose of attaching Form 8975 will have no effect on the statute of limitations. Ultimate parent entities are encouraged to file their returns and Forms 8975 electronically through the IRS Modernized e-File system in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format. The IRS plans to provide information on the Form 8975 to the software industry to [...]

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