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Weekly IRS Roundup September 27 – October 1, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of September 27, 2021 – October 1, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

September 28, 2021: The IRS released a revenue procedure, adding Chile to the list of jurisdictions with which the United States has a relevant information exchange agreement in effect for reporting payments of deposit interest. The IRS also added two countries—the Dominican Republic and Singapore—to the list of jurisdictions with which the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the IRS have determined it is appropriate to have an automatic exchange relationship with.

September 29, 2021: The IRS released draft instructions for supplemental income and loss (Schedule E of Form 1040) concerning the reporting of income or loss from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, estates, trusts and residual interests in real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs).

October 1, 2021: The Treasury and the IRS published corrections to final regulations (Treasury Decision 9922) that were published in the Federal Register on November 12, 2020. Treasury Decision 9922 provided guidance relating to the allocation and apportionment of deductions and creditable foreign taxes, the definition of financial services income, foreign tax redeterminations, availability of foreign tax credits under the transition tax, the application of the foreign tax credit limitation to consolidated groups, adjustments to hybrid deduction accounts to consider regarding certain inclusions in income by a US shareholder, conduit financing arrangements involving hybrid instruments and the treatment of certain payments under the global intangible low-taxed income provisions.

October 1, 2021: The Treasury and the IRS published a notice and request for comments concerning all forms used by tax-exempt organizations to determine that such organizations fulfill the operating conditions within the limitations of their tax exemption. The IRS provided a list of the relevant forms. Written comments are due on or before November 30, 2021.

October 1, 2021: The Treasury and the IRS published a notice and request for comments concerning the burden associated with US income tax return forms for individual taxpayers. The request covers Form 1040 and affiliated return forms that are used by individuals to report their income subject to tax and compute their correct tax liability. Written comments are due on or before December 3, 2021.

October 1, 2021: The IRS published a news release reminding US citizens, resident aliens and any domestic legal entity that the extension deadline to file their annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is October 15, 2021.

October 1, 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 Robbie Alipour in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.




Weekly IRS Roundup April 5 – April 9, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Serve (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of April 5, 2021 – April 9, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

April 5, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing that it is mailing letters to certain taxpayers who claimed the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, explaining why they may be getting a different amount than expected.

April 5, 2021: The IRS issued a news release estimating that more than $1.3 billion of unclaimed income tax refunds are available to the estimated 1.3 million taxpayers who did not file a 2017 Form 1040 and reminding such taxpayers to file their 2017 returns before the May 17, 2021, deadline for claiming refunds.

April 7, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing a fourth round of Economic Impact Payments consisting of over 25 million payments totaling over $36 billion, bringing the total amount of disbursements under the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (ARPA) to more than 156 million payments worth approximately $372 billion.

April 8, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-25 and an accompanying news release, providing guidance on the application of section 274(n)(2)(D) of the Code, a provision added by the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 which provides for a temporary 100% deduction for food and beverages provided by a restaurant.

April 8, 2021: The IRS issued a news release reminding taxpayers who make estimated tax payments that the due date for the first estimated tax installment remains April 15, 2021.

April 8, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing various internal executive changes, including the appointment of Douglas O’Donnell as IRS Deputy Commissioner, Services and Enforcement, and Nikole Flax as Commissioner of the Large Business and International Division.

April 8, 2021: The IRS issued a news release reminding residents of US territories that, pursuant to recent legislation, they may be eligible to exclude up to $10,200 per person of unemployment compensation from gross income for the 2020 taxable year.

April 9, 2021: The IRS issued a news release announcing that, pursuant to ARPA, it was suspending the requirement that taxpayers repay excess advance payments of Premium Tax Credits.

April 9, 2021: The IRS issued a news release urging participants in abusive micro-captive insurance arrangements to exit the arrangements as soon as possible.

April 9, 2021: The IRS issued a news release reminding taxpayers that the deadline for filing the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) remains April 15, 2021.

April 9, 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, [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup April 1 – 5, 2019

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of April 1 – 5, 2019.

April 2, 2019: The IRS issued a news release providing tips on payment options, penalty waivers, refunds and other filing related recommendations.

April 3, 2019: The IRS issued a notice inviting individuals to apply for positions with the Taxpayer Advocacy Program (TAP) from April 8 – May 3.

April 3, 2019: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2019-17 providing guidance regarding qualified residential rental projects financed with tax exempt bonds under Section 142(d) of the code.

April 3, 2019: The IRS issued a news release reminding taxpayers who make quarterly payments that the first estimated quarterly payment for 2019 is due Monday, April 15.

April 4, 2019: The IRS issued a news release reminding taxpayers with foreign assets of the annual April 15 Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) filing deadline.

April 5, 2019: The IRS issued a news release dispelling what the agency terms five myths about tax refunds.

April 5, 2019: The IRS released Treasury Decision 9855 specifying which return to use for taxpayers who owe excise taxes under Sections 4960, 4966, 4967 or 4968 of the code.

April 5, 2019: The IRS issued final regulations authorizing the disclosure of certain expense items from business tax returns to the Census Bureau.

Special thanks to Terence McAllister in our New York office for this week’s roundup.




Cryptocurrency May Be Subject to US Tax: Come Into Compliance Now

Lately, we have been frequently asked the question: “I file US tax returns and pay taxes here. Are my cryptocurrency transactions taxable or reportable in the US?”

The answer for US persons and US taxpayers most likely is “yes.” US persons are generally taxable on income earned worldwide, regardless of the manner in which that income is paid (e.g. currency (foreign or domestic) or property (tangible, intangible or virtual)). Thus, if you have bought, sold or exchanged cryptocurrency, those transactions could be subject to federal tax. If your cryptocurrency is held offshore, a number of offshore reporting obligations could also apply to these holdings.

Now is the right time to come forward and resolve any US compliance issues related to your cryptocurrency holdings. As we have seen in recent cases like the Coinbase summons enforcement proceeding (which we reported upon in several previous posts), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has stepped up its enforcement efforts regarding undisclosed interests in cryptocurrency worldwide.

How should you come forward? Following an IRS-attended conference earlier this year, comments began circulating that the IRS was considering the creation of a formal voluntary disclosure program for cryptocurrency transactions, similar to the now-ended Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. (We reported on that program numerous times, here.) Unfortunately, the IRS has now squashed this rumor, stating that “IRS is not contemplating a separate program related to offshore [virtual] currencies.” A domestic program was not even mentioned.

Despite this news, a number of disclosure options remain available for bringing your US and foreign cryptocurrency into compliance. The IRS’s longstanding voluntary disclosure policy remains in full force and effect. This policy acts to reduce or eliminate the risk of criminal prosecution related to nondisclosure of domestic or foreign taxable assets, and can provide avenues to reduce civil penalties as well. Further, the IRS’s Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures and Delinquent International Information Return Procedures are still active and may provide reduced (or no) penalties for US international tax non-compliance in appropriate cases.

Practice Point: Beyond the short answer of “yes, cryptocurrency is taxable,” a number of open questions regarding the taxation and reporting of cryptocurrency in the US remain. For example, determining what offshore crypto holdings are subject to FBAR and Form 8938 reporting remains complicated and unclear. Also, although tax reform has eliminated the use of Section 1031 exchanges to avoid currently being taxed for personal property like cryptocurrencies, the IRS’s position on exchanges that occurred prior to 2018 is still unknown. There are also open valuation questions, particularly for crypto accounts subject to access limitations like lock-up periods. The tax treatment of so-called hard and soft “forks” is also unclear. Finally, crypto exchanges are navigating a number of open reporting and compliance issues. If you have significant holdings in cryptocurrency, consult with a federal tax advisor who understands the tax aspects of this unique asset to [...]

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Manafort Indictment Is a Good Reminder of FBAR Disclosure Requirements

On October 30, 2017, Paul Manafort Jr. was indicted for concealing his interests in several foreign bank accounts, as well as tax evasion and a host of other criminal charges.  The indictment reminds us how important it is to follow the strict guidelines of the reporting regime that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the US Department of the Treasury have established to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act, a US citizen or resident (a US Person) is required to disclose certain foreign bank and financial accounts which he or she has “a financial interest in or signature authority over” annually.  This obligation can be triggered by direct or indirect interests; a US Person is treated as having a financial interest in a foreign account through indirect ownership of more than 50 percent of the voting power or equity of a foreign entity, like a corporation or partnership.  The US Person is required to annually disclose the interest on FinCEN 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, which is commonly referred to as the FBAR.  The disclosure requirement is triggered when the aggregate value of the foreign account exceeds $10,000.  The form is filed with your federal income tax return.

The civil penalties for failing to timely disclose an interest in a foreign account can be severe, and in the case of willful violations, can reach up to 50 percent of the highest aggregate annual balance of the unreported foreign financial account each year.  The statute of limitations for FBAR violations is six years, and the willful penalty may be assessed for more than one year, creating extreme financial consequences for FBAR reporting failures.

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Courts Rejects Challenge to OVDP Transition Rules

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently offers non-compliant US taxpayers several different relief programs to report foreign assets and/or income to become compliant with US rules related to the disclosure of offshore income. See here for a link to the different options. The two main programs are the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) and the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures (SFCP). The IRS launched the OVDP in 2012 to enable a taxpayer with undisclosed foreign income or assets to settle most potential penalties he may be liable for through a lump sum payment of 27.5 percent of the highest aggregate value of the taxpayer’s undisclosed foreign assets for the voluntary disclosure period, which is the previous eight years. The OVDP replaced prior offshore voluntary disclosure programs and initiatives from 2009 and 2011. OVDP has a number of filing and payment requirements, including paying eight years’ worth of accuracy-based penalties. The IRS updated and revised the OVDP in 2014.

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IRS Requires “Whole Story” from Taxpayers Seeking to Qualify under Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently modified the non-willfulness certification form that individual taxpayers must submit to enroll in the streamlined filing compliance procedures (SFCP).  One requirement under the SFCP is that that the taxpayer certify that his or her failure to disclose foreign assets was not due to willful conduct.  Before the recent change, the IRS only provided minimal direction, which caused it to receive non-willfulness narratives that did not provide adequate information.  This resulted in certifications that were either questioned or rejected.

On February 16, 2016, the IRS revised the certification forms to include more robust direction and instructed the taxpayer to draft his or her non-willfulness narrative to include the whole story including favorable and unfavorable facts.  A more detailed analysis of the recent changes can be found here.




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