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Weekly IRS Roundup December 25 – December 29, 2023

Check out our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of December 25, 2023 – December 29, 2023.

December 26, 2023: The IRS released Internal Revenue Bulletin 2023-52, which includes the following:

  • Revenue Procedure 2023-39, which provides specifications for the private printing of red ink and black-and-white substitutes for the August 2023 revisions of Forms W-2c and W-3c. This revenue procedure supersedes Revenue Procedure 2016-20.
  • Notice 2023-79, which sets forth the 2023 Required Amendments List. The list applies to both individually designed plans under § 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and individually designed plans that satisfy the requirements of § 403(b).
  • Announcement 2023-35, which revokes § 501(c)(3) determinations for certain organization(s) and stipulates that contributions made to the organization(s) by individual donors are no longer deductible under § 170(b)(1)(A).
  • Notice 2023-80, which announces the intention to issue proposed regulations that address the application of the foreign tax credit (FTC) and dual consolidated losses in relation to the Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) Model Rules. The notice also (i) extends the temporary relief period described in Notice 2023-55 for determining whether a foreign tax is eligible for an FTC pursuant to §§ 901 and 903 and (ii) addresses the application of the temporary relief with respect to partnerships and their partners.
  • Proposed regulations that would amend existing regulations related to the energy credit for the taxable year in which eligible energy property is placed in service pursuant to § 48. The proposed regulations also withdraw and repropose portions of previously proposed regulations regarding the increased energy credit amount available if prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship requirements are met. Comments must be received by January 22, 2024.
  • Revenue Procedure 2023-41, which sets forth the unpaid loss discount factors for the 2023 accident year pursuant to § 846 and prescribes the salvage discount factors for the 2023 accident year pursuant to § 832.

December 26, 2023: The IRS updated the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in Fact Sheet 2023-29 to provide guidance on the critical mineral and battery component requirements with respect to the New, Previously Owned and Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicle Credits. The updates supersede the FAQs previously posted in Fact Sheet 2023-22.

December 28, 2023: The IRS issued Notice 2024-9, which provides how applicable entities can claim the statutory exception to the application of the phaseouts for elective payment projects that begin construction during calendar year 2024 and fail to satisfy the domestic content requirement.

December 28, 2023: The IRS issued proposed regulations that would provide guidance on whether a debt instrument is worthless for US federal income tax purposes pursuant to § 166. Comments must be received by February 26, 2024.

December 28, 2023: The IRS issued Notice 2024-11, [...]

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Court Rules Taxpayer Can Offset Foreign Tax Credits With NIIT Liability Under Tax Treaty

In 2013, the net investment income tax (NIIT) found in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 1411 went into effect. Since then, United States taxpayers residing outside of the US have lived with uncertainty as to whether the taxes they pay in their local country can be used as a tax credit to offset the NIIT. A recent court decision held that certain tax treaties may allow for US foreign tax credits (FTCs) to be applicable, allowing eligible taxpayers to seek refunds for potentially up to 10 years of paid NIIT.

On October 23, 2023, in Christensen v. United States, the US Court of Federal Claims ruled that two US citizens residing in France were permitted, under a tax treaty between the US and France, to use FTCs arising from French income tax liability to offset NIIT liability. Christensen is the first case to hold that, although FTCs cannot be used to offset NIIT liability under US domestic law, this restriction can be overridden by a US-France tax treaty provision, which is replicated in many US tax treaties, that provides broader FTC coverage for US citizens residing abroad.

The taxpayers in Christensen were married US citizens residing in France. The taxpayers earned income that was subject to both French income tax and (by virtue of their US citizenship) US federal income tax, including the NIIT. On their US federal income tax return, the taxpayers netted the FTCs arising from their French income tax liability against their NIIT liability, relying on Articles 24(2)(a) and 24(2)(b) of the US-France tax treaty for support.

Article 24(2)(a) of the treaty is a general provision that provides that the US shall grant its citizens a credit against US federal income tax for French income taxes paid “[i]n accordance with the provisions and subject to the limitations of the law of the United States.” In Christensen, the Court of Federal Claims noted that the NIIT was a tax imposed by IRC Chapter 2A and that the FTC provisions in IRC Section 901 et seq. restricted FTCs from offsetting US federal income tax liability arising under IRC Chapter 1. Therefore, the Court held that Article 24(2)(a) did not permit the taxpayers to use FTCs to offset NIIT liability because granting FTCs under Article 24(2)(a) was “subject to the limitations of the law of the United States,” including the limitation that FTCs could not offset liability incurred pursuant to Chapter 2A. This holding was consistent with holdings in two other recent cases that also addressed the interaction of FTCs and NIIT: Toulouse v. Commissioner, 157 T.C. 49 (2021), and Kim v. United States, 2023 WL 3213547 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 28, 2023).

However, Article 24(2)(b) of the treaty contains a special provision applicable to US citizens residing in France. This provision generally provides that, when applying the “three bites” rule for determining the order in which US and French FTCs are applied with respect to such persons, the US shall grant such persons a credit against US [...]

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