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Weekly IRS Roundup July 13 – July 17, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of July 13, 2020 – July 17, 2020. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here. July 14, 2020: The IRS issued a news release on a proposed redesigned partnership form for tax year 2021 (filing season 2022). The proposed form is designed to provide greater clarity for partners on how to compute their US income tax liability with respect to items of international tax relevance, including claiming deductions and credits. Comments are due by September 14, 2020. July 16, 2020: The IRS issued a notice requesting comments concerning consent to extend the time to assess tax with respect to gain recognition agreements covered by section 367 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). Form 8838 is used to extend the statute of limitations for US persons who transfer stock or securities to a...

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Weekly IRS Roundup April 27 – May 1, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of April 27 – May 1, 2020. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here. April 28, 2020: The IRS published Large Business and International (LB&I) Process Unit on the substantiation of foreign tax credits for individuals. For an individual to claim a foreign tax credit, individual taxpayers must submit Form 1116 with their US federal income tax return. At the request of the IRS, the taxpayer must provide evidence supporting the foreign taxes claimed on Form 1116. April 28, 2020: The IRS published LB&I Concept Unit on the installment method under IRC § 453. An installment sale occurs when a seller receives at least one payment in a tax year after the disposition. An installment sale is reported on a Form 6252. April 30, 2020: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2020-29,...

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Eighth Circuit Applies Subjective Standard to Reasonable Basis Penalty Defense

On April 24, 2020, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit published its opinion in Wells Fargo & Co. v. United States, No. 17-3578, affirming a district court’s holdings that the taxpayer was not entitled to certain foreign tax credits and was liable for the negligence penalty for claiming the credits. Much has been written about the substantive issue, which we will not discuss here. Instead, we focus on the Eighth Circuit’s divided analysis relating to the reasonable basis defense to the negligence penalty. In Wells Fargo, the taxpayer relied solely on the reasonable basis defense to the government’s assertion of penalties. Under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 6662(b)(1), a taxpayer is liable for penalty of 20% of an underpayment of its taxes attributable to its “negligence.” Various defenses are potentially applicable to the negligence penalty, which we recently discussed in detail here. One such defense is if the taxpayer can show it had a...

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Expansion of Subpart F under the Tax Reform Act

Under Subpart F, certain types of income and investments of earnings of a foreign corporation controlled by US shareholders (controlled foreign corporation, or CFC) are deemed distributed to the US shareholders and subject to current taxation. The recent tax reform legislation (Public Law No. 115-97) increased the amount of CFC income currently taxable to US shareholders, and expanded the CFC ownership rules, which means more foreign corporations are treated as CFCs.   Continue Reading.

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Santander Holdings USA Asks the Supreme Court to Address Economic Substance Doctrine

From 2003 to 2007, Sovereign Bancorp, Inc. (Sovereign) – now known as Santander Holdings USA, Inc. (Santander) – engaged in a so-called STARS transaction with Barclays Bank. According to Santander, “[b]y engaging in the STARS transaction, Sovereign transferred some of its income tax liability from the United States to the United Kingdom,” it “secured a loan of $1.15 billion,” and it received a payment “which effectively reduced its lending costs.” On its Federal corporate income tax returns for those years, Sovereign claimed foreign tax credits (FTCs) for UK taxes it paid in connection with the STARS transaction. It also claimed deductions for the interest paid on the $1.15 billion loan. In 2009, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a Notice of Deficiency disallowing Sovereign’s FTCs and its deductions for interest paid on the $1.15 billion loan. The IRS did not challenge Sovereign’s compliance with the statutory and regulatory rules governing FTCs,...

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IRS Releases IPU Summarizing Foreign and Domestic Loss Impacts on FTCs

On March 1, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a new International Practice Unit (IPU) summarizing foreign and domestic loss impacts on foreign tax credits (FTC).  The IPU provides a summary of the law regarding worldwide taxation and FTC limitations, followed by explanations and analysis for IRS agents examining FTC issues.  As we have noted previously, this high-level guidance to field examiners signals the IRS’s continued focus on international tax issues.

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Supreme Court Denies Review in Highly Contested Foreign Tax Credit Case

On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in the foreign tax credit dispute involving Albemarle Corp.  We have previously written about the case here, here, and here, which involved the timeliness of claims for refund pursuant to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 6511(d)(3)(A)’s 10-year limitations period. Generally, a taxpayer must file a claim for refund within the later of three years from the time the original return was filed, or two years from the time the tax was paid.  Congress extended this period for refund claims related to foreign tax credits (FTC).   IRC section 6511(d)(3)(A) extends the refund limitation period to “10 years from the date prescribed by law for filing the return for the year in which such taxes were actually paid or accrued.” Before IRC section 6511(d)(3)(A) was amended in 1997, the statute required that refund claims be made within 10 years from the date prescribed by law for filing the return for the year with...

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