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Weekly IRS Roundup August 8 – August 12, 2022

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of August 8, 2022 – August 12, 2022.

August 8, 2022: The IRS released Internal Revenue Bulletin 2022-32, highlighting Notice 2022-32, which provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve and corresponding spot segment rates and the 24-month average segment rates. The notice also provides guidance as to interest rates on 30-year Treasury securities and the 30-year Treasury weighted average rates.

August 8, 2022: The IRS released IR-2022-146, reminding truckers to file Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return, on or before the August 31, 2022, deadline. Truck owners who drive a highway motor vehicle weighing 55,000 pounds or more must file the return and pay the tax. Vehicles that used 5,000 miles or less (7,500 miles for farm vehicles) must file the return but do not have to pay the tax.

August 8, 2022: The IRS released Tax Tip 2022-120, explaining how some money raised through crowdfunding may be a gift and excluded from gross income. Crowdfunding websites must file Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third-Party Network Transactions.

August 9, 2022: The Security Summit partners unveiled a new sample security plan designed to help tax professionals protect their data, particularly those with smaller practices. Tax professionals, software and industry partners and representatives from state tax groups, along with the IRS, developed the plan, dubbed the Written Information Security Plan. Federal law requires that all professional tax preparers create and implement a data security plan.

August 9, 2022: The IRS released COVID Tax Tip 2022-121, reminding taxpayers of the resources available on IRS.gov to help them file their tax returns electronically, get tax account information and find the status of their refund.

August 10, 2022: The IRS released IR-2022-148, reminding teachers and educators that they can deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses when they file their 2022 tax return. This is the first increase since the deduction was enacted in 2002. From 2002 through 2021, the limit was $250 per year.

August 10, 2022: The IRS announced that storm victims in parts of Missouri now have until November 15, 2022, to file individual and business tax returns and make tax payments if they had a valid extension to file their 2021 returns. The relief is available to anyone in an area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as qualifying for individual or public assistance. The current list of eligible localities is available here.

August 10, 2022: The IRS released Tax Tip 2022-122, outlining the steps business owners need to take when closing a business.

August 11, 2022: The IRS announced Tax Tip 2022-123, highlighting two educational tax credits available to taxpayers who paid higher [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup November 15 – November 19, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of November 15, 2021 – November 19, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

November 15, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing the launch of a new online tool designed to help US withholding agents comply with their reporting and withholding responsibilities with respect to IRS Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding. The tool performs a quality review of data before submitting to the IRS. Use of the tool does not change a withholding agent’s obligations to file Form 1042-S with the IRS and furnish a copy to the payee.

November 15, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that victims of wildfires that began July 14, 2021, now have until January 3, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

November 16, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that, effective November 15, 2021, tax professionals are able to order up to 30 Transcript Delivery System transcripts per client through the Practitioner Priority Service line. This is an increase from the previous 10 transcripts per client limit.

November 16, 2021: The IRS published a news release regarding Notice 2021-63, which details how the temporary 100% business deduction for food or beverages from restaurants applies to taxpayers properly applying the rules of Revenue Procedure 2019-48 when using per diem rates.

November 17, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing that victims of Hurricane Ida throughout Mississippi now have additional time—until January 3, 2022—to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

November 17, 2021: The Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) published a news release announcing its annual report for 2021, which includes recommendations to the IRS regarding new and continuing issues in tax administration. The 2021 report includes recommendations on 24 issues, covering a broad range of topics. The IRSAC is a federal advisory committee that provides an organized public forum for the discussion of relevant tax administration issues between IRS officials and representatives of the public. IRSAC members offer constructive observations regarding current or proposed IRS policies, programs and procedures.

November 17, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing it unveiled a new how-to video series enabling taxpayers to avoid potential scams by considering and applying for an Offer in Compromise themselves and to avoid paying excessive fees to companies advertising outlandish claims.

November 17, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing the launch of an improved identity verification and sign-in process that enables more people to securely access IRS online tools and applications.

November 17, 2021: The IRS’s National Taxpayer Advocate published a blog post indicating that US Congress [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup May 10 – May 14, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of May 10, 2021 – May 14, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

May 10, 2021: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2021-25, announcing various inflation-adjusted amounts relevant to health savings accounts (HSAs) for calendar year 2022.

May 10, 2021: The IRS issued Notice 2021-26 and an accompanying news release, clarifying that unused amounts from dependent care assistance programs for 2020 that are carried over to 2021 or 2022 (pursuant to coronavirus-related legislation) remain excludible from gross income for those later years.

May 11, 2021: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2021-26, providing procedures under section 446(e) of the Code for certain foreign corporations to obtain automatic IRS consent to change to the alternative depreciation system of accounting under section 168(g) of the Code.

May 11, 2021: The IRS issued a news release, providing an overview of certain key tax provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), including provisions retroactive to the 2020 taxable year.

May 12, 2021: The IRS issued a news release, announcing a ninth round of Economic Impact Payments consisting of nearly one million payments worth more than $1.8 billion, bringing the total amount of disbursements under ARPA to approximately 165 million payments worth approximately $388 billion.

May 13, 2021: The IRS issued a news release, announcing that, in response to recent disruptions to the fuel supply chain, it is waiving penalties for failure to make semi-monthly deposits of excise tax on the sale of dyed diesel fuel for highway use. The relief is retroactive to May 7, 2021, and is in effect through May 21, 2021, and the IRS stated that it is closely monitoring the situation and will provide additional relief as needed.

May 13, 2021: The IRS issued a news release, extending the deadline to apply for 2022 membership on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a federal advisory committee formed to identify taxpayer concerns and make recommendations for improving IRS service, through June 1, 2021.

May 14, 2021: The IRS issued Announcement 2021-10, clarifying that the boundaries of qualified opportunity zones created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are unaffected by the results of the 2020 decennial census.

May 14, 2021: The IRS issued a news release, announcing that victims of storms and tornadoes that occurred in Tennessee in late March and early April would have until August 2, 2021, to file individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

May 14, 2021: The IRS issued a news release, announcing that it has commenced issuing refunds to taxpayers who paid taxes on 2020 unemployment compensation, compensation that ARPA later excluded from 2020 taxable income.

May 14, [...]

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IRS Releases Guidance on Cryptocurrency Hard Forks

On April 9, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Chief Counsel Advice memo 202114020 (Hard Fork CCA), which details the potential tax consequences for taxpayers who held Bitcoin prior to the August 1, 2017, Bitcoin hard fork. While the Hard Fork CCA concerns the taxation of a particular cryptocurrency transaction, it has additional significance because it adds to the limited guidance available regarding the proper taxation of cryptocurrency more generally.

IN DEPTH

A cryptocurrency hard fork occurs when the blockchain on which cryptocurrency transactions are recorded permanently splits. The holder of the cryptocurrency generally has no control or notice that the hard fork is about to occur. The result is two separate blockchains with two separate sets of rules for recording transactions.

Bitcoin underwent a hard fork on August 1, 2017, and resulted in two separate sets of protocols for Bitcoin, as well as a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash. The result of this hard fork was that individuals holding Bitcoin in a distributed ledger now held a unit of Bitcoin Cash for each unit of Bitcoin previously held.

The Hard Fork CCA reached two conclusions concerning the Bitcoin hard fork. First, it determined that a taxpayer who received Bitcoin Cash because of the hard fork has gross income pursuant to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 61. Second, it determined that the date of receipt and fair market value of the income depends on when the taxpayer obtains dominion and control over the Bitcoin Cash. The Hard Fork CCA relies on the statutory language of IRC Section 61(a)(3) and the well-established case law of Commissioner v. Glenshaw Glass Company (348 U.S. 426, 431 (1955) in reaching this result. Those sources define gross income as “all income from whatever source derived,” and provide that all gains or undeniable accessions to wealth, clearly realized, over which a taxpayer has complete dominion are included in gross income. The Hard Fork CCA also concludes that an impacted taxpayer gains dominion over Bitcoin Cash when they have the ability to sell, transfer or exchange the Bitcoin Cash.

Despite the fact that the Hard Fork CCA deals specifically with the consequences of the Bitcoin hard fork, the dearth of IRS guidance on the taxation of cryptocurrencies means the Hard Fork CCA will likely have broad importance to taxpayers who invest in other cryptocurrencies and similar digital assets. Most taxpayers hold cryptocurrencies through a cryptocurrency exchange platform. Coinbase, for example, which recently underwent a highly publicized initial public offering (IPO) and IRS summons for information concerning its participants, is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. (Additional detail regarding the Coinbase summons is available on our Tax Controversy 360 blog.) After a hard fork, some exchanges immediately adopt the new cryptocurrency and permit its use on the exchange; however, others only do so after a period of evaluation, if ever. The Hard Fork CCA takes the position that a taxpayer who privately holds their Bitcoin using a private key to [...]

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Tax Court Holds Payment from Qualified Settlement Fund is Includable in Taxpayer’s Gross Income

In Ritter v. Commissioner, TC Memo. 2017-185 (September 19, 2017), the Tax Court held that a taxpayer’s receipt of a payment from a section 468B qualified settlement fund (QSF) was includable in gross income for the 2013 taxable year. The QSF was established pursuant to a settlement agreement between a federal banking regulator and the taxpayer’s former mortgage servicer (Bank) in which the Bank agreed to take certain actions to remedy deficiencies and unsafe or unsound practices in (i) the Bank’s residential mortgage servicing and (ii) the Bank’s initiation and handling of foreclosure proceedings. The Bank foreclosed on the taxpayer’s principal residence in 2010 while the taxpayer was in bankruptcy proceedings and protected by federal bankruptcy law. (more…)




BEWARE: Whistleblowers Can “Out” You to the IRS!

Not only should companies worry about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) auditing their returns, but they also have to be aware of a potential assault from within. Indeed, current and former employees have an incentive to air all of your tax issues with the hope of being rewarded for the information.

Section 7623(b) was added to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) in 2005, and pays potentially large monetary rewards for so-called tax whistleblowers. To qualify for remuneration, a whistleblower must meet several conditions to qualify for the Section 7623(b) award program: (1) submit the confidential information under penalties of perjury to the IRS’s Whistleblower Office; (2) the information must relate to a tax issue for which the taxpayer (if the IRS found out) would be liable for tax, penalties and/or interest of more than $2 million; and (3) involve a taxpayer whose gross income exceeds $200,000 the tax year at issue. If the information substantially contributes to an administrative or judicial action that results in the collection, the IRS will pay an award of at least 15 percent, but not more than 30 percent of the collected proceeds resulting from the administrative or judicial action (including related actions).

Section 7623(b) has spawned a collection of law firms around the country dedicated to signing up scores of whistleblowers who are hoping to cash in big! Our clients routinely ask us how to best protect themselves. We typically tell our clients that the best defense is a good offense. Consider the following:

  1. Use of non-disclosure agreements with employees who work on sensitive projects like mergers and acquisitions;
  2. Limit employee access to the companies tax accrual workpapers and other documents that indicate the tax savings involved in a transaction or a position claimed on a return;
  3. Review your procedures to ensure that privilege and confidentiality is maintained (this would include training employees and managers);
  4. Review company’s internal procedures for employee complaints to ensure that you have robust procedures in place that offer an independent review and allow for anonymous submissions; and
  5. Be vigilant, and look for signs that an employee is “disgruntled.”

Practice Point: If you are under examination by the IRS, you may be able to discern a whistleblower issue based on the questions being asked by the IRS and whether those questions could only be formed based on information provided by a whistleblower. If this situation exists, it is important to determine whether you should raise the issue with the IRS, particularly if you believe that any confidential and/or privileged information has been provided to the IRS without your consent. To make sure you are protected and adequately prepared, consult with your tax controversy lawyer.




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