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Weekly IRS Roundup December 6 – December 10, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of December 6, 2021 – December 10, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

December 6, 2021: The IRS published updated guidance on requesting estate tax closing letters and transcript request procedures.

December 6, 2021: The US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a semiannual report to US Congress, summarizing the accomplishments of the TIGTA from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021. The TIGTA’s Office of Audit completed 52 audits, and its Office of Investigations completed 1,430 investigations. Its combined audit and investigative efforts resulted in the recovery, protection and identification of monetary benefits totaling more than $9 billion.

December 6, 2021: The IRS issued guidance for employers regarding the retroactive termination of the Employee Retention Credit. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was enacted on November 15, 2021, amended the law so that the Employee Retention Credit applies only to wages paid before October 1, 2021 (unless the employer is a recovery startup business).

December 7, 2021: The IRS published a news release encouraging taxpayers to take important actions this month to help them file their federal tax returns in 2022, including special steps related to Economic Impact Payments and advance Child Tax Credit payments. A special page, updated and available on IRS.gov, outlines the steps taxpayers can take now to make tax filing easier next year.

December 7, 2021: The IRS published frequently asked questions (FAQs), providing guidance on what certain pass-through businesses should do in the absence of updated forms for the 2021 tax year. The tax year 2021 forms, to which Schedules K-2 and K-3 must be attached, have not yet been finalized. The FAQs address questions concerning whether Schedules K-2 and K-3 must be attached to tax year 2020 forms for partnerships or S corporations with 2021 short tax years or, in the case of Form 8865, filers of Form 8865 with 2021 short tax years.

December 7, 2021: The IRS published a memorandum providing interim guidance for in-person conference procedures. The guidance provides that the IRS Independent Office of Appeals (IRS Appeals) will use its best efforts to schedule the in-person conference at a location that is reasonably convenient for both the taxpayer and the IRS Appeals. This guidance does not modify any temporary procedures in place due to COVID-19.

December 8, 2021: The IRS released guidance for IRS Appeals employees working Tax-Exempt/Government Entities (TE/GE)-sourced cases. For TE/GE-sourced cases in which a taxpayer or representative raises a new issue, provides new information or advances a new theory or an alternative legal argument to the IRS Appeals, the IRS Appeals employee is required to follow the instructions provided by the IRS.

December 10, 2021: The [...]

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Code Sec. 367(a) and (d) After the TCJA

Code Sec. 367(a) and (d) subject to taxation a transfer of tangible and intangible property by a U.S. person to a foreign corporation in an otherwise tax-free transaction. While for many years exceptions were provided for transfers of certain types of property, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) amended Code Sec. 367, removing the exceptions and broadening the definition of intangible property.

Specifically, Code Sec. 367(a)(1) provides generally that gain realized on the transfer of property by a U.S. person to a foreign corporation is subject to taxation. Former Code Sec. 367(a)(3) had provided an exception for property transferred to a foreign corporation for use in an active trade or business outside the United States. For example, this exception was available for the transfer of a foreign plant and equipment. The exception did not apply to a transfer of inventory, accounts receivable, intangible property within the meaning of former Code Sec. 936(h)(3) (B), or foreign currency. The TCJA eliminated this exception, such that gain on a transfer of property by a US person to a foreign corporation is now subject to immediate taxation, except for property subject to Code Sec. 367(d).

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Originally published by International Tax Journal: November/December 2019




Facebook Goes to District Court to Enforce Access to IRS Appeals

On November 8, 2017, Facebook, Inc. and Subsidiaries (Facebook) filed a complaint in the District Court for the Northern District of California asserting that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had improperly denied Facebook access to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Appeals. Facebook’s complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that the IRS unlawfully issued Revenue Procedure 2016-22, 2016-15 I.R.B. 1, and unlawfully denied Facebook its statutory right to access an independent administrative forum. Facebook also requests injunctive relief from the IRS’s unlawful position, or action in the nature of mandamus to compel the IRS to provide Facebook access to an independent administrative forum. (more…)




Is a Business Tax Reform Game Plan Beginning to Take Shape?

Substantial tax reform is underway and the business community is intently awaiting details of this activity with the aim of positioning themselves to maximize opportunities and minimize any costs or risks that reform may present. How will a cut in the corporate income tax rate, the potential adoption of a “territorial” dividend exemption system or the elimination or altering of recent regulations impact companies?

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IRS Practice Unit Advises Examiners to Use Aggregate Approach in Valuing Outbound Transfers

On January 4, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a new “International Practice Unit” (IPU) on the value of intangibles in IRC Section 367(d) transactions in conjunction with cost sharing arrangements (CSA). See IPU here. The IPU notes that transferring highly valuable intangibles offshore has become a routine tax strategy for reducing a company’s effective tax rate for financial statement and tax purposes.

Typically, questions concerning the value of intangibles arise where a US taxpayer enters into a CSA with a controlled foreign corporation (CFC) in a low or no tax jurisdiction, and contributes resources, rights and capabilities (which may include IRC Section 936(h)(3)(B) intangibles) to the CSA. An arm’s length payment to the US taxpayer is then required for the contribution. Simultaneously with, or shortly before entering into a CSA, the US taxpayer transfers certain intangible property to the CFC in an IRC Section 351 or 361 transaction, which is taxable under IRC Section 367(d). Again, there is an arm’s length charge for the use of that intangible property.

Oftentimes in these transactions, the US taxpayer values the intangibles transferred in the IRC Section 367(d) transfer separately from the platform contributions, even though, the IRS says, the intangibles conveyed in both transactions will be exploited on a combined basis. Based on the aggregation principles in the IRC Section 482 regulations, the IPU warns that a non-aggregate approach may not provide an arm’s length result. Moreover, despite taxpayer arguments to the contrary, the IPU maintains that the scope of intangible property for purposes of IRC Section 367(d) is just as broad as the scope of platform contributions.

Practice Point: The IPU is a good source of information of what the IRS’s examination division will consider when auditing an outbound transfer of intangible rights for use in a CSA. If you have or intend to engage in such a transaction, you should study the IPU to ensure that you have adequately documented the arm’s length payments for the transfer.




Facebook Battles IRS In Summons Enforcement Case

Facebook is in a protracted battle with the IRS related to its off-shoring of IP to an Irish affiliate. Read more here. The IRS issued an administrative summons for the documents, and Facebook has refused to comply with the summons. The IRS is asking the court to enforce the summons and force Facebook to turn over the requested documents. The court agreed that on its face, the summons was issued for a legitimate purpose. Facebook will now have to tell the court why it refuses to turn over the documents. Review the court order here. Assumedly, Facebook is asserting that it is not required to disclose the requested materials based upon a claim of privilege. The case demonstrates that the IRS is aggressively seeking documents and information from taxpayers and their representatives in cases involving international tax issues.




Tax Court Rules in Favor of Medtronic in Transfer Pricing Case Against IRS

At least a partial taxpayer victory in the Medtronic case, T.C. Memo. 2016-112. The Tax Court held that Medtronic met its burden of showing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) abused its discretion by  making arbitrary and capricious Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 482 reallocations with respect to taxable income of Medtronic’s Puerto Rico subsidiary. It further concluded that the IRS’s use of the comparable profits method is not required under the IRC Section 482 commensurate with income standard. Although the Tax Court found the taxpayer’s royalty rates established using the comparable uncontrolled transaction method to be unreasonable, the court undertook to determine the proper allocations itself, and made two significant adjustments to the taxpayer’s royalty rates. Finally, the court rejected the IRS’s alternative allocation that intangibles were transferred under IRC Section 367(d).




Subpart F: When Does a CFC Receive Substantial Assistance in Performing Services?

Income derived by a controlled foreign corporation (CFC) from performing services for an unrelated customer generally is not Subpart F income. However, if U.S. related persons furnish substantial assistance contributing to the performance of the services, under regulations, the CFC will be deemed to perform the services for a related person. In such case, the services income would be Subpart F income to the extent attributable to services performed outside the CFC’s country of organization.

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