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LB&I Announces Five New Campaigns

On September 10, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Large Business and International (LB&I) Division announced five new audit “campaigns.” These new campaigns follow: (1) the initial 13 campaigns announced on January 31, 2017; (2) followed by 11 campaigns announced on November 3, 2017; (3) five campaigns announced on March 13, 2018; six campaigns announced on May 21, 2018; and five campaigns announced on July 2, 2018. The following five new LB&I campaigns are listed by title and description: Section 199 – Claims Risk Review Public Law 115-97 repealed the Domestic Production Activity Deduction (DPAD) for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. This campaign addresses all business entities that may file a claim for additional DPAD under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 199. The campaign objective is to ensure taxpayer compliance with the requirements of IRC Section 199 through a claim risk review assessment and issue-based examinations...

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IRS Releases International Tax Guidance

Happy New Year to all our readers! To start off the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released two pieces of guidance on international tax issues which are noteworthy. Each is briefly discussed below. The first piece of guidance is Notice 2018-7, which announces the IRS’s intent to issue regulations for determining amounts included in gross income by a United States shareholder under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 951(a)(1) by reason of Code Section 965. The IRS has requested comments on the Notice and has indicated that it expects to issue additional guidance under Code Section 965. The second piece of guidance is a Practice Unit on the substantial contribution test for the controlled manufacturing exception under the Code Section 954 regulations. This Practice Unit discusses the substantial contribution test and provides insight into the IRS’s approach in analyzing this issue in examinations of taxpayers. We previously posted about the...

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Tax Planning in a World of Increased Transparency

Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) are facing an evolving international tax landscape with long-term implications for tax compliance, planning and controversy. Understanding these changes requires continual effort. Tax Executives Institute recently invited us to explore Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting issues at the 2017 Global Tax Symposium in Houston, Texas. We had a lively discussion and know this will be a hot topic as jurisdictions begin reviewing the CbC reports. As background, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project has been a key driver of international tax reform.  BEPS “Action 13” outlined a CbC reporting standard that has been adopted in more than 55 jurisdictions. The CbC report is an annual filing obligation identifying, among other things, the amount of revenue, profit before income tax, and income tax paid and accrued for each tax jurisdiction in which the taxpayer does...

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A 360-Degree View: November and December 2017

Wrapping Up November – and Looking Forward to December Please view all of the topics we discussed over the last month, and take a look at the upcoming tax controversy events where our lawyers will be speaking in December. Upcoming Tax Controversy Activities in December: December 14, 2017: Catherine Battin, Britt Haxton, Kristen Hazel, Mary Kay Martire, Jane May, Sandra McGill and Judith Wethall will be hosting the Tax in the City® - A Year in Review event, which will focus on the state and local impact, as well as the federal and international aspects of tax reform. December 14, 2017: Thomas Jones will be presenting the webinar, “Understand how the new Tax Reform bill will affect the status of captive insurers and hear the latest 2017 tax developments” for the Vermont Captive Insurance Association.

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David Kautter Named Acting IRS Commissioner

Today, President Trump announced his intention to designate David Kautter to be the Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue effective November 13, 2017. John Koskinen, the current Commissioner of Internal Revenue, is near the end of his term, which ends on November 12, 2017. The Commissioner’s role is to preside over the nation’s tax system and manage an agency consisting of more than 80,000 employees with a budget in excess of $11 billion. Mr. Kautter has been the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (Tax Policy) since August 2017. Prior to that, he was the Leader of the Washington National Tax practice at RSM US LLP. From 2011–2015, he was a Managing Director at American University, Kogod School of Business. From 1974–1979 and 1982–2010, he worked in a variety of roles with EY, ranging from compensation and benefits issues to domestic and international tax issues. From 1979–1982, he was Tax Legislative Counsel for former Senator John Danforth. Mr. Kautter...

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Globalism vs. Populism in the International Tax World

Adoption of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) action items in specific countries can be expected to alter traditional multi-national enterprises (MNE) tax strategy processes. In this regard, it is appropriate to note that tax authorities and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) often seem to overlook, or conveniently ignore, that MNE strategies are often a function of the rules established by countries to develop their own tax base (at the expense of other countries). In other words, countries, in their respective self-interests, grant incentives of various sorts to encourage economic investment. MNEs take advantage of these incentives to minimize their tax liabilities, which the BEPS process views as, somehow, inappropriate behavior of MNEs denuding the tax base of other countries. Like water going downhill, MNE planning strategies will utilize the most efficient path to achieve desired objectives. This is a fiduciary...

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IRS Publishes Another IPU on Transfer Pricing

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to publish International Practice Units (IPUs) on transfer pricing.  As explained in our prior post, the IRS has provided guidance on the three requirements to come within the transfer pricing rules in IRC section 482.  The IRS continues to expend its limited resources on international tax issues, arming its field agents with extensive directions on how to audit transfer pricing issues.  It is clear that international tax issues are and will continue to be the focus of IRS agents in auditing multinational entities.

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IRS Releases Practice Unit on Allocation of Interest Expense

On February 19, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a 30-plus-page practice unit regarding interest expense of a foreign corporation engaged in a U.S. trade or business. As is the case with all practice units, the IRS cautions that practice units are not official pronouncements of law or directives and cannot be used, cited or relied upon as such.  Even so, the IRS generally acknowledges that practice units provide a general discussion of a concept, process or transaction. This can be helpful from a taxpayer’s perspective. This is especially true for interest expense allocation calculations under Treasury Regulation § 1.882-5, one of the more complicated calculations for taxpayers to make. The practice unit begins with a graph that illustrates possible circumstances where the interest expense allocation process described in the practice unit can apply. The practice unit then breaks down the four steps for determining interest expense...

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Introducing McDermott’s Blog Series on LB&I’s International Practice Units

As part of an overall strategy and reorganization to utilize resources more efficiently, the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Large Business and International (LB&I) Division has developed a series of International Practice Units.  These Practice Units typically consist of a set of slides explaining how agents in the field should approach a particular issue of interest in international tax or transfer pricing. A complete list of these Practice Units can be found here. The IRS intends the Practice Units to serve as “job aids and training materials” and as “a means for collaborating and sharing knowledge among IRS employees.” The first group was published at the end of 2014, and the IRS has steadily released new Practice Units ever since.  Presently, the IRS has published over 100 practice units on a wide range of international topics. Practice Units provide general explanations of international tax concepts, as well as information about specific types of...

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