international transfer pricing
Subscribe to international transfer pricing's Posts

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Public Law 115-97 repealed the Domestic Production Activity Deduction (DPAD) for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.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 of claims with the greatest compliance risk.

Syndicated Conservation Easement Transactions

The IRS issued Notice 2017-10, designating specific syndicated conservation easement transactions as listed transactions, requiring disclosure statements by both investors and material advisors.

This campaign is intended to encourage taxpayer compliance and ensure consistent treatment of similarly situated taxpayers by ensuring the easement contributions meet the legal requirements for a deduction, and the fair market values are accurate. The initial treatment stream is issue-based examinations. Other treatment streams will be considered as the campaign progresses.

Foreign Base Company Sales Income: Manufacturing Branch Rules

In general, foreign base company sales income (FBCSI) does not include income of a controlled foreign corporation (CFC) derived in connection with the sale of personal property manufactured by such corporation. However, if a CFC manufactures property through a branch outside its country of incorporation, the manufacturing branch may be treated as a separate, wholly owned subsidiary of the CFC for purposes of computing the CFC’s FBCSI, which may result in a subpart F inclusion to the U.S. shareholder(s) of the CFC.

The goal of this campaign is to identify and select for examination returns of U.S. shareholders of CFCs that may have underreported subpart F income based on certain interpretations of the manufacturing branch rules. The treatment stream for the campaign will be issue-based examinations.

1120F Interest Expense/Home Office Expense

This campaign addresses compliance on two of the largest deductions claimed on Form1120-F, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Corporation. Treasury Regulation Section 1.882-5 provides a formula to determine the interest expense of a foreign corporation that is allocable to their effectively connected income. The amount of interest expense deductions determined under Treasury Regulation Section 1.882-5 can be substantial. Treasury Regulation Section 1.861-8 governs the amount of home office expense deductions allocated to effectively connected income. Home office expense allocations have been observed to be material amounts compared to the total deductions taken by a foreign corporation.

The campaign compliance strategy includes the identification of aggressive positions in these areas, such as the use of apportionment [...]

Continue Reading




IRS Release IPU Materials on Transfer Pricing

As we noted in our initial post, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began publishing job aids and training materials developed by its International Practice Units (IPUs).  On April 6, 2016, the IRS released another IPU on section 482, available here.  The most recent IPU covers the three requirements under section 482: (1) two or more organizations, trades or business; (2) common ownership or control (direct or indirect) of the entities; and (3) the determination that an allocation is necessary either to prevent evasion of taxes, or to clearly reflect the income of any of the entities.

The most recent IPU takes a broad view of the application of section 482 and looks at the substance of transactions.  Regarding the first requirement, the IPU instructs examiners that organizations can include almost any type of entity and that a trade or business means a trade or business activity of any kind, regardless of place of organization, formal organization, type of ownership (individual or otherwise) and place of operation.  On the common control requirement, the IPU emphasizes that the form of control is not decisive and that the reality of control governs.  It also notes the presumption of control if income or deductions are arbitrarily shifted.  Finally, the reallocation to clearly reflect income requirement notes that an IRS allocation will be upheld unless the taxpayer can provide that the IRS determination was arbitrary and capricious.  Moreover, the IPU provides examples of circumstances that indicate the presence of arbitrary shifting of income, including when the net income of the foreign affiliate is high compared to the net income reported by the US company.  Of course, it may be appropriate for the foreign affiliate to have higher net income.

The IPU contains instructions on initial factual development of the requirements and provides references to resources that an agent should consult, including internal IRS resources, IRS guidance and case law.  It also identifies the types of documents that should be requested and reviewed during the examination.

As demonstrated by the large number of high-profile transfer pricing disputes currently pending in the courts, the IRS is taking a strong stance on the application of section 482.  Moreover, as demonstrated by this IPU, the IRS wants examining agents to be aggressive in identifying circumstances where there may be noncompliance with section 482.  Taxpayers with transfer pricing issues may benefit from reviewing all IPUs on section 482, both in documenting their transfer pricing activities and upon commencement of an examination to ensure that they have the documentation that the IRS will request.




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 transactions.  Practice Units are not official pronouncements of law, and cannot be used, cited or relied upon for support.  Nonetheless, they provide taxpayers with a window into the IRS’s current thinking about these issues.  Moreover, Practice Units may be helpful to anticipate the IRS’s approach relating to specific international issues.  Over the next few months, Tax Controversy 360 will unveil a series of posts highlighting individual Practice Units of special interest—please stay tuned!




STAY CONNECTED

TOPICS

ARCHIVES