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Weekly IRS Roundup February 24 – 28, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of February 24 – 28, 2020.

February 24, 2020: The IRS released final instructions to Form 8978, Partner’s Additional Reporting Year Tax, to reflect changes to the audit procedures of partnerships under the 2015 BBA. Under IRC section 6226, a partnership may elect to have each reviewed year partner take into account the partner’s share of the partnership’s adjustments, instead of the partnership paying the imputed underpayment determined under Section 6221.

February 24, 2020: The IRS issued a news release naming Brendan O’Dell, a senior advisor in the IRS LB&I Division, as the IRS’ new Promoter Investigations Coordinator. O’Dell will coordinate promoter activity across the agency, working with the IRS business units, the Office of Professional Responsibility, Criminal Investigation, Chief Counsel and other IRS offices to ensure coordination of ongoing investigations and the development of new approaches to identify promoters of aggressive tax arrangements.

February 27, 2020: The IRS issued final regulations that correct TD 9885, the base erosion and anti-abuse regulations that were published on December 6, 2019. The corrections clarify two-timing thresholds, stating that the final regulations extend the transition period for meeting the complete QDP reporting requirements until taxable years beginning on or after Monday, June 7, 2021 and that Section 1.6038A-2(b)(7)(ix) applies to taxable years beginning on or after Monday, June 7, 2021.

February 27, 2020: The IRS updated Publication 590-A, which addresses contributions to individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) under IRC section 408A. The IRS provided the correct procedure to determine modified adjusted gross income for Roth IRA purposes.

February 27, 2020: The Treasury and the IRS announced the appointment of Erin M. Collins as the new National Taxpayer Advocate. For our separate discussion of the appointment, as well as other recent tax appointments, see here.

February 28, 2020: The Statistics of Income (SOI) Division of the IRS released the SOI Bulletin for winter 2020. The bulletin focuses on individual foreign-earned income and the foreign tax credit for the 2016 tax year, when the total amount of foreign-earned income reported by US taxpayers decreased by 11.2% from 2011, while the foreign-source gross income reported by US taxpayers during that time increased by 19.5%. The SOI Bulletin provides the most recent data available from various tax and information returns filed by US taxpayers.

February 28, 2020: The IRS released a revenue ruling and a related news release announcing that interest rates under IRC section 6621 will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning April 1, 2020. IRC section 6621 establishes the interest rates on overpayments and underpayments of tax, including a specific rate for large corporate underpayments. The revenue ruling will appear in the Internal Revenue Bulletin 2020-12, dated March 16, 2020.

February 28, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Jenni [...]

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The Internal Revenue Service Is Expanding the 2020 Compliance Assurance Process

The Large Business and International Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) developed the Compliance Assurance Process (CAP) program to improve large corporate taxpayer compliance with US federal tax obligations through the use of real-time issue resolution tools and techniques.

On September 12, 2019, the IRS announced that it was accepting applications—for the first time since 2015—from new corporate taxpayers that meet the eligibility requirements for the CAP program. The application period for the 2020 CAP year begins on September 16, 2019, and ends on October 31, 2019. Generally, applicants must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible to apply for CAP: (1) applicants must have assets of $10 million or more; (2) applicants must be a US publicly traded corporation with a legal requirement to prepare and submit SEC Forms 10-K, 10-Q, and 8-K; and (3) the applicant must not be under investigation by, or in litigation with, any government agency that would otherwise limit the IRS’s access to current tax records.

Taxpayers interested in applying for the 2020 CAP year must submit an application with several forms:

  • Form 14234 – CAP Application
  • Form 14234-A – CAP Research Credit Questionnaire
  • Form 14234-B – Material Intercompany Transactions Template
  • Form 14234-C – Taxpayer Initial Issues List
  • Form 14234-D – Tax Control Framework Questionnaire

If the taxpayer also meets the eligibility and suitability criteria, the application will be forwarded for an evaluation of the application. Accepted taxpayers will be notified in writing by the Territory Manager assigned to the taxpayer.

However, acceptance is not automatic; the IRS, in its sole discretion, may reject the application when warrants by the facts and circumstances of the application or in the interest of sound tax administration. If an application is rejected, the taxpayer will be notified in writing and provided with the reasons why it was not accepted.

Further information regarding the IRS’s CAP program may be found here. Earlier coverage of the IRS’s 2018 recalibration of the CAP program can be found here.

Practice Point: The CAP program is a valued tool for many large corporate taxpayers. Eligible taxpayers that are interested in the CAP program for 2020 should prepare and submit an application as soon as possible.

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IRS Resumes Examinations of Stock Based Compensation in Cost Sharing Agreements

On July 31, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Large Business and International (LB&I) division formally withdrew its Directive (LB&I-04-0118-005) instructing examiners on transfer pricing selection related to stock based compensation (SBC) in Cost Sharing Arrangements (CSAS). See here for IRS Notice of Withdrawal.

The Directive was issued January 12, 2018, after the Tax Court’s opinion in Altera which invalidated Treasury Regulation § 1.482-7A(d)(2). The IRS appealed Altera and issued Directive LB&I-04-0118-005, which we previously discussed here. The Directive instructed examiners to “[s]top opening issues related to stock-based compensation (SBC) included in cost-sharing arrangements (CSAS) intangible development costs (IDCs) until the Ninth Circuit issues an opinion in the Altera case on appeal.” At the time, the IRS indicated that it would issue further guidance once Altera was finally decided. On June 7, 2019, the Ninth Circuit reversed the Tax Court’s decision. (more…)

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Is an Increase in LB&I Assertion of Penalties on the Horizon?

On May 31, 2019, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report indicating that changes may be in the works regarding assertion of accuracy-related penalties in examinations handled by the IRS Large Business & International (LB&I) Division.

The TIGTA report reviewed the results of closed LB&I examinations for the fiscal years 2015 through 2017 and concluded that the IRS assessed accuracy-related penalties upon only 6% of the 4,600 examined returns with additional tax assessments of $10,000 or more. In comparison, the IRS Small Business / Self Employed (SB/SE) Division assessed accuracy-related penalties upon 25% of its examined returns with additional tax assessments of $10,000 or more. (more…)

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IRS Announces More LB&I Campaigns!

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Large Business and International (LB&I) Division continues to churn out new audit “campaigns.” For our prior coverage, please click here. The most recent set of campaigns were announced on April 16, 2019, bringing the grand total to 53 campaigns since the program’s initial release on January 13, 2017. The IRS explains that the goal of the campaigns is to “improve return selection, identify issues representing a risk of non-compliance, and make the greatest use of limited resources.”


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