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Weekly IRS Roundup November 22 – November 26, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of November 22, 2021 – November 26, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum concerning a temporary deviation from the handwritten signature requirement for certain tax forms. To alleviate COVID-19 concerns while promoting timely filing, the IRS will allow taxpayers and representatives to use electronic or digital signatures when signing listed forms that currently require a handwritten signature. No specific technology is required to create the signature. The IRS has listed the eligible forms, which must be postmarked on August 28, 2020, or later.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum extending through October 31, 2023, temporary deviations that allow IRS employees to: (1) accept images of signatures and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability and (2) send or receive documents to or from taxpayers using emails with encrypted attachments when no other approved electronic alternative is available.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum providing guidance concerning employee retention credits and the deferral of paying social security taxes in 2020.

November 23, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing the launch of a new Spanish-language version of the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC-UP). Families who are already receiving monthly payments use the CTC-UP to update their accounts. Now, all the features that have only been available in English are also available in Spanish.

November 26, 2021: The IRS published a notice and request for comments on Form 944, Employer’s Annual Employment Tax Return, and Form 944-X, Adjusted Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, which are used in part to ensure the smallest non-agricultural and non-household employers are paying the correct amount of social security tax, Medicare tax and withheld federal income tax. Comments are due on or before January 25, 2022.

November 26, 2021: The IRS published a notice and request for comments concerning TD 8857 (addressing the determination of underwriting income by non-life insurance companies), which allows a non-life insurance company to increase unpaid losses on a yearly basis by the amount of estimated salvage recoverable if the company discloses this to the state insurance regulatory authority. Comments are due on or before January 28, 2022.

November 26, 2021: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Robbie Alipour in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.




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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IRS Announces Nonacquiescence in Mayo Tax Regulation Invalidity Holding

We previously wrote here and here about decisions made by the District Court of Minnesota and the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Mayo Clinic v. United States regarding challenges to the validity of certain Treasury Regulations promulgated under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 170. In that case, the Eighth Circuit held for the taxpayer in part and the government in part and remanded to the district court to further develop the record and address certain issues.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced in an Action on Decision (AOD) that it will not acquiesce in the Eighth Circuit’s holding, which invalidated Treas. Reg. § 1.170A-9(c)(1)’s requirement that the primary function of an education organization described in Code Section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) must be the presentation of formal instruction. This means that in all cases not appealable to the Eighth Circuit, the IRS will not follow this holding and will continue to litigate the issue.

The IRS’s policy is to announce at an early date whether it will follow the holdings in certain cases, and it does so by making an announcement in an AOD. A nonacquiescence is not binding on courts or the taxpayers but merely signals the IRS’s position that it disagrees with a court decision. (Sometimes the IRS will acquiesce in a decision.) Given that an AOD is published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, it could be argued that the IRS’s action constitutes published guidance taxpayers can rely on. The IRS’s list of AODs, with links to each action, can be found here.




IRS Provides Guidance to LB&I Examiners on Requesting Participation in Appeals Conferences

We recently covered the Appeals Team Case Leader Conferencing Initiative: Summary of Findings and Next Steps (Appeals Summary) in relation to the participation of Large Business & International (LB&I) exam teams and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Chief Counsel attorneys in conferences before the IRS Independent Office of Appeals (IRS Appeals). As discussed, the Appeals Summary concluded that IRS Appeals would be given discretion to invite exam teams and Chief Counsel attorneys to attend IRS Appeals conferences in the future. In determining whether such discretion should be exercised in a case, the Appeals Summary states that both the taxpayers’ and the exam teams’s views should be solicited and considered.

In a November 8, 2021, memorandum (LB&I Memorandum), the Acting Assistance Deputy Compliance Integration for the LB&I Division Theodore D. Setzer provided guidance to LB&I employees on requesting participation. The LB&I Memorandum reflects the LB&I Divisons’s view that participation in certain IRS Appeals conferences is important for fostering effective tax administration and assisting IRS Appeals in resolving tax controversy on a basis which is fair and impartial to taxpayers and the government. Thus, LB&I employees “should continue to request to be invited where LB&I participation would help improve understanding of factual and legal differences in a case.” The LB&I Memorandum directs LB&I employees to consider the following nonexclusive list of factors before making a request to attend an IRS Appeals conference:

  • The case is factually complex;
  • History has shown lack of meeting of the minds regarding the underlying facts or legal positions;
  • The taxpayer’s characterization of LB&I’s position in the formal written protest is not accurately stated and participation by both the taxpayer and LB&I at the Appeals conference will assist Appeals in both bridging the lack of understanding and better understanding the case;
  • The taxpayer has presented multiple legal arguments or authorities that it relies on to support its position;
  • The case involves outside experts or expert opinions;
  • The case involves an issue of importance to tax administration, such as a case of first impression; one involving the interpretation of a new statute or regulation when there are no reported opinions or when published guidance is pending or where precedent is otherwise absent or conflicting; one affecting large numbers of taxpayers or an industry; or one falling within an operating division’s major strategic goal;
  • The case involves an issue in which the Government seeks to distinguish a position set forth in published guidance;
  • The case involves an issue coordinated under strategic compliance/coordination initiative such as LB&I campaigns or
  • A tax shelter case involving a “Listed Transaction” or substantially similar transaction within the meaning of Treas. Reg. 1.6001-4(b)(2), or a “Transaction of Interest” under Treas. Reg. 1.6011-4(b)(6).

The LB&I Memorandum states that a participation request must be made in one of two ways. The first is by indicating the request on Form 4665, Report Transmittal. According to Internal Revenue Manual Section 4.10.8.12.6 (03-25-2021), Form 4665 is used to [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup November 1 – November 5, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of November 1, 2021 – November 5, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

November 1, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum, providing guidance on the refund recoupment process for employees of Specialty Collection Offer in Compromise. Beginning with offers accepted on or after November 1, 2021, the offer in the compromise refund recoupment process will no longer be applicable for offsetting tax periods included on Form 656.

November 1, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum, extending certain temporary guidance related to taxpayer contact, initial contact and asset evaluations with respect to Internal Revenue Manual SBSE-05-0321-0019, Extension of Temporary Guidance for Field Collection and Specialty Collection Offers in Compromise Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Resumption of NFTL Procedures. The memorandum also extends the waiver that requires a field call prior to acceptance of certain Offers in Compromise in accordance with IRM 5.8.4.8(10) until January 31, 2022. The temporary guidance regarding Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) determinations and filings was not extended.

November 2, 2021: The IRS released the IRS Chief Counsel code and subject matter directory for November 2021.

November 3, 2021: The IRS published a news release, reminding taxpayers that a special tax provision will allow more Americans to easily deduct up to $600 in donations to qualifying charities on their 2021 federal income tax return. A temporary law change now permits them to claim a limited deduction on their 2021 federal income tax returns for cash contributions made to qualifying charitable organizations.

November 3, 2021: The IRS published FAQs concerning carried interest reporting details for partnerships. The purpose of the FAQs is to provide guidance relating to both pass-through entity filing and reporting requirements and owner taxpayer filing requirements in accordance with US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) regulations revised in T.D. 9945 (concerning guidance under Section 1061, which recharacterizes certain net long-term capital gains of a partner that holds one or more applicable partnership interests as short-term capital gains).

November 3, 2021: The IRS published a news release, announcing that victims of Hurricane Ida in parts of Connecticut now have until January 3, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

November 3, 2021: The IRS and Treasury published a notice and request for comments concerning third-party disclosure requirements in IRS regulations. Written comments are due on or before January 3, 2022.

November 5, 2021: The IRS published a practice unit concerning expense allocation and apportionment when calculating a foreign tax credit under Section 904. The practice unit was revised to correct an error and supersedes the August 29, 2016, practice unit with the same title.

November 5, 2021: The IRS and Treasury
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IRS Audit Update: Communicating Via Video Meetings and Secure Messaging

The traditional audit experience for taxpayers large and small has, like many things, been impacted by COVID-19. Taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have been forced to navigate audits in a remote environment, causing issues related to exchanging documents, engaging in discussions and even filing tax returns and other documents. The IRS has worked hard to adjust to the pandemic and made significant strides in maintaining an efficient audit process.

The key to a well-organized and just audit process is communication between taxpayers and the IRS. In a welcome development, the IRS Large Business & International (LB&I) Division recently announced that effective October 18, 2021 (and expiring October 18, 2023), IRS employees must grant an LB&I taxpayer’s request for a video meeting in lieu of an in-person or telephone discussion. The video meeting must be through IRS-approved solutions, which is currently WebEx and ZoomGov with a future phase-in of Microsoft Teams planned. Screen sharing is permitted but files may not be transferred on these platforms.

Additionally, the IRS has been offering the Taxpayer Digital Communications (TDC) secure messaging system as another communication method. The TDC system avoids the need to send documents to the IRS via facsimile and allows the transfer of files of up to one gigabyte in a secure messaging environment. The IRS is also working with corporate taxpayers on third-party virtual reading rooms that permit IRS employees to review documents without downloading them.

Practice Point: The use of video meetings and the TDC system are two ways that the IRS and taxpayers can continue to communicate effectively and efficiently in a remote working environment. The IRS is continuing to roll out new programs and initiatives in this area and the McDermott tax team will continue to provide updates as they become available.




Weekly IRS Roundup October 25 – October 29, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of October 25, 2021 – October 29, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

October 25, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum implementing the Large Partnership Compliance (LPC) Pilot Program, including the identification, selection and delivery of large partnership tax returns, exam procedures and feedback.

October 25, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum providing emergency guidance on emails with personal accounts in exigent circumstances to IRS employees responsible for protecting sensitive but unclassified data, including tax information and personally identifiable information.

October 26, 2021: The IRS and US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) published a notice and request for comments concerning the foreign tax credit used by individuals, estates or trusts. Comments are requested on Form 1116, Foreign Tax Credit (Individual, Estate or Trust), and Schedules B and C, which are used by individuals (including nonresident aliens), estates or trusts who paid foreign income taxes on US taxable income to compute the foreign tax credit. Written comments are due on or before December 27, 2021.

October 26, 2021: The IRS published a practice unit examining education expenses claimed by Nonresident Alien Individual (NRA) employees. The unit focuses on examining the education expenses claimed by NRAs engaged in a US trade or business as employees and discusses the issues and audit steps that examiners will need to consider for these taxpayers.

October 27, 2021: The IRS published a new release announcing that victims of Hurricane Ida in parts of Mississippi now have additional time—until January 3, 2022—to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. The deadline remains November 1, 2021, for affected taxpayers in other parts of Mississippi.

October 28, 2021: The IRS and Treasury published a notice and request for comments concerning Form 3468 (Investment Credit). The form is used to compute taxpayers’ credit against their income tax for certain expenses incurred for their trades or businesses. Written comments are due on or before December 27, 2021.

October 29, 2021: The IRS and Treasury published a notice and request for comments concerning Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number). The form is used by taxpayers who are required to have an identification number for use on any return, statement or other document to obtain such number. Written comments are due on or before December 28, 2021.

October 29, 2021: The IRS and Treasury published a notice and request for comments concerning rules relating to the manner and method of reporting and paying the nondeductible 50% excise tax imposed by Section 5881 with respect to the receipt of greenmail. Written comments are due on or before December 28, 2021.

October 29, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum [...]

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Contracting in Anticipation of Tax Reform—Can a Tax Transaction Really Be Rescinded?

Tax reform is on the horizon. It’s in the press every day, but until US Congress can get together and make a final decision, it’s all conjecture. So what can taxpayers do to prepare for the inevitable? One idea is to enter into a transaction now with the expectation that certain tax provisions will be enacted, and if those tax provisions are not enacted by December 31, 2021, unwind the transaction as if nothing ever happened—the proverbial tax “do-over,” “mulligan,” or “oopsie.” There is basis for this strategy under the doctrine of rescission.

A transaction rescission occurs when all parties agree to void the transaction as if nothing occurred. (Think of the parties physically ripping up the formal, executed contracts.) This may sound a bit silly, but if the parties can enter into a transaction, why shouldn’t they be able to decide to void it?

The doctrine of rescission is well-entrenched in the law and finds its roots in contract law, but it can also be applicable (and effective) in tax law. While the doctrine of rescission is nowhere to be found in the Internal Revenue Code or the Treasury Regulations, case law ensures taxpayers that the doctrine is available in a tax context. (See: e.g., Penn v. Robertson, 115 F.2d 167 (4th Cir. 1940).)

Likewise, in Revenue Ruling 80-58, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) endorsed the doctrine of rescission, and the facts in that ruling demonstrate the boundaries of the doctrine. In February 1978, A (a calendar year taxpayer) sold a tract of land to B and received cash for the entire purchase price. The contract of sale obligated A, at the request of B, to accept reconveyance of the land from B if at any time within nine months of the date of sale B was unable to have the land rezoned for B‘s business purposes. If there was a reconveyance under the contract, A and B would be placed in the same positions they were prior to the sale. The IRS ruled that “the original sale is to be disregarded for federal income tax purposes because the rescission extinguished any taxable income for that year with regard to that transaction.” There are numerous private letter rulings that provide additional examples of the IRS’s approval of the doctrine of rescission.

Importantly, the doctrine of rescission as applicable to tax issues is governed by the “annual accounting concept.” This concept pervades tax law and measures behavior for tax purposes based upon the tax year of the taxpayer. As the Supreme Court of the United States held, each taxable year is a separate unit for tax accounting purposes. (See: Security Flour Mills Co. v. Comm’r, 321 U.S. 281 (1944).) So the idea is, if a taxpayer enters into a transaction and the transaction is voided before the end of the year, for tax purposes it’s as if the transaction never occurred.

So, if any taxpayers are thinking about engaging in a transaction they may [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup October 18 – October 22, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of October 18, 2021 – October 22, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

October 18, 2021: The IRS announced that beginning October 18, its Large Business and International (LB&I) Division will accept all taxpayer requests to meet with IRS employees using secure video conferencing.

October 20, 2021: The IRS published an announcement, reminding employers that the next quarterly payroll tax return is due November 1, 2021. The IRS urged employers to use the speed and convenience of filing the returns electronically.

October 21, 2021: The IRS and US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) published a notice and request for comments concerning Form 4810 (Request for Prompt Assessment Under Internal Revenue Code Section 6501(d)). The form is used to help locate a return and expedite the processing of a taxpayer’s request. Written comments are due on or before December 20, 2021.

October 21, 2021: The IRS published an announcement, reminding the more than 759,000 federal tax return preparers that they must renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) now for 2022. All current PTINs will expire December 31, 2021.

October 21, 2021: The IRS published a notice, setting forth current standards that a limited liability company (LLC) must satisfy in order to receive a determination letter recognizing it as tax exempt under Section 501(a) and described in Section 501(c)(3). The notice also requests comments on these standards, as well as specific issues relating to tax exempt status for LLCs, to assist the Treasury and the IRS in determining whether additional guidance is needed concerning the standards that an LLC must satisfy in order to be exempt from taxation by reason of being described in Section 501(c). Written comments should be submitted by February 6, 2022.

October 22, 2021: The IRS published an announcement, reminding employers that they generally will not jeopardize the tax status of their pension plans if they rehire retirees or permit distributions of retirement benefits to current employees who have reached age 59 and a half or the plan’s normal retirement age. The IRS posted FAQs to help employers impacted by COVID-19, which resulted in labor shortages.

October 22, 2021: The IRS published Revenue Procedure 2021-42, providing guidelines and general requirements for the development, printing and approval of the 2021 substitute tax forms. The IRS accepts quality substitute tax forms that are consistent with the official forms and have no adverse impact on processing.

October 22, 2021: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Robbie Alipour in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.




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