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?
Run for Cover—IRS Unveils Initial “Campaigns” for LB&I Audits
They’re here! On January 31, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Large Business & International (LB&I) division released its much-anticipated announcement related to the identification and selection of campaigns. The initial list identifies 13 compliance issues that LB&I is focused on and lists the specific practice area involved and the lead executive for each campaign. Prior coverage of audit campaigns can be found here.
The initial list, along with descriptions of each campaign, is as follows:
- Section 48C Energy Credits
This campaign is designed to ensure that only taxpayers whose advanced energy projects were approved by the Department of Energy, and who have been allocated a credit by the IRS, are claiming the credit. Apparently, there has been confusion regarding which taxpayers are entitled to claim the credits.
- Micro-Captive Insurance
This campaign addresses certain transactions described in Notice 2016-66 in which a taxpayer reduces aggregate taxable income using contracts treated as insurance contracts and a related company that the parties treat as a captive insurance company. We previously blogged about Notice 2016-66 here. Captive insurance, along with basketing and inbound distribution, were three subject-matter specific campaigns announced during LB&I’s initial rollout last summer, as we discussed in our prior post on the subject.
- Deferred Variable Annuity Reserves & Life Insurance Reserves
This campaign seeks to address uncertainties on issues important to the life insurance industry, including amounts to be taken into account in determining tax reserves for both deferred variable annuities with guaranteed minimum benefits, and life insurance contracts.
- Distributors (MVPD’s) and TV Broadcasts
This campaign is targeted at multichannel video programming distributors and television broadcasters that may claim that groups of channels or programs are a qualified film for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 199 deduction. The description indicates that LB&I has developed a strategy to identify taxpayers impacted by the issue and that it intends to develop training, including the development of a publicly published practice unit, published guidance, and issue based exams, to aid revenue agents. It appears that this campaign stems from various private guidance issued in 2010, 2014 and 2016 on these issues.
- Related Party Transactions
This campaign is focused on transactions among commonly controlled entities that the IRS believes might provide a taxpayer a means to transfer fund from the corporation to related pass-through entities or shareholders. The campaign is aimed at the mid-market segment.
- Basket Transactions
This campaign focuses on certain financial transactions described in Notices 2015-73 and 74, which relate to so-called basket transactions. Basketing was a topic named during LB&I’s initial campaign announcement last summer, along with captive insurance and inbound distribution.
- Land Developers – Completed Contract Method
This campaign addresses the Service’s concern that large land developers that construct residential communities may improperly be using the completed contract method. This campaign appears to be a [...]