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Weekly IRS Roundup August 17 – August 21, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of August 17, 2020 – August 21, 2020. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

August 19, 2020: The IRS requested comments from large corporate taxpayers currently utilizing the procedures under Revenue Procedure 94-69 to disclose changes in tax positions after the opening of an examination. The IRS is considering obsoleting Revenue Procedure 94-69, which is available to a small group of large corporate taxpayers. Revenue Procedure 94-69 provides special procedures for taxpayers that are subject to the (former) Coordinated Examination Program to show additional tax due or make disclosures to avoid the imposition of accuracy-related penalties for negligence, disregard of rules or regulations or substantial understatement of income tax under sections 6662(b)(1) and (b)(2). Comments are due by October 19, 2020.

August 19, 2020: The IRS published a practice unit concerning the taxability of distributions from an S corporation that either (1) does not have accumulated earnings and profits (AE&P), or (2) makes distributions from sources other than AE&P; that is, nondividend distributions made from the accumulated adjustments account, other adjustments account or a shareholder-level previously taxed income account from before 1983 to the extent it still exists. The practice unit also addresses what items to consider to determine the taxability of nondividend distributions, liquidating distributions and sale-or-exchange redemption distributions.

August 19, 2020: The IRS published a practice unit concerning the last-in first-out (LIFO) pooling method and taxpayers who may elect to compute opening and closing inventories for goods using LIFO.

August 20, 2020: The IRS published a memorandum concerning guidance for Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) employees on the types of cases accepted into TAS under Criteria 9 – Public Policy. The Taxpayer Advocate is adding four cases that fit the policy; (1) organizations where the IRS automatically revoked their tax-exempt status for failure to file an annual return or notice for three consecutive years; (2) cases involving any tax account-related issue referred to TAS from a Congressional office, including limited Economic Impact Payment (EIP) issues; (3) cases involving revocation, limitation or denial of a passport; and (4) cases that have been referred to a Private Collection Agency for collection of a federal tax debt.

August 20, 2020: The IRS published corrections to Treasury Decision 9614, which was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Treasury Decision 9614 contained final regulations that apply to transfers of certain property by a domestic corporation to a foreign corporation in certain nonrecognition exchanges, or to distributions of stock of certain foreign corporations by a domestic corporation in certain nonrecognition distributions. The corrections are effective on August 20, 2020.

August 21, 2020: The IRS announced it has temporarily stopped mailing notices to taxpayers with [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup July 13 – July 17, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of July 13, 2020 – July 17, 2020. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

July 14, 2020: The IRS issued a news release on a proposed redesigned partnership form for tax year 2021 (filing season 2022). The proposed form is designed to provide greater clarity for partners on how to compute their US income tax liability with respect to items of international tax relevance, including claiming deductions and credits. Comments are due by September 14, 2020.

July 16, 2020: The IRS issued a notice requesting comments concerning consent to extend the time to assess tax with respect to gain recognition agreements covered by section 367 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). Form 8838 is used to extend the statute of limitations for US persons who transfer stock or securities to a foreign corporation. The form is filed when the transferor makes a gain recognition agreement. This agreement allows the transferor to defer the payment of tax on the transfer. The IRS uses Form 8838 so that it may assess tax against the transferor after the expiration of the original statute of limitations. Comments are due on or before September 14, 2020.

July 16, 2020: The IRS released various prescribed rates for federal income tax purposes for August 2020, including the applicable federal rates under section 1274(d); the adjusted applicable federal rates under section 1288(b); the adjusted federal long-term rate and the long-term tax-exempt rate under section 382(f); the appropriate percentages for determining the low-income housing credit under section 42(b)(1); and the federal rate for determining the present value of an annuity, an interest for life or for a term of years, or a remainder or a reversionary interest under section 7520.

July 17, 2020: The IRS provided a notice of public hearing on proposed regulations clarifying that certain deductions allowed to an estate or non-grantor trust are not miscellaneous itemized deductions and thus are not affected by the suspension of the deductibility of miscellaneous itemized deductions for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026. The proposed regulations also provide guidance on determining the character, amount and allocation of deductions in excess of gross income succeeded to by a beneficiary on the termination of an estate or non-grantor trust. The public hearing is being held on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 10:00 am. The IRS must receive speakers’ outlines of the topics to be discussed at the public hearing by Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

July 17, 2020: The IRS released a Competent Authority Arrangement between the authorities of Switzerland and the United States regarding the interpretation of the term “North American Free Trade Agreement” (NAFTA). NAFTA is being superseded by the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup July 9 – 13, 2018

Presented below is our weekly roundup for July 9 – 13, 2018 on significant IRS matters.

July 9, 2018: The IRS released Internal Revenue Bulletin No. 2018-28 including: Notice 2018-48 (lists the population census tracts designated as qualified opportunity zones); Notice 2018-59 (provides two methods for taxpayers to begin construction for the investment tax credit under Section 48); Announcement 2018-11 (Office of Professional Responsibility [OPR] announces recent disciplinary sanctions); Rev. Rul. 2018-20 (rendering obsolete several previous revenue rulings); and Rev. Proc. 2018-35 (modifying Rev. Proc. 2018-31 regarding accounting methods for citrus plant replanting costs).

July 11, 2018: The IRS issued final regulations (T.D. 9834) addressing inversion transactions structured to avoid the purposes of sections 7874 and 367 and other post-inversion tax avoidance transactions.

July 13, 2018: The IRS issued proposed regulations (REG-103474-18) related to the Code section 6695(g) return preparer penalty amending previous guidance to reflect changes made by 2017 federal tax reform.

July 13, 2018: The IRS released it weekly list of written determination (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandum and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Christy Vouri-Misso and Greg Berson in our DC office for this week’s roundup.




IRS Releases Second Quarter Update to 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan

On February 7, 2018, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released its second quarter update to the 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan to identify tax issues it believes should be addressed through regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices and other published administrative guidance. The Priority Guidance Plan contains projects the Treasury hopes to complete during the 12-month period from July 2, 2017 through June 30, 2018. We previously posted on the first quarter 2017-2018 Priority Guidance plan here.

Most of the projects do not involve the issuance of new regulations, instead focus on guidance to taxpayers on a variety of tax issues important to individuals and businesses in the form of: (1) revocations of final, temporary, or proposed regulations (for our prior coverage, see here); (2) notices, revenue rulings and revenue procedures; (3) simplifying and burden reducing amendments to existing regulations; (4) proposed regulations; or (5) final regulations adopting proposed regulations. The initial 2017-2108 Priority Guidance Plan consisted of 198 guidance projects, 30 of which have already been completed. The second quarter update reflects 29 additional projects, including priority items as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) legislation enacted on December 22, 2017, and guidance published or released from October 13, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

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IRS Updates List of Items Requiring National Office Review

On June 30, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Chief Counsel Notice 2016-009, which can be found here. In the notice, the IRS updated the list of issues that require IRS National Office review (the List). The List indicates those issues or matters raised by IRS field examiners that must be coordinated with the appropriate IRS Associate office.

There are several new items on the List. Notably, corporate formations with repatriation transactions, certain spin-off transactions and transactions that may implicate Treasury Regulation § 1.701-2 partnership anti-abuse rules are now also included. Debt-equity issues pursuant to Section 385 continue to be on the List.

In addition, now included are issues designated for litigation and issues that for technical tax reasons will not be referred to the IRS Office of Appeals under Revenue Procedure 2016-22, Section 3.03 (also relating to issues designated for litigation). We discussed Revenue Procedure 2016-22 in a recent posting. (more…)




Commissioner Files Opening Brief in Ninth Circuit Appeal of Altera

In Altera Corp. v. Commissioner, 145 T.C. No. 3 (July 27, 2015), the Tax Court, in a unanimous reviewed opinion, held that regulations under Section 482 requiring parties to a qualified cost-sharing agreement (QCSA) to include stock-based compensation costs in the cost pool to comply with the arm’s-length standard were procedurally invalid because the US Deparment of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not engage in the “reasoned decisionmaking” required by the Administrative Procedures Act and the cases interpreting it. For a discussion of the Tax Court’s Altera opinion, see our prior On the Subject. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Commissioner) appealed this holding to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; he filed his opening brief on June 27, 2016.

According to the Commissioner, the Tax Court’s holding was based on several related errors: (1) the Tax Court mistakenly concluded that promulgation of the QCSA regs required the IRS to engage in an “essentially empirical” analysis; (2) this led the court to apply the wrong standard; (3) in its analysis, the court relied heavily on its holding in Xilinx, Inc. v. Commissioner, 125 T.C. 37 (2005), that analysis of QCSAs must comport with the arm’s-length standard, meaning that a taxpayer can defend a QCSA by reference to comparable behavior between unrelated parties; and (4) the Tax Court failed to take into account that the finalization of the new QCSA regulations worked a “change in the legal landscape,” which should have altered the court’s analysis of the new regulations’ validity. Moreover, “the coordinating amendments [to the existing QCSA regulations] supersede [the Ninth Circuit’s] understanding of the arm’s-length standard as reflected in its own Xilinx opinion.” (more…)




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