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IRS Issues Practice Unit on Section 965 Transition Tax

One of the most pressing audit issues for large taxpayers today centers on the Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 965 transition tax. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has designated Code Section 965 as a campaign issue and is actively auditing taxpayers’ transition tax calculations and positions, along with other tax reform items. The stakes are high, particularly given the potential to pay this tax over a period of eight years.

On March 23, 2021, the IRS released a Practice Unit that provides an overview of the Code Section 965 transition tax with references to relevant resources. Unfortunately, unlike some other Practice Units, guidance is not provided as to the type of information revenue agents should be requesting from taxpayers.

Practice Point: Practice Units are presentation-type materials compiled by the IRS as a means for collaborating and sharing knowledge among IRS employees. They provide helpful guidance to revenue agents in the form of an overview of the law in a specific area, examination tips and guidance and references to relevant resources. Although the Code Section 965 transition tax Practice Unit does not provide insights into the types of questions and information that revenue agents may seek on audit, it is still useful for taxpayers to review to understand the IRS’s perspective in this area.




Weekly IRS Roundup July 6 – July 10, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of July 6, 2020 – July 10, 2020. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

July 6, 2020: The IRS added new frequently asked questions on the treatment of grants or loans to businesses through the Coronavirus Relief Fund established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The IRS stated that a government grant is taxable because the grant generally is not excluded from the business’s gross income except in narrow circumstances. A government loan, however, generally is not included in gross income except to the extent it is forgiven. If a government forgives all or a portion of the loan, then the amount forgiven is included in gross income and taxable unless an exclusion applies. If an exclusion applies, the IRS indicated the taxpayer may lose an equivalent amount of tax attributes.

July 6, 2020: The IRS added frequently asked questions on the treatment of grants or loans to health care providers through the Provider Relief Fund established by the CARES Act. The IRS stated that payments from this fund do not qualify as a qualified disaster relief payment under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and, in turn, are includible in gross income. The IRS also stated that a tax-exempt recipient generally is not subject to tax on a fund payment unless the amount is a reimbursement to an unrelated trade or business under section 511.

July 6, 2020: The IRS added content to its Large Business & International (LB&I) Active Campaign covering section 965 for individuals. In connection with the transition to a participation exemption system, certain individuals had an obligation to include in gross income (and report) their pro rata share of the untaxed earnings and profits of certain directly and indirectly owned foreign corporations. The IRS indicated it will address noncompliance through soft letters and examinations.

July 7, 2020: The IRS issued a news release reminding tax-exempt organizations that certain forms they file with the IRS are due on July 15, 2020, including Form 990. Tax-exempt organizations that need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request an automatic extension by filing Form 8868. The IRS also indicated that extending the time for filing a return does not extend the time for paying tax.

July 8, 2020: The IRS issued a news release reminding certain taxpayers to restart their tax payments by July 15. Some taxpayers took advantage of tax relief measures under the People First Initiative and did not make previously owed tax payments between March 25 and July 15. The IRS also set forth what taxpayers should do to resume their payment agreements to the IRS, including Installment Agreements, Offers in Compromise and [...]

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Section 965 Statutes of Limitations for Partnerships

On May 26, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued PMTA 2020-08 to provide guidance on the period of limitations for Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 965, transition tax-related adjustments of partnerships. Typically, pursuant to IRC section 6501, the IRS has three years to assess a tax liability for a tax year. However, IRC section 6501(e)(1)(C) states that if the taxpayer omits from gross income an amount properly includible in income under IRC section 951(a), the tax may be assessed at any time within six years after the return was filed. Moreover, this special six-year limitation on assessment applies to the entire tax liability reportable on that return. Because special assessment and adjustment rules apply to partnerships, the IRS issued guidance on how the rules are applicable to certain partnerships and partners with section 965-related items.

For a deferred foreign income corporation’s (DFIC) last taxable year beginning before January 1, 2018, IRC section 965 imposes a one-time tax on a US shareholder’s pro rata share of the DFIC’s earnings and profits (E&P) otherwise deferred from US taxation. The IRS describes three steps for the calculation under IRC section 965: (1) IRC section 965(a) deems the DFIC to repatriate its untaxed E&P through a subpart F inclusion in the US shareholder’s gross income equal to the greater of its E&P as of two measurement dates in 2017; (2) IRC section 965(b) reduces the IRC section 965(a) inclusion by the E&P deficits of the US shareholder’s other foreign corporations; and (3) IRC section 965(c) provides for a deduction (based on the aggregate IRC section 965(a) inclusion amount and on cash positions) that has the effect of reducing the effective rate of US tax on the US shareholder’s IRC section 965(a) inclusion.

With respect to partnerships, in the guidance the IRS indicated that it can make three broad categories of adjustments that affect the computation of IRC section 965 amounts. Revisions could be made to the tax attributes and financial data underlying the computation of the IRC section 965(a) inclusion, the IRC section 965(c) deduction and foreign tax amounts. Such adjustments could affect the IRC section 965(a) inclusion amount and IRC section 965(c) deduction amount reportable by the partnership and affect the IRC section 965(a) inclusion and the IRC section 965(c) deduction reported by the partners. Accordingly, the IRS outlined how to apply the assessment and adjustment period rules apply when there are partners with IRC section 965-related items arising from partnerships subject to different procedures and audit regimes.

Under the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), the IRS indicated it can make adjustments at any time provided the period for assessing tax attributable to the adjustments is open. The IRC section 965(a) inclusion amount and the IRC section 965(c) deduction amount reported by the partnership may be adjusted for the required reporting year if either: (1) the partner’s IRC section 6501 period of limitations on assessing tax attributable to adjustments to partnership items has not [...]

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Despite NOL Carrybacks, IRS Continues to Deny Refunds of Section 965 Transition Tax Overpayments

In a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) addressing the interaction of recently enacted net operating loss (NOL) carryback provisions and section 965, the IRS stated that taxpayers may not receive a refund of any section 965 tax payment unless and until the payment exceeds the “entire income tax liability for section 965.” The IRS further stated that such amount “includes all amounts to be paid in installments under section 965(h) in subsequent years.” This position – that taxpayers are not entitled to a refund of an overpayment of the section 965 tax liability unless and until the overpayment amount exceeds the full eight years of installment payments – is consistent with the IRS’s previously published position in PMTA 2018-016 (and as discussed in our prior analyses, here and here).

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Weekly IRS Roundup December 10 – 14, 2018

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of December 10 –14, 2018:

December 10, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2018-99, providing interim guidance on sections 274 and 512 of the Code, as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, dealing with nondeductibile expenses for employer-provided parking.

December 10, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2018-100, providing relief to tax-exempt organizations from penalties for underpayments related to nondeductible expenses for employer-provided parking under section 512 of the Code, as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

December 12, 2018: The IRS posted a set of FAQs to its website, answering questions regarding return filing and payment obligations under the transition tax of section 965 of the Code.

December 13, 2018: The IRS issued proposed regulations revising withholding requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

December 13, 2018: The IRS issued proposed regulations providing guidance on the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) of section 59A of the Code, enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

December 13, 2018: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2019-10, providing procedures for an insurance company to obtain automatic consent to change its accounting method to comply with section 807(f) of the Code, as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

December 14, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2018-96, providing a phase-out schedule for the qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle credit on vehicles sold by Tesla, Inc.

December 14, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2019-01, providing initial guidance on issues, arising from the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, related to previously taxed earnings and profits under section 959 of the Code.

December 14, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2019-02, providing the 2019 optional standard mileage rates for use in computing deductible expenses in operating an automobile, plus related information.

December 14, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2019-03, providing the monthly update to interest rates used for pension plan funding and distribution purposes.

December 14, 2018: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Le Chen in our DC office for this week’s roundup.




Bring That CFC on Home: Domesticating Individually-Owned CFCs After Tax Reform

Several changes in tax reform have a disparate impact on non-corporate US shareholders of foreign corporations compared with their corporate counterparts. Many such non-corporate shareholders face an expensive tax increase. They may attempt to mitigate this increase by transferring their shares to a US corporation or making a Section 962 election. This article examines the new rules governing US individuals who own foreign corporations and discusses the most significant recent changes, including a lack of participation exemption for US individuals who own foreign corporations and a higher transition tax rate. It further outlines new options for domestication of such foreign corporations.

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Originally published in Bloomberg BNA Daily Tax Report – October 26, 2018 – Number 205.




Weekly IRS Roundup October 8 – 12, 2018

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of October 8 – 12, 2018:

October 8, 2018: IRS issued a special update in Questions and Answers about Reporting Related to Section 965 on 2017 Tax Returns, providing that transfer agreements under Prop. Reg. § 1.965-7 filed in accordance with the future guidance after the deadline, October 9, 2018, will nevertheless be considered timely filed.

October 9, 2018: IRS advised small business owners and self-employed individuals to use the resources it has provided, including a fact sheet highlighting the changes by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affecting them, to understand their tax responsibilities.

October 12, 2018: IRS released proposed regulations scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on October 17, 2018, which clarify how taxpayers may waive penalties for low-dollar mistakes as a result of incorrect information returns or inaccurate payee statements.

October 12, 2018: IRS filed proposed regulations removing Treas. Reg. § 1.451-5, which currently allow taxpayers to defer the inclusion of income from advance payments for goods and long-term contracts. Comments and public hearing requests are due by January 14, 2019.

October 12, 2018: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandum and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Alex Cheng-Yi Lee in our DC office for this week’s roundup.




LB&I Announces Five New Campaigns

On July 2, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Large Business and International (LB&I) Division announced the identification and selection of five new campaigns. These new campaigns follow the initial 13 campaigns announced on January 31, 2017, followed by 11 campaigns announced on November 3, 2017, 5 campaigns announced on March 13, 2018, and six campaigns announced on May 21, 2018.

The following are the five new LB&I campaigns by title and description:

  • Restoration of Sequestered AMT Credit Carryforward

LB&I is initiating a campaign for taxpayers improperly restoring the sequestered Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) credit to the subsequent tax year. Refunds issued or applied to a subsequent year’s tax, pursuant to IRC Section 168(k)(4), are subject to sequestration and are a permanent loss of refundable credits. Taxpayers may not restore the sequestered amounts to their AMT credit carryforward. Soft letters will be mailed to taxpayers who are identified as making improper restorations of sequestered amounts. Taxpayers will be monitored for subsequent compliance. The goal of this campaign is to educate taxpayers on the proper treatment of sequestered AMT credits and request that taxpayers self-correct.

  • S Corporation Distributions

S Corporations and their shareholders are required to properly report the tax consequences of distributions. We have identified three issues that are part of this campaign. The first issue occurs when an S Corporation fails to report gain upon the distribution of appreciated property to a shareholder. The second issue occurs when an S Corporation fails to determine that a distribution, whether in cash or property, is properly taxable as a dividend. The third issue occurs when a shareholder fails to report non-dividend distributions in excess of their stock basis that are subject to taxation. The treatment streams for this campaign include issue-based examinations, tax form change suggestions, and stakeholder outreach.

  • Virtual Currency

US persons are subject to tax on worldwide income from all sources including transactions involving virtual currency. IRS Notice 2014-21 states that virtual currency is property for federal tax purposes and provides information on the US federal tax implications of convertible virtual currency transactions. The Virtual Currency Compliance campaign will address noncompliance related to the use of virtual currency through multiple treatment streams including outreach and examinations. The compliance activities will follow the general tax principles applicable to all transactions in property, as outlined in Notice 2014-21. The IRS will continue to consider and solicit taxpayer and practitioner feedback in education efforts, future guidance, and development of Practice Units. Taxpayers with unreported virtual currency transactions are urged to correct their returns as soon as practical. The IRS is not contemplating a voluntary disclosure program specifically to address tax non-compliance involving virtual currency.

  • Repatriation via Foreign Triangular Reorganizations

In December 2016, the IRS issued Notice 2016-73 which curtails the claimed “tax-free” repatriation of basis and untaxed CFC earnings [...]

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News of Wayfair Decision Breaks during Tax in the City® New York

The first New York meeting of McDermott’s Tax in the City® initiative in 2018 coincided with the June 21 issuance of the US Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) highly anticipated Wayfair decision. Just before our meeting, SCOTUS issued its opinion determining that remote sellers that do not have a physical presence in a state can be required to collect sales tax on sales to customers in that state. McDermott SALT partner Diann Smith relayed the decision and its impact on online retailers to a captivated audience. Click here to read McDermott’s insight about the decision.

The event also featured a CLE/CPE presentation on the ethical considerations relative to tax reform by Kristen Hazel, Jane May and Maureen O’Brien, followed by a roundtable discussion on recent tax reform insights led by Britt Haxton, Sandra McGill, Kathleen Quinn and Diann Smith. Below are a few takeaways from last week’s Tax in the City® New York:

  • Supreme Court Update: Wayfair – Jurisdiction to Tax – The 5-4 opinion concluded that the physical presence requirement established by the Court in its 1967 National Bellas Hess decision and reaffirmed in 1992’s Quill is “unsound and incorrect” and that “stare decisis can no longer support the Court’s prohibition of a valid exercise of the States’ sovereign power.” This opinion will have an immediate and significant impact on sales and use tax collection obligations across the country and is something every company and state must immediately and carefully evaluate within the context of existing state and local collection authority. Click here to read McDermott’s insight about the decision.
  • Tax Reform: Ethical Considerations – Because of tax reform, taxpayers face increased uncertainty and will likely face increased IRS/state scrutiny for their 2017 and 2018 returns. Therefore, it’s crucial for taxpayers to be intentional about post-reform planning and compliance by coordinating among various departments (federal tax, state and local tax, employee benefits, treasury, operations, etc.). Taxpayers should understand the weight of various IRS and state revenue authority guidance, the IRS’s authority to issue retroactive regulations within 18 months of passing legislation, and how to take reasonable positions in the absence of guidance. They should also understand that the IRS is allowed more than three years to assess tax, even when there is an omission of global intangible low taxed income (GILTI) or when the tax relates to the Section 965 transition tax.
  • Tax Reform Changes to Employee Compensation and Benefit Deductions – Post-tax reform, all employees of US public companies, private companies with US publicly traded debt, and foreign issuers with ADRs traded on the US market are covered employees subject to the $1 million limit for deductible compensation. Though a grandfather rule applies if existing contracts are not materially modified, key questions about how to apply this rule remain. Tax reform eliminated the employer deduction for transportation subsidies (other than bicycle subsidies). It also reduced employers’ ability to deduct meal and entertainment expenses, and removed employers’ and employees’ ability to deduct moving expenses.
  • False Claims Act and Starbucks – False Claims Act actions involving state tax issues are becoming more and more [...]

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