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IRC 45Q Credit Under IRS Scrutiny: Government Finds Majority of Carbon Oxide Credits Improperly Claimed

In response to a series of questions posed in a November 2019 letter from Senator Menendez (D-NJ), the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a letter on April 15, 2020, analyzing carbon oxide credits under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 45Q. For tax years between 2010 and 2019, TIGTA found that up to 87% of the value of the credits claimed were not in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements. IRC section 45Q provides a credit to taxpayers that capture and sequester carbon oxide. The credit was initially enacted into law in 2008, then substantially revised in 2018. As part of the revisions, the credit was expanded from solely carbon dioxide capture to include a broader set of carbon oxide emissions. This substantially expanded the class of taxpayers eligible to claim the credit. Although Treasury released some guidance in February 2020, there are still many...

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Weekly IRS Roundup November 4 – 8, 2019

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of November 4–8, 2019. November 4, 2019: The IRS posted a new Large Business and International active compliance campaign on Section 965 transition tax as enacted under the 2017 TCJA. The IRS stated that the goal of the campaign is to promote compliance with Section 965. The treatment stream will include conducting examinations as well as providing technical assistance to teams on Section 965, with a focus on identifying and addressing taxpayer populations with potential material compliance risk. The IRS anticipates that returns selected as part of the Section 965 campaign will also be risked and, if appropriate, examined for other material issues, especially issues related to TCJA planning.  For our coverage of this campaign, see here. November 6, 2019: The IRS issued a Revenue Procedure and a News Release announcing the tax year 2020...

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IRS Issues Transition Tax Compliance Campaign

On November 4, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a new Large Business and International (LB&I) compliance campaign regarding Section’s 965 transition tax under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). This is one of several dozen compliance campaigns that LB&I has announced since the initial 13 campaigns were identified in 2017, and is part of LB&I’s larger goals of improving return selection, identifying issues representing a risk of noncompliance and making the greatest use of limited resources. We have written at length regarding the IRS’s campaigns. Click here for prior coverage of the IRS’s campaigns. This announcement comes just over a month after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report questioning the effectiveness and efficiency of campaign issue selection. We wrote about the TIGTA report here. The IRS is presumably heeding TIGTA’s recommendation and is focused on Section 965 because of the...

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Government Questions the Benefits of IRS Audit Campaigns

On September 28, 2019, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report titled Initial Compliance Results Warrant a More Data-Driven Approach to Campaign Issue Selection. As the name of the report describes, the TIGTA analyzed whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit campaigns were effective and efficiently administered. We have written at length regarding the IRS’s “campaign” methodology: More IRS “Campaigns?! IRS Announces Six More Examination Campaigns IRS Announces More LB&I Campaigns! The LB&I Campaigns Keep Coming! LB&I Announces Five New Campaigns LB&I Announces Six New Campaigns Are LB&I’s Campaigns Stuck in the Trenches? IRS Continues to Barrage Taxpayers with New Campaigns LB&I’s Final Campaigns Webinar: Section 48C Energy Credits and Completed Contract Method for Land Developers The View from Here: LB&I’s Cross-Border Activities Campaigns Webinar Understanding LB&I “Campaigns” Run...

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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. TIGTA concluded that accuracy-related penalties are infrequently proposed by LB&I, and that LB&I examiners propose penalties at proportionally lower rates than their colleagues in SB/SE. Further, TIGTA found that LB&I...

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Taxpayers Should Prepare for the Next Penalty Battleground

The IRS is using a new tool from its arsenal to enforce compliance for tax refund and credit claims: the Internal Revenue Code Section 6676 penalty. Taxpayers and their advisers need to be aware of the mechanics of this penalty and how best to avoid it being sustained. Andrew R. Roberson, Kevin Spencer and Evan Walters authored a comprehensive article on IRC Section 6676. They discuss: The origins of IRC Section 6676 How to contest the penalty and privilege concerns What taxpayers who are considering filing—or have already filed—refund claims should keep in mind now that the penalty is the IRS’s favorite new compliance tool Read the article here.

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Weekly IRS Roundup September 17 – 21, 2018

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of September 17 – 21, 2018: September 17, 2018: The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report reviewing whether the IRS complied with legal and internal guidelines governing the seizure of property for unpaid taxes. September 17, 2018: TIGTA released a second report compiling statistical information reported by the IRS in order to provide information about how the IRS uses its compliance resources and the resulting tax collections. September 18, 2018: The IRS published Revenue Ruling 2018-17, which provides the applicable federal interest rate for October 2018 and other interest rates. September 19, 2018: The IRS published Revenue Procedure 2018-49, which allows taxpayers that early adopted a method of revenue recognition to change such method to one described in Section 16.11 of Revenue Procedure...

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TIGTA Report: FOIA Procedures Need Improvement

On September 7, 2017, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report about the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) procedures. After reviewing a statistically valid sample of FOIA requests, TIGTA concluded that the IRS improperly withheld information 14.3 percent of the time—or approximately 1 in 7 FOIA requests. TIGTA also found that at the end of Fiscal Year 2016, there were 334 backlogged information requests. Below is a chart from the report showing the IRS’s recent history of backlogged FOIA requests. TIGTA’s findings are consistent with our experiences with FOIA requests. It is not unusual for the IRS to make repeated requests for extensions to respond. We note further that, during an examination, the IRS is statutorily authorized to provide taxpayers access to their administrative file. Indeed, the Internal Revenue Manual confirms this at section 4.2.5.7 (June 15, 2017). Yet the IRS...

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