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IRS Finalizes Controversial Regulations Allowing Contractor Participation in Examinations

On July 12, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) finalized regulations allowing third-party contractors (i.e., outside economists, engineers, consultants and attorneys) to participate in audits of taxpayers.  The regulations are not limited to allowing outside parties to review taxpayers’ books and records, but extend to the full participation in summons interviews.  The final regulations replace proposed and temporary regulations issued in 2014. The IRS’s position is highly controversial and several organizations submitted comments arguing against finalization of the regulations.  Additionally, the IRS’s position was the subject of a dispute between Microsoft and the IRS relating to the IRS's use of the law firm of Quinn Emmanuel in an audit of Microsoft’s transfer pricing.  It appears highly likely that taxpayers will challenge the validity of the final regulations in court, and at some point a court will be required to decide the issue.  In the wake of...

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ABA Seeks Priority Guidance for Transfer Pricing Issues

The ABA recently issued comments to the IRS and Treasury regarding the new temporary regulations issued in TD 9738 concerning the aggregation of controlled transactions, under Section 482, which broaden (“clarify”) the scope of intangible value, to include “all the value provided” from a controlled transaction, and such other transactions that may occur before, during or after, that are so interrelated, as to require aggregate consideration. See attached. While the IRS does not explicitly mention goodwill or going concern—except by reference in one example—the regulations are intended to sweep in the consideration of any goodwill, including synergy, value that may relate to such transactions. Given the inherent difficulty, and the persistent controversy, as exhibited in the past (i.e., the Veritas and Amazon cases) and as certainly more is yet to come (BEPS) in attempting to determine the value of intangibles generally, let alone goodwill, for the sake of...

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Tracy Gomes Appointed to Chair of ABA Transfer Pricing Committee

We are proud to congratulate our Dallas colleague, Tracy Gomes, McDermott’s chief economist in transfer pricing, upon his appointment as chair of the American Bar Association Transfer Pricing Committee.  This position provides the opportunity to propose issues and comments, and to have access to US tax officials in the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department as part of the ABA’s leadership committee.  It expands upon McDermott’s already substantial knowledge, reputation and experience in the transfer pricing arena—an increasingly important area of IRS attention and focus. This appointment reflects recognition of McDermott’s professionals as thought leaders in transfer pricing, as well as our commitment to furthering the collective knowledge-base, understanding and application of reasoned and cogent tax administration, and role in the shaping of tax policies, particularly in light of the changing international tax rules brought about by the...

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