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IRS Finalizes New Schedule UTP and UTP Instructions

On December 22, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) finalized changes to Schedule UTP, Uncertain Tax Position Statement, and Instructions for Schedule UTP. Proposed changes to Schedule UTP and the UTP Instructions were announced on October 11, 2022, with comments requested by November 18, 2022. Our prior coverage of the proposed changes and comments can be found here and here.

Several comments were submitted in response to the proposed changes, expressing significant concerns regarding privilege issues, the increase in information required to be disclosed and uncertainty surrounding penalty protection. We submitted our own comments, which focused primarily on the IRS’s proposal to require taxpayers to identify all “contrary authorities” to a position identified on Schedule UTP, including nonprecedential and unpublished guidance.

The final Schedule UTP and UTP Instructions removed the requirement to identify nonprecedential and unpublished guidance. The UTP Instructions also modified the language regarding what is needed for the concise description of the issue to focus more on the facts involved. Finally, the IRS confirmed that the amount of any reserve need not be disclosed, but rather just the amount listed on the line to which the uncertain tax position relates. These are welcome developments for taxpayers and should alleviate some of the concerns expressed by commentators. However, the IRS has not indicated what impact these final changes will have on its “policy of restraint” to seek accrual work papers.

Practice Point: Corporate taxpayers with uncertain tax positions now have a final form and final instructions to use for their 2022 tax reporting. They should review the finalized changes and determine the best approach to ensure compliance with these changes.




Update on Schedule UTP Comments

We previously discussed the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) announcement regarding draft changes to Schedule UTP, Uncertain Tax Position Return Statement, and Instructions to Schedule UTP (Form 1120). The IRS requested comments by November 18, 2022.

On November 14, 2022, we submitted our comments to the IRS outlining some of our concerns with the draft changes, focusing primarily on the scope of disclosure. We made the following recommendations:

  • Reconsider whether any changes should be made to Schedule UTP given the current rules in place regarding other disclosures (g., Forms 8275 and 8275-R) and the serious privilege concerns raised by the additional disclosure requirements.
  • Remove the requirement to disclose any positions that are “contrary” to any authorities or, at a minimum, to any Private Guidance.
  • If changes are made to Schedule UTP, work with taxpayers to determine the appropriate standard for determining whether there is “contrary” authority and what steps a taxpayer or return preparer must take before being able to satisfy the jurat requirement.
  • Issue published guidance clarifying that proper disclosure on Schedule UTP will satisfy the adequate disclosure requirement for purposes of both the disregard of rules and regulations and substantial understatement of tax grounds for imposing penalties under I.R.C. § 6662.
  • If changes are made to Schedule UTP, delay the effective date to the 2023 tax year (processing year 2024).

We will continue to track potential changes to Schedule UTP and Form 1120 and will provide updates as they are made known.




IRS to Update Schedule UTP to Require Additional Transparency

On October 11, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced draft changes to Schedule UTP, Uncertain Tax Position Return Statement, and Form 1120, Instructions for Schedule UTP, for the 2022 tax year (processing year 2023). Since the 2010 tax year, Schedule UTP has been used by certain corporations to report uncertain tax positions. Corporations filing Forms 1120, 1120-F, 1120-L or 1120-PC are required to file Schedule UTP if their total assets equal or exceed the applicable asset threshold for the tax year and if the corporation records a liability for unrecognized tax benefits for a US federal income tax position in audited financial statements.

The changes to the form include a new field for the incremental dollar amount of the uncertain tax positions taken. Also, for tax positions reported on Schedule UTP, rather than filing Form 8275, Disclosure Statement, or Form 8275-R, Regulation Disclosure Statement, new columns will identify the rulings or regulation sections that are contrary to positions taken on the tax return. (Proper disclosure on Schedule UTP may allow taxpayers to avoid certain penalties). Finally, the instructions incorporate more relevant examples and provide enhanced guidance on what constitutes an adequate disclosure for the concise description. Comments can be submitted to the IRS regarding the draft changes.

Practice Point: The IRS is continuing its effort of having corporations self-identify uncertain tax positions (although there remain questions on how the IRS actually uses the information disclosed on a Schedule UTP). Requiring the identification of specific IRS guidance that is contrary to the taxpayer’s position is noteworthy given the IRS’s recent position that challenges to regulations will not be resolved at the examination or IRS Appeals levels. Corporations subject to the Schedule UTP reporting requirement will need to review their past practices and ensure that future Schedule UTP filings comply with the draft changes once finalized.




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