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Weekly IRS Roundup September 20 – 24, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of September 20 – 24, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

September 22, 2021: The US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the IRS published final regulations under IRC § 301. The regulations update existing regulations under IRC § 301 to reflect statutory changes made by the Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988, which changes provide that the amount of a distribution of property made by a corporation to its shareholder is the fair market value of the distributed property. The regulations affect shareholders that receive a distribution of property from a corporation.

September 22, 2021: The IRS introduced a new webpage that provides information to taxpayers whose large refunds are subject to further review by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

September 22, 2021: The IRS released instructions for Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income, to reflect the addition of Schedules K-2 and K-3. The new schedules assist partnerships in providing partners with the information necessary for the partners to complete their returns with respect to the international tax provisions of the IRC. The IRS also released related instructions for Form 1120-S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation, to reflect Schedules K-2 and K-3, which assist with reporting items of international tax relevance from the operation of an S corporation.

September 24, 2021: The Treasury Department and the IRS published final regulations under IRC under sections 250 and 951A addressing the calculation of qualified business asset investment for qualified improvement property under the alternative depreciation system. The regulations also deal with the transition rules relating to the impact on loss accounts of net operating loss carrybacks allowed by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The final regulations affect United States shareholders of controlled foreign corporations, domestic corporations eligible for the section 250 deduction and taxpayers that claim credits or deductions for foreign income taxes.

September 24, 2021: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Robbie Alipour in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.




Weekly IRS Roundup September 6 – September 10, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of September 6, 2021 – September 10, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

September 7, 2021: The US Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued Notice 2021-53, which provides guidance to employers on reporting the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees in 2021 on Form W-2.

September 7, 2021: The IRS announced that the deadline for third quarter estimated tax payments is September 15, 2021.

September 8, 2021: The IRS postponed various tax filing and payment deadlines for victims of Hurricane Ida in parts of New York and New Jersey. Victims now have until January 3, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments for deadlines that occurred starting on September 1, 2021.

September 9, 2021: The IRS postponed various tax filing and payment deadlines for victims of Hurricane Ida in parts of Mississippi. Victims now have until November 1, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments that were originally due October 15, 2021.

September 10, 2021: The IRS announced that the cost of home testing for COVID-19 is an eligible medical expense that can be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements or Archer medical savings accounts.

September 10, 2021: The IRS issued temporary regulations authorizing the assessment of any erroneous refund of employment tax credits paid under Internal Revenue Code § 3131, 3132 and 3134.

September 10, 2021: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Emily Mussio in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.




Biden Spending Proposal Calls for 10% IRS Budget Increase

The Biden Administration has requested a $1.2 billion increase in funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of its proposal for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) discretionary funding released in a letter from Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Shalanda Young on April 9, 2021. The additional funding would bring the IRS FY 2022 budget to $13.2 billion, which represents a 10.4% increase over the 2021 enacted budget.

The additional funding would be used to increase IRS enforcement, especially for oversight of high-income individuals and corporate tax returns to ensure compliance with existing tax laws. The discretionary request also seeks an additional $417 million to fund a multiyear tax enforcement initiative aimed at increasing tax compliance and revenues. In total, the discretionary request would increase resources for tax enforcement by nearly $1 billion. Other funds appropriated to the IRS would be used for development and improvement of online tools and better telephone and in-person customer service for taxpayers.

Apart from IRS spending, the discretionary spending proposal includes $191 million for the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to create a database that tracks the ownership and control of certain companies and organizations.

The discretionary spending proposal is intended as a starting point for congressional appropriators and will be followed by the president’s full budget proposal—including tax changes and pay-fors—later in the spring.

Practice Point: We believe that the US Congress is likely to appropriate additional funds for tax enforcement in the FY 2022 budget. Taxpayers should begin preparing for additional IRS audits and scrutiny of return positions. Such preparation may include examining prior tax return positions and ensuring they have audit-ready files.




The Next Normal — Tax Responses to COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has thrown our personal and professional lives into a constant state of change, as we deal with social distancing, e-learning, remote working, and Zoom. In this American Bar Association article, Andrew R. Roberson, a partner in US and International Tax at McDermott Will & Emery, describes how the constant change or “next normal” rings true in the tax world as well, both for taxpayers and practitioners, as we all adapt to today’s challenges.

Access the full article.




Joint Committee Releases Overview of Its Refund Review Process

Clients ask us all of the time, “What is the Joint Committee on Taxation’s (JCT) process for reviewing refund claims granted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?” Recently, the JCT has released an overview of its process. Wait, what? After the IRS has agreed to issue you a refund, there is a congressional committee that has to check the IRS’s work? Yep!

Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §6405 prohibits the IRS/US Department of the Treasury from issuing certain refund payments to taxpayers until 30 days after a “report” is given to the JCT. Only refunds “in excess” of $5 million for corporate taxpayers and $2 million for all other taxpayers (partnerships, individuals, trusts, etc.) are required to be reported to the JCT. A refund claim is an amount listed on an amended return (e.g., Forms 1140X and 1120X), tentative carrybacks (e.g., Forms 1139 and 1045), and refunds attributable to certain disaster losses. Numerous types of refund payments are excepted from JCT review, including refunds claimed on originally filed returns, resulting from litigation and employment taxes. It is important to note that this process is not limited to the IRS Examination stage; it can also occur at the IRS Appeals stage or even in tax court litigation. (more…)




Proposed Regulations under Section 956 Provide Benefits for Corporate Taxpayers

On October 31, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released proposed regulations (REG-114540-18) (the Proposed Regulations) that would prevent, in many cases, income inclusions for corporate US shareholders of controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) under section 956. As a result, among other considerations, the Proposed Regulations could significantly expand the ability of corporate US affiliates to benefit from credit support of CFCs.

Read the full article. 




Alta Wind: Federal Circuit Reverses Trial Court and Kicks Case Back to Answer Primary Issue

On July 27, 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Alta Wind v. United States, reversed and remanded what had been a resounding victory for renewable energy. The US Court of Federal Claims had ruled that the plaintiff was entitled to claim a Section 1603 cash grant on the total amount paid for wind energy assets, including the value of certain power purchase agreements (PPAs).

We have reported on the Alta Wind case several times in the past two years:

Government Appeal of Alta Wind Supports Decision to File Suit Now

Court Awards $206 Million to Alta Wind Projects in Section 1603 Grant Litigation; Smaller Award to Biomass Facility

Court Awards $206 Million to Alta Wind Projects in Section 1603 Grant Litigation; Smaller Award to Biomass Facility

Act Now To Preserve Your Section 1603 Grant

SOL and the 1603 Cash Grant – File Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

In reversing the trial court, the appellate court failed to answer the substantive question of whether a PPA that is part of the sale of a renewable energy facility is creditable for purposes of the Section 1603 cash grant.

Trial Court Decision

The Court of Federal Claims awarded the plaintiff damages of more than $206 million with respect to the cash grant under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Section 1603 Grant). The court held that the government had underpaid the plaintiff its Section 1603 Grants arising from the development and purchase of large wind facilities when it refused to include the value of certain PPAs in the plaintiffs’ eligible basis for the cash grants. The trial court rejected the government’s argument that the plaintiffs’ basis was limited solely to development and construction costs. Instead, the court agreed with the plaintiffs that the arm’s-length purchase price of the projects prior to their placed-in-service date informed the projects’ creditable value. The court also determined that the PPAs specific to the wind facilities should not be treated as ineligible intangible property for purposes of the Section 1603 Grant. This meant that any value associated with the PPAs would be creditable for purposes of the Section 1603 Grant.

Federal Circuit Reverses and Remands 

The government appealed its loss to the Federal Circuit. In its opinion, the Federal Circuit reversed the trial court’s decision, and remanded the case back to the trial court with instructions. The Federal Circuit held that the purchase of the wind facilities should be properly treated as “applicable asset acquisitions” for purposes of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 1060, and the purchase prices must be allocated using the so-called “residual method.” The residual method requires a taxpayer to allocate the purchase price among seven categories. The purpose of the allocation is to discern what amount of a purchase price should be ascribed to each category of assets, which may have significance for other parts of the IRC. For example, if the purchase price includes depreciable [...]

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A Look at Treasury’s Recent Efforts to Reform Regulation

Just 10 days after his inauguration, President Trump signed Executive Order 13771, establishing the tenet of deregulation to be adopted by the Trump administration. Executive Order 13771 outlined the Trump administration’s vision for reducing regulation and controlling regulatory costs, and established a principle that for every one new regulation issued at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination — the “one in, two out” principle. President Trump’s Call for Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens.

Access the full article.

Originally published in Law360, June 2018.




Treasury Moves Forward on Proposing Withdrawal of Regulations

As we previously discussed, the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) announced a plan in October 2017 to repeal more than 200 regulations. The plan appears is moving forward based on remarks by Acting Chief Counsel William M. Paul earlier this week at the New York State Bar Association Section meeting that the Internal Revenue Service will soon propose 200 – 300 tax regulations (including longstanding temporary and proposed regulations) for withdrawal as part of President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order creating a Treasury Regulatory Reform Task Force. Practitioners will have the opportunity to comment before the regulations are withdrawn.

Practice Point: Comments from taxpayers and practitioners will be instrumental in ensuring that seemingly obsolete regulations do not still have effect in other areas or negatively impact tax reporting positions. We will continue to monitor Treasury’s plan and provide more information once the proposal is released.




The Slow Death of the Section 385 Regulations

Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 385 provides that the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) is authorized to issue regulations to determine whether an interest in a corporation is to be treated for purposes of the Code as stock or indebtedness. After decades of inaction, proposed regulations were issued on April 14, 2016. The proposed regulations were not well-received; the tax bar had serious and substantial comments to the proposed regulations. Among the most important critiques, there were criticisms for the potential overbreadth of the regulations’ application to foreign-to-foreign transactions, the lack of a de minimis exception for smaller companies and for the anticipated burden of the contemporaneous documentation requirements.

Treasury released final regulations under Code Section 385, which are effective as of October 21, 2016. Although the proposed regulations were changed in some respects, the final regulations retained strict documentation requirements.

In Executive Order 13789, the President called on Treasury to identify and reduce tax regulatory burdens that impose undue financial burdens on US taxpayers, or otherwise add undue complexity to federal tax law. In response, Treasury indicated on October 2, 2017, that it would potentially revoke the documentation requirements under the proposed regulations. (more…)




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