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In a recent Tax Notes article, “Essential Guidance in the TCJA’s Wake,” Kat Gregor highlights key areas of focus for the U.S. Treasury when drafting guidance following the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Kat notes that the top priority should be provisions affecting 2017 tax liabilities, which include the new withholding obligation under Section 1446(f) and new international tax provisions.

Click here to read the full article including more insights from Kat.

Kat Gregor, tax partner and co-founder of the tax controversy group, was recently appointed to Law360’s 2018 Tax Editorial Advisory Board. The purpose of the board, according to the announcement, is “to get feedback on Law360’s coverage and gain insight from experts in the field on how best to shape future coverage.”

To learn more about Kat and the other elected board members, please click here.

On February 27, 2018, the Boston Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) Tax Section and Ropes and Gray co-hosted an event that featured Judge David Gustafson of the United States Tax Court. The event provided the opportunity for attendees to network and connect with other practitioners from Boston area law and accounting firms, the Internal Revenue Service, local non-profit organizations and LLM students from Boston University School of Law and Suffolk Law School.

Judge Gustafson was appointed as judge by former president George W. Bush in 2008. Prior to his appointment, Judge Gustafson served as a trial attorney, Assistant Chief and eventual Chief in the Court of Federal Claims Section of the Tax Division in the U.S. Department of Justice. He offered a variety of interesting remarks about his experience as a Tax Court judge, and provided a behind-the-scenes look at the process behind reviewed opinions.

To view photos from the event, please click here. For more information about the FBA Tax, or to be notified about future events by email, please contact Boston co-chair Gabby Hirz at gabrielle.hirz@ropesgray.com

On March 13, 2018, the IRS announced its first substantive Large Business and International Division (“LB&I”) compliance campaigns focused on partnerships and their partners. Although in January 2017, the IRS announced its intent to conduct a “TEFRA Linkage Plan Strategy Campaign” geared toward new procedures and techniques for assessing tax on partners after TEFRA-audits, its other 23 campaigns announced in 2017 were largely industry-specific campaigns, focused on discrete transactions, or focused on other kinds of taxpayers, such as individuals and foreign corporations. That changed last week with the announcement of three new campaigns focused uniquely on entities taxed as partnerships and their partners and members. The campaigns will focus on three particular circumstances: (1) individual partners or members who provided services to their partnership or LLC without reporting income subject to self-employment tax; (2) individual partners who have reported sales of partnership interests who may have improperly reported the character of their gain or loss; and (3) partnerships who have failed to file returns although continuing to engage in business activities and their partners who have not reported corresponding income. Partners and partnerships who fall into these categories may receive an examination notice for an issue-based examination, or a soft letter alerting them that their tax return may be incorrect. In addition, partners intending to sell partnership interests or report income from services to a partnership this year may want to watch for changes to forms and instructions, including in their tax software.

For more information regarding the new LB&I compliance campaigns, read our full alert here.

On March 13, 2018, the IRS announced a new Large Business and International Division (“LB&I”) compliance campaign determined to impose tax adjustments on taxpayers who have deducted the costs associated with a tax-free spin-off, split-off or split-up under Section 355. In general, transaction costs to facilitate section 355 transactions must be capitalized. The IRS will be examining tax returns of entities reporting section 355 transactions to determine if they attempted to currently deduct transaction expenses. Taxpayers who conducted section 355 transactions in the past few years may want to consider reviewing their return positions to determine if they may be a target of this campaign.

For more information regarding the new LB&I compliance campaigns, read our full alert here.

In this Ropes & Gray webinar, tax partners Kat Gregor and Jim Brown and moderator Kathryn Seevers discuss the trilogy of proposed partnership audit regulations that provide rules implementing many aspects of the provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The most notable set of regulations allows for “push-out” elections to be effective in pushing adjustments through tiered partnership structures. Click here to listen to the recording that includes insightful analysis of the proposed regulations.

 

In late January 2018, Amazon notified its third party marketplace sellers with inventory in Massachusetts that the company planned to turn over information regarding them to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Amazon informed the vendors that the information, to be disclosed by January 26, 2018, would include name, address, phone number, federal tax ID number, and an estimated value of the vendor’s inventory stored in Amazon warehouses located in Massachusetts based on the seller’s prices in late 2016 and 2017. Amazon has had one fulfillment center in Massachusetts, in Fall River, since fall of 2016.

Continue Reading Amazon Notifies Marketplace Sellers that It Will Disclose Their Inventory Information to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue

In this Ropes & Gray podcast, tax associate Brandon Dunn is joined by tax partners Kat Gregor and David Saltzman to discuss one of the most notable tax decisions from the fourth quarter of 2017 and its implications for taxpayers, particularly multinational corporations. On September 29, 2017, in Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America et al v. Internal Revenue Service et al, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas held that the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department violated the Administrative Procedures Act by issuing an anti-inversion rule, specifically the “Multiple Domestic Entity Acquisition Rule,” saying it was unlawfully implemented without giving the public enough notice or time to comment.

In November 2017, the IRS Large Business & International Division (“LB&I”) announced the expansion of its compliance campaigns, selecting eleven additional areas on which to focus. IRS LB&I now has 24 total campaigns ongoing, including the 13 campaigns originally announced in January 2017. The new slate of campaigns reflect the IRS’s continued focus on international enforcement. Some particularly notable campaigns include:

  • Swiss Bank Program Campaign. The IRS started the Swiss Bank Program in 2013 to allow financial institutions to disclose information on U.S. account holders in order to reduce, or avoid, their criminal liability for their role in facilitating the evasion of U.S. tax. Since the beginning of the program, approximately 80 banks have participated, and the IRS has amassed a trove of information on U.S. taxpayers. This campaign will seek to leverage the information received to identify taxpayers who have not been complying with obligations to report foreign accounts.
  • Verification of Form 1042-S Credit Claimed on Form 1040NR Campaign. This campaign will focus on verifying withholding credits or refunds claimed by U.S. nonresident taxpayers, to be sure that foreign income is being properly reported.
  • Section 956 Avoidance Campaign. The IRS LB&I wants to be sure that U.S. parent corporations are properly reporting as income loans from controlled foreign corporations. This campaign will also focus on taxpayers who may be pooling cash to avoid their 956 obligations.
  • Deferral of Cancellation of Indebtedness Income Campaign. Taxpayers who incurred COD income in 2009 and 2010 were allowed to report that income over five years, from 2014 through 2018. With the COD deferrals, original issue discount (“OID”) deductions were also meant to have been deferred. Now that the end of the five-year window is approaching, the IRS LB&ID will be assuring itself that COD income and OID deductions are being properly made.

These campaigns, on top of the 13 campaigns announced this time last year, evidence some of the IRS’s biggest priorities headed in 2018. Like the prior campaigns, these new campaigns will use a variety of tools, including issue-based examinations and soft letters. In addition to the four expansion areas examined above, the seven other campaigns focus on: (1) Form 1120-F Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 withholding, (2) foreign earned income or housing exclusion (Section 911), (3) agricultural chemicals security credits (Section 45O), (4) energy efficient commercial building deductions (Section 179D), (5) corporate direct foreign tax credits (Section 901), (6) economic development incentives, and (7) individual foreign tax credits (Form 1116).

 

 

In a trilogy of releases in the last six weeks, the Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) provided much-needed guidance on the implementation of the partnership audit rules in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (the “BBA Rules”). On the eve of the BBA Rules coming into effect (for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017), Treasury has clarified that tiered partnerships generally will be permitted to push adjustments through to indirect partners under the new Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) Section 6226, a welcome clarification that had been broadly requested by practitioners and taxpayers.

Click here to read the full alert.