In mid-March, amendments to the D.C. False Claims Act (the “D.C. Act”) providing for tax fraud enforcement under the Act will become effective unless Congress vetoes the reforms before that time. Among other changes, the amended D.C. Act will allow private citizen whistleblowers to bring lawsuits, on behalf of the District, against taxpayers who have defrauded the government by underpaying taxes. It also requires the D.C. attorney general to investigate tax fraud violations3 and enables the attorney general, upon a finding of a violation, to bring civil actions against violators.

Please click here to read the full alert.

Please Join Us!  ABA Virtual 21st Annual U.S. and Europe Tax Practice Trends Conference: Kat Gregor is co-chair of the ABA’s Virtual 21st Annual U.S. and Europe Tax Practice Trends Conference, taking place March 22-25, 2021. The conference will focus on practical tax practice trends for multinational corporations and their international advisors as well as provide insight into how government tax officials may view the international tax landscape in light of international developments that affect corporate taxpayers. Kat will be leading a panel looking at recent global transfer pricing developments. If interested in attending, please register here.

71st Virtual Midyear Conference: Kat Gregor will be a panelist on “Preserving Privilege in the Virtual World” during the virtual 71st TEI Midyear Meeting on March 23, 2021.

International Tax Disputes, Joint Webinar with A&L Goodbody.  Kat Gregor will jointly host a webinar on international tax disputes with tax partners Amelia O’Beirne and Paul Fahy from A&L Goodbody on March 3, 2021. The webinar will discuss the Irish and U.S. tax disputes landscapes with a particular focus on transfer pricing related disputes and competent authority procedures. If interested, please register here and you will receive zoom  meeting details prior to the start of the webinar.

Virtual ABA 2021 Midyear Tax Meeting: Brittany Cvetanovich  moderated “The Future of Impact Investment Funds” panel during the virtual ABA Midyear Tax Meeting on January 28, 2021. The panel examined the current state of impact investment funds in light of a new adverse ruling issued to a fund manager that sought tax-exempt status.

Virtual UT Law 2021 Nonprofit Organizations Institute: Brittany Cvetanovich moderated a session on “Impact Investing” during the UT Law CLE 2021 Nonprofit Organizations Institute on January 21, 2021.  Using real-life examples, the session explored how key exempt organization considerations affect structure, economics, and talent issues when investing for impact.

BBA Webinar: Privilege in Tax: Practical Implications of Attorney-Client, Work Product, and Tax Practitioner Privileges:  Elizabeth Smith participated in a Boston Bar Association webinar titled “Privilege in Tax: Practical Implications of Attorney-Client, Work Product, and Tax Practitioner Privileges” on January 20, 2021. The webinar addressed the practical applications of attorney-client privilege, work product doctrine, and IRC section 7525 tax practitioner privilege.

IFA USA International Tax Conference: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – A Three-Year Review: Kat Gregor was a panelist on “International Tax Controversy” during the virtual IFA USA International Tax Conference on December 16.  The panel addressed the recent LB&I’s transfer pricing and TCJA audit initiatives and discussed current tax controversy developments, including possible challenges to the validity of TCJA regulations.

 Tax Audits and Litigation Series: A Closer Look at Section 965 Campaigns: Kat Gregor was a speaker during part 2 of the Tax Audits and Litigation Committee of the D.C. Bar Taxation Community’s remote series, “A Closer Look at Section 965 Campaigns” on December 2.

This article was originally published by Law360 on Feb. 16, 2021.

The status of alternative investments as viable options on 401(k) plan menus received a significant boost on Jan. 21, as a California federal judge granted defendants’ motion to dismiss in the latest development in the closely watched Anderson v. Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee case.1

In a strongly worded opinion, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected claims that the defendants breached their Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, fiduciary duties by including certain alternative assets — such as hedge funds and private equity — in Intel’s defined contribution plans.

This decision marks the first time that a court has substantively addressed the question of whether a sponsor of a retirement plan can be held liable for a breach of fiduciary duty for including nontraditional investment strategies on a plan’s investment lineup.

For plan sponsors who have watched the recent 401(k) litigation wave progress with no sign of relenting in recent months, this decision comes as a welcome development as it should help raise the bar for plaintiffs looking to challenge these types of plan investment options.

In addition, the court’s opinion may provide a road map for changes to fiduciary decision-making processes that could limit the ability of plaintiffs to bring these types of cases with regard to any investment.

Please click here to read the full article.

 

On January 14, 2021, the IRS released final regulations (T.D. 9946) (the “Final Regulations”) interpreting Sections 162(f) and 6050X of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”), as amended and drafted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), respectively. As described below, the Final Regulations deviate from and clarify proposed regulations that the IRS issued in May of 2020 (the “Proposed Regulations”) in several important ways. The Final Regulations will apply to taxable years beginning on or after January 14, 2021.

Please click here to read the full alert.

An upcoming international criminal tax investigation coordinated by the Joint Chiefs of Tax Enforcement—or the J5—will focus on cryptocurrency and the financial technology industry. The J5 is a collaboration among the revenue authorities of Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S. formed in 2018 that leverages the agencies’ collective resources to target financial crimes. This forthcoming effort announced on February 4 marks the J5’s first focus on the broader FinTech industry.

Please click here to view the full article. To learn more about Ropes & Gray’s FinTech practice, please click here.

Welcome to the first in a series of Ropes & Gray podcasts addressing emerging issues for fiduciaries of 401(k) and 403(b) plans to consider as part of their fiduciary process and litigation risk management strategy.

In this episode, ERISA & benefits partner Josh Lichtenstein, benefits principal David Kirchner and benefits consultant Aneisha Worrell discuss the DOL’s final rules concerning ESG investing and proxy voting and what impact the change in presidential administration may have on the fates of these rulemakings.

 

Tax partner and tax controversy group co-founder Kat Gregor and tax controversy group counsel Elizabeth Smith were participants in the International Bar Association (IBA) Working Group that submitted comments to the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration regarding the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS Public Consultation Document entitled Tax Challenges Arising from Digitalisation — Report on the Pillar One Blueprint.  The OECD’s Pillar One and Pillar Two proposals seek to change the taxation of the digital economy and develop a global minimum tax for multinational companies.  The OECD published the public consultation documents to further refine the Pillar One and Pillar Two proposals and seek input regarding unaddressed issues.  The IBA submitted its comments on December 14, 2020.

Please click here to view the comments.

In a recent Bloomberg Tax article, tax partner and tax controversy group co-founder Kat Gregor, tax controversy counsel Elizabeth Smith and tax controversy associate Isabelle Farrar examine seven potential areas of focus for IRS enforcement in 2021, including TCJA-related audits and increased partnership tax compliance.

On December 21, 2020, a bipartisan agreement was reached on the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (CAA or Phase 4 Stimulus), in furtherance of the fourth phase of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. (The bill was passed on December 21, 2020 by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.) The key tax provisions of the CAA are summarized in this Alert, and include an expansion of the employee retention credit, an additional deferral of payroll taxes, additional economic impact payments for individuals, and a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

To read the full alert, please click here.