International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

U.S. GDP Shrinks Almost 5% 1st Q 2020 Because of Covid-19 Shutdown. Covid Recession Guaranteed.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020 (table 1), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2019, real GDP increased 2.1 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see "Source Data for the Advance Estimate" on page 2). The "second" estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 28, 2020.

Real GDP: Percent change from preceding quarter
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on the Advance First-Quarter 2020 GDP Estimate
The decline in first quarter GDP was, in part, due to the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued "stay-at-home" orders in March. This led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified. For more information, see the Technical Note

The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter reflected negative contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and private inventory investment that were partly offset by positive contributions from residential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased (table 2).

The decrease in PCE reflected decreases in services, led by health care, and goods, led by motor vehicles and parts. The decrease in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected a decrease in equipment, led by transportation equipment. The decrease in exports primarily reflected a decrease in services, led by travel.

Current‑dollar GDP decreased 3.5 percent, or $191.2 billion, in the first quarter to a level of $21.54 trillion. In the fourth quarter, GDP increased 3.5 percent, or $186.6 billion (tables 1 and 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.6 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.3 percent, compared with an increase of 1.4 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.8 percent, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent.

Personal Income and Outlays

Current-dollar personal income increased $95.2 billion in the first quarter, compared with an increase of $144.1 billion in the fourth quarter. The deceleration was more than accounted for by a deceleration in compensation that was partly offset by an acceleration in personal current transfer receipts (table 8).

Disposable personal income increased $76.7 billion, or 1.9 percent, in the first quarter, compared with an increase of $123.7 billion, or 3.0 percent, in the fourth quarter. Real disposable personal income increased 0.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent.

Personal outlays decreased $253.5 billion, after increasing $118.8 billion. The decrease was mainly accounted for by a decrease in PCE.

Personal saving was $1.60 trillion in the first quarter, compared with $1.27 trillion in the fourth quarter. The personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 9.6 percent in the first quarter, compared with 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter.

April 29, 2020 in Economics | Permalink | Comments (0)

1.9m Euros seized from UK bank accounts after two-year money laundering investigation

A two-year investigation into suspected money laundering has led to the Met’s largest ever cash forfeiture using an Account Freezing Order (AFO).

Twenty five bank accounts holding more than €1.9million were frozen following an AFO application, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which was granted at Westminster Magistrates Court last week.

The complex investigation, led by officers from the Met’s Economic Crime Unit, started in 2018 and centred around members of an organised crime network based in Italy.

The investigation found that dozens of front companies were opened in the UK using company service providers, with the intention of hiding the true origin and destination of the funds.

False identities were used, gathered from amongst others a dead man and a victim of identity theft, to obtain business banking facilities with a major bank.

These accounts were then used to perform transactions where millions of Euros were laundered from Europe to the UK accounts, and then paid back to Italian accounts.

This process of executing a series of transactions across multiple accounts to disguise and obscure the original source of funds is called “layering”.

The investigation, led by Detective Sergeant Geoff Donoghue, involved extensive telephone and document analysis in order to evidence the scale of the laundering conspiracy.

The total amount seized was €1,952,950.58.

Detective Superintendent Nick Stevens, of the Met's Economic Crime Command, said: “This was a painstaking investigation into a complex web of shell companies based in the UK which we were able to demonstrate to the court were set up to launder a large amount of money from overseas, likely obtained through criminality.

“We worked with Italian authorities to build what became a compelling case. This case shows that our officers have the capability, knowledge and ability to identify and disrupt sophisticated money laundering operations.

“It also shows that the Met will use all the investigative and legislative tools available to us to seize ill-gotten gains, and stop proceeds of crime becoming sources of income and wealth.”

The forfeiture application for the bank accounts was granted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 April. A £20,000 cost order was also granted.

The application was made under Section 303Z14 of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002.

Account Freezing Orders were created after the introduction of the Criminal Finances Act 2017, which made amendments to POCA 2002.

April 29, 2020 in AML | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Eighth Circuit Upholds Determination that Wells Fargo is Liable for Penalties for Engaging in Abusive Tax Shelter Scheme

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedential opinion on Friday, April 24, 2020, affirming a district court decision that a transaction designed to generate massive foreign tax credits (referred to as the STARS tax shelter) lacked economic substance and business purpose and was subject to the accuracy-related penalty for negligence, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joshua Wu of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

In Wells Fargo v. United States, No. 17-3578, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and the position of the United States. Wells Fargo, like several other U.S. banks, had entered into the STARS shelter, a transaction promoted to them by Barclays PLC and KPMG as a method of generating foreign tax credits on U.S. income. The Eighth Circuit rejected the transaction as an economic sham subject to penalties, consistent with the decisions of three other courts of appeals. In rejecting Wells Fargo’s appeal, the court agreed with the government that “STARS was an elaborate and unlawful tax avoidance scheme, designed to exploit the differences between the tax laws of the U.S. and the U.K. and generate U.S. tax credits for a foreign tax that Wells Fargo did not, in substance, pay.” 

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked Tax Division attorney Judith Hagley and former Tax Division attorneys Gilbert Rothenberg and Richard Farber, who handled the case on appeal for the government, as well as Chief Senior Litigation Counsel Dennis Donohue, Senior Litigation Counsel Kari Larson, trial attorneys William Farrior, Harris Phillips, Matthew Johnshoy, and former Tax Division attorney Viki Economides Farrior, who litigated the case in the district court.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

April 28, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 24, 2020

Pennsylvania Attorney Pleads Guilty for Role in $2.7 Million Ponzi Scheme

An Allentown, Pennsylvania, attorney pleaded guilty for his role in a $2.7 million investment fraud scheme that victimized his law clients.  

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office made the announcement.

Todd H. Lahr, 60, of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Edward G. Smith of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud and four counts of wire fraud.  Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 3, 2020 before Judge Smith.      

According to Lahr’s admissions at the plea hearing, from 2012 through 2019, Lahr conspired with others to perpetrate a securities fraud scheme targeting his own law clients, which involved the fraudulent sale of the securities of two entities, THL Holdings LLC and Ferran Global Holdings Inc.  Lahr used investor funds to finance his own lifestyle, paying his home mortgage, his child’s school tuition, utility bills and other personal debts.  He perpetuated the scheme by using money that he received from new investors to pay money owed to other investors in the scheme.  Total investor losses are estimated to be over $2.7 million, Lahr admitted at the plea hearing.

April 24, 2020 in AML | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Credit Card Launderer for Tech Support Scams to Pay $6.75 Million to Settle FTC Charges

A Canadian company, RevenueWire, and its CEO, Roberta Leach, will pay $6.75 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges they laundered credit card payments for, and assisted and facilitated, two tech support scams previously sued by the FTC.

“Finding ways to get paid – without getting caught – is essential for scammers who steal money from consumers,” said Andrew Smith. “And that’s exactly what RevenueWire did for tech support scammers when it laundered their transactions through the credit card system.”

According to the FTC, RevenueWire entered into contracts with payment processors to obtain merchant accounts to process credit card charges for its own sales of eBooks and software. The contracts prohibited RevenueWire from submitting third-party sales through its merchant accounts. In reality, however, RevenueWire used its accounts to process credit card charges and collect payments from consumers on behalf of ICE and Vast, two companies that allegedly used tech support scams to bilk consumers out of millions of dollars.

According to the FTC’s previous lawsuits against ICE and Vast, the companies’ telemarketers deceptively used a common feature on computers called Event Viewer to misrepresent that consumers’ devices had viruses or performance problems and needed to be repaired at a cost of hundreds of dollars. RevenueWire also processed charges for lead generators—such as operators of deceptive websites—that directed consumers to call ICE and Vast.

RevenueWire and Leach knew of ICE’s unlawful activity. Moreover, RevenueWire’s own fraud analyst called Vast’s owners and managers “a bunch of crooks.”

The complaint alleges that the defendants violated both the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the defendants will be required to pay $6.75 million. In addition, the defendants are permanently banned from any further payment laundering or violations of the TSR. They also will be required to thoroughly screen and monitor high-risk clients to ensure those clients are not misleading consumers.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and proposed stipulated final order was 5-0. Commissioner Christine S. Wilson issued a concurring statement. The FTC filed the complaint and final order in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

April 22, 2020 in AML | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

IRS announce relaxation of U.S. tax resident "days count" related to COVID-19 emergency

The Internal Revenue Service today issued guidance that provides relief to individuals and businesses affected by travel disruptions arising from the COVID-19 emergency. 

The guidance includes the following:

  1. Revenue Procedure 2020-20, which provides that, under certain circumstances, up to 60 consecutive calendar days of U.S. presence that are presumed to arise from travel disruptions caused by the COVID-19 emergency will not be counted for purposes of determining U.S. tax residency and for purposes of determining whether an individual qualifies for tax treaty benefits for income from personal services performed in the United States;
  2. Revenue Procedure 2020-27, which provides that qualification for exclusions from gross income under I.R.C. section 911 will not be impacted as a result of days spent away from a foreign country due to the COVID-19 emergency based on certain departure dates; and
  3. An FAQ, which provides that certain U.S. business activities conducted by a nonresident alien or foreign corporation will not be counted for up to 60 consecutive calendar days in determining whether the individual or entity is engaged in a U.S. trade or business or has a U.S. permanent establishment, but only if those activities would not have been conducted in the United States but for travel disruptions arising from the COVID-19 emergency. 

April 21, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

$2.7 Billion Returned to Victims of Madoff Ponzi Scheme (74% of Stolen Money), Another $1.3 Billion Will Be Returned

At the start of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Department of Justice today announced that on April 20, the Madoff Victim Fund (MVF) began its fifth distribution of approximately $378.5 million in funds forfeited to the U.S. Government in connection with the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) fraud scheme, bringing the total distributed to over $2.7 billion to nearly 38,000 victims worldwide. 

In this distribution, payments will be sent to over 26,000 victims across the globe, bringing their total recovery to 73.65 percent.  This distribution represents the fifth in a series of payments that will eventually return over $4 billion to victims as compensation for losses they suffered from the collapse of the BLMIS.  The MVF has received over 65,000 petitions from victims in 136 countries.

“It is entirely fitting during this Crime Victims’ Rights Week that the department is able to make the latest distribution from the Madoff Victims Fund,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “With the $378 million distributed today, the department has now returned $2.7 billion to Madoff’s victims, allowing them to recover almost 74 percent of their losses.  All of this has been made possible by the department’s steadfast commitment to the pursuit of the proceeds of fraud through civil forfeiture.”  

“This office continues its efforts to seek justice for victims of history’s largest Ponzi scheme.  Today’s additional payments of more than $378 million by this office and the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section represents the fifth in an on-going series of distributions that will leave victims with compensation for more than 73 percent of their losses,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman of the Southern District of New York.  “But our work is not yet finished, and this extraordinary level of recovery represents this Office’s ongoing and tireless commitment to compensating the victims who suffered as a result of Madoff’s heinous crimes.”

For decades, Bernard L. Madoff used his position as Chairman of BLMIS, the investment advisory business he founded in 1960, to steal billions from his clients.  On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies, admitting that he had turned his wealth management business into the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, benefitting himself, his family and select members of his inner circle.  On June 29, 2009, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin sentenced Madoff to serve 150 years in prison for running the largest fraudulent scheme in history.  Of the approximately $4.05 billion that will be made available to victims, approximately $2.2 billion was collected as part of the historic civil forfeiture recovery from the estate of deceased Madoff investor Jeffry Picower.  An additional $1.7 billion was collected as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. and civilly forfeited in a parallel action.  The remaining funds were collected through a civil forfeiture action against investor Carl Shapiro and his family, and from civil and criminal forfeiture actions against Bernard L. Madoff, Peter B. Madoff and their co-conspirators.

April 21, 2020 in AML | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 17, 2020

Lender's FinCEN Money Laundering Prevention Obligations for Paycheck Protection Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Are PPP loans for existing customers considered new accounts for FinCEN Rule CDD purposes? Are lenders required to collect, certify, or verify beneficial ownership information in accordance with the rule requirements for existing customers?

Answer: If the PPP loan is being made to an existing customer and the necessary information was previously verified, you do not need to re-verify the information. Furthermore, if federally insured depository institutions and federally insured credit unions eligible to participate in the PPP program have not yet collected beneficial ownership information on existing customers, such institutions do not need to collect and verify beneficial ownership information for those customers applying for new PPP loans, unless otherwise indicated by the lender’s risk-based approach to BSA compliance. 

Question: Does the information lenders are required to collect from PPP applicants regarding every owner who has a 20% or greater ownership stake in the applicant business (i.e., owner name, title, ownership %, TIN, and address) satisfy a lender’s obligation to collect beneficial ownership information (which has a 25% ownership threshold) under the Bank Secrecy Act?

Answer: For lenders with existing customers: With respect to collecting beneficial ownership information for owners holding a 20% or greater ownership interest, if the PPP loan is being made to an existing customer and the lender previously verified the necessary information, the lender does not need to re-verify the information. Furthermore, if federally insured depository institutions and federally insured credit unions eligible to participate in the PPP program have not yet collected such beneficial ownership information on existing customers, such institutions do not need to collect and verify beneficial ownership information for those customers applying for new PPP loans, unless otherwise indicated by the lender’s risk-based approach to Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) compliance.

For lenders with new customers: For new customers, the lender’s collection of the following information from all natural persons with a 20% or greater ownership stake in the applicant business will be deemed to satisfy applicable BSA requirements and FinCEN regulations governing the collection of beneficial ownership information: owner name, title, ownership %, TIN, address, and date of birth. If any ownership interest of 20% or greater in the applicant business belongs to a business or other legal entity, lenders will need to collect appropriate beneficial ownership information for that entity. If you have questions about requirements related to beneficial ownership, go to https://www.fincen.gov/resources/statutes-and-regulations/cdd-final-rule.

Decisions regarding further verification of beneficial ownership information collected from new customers should be made pursuant to the lender’s risk-based approach to
BSA compliance.

 

April 17, 2020 in AML | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Covid-19 Tax Facts News: Health Plans. Worthless Securities Deduction.

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

Editor’s Note: New rulings from the IRS help clarify that COVID-19 expenses can be paid by HDHPs (before the deductible has been met) and FSAs can pay for genetic testing when the information is intended to be provided to a medical professional for treatment purposes. Note that the decision on genetic testing comes in the form of a PLR that addresses some rather unique facts, so it may not be very broadly applicable. We also have a new (and regrettably timely) ruling on worthless securities.

IRS Announces HDHPs Can Pay Coronavirus Costs

The IRS announced that high deductible health plans are permitted to cover the costs associated with the coronavirus. HDHPs can cover coronavirus-related testing and equipment needed to treat the virus. Generally, HDHPs are prohibited from covering certain non-specified expenses before the covered individual's deductible has been met. Certain preventative care expenses are excepted from this rule. HDHPs will not jeopardize their status if they pay coronavirus-related expenses before the insured has met the deductible, and the insured will remain HSA-eligible. The guidance applies only to HSA-eligible HDHPs. For more information on the rules governing HDHPs, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Tax Court Rules on Deduction

The Tax Court held that a worthless securities deduction may be permitted even if the entity that issued the securities still held some value. In a complex case involving a number of rounds of financing over several years, the court found it was reasonable to believe that a junior interest may be worthless if there are not funds to pay currently, or anticipated in the future, the senior interests. For more information on the worthless securities deduction, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

IRS Finds Health FSA Can Reimburse a Portion of Ancestry Genetic Testing

In a private letter ruling (applicable only to the taxpayer requesting the ruling), the IRS found that a portion of the ancestry genetic test could be reimbursed by the health FSA. In the redacted PLR, the IRS discussed whether the genetic testing service could be classified as medical care. The taxpayer's goal was to provide genetic information to their healthcare provider, but it was impossible to purchase the genetic information without also purchasing the ancestry services. The IRS found that portions of the testing may be considered medical care, although ancestry reports could not be classified as reimbursable medical care. The IRS directed the taxpayer to use a "reasonable method" to allocate between medical and non-medical services. For more information on health FSAs, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 16, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Employee Retention: SBA Loan or Tax Credits? Which offers more money to my business, and when?

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

For a business with by example 400 employees, a $5,000 credit per employee is worth $2,000,000 of tax-free tax credit that can be more beneficial than an SBA Loan.  The SBA loan is not straight forward and regardless, is not in general allowed for business above 500 employees.  The taxpayer must choose either one or the other - the PPP (forgivable employee retention) SBA loan or the employee retention tax credit.  For small employers with less than say 250 employees (not exactly 'small' in most American minds) the answer is probably the SBA loan. But for employer with more than 350 employees, the answer is probably that the Employee Retention Tax Credit is worth more to the business.  Watch the webinar above or ask your questions live this Thursday, April 16th (Register now for our webinar on Wednesday, April 16, at 2:00 EDT)

 

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 15, 2020 in Financial Regulation, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

another reason to (re) locate a business to Texas: New York state and city do not adopt the CARES Act tax provisions

  • Deloitte covers New York's new budget that purposefully 'decouples' from the CARES Act tax relief for New York based business and other states' business that have income within New York.
  • BDO explains it here as well.
  • Pillsbury here.

Anything that improves the employment of tax professionals, I am for.  Thus, states with their own tax codes that do not correspond to the federal Internal Revenue Code, at least for my students and alumni, are OK by me.  Unless I own a business.  Then it's maddeningly complex, and compliance expensive, to operate in several tax regimes.

Not saying that the CARES Act provisions made good tax policy sense.  But unless New York state (and city) has something better to offer, the Covid-19 meltdown does not seem like an opportune time to 'stick it' to Congress' because Congress seems to enact ineffectual tax provisions. Not that the typical New York voter understands or cares about 163(j) relief or NOL. But New York based business in particular may come to understand when the CPA / tax advisor informs that on the federal return Covid-19 stimulus relief is allowable but not so on the NY state return. Some NY based businesses are going to feel that their state didn't have their backs.  Other businesses that are large enough and able because of industry to relocate operations have time a plenty at this moment to think about such relocation.  (And by the way, Texas will be open for business again soon).      

April 15, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Determining the Employer's Obligations Under the New Proposed Withholding Regulations

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

Determining the Employer's Obligations Under the New Proposed Withholding Regulations

The regulations are clear that the employer is not required to ascertain whether the withholding allowance claimed by the employee is greater than those to which the employee is actually entitled. However, the IRS (or published guidance) may direct an employer to submit employees’ withholding certificates (or the certificates relating to groups of employees) to the IRS. Further, the IRS may notify the employer that an employee is not entitled to claim more than a certain withholding allowance. For more information on the new withholding regulations, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 15, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Tax Impact of Stimulus' RMD Waiver, Early Withdrawals: Bloink & Byrnes Webinar

Sign up now for ThinkAdvisor's free tax webinar on Thursday, April 16, from 2-2:30 p.m. EDT.

The $2 trillion stimulus plan signed into law on March 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, includes a temporary waiver of required minimum distribution (RMD) rules for certain defined contribution plans and IRAs during 2020.

There are also special rules for use of retirement funds that waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes made this year.

Register now for our 30-minute webinar on Thursday, April 16, at 2:00 EDT. Hear from two expert sources about the tax implications of these withdrawals and other retirement issues in the CARES Act during our free ThinkAdvisor webcast:

  • ROBERT BLOINK, Esq., LL.M., has taught at Texas A&M University School of Law and Thomas Jefferson School of Law; and
  • WILLIAM BYRNES, Esq., LL.M., CWM, is an executive professor and associate dean of special projects at the Texas A&M University School of Law.

April 14, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Covid-19 Tax Facts News: Coronavirus Response Act and Families First Act's Tax Relief for Small Business Owners

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

            William H. Byrnes, J.D.
        Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.

The IRS provided concrete responses to the COVID-19 virus in the tax field. First, the IRS has now formally extended the income tax filing deadline for tax year 2019 to July 15, as well as the FBAR form, FATCA form, and several other reporting forms initially left out of the IRS extension. Because this is an extension of the actual filing deadline (not just an extension of time to pay owed taxes) it also pushes a number of related deadlines (e.g. for qualified plan contributions) back to July. President Trump also signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which creates a paid sick leave program and related tax credits for small businesses, as well as the CARES Act calling for forgivable SBA loans (without tax consequences) or a $5,000 tax credit per employee retained for medium and large size businesses.

Our comment is that for a business with by example 400 employees, a $5,000 credit per employee is worth $2,000,000 of tax-free tax credit that can be more beneficial than an SBA Loan.  The SBA loan is not straight forward and regardless, is not in general allowed for business above 500 employees.  The taxpayer must choose either one or the other - the PPP (forgivable employee retention) SBA loan or the employee retention tax credit.  For small employers with less than say 250 employees (not exactly 'small' in most American minds) the answer is probably the SBA loan.  But above 250, careful consideration and analyzing the benefits/outcomes of each program must be weighed. Watch the webinar above.. or the one forthcoming Thursday, April 16th (sign up on Tax Facts Online).   

Avoid Confusion Over IRS 90-Day Extension of the Federal Tax Payment Deadline

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS has announced that it will extend the tax payment deadline from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Interest and penalties during this period will also be waived. The April 15 filing deadline was also extended to July 15, although in separate guidance. Individuals and pass-through business entities owing up to $1 million in federal tax are eligible for the relief, as are corporations owing up to $10 million in federal tax. Individuals who do not anticipate being able to file by July 15 should be aware of their option for requesting a six-month filing extension to October 15. The extension is available by filing Form 4868. For more information on federal tax filing requirements, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Coronavirus Act Creates Paid Sick Leave Benefits for Small Business Employees

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees (and government employers), and makes several key changes to paid time off laws. The bill: (1) provides 80 hours' additional paid sick leave for employees (pro-rated for part-time workers) and (2) expands FMLA protections. The additional paid sick leave is capped at $511 per day (total of $5,110) for employees who cannot go to work or telecommute because they (1) are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a diagnosis, or (2) are subject to government-mandated quarantine or a recommendation to self-quarantine. The additional paid sick leave is capped at 2/3 of the employee's pay rate, subject to a maximum of $200 per day or $2,000 total if the employee (1) is caring for or assisting someone subject to quarantine, (2) caring for a child whose school or care provider is unavailable or (3) experiencing "substantially similar conditions" specified by HHS. For more information on the family and medical leave tax credit available for business owners, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Coronavirus Response Act: Tax Relief for Small Business Owners

The law contains a tax credit to help small business owners subject to the new paid sick leave and expanded FMLA requirements. The tax credit is computed each quarter, and allows as a credit (1) the amount of qualified paid sick leave wages paid in weeks 1-2, and (2) qualified FMLA wages paid (in the remaining 10 weeks) during the quarter. The credit is taken against the employer portion of the Social Security tax. Amounts in excess of the employer Social Security taxes due will be refunded as a credit (in the same manner as though the employer had overpaid Social Security taxes during the quarter). The Act also provides a tax credit for qualified health plan expenses that are allocable to periods when the paid sick leave or family leave wages are paid. For more information on refundable tax credits, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 14, 2020 in Financial Regulation, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Covid-19 Tax Facts News: CARES Act Payment Extensions, FATCA and FBAR Filing Extensions

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

                    Prof. William Byrnes
          Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.
Lots of CVOID-19 legislation in the updates this week. The IRS and DOL continue to release new guidance--and update existing guidance--at an unprecedented and fast pace. For the time being, clients and advisors alike should check the actual text of the guidance before taking concrete action to make sure they are operating under the most up-to-date rules.

IRS Releases FAQ on COVID-19 Filing, Payment Extensions

The IRS FAQ clarifies that the filing and payment extensions (from April 15 to July 15) apply regardless of whether the taxpayer is actually sick or quarantined because of COVID-19. For fiscal year taxpayers with 2019 returns due April 15, the deadline is extended to July 15 regardless of whether April 15 is an original or extended filing deadline. Taxpayers facing filing or payment deadlines that are not April 15 must note that their deadlines have not generally been extended. The relief also does not apply to payroll or excise tax payments (deposit dates remain unchanged, but employers may be eligible for the new paid sick leave tax credit, see Tax Facts Q8550). Taxpayers do not have to do anything to take advantage of the extension--they simply file their returns and make required payments by the new July 15 deadline. Taxpayers who filed and schedule a payment for April 15 must, however, take action to reschedule their payment for July 15 if they wish (by contacting the credit or debit card company if the payment was scheduled directly with the card issuer). For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

FBARs (Foreign Bank & Financial Accounts Reporting) is automatically extended from April 15 to October 15 (see FinCEN March 2020 notice). 

FATCA form 8938 may be submitted July 15th by automatic extension.  The IRS extended on April 6, by Notice 2020-23 (Update to Notice 2020-18, Additional Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic), the 3 month filing relief to FATCA.

"This relief includes not just the filing of Specified Forms, but also all schedules, returns, and other forms that are filed as attachments to Specified Forms or are required to be filed by the due date of Specified Forms, including, for example, Schedule H and Schedule SE, as well as Forms 3520, 5471, 5472, 8621, 8858, 8865, and 8938." 

Counting Employees for COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave & FMLA Expansion Purposes

DOL FAQ provides that an employer is subject to the expanded paid sick leave and FMLA rules if the employer has fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees. Employees on leave and temporary employees should be included, while independent contractors are not included in the count. Each corporation is usually a single employer. When a corporation has an ownership interest in another corporation, the two are separate employers unless they are joint employers for Fair Labor Standards Act purposes. Joint employer status is based on a facts and circumstances analysis, and is generally the case when (1) one employer employs the employee, but another benefits from the work or (2) one employer employs an employee for one set of hours in a workweek, and another employer employs the same employee for a separate set of hours in the same workweek. For more information on the details provided by current DOL guidance, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Calculating Sick Pay for Part-Time and Variable Hour Workers Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

With respect to the FMLA extension, the rate of pay for part-time employees is based upon the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work. For employees with variable schedules, pay is based upon a number equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes such leave, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type or (2) if the employee did not work over such period, the reasonable expectation of the employee at the time of hiring of the average number of hours per day that the employee would normally be scheduled to work. As of now, the law provides that leave may not be carried over into 2021. For more information on the law's requirements, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

RMDs Suspended for 2020, Penalty Waived for Coronavirus Distributions

The CARES Act suspended the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules for 2020--a suspension that applies to all 401(k), 403(b), and certain 457(b) deferred compensation plans maintained by the government, as well as IRAs. The law also contains a provision waiving the 10% early distribution penalty that applies to retirement account withdrawals. The relief generally mirrors the relief commonly granted in more localized natural disaster situations. The Act allows employees to take up to $100,000 in distributions from an employer-sponsored retirement plan (401(k), 403(b) or defined benefit plan) or an IRA without becoming subject to the penalty. Unless the participant elects otherwise, inclusion of the distribution in income is spread over three years, beginning with the tax year of distribution. The Act also provides a repayment option, where the participant has the option of repaying the distribution over the three-taxable year period beginning with the tax year of distribution. In this case, the distribution will be treated as an eligible rollover made in a trustee-to-trustee transfer within the 60-day window. For more information on expanded access to retirement funds, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 13, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Financing for Sustainable Development Report 2020

Full report:

PDF icon Overview only (pdf)

PDF icon Full text (pdf)

Press release (9 April 2020):

60 International Agencies Urge Rapid, Coordinated Response As Pandemic Threatens to Destabilize Poor Countries’ Finances (pdf)

The global economic recession and financial turmoil from COVID-19 are derailing implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Even before the pandemic, the 2020 Financing for Sustainable Development Report (FSDR) of the Inter-agency Task Force noted that there was backsliding in many areas. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, global financial markets have witnessed heavy losses and intense volatility. Particularly worrisome is the prospect of a new debt crisis. The FSDR highlights both immediate and longer-term actions, including arresting the backslide, to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The FSDR calls for:
 
  • A globally coordinated stimulus package, including reversing the decline in aid and increased concessional finance.
  • To prevent a debt crisis:
o Immediately suspending debt payments from poor countries. 
o Beyond the crisis, reassess debt sustainability/revisit existing mechanisms.
  • To stabilize financial markets by continuing to inject liquidity:
o In the medium-term, explore regulatory frameworks to limit over-borrowing for non-productive investments, such as repaying shareholders.
 
  • Partnering with the private sector:
o In the short term, banks to roll over debt to SMEs and individuals that are cash strapped. 
o In the medium-term, promote sustainable investment.
 
  • Building back better for sustainable development:
o Public and private investment in sustainable development including in resilient infrastructure.
o Strengthening social protection systems.
o Investment in crisis prevention, risk reduction and planning.
o Eliminate trade barriers and restrictions that affect supply chains.
  • Digital technologies present tremendous potential for the SDGs, but COVID-19 has underlined challenges and risks: 
o Public policies should be adjusted to fully exploit their potential, while addressing exclusion and risks of discrimination, and ensuring benefits for society at large, including decent jobs.
 
The 2020 FSDR begins with an analysis of the extremely challenging global macroeconomic context (chapter I). The thematic chapter (chapter II) analyses financing sustainable development in an era of transformative digital technologies. The remainder of the report (Chapters III.A to III.G and IV) discusses progress in the seven action areas of the Addis Agenda, and presents policy options at the national and international level.
 
The 2020 FSDR is the fifth report on implementing the Financing for Development outcomes and the means of implementation of the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The assessment draws on the expertise, analysis and data from more than 60 agencies and international institutions that make up the Task Force, which is led by UN DESA and includes the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, UNCTAD and UNDP in leading roles.

Chapters:

  • PDF iconChapter I: The global economic context and its implications for the Sustainable Development Goals
  • PDF iconChapter II: Financing sustainable development in an era of transformative digital technologies
  • PDF iconChapter III.A: Domestic public resources
  • PDF iconChapter III.B: Domestic and international private business and finance
  • PDF iconChapter III.C: International development cooperation
  • PDF iconChapter III.D: International trade as an engine for development
  • PDF iconChapter III.E: Debt and debt sustainability
  • PDF iconChapter III.F: Addressing systemic issues
  • PDF iconChapter III.G: Science, technology, innovation and capacity-building
  • PDF iconChapter IV: Data, monitoring and follow-up
Policy Notes:

The global economic recession and financial turmoil from COVID-19 are derailing implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Even before the pandemic, the 2020 Financing for Sustainable Development Report (FSDR) of the Inter-agency Task Force noted that there was backsliding in many areas. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, global financial markets have witnessed heavy losses and intense volatility. Particularly worrisome is the prospect of a new debt crisis. The FSDR highlights both immediate and longer-term actions, including arresting the backslide, to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

April 13, 2020 in Economics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Byrnes & Bloink’s Covid-19 TaxFacts Intelligence Weekly for April 10, 2020

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

           Prof. William H. Byrnes
        Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.
Today we have three big updates from the newly-passed CARES Act. The first allows NOLs for tax years 2018 through 2020 to be carried back five years. This give business who had NOLs and were waiting to carry them forward to future tax years to apply them to past years, potentially resulting in additional tax refunds. The other two updates relate to deferrals and tax credits for payroll taxes in 2020.

CARES Act Provides NOL Relief for Struggling Businesses

The CARES Act allows corporations to carry back net operating losses (NOLs) incurred in 2018, 2019, and 2020 for five years (excluding offset to untaxed foreign earnings transition tax). Post-tax reform, these NOLs could only be carried forward. For tax years beginning prior to January 1, 2021, businesses can offset 100% of taxable income with NOL carryovers and carrybacks (the 80% taxable income limitation was lifted). With respect to partnerships and pass-through entities, the CARES Act amended the effective date for the new excess business loss rules created by the 2017 tax reform legislation. The new rules will only apply beginning in 2021 (rather than 2018). Pass-through taxpayers who have filed a return reflecting excess business losses will presumably be entitled to refund by filing an amended return, absent guidance to the contrary. For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

CARES Act Permits Penalty-Free Payroll Tax Deferral for Employers

The CARES Act allows both employers and independent contractors to defer payment of employer payroll taxes without penalty. Importantly, employers with fewer than 500 employees are entitled to withhold payroll taxes as an advance repayment of the tax credit for paid sick leave and expanded FMLA leave under the FFCRA. Under the CARES Act payroll tax deferral, employers are permitted to defer the employer portion of the payroll tax on wages paid through December 31, 2020 for up to two years. Payroll taxes are generally due in two installments under CARES: 50% by December 31, 2021 and the remaining 50% by December 31, 2022. Economic hardship is presumed, meaning the employer does not have to produce documentation establishing that COVID-19 impacted the business. Payroll tax deferral options apparently apply to all employers, regardless of size. However, employers who have loans forgiven under the CARES Act Payroll Protection Loan program are not eligible for the deferral. For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

CARES Act Employee Retention Tax Credit

The CARES Act creates a new refundable tax credit designed to help employers who retain employees during the COVID-19 health crisis. The credit is taken against employment taxes and is equal to 50% of the first $10,000 of qualified wages paid to the employee. The credit is available for calendar quarters where either (1) operations were either fully or partially suspended because of a government-issued order relating to COVID-19 or (2) the business' gross receipts declined by more than 50% when compared to the same calendar quarter in 2019. For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

April 11, 2020 in Economics, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

OECD issues recommendations on implications of the COVID-19 crisis on cross-border workers and other related cross-border matters

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments to take strict and in some cases unprecedented measures to protect their citizens, economies and societies, such as restricting or stopping travel and implementing strict quarantine requirements. In this difficult context, most countries are putting stimulus packages in place, including measures to support employment, for example, taking on the burden of unpaid salaries on behalf of companies suffering from the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of these restrictions, many cross-border workers are unable to physically perform their duties in their country of employment. They may have to stay at home and telework, or may be laid off because of the exceptional economic circumstances.

This unusual situation is raising many tax issues, especially where there are cross-border elements in the equation; for example, cross-border workers, or individuals who are stranded in a country that is not their country of residence. These issues have an impact on the right to tax between countries, which is currently governed by international tax treaty rules that delineate taxing rights.

The exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis call for an exceptional level of coordination and co-operation between countries, notably on tax issues, to mitigate the potentially significant compliance and administrative costs for employees and employers. The OECD encourages countries to work together to alleviate the unplanned tax implications and potential new burdens arising due to effects of the COVID-19 crisis. 

At the request of concerned countries, the OECD Secretariat has issued guidance on these issues based on a careful analysis of the international tax treaty rules.

This guidance deals with concrete situations. Take these two examples:

  • Mr. X, is stranded for a period in a country that is not his country of residence due to the travel restrictions and quarantine measures. The challenge here is to determine the place of residence of individuals for tax purposes. In this case, the OECD Secretariat’s general view is that, under the bilateral tax treaty between the two countries, Mr. X’s residence will not change due to such temporary dislocation. The OECD recommends countries of temporary residence to apply their domestic rules accordingly.
  • Ms. F, who is a cross-border worker, is quarantined in her country of residence and temporarily out of work due to the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to the stimulus package adopted in the country of her employer, she continues to receive her salary from her employer. The challenge in this case concerns the taxation of her salary received due to a stimulus package. In this case, the OECD Secretariat’s general view is that her income will continue to be taxed as it was prior to the COVID-19 crisis, that is in the country where she used to exercise her employment.

The guidance also deals with issues affecting the residence of companies for tax purposes, where their management is carried out in another country due to the travel and quarantine restrictions. It examines teleworking, for instance, and the implications for companies of having cross-border employees telework in their home country and therefore performing their duties there. In these situations, the OECD Secretariat’s general view is that these special circumstances should not affect the residence status of companies under the international tax treaty rules.

The OECD has announced it is urgently working on other concerns raised by businesses, taxpayers and tax administrations due to the COVID-19 crisis, on the taxation of cross-border workers teleworking in their home country and individuals affected by countries’ domestic residence rules triggered by the impacts of travel and quarantine restrictions. 

April 9, 2020 in OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Global Forum publishes new peer review reports and reveals compliance ratings for eight jurisdictions

The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum) published today eight new peer review reports assessing compliance with the international standard on transparency and exchange of information on request (EOIR).

These reports evaluate jurisdictions against the updated standard which requires beneficial ownership information of all relevant legal entities and arrangements, in line with the definition used by the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations.

A peer review assessment of a jurisdiction’s legal and regulatory framework and its implementation in practice results in one of four distinct overall ratings (a rating is allocated to a jurisdiction once it has undergone a full peer review):

  • Compliant: The EOIR practice is effective. This rating can be granted even if recommendations were issued, but there should be no material deficiencies identified.

  • Largely Compliant: The standard is implemented to a large extent but improvements are needed. Deficiencies are material but have limited impact on EOIR.

  • Partially Compliant: The standard is only partly implemented. At least one material deficiency which has had, or is likely to have, a significant effect on EOIR in practice has been identified.

  • Non-Compliant: Fundamental deficiencies in the implementation of the standard have been revealed.

The eight new reports relate to jurisdictions with very diverse EOIR practice, from Liberia, which received only two requests, to Switzerland that received thousands from multiple partners during the three years of practice under review. The results are equally contrasted, with some jurisdictions struggling to implement their legislation on transparency.

Three jurisdictions – Brunei Darussalam, Macau (China) and Switzerland – received an overall rating of “Largely Compliant” for this second round of peer reviews. These ratings confirmed those issued after the first round of assessment (2010-16). Specific achievements and recommendations include:

  • Brunei Darussalam has taken significant steps to align with the international standard by abolishing the International Business Company (offshore) regime as well as expanding its network of EOIR relationships extensively by becoming a party to Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters. Further improvements are required to ensure the availability of beneficial ownership and reliable accounting information in all cases.

  • Macau (China) has made a number of improvements since the previous review in 2013, including by abolishing bearer shares. The Multilateral Convention now applies in Macau, which greatly expands its number of EOI partners. The main deficiencies identified in the 2020 peer review concern the availability of ownership and accounting information.

  • Switzerland managed to address a number deficiencies identified in its last review in 2016, including improving its exchange of information process and doubling its staff working in the Exchange of Information Unit. Switzerland should now ensure that notification and appeal procedures do not unduly prevent or delay an effective exchange of information. The preservation of confidentiality of the information received when processing requests should also be further scrutinised. A total of 3 252 individual requests, 8 group requests and 16 bulk requests were dealt with during the assessment period.

The overall rating of Barbados and the Seychelles was downgraded from “Largely Compliant” to “Partially Compliant” since their last reviews, highlighting some significant deficiencies:

  • Barbados’ legal and regulatory framework is overall in line with the standard, including concerning the availability of beneficial ownership information. The practical implementation of the relevant rules remains however a challenge.

  • The main concerns identified for the Seychelles refer to the overall effectiveness of supervision and enforcement activities to ensure the availability and access to information in practice, especially in its offshore sector. Some 88% of the requests for accounting information and 62% of the requests for beneficial ownership information could not be answered in the three years reviewed. The report contains a number of recommendation to improve the legal framework and its practical implementation.

Three jurisdictions – Liberia, Peru and Tunisia – were undergoing their first full peer reviews as only their legal framework had been reviewed so far. The resulting reports rated Liberia as “Partially Compliant” while Peru and Tunisia both obtained a "Largely Compliant" rating:

  • Liberia’s progress in complying with the international standard despite an extremely challenging economic environment was duly noted. Important deficiencies in the supervision and enforcement of the newly introduced legal requirements of maintaining ownership and accounting information in line with the international standard were nevertheless highlighted. Liberia has had limited experience in handling requests so far, having received only two requests during the review period and sought information in three cases. The procedural handling of requests was not fully in line with the international standard on confidentiality. Despite recent rectifications to the procedure, a close monitoring will be necessary.

  • Peru’s review showed important progress in establishing the obligation for all relevant entities and arrangements to report beneficial ownership information to the country’s tax administration. It expanded considerably the number of jurisdictions with which it can exchange information by becoming party to the Multilateral Convention. The practical exchange of information on request is nevertheless still hindered by some delays.

  • Tunisia enhanced the availability of the information since the first review of its legal framework in 2016, in particular by establishing a National Register of Enterprises which includes a beneficial owner’s register, and by strengthening its Anti-Money Laundering law. These improvements are recent and should thus be monitored to ensure an effective implementation. Tunisia must also ensure the effectiveness of the new practical procedure for obtaining banking information. A total of 194 requests were answered during the three years period under review. Although progresses were made after the assessment period, recurrent issues with delays in answering were noted.

» Access an overview table of the ratings for all jurisdictions.

» Access all Global Forum reports published to date.

April 8, 2020 in AML | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 6, 2020

15 Competent Authority Analyst Positions with the IRS LB&I (APMA Project Leader)

Pay scale & grade GS 14       Salary $119,559 to $170,800 per year

Locations: 15 vacancies in the following locations: (job posting)

  • Laguna Niguel, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago, IL
  • New York, NY

WHAT DOES A COMPETENT AUTHORITY ANALYST (APMA TEAM LEADER) DO? This position seeks tax professionals who will primarily perform the duties of an Advance Pricing and Mutual Agreement (APMA) Team Leader within the office of the Deputy Commissioner (International) and U.S. Competent Authority, under the Director of Transfer Pricing Operations. Incumbent possess substantial skill in the area of international tax provisions of the Internal Revenue Code relating to transfer pricing with advanced knowledge of relevant provisions in U.S. income tax treaties (e.g., Articles 7, 9 and 25), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Transfer Pricing Guidelines, and foreign transfer pricing rules. The major responsibilities include leading teams of IRS professionals in the analysis and development of advance pricing agreements and the resolution of double tax cases arising from transfer pricing adjustments.

As a Competent Authority Analyst (APMA) you will:

  • Receive requests for competent authority consideration and/or APA submissions.
  • Review requests to ensure compliance with applicable procedural guidelines. Take necessary action to perfect requests.
  • Assist field revenue agents and other IRS technicians (attorneys, economists, and international examiners) to further develop facts/issues in cases. May secure additional information directly from taxpayer or treaty partner.
  • Prepare positions and other memoranda for the U.S. Competent Authority, recommending a course of action based on analysis of the facts of the case, appropriate tax law and treaty, and the position of the foreign country.
  • Participate in or lead development of Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APA), including preparing and negotiating the U.S. position, providing advice to both taxpayers and other IRS personnel concerning competent authority implications i.e., Mutual Agreement. Also, coordinates with appropriate IRS personnel to insure the review of APA Annual Reports to determine taxpayer compliance with previously executed agreements.
  • Negotiate with foreign Competent Authority representatives when the foreign official does not accept U.S. position on particular issues. Determine and recommend reasonable offers that will still protect U.S. interest. Assigned to a specific country as coordinator, specializing in specific country issues, and planning negotiation agenda. Responsible for preparing documents implementing the Mutual Agreement with the foreign country(ies).
  • Perform program analyst and staff assignments regarding non-case related matters. Review Counsel-prepared material (e.g., regulations or revenue procedures) for accuracy and consistency in respect of tax treaty administration matters.
  • Advise field agents and other IRS and Treasury personnel on competent authority issues.
  • Participate in Treasury-led teams negotiating tax treaties.
  • Speak before external and internal groups regarding competent authority procedures and tax treaty technical issues, e.g., in training classes and professional organizations, such as, the American Bar Association.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OTHER IRS CAREERS? If you want to find out more about IRS careers, visit us on the web at www.jobs.irs.gov

Announcement number 20PHI-LBB0158-0930-14
Control number 563657400

April 6, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)