International Financial Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

EU Publishes New Potential Sources of Tax revenue

In addition to simplifying existing own resources, the need to introduce new own resources of the EU budget has been on the EU agenda for a long time. Some of the key arguments in favour of new sources of revenue have been:

  • reducing the weight of the Gross National Income (GNI)-based own resource in the EU budget;
  • bringing more proportionality, fairness and stabilising impact to the EU budget, while reflecting the fluctuations in Member States' economic cycles;
  • reforming the own resources system to help address new challenges, by designing new own resources that bring also additional benefits alongside the stream of fiscal income;
  • introducing more diversified and resilient types of own resources, directly related to EU competences, objectives and priorities.

According to Article 311 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (legal basis for the Own Resources Decision), the Union "shall provide itself with the means to attain its objectives and carry through its policies". When introducing new Own Resources, attention should be paid to (i) their transparency, simplicity and stability; (ii) their consistency with EU policy objectives; (iii) their impact on competitiveness and sustainable growth; and (iv) their equitable breakdown among Member States.

The plastic own resource, a contribution based on the non-recycled plastic packaging waste, has been in place as a new revenue source to the 2021-2027 EU budget since January 2021.

Other potential new sources of revenue

In the coming years the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council will work together to introduce new own resources for the EU budget. These resources will not create new taxes for European taxpayers, as the EU does not have the power to levy taxes. Existing tax instruments are mainly deployed at national level, hence the introduction of new categories of own resources will fully respect national fiscal sovereignty.

Possible new own resources:

Carbon border adjustment mechanism icon

Carbon border adjustment mechanism: the Commission will make a detailed proposal by June 2021, with a view of introducing the new source of revenue by 1 January 2023 at the latest. The carbon border adjustment mechanism entails a tax on any product imported from a country outside of the EU that does not have a system to price carbon, like the EU ETS (see below). This is meant to adjust the price of the imported goods as if they were produced in the EU and ensure fairness for European companies.

Digital levy icon

Digital levy: the Commission will out forward a proposal by June 2021, with a view of introducing the new own resource by 1 January 2023 at the latest. The digital levy would stem from digital business activities, which are intrinsically dematerialised and profiting from mostly intangible assets. A digital levy would be a solution to the inadequateness of current corporate tax rules for the digital economy.

EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) icon

EU ETS-based own resource: the Commission will make a proposal for an EU Emissions Trading System (ETS)-based own resource, including a possible extension of this system to the maritime and aviation sectors, in the spring of 2021. The ETS is the EU carbon market, through which installations (companies) buy or receive emission allowances. Allowances permit companies to emit an equal amount of greenhouse gases emissions within an established cap that decreases over time. The ETS has a direct link to the functioning of the Single Market and it is a key tool of EU action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective way.

In addition, the Commission will propose further new own resources, which could include a Financial Transaction Tax, a financial contribution linked to the corporate sector or a new common corporate tax base. The Commission will work to make the relevant proposals by June 2024.

May 4, 2021 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 3, 2021

The largest EU stimulus package ever

The EU’s long-term budget, coupled with NextGenerationEU, the temporary instrument designed to boost the recovery, will be the largest stimulus package ever financed through the EU budget. A total of €1.8 trillion will help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe. It will be a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe.

The new long-term budget will increase flexibility mechanisms to guarantee it has the capacity to address unforeseen needs. It is a budget fit not only for today's realities but also for tomorrow's uncertainties.

The last step of the adoption of the next long-term EU budget was reached on 17 December 2020.

Main elements of the agreement

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027
total allocations per heading*

  MFF NextGenerationEU TOTAL
1. Single market, innovation and digital €132.8 billion €10.6 billion €143.4 billion
2. Cohesion, resilience and values €377.8 billion €721.9 billion €1 099.7 billion
3. Natural resources and environment €356.4 billion €17.5 billion €373.9 billion
4. Migration and border management €22.7 billion - €22.7 billion
5. Security and defence €13.2 billion - €13.2 billion
6. Neighbourhood and the world €98.4 billion - €98.4 billion
7. European public administration €73.1 billion - €73.1 billion
TOTAL MFF €1 074.3 billion €750 billion €1 824.3 billion

All amounts in € billion, in constant 2018 prices. Source: European Commission

* The amounts include the targeted reinforcement of ten programmes for a total of €15 billion, compared to the agreement from 21 July 2020. The programmes are Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, EU4Health, Integrated Border Management Fund, Rights and Values, Creative Europe, InvestEU, European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Humanitarian Aid.

NextGenerationEU

recovery plan

NextGenerationEU is a €750 billion temporary recovery instrument to help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Post-COVID-19 Europe will be greener, more digital, more resilient and better fit for the current and forthcoming challenges.

  • The Recovery and Resilience Facility: the centrepiece of NextGenerationEU with €672.5 billion in loans and grants available to support reforms and investments undertaken by EU countries. The aim is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. Member States are working on their recovery and resilience plans to access the funds under the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
  • Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU): NextGenerationEU also includes €47.5 billion for REACT-EU. It is a new initiative that continues and extends the crisis response and crisis repair measures delivered through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus. It will contribute to a green, digital and resilient recovery of the economy. The funds will be made available to
    - the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
    - the European Social Fund (ESF)
    - the European Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)
    These additional funds will be provided in 2021-2022.
  • NextGenerationEU will also bring additional money to other European programmes or funds such as Horizon2020, InvestEU, rural development or the Just Transition Fund (JTF).

NextGenerationEU breakdown

Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) €672.5 billion
of which, loans 360 billion
of which, grants 312.5 billion
ReactEU €47.5 billion
Horizon Europe €5 billion
InvestEU €5.6 billion
Rural Development €7.5 billion
Just Transition Funds (JTF) €10 billion
RescEU €1.9 billion
TOTAL €750 billion

Source: Conclusions of the European Council of 21 July 2020

Figures

NextGenerationEU figures per EU country

MFF figures per EU country

Financing the EU long-term budget and NextGenerationEU

euro coin

The EU long-term budget will continue to be financed through the well-known revenue sources of the EU budget:

  • customs duties
  • contributions from the Member States based on value added tax (VAT)
  • contributions based on gross national income (GNI)

In addition, as of 1 January 2021, a new national contribution based on non-recycled plastic packaging waste will be introduced as a source of revenue of the EU budget.

Borrowing to finance the recovery

To finance NextGenerationEU, the European Commission - on behalf of the European Union – will borrow on the markets at more favourable rates than many Member States and redistribute the amounts. For the Commission to start borrowing, all Member States must ratify the new Own Resources Decision in line with their constitutional requirements.

The European Commission already issues bonds to finance loans to EU and third countries under four programmes, including up to €100 billion for the SURE programme to support jobs and keep people in work.

To raise up to around €800 billion in current prices until 2026 for NextGenerationEU under the best financial terms – 5% of EU GDP – the Commission will use a diversified funding strategy.

A clear roadmap towards new sources of revenue to help repay the borrowing

The Commission will put forward proposals by June 2021 on sources of revenue linked to:

icon with trees a carbon border adjustment mechanism
digital screen a digital levy
connected dots the EU Emissions Trading System

By June 2024, the Commission will propose new sources of revenue, such as:

piled coins a Financial Transaction Tax
investment icon a financial contribution linked to the corporate sector
board a new common corporate tax base

May 3, 2021 in Economics, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Labor market disruption & COVID-19 support measures contribute to widespread falls in taxes on wages in 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in the largest decrease in taxes on wages since the global financial crisis of 2008-09, according to a new OECD report.

Taxing Wages 2021 shows that declining household incomes coupled with tax reforms linked to the pandemic are driving widespread declines in effective taxes on wages across the OECD.

The report highlights record falls across the OECD during 2020 in the tax wedge – the total taxes on labour paid by both employees and employers, minus family benefits, as a percentage of the labour cost to the employer. 

The tax wedge for a single worker at the average wage was 34.6% in 2020, a decrease of 0.39 percentage points from the previous year. This is a significant fall, but is smaller than the decreases seen in the global financial crisis – 0.48 percentage point in 2008, and 0.52 percentage points in 2009. The tax wedge increased in 7 of the 37 OECD countries over the 2019-20 period and fell in 29, mainly due to lower income taxes.

The drop in the tax wedge was even more significant for households with children, bringing tax rates on these family types to new lows. The average tax wedge for a one-earner couple at the average wage with children in 2020 was 24.4%, a decrease of 1.1 percentage points versus 2019. This is the largest fall and lowest level seen for this household type since the OECD started producing Taxing Wages in 2000.


Between 2019 and 2020, the tax wedge for this household type decreased in 31 countries, and rose in only 6. It decreased by more than 1 percentage point in 16 countries. The largest decreases were in Lithuania, the United States, Poland, Italy, Canada and Korea. The only increase over 1 percentage point was in New Zealand.

The gap between the OECD average tax wedge for the single average worker (34.6%) and the one-earner couple with children (24.4%) has widened by 0.7 percentage points since 2019, reflecting policy changes that provided additional support to families with children during the COVID-19 crisis.

The falls in country tax wedges for the single worker, the one-earner couple with two children, and the single parent resulted predominantly from changes in tax policy settings, although falling average wages also contributed in some countries. By contrast, increases in the tax wedge were almost all driven by rising average wages, offset only slightly by policy changes.

Of the ten countries where specific COVID-19 measures affected the indicators, support was primarily delivered through enhanced or one-off cash benefits, with a focus on supporting families with children.

The report shows that labour taxation continues to vary considerably across the OECD, with the tax wedge on the average single worker ranging from zero in Colombia to 51.5% in Belgium.

Further information and individual country notes: https://www.oecd.org/tax/taxing-wages-20725124.htm.

April 29, 2021 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

IRS establishes new "Office of Promoter Investigations", appoints Director with 20-year exam experience

As part of the continued focus on compliance issues, the Internal Revenue Service announced yesterday the establishment of the IRS Office of Promoter Investigations. The new office will further expand on the efforts of the Promoter Investigations Coordinator that began last summer.

“By establishing the Office of Promoter Investigations, we are continuing our increased focus on promoters of abusive tax avoidance transactions, which we have demonstrated over the last year,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “This office will coordinate efforts across multiple business divisions to address abusive syndicated conservation easements and abusive micro-captive insurance arrangements, as well as other transactions.”

Lois Deitrich, a 20-year veteran of the agency, will be the new office’s acting director.

Even though OPI will be positioned within SB/SE, Deitrich will work on agency-wide compliance issues, including coordination of promoter activities with promoter teams in other business divisions, including Large Business & International, Tax Exempt/Government Entities, the Office of Fraud Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations.. She will serve as the principal advisor and consultant to IRS division commissioners and deputy commissioners on issues involving promoters of abusive transactions and the schemes they peddle. The OPI will also develop strategic plans, programs and policy.

Prior to the creation of OPI, the SB/SE division completed a realignment of field examination employees who work on promoter investigations. This realignment brought SB/SE revenue agents under a single director within the Field Exam Division, increasing the focus and attention they apply to investigations going forward. With additional training, resources and applied analytics, SB/SE will bring improved focus on identifying, investigating and taking necessary enforcement action to halt promotion of abusive transactions.

De Lon Harris, commissioner, SB/SE Exam, noted that the realignment of field employees will continue to strengthen the internal compliance efforts within SB/SE.

"These groups are exclusively dedicated to investigating those who peddle abusive tax schemes. Bringing these agents together, in combination with the creation of the service-wide Office of Promoter Investigations, will help strengthen our compliance work and is yet another opportunity to increase our capacity to conduct these investigations," said De Lon Harris, commissioner, SB/SE Exam. "Our promoter office will strategically focus resources to help expand detection and deterrence efforts of promoter work across the IRS."

Deitrich will take over the work the agency has been pursuing for the past year under Brendan O'Dell, who was selected as the Promoter Investigation Coordinator in early 2020.

Prior to this position, Deitrich served as the director of the southwest area of SB/SE’s Field Examination, where she was responsible for overseeing SB/SE field operation for abusive transaction investigations. She brings extensive experience in the abusive transaction space and the Special Enforcement Program. Previously, she served as director of Exam Case Selection and Exam Quality and Technical Support.

April 20, 2021 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Tax Attorney Indicted for Facilitating $225 Million in Capital Gains Fraud for Robert E Smith

A federal grand jury in San Francisco returned an indictment today charging a Houston-based tax attorney of conspiring with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of a private equity firm to defraud the IRS. The grand jury further charged him with three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of the CEO’s false tax returns for the 2012 to 2014 tax years. The billionaire Robert F. Smith who has a non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice has provided evidence against his former tax attorney.

According to the indictment, from 1999 to 2014, Carlos E. Kepke helped Robert F. Smith create and maintain offshore entities that were used to conceal from the IRS approximately $225,000,000 of capital gains income that Smith had earned. In approximately March 2000, Kepke allegedly created a Nevisian limited liability company (Flash Holdings) and a Belizean trust (Excelsior Trust) to serve as the tax evasion vehicles. When Smith earned capital gains income from his private equity funds, a portion was allegedly deposited into Flash’s bank accounts in the British Virgin Islands and Switzerland. As alleged, Smith was able to hide this income because Excelsior, and not Smith, was the nominal owner of Flash. Smith then allegedly failed to timely and fully report his income to the IRS. Kepke allegedly assisted in the preparation of Smith’s false 2012 to 2014 returns.  

For his services, Smith has allegedly paid Kepke nearly $1,000,000 since 2007. These fees, as charged, included an annual payment for Kepke to purge or “securitize” his records related to Smith, Excelsior, and Flash.

April 17, 2021 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Requirements for Certain Foreign Persons and Certain Foreign-Owned Partnerships Investing in Qualified Opportunity Funds and Flexibility for Working Capital Safe Harbor Plans

Internal Revenue Service on 04/14/2021

Abstract: This document contains proposed regulations that include requirements that certain foreign persons and certain foreign-owned partnerships must meet in order to elect the Federal income tax benefits provided by section 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). This document also contains proposed regulations that allow, under certain circumstances, for the reduction or elimination of withholding under section 1445, 1446(a), or 1446(f) of the Code on transfers that give rise to gain that is deferred under section 1400Z-2(a). Finally, this document contains additional guidance regarding the 24-month extension of the working capital safe harbor in the case of Federally declared disasters. The proposed regulations affect qualified opportunity funds and their investors.

Background: This document contains proposed amendments to 26 CFR part 1 under sections 1400Z-2, 1445, and 1446 (proposed regulations). Section 13823 of Public Law 115-97, 131 Stat. 2054, 2184 (2017), commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), added sections 1400Z-1 and 1400Z-2 to the Code. The purposes of section 1400Z-2 and the section 1400Z-2 regulations (that is, the final regulations set forth in §§ 1.1400Z2(a)-1 through 1.1400Z2(f)-1, 1.1502-14Z, and 1.1504-3) are to provide specified Federal income tax benefits to owners of qualified opportunity funds (QOFs) to encourage the making of longer-term investments, through QOFs and qualified opportunity zone businesses, of new capital in one or more qualified opportunity zones designated under section 1400Z-1 and to increase economic growth in such qualified opportunity zones. See § 1.1400Z2(f)-1(c)(1) (describing the purposes of section 1400Z-2 and the section 1400Z-2 regulations; Notice 2018-48, 2018-28 I.R.B. 9, and Notice 2019-42, 2019-29 I.R.B. 352 (setting forth the combined list of population census tracts designated as qualified opportunity zones).

Section 1400Z-1 provides the procedural rules for designating qualified opportunity zones and related definitions. Section 1400Z-2 provides two main tax incentives to encourage investment in qualified opportunity zones. See section 1400Z-2(b) and (c). First, a taxpayer, upon making a valid election, may generally defer, until the earlier of an inclusion event or December 31, 2026, certain gains in gross income that would otherwise be recognized in the tax year if the taxpayer invests a corresponding amount in a qualifying investment in a QOF within 180 days of the date of the sale or exchange. See section 1400Z-2(b)(1)(A) and (B). The taxpayer may potentially exclude ten percent of such deferred gain from gross income if the taxpayer holds the qualifying investment in the QOF for at least five years. See section 1400Z-2(b)(2)(B)(iii). An additional five percent of such gain may potentially be excluded from gross income if the taxpayer holds the qualifying investment for at least seven years. See section 1400Z-2(b)(2)(B)(iv). Second, a taxpayer, upon making a second valid election under section 1400Z-2(c), may also exclude from gross income any appreciation on the taxpayer's qualifying investment in the QOF if the qualifying investment is held for at least ten years. Section 1400Z-2(e)(4) provides that the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate shall prescribe regulations as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of section 1400Z-2, including rules to prevent abuse.

On October 29, 2018, the Treasury Department and the IRS published in the Federal Register (83 FR 54279) a notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-115420-18) providing guidance under section 1400Z-2 for investing in qualified opportunity funds (83 FR 54279 (October 29, 2018)) (October 2018 proposed regulations). A second notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-120186-18) was published in the Federal Register (84 FR 18652) on May 1, 2019, containing additional proposed regulations under section 1400Z-2 (May 2019 proposed regulations). The May 2019 proposed regulations also updated portions of the October 2018 proposed regulations. On January 13, 2020, final regulations (TD 9889) under section 1400Z-2 were published in the Federal Register (85 FR 1866, as corrected at 85 FR 19082), effective for taxable years beginning after March 13, 2020 (section 1400Z-2 regulations).

Under the section 1400Z-2 regulations, a taxpayer qualifies for deferral under section 1400Z-2(a) only if the taxpayer is an eligible taxpayer. Section 1.1400Z2(a)-1(a)(1). An eligible taxpayer is defined as a person that is required to report the recognition of gains during the taxable year under Federal income tax accounting principles. Section 1.1400Z2(a)-1(b)(13). If an eligible taxpayer that is a partnership does not elect to defer gain, a partner of such partnership may elect to defer its distributive share of the gain. Section 1.1400Z2(a)-1(c)(8).

The section 1400Z-2 regulations provide that only gains that are eligible gains may be deferred. Section 1.1400Z2(a)-1(b)(11). In general, an eligible gain is gain that (i) is treated as a capital gain or is a qualified 1231 gain, (ii) would be recognized for Federal income tax purposes and subject to tax under subtitle A of the Code before January 1, 2027, if section 1400Z-2(a)(1) did not apply to defer the gain, and (iii) does not arise from a sale or exchange of property with certain related persons. Id. Thus, for example, a nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation generally may make a deferral election with respect to an item of capital gain that is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, because this gain otherwise is subject to Federal income tax. When a partnership chooses to make a deferral election, the section 1400Z-2 regulations provide an exception to the general requirement that gain be subject to Federal income tax in order to constitute eligible gain, subject to an anti-abuse rule. Section 1.1400Z2(a)-1(b)(11)(ix)(B).

Foreign persons are generally subject to U.S. income tax on amounts that are effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States (ECI). A foreign person that directly or indirectly is engaged in a trade or business in the United States must file a U.S. income tax return and pay any tax due.

To ensure the collection of tax, in certain circumstances, the Code imposes withholding requirements on payments or allocations of ECI to foreign persons. See sections 1445, 1446(a), and 1446(f). The amount of withholding under these provisions is intended to serve as a proxy for the amount of the foreign person's substantive tax liability and may not match the actual amount of tax due. The amount withheld may be claimed as a credit against the amount of tax due and shown on the foreign person's tax return.

Specifically, section 1445(a) requires a transferee to withhold tax on a disposition of a United States real property interest (as defined in section 897(c)) (U.S. real property interest) by a foreign person. Generally, the transferee must withhold 15 percent of the amount realized and deposit the tax with the IRS within 20 days of the transfer. Certain exceptions and reductions to the rate of withholding can apply, including by the foreign person obtaining a withholding certificate from the IRS to reduce or eliminate the amount required to be withheld on the transfer.

Section 1445(e)(1) requires a domestic partnership, trust, or estate that disposes of a United States real property interest to withhold on any portion of the gain that is allocable to a foreign partner or beneficiary. The rate of withholding is the highest rate of tax in effect under section 11(b) (currently 21 percent).

Section 1445(e)(2) requires a foreign corporation that recognizes gain on the distribution of a United States real property interest to withhold on the gain at the highest rate of tax in effect under section 11(b).

Section 1445(e)(3) requires a domestic corporation that is or has been a United States real property holding corporation to withhold 15 percent of a distribution to a nonresident alien or foreign corporation.

Section 1445(e)(6) requires a qualified investment entity to withhold at the highest rate of tax specified in section 11(b) on the amount of the distribution that is treated as gain from the sale or exchange of a United States real property interest.

Section 1446(a) generally requires a partnership to withhold tax on effectively connected taxable income as determined under § 1.1446-2 (ECTI) allocable to a foreign partner, with limited adjustments, regardless of whether the income is distributed to the partner (section 1446(a) tax). A partnership must generally withhold section 1446(a) tax on a foreign partner's allocable share of ECTI at the highest rate of tax specified in section 1 (for a foreign partner other than a corporation) or section 11(b) (for a foreign partner that is a corporation). A partnership is generally required to pay the section 1446(a) tax in four installment payments. The partnership may consider certain partner-level deductions and losses as a reduction to the ECTI on which it must withhold section 1446(a) tax. See § 1.1446-6.

Section 1446(f) requires withholding under certain circumstances in connection with a disposition of a partnership interest. Specifically, if, on a disposition (which includes a distribution from a partnership to a partner) of a partnership interest, section 864(c)(8) treats any portion of a foreign partner's gain as effectively connected gain, section 1446(f) requires the transferee to withhold tax equal to 10 percent of the amount realized, unless an exemption or reduced rate of withholding applies. The transferee must deposit the tax with the IRS within 20 days of the transfer. See § 1.1446(f)-2. For purposes of section 1446(f), a transferor may in certain cases certify to the transferee that the transfer is not subject to withholding or otherwise qualifies for an exception to withholding or an adjustment to the amount required to be withheld. Id.

Under sections 33 and 1462, a foreign person subject to withholding under section 1445, 1446(a), or 1446(f) may credit the amount withheld against the amount of income tax liability shown on the person's tax return.

April 15, 2021 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 12, 2021

What drives people and businesses to pay taxes?

Unlocking what drives tax morale – the intrinsic willingness to pay tax – can greatly assist governments in the design of tax policies and their administration, particularly in developing countries where compliance rates are low. However, voluntary compliance is not only determined by tax rates or the threat of penalties, but also by a wide range of socio-economic factors – such as age, gender, education levels – and institutional factors – such as perception of the tax administration and complexity of the tax system – all of which vary across regions and populations. While much remains to be done to build a sustainable taxpaying culture, a greater focus on tax morale can provide a route to increased voluntary compliance, for a tax system that is fair and equitable for all taxpayers around the globe. More information on our work on tax morale: http://oe.cd/tax-morale

 

 

February 12, 2021 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

IRS sending soft letters to encourage compliance with foreign trust reporting

Practice Area:  Withholding & International Individual Compliance

Lead Executive: John Cardone, Director, WIIC

Campaign Point of Contact: Robert G. Davis

This campaign will take a multifaceted approach to improving compliance with respect to the timely and accurate filing of information returns reporting ownership of and transactions with foreign trusts. The Service will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams PDF including, but not limited to, examinations and penalties assessed by the campus when the forms are received late or are incomplete.

 

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

Saturday, October 10, 2020

John McAfee Indicted for Tax Evasion

Allegedly Hid Cryptocurrency, a Yacht, Real Estate and Other Properties in Nominee Names to Evade Taxes Download Indictment

An indictment was unsealed today charging John David McAfee with tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee. The June 15, 2020 indictment was unsealed following McAfee’s arrest in Spain where he is pending extradition.

According to the indictment, John McAfee earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary. From 2014 to 2018, McAfee allegedly failed to file tax returns, despite receiving considerable income from these sources. The indictment does not allege that during these years McAfee received any income or had any connection with the anti-virus company bearing his name.

According to the indictment, McAfee allegedly evaded his tax liability by directing his income to be paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees. The indictment further alleges McAfee attempted to evade the IRS by concealing assets, including real property, a vehicle, and a yacht, in the names of others.

If convicted, McAfee faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on each count of tax evasion and a maximum sentence of one year in prison on each count of willful failure to file a tax return. McAfee also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

John McAfee has over the past decade been held responsible for a murder in a Florida court of his Belize neighbor, arrested in the Dominican Republic on weapons charges,  bragged about not filing tax returns, among other chaos:. See by example https://www.cnet.com/news/john-mcafee-released-from-confinement/ and Yahoo Finance story

October 10, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Multilateral Convention to tackle tax evasion and avoidance continues to expand its reach in developing countries, as Botswana, Eswatini, Jordan and Namibia join

Today, at the OECD Headquarters in Paris, four countries have signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (the Convention), bringing the total number of jurisdictions that participate in the Convention to 141.

Today's signing by Botswana, Eswatini, Jordan and Namibia which takes place as the world addresses the impact of COVID-19, underlines the commitment of the signatories to participate in international tax co-operation and exchange of information and further strengthens the global reach of the Convention, in particular in Africa. In addition to over 8000 exchange relationships in place, these signings will trigger 554 new exchange relationships under the Convention for the four signing jurisdictions following their ratification, allowing them to engage in the exchange of information with 140 other jurisdictions, including all major financial centres.

The Convention enables jurisdictions to engage in a wide range of mutual assistance in tax matters: exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection. It guarantees extensive safeguards for the protection of taxpayers' rights.

The Convention is the primary instrument for swift implementation of the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters (CRS). The CRS – developed by the OECD and G20 countries – enables more than 100 jurisdictions to automatically exchange offshore financial account information.

Beyond the exchange of information on request and the automatic exchange pursuant to the Standard, the Convention is also a powerful tool in the fight against illicit financial flows and is a key instrument for the implementation of the transparency standards of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.

October 8, 2020 in GATCA, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 3, 2020

IRS offers blanket settlement for syndicated conservation easement transactions: Pay 10% penalty but deduct costs of transaction

The Internal Revenue Service this week released Notice 2021-001, containing information on Chief Counsel's settlement initiative for certain pending Tax Court cases involving abusive syndicated conservation easement transactions. Prior coverage of the settlement initiative can be found in IRS news release IR-2020-196.

As part of a continuing effort to combat abusive transactions, the Internal Revenue Service announced today the completion of the first settlement under its initiative to resolve certain docketed cases involving syndicated conservation easement transactions.

On June 25, 2020, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel announced that it would offer to settle certain cases involving abusive syndicated conservation easement transactions. Since then, Chief Counsel has sent letters to dozens of partnerships involved in these transactions whose cases are pending before the U.S. Tax Court.

"We are seeing movement on these settlements," said IRS Chief Counsel Mike Desmond. "Given the potential for significant penalties, we anticipate more taxpayers will take similar actions and ultimately accept these offers, and we encourage them to do so."

The IRS will continue to actively identify, audit and litigate these abusive transactions as part of its vigorous effort to combat abuse in this area. These transactions undermine the public's trust in tax incentives for private land conservation and in tax compliance in general. Ending these abusive schemes remains a top priority for the IRS. The IRS continues to strongly recommend that participants seek the advice of competent, independent advisors in considering the potential resolution of their matter.

The settlement requires a concession of the tax benefits claimed by the taxpayers and imposes penalties:

  • All partners in an electing partnership must agree to settle to receive these terms,

    and the partnership must make a lump-sum payment representing the aggregate tax, penalties and interest for all of the partners before settlement is accepted by the IRS.

  • Chief Counsel will allow investors to deduct the cost of acquiring their partnership

    interests but it will require a penalty of at least 10 percent.

  • Partners who are promoters of conservation easement schemes are not allowed

    any deductions and must pay the maximum penalty asserted by IRS (typically 40 percent).

  • If less than all the partners agree to settle, the IRS may settle with those partners

    but will normally impose less favorable terms on the settling partners.

This week, the first settlement under the terms of the initiative was finalized. Coal Property Holdings, LLC and its partners agreed to a disallowance of the entire $155 million charitable contribution deduction claimed for an easement placed on a 3,700-acre tract of land in Tennessee. On October 28, 2019, the Tax Court issued its Opinion (153 T.C. 126) granting the government's motion for partial summary judgment holding that the "judicial extinguishment" provisions of the easement deed did not satisfy the requirements of section 1.170A-14(g)(6), Income Tax Regs.

Under the terms of the settlement, the investor partners were permitted to deduct their cost of investing in the conservation easement transactions and paid a 10 percent penalty, whereas the promoter partner was denied any deduction and paid a 40% penalty. The taxpayers also fully paid all tax, penalties, and interest in conjunction with the settlement. The settlement will be reflected in a stipulated decision document entered by the Tax Court and in a separately entered closing agreement. A public statement acknowledging the settlement was part of the agreement between the IRS and the taxpayer.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig thanked the trial team for their exceptional dedication and work on the case: "The IRS is pleased that the partnership in the Coal Property transaction has agreed to this settlement, and we encourage other participants in qualifying easement cases to accept the terms of the Chief Counsel's initiative," Rettig said.

Coal Property was represented by Christopher S. Rizek and Scott D. Michel of the Washington, D.C. law firm Caplin & Drysdale. "In light of the significance of the Court's ruling on the perpetuity issue, our client decided to take advantage of an assured penalty reduction in the IRS initiative and settle this matter under the IRS's terms, and it is pleased that this case is resolved," Rizek said.

October 3, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS expands enforcement focus on abusive micro-captive insurance schemes

With the Oct. 15th filing deadline quickly approaching, the Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to consult an independent tax advisor if they participated in a micro-captive insurance transaction.

The IRS encourages any taxpayer who has continued to engage in an abusive micro-captive insurance transaction to not anticipate being able to settle its transaction with the IRS or Chief Counsel on terms more favorable than previously announced settlement offers and that any potential future settlement initiative that the IRS may consider will require additional concessions by the taxpayer.

With this in mind, the IRS encourages taxpayers to consult an independent tax advisor if they participated in a micro-captive insurance transaction. These taxpayers should seriously consider exiting the transaction and not claiming deductions associated with abusive micro-captive insurance transactions, just like many other taxpayers did who were contacted by the IRS in March and July 2020.

For those taxpayers that do not exit the transaction and continue taking such deductions, the IRS will disallow tax benefits from transactions that are determined to be abusive and may also require domestic captives to include premium payments in income and assert a withholding liability related to foreign captives. The IRS will also assert penalties, as appropriate, including the strict liability penalty that applies to transactions that lack economic substance under sections 7701(o) and 6662(i).  The IRS Office of Chief Counsel will continue to litigate these abusive transactions in Tax Court. 

"The IRS enforcement efforts will continue on these abusive transactions,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. “Any future settlement terms will only get worse, not better. The IRS has never been better positioned in its quest to eradicate abusive transactions following the stand-up of a dedicated promoter office, a new Fraud Enforcement Office, enhanced service-wide coordination with Criminal Investigation and the Office of Professional Responsibility, and our advanced data analytics and mining capabilities. Taxpayers are strongly encouraged to use this opportunity to put this behind them and get into compliance.”

Abusive micro-captives have been a concern to the IRS for several years. The transactions first appeared on the IRS "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams in 2014 and remain a priority enforcement issue for the IRS. In 2016, the Department of Treasury and IRS issued Notice 2016-66 (PDF), which identified certain micro-captive transactions as having the potential for tax avoidance and evasion.  In March and July 2020, IRS issued letters to taxpayers who participated in a Notice 2016-66 transaction alerting them that IRS enforcement activity in this area will be expanding significantly and providing them with the opportunity to tell the IRS if they’ve discontinued their participation in this transaction before the IRS initiates examinations.  Early responses indicate that a significant number of taxpayers who participated in these transactions have exited the transaction. 

This summer, the IRS issued a new round of section 6112 letters to material advisors who filed with the IRS pursuant to Notice 2016-66. In addition, the IRS has deployed 12 newly formed micro-captive examination teams to substantially increase the examinations of ongoing abusive micro-captive insurance transactions.

Also, as part of IRS’s continued focus in this area, the IRS has become aware of variations of the abusive micro-captive insurance transactions.  Examples of these variations include certain Puerto Rico and offshore captive insurance arrangements that do not involve section 831(b) elections.

These variations appear to be designed and marketed with the express intent of avoiding reporting under Notice 2016-66 and yet perpetuating in some cases the same or similar abusive elements as abusive micro-captive insurance transactions.  The IRS is aware of these abusive transactions and is actively working to counter their proliferation.  The IRS cautions taxpayers that, to the extent they engage in variations of abusive micro-captive transactions that are substantially similar to Notice 2016-66, they must be disclosed.  Otherwise, the IRS will impose penalties for the failure to disclose.

October 3, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Tax Inspectors Without Borders Report for Developing Countries to Increase Tax Revenues and Address COVID-19 challenges

The international community continues to make progress towards strengthening developing countries' ability to effectively tax multinational enterprises, despite the adverse impact of the COVID-19 crisis on domestic resource mobilisation efforts.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), a joint OECD/UNDP initiative launched in July 2015 to strengthen developing countries' auditing capacity and multinationals' compliance worldwide, has gained increased relevance in the COVID-19 era as a practical tool to help developing countries collect all the taxes due from multinational enterprises. To-date, TIWB assistance has delivered more than USD 537 million in additional revenue for developing countries up to June 2020, according to its latest annual report.

The report was presented today by OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría, and United Nations Development Programme Administrator, Achim Steiner, during a ministerial panel discussion in the margins of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The meeting was co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, the OECD and UNDP.

With programmes across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the TIWB initiative has 80 completed and ongoing programmes in 45 countries and jurisdictions worldwide. An additional 19 programmes have been requested and are in the pipeline. The report notes strong support from a broad range of partners, including regional and international organisations, as well as key donors of official development assistance (ODA). Sixteen countries have deployed their serving tax officials to provide hands-on, learning-by-doing assistance to auditors in developing countries. Among the partner administrations are those engaged in South-South co-operation including India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.

The success of the current TIWB model has also triggered the expansion of the initiative on tax crime investigations and the use of information exchanged automatically between governments, both of which will help fight Illicit Financial Flows. New programmes will also cover tax treaty negotiations, the extractives and environmental tax issues.

"Despite the constraints that the COVID-19 crisis has imposed, the TIWB initiative remains fully 'open for business' thanks to measures instituted to support experts in continuing to deliver assistance remotely," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. "Not only are we open, but we are extending the TIWB focus to provide support in other areas of taxation to fight against corruption and promote integrity."

"Tax Inspectors Without Borders is playing a key role in helping developing countries to recover from the pandemic - their new service aims at increasing domestic revenues while supporting the transition to greener, more sustainable economies," said Mr Steiner, UNDP Administrator.

In his address to the meeting, H.E. Ville Skinnari, Finland's Minister for Development Co-operation and Foreign Trade, said "I congratulate UNDP, OECD and the wider UN-system to promote tax justice and domestic resource mobilisation. We have done our homework in Finland, too: In June this year we launched Government of Finland's new Taxation for Development Action Programme."

October 1, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 20, 2020

J5 reflects on two-years pursuing global tax cheats

Leaders from five international tax organizations are marking the two-year anniversary of the formation of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) this week.

The J5 includes the Australian Taxation Office (ATO, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) from the UK and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) from the US.

Taking advantage of each country's strengths, the J5's initial focus was on enablers of tax crime, virtual currency and platforms that enable each country to share information in a more efficient manner. Within the framework of each country's laws, J5 countries shared information and were able to open new cases, more completely develop existing cases, and find efficiencies to reduce the time it takes to work cases. Operational results have always been the goal of the organization and they have started to materialize.

"While operational results matter, I've been most excited at the other benefits that this group's existence has provided," said Don Fort, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. "In speaking with law enforcement partners domestically and abroad as well as stakeholders in various public and private tax organizations, there is real support for this organization and tangible results we have all seen due to the cooperation and global leadership of the J5."

During the two years since the J5's inception, hundreds of data exchanges between J5 partner agencies have occurred with more data being exchanged in the past year than the previous 10 years combined. Each J5 country brings different strengths and skillsets to the J5 and leveraging those skills and capabilities enhance the effectiveness and success of the J5.

Experts from the J5 countries have seen indications that tax offenders are embracing ever more complex methods to conceal their wrongdoings, creating multiple mechanisms and structures that are split across jurisdictions, taking advantage of those areas that offer secrecy and regulatory benefits. With this information, the J5 finds itself continuously adapting to the latest criminal methods and changing behaviors to prioritize the collective operational activity to tackle this dynamic threat picture.

Since the inception of the organization, two J5 countries have hosted events known as "Challenges" aimed at developing operational collaboration. FIOD hosted the first J5 "Challenge" in Utrecht in 2018 and brought together leading data scientists, technology experts and investigators from all J5 countries in a coordinated push to track down those who make a living out of facilitating and enabling international tax crime. The event identified, developed, and tested tools, platforms, techniques, and methods that contribute to the mission of the J5 focusing on identifying professional enablers facilitating offshore tax fraud. The following year, the U.S. hosted a second "Challenge" in Los Angeles and brought together investigators, cryptocurrency experts and data scientists in a coordinated push to track down individuals perpetrating tax crimes around the world.

Last week, a Romanian man was arrested in Germany and admitted to conspiring to engage in wire fraud and offering and selling unregistered securities in connection with his role in the BitClub Network, a cryptocurrency mining scheme worth at least $722 million. This plea was the first for a case under the J5 umbrella and stemmed from collaboration with the Netherlands during the "Challenge" in Los Angeles in 2019.

"The value of the Challenges cannot be overstated," said Fort. "When you take some of the smartest people from each organization and put them in a room for a few days, the results are truly impressive. Each country found investigative leads and was able to further cases utilizing tools and techniques created by each country's experts specifically for the Challenge. I see us doing more of these events in the future."

Last year, the United States and the World Bank hosted cyber training in Washington, DC bringing together more than 120 international and domestic law enforcement partners from approximately 20 countries to address emerging areas associated with cybercrime, virtual currency, blockchain and the dark web. Additionally, to ensure J5 countries were using all law enforcement and legal tools available during their collaborative work, trainings were held in Sydney and the Netherlands on international elements of the UK corporate criminal offense legislation and prosecution opportunities to lawyers and public prosecutors.

After two years of collaboration, data sharing and accelerated casework, the J5 began seeing operational results in early 2020. J5 countries participated in a globally coordinated day of action to put a stop to the suspected facilitation of offshore tax evasion. The action was part of a series of investigations in multiple countries into an international financial institution located in Central America, whose products and services are believed to be facilitating money laundering and tax evasion for customers across the globe. Evidence, intelligence and information collection activities such as search warrants, interviews and subpoenas were undertaken in each country and significant information was obtained and shared as a result. That investigation is ongoing.

"To see each country participate in a coordinated enforcement action all over the world at the same time with the same goal in mind was a real watershed moment for this organization," said Fort. "And that was just the beginning. With dozens of cases in our collective pipelines, I'm excited to see what the next year brings in terms of operational results."

In addition to the group's work with enablers and virtual currency, the J5 also focused on platforms that enable each country to share information in a more organized manner. FCInet is one such platform that each country has invested in to further that goal. FCInet is a decentralized virtual computer network that enables agencies to compare, analyze and exchange data anonymously. It helps users to obtain the right information in real-time and enables agencies from different jurisdictions to work together while respecting each other's local autonomy. Organizations can jointly connect information, without needing to surrender data or control to a central database. FCInet doesn't collect data, rather it connects data.

The J5 was formed in 2018 after a call to arms from the OECD Taskforce on Tax Crime and has been working together to gather information, share intelligence and conduct coordinated operations, making significant progress in each country's fight against transnational tax crime.

For more information about J5, please visit www.irs.gov/j5

July 20, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

to prohibit the use of tax flow-through entities and the provision of trust services to high-risk third countries and EU Blacklisted jurisdictions

Loyens & Loeff writes that the Netherlands government proposal entails the following prohibitions:

  1. The prohibition to facilitate the use of a flow-through entity, which currently is one of the trust services under the Wtt 2018.
  2. It will be prohibited to enter into a business relationship or provide a trust service in case a client, object company or the UBO of a client or object company resides in or has its seat in (a) a high-risk third country or (b) a non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The original list of high-risk third countries adopted by the European Commission may be found here, more countries were added to the list in October 2017December 2017 and July 2018. A list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes is kept by the EU Council and can be found here.

Proposals in Dutch from Dutch Ministry here

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

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Multiple IRS Job Announcements in IRS Tax Exempt & Government Entities

The IRS has announced multiple Internal Revenue Agent job openings in both Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations as part of the IRS Pathways Recent Graduate Program. These positions are open in multiple cities and have a starting pay scale of GS 5 – 9.

Revenue agents in Employee Plans examine the books and records of employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k) plans.

You can learn more about, and apply for, one of the recent graduate positions on USAjobs.gov, but you need to hurry.

These job openings close on May 8, 2020. 

May 2, 2020 in Tax Compliance | 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)

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)

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)