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4th Quarter 2018 Underpayment and Overpayment Interest Rates

On September 7, 2018, the IRS announced that the 4th Quarter 2018 underpayment and overpayment interest rates will not change from the 3rd Quarter of 2018.

This means that, the 4th quarter 2018 IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates will be as follows:

  • five (5) percent for overpayments (four (4) percent in the case of a corporation)
  • five (5) percent for underpayments
  • seven (7) percent for large corporate underpayments; and
  • two and one-half (2.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the interest rates are determined on a quarterly basis. This means that the next change in the IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates may occur only for the 1st Quarter of 2019. In fact, if the analysts are correct, it may very well happen in early 2019.

The 4th Quarter 2018 underpayment and overpayment interest rates are important for many reasons. Not only are these rates used to determine what the IRS will charge in case of an amended tax return (including an amended return made as part of an offshore voluntary disclosure), but they will also determine the interest rate for any adjustments made by the IRS during an audit.

Moreover, the IRS underpayment rates are used to calculate the interest charged on the PFIC (default IRC Section 1291) tax due on an excess distribution. It should be remembered that PFIC calculations de facto remain outside of the Statute of Limitations and PFIC interest can be charged on any PFIC gains made in 2018 but allocated to any prior year (all the way to 1988).

It is important to prevent some US tax accountants from falling into a common trap concerning distributions of accumulated income from a foreign trust. There is a myth that the interest rates on UNI tax is calculated based on the IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates. This is incorrect – the Throwback Rule follows a separate method for calculating the interest on the UNI tax.

Sherayzen Law Office continues to track any changes IRS makes to its overpayment and underpayment interest rates.

IRS Compliance Campaigns | US International Tax Attorney and Lawyer

On January 31, 2017, the IRS announced a complete new approach to tax enforcement – Issue-Focused IRS Compliance Campaigns. A total of thirteen IRS compliance campaigns were announced; all of them will be administered by the LB&I (Large Business and International) division of the IRS. Let’s explore in more detail this highly important IRS announcement.

Background Information: IRS Compliance Campaigns is the Second Phase of the LB&I Restructuring

The announcement of the IRS Compliance Campaigns does not come as a surprise. The IRS has been talking about the LB&I division restructuring for a long while and the first details of the new campaigns already appeared as early as September of 2015.

In fact, the IRS Compliance Campaigns represent the second phase of this restructuring. Already in the fall of 2015, the LB&I completed the first phase – the administrative re-organization of the LB&I into nine units, including four geographic practice areas and five issue-based practice areas.

The first phase of the LB&I reorganization focused on the administrative structure of the Division. The IRS Compliance Campaigns are meant to reorganize the Division’s tax enforcement process in a way that fits best the new administrative structure.

IRS Compliance Campaigns are Focused on Specific Tax Issues

On January 31, 2017, during a conference call announcing the new IRS Compliance Campaigns, the IRS stated that each campaign is meant to provide “a holistic response to an item of either known or potential compliance risks.” In other words, each Campaign is focused on a specific tax issue which carries a heightened noncompliance risk.

This focus on specific issues fits perfectly with the new organizational structure of the LB&I which we already discussed above. Again, this is all part of a large IRS plan to devote its scarce resources towards the areas which have significant noncompliance risk and, hence, require a more intense level of IRS scrutiny.

Issue-Focused IRS Compliance Campaigns: What Areas Will the Campaigns Affect?

As of March 21, 2017, the IRS identified thirteen such high-risk areas. A separate campaign was assigned to each of these areas. The campaigns can be grouped according to the IRS LB&I Practice Areas.

1. Cross Border Activities Practice Area

The following campaigns are included within the Cross Border Activities Practice Area of the LB&I Division: Form 1120-F Non-Filer Campaign and Repatriation Campaign.

2. Enterprise Activity Practice Area

The Enterprise Activity Practice Area of the LB&I Division contains more campaigns than any other area by a large margin. Seven different campaigns are launched within this Practice Area: IRC 48C Energy Credit; Domestic Production Activities Deduction, Multi-Channel Video Program Distributors (MVPD’s) and TV Broadcasters; Micro-Captive Insurance Campaign; Related Party Transactions; Deferred Variable Annuity Reserves & Life Insurance Reserves IIR Campaign; Basket Transactions Campaign; and Land Developers – Completed Contract Method (CCM) Campaign.

3. Pass-Through Entities Area

Two huge campaigns are launched in the Pass-Through Entities Area of the LB&I Division: TEFRA Linkage Plan Strategy Campaign and S Corporation Losses Claimed in Excess of Basis Campaign.

4. Treaty and Transfer Pricing Operations Practice Area

One campaign is launched within the Treaty and Transfer Pricing Operations Practice Area: the Inbound Distributor Campaign.

5. Withholding and International Individual Compliance Practice Area

Only one, but highly important campaign was launched within the Withholding and International Individual Compliance Practice Area – OVDP Declines-Withdrawals Campaign.

The taxpayers should remember that they may be subject to multiple IRS Compliance Campaigns at the same time.

IRS Compliance Campaigns: Treatment Streams

The goal of the campaigns is to promote tax compliance – even more fundamentally, to change the taxpayer behavior in general, replacing noncompliance with compliance.

In order to achieve this goal, the IRS may utilize a variety of “treatment streams” as part of a campaign. The first and most fundamental treatment stream is the traditional audit, which will remain the ultimate weapon in all IRS Compliance Campaigns.

Second, the IRS stated that it will also include “soft letters” to taxpayers. The idea behind the soft letters is to draw a taxpayer’s attention to a particular item or issue on the taxpayer’s return, explain the IRS position and give the taxpayer an opportunity to amend his return himself (i.e. without resorting to an audit). If the taxpayer does not do so after he receives the IRS letter, an audit will most likely follow.

Additionally, the IRS stated that it will pursue four additional strategies: guidance, new forms and instructions, published practice units, and practitioner and stakeholder outreach.

More IRS Compliance Campaigns Will Be Launched in the Future

The IRS has affirmatively stated that the number of the IRS Compliance Campaigns will increase in the future. At this point, it is not yet known what particular areas the new Campaigns will affect.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help If You Are Affected by One or More of the IRS Compliance Campaigns

If you are affected by any of the IRS campaigns or you have received a soft letter from the IRS, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. Our team of tax professionals, headed by Attorney Eugene Sherayzen, will thoroughly analyze your case, create a plan to move forward to resolve the situation, implement the plan and defend your position against the IRS.

What to do if the IRS Audits Your Quiet Disclosure | FBAR Lawyer Madison

This essay is concerned with a situation where the IRS audits your quiet disclosure of foreign assets and foreign income. The IRS audit can be an absolute nightmare in this case. Not only will the audit examine the accuracy of the disclosure, but the IRS may actually raise the issue of willful and non-willful FBAR penalties as well as the potential income tax fraud penalty.

So, is everything lost if the IRS audits your quiet disclosure? The answer is “no”. While the situation may undoubtedly be dire, it is not hopeless if the case is handled properly. While it is not possible to discuss in this article the whole spectrum of strategies available to taxpayers in such a situation, this article attempts to line out the three most important steps that you should do if the IRS audits your quiet disclosure.

1. If the IRS Audits Your Quiet Disclosure, You Should Not Panic

An IRS audit is always a stressful event. The stress increases exponentially if the audit involves a quiet disclosure of foreign assets and foreign income.

While your situation may be difficult, you should try to resist the panic. Panic is an emotional condition where a person starts acting irrationally and may follow a course of action that may worsen the already difficult situation.

2. If the IRS Audits Your Quiet Disclosure, Do Not Try to Handle the Audit by Yourself

Do NOT attempt to solve the IRS audit of your quiet disclosure by yourself, even if you believe that you were non-willful in your original noncompliance. This is extremely dangerous and may result in imposition of non-willful or even willful penalties. US international tax law is so complex that you may easily get yourself in trouble even if you believe that you are doing well.

There is a myth that the IRS is somehow gracious when a taxpayer represents himself and will be willing to reduce the penalties – this is completely false, especially in a situation involving a quiet disclosure. The IRS agents follow procedures and they will follow them ruthlessly until they run into a legal defense built by a lawyer. Without such a defense, there is nothing to stop the IRS from imposing penalties to the extent an agent believes is justified by the facts of the case.

3. If the IRS Audits Your Quiet Disclosure, You Should Immediately Find and Retain an International Tax Lawyer

Get yourself an international tax lawyer to help you with an IRS audit of your quiet disclosure. This can be a highly complex situation and you should have a professional by your side to guide you throughout the process. This is the best way to assure that your case will be handled properly.

In this case, a professional must be an international tax lawyer, not an accountant. I am always suspicious of cases where accountants start to go beyond their professional capacity and take on the legal defense of their clients’ cases. While it may be tolerable in simple domestic cases (though still not recommended), it may result in a horrific outcome where the IRS audits a quiet disclosure.

Sherayzen Law Office Can Be Your International Tax Lawyer if the IRS Audits Your Quiet Disclosure

If the IRS audits your quiet disclosure, you should consider retaining Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. as your international tax lawyer to represent you during the IRS audit. Sherayzen Law Office is an international tax firm which focuses on helping its clients with their voluntary disclosures and the audits of these voluntary disclosures. The firm is not only a leader in the field, but it has also extensive experience in combating and reducing the IRS penalties associated with prior tax noncompliance.

IRS Audit Reconsideration

Have your tax returns been subject to an IRS audit? You should be aware that IRS procedures may allow you to contest the findings through IRS Audit Reconsideration, provided that you meet certain requirements. If the amount is significant or you believe that the IRS was erroneous in its determination, you contact Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC.  Our experienced law firm can assist you with your IRS Audit Reconsideration and help you avoid making costly mistakes.

This article will explain the basics of audit reconsideration. It is not intended to constitute tax or legal advice.

IRS Audit Reconsideration: Reasons the IRS May Reconsider an Audit

There are various reasons for which you may request IRS Audit Reconsideration. For example, if you were not able to appear for your audit, or if you moved during the audit and did not receive correspondence from the IRS, the IRS may grant the request. Additionally, if you believe that you have additional important information to substantiate your case that was not available to you during the audit, you may be allowed to have the IRS reconsider the audit. Further, if you disagree with the assessment from the audit, a request may be granted, depending upon the IRS’ discretion. You are well-advised not to make the determination by yourself about whether you have a sufficient reason for IRS Audit Reconsideration; this is a question for an experienced tax attorney.

Process for Requesting IRS Audit Reconsideration

In general, there are several steps you will need to take if you are requesting IRS Audit Reconsideration. If you are planning upon making the claim that you are presenting new evidence that you did not present before at the audit, you usually should first obtain all the necessary documentation that you will need to substantiate your claim and make sure that the evidence supports the correct tax years in question. You will then need to file a letter explaining your request for reconsideration, along with photocopies (originals will not be returned to you) of the evidence supporting your new claim.

The IRS notes that, provided you meet certain requirements, your IRS Audit Reconsideration request may be granted if: “You submit information that we have not considered previously. You filed a return after the IRS completed a return for you. You believe the IRS made a computational or processing error in assessing your tax. The liability is unpaid or credits are denied.” On the other hand, the IRS usually will not accept IRS Audit Reconsideration request if you signed an agreement agreeing to pay your amount of tax liability (such as a Form 906, Closing Agreement; a Compromise agreement; or an agreement on Form 870-AD with IRS Appeals), if the amount of tax you owe is due to the result of final partnership item adjustments under the Tax Equity Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA), or if the United States Tax Court, or another court, has rendered a final determination on your tax liability.

Once the documentation for the IRS Audit Reconsideration is received by the IRS, the IRS may send you a letter requesting follow-up information regarding your request. The IRS may delay collection activity once your initial letter is received; however, collection activity will resume if you fail to respond to request from the IRS for additional information within 30 calendar days, or if the IRS deems your documentation insufficient to support your claim.

Once the IRS has completed its review of your IRS Audit Reconsideration request, you will be notified as to whether your position was accepted or rejected. If you position was accepted, the IRS may either abate your assessed tax, or partially abate the tax, depending upon the circumstances. If your position is rejected, your assessed tax will stand. If you disagree with the results you may either pay the amount (either in full, or by making other payment arrangements), or by seeking certain other remedies. In future articles, we will explain other options you may have at that point.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With An IRS Audit

If you are currently being audited or the IRS already rendered its decision and you are looking for a way to challenge it, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional legal help. Our experienced legal team will thoroughly analyze your case, determine the available options, implement the chosen course of action (including preparation of any tax forms) and rigorously defend your interests during IRS negotiations.