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October 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney News

On October 30, 2018, the IRS Large Business and International division (LB&I) has announced five additional compliance campaigns. Let’s discuss in more detail these October 2018 IRS compliance campaigns.

October 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Background Information

By the middle of the 2010s, the IRS realized that the then-existing structure of the LB&I was not the best format to address modern noncompliance issues; it could not even accurately identify potential noncompliant taxpayers. Also, the IRS believed that LB&I was not applying the IRS funds in an efficient manner.

Hence, after extensive planning, the IRS decided to move LB&I toward issue-based examinations and a compliance campaign process. Under the new format, LB&I itself decided which compliance issues presented the most risk and required a response in the form of one or multiple treatment streams to achieve compliance objectives. The IRS came to the conclusion that this approach made the best use of IRS knowledge and appropriately deployed the right resources to address specific noncompliance issues.

Each campaign was preceded by strategic planning, re-deployment of resources, creation of new training and tools as well as careful taxpayer population selection through metrics and feedback. The IRS has also built a supporting infrastructure inside LB&I for each specific campaign.

The first thirteen campaigns were announced by LB&I on January 13, 2017. Then, the IRS added eleven campaigns on November 3, 2017, five campaigns on March 13, 2018, six campaigns on May 21, 2018, five campaigns on July 2, 2018 and five campaigns on September 10, 2018. In other words, as of September 11, 2018, there were a total of forty-five campaigns. The additional five October 2018 IRS compliance campaigns bring the total number of campaigns to fifty.

Five New October 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns

Here are the new October 2018 IRS Compliance campaigns that should be added to the already-existing forty-five campaigns: Individual Foreign Tax Credit Phase II, Offshore Service Providers, FATCA Filing Accuracy, 1120-F Delinquent Returns and Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Each of these five campaigns was identified through LB&I data analysis and suggestions from IRS employees.

October 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Individual Foreign Tax Credit Phase II

IRC Section 901 alleviates double-taxation through foreign tax credit for income taxes paid by US taxpayers on their foreign-source income. In order to claim the credit, one must meet certain eligibility requirements. This campaign addresses taxpayers who have claimed the credit, but did not meet the requirements. The IRS will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams, including examination.

October 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Offshore Service Providers

The goal of this campaign is purely punitive – to target US taxpayers who engaged Offshore Service Providers that facilitated the creation of foreign entities and tiered structures to conceal the beneficial ownership of foreign financial accounts and assets for the purpose of tax avoidance or evasion. The treatment stream for this campaign will be issue-based examinations.

October 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: FATCA Filing Accuracy

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted in 2010 as part of the HIRE Act. The overall purpose is to detect, deter and discourage offshore tax abuses through increased transparency, enhanced reporting and strong sanctions. Under FATCA, Foreign Financial Institutions and certain Non-Financial Foreign Entities are generally required to report the foreign assets held by US account holders; the same applies to substantial (beneficial) US owners of these assets. This campaign addresses those entities that have FATCA reporting obligations but do not meet all their compliance responsibilities. The Service will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams, including termination of the FATCA status.

October 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: 1120-F Delinquent Returns

The campaign addresses delinquent (i.e. filed late) Forms 1120-F. Form 1120-F is a US income tax return of a foreign corporation. It must be accurate, true and filed timely in order for a foreign corporation to claim deductions and credits against effectively connected income. For these purposes, Form 1120-F is generally considered to be timely filed if it is filed no later than eighteen months after the due date of the current year’s return.

The IRS may waive the filing deadline where, based on its facts and circumstances, the
foreign corporation establishes to the satisfaction of the IRS that the foreign corporation acted reasonably and in good faith in failing to file Form 1120-F. The reasonable cause standard is described in Treas. Reg. Section 1.882-4(a)(3)(ii). LB&I Industry Guidance 04-0118-007 (dated February 1, 2018) established procedures to ensure waiver requests are applied in a fair, consistent and timely manner under the regulations.

The objective of the 1120-F Delinquent Returns campaign is to encourage foreign entities to timely file Form 1120-F returns and address the compliance risks for delinquent 1120-F returns. The IRS hopes to accomplish it by field examinations of compliance-risk delinquent returns and external education outreach programs.

October 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Work Opportunity Tax Credit

This campaign addresses the consequences of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) certification delays and the burden of amended return filings. Due to delays associated with the WOTC certification process, taxpayers are often faced with the burdensome requirement of amending multiple years of federal and state returns to claim the WOTC in the year qualified WOTC wages were paid. This requirement, coupled with any resulting examinations of this issue, is an inefficient use of both taxpayer and IRS resources.

Pursuant to Rev. Proc. 2016-19, the IRS has agreed to accept the “WOTC year of credit eligibility” issue into the Industry Issue Resolution (IIR) program. The IIR is intended to provide remedies to reduce taxpayer burden, promote consistency, and decrease examination time to most effectively use IRS resources. The campaign’s objective is to collaborate with industry stakeholders, Chief Counsel, and Treasury to develop an LB&I directive for taxpayers experiencing late certifications and to promote consistency in the examinations of WOTC claims.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Tax Help

If you have been contacted by the IRS as part of any of its campaigns, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world with their US tax compliance issues, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters

As FATCA continues its triumphant march across the globe, banks from more and more countries continue to send out FATCA letters to their US customers. Recently, the banks in the Kingdom of Jordan sent out additional FATCA letters (hereinafter, “Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters”). Jordanian Bank FATCA letters caught many U.S. taxpayers by surprise; some even refuse to believe that they are obligated to provide this type of information to their banks. Yet, noncompliance with the requests of Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters may have grave consequences for US taxpayers.

FATCA Background

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted in 2010 to target tax noncompliance of U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts. Since its enaction, this law established a new global standard for tax information exchange. More than 110 jurisdictions today operate under the worldwide reach of FATCA.

In essence, FATCA is used by U.S. authorities to obtain information regarding foreign accounts held by U.S. persons directly from foreign financial institutions by forcing these institutions to collect and send to the IRS information required by FATCA. Hence, FATCA effectively turns all FATCA-compliant foreign banks into IRS informants.

Additionally, FATCA requires U.S. taxpayers to report “Specified Foreign Assets” (this is a term of art in international tax law) on Forms 8938. Forms 8938 should be attached to the taxpayers’ U.S. tax returns and filed with the IRS.

Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters

FATCA is implemented worldwide through a network of bilateral treaties, which are divided in to Model 1 and Model 2 treaties. However, individual banks can also comply with FATCA without Model 1 and Model 2 treaties. A minority of countries follow this path, and the Kingdom of Jordan is one of them.

This means that Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters are sent out by Jordan banks not due to any Model 1 or Model 2 treaties between the United States and Jordan, but, rather, through direct FATCA compliance (i.e. Jordanian banks register with the IRS and provide the required information directly to the IRS).

The purpose of the Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters are similar to all other FATCA Letters – obtain the information required to be reported under FATCA by foreign financial institutions to the IRS. In particular, this includes information relevant to the account owner’s U.S. tax residency.

Impact of Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters on U.S. taxpayers with Undisclosed Foreign Accounts

Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters may have very important impact on U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts. In this article I want to emphasize the timing aspects of such letters.

By requesting FATCA information, Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters create a timetable for timely voluntary disclosure of the concerned U.S. taxpayers. First of all, the taxpayers who receive Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters have a deadline (ranging usually between 30-45 days, and, occasionally, 90 days) to file the letter with the bank. Since the bank sends the information supplied by U.S. taxpayers to the IRS, these U.S. taxpayers have a limited window of opportunity to timely disclose their foreign accounts. If a taxpayer refuses to provide the required information, the bank may still report him to the IRS as a “recalcitrant taxpayer” and even close his accounts.

Additionally, there is a more subtle impact of Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters on U.S. taxpayers – a notice of existence of FATCA and other U.S. tax reporting requirements. A lot of U.S. taxpayers are able to utilize Streamlined Procedures due to the fact that they did not know about the U.S. tax reporting requirements with respect to foreign accounts and foreign income. However, once U.S. taxpayers receive Jordanian Bank FATCA Letters, they can only claim their lack of knowledge with respect to prior years. It will be very difficult to sustain this argument with respect to current and future tax years.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office if You Received a FATCA Letter (from Jordan or from Any Other Country)

If you received a FATCA Letter from a foreign bank, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. Our experienced legal team will thoroughly analyze your situation, propose the best strategy with respect to responding to the FATCA Letter, review your voluntary disclosure options and prepare all legal and tax documents to complete your voluntary disclosure.

Call Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer Update: FATCA-Related Forms

As a Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer, I often receive questions about what US tax forms precisely are affected by the implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Here is a list of the tax forms most affected by FATCA:

1. Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer: IRS Form 1042 and 1042-S

Form 1042 is used as an annual withholding tax return for US-source income of non-US persons. Form 1042-S is used to report income that is considered to be “Amounts Subject to Reporting on Form 1042-S” (basically US-source income paid to foreign persons such as FDAP (fixed or determinable annual or periodical) income; certain gains from the disposal of timber, coal or domestic iron; and gains related to contingent payments received from the sale or exchange of intangible property (such as intellectual property rights), amounts withheld under Chapters 3 and 4 of the Internal Revenue Code, distributions of effectively connected income by a publicly traded partnership (or nominee), and certain federal procurement payments paid to foreign persons who are subject to withholding under Section 5000C.

2. Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer: IRS Form 8966

For a Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer, IRS Form 8966 is highly important. The main reason is because Form 8966 is an actual FATCA Report that needs to be filed by foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and their variations (PFFI, Us Branch of a PFFI treated as non-US person, RDC FFI, Limited Branch or Limited FFI, and Reporting Model 2 FFI), QI (qualified intermediary), WP (withholding foreign partnership), WT (withholding foreign trust) , direct reporting NFFE, and a Sponsoring Entity.

The purpose of this form is to allow these filers to report the required FATCA information with respect to mainly foreign accounts held (directly or indirectly) by US persons.

3. Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer: IRS Forms W-8 Series

The full list of these forms include: Form W-8BEN, Form W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, Form W-8EXP, and W-8IMY. The full discussion of these forms is beyond the scope of this article; suffice it to state that all of these forms play a critical part in FATCA and tax withholding compliance of various FFIs and NFFEs.

4. Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer: IRS Form 8938

As a Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer, I believe that IRS Form 8938 is one of the most important developments that came out of FATCA. Unlike the other forms listed in this article, this form needs to be prepared directly by the US taxpayers and filed with their US tax returns. The importance of this form cannot be overstated, because Form 8938 is a “catch-all” form which steps-in with its own reporting requirements when other international tax forms are not required. It also incorporates by reference some of the most important international tax compliance requirements even when other international tax forms contain detailed information.

Minneapolis MN FATCA Tax Lawyer: Other Forms

The four categories of forms above describe the US tax forms that have been impacted by FATCA in a direct and profound way. There are other forms that have been affected by implementation of FATCA, but this impact is a rather indirect one (by reference or implication).

Cayman Islands FATCA Registration Portal

On March 20, 2015, the Cayman Islands FATCA Registration Portal was launched by the Department for International Tax Cooperation (which is a department within Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority).

Cayman Islands FATCA Background 

The Cayman Islands FATCA Registration Portal is part of the long process of Cayman Islands FATCA compliance. Cayman Islands FATCA IGA (Model 1) was signed with the United States on November 29, 2013. At the same time, Cayman Islands signed the amended Tax Information Exchange Agreement. Both of these developments led to the creation of the Portal as a way to automatically exchange information required by FATCA between Cayman Islands and the United States.

It is also important to point out that Cayman Islands FATCA compliance was not only driven by the US considerations, but also by the UK considerations. As an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, Cayman Islands had to come to an agreement with the United States that could not have been better the terms negotiated between the UK and Cayman Islands with respect to the exchanges of tax-related information.

Purchase of the Portal

The Portal plays a critical role in Cayman Islands FATCA compliance, because it allows Cayman’s financial institutions (including the investment funds based in Cayman islands) to report information required by FATCA to the Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority, which, as it is mandated by Model 1 FATCA agreement, will turn over the required information to the IRS.

Registration

As part of Cayman Islands FATCA compliance, the Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority warned the island’s financial institutions that they much must register via the Portal by April 30, 2015 and provide their names, FATCA classification, principal point of contact and other information.

Reporting Deadline by May 31, 2015

The deadline for reporting the 2014 (calendar year) information by the Cayman’s financial institutions must be done by May 31, 2015. The information that will have to be submitted through the Portal is the one usually required by FATCA, including:

1. US person’s name, address and tax identification number (and date of birth, where applicable);
2. US person’s account number or its equivalent;
3. Name and ID of the reporting financial institution; and
4. Year-End Balance of the account.

Interestingly enough, the UK FATCA requirement for Cayman Islands is much later – May 31, 2016.

Caymans Islands FATCA Compliance Is Not Unique

Cayman Islands FATCA compliance through a Portal is now a common theme throughout the world. In fact, it is expected that most of the Model 1 FATCA countries around the world have either complied with 2014 US FATCA requirements or will do so soon, and they are likely to be using a Portal of some kind.

For example, it is expected that the following jurisdictions will do their FATCA reporting through an information reporting system (deadlines in parenthesis): Ireland (June 30, 2015), Luxembourg (June 30, 2015), United Kingdom (May 31, 2015), Canada (May 2, 2015), and so on.

What Portal Means for US Persons with Undisclosed Cayman Islands Accounts

If you are a US person with undisclosed foreign accounts in Cayman Islands (any many other jurisdictions around the world), you are very likely to have very little time left before your account will be disclosed to the IRS. The penalties (especially FBAR and Form 8938 penalties) for failure to report foreign accounts can be draconian, including potential incarceration. Moreover, once the IRS learns about the existence of your account and initiates an invest, you may not be able to do a voluntary disclosure to reduce your penalties.

This means that US persons with undisclosed foreign accounts need to immediately contact an experienced international tax lawyer to explore their voluntary disclosure options in order to timely file their request for Preclearance.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Disclosing Your Foreign Accounts

Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. is the experienced international tax firm that can help you with the voluntary disclosure of your foreign accounts. We have already successfully helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to conduct various types of voluntary disclosures (OVDP, SDOP (Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures), SFOP (Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures), Delinquent Information Returns, Delinquent FBAR Submission, and Noisy/Reasonable Cause disclosures), and We can help You!

Contact Us to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

IRS Criminal Investigation Co-Hosts First International Criminal Tax Symposium

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) co-hosted a three-day International Criminal Tax Symposium in Washington, D.C. on January 27 – 29, 2015. The symposium focused on combating offshore tax evasion and international financial crimes. It is worth mentioning that delegates from criminal tax and enforcement programs from Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway and New Zealand also attended the symposium.

IRS states that, recognizing the increasing trends in sophisticated tax evasion and other financial crimes crossing international borders, the symposium participants discussed best practices and methods of effective investigations as well as other strategies to combat emerging issues.

“The IRS continues to enhance its international efforts through a number of strategies working with international law enforcement and actively participating in a number of international financial task force groups. We will continue our recent successes in international cases, following the money across the world to bring criminals to justice,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Those who believe they can cross international borders to commit financial crimes will find that they have far fewer places to hide.”

“HMRC is committed to tackling tax crimes through international collaboration and ensuring there is no safe haven for the proceeds of crime,” said Richard Summersgill, Director, HMRC Criminal Investigation. “The world is becoming a much smaller place for those who want to hide themselves and their assets behind anonymous corporate structures.”

Focus of the Symposium

The delegates focused on four key areas: combating beneficial ownerships and the use of shell companies, transnational organized crime, combating offshore tax evasion and refund crimes and repayment fraud.

Combating international financial crimes is a top priority for all of the participating countries and each actively pursues offshore tax evaders, promoters and financial institutions involved in hiding income and assets offshore. Currently, many countries coordinate through international and interagency task forces, exchange of information methods, joint investigations and other formal and informal methods of international cooperation. The IRS affirms that the symposium delegates discussed further enhancements to this international collaboration moving forward.

FATCA and Beneficial Ownership Issue

The beneficial ownership problem is one that is probably most difficult to trace for the IRS at this point, because it may not be as easily detectable through FATCA as, for example, individual or partnership ownership of foreign accounts. Therefore, it is not surprising that the symposium emphasized this aspect of international tax enforcement.

Symposium and Non-Compliant Foreign Accounts

This symposium is one more evidence of an ever closer cooperation between countries in terms tackling international tax enforcement. With FATCA being adopted as the global standard for tax enforcement, US owners of non-compliant foreign accounts are in ever-more present danger of discovery.

If the evidence is found that these owners used foreign entities to conceal their beneficial ownership of the foreign accounts, there is a very high likelihood of the IRS pursuing criminal penalties against non-compliant US taxpayers.

This is why it is so important for non-compliant US taxpayers to consider their voluntary disclosure options before it is too late (if the IRS commences an investigation of these accounts, the voluntary disclosure options may be entirely precluded).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Experienced Help with Undisclosed Foreign Accounts and Other Assets

If you are a US person with undisclosed foreign accounts, please contact Sherayzen Law Office to secure professional, experienced and creative legal help. Our experienced law firm will thoroughly analyze your case, discuss with you the available voluntary disclosure options, prepare and file your entire voluntary disclosure case (including all legal documents and tax forms), and negotiate the final settlement with the IRS.