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The IRS Hiring Spree in 2019 and 2020 | Tax Lawyer & Attorney

The IRS stated in December of 2019 that it hired about 9,500 people during the fiscal year 2019 and it is trying to add another about 5,300 employees as soon as possible. This new IRS hiring spree is meant to reverse the long-term declining trend in IRS employment.

The IRS Hiring Spree: 2009-2018 Trend

Between 2009 and 2017, the IRS suffered a spectacular loss in employees. From about 95,000 employees in 2009, the number of employees dropped to less than 75,000 in 2018. In other words, the IRS lost about 20,000 employees during these years. These losses were mostly due to budget cuts.

The IRS Hiring Spree: 2019-2020 Trend Change

While the IRS did not receive all of the funds it requested, the Trump administration was able to secure sufficient funds for the agency to start hiring again. The fiscal year 2019 saw a complete reversal in the trend with about 9,500 employees added. This is definitely not the end of the IRS hiring spree – the IRS is planning to add another 5,300 employees in early 2020.

The IRS Hiring Spree: What It Means to US Taxpayers

This huge hiring spree at the IRS will have a direct impact on US taxpayers. On the one hand, the IRS customer service should improve with the larger number of representatives.

On the other hand, such a huge inflow of future IRS agents means an inevitable rise in IRS enforcement efforts, particularly IRS audits. Reinforced by hundreds of additional examiners, the IRS will be able to expand audits everywhere, including international tax audits concerning FBAR and FATCA compliance.

US taxpayers with undisclosed foreign assets and foreign income should keep in mind this impending wave of IRS FBAR and FATCA audits. Rather than just wait for the IRS to discover their prior noncompliance with US tax laws, these taxpayers should explore their offshore voluntary disclosure options with an experienced international tax attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with IRS International Tax Audits

Mr. Eugene Sherayzen is a highly experienced international tax attorney and owner of international tax law firm, Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. He and his law firm have successfully helped hundreds of US taxpayers to resolve their prior noncompliance with US international tax laws. We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

On July 19, 2019, the IRS Large Business and International division (LB&I) announced the approval of another six compliance campaigns. Let’s discuss in more detail these July 2019 IRS compliance campaigns.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Background Information

In the mid-2010s, after extensive tax planning, the IRS decided to restructure LB&I in a way that would focus the division on issue-based examinations and compliance campaign processes. The idea was to let LB&I itself decide 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 was the most efficient approach that assured the best use of IRS knowledge and appropriately deployed the right resources to address specific noncompliance issues.

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, five campaigns on September 10, 2018, five campaigns on October 30, 2018 and three campaigns on April 16, 2019. With the additional six July 2019 IRS compliance campaigns, the IRS has created a total of fifty-nine total IRS compliance campaigns.

Six New July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns

The six new campaigns are: S-Corporations Built-in Gains Tax, Post-OVDP Compliance, Expatriation, High Income Non-Filers, US Territories – Erroneous Refundable Credits and Section 457A Deferred Compensation Attributable to Services Performed before January 1, 2009. As you can see, the new campaigns continue to maintain the IRS focus on US international tax compliance. Let’s discuss each campaign in more detail.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: S-Corporations Built-in Gains Tax

This campaign actually focuses on a C-corporation that converted to S-corporation. The main issue here is the Built-in Gains (“BIG”) tax. If a C-corporation has a net unrealized built-in gain, converts to S-corporation and sells assets within five years after the conversion, then it will likely be subject to the BIG tax. The BIG tax is assessed to the S-corporation (this is why the campaign is named in this manner).

LB&I has found that S corporations are not always paying this tax when they sell the C-corporation’s assets after the conversion. LB&I has developed comprehensive technical content for this campaign that will aid revenue agents as they examine the issue. The goal of this campaign is to increase awareness and compliance with the law as supported by several court decisions. Treatment streams for this campaign will be issue-based examinations, soft letters, and outreach to practitioners.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Post-OVDP Compliance

This is an IRS campaign of an especially high interest for international tax lawyers, because it targets specifically taxpayers who went through the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”). The IRS noticed that some taxpayers again became noncompliant after they went through the OVDP.

The campaign will specifically target post-OVDP taxpayers who failed to remain compliant with their foreign income and asset reporting requirements. The IRS will address tax noncompliance through soft letters and examinations.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Expatriation

This is another IRS campaign of high interest to international tax attorneys. US citizens and long-term residents (defined as lawful permanent residents in eight out of the last fifteen taxable years) who expatriated on or after June 17, 2008, may not have met their filing requirements or tax obligations. The Internal Revenue Service will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams, including outreach, soft letters, and examination.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: High Income Non-Filers

This campaign again focuses on US international tax law. In particular, the campaign targets high-income US citizens and resident aliens who receive compensation from overseas that is not reported on a Form W-2 or Form 1099. IRS audits are going to be the main treatment stream for this campaign.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: US Territories – Erroneous Refundable Credits

Some bona fide residents of US territories are erroneously claiming refundable tax credits on Form 1040. This campaign will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams including outreach and traditional examinations.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Section 457A Deferred Compensation Attributable to Services Performed before January 1, 2009

This campaign addresses compensation deferred from nonqualified entities attributable to services performed before January 1, 2009. In general, IRC Section 457A requires that any compensation deferred under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan shall be includible in gross income when there is no substantial risk of forfeiture of the rights to such compensation. The campaign objective is to verify taxpayer compliance with the requirements of IRC Section 457A through issue-based examinations.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Tax Help

If you have been contacted by the IRS as part of any of its campaigns, 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!

Minneapolis MN International Tax Lawyer & Attorney | PLR 201922010

On May 31, 2019, the IRS released a Private Letter Ruling (“PLR”) on the extension of time to make an election to be treated as a disregarded entity for US tax purposes under Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701 (26 CFR 301.7701-3). Let’s explore this PLR 201922010 in more detail.

PLR 201922010: Fact Pattern

PLR 201922010 deals with a typical fact pattern for someone who is doing business overseas. A US citizen wholly owns a foreign corporation which wholly owns a foreign subsidiary. The foreign subsidiary wants to make an election to be classified as a disregarded entity for US tax purposes, but misses the deadline to do so timely. Hence, it files a request for the IRS to grant a discretionary extension of time to file Form 8832 pursuant to Treas. Reg. Sections 301.9100-1 and 301.9100-3.

PLR 201922010: Legal Analysis

The IRS began its legal analysis of the request by noting that, under Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(a), a business entity that is not classified as a corporation under Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-2(b)(1), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7) or (8) (hereinafter, an “eligible entity”) can elect its classification for federal tax purposes as provided in Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3. An eligible entity with at least two members can elect to be classified as either an association (and thus a corporation under the Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-2(b)(2)) or a partnership. An eligible entity with a single owner, however, can elect to be classified as an association (i.e. a corporation) or to be disregarded as an entity separate from its owner.

The IRS then focused specifically on the classification of foreign entities relying on Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(b)(2)(I). This provision states that, unless it elects otherwise, a foreign eligible entity is (A) a partnership if it has two or more members and at least one member does not have limited liability; (B) an association if all members have limited liability; or © disregarded as an entity separate from its owner if it has a single owner that does not have limited liability.

What does “limited liability” mean in this context? Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(b)(2)(ii) answers this question by stating that a member of a foreign eligible entity has limited liability if the member has no personal liability for the debts of or claims against the entity by reason of being a member.

How does one make this classification election? Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(c)(1)(I) provides, in part, that an eligible entity may elect to be classified other than as provided under Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(b), or to change its classification, by filing Form 8832 with the service center designated on Form 8832.

Then, the IRS addressed the key issue for this PLR – when this classification election can be made. Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(c)(1)(iii) provides that the election will be effective on the date specified by the entity on Form 8832 or on the date filed if no such date is specified on the election form. The effective date specified on Form 8832 can not be more than 75 days prior to the date on which the election is filed and can not be more than 12 months after the date on which the election is filed.

Is it possible to make a late election? The IRS answered this question by referring to Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-1(c), which provides that the Commissioner may grant a reasonable extension of time to make a regulatory election, or a statutory election (but no more than six months except in the case of a taxpayer who is abroad), under all subtitles of the Internal Revenue Code (Code), except subtitles E, G, H, and I. Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-1(b) defines “regulatory election” as an election whose due date is prescribed by a regulation published in the Federal Register, or a revenue ruling, revenue procedure, notice or announcement published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-3 addresses extensions of time for making late regulatory elections. Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-3(a) states that such requests for relief will be granted when the taxpayer provides the evidence (including affidavits described in Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-3(e)) to establish to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that the taxpayer acted reasonably and in good faith, and the grant of relief will not prejudice the interests of the Government.

PLR 201922010: IRS Granted Request for Extension to Time to Make the Election

Based on the information submitted and the representations made, the IRS concluded that the foreign entity satisfied the requirements of Treas. Reg. Sections 301.9100-1 and 301.9100-3. As a result, the IRS granted to the foreign entity an extension of time of 120 days from the date of PLR 201922010 to file a properly executed Form 8832 with the appropriate service center electing to be treated as a disregarded entity.

PLR 201922010: The Electing Foreign Entity Must Submit Form 8858 and All Other Returns

The IRS emphasized that its ruling was contingent on the electing foreign entity and its owner filing within 120 days from the date of the PLR all of the required federal income tax and information returns for all relevant years. The IRS specifically mentioned Form 8858 (Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Foreign Disregarded Entities).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office if You Need to File a PLR Request for Late Entity Classification Election Similar to PLR 201922010

If you need to ask the IRS to grant a late entity classification request, you can contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with drafting and submitting your request for a Private Letter Ruling.

March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

With this article, we begin a series of articles dedicated to the description of the IRS compliance campaigns initiated between March of 2018 and April of 2019. This article is dedicated to the March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns.

March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Background Information

On March 13, 2018, the IRS Large Business and International division (“LB&I”) has announced the creation of another five additional compliance campaigns. This news came after similar announcements on January 31, 2017 and November 3, 2017 about the selection of a total of twenty-four IRS compliance campaigns.

These campaigns came into existence as a result of a long and broad restructuring of the LB&I, which required a large investment of time and resources. Campaign development in particular required strategic planning and deployment of resources, training and tools, metrics and feedback.

The basic idea behind the IRS campaigns is to focus the limited resources of the IRS on the high-risk compliance issues in the most efficient way. These campaigns also go hand-in-hand with the recent IRS shift to issue-based audits.

Five March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns

On March 13, 2018, the IRS announced the creation of five additional campaigns: Costs that Facilitate an IRC Section 355 Transaction, SECA Tax, Partnership Stop Filer, Sale of Partnership Interest and Partial Disposition Election for Buildings.

Each of these campaigns was identified by the IRS through the LB&I data analysis as well as recommendations from IRS compliance employees.

March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Costs that Facilitate an IRC Section 355 Transaction

In general, costs to facilitate a tax-free corporate distribution under IRC Section 355, such as a spin-off or split-up, must be capitalized (i.e. they cannot be deducted). Nevertheless, some taxpayers may execute a corporate distribution and improperly deduct the costs that facilitated the transaction in the year the distribution was completed. The goal of this campaign is to ensure that taxpayers only capitalize the facilitative costs. The IRS intends to reach this goal through issue-based examinations.

March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: SECA Tax

This campaign focuses on partners’ self-employment tax under the Self-Employment Contributions Act (“SECA”). Unless a partner qualifies as a “limited partner” for self-employment tax purposes, he must report his pass-through income from the partnership and pay the required self-employment tax under SECA.

The IRS, however, has realized that, with respect to service-based partnerships (particularly, law firms), some partners have improperly claimed that they qualified as limited partners. As part of this campaign, the IRS will focus on limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies.

March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Partnership Stop Filer

This campaign focuses on a very common problem – a partnership ceases to file tax returns even though it continues to do business, fails to supply Schedules K-1 to its partners and the partners never report any of the pass-through income from the partnership.

Since there are various possible reasons that cause this problem to arise, the IRS decided to adopt a flexible approach to enforcement in this campaign. The treatment streams will vary from stakeholder outreach, soft letters (to encourage voluntary self-correction) to issue-based examinations.

March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Sale of Partnership Interest

A sale of a partnership interest usually results in a capital gain or loss. The taxation of such a gain varies from long-term capital gains tax rate of 15% (if the partnership interest was held for more than a year) and higher capital gains rates for appreciated collectibles to short-term capital gains and, in some cases, even ordinary income (for example, in situations where the a partnership has inventory items or unrealized receivables at the time of the sale or exchange).

This campaign intends to deal with two problems that arise with respect to a sale of a partnership interest. First, the IRS will target taxpayers who simply do not report the sale (there is a surprisingly large number of these individuals, especially in a small-business setting, like a restaurant).

Second, the IRS wants to improve compliance with respect to correct taxation of the gain from a disposition of a partnership interest. The incorrect reporting usually occurs where the entire such gain is taxed at long-term capital gain tax rates, rather than 25% or 28% capital gain rates.

The IRS realizes that there are a variety of reasons for errors concerning the proper reporting and taxation of a partnership disposition gain. For this reason, it will apply a variety of treatment streams to noncompliance taxpayers, including soft letters and examinations. Additional treatment streams include practitioner and taxpayer outreach, tax software vendor outreach, and tax form and publication change suggestions.

March 2018 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Partial Disposition Election for Buildings

In August of 2014, the IRS issued regulations concerning IRC Section 168. In particular, Treas. Reg. Section 1.168(i)-8 supply the rules concerning gain/loss recognition with respect to partial disposition of MACRS property. In order to comply with the Section168 disposition regulations and make a partial disposition election, a taxpayer must be able to substantiate that it:

disposed of a portion of a MACRS asset owned by the taxpayer;
identified the asset that was partially disposed;
determined the placed-in-service date of the partially disposed asset;
determined the adjusted basis of the disposed portion; and
reduced the adjusted basis of the asset by the disposed portion.

The goal of this campaign is to ensure taxpayers accurately recognize the gain or loss on the partial disposition of a building, including its structural components. The treatment stream for this campaign is issue-based examinations and potential changes to IRS forms and the supporting instructions and publications.

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!

Mistake as Reasonable Cause | Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Lawyer

This article is a continuation of a series of articles on the Reasonable Cause Exception as a defense against various IRS penalties. Today, we will be exploring whether a mistake made by a taxpayer satisfies the ordinary business care and prudence standard and can be considered a reasonable cause.

Mistake Alone Does Not Constitute Reasonable Cause

Generally, the IRS takes the view that a mistake alone is not sufficient to establish a reasonable cause defense to an imposition of an IRS penalty, because it is not considered to be a conduct that would qualify as ordinary business care and prudence – i.e. generally, situations when a taxpayer acted prudently, reasonably and in good faith (taking that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise) and still could not comply with the relevant tax requirement.  We remind the readers that the ordinary business care and prudence standard is at the heart of the Reasonable Cause Exception.

Mistake Can Help Establish Reasonable Cause

While a taxpayer’s mistake alone is insufficient to establish a reasonable cause, the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) specifically foresees a possibility that a mistake can help assert a reasonable cause defense. IRM 20.1.1.3.2.2.4 (12-11-2009) specifically states that the Reasonable Cause Exception may be established if mistake with “additional facts and circumstances support the determination that the taxpayer exercised ordinary business care and prudence but nevertheless was unable to comply within the prescribed time”.

In other words, if mistake, in combination with other facts and circumstances, established that a taxpayer’s behavior was consistent with the ordinary business care and prudence standard, the IRS may agree that the tax noncompliance was caused by a reasonable cause.

IRS Factors Supporting Mistake as a Reasonable Cause

IRM 20.1.1.3.2.2.4 (12-11-2009) does not limit the number of factors that will be considered by the IRS in deciding whether there are sufficient facts and circumstances supporting mistake as a reasonable cause. However, it provides five specific factors to which the IRS will pay special attention:

1. When and how the taxpayer became aware of the mistake;

2. The extent to which the taxpayer corrected the error;

3. The relationship between the taxpayer and the subordinate (if the taxpayer delegated the duty);

4. If the taxpayer took timely steps to correct the failure after it was discovered;

5. The supporting documentation.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Legal Help with Establishing a Reasonable Cause Exception in Your Case

If the IRS imposed a penalty for your prior tax noncompliance, contact Sherayzen Law Office for the legal help. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case, determine available defense options, including the Reasonable Cause Exception defenses, implement the case strategy with which you feel comfortable, and negotiate the abatement or reduction of your IRS penalties.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!