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Tax Briefing(s)

On July 4, President Donald Trump signed into law a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application extension bill that Congress had quickly passed just before the Independence Day holiday. According to several senators, the measure was "surprisingly" introduced and approved by unanimous consent in the Senate late on June 30. It cleared the House the evening of July 1.


"If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me." — William Shakespeare


The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Trump Administration’s rule under the Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) that any nongovernment, nonpublicly traded employer can refuse to offer contraceptive coverage for moral or religious reasons, and that publicly traded employers can refuse to do so for religious reasons. Application of this rule had been halted by litigation, but the Administration is now free to apply it.


The IRS has issued guidance to employers on the requirement to report the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First Act) ( P.L. 116-127). This reporting provides employees who are also self-employed with information necessary for properly claiming qualified sick leave equivalent or qualified family leave equivalent credits under the Families First Act.


The IRS has issued guidance and temporary relief for required minimum distribution (RMD) changes in 2020. Distributions that would have been RMDs under old law are treated as eligible rollover distributions. The 60-day rollover period deadline for any 2020 RMDs already taken has been extended to August 31, 2020. Notice 2007-7, I.R.B. 2007-5, 395 is modified.


The IRS has clarified and provided relief for mid-year amendments reducing safe harbor contributions. An updated safe harbor notice and an election opportunity must be provided even if the change is only for highly compensated employees. Coronavirus (COVID-19) relief applies if a plan amendment is adopted between March 13, 2020, and August 31, 2020. For nonelective contribution plans, the supplemental notice requirement is satisfied if provided no later than August 31, 2020, and the amendment that reduces or suspends contributions is adopted no later than the effective date of the reduction or suspension. Notice 2016-16, I.R.B., 2016-7, 318, is clarified.


The IRS amended final regulations with guidance on the Code Sec. 199A deduction for suspended losses and shareholders of regulated investment companies (RICs). The amendments address the treatment of suspended losses included in qualified business income (QBI), the deduction allowed to a shareholder in a regulated investment company (RIC), and additional rules related to trusts and estates. The IRS had previously issued final and proposed regulations addressing these issues (NPRM REG-134652-18)


The Treasury Department and the IRS have released drafts of proposed partnership forms for tax year 2021 (the 2022 filing season). The proposed forms are intended to provide greater clarity for partners on how to compute their U.S. income tax liability for relevant international tax items, including claiming deductions and credits. The redesigned forms and instructions will also give useful guidance to partnerships on how to provide international tax information to their partners in a standardized format.


The Treasury and IRS have issued final regulations covering the Code Sec. 250 deduction for foreign-derived intangible income (FDII) and global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI). Proposed regulations were issued on March 6, 2019 (NPRM REG-104464-18). The final regulations maintain the basic approach and structure of the proposed regulations and provide guidance on computation of the deduction and the determination of FDII, including in the consolidated return context. Additionally, rules requiring the filing of Form 8993, Section 250 Deduction for Foreign-Derived Intangible Income and Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income, are finalized.


The IRS is calling on any taxpayers involved in syndicated conservation easement transactions who receives a settlement offer from the agency to accept it soon. The Service made this request in the wake of the Tax Court’s recent strike down of four additional abusive syndicated conservation easement transactions.


President Trump recently walked back consideration of capital gains indexing and a payroll tax cut, less than 24 hours after signaling his support for both.


The Senate’s top tax writers have released the first round of bipartisan task force reports examining over 40 expired and soon to be expired tax breaks known as tax extenders. Congress is expected to address these particular tax breaks, as well as temporary tax policy in general, when lawmakers return to Washington, D.C. in September.


Bonus depreciation guidance that applies to property acquired after September 27, 2017, in a tax year that includes September 28, 2017, allows taxpayers to make a late election or revoke a prior valid election to...


The IRS has granted a six-month extension to eligible partnerships to file a superseding Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income, and furnish corresponding Schedules K-1, Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits. For a calendar year partnership, the deadline to file Form 1065 and corresponding Schedules K-1 was March 15, which has now been extended to September 15.


Proposed regulations increase a vehicle’s maximum value for eligibility to use the fleet-average valuation rule or the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule. The increase to $50,000 is effective for the 2018 calendar year. The maximum value is adjusted annually for inflation after 2018. The proposed regulations provide transition rules for certain employers.


The temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed defined benefit plans provided in Notice 2014-5, I.R.B. 2014-2, 276, is extended through plan years beginning in 2020. Notice 2014-5 provided temporary nondiscrimination relief for certain defined benefit pension plans that were "closed" before December 13, 2013. Notice 2014-5, I.R.B. 2014-2, 276, Notice 2015-28, I.R.B. 2015-14, 848, Notice 2016-57, I.R.B. 2016-40, 432, Notice 2017-45, I.R.B. 2017-38, 232, and Notice 2018-69, I.R.B. 2018-37, 426, are modified.


The IRS has adopted final regulations with respect to the allocation by a partnership of foreign income taxes. The final regulations are intended to improve the operation of an existing safe harbor rule. This safe harbor rule, under Reg. §1.704-1(b)(4)(viii), determines whether allocations of creditable foreign tax expenditures (CFTEs) are deemed to be in accordance with the partners’ interests in the partnership.


Transactions involving digital content and cloud computing have become common due to the growth of electronic commerce. The transactions must be classified in terms of character so that various provisions of the Code, such as the sourcing rules and subpart F, can be applied.


The IRS Large Business and International Division (LB&I) has withdrawn its directive to examiners that provided instructions on transfer pricing issue selection related to stock based compensation (SBC) in cost sharing arrangements (CSAs).


On July 1, President Trump signed into law a sweeping, bipartisan IRS reform bill called the Taxpayer First Act ( P.L. 116-25). This legislation aims to broadly redesign the IRS for the first time in over 20 years.


The House has approved a bipartisan repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) so-called "Cadillac"excise tax on certain high-cost insurance plans.


The IRS has released final regulations that clarify the employment tax treatment of partners in a partnership that owns a disregarded entity.


Final regulations allow employers to voluntarily truncate employees’ social security numbers (SSNs) on copies of Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, furnished to employees. The truncated SSNs appear on the forms as IRS truncated taxpayer identification numbers (TTINs). The regulations also clarify and provide an example of how the truncation rules apply to Forms W-2.


IRS final regulations provide rules that apply when the lessor of investment tax credit property elects to pass the credit through to a lessee. If this election is made, the lessee is generally required to include the credit amount in income (50 percent of the energy investment credit). The income is included in income ratably over the shortest MACRS depreciation period that applies to the investment credit property. No basis reduction is made to the investment credit property.


Tax writers in Congress are set to begin debating and writing tax reform legislation. On September 27, the White House and GOP leaders in Congress released a framework for tax reform. The framework sets out broad principles for tax reform, leaving the details to the two tax-writing committees: the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. How quickly lawmakers will write and pass tax legislation is unclear. What is clear is that tax reform is definitely one of the top issues on Congress’ Fall agenda.


As millions of Americans recover from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Congress is debating disaster tax relief. The relief would enhance the casualty loss rules, relax some retirement savings rules, and make other temporary changes to the tax laws, all intended to help victims of these recent disasters. At press time, a package of temporary disaster tax relief measures is pending in the House. The timeline for Senate action, however, is unclear.


IRS Exam staffing in fiscal year (FY) 2016, the latest tax year with statistics available, reached a 20-year low. As a result, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has reported that the IRS undertook fewer audits.


IRS Chief Counsel, in generic legal advice (AM-2017-003), recently described when a qualified employer may take into account the payroll tax credit for increasing research activities. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) created the payroll credit aimed at start-ups with little or no income tax liabilities. This tax break allows taxpayers to get the cash benefit of the payroll tax credit sooner as they reduce their payroll tax liability as payroll payments are made, instead of having to wait until the end of the quarter to receive the credit.


Every year, millions of post-secondary students access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This year, the DRT is unavailable for FAFSA filers because of cybersecurity concerns. The information needed to complete the FAFSA can be found on a previously filed federal income tax return.


As the new administration and Congress get to work, tax reform is high on the agenda. Although legislative language has not been yet released, statements from tax writers in Congress shed some light on various proposals.