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Archive for William Byrnes

Transfer Pricing And State Aid: The Unintended Consequences of Advance Pricing Agreements

Transfer Pricing And State Aid

An advance pricing agreement (APA) is a formal arrangement between a tax authority and a multinational enterprise (MNE) in which the parties jointly agree on the MNE’s transfer pricing methodology, estimated taxable income, and tax payments for a fixed period, thus reducing the likelihood of an income tax dispute. We argue that APAs, which were developed by governments to solve MNE-state problems in one realm (international taxation of related party transactions), have had unintended consequences for both parties due to the spillover impacts of APAs into other policy realms. We explore this argument in the European Union state aid cases where, in the context of competition policy, APAs can be viewed as hidden, discretionary policies that can be misused by lower-tier governments to attract or retain inward foreign direct investment by offering individual MNEs preferential tax treatment. Our paper contributes to this literature by analyzing the unintended consequences of APAs and recommending policy changes to reduce these negative spillovers.

Written By William Byrnes and Lorraine Eden, Texas A&M

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Affordable Care Act Likely To Withstand Latest Challenge

Affordable Care Act Likely To Withstand Latest Challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments that will be instrumental in determining the fate of the Affordable Care Act.  Since the 2017 tax reform legislation reduced the individual mandate to $0, many challenged whether the ACA was constitutional–in other words, whether it could be considered a valid exercise of Congress’ power to tax.  Confirmation of new Supreme Court justice Amy Barrett created the real possibility that the ACA could be overturned.  However, after hearing oral arguments, two conservative justices–Roberts and Kavanaugh–indicated their support for severance.  If that happens, the individual mandate portion of the ACA would be severed from the remainder of the law.

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SBA Issues PPP Loan Necessity Questionnaires To PPP Loan Recipients

SBA Issues PPP Loan Necessity Questionnaires to PPP Loan Recipients

In a surprise move, the SBA has begun asking paycheck protection program (PPP) lenders to issue loan necessity questionnaires to recipients of loans of at least $2 million.  The questionnaires are detailed and request significant information, and were issued without warning or fanfare.  It’s expected that these information requests might be used in enforcement of PPP loan requirements or in determining eligibility for forgiveness.

According to the SBA, the forms will be used to evaluate whether a recipient’s loan was made necessary by economic uncertainty.  Information provided in the forms must be certified under threat of criminal action for false statements.  The questions essentially ask borrowers to certify actual detrimental economic impact.  Borrowers will also have to provide information about local Covid-19 shutdown orders, other CARES Act aid, financial information and compensation to highly compensated owners and employees.  Upon receipt, the borrower has only 10 days to complete the questionnaire and submit supporting documents.  For more information on the PPP loan program, visit Tax Facts Online.  Read More

Streamlined PPP Loan Forgiveness For Small Loans

WILLIAM BYRNES

Many small businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are now near or past the end of their “covered period”–meaning that it’s time to apply for loan forgiveness.  Determining eligibility for loan forgiveness is much more complex than expected.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released a streamlined application that can be used by business owners who borrowed $50,000 or less.

What do small business clients need to know about obtaining loan forgiveness under the paycheck protection program?

PPP loan forgiveness is determined based on how the small business client spent the loan proceeds. Importantly, at least 60 percent of the loan must be used for payroll costs (note that this 60 percent threshold was reduced from 75 percent under the CARES Act by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), passed in early June 2020).

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Final Business Interest Regs Relax Definition of “Business Interest”

Final Business Interest Regs Relax Definition of “Business Interest”

The IRS has released final regulations and a new set of proposed regulations on the deduction for business interest, which was modified by the 2017 tax reform legislation.  The new proposed IRS regulations on the business interest expense implement many of the new CARES Act provisions designed to help small business owners in 2020 and future years. While the final regulations largely mirror earlier proposed rules, one significant change relaxes the previous definition of “business interest”.

Under the proposed regulations, interest included commitment fees, debt issuance costs, guaranteed payments and other “substitute” interest costs.  Under the final rules, commitment fees and debt issuance costs are excluded from the definition of interest.

Is business interest deductible when the business is a corporation?

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IRS Reminder On Tax Treatment of Unemployment Compensation

IRS Reminder On Tax Treatment of Unemployment Compensation

In response to the fact that an unprecedented number of Americans are currently claiming unemployment benefits, the IRS has issued a reminder that these benefits are fully taxable. However, the IRS reminds taxpayers that withholding is completely optional. Taxpayers can elect to have a flat 10% withheld from their unemployment compensation and paid over automatically to the IRS. For more information on the rules for making estimated payments, visit Tax Facts Online.

Must a taxpayer make estimated tax payments and what is the penalty for failure to make a required installment payment?

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Employers Beware: IRS Guidance On Recapture Of Excess FFCRA Employment Tax Credits

Employers Beware: IRS Guidance On Recapture of Excess FFCRA Employment Tax Credits

The IRS released rules providing for the recapture of refundable employment tax credits under CARES and FFCRA. Form 7200 now allows employees to claim advance payments of any amounts remaining. However, the IRS guidance makes clear that employers are required to reconcile any advance payments claimed on Form 7200 with total credits claimed and total taxes due on their employment tax returns. For more information on the credits, visit Tax Facts Online.

What penalty relief is provided for employers who withhold payroll tax deposits in light of the employee retention tax credit and the paid leave credit?

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EU General Court Of Justice Invalidates The Adequacy Of The Protection Provided By The EU-US Data Protection Shield

EU General Court Of Justice Invalidates The Adequacy Of The Protection Provided By The EU-US Data Protection Shield

The Court of Justice invalidates Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Data Protection Shield However, it considers that Commission Decision 2010/87 on standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data to processors established in third countries is valid. The General Data Protection Regulation (‘the GDPR’) provides that the transfer of such data to a third country may, in principle, take place only if the third country in question ensures an adequate level of data protection. According to the GDPR, the Commission may find that a third country ensures, by reason of its domestic law or its international commitments, an adequate level of protection. In the absence of an adequacy decision, such transfer may take place only if the personal data exporter established in the EU has provided appropriate safeguards, which may arise, in particular, from standard data protection clauses adopted by the Commission, and if data subjects have enforceable rights and effective legal remedies. Furthermore, the GDPR details the conditions under which such a transfer may take place in the absence of an adequacy decision or appropriate safeguards.

Maximillian Schrems, an Austrian national residing in Austria, has been a Facebook user since 2008. As in the case of other users residing in the European Union, some or all of Mr Schrems’s personal data is transferred by Facebook Ireland to servers belonging to Facebook Inc. that are located in the United States, where it undergoes processing. Mr Schrems lodged a complaint with the Irish supervisory authority seeking, in essence, to prohibit those transfers. He claimed that the law and practices in the United States do not offer sufficient protection against access by the public authorities to the data transferred to that country. That complaint was rejected on the ground, inter alia, that, in Decision 2000/5205 (‘the Safe Harbour Decision’), the Commission had found that the United States ensured an adequate level of protection. In a judgment delivered on 6 October 2015, the Court of Justice, before which the High Court (Ireland) had referred questions for a preliminary ruling, declared that decision invalid (‘the Schrems I judgment’).
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Home Office Deductions In The Age Of Covid

Home Office Deductions In The Age Of Covid-19

With so many taxpayers working from home—some indefinitely—do to Covid-19, many are likely wondering whether they can deduct their home office expenses. In short, traditional W-2 employees cannot deduct their home office expenses regardless of whether they would otherwise qualify for the deduction. The 2017 tax reform legislation eliminated this deduction for 2018-2025. Self-employed taxpayers can deduct expenses associated with maintaining a home office if the office is used regularly and exclusively as the taxpayer’s principal place of business (if the office is within the dwelling unit). A home office deduction is permitted for self-employed taxpayers with separate structures if the office/workspace is used “in connection with” the trade or business.

When is a taxpayer entitled to deduct expenses incurred in maintaining a home office?

A taxpayer is only entitled to deduct expenses for a home office if the taxpayer is able to meet the restrictive requirements imposed by the IRC and the courts with regard to this business deduction. A deduction for use of a part of the taxpayer’s residence as an office will not be allowed unless a portion of the dwelling is used exclusively and on a regular basis as (a) the principal place of business for any trade or business of the taxpayer; or (b) the place of business used by the taxpayer for meeting patients, clients or customers in the normal course of the taxpayer’s business.1 If the taxpayer uses a separate structure as a home office, the use requirements are less restrictive and the use must only be “in connection with” the taxpayer’s trade or business.2 A home office will qualify as a taxpayer’s principal place of business if both of the following are true:
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New Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Rules

New Foreign Earned Income Rules

The bona fide residence test and physical presence test generally provide specific time requirements that apply to individuals claiming a tax exclusion for foreign-earned income. An otherwise qualified individual may still exclude foreign earned income for the period in which the individual was actually present in the foreign country even if the individual fails to meet the time requirements.

What are the bona fide residence and physical presence tests that can allow a U.S. individual to qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion?

A U.S. individual with foreign earned income must satisfy either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test in order to be eligible to exclude all or a portion of foreign earned income from U.S. income (see Q 964).

Editor’s Note: The IRS relaxed these requirements for 2020 in response to travel restrictions put in place in response to COVID-19. An otherwise qualified individual may still exclude foreign earned income for the period in which the individual was actually present in the foreign country even if the individual fails to meet the time requirements. To qualify for relief, an individual must establish (1) he or she must have established residency, or have been physically present in either: China on or before December 1, 2019, or any other foreign country on or before February 1, 2020 and (2) the individual must have departed either: China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) between December 1, 2019, and July 15, 2020, or any other foreign country between February 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020 and (3) individual would have met the requirements of either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test, but for the COVID-19 emergency.[1]
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Home Office Deductions: What Can You Deduct From Home Office Expenses

Home Office Deductions: What Can You Deduct From Home Office Expenses

Home Office Deductions in the Age of Covid-19

With so many taxpayers working from home–some indefinitely–do to Covid-19, many are likely wondering whether they can deduct their home office expenses. In short, traditional W-2 employees cannot deduct their home office expenses regardless of whether they would otherwise qualify for the deduction. The 2017 tax reform legislation eliminated this deduction for 2018-2025. Self-employed taxpayers can deduct expenses associated with maintaining a home office if the office is used regularly and exclusively as the taxpayer’s principal place of business (if the office is within the dwelling unit). A home office deduction is permitted for self-employed taxpayers with separate structures if the office/workspace is used “in connection with” the trade or business. For more information on the home office deduction, visit Tax Facts Online.

When is a taxpayer entitled to deduct expenses incurred in maintaining a home office?

A taxpayer is only entitled to deduct expenses for a home office if the taxpayer is able to meet the restrictive requirements imposed by the IRC and the courts with regard to this business deduction. A deduction for use of a part of the taxpayer’s residence as an office will not be allowed unless a portion of the dwelling is used exclusively and on a regular basis as (a) the principal place of business for any trade or business of the taxpayer; or (b) the place of business used by the taxpayer for meeting patients, clients or customers in the normal course of the taxpayer’s business.1 If the taxpayer uses a separate structure as a home office, the use requirements are less restrictive and the use must only be “in connection with” the taxpayer’s trade or business.2 A home office will qualify as a taxpayer’s principal place of business if both of the following are true:

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Assets Of A Foreign Individual (Nonresident Alien) Subject To U.S. Estate Tax

Assets Of A Foreign Individual (Nonresident Alien) Subject To U.S. Estate Tax

Unlike a U.S. citizen, who is subject to estate taxation on worldwide assets, the gross estate of a nonresident alien (meaning, a foreign individual who is not a U.S. citizen or resident alien) only includes property that is situated in the U.S. at the time of the nonresident alien’s death.1

For purposes of determining what property is situated in the U.S., any property which the decedent has transferred, by trust or otherwise, which would be taxable within the provisions of IRC Sections 2035 through 2038 (relating to termination of certain property interests within three years of death, transfers with a retained life estate or to take effect at death, and revocable transfers), is deemed situated in the United States if it was so situated either at the time of the transfer or at the time of death.2

For a decedent who was a nonresident alien at the time of death, property is considered located in the U.S. if it falls into any of the following categories:

(1)Real property located in the U.S.;

(2)Tangible personal property located in the U.S., including clothing, jewelry, automobiles, furniture or currency. Works of art imported into the U.S. solely for public exhibition purposes are not included;

(3)A debt obligation of a citizen or resident of the U.S., a domestic partnership or corporation or other entity, any domestic estate or trust, the U.S., a state or a political subdivision of a state or the District of Columbia; or

(4)Shares of stock issued by domestic corporations, regardless of the physical location of stock certificates.3

However, in the case of a nonresident alien who dies while in transit through the U.S., personal effects are not considered located in the U.S. Neither is merchandise that happens to be in transit through the U.S. when a nonresident alien owner dies.

Read More At Tax Facts