TITGA Reports On Status Of IRS Digital Asset Monitoring And Compliance

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TITGA”) recently has released a report on the status of efforts by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to develop the digital asset monitoring and compliance strategy mandated by Congress with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

For purposes of federal taxation, a “digital asset” is defined as “any digital representation of value which is recorded on a cryptographically secured distributed ledger or any similar technology as specified by the Secretary.”[1] This includes non-fungible tokens and virtual currencies.

As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, Congress had amended sections 6045 and 6050I to require reports from digital asset brokers and from any person engaged in non-financial trades or business who receives more than $10,000 at least in part in digital assets.[2]

TITGA noted that the IRS has created the Digital Asset Advisory Committee (“DAAC”) in February 2022 to provide service-wide collaboration, planning, and information sharing with respect to digital assets. The DAAC has the following goals:

  • Coordinating collaboration, planning, information sharing, and executive leadership over the IRS’s digital asset strategy related to its compliance programs.
  • Identifying and monitoring the management of digital asset programs and resources to ensure accountability, transparency, and consistency.
  • Recommending funding and investment opportunities for digital asset technology and operational needs such as tracing software, or basis computational tools.
  • Reviewing digital asset related activities, as needed.

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TIGTA Finds IRS Is Not Always Following Procedures For Tax Liens

In 2021, the Internal Revenue Service filed 212,251 Notices of Federal Tax Lien (“NFTLs”). To provide perspective, in 2019 (i.e., pre-COVID-19 pandemic), the IRS filed 543,604 NFTLs. The IRS is working on ramping up its enforcement efforts; however, the IRS must follow certain procedures with respect to filing NFTLs against taxpayers. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) recently performed its annual audit to review the Internal Revenue Service’s legal compliance with respect to NFTLs. While TIGTA found general compliance by the IRS, it also noted several areas of improvement.

NFTLs and Section 6320(a)

Section 6320(a) of the Internal Revenue Code explicitly provides that the IRS must file a notice of lien, assuming it complies with certain restrictions on timing, service methods, and notice information. Specifically, Section 6320(a) provides as follows:

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Expat Execution - TIGTA Audit Recommends IRS Increase Its Enforcement Efforts

One might not expect it, but the United States has experienced an increasing trend in number of expatriates in the last decade. Each year, thousands of individual taxpayers relinquished either their U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, peaking in 2016 with 5,405 total expatriates. Expatriates are required to comply with specific tax provisions. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) ultimately performed an audit to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts to ensure taxpayer (or former taxpayer) compliance.

Sections 877 and 877A, Generally

Sections 877 and 877A of the Internal Revenue Code govern the tax provisions related to expatriates. Under these provisions, certain taxpayers who relinquish their U.S. citizenship or long-term residents who terminate their U.S. residency may be subject to certain tax consequences. Specifically, such taxpayers must certify on Form 8854, Initial and Annual Expatriation Statement, their compliance with all U.S. federal tax laws for the five years prior to the date of expatriation and determine whether they are “covered expatriates.”

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