IRS Issues Frequently Asked Questions About Compensation Payment Made By States For Forced Sterilization

This Fact Sheet is about frequently asked questions that address the federal income tax consequences of compensation payments for forced sterilization.

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) are being issued to provide general information to taxpayers and tax professionals as expeditiously as possible. Accordingly, these FAQs may not address any particular taxpayer’s specific facts and circumstances, and they may be updated or modified upon further review. Because these FAQs have not been published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, they will not be relied on or used by the IRS to resolve a case. Similarly, if an FAQ turns out to be an inaccurate statement of the law as applied to a particular taxpayer’s case, the law will control the taxpayer’s tax liability. Nonetheless, a taxpayer who reasonably and in good faith relies on these FAQs will not be subject to a penalty that provides a reasonable cause standard for relief, including a negligence penalty or other accuracy-related penalty, to the extent that reliance results in an underpayment of tax. Any later updates or modifications to these FAQs will be dated to enable taxpayers to confirm the date on which any changes to the FAQs were made. Additionally, prior versions of these FAQs will be maintained on to ensure that taxpayers, who may have relied on a prior version, can locate that version if they later need to do so.

More information about reliance is available. These FAQs were announced in IR 2023-81.

Frequently asked questions about compensation payments made by states for forced sterilization

The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) understand that some states have enacted legislation to compensate victims of forced, involuntary, or coerced sterilization under state programs. These states have made payments to those victims pursuant to the legislation (compensation payments for forced sterilization).
Read More

IRS FAQs Updated Frequently And Without Warning

IRS Updates Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) Process

The IRS announced updates to its processes and policies for frequently asked questions (FAQs) and has provided guidance on the rules for implementing penalties for taxpayers who rely on FAQs.  FAQs often provide important interpretive guidance for taxpayers attempting to understand how new legislation will be implemented. However, the FAQs are updated frequently and without warning.

Going forward, FAQs will be announced in a news release and posted to in a fact sheet.

Prior versions of the fact sheet FAQs will now be dated and maintained on so that taxpayers can find the version they relied upon. The IRS also released a statement clarifying that if a taxpayer relies on FAQs in good faith and that reliance is reasonable, the taxpayer has a reasonable cause defense against any accuracy-related penalties and negligence penalties if it turns out that the FAQs were not a correct interpretation of the law given the facts.  However, the law itself will continue to control in the taxpayer’s case (not the FAQs). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, IRS FAQs were often the only interpretive materials available.

William Byrnes