To date, LB&I has announced a total of 59 campaigns.
The campaigns described below were identified through LB&I data analysis and suggestions from IRS employees. LB&I’s goal is to improve return selection, identify issues representing a risk of non-compliance, and make the greatest use of limited resources. The new campaigns are:
S Corporations Built in Gains Tax
Practice Area: Pass Through Entities
Lead Executive: Holly Paz, Director of Pass Through Entities
C corporations that convert to S corporations are subjected to the Built-in Gains tax (BIG) if they have a net unrealized built-in gain and sell assets within 5 years after the conversion. This tax is assessed to the S corporation. LB&I has found that S corporations are not always paying this tax when they sell the C corporation 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.
When most people think of foreign accounts, they think of ex-pat living overseas and utilizing banks for the accumulation of their payments. However, many taxpayers may also be subject to the federal Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts or FBAR reporting without realizing it. The United States Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114 form is filed alongside taxpayers’ federal tax return and reports information for those that have a financial interest or signature authority over a foreign financial account.
Financial interest is defined as: directly owning an account; directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of a corporation’s voting power and/or shares when that corporation owns an account; directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of a partnership’s profits or capital when that partnership owns an account, or directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of the voting power, total value or the equity interest or assets, or interest in profits of any entity that owns an account.
IRS Is Ending Its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program
The IRS is ending the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) this September 28th. This program has given U.S. taxpayers an opportunity to come forward with ‘previously undisclosed foreign income, accounts or assets with the promise and certainty that they will not face criminal prosecution.
Since the program’s inception in 2009, over 56,000 US taxpayers have paid over $11.1 billion in back taxes, interest, and penalties through the OVDP, but the number of participants has steadily declined over the past few years – from 18,000 in 2011 down to only 600 in 2017.
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded U.S. citizens and resident aliens, including those with dual citizenship, to check if they have a U.S. tax liability and a filing requirement. At the same time, the agency advised anyone with a foreign bank or financial account to remember the upcoming deadline that applies to reports for these accounts, often referred to as FBARs.
Here is a rundown of key points to keep in mind:
Deadline For Reporting Foreign Accounts Read More
In the first blog in this series we discussed how those who participate in amnesties also tend to be people who made inadvertent errors, that is, “benign” actors, rather than bad actors. We discussed how it can make sense to offer some form of amnesty before implementing a sudden increase in penalties or enforcement. Otherwise, the increase is more likely to be viewed as unfair and erode trust for the government. Moreover, a decline in trust can erode voluntary compliance.
In the second blog, we cited data showing that, consistent with the research on amnesties, IRS’s first amnesty alternative – the Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative (OVCI) – generally attracted people who failed to report offshore accounts but had paid their taxes or had under-reported small amounts. Read More
In last week’s blog, we discussed how broad amnesties can blunt economic deterrence, but narrow amnesties or amnesty alternatives (e.g., amnesties that forgive only penalties before noncompliance is detected) do not necessarily have the same negative effects. We also cited research suggesting that those who participate in amnesties also tend to be people who made inadvertent errors (i.e., “benign” actors, rather than bad actors). Furthermore, without an amnesty, a sudden increase in penalties or enforcement is more likely to be viewed as unfair and erode trust for the government – a view that can erode voluntary compliance. Read More
On March 13, 2018. the Internal Revenue Service announced that it is ending the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program on September 28, 2018. The IRS has made the announcement to allow time for taxpayers who have undisclosed foreign financial accounts and assets to enter into the program and make a OVDP voluntary disclosure before the program ends.
On March 13, 2018, the IRS announced that on September 28, 2018, it would end the offshore voluntary disclosure program (OVDP), as it had only attracted 600 applicants in 2017. So now is a good time to take a step back to review the program in the broader context of the research on tax amnesties.
Settlement programs and other voluntary disclosure or correction programs generally offer some form of amnesty. Offering broad tax amnesties on a regular basis, as many states do, can erode voluntary compliance. Read More
The implementation of FATCA and the ongoing efforts of the IRS and the Department of Justice to ensure compliance by those with U.S. tax obligations have raised awareness of U.S. tax and information reporting obligations with respect to non-U.S. investments. Because the circumstances of taxpayers with non-U.S. investments vary widely, the IRS offers the following options for addressing previous failures to comply with U.S. tax and information return obligations with respect to those investments:
- Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program;
Note: The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) is closing. Refer to the OVDP FAQs for an outline of the sunset provisions.
- Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures;
- Delinquent FBAR submission procedures; and
- Delinquent international information return submission procedures.
As I write this post, my mind goes back to one of my very first posts about U.S. compliance issues. This post was called “What you should consider before contacting a lawyer.” Since that time I have written hundreds of post describing the problems faced by Americans abroad.
In this first post of this series, I explained the importance of the Canada U.S. tax treaty and how it provides “some protection” to Canadian citizens from U.S. tax debts.
In the second post, I explained some of the characteristics of the OVDP program and how Mr. Dewees got caught in it.
In this post, I am suggesting some possible lessons that can be learned from the story of Donald Dewees. Read More
In an earlier post, I explained why the Canada Revenue Agency assisted the IRS in collecting a penalty on a Canadian resident. The bottom line was that he was presumably NOT a Canadian citizen and therefore did NOT have the benefits of the tax treaty. This post is to explain where the penalty came from in the first place.
It has been widely reported that a U.S. citizen residing in Toronto, Canada since 1971, paid a $133,000 U.S. dollar penalty for failing to file IRS forms disclosing that he was running a business through a Canadian corporation. How did this fly get caught in the spider’s web? Read More
Dewees 1: The Canada-U.S. tax treaty does NOT protect Canadians from U.S. tax liability but does mean that Canada will NOT assist the U.S. in collection!
There are certainly benefits to being a Canadian citizens. Perhaps Canadian citizenship is the most important line of defense against the confiscation that is OVDP. Read More