Thursday, January 14, 2021

Treasury Report Reflects A Record 6,047 Individuals Expatriated During the 1st 3 Quarters of 2020!

The Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency “Expatriated” during the third quarter of 2020. The latest U.S. Department of the Treasury Report reflects that a record 6,047 individuals expatriated during the first three quarters of 2020. 

Why are some Americans Individuals expatriating?

  • Trump Did Not Win the Election.
  • The Democrat's Now Control the House & the Senate.
  • Obama-Care with its associated additional 3.8% Obama Care Tax make you feel like leaving the country?
  • You're so sick of liberal Democrats trying to socialize the United States by taxing wealthy people?
  • Or maybe you're a naturalized U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has prospered here, but would now like to move back the old country for retirement or to start a new  venture?

Whatever your motives, just because you leave the United States and renounce your citizenship, don't assume you can leave U.S. taxes (or U.S. tax forms and complexity) behind, particularly if you are financially well-off. 

The increase in expatriation also has caught the attention of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which, in a recent report, emphasized that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should have controls in place to better enforce U.S. tax and reporting provisions relating to expatriates.

On April 8, 2015, we posted Is it Time to Expatriate, where we discussed that the 2014 list of US expatriates’ shows an increase in the number of Americans who are renouncing their US citizenship or turning in their green card.
2016 q4 annualThe graph to the left is based solely on IRS data and shows the number of published expatriates per year since 1998.

The connection between the list of expatriates and the IRS implies a link to tax policy. 

The U.S. is one of a very small number of countries that tax based on nationality, not residency, leaving Americans living abroad to face double taxation. 

The escalation of offshore penalties over the last 20 years is likely contributing to the increased incidence of expatriation.

In view of the significant uptick in expatriation activity, this Marini & Associates has posted 3 Posts titled So Trump Did Not Win the Election - Is It Time to Expatriate? reviewing the essential elements of expatriation from a tax perspective.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Need Advise on Expatriation?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini & Associates, P.A.   

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So Trump Did Not Win the Election - Is It Time to Expatriate? - Part I

  • So Trump Did Not Win the Election.
  • The Democrat's Now Control the House & the Senate.
  • ObamaCare with its associated additional 3.8% Obama Care Tax make you feel like leaving the country?
  • You're so sick of liberal Democrats trying to socialize the United States by taxing wealthy people?
  • Or maybe you're a naturalized U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has prospered here, but would now like to move back the old country for retirement or to start a new venture?

Whatever your motives, just because you leave the United States and renounce your citizenship, don't assume you can leave U.S. taxes (or U.S. tax forms and complexity) behind, particularly if you are financially well-off. 

For those who expatriate after June 16, 2008, the rules are different, since Internal Revenue Code Section 877A applies instead of Section 877. You are subject to an immediate exit tax, which deems you (for tax purposes) to have sold all of your worldwide property for its fair market value the day before your departure from the U.S.

In 1994 a Forbes cover story described how such wealthy Americans as Campbell Soup heir John (Ippy) Dorrance III, the late Carnival founder Ted Arison and Dart Container heir Kenneth Dart had given up their U.S. citizenship and avoided U.S. income or estate tax. Perhaps the most clever was Dart, who managed to come back "home" as the Belize ambassador to the U.S., manning a newly opened Belize embassy in Sarasota, Fla., right where he had previously lived! Since that time, Congress has repeatedly tightened the screws on tax-motivated expatriation.

10 things you need to know about Expatriation:
(set forth below and in two subsequent blog posts)

1. Uncle Sam taxes income worldwide.
The U.S. is unusual in that it asserts the right to tax the worldwide income (and at death assets) of its citizens and those who have become permanent residents. It doesn't matter where you live, where the income is earned, or where else you might pay tax. Yes, you may receive foreign tax credits on your U.S. Form 1040 for taxes you pay elsewhere and those credits will offset some (but typically not all) of the financial burden of paying tax in multiple jurisdictions. But the key point is that if you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident, no matter where you move, Uncle Sam will assert a claim on your wealth. So being a U.S. citizen can be expensive. 

2. Expatriating means really leaving. 
To even think about putting himself beyond the reach of the Internal Revenue Service, a citizen must give up U.S. citizenship and (in the case of citizens subject to Internal Revenue Code Section 877) severely limit the time spendy in the U.S. to not more than 30 days a year. Under that section, a person who attempts to renounce U.S. citizenship but then spends more than 30 days a year in the U.S. will be treated as a U.S. citizen or resident for that year. You may think no one has ever done this, but many have. Permanent U.S. residents (holding green cards) also pay U.S. tax on their worldwide income. They may find it easier to take the expatriation plunge, particularly if family or business opportunities beckon in their country of origin.

3. The old 10-year window is closed. 
Back in 1966 Congress enacted the Foreign Investors Tax Act of 1966, signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson. Essentially expatriates were subject to U.S. tax on their U.S.-source income at normal U.S. tax rates for a full 10 years following their expatriation. Significantly, though, a person could avoid this tax entirely if he did not have as one of his principal purposes the avoidance of U.S. federal income, estate or gift taxes. Of course few people would admit they had a principal purpose of tax evasion, and the government had a hard time proving it. Suffice it to say that there were lots of people (with good lawyers) marrying foreigners, returning to the country of their birth, etc. The system didn't work very well, and little tax was collected. 

"Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

Need Advise on Expatriation? 

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Tax Court Holds That E Filed Returns, Rejected Solely For Administrative Reason, Are Considered Filed If They Meet Beard!

The IRS has historically rejected e-file returns for reasons that seemingly have nothing to do with whether the taxpayer filed a valid return, pursuant to the Beard test (Beard v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, 82 T.C. 766 (1984), aff’d, 793 F.2d 139 (6th Cir. 1986)).

However, in Fowler v. Commissioner, 155 T.C. No. 7 (2020) the disparity between the way the IRS treats e-filed returns and the way it treats returns mailed by regular mail catches up with it in a fully reviewed opinion with no concurrences or dissents!

The U.S. Tax Court on September 9, 2020 in a “reviewed opinion” held that a properly filed income tax return triggers the statute of limitations for a deficiency notice, regardless of the fact that the return, electronically filed, lacked a required personal identification number. 

The taxpayer, an individual, appointed his tax return preparer to electronically file his 2013 tax return on October 15, 2014. The IRS software rejected this return for its failure to include an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN).

The taxpayer subsequently refiled his 2013 tax return on two occasions and the last filing was made with an IP PIN on April 30, 2015. The IRS software reviewed and accepted the return.

The IRS later reviewed the return, determined a deficiency, and sent the taxpayer a notice of deficiency for the 2013 tax year on April 5, 2018.

The taxpayer filed a petition with the Tax Court. The IRS moved for partial summary judgment, and the taxpayer filed a cross-motion for summary judgment asserting t
hat the IRS had not timely issued a notice of deficiency. 

At Issue Was Whether The Taxpayer’s First Submission of The Income Tax Return On October 15, 2014, Was a FILED Returns Which Triggered The Section 6501(A) Limitations Period. 

Relying on the test to determine whether a document constitutes a tax return as set forth in Beard v. Commissioner, 82 T.C. 766, 777 (1984), aff’d, 793 F.2d 139 (6th Cir. 1986), the Tax Court granted summary judgment for the taxpayer, holding that the taxpayer’s first submission triggered the section 6501(a) limitations period, notwithstanding the omission of an IP PIN.

The Tax Court concluded:

The October 15 submission appears to be an honest and reasonable attempt to comply with the tax laws. The submission included inputs for income, deductions, exemptions, and credits along with  supporting documentation and schedules. The only difference between the October 15 submission (which [IRS]  rejected) and the April 30 submission (which [IRS] accepted) is that the October 15 submission did not include an IP PIN.

Where a taxpayer properly files a required return, the taxpayer has satisfied all his duties to trigger the statute of limitations. … We simply see no reason to allow [IRS] to toll the statute of limitations where [taxpayer] properly filed a return. 

The Court noted that the IRS regularly rejects returns that meet the Beard test: 

  • The Modernized e-File (MeF) system, which the IRS uses to process efiled returns, rejects returns for numerous errors that may not cause a return to fail the Beard test.
  • In a footnote to this sentence the Court also noted that although the Internal Revenue Manual says that the IRS should reject e-filed returns failing to contain a IP PIN when the IRS had sent one to the taxpayer, the same provision does not provide for the IRS to return the paper filed return with the same problem. 
  • Because the IRS provided no authority for the fact that its programmers injected into the system a requirement that the taxpayer must attach the IP PIN, the Court found that the original return Mr. Fowler filed constituted a valid return, making the notice of deficiency one sent after the statute of limitations had expired.

As the IRS developed and refined e-filing, it let programmers define acceptable e-filing. However, the programmers did not keep consider the Beard test, which was decided and provide guidance for a different time. 

Either by statute, regulation or an updated version of Beard, the IRS must change the underlying law if it wants to stick with the tests it seeks to impose on e-filing that go well beyond Beard’s requirements. 

The Tax Court judges unanimously, and correctly, determine that IRS practices in rejecting e-filed returns for matters not covered by Beard’s test fail. 

Whether the Fowler case will now cause the IRS to change its practices of rejecting returns, for issues having nothing to do with whether the taxpayer actually filed a return, only time will tell, but in my opinion, it should. 

The opinion so clearly correctly applies the Beard decision, to e-filed returns, that you have to wonder, even given the administrative importance of the issue, the IRS will bother to appeal this decision?

IRS Assess A Late Filing or 
Late Payment for Your E-File Return!

Get These Penalties Abated!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Deceptive Simplicity of Form 706 NA


For those of you whose practice involves international tax, I would like to take this opportunity to explain the deceptive simplicity of the form 706 NA. 

You must have a client who is a nonresident alien who dies. He/she owns US situs assets so you look at section 2014 of the Internal Revenue Code; you correctly determine that since these assets exceed $60,000 in value, the estate is required to file a form 706NA which is the form analogous to a 706 in the hands of a nonresident alien. The form itself is deceptively simple-two pages-what kind of problems can this create? Once you start reading the form, you realize that to complete it properly, you may have to incorporate almost every schedule which appears in a 706. 

The deceptive part of the form occurs when you are trying to determine which of decedent’s US assets (based on section 2014) are taxable by the United States.
The United States has more than 20 tax treaties or conventions with foreign countries designed, for the most part, to eliminate double taxation. It is critically important for you, the preparer, to determine which, if any, treaties may exist to reduce the tax liability of your client.
The IRS, on its website, has a list of the countries which currently  share estate tax treaties/conventions with the United States. Even this provides only a partial clue.
Example- You have a client who was a German who lived in Brazil. Since the decedent was a German citizen,  you make the assumption that treaty benefits will be available to his/her estate. Not always so. Some of the treaties base their benefits on decedents who are domiciliaries of but not necessarily citizens of a particular country. Ergo, you learn that the estate of the German client domiciled in Brazil cannot utilize the benefit of the German treaty.
Additionally, since some treaties are predicated on domicile while others are predicated on both domicile and citizenship, you may find yourself in an anomalous situation where you have more than one treaty you can elect to apply. In this particular case, use the treaty which best suits your client.
As a rule, the 20 or so treaties are generally address estates of decedents who were citizens of Europe, England or Canada. There are no treaties with South or Central America or Africa. Remember, however, that some treaties are based on citizenship, not domicile. Therefore the estate of an English citizen domiciled in Sudan could benefit by the UK tax convention. 

The benefits as well as the applications of the treaties very widely. This is a result of the fact that these treaties were negotiated over various periods of years from the 1950s to the year 2000. The treaties themselves must be read carefully. They are, for the most part, extremely poorly drafted and difficult to fathom. In the case of confusion, look up the meaning of what the treaty means in a publication called the technical explanations of treaties which are a little bit better written but still no works  of Shakespeare. Remember, if you fail to utilize an existing treaty and it costs your client a significant amount of money, you may become involved with your insurance carrier. For those of us who are attorneys, remember the hornbook, Prosser On Torts.  As I recall, and it's been a while, the first topic addressed is “negligence, the basis of liability”. If you fail to find and utilize an existing treaty, you are negligent and potentially headed for big trouble. 

Some of you feel that the IRS will find incorrect your failure to utilize an estate tax treaty. Not so. First of all, not all estate tax returns are selected for examination, so if the return you filed failing to utilize a treaty is not examined, there is no way that treaty benefits will inure your to your client's estate.  Second, even if the estate is examined, it is not the job of the auditing attorney to tell you that you failed to utilize a treaty. Utilization of a treaty is not mandatory. Therefore, if you file the 706NA utilizing the situs rules of section 2014, the IRS agent will merely agree with your situs depiction and not discuss the availability of the treaty.  

If you feel that you are able to utilize one of the existing treaties, you are required to use a form 8833. In this form you explain which treaty you are using, why you feel it is applicable to your particular situation, and determine the treaty benefits of utilizing the treaty. 

Over my 32 years as a senior attorney with the IRS in the international estate tax forum, I audited perhaps 1,800 to 2,000 706 NA's. Utilization of the treaty benefit was not frequent, and I recall situations where some estates could have benefited to the tune of roughly $1 million in tax savings.  

Need Help Preparing Form 706 NA?
Estate Tax Problems Require 
an Experienced Estate Tax Attorneys

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IRS Cryptocurrency Enforcement Risk In 2021- What To Do NOW?

According to Law360, Law360 (January 3, 2021, 12:02 AM EST) -- A high-stakes game of chicken moves to the next level in 2021. Over the past several years, the Internal Revenue Service has repeatedly warned that taxpayers who violate the law while using virtual currency, including cryptocurrency, will be pursued for civil and, potentially, criminal penalties.

To some, the warnings seem to be all smoke and mirrors: Other than a few high-profile prosecutions and forfeiture actions for especially egregious alleged violations of the tax and money laundering laws, the IRS has yet to announce many mainstream tax evasion or money-laundering cases involving virtual currency. 

Rather, the IRS appears to be focusing its resources on educating taxpayers about relatively novel tax-related virtual currency issues. Their is a long-standing policy of the U.S. Department of Justice that it not criminally investigate or prosecute a case in which the law is unsettled or uncertain, or novel issues of law or fact are presented.

The IRS has devoted substantial resources to educating taxpayers about the tax consequences of transacting in virtual currency. For example, the IRS issued Notice 2014-21, Revenue Ruling 2019-24 and frequently asked questions, advising taxpayers and practitioners of the tax consequences of investing in, trading or creating virtual currency.

In the summer of 2019, the IRS issued more than 10,000 educational letters to taxpayers who the IRS knows or believes had virtual currency transactions. The IRS also added a question to page 1 of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, asking whether the taxpayer transacted in virtual currency.

Finally, the IRS updated Form 14457, Voluntary Disclosure Practice Preclearance Request and Application, to allow taxpayers to make a voluntary disclosure with respect to unreported income from virtual currency.

With taxpayers and advisers on notice that transacting in virtual currency may have tax implications, the IRS is now in line with government policies to investigate and, as appropriate, prosecute taxpayers who willfully avoid tax obligations related to virtual currency transactions.

In early 2018, in response to a John Doe summons, San Francisco-based Coinbase Inc. provided information to the IRS about 13,000 customers who bought, sold, sent or received at least $20,000 of cryptocurrency between 2013 and 2015.

Using information obtained from Coinbase, the IRS examination divisions are conducting civil audits and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the DOJ are pursuing criminal investigations. The IRS continues to mine this information, using data analytics to identify persons and transactions of interest.

In July 2018, the IRS announced an audit campaign focused on addressing "noncompliance related to the use of virtual currency through multiple treatment streams including outreach and examinations." The first leg of the campaign — outreach — was achieved with the administrative guidance and educational letters issued from 2014 through 2020.

The second leg of the campaign — enforcement — is in full swing and primed to increase in 2021. The IRS is auditing taxpayers and has sought to obtain information about at least one taxpayer from other virtual currency exchanges, like the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp Ltd.

Against This Background, It Is Reasonable To Expect That 2021 Will See The IRS Shift Its Focus From Education To Enforcement Of The Tax Laws Related To Virtual Currency.

This article first examines the impact of unreported virtual currency transactions on the U.S. tax gap to explain the government's interest in seeing that taxpayers report virtual currency transactions for tax purposes. Next we explore the current enforcement environment, including important changes under the Bank Secrecy Act. Finally, we survey various methods for correcting historical noncompliance, including the qualified amended return and voluntary disclosure.

There is currently a gap in information reporting with respect to virtual currency. Since at least Oct. 8, 2019, the IRS has included in its priority guidance plan the issuance of guidance regarding information reporting on virtual currency under Internal Revenue Code Section 6045.

Once the requirements of third-party information reporting concerning virtual currency are clearer, and complied with by virtual currency exchanges and other third-parties, it will be easier for the IRS to narrow the tax gap by identifying unreported income from virtual currency transactions.

Using virtual currency to facilitate an economic crime is just the latest technology that poses a challenge for the government and financial investigators. At the end of day, fiat currency has to be converted into virtual currency (this conversion is commonly referred to as an onramp).

Once armed with relevant and valuable information, the IRS will leverage data analytics to identify taxpayers and transactions of interest. Data analytics is a generic term that refers to various electronic tools through which IRS agents can easily pick up and track a taxpayer's digital trail by leveraging billions of records at their disposal, Bank Secrecy Act and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act filings, public records, and information from thousands of whistleblowers, informants, and cooperators every year.

Once an IRS agent catches a taxpayer's digital scent, the scales tilt in the government's favor. Although a taxpayer can attempt to keep their virtual currency holdings outside of the view of others by spending the ill-gotten gains in other cryptocurrency-denominated transactions, most individuals will convert the virtual currency back into fiat currency (this conversion is commonly referred to as an offramps), thereby coming back on the grid.

Also on the international stage, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division has teamed up with four other countries to form the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, or J5. One of the areas of emphasis for the J5 is on crimes involving virtual currency, including sharing information about tax evasion using virtual currency.

Other agencies are following suit. On Dec. 31, 2020, FinCEN issued a notice clarifying that FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, was not historically required with respect to a foreign account holding virtual currency. That same notice states that FinCEN intends to proposed to amend BSA regulations to require FBAR reporting with respect to virtual currency. It is reasonable to expect these regulations will expand the definition of "account" to cover certain virtual wallets held outside of the U.S. or certain types of virtual currency traded through foreign exchanges or stored on non-U.S. servers.

In a possible sign that the enforcement environment is heating-up, in November the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, in U.S. v. Kvashuk, sentenced an ex-Microsoft engineer for an elaborate cyber theft that included the movement of approximately $2.6 million of bitcoin through bank and investment accounts using a bitcoin mixer and filing false tax returns.[14] The IRS touted this as the first Bitcoin case charged as a tax crime.

In October 2020, John McAfee, founder of the McAfee computer security software company, was indicted on federal tax charges. According to the indictment, McAfee allegedly evaded his tax liability by directing his income to be paid into bank and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees.

The IRS has well-established paths to rectify tax noncompliance relating to virtual currency. For taxpayers who engaged in virtual currency transactions, but did not report the transactions for tax purposes, a qualified amended return or voluntary disclosure may offer a path to compliance that limits the likelihood of civil or criminal penalties.

The availability — and advisability — of the qualified amended return or the voluntary disclosure depends heavily upon whether the taxpayer willfully failed to report their virtual currency transactions — i.e., whether the taxpayer intentionally violated a known legal duty.

One avenue for taxpayers to voluntarily come into tax compliance regarding previously unreported virtual currency transactions is the qualified amended return. The benefit of filing a qualified amended return is that a taxpayer can avoid accuracy-related penalties that might otherwise apply.

For a document to generally be treated as a qualified amended return, pursuant to Treasury Regulations Section 1.6664-2(c)(3)(i), the document must be filed before the IRS issues a John Doe summons covering the taxpayer seeking to amend the return.

As noted, the IRS served a John Doe summons on Coinbase in late 2016. Absent some exemption from the IRS, which has not yet occurred (and does not appear likely to occur), the Coinbase summons makes individuals who "bought, sold, sent or received at least $20,000" worth of virtual currency through Coinbase between 2013 and 2015 ineligible for the qualified amended return procedures.

Even if the qualified amended return is available, its attractiveness as an option must still be evaluated in the light of its drawbacks. If the IRS determines the underpayment of tax regarding the original return is fraudulent, the taxpayer is potentially liable for criminal prosecution and a civil fraud penalty equal to 75% of the underpayment of tax.

Moreover, qualified amended returns do not protect taxpayers from other civil penalties, such as those attributable to failing to file international information returns (including a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts or Form 8938), or from criminal prosecution.

For taxpayers who engaged in willful noncompliance, the IRS offers the voluntary disclosure practice, which is designed for taxpayers who have true exposure to a criminal investigation and prosecution. The IRS updated Form 14457 to allow taxpayers to make a voluntary disclosure with respect to unreported income from virtual currency.

Taxpayers should consider the existence of willful behavior and the availability of the qualified amended return or voluntary disclosure for a particular fact pattern.

The government's threats to pursue civil and criminal tax noncompliance relating to virtual currency will likely start to bear fruit in 2021. Noncompliant, eligible taxpayers should consider NOW the option to use a qualified amended return or a voluntary disclosure to come into compliance with the tax laws to mitigate civil penalties and/or criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Have a Virtual Currency Tax Problem?

Value Your Freedom?

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Seafood Processor's Fishy Tax Practices Result in Prison for Tax Evasion

According to DoJ,  Rhode Island man was sentenced to three (3) years in prison for tax evasion. According to court documents, for more than ten years, Billie R. Schofield attempted to evade his federal income taxes. 

Schofield partly owned and worked for Northern Pelagic LLC, a seafood processing business located in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Despite earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in income, Schofield failed to pay taxes owed and, beginning in 2009, stopped filing income tax returns.

Between 2008 and 2018, Schofield obstructed IRS efforts to assess and collect his taxes by filing fraudulent forms, advancing frivolous tax arguments, creating and using a nominee entity and bank account, negotiating income checks to cash, and creating and submitting fraudulent checks to the IRS in an attempt to extinguish his tax liabilities. Including penalties and interest, Schofield caused a tax loss of more than $350,000 to the United States.

In addition to a term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge William E. Smith sentenced Schofield to three (3) years of supervised release, a $5,000 fine, and ordered him to pay $364,200.22 in restitution to the IRS.

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Participants in a Voluntary Disclosure Practice Should be Forthcoming As They Don't Offer Do Overs

According to Law360, Individuals who willfully failed to report their offshore bank accounts shouldn't be "coy" about the facts when they decide to participate in the Internal Revenue Service's voluntary disclosure practice, an agency official said on November 12, 2020, noting that there are no do-overs.

Participants in the IRS' Criminal Investigation Voluntary Disclosure Practice should be as forthcoming as possible because "there are no do-overs with respect to this," according to Carolyn Schenck, the agency's national fraud counsel and assistant division counsel, international. 

Individuals should be detailed when filling out the narrative section of Form 14457, which is needed for entering the disclosure program, she said during a webinar hosted by San Diego-based law firm Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.

"I think the takeaway with respect to voluntary disclosure is: You and your client have already decided to come through the front door, so this isn't really the time to be coy," Schenck said. "Lay out all your facts and trust the process."

The IRS announced updates to its long-standing voluntary disclosure practice in November 2018 following the termination of the agency's Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. First offered in 2009, the OVDP had allowed those who willfully failed to file foreign bank and financial account, or FBAR, forms to get lower penalties and protection from criminal liability if they came forward.

Under the voluntary disclosure practice, participants face 
a 75% civil fraud penalty and a 50% FBAR penalty. Specialists have noted that although the disclosure practice isn't as lenient as the OVDP, it still offers a way to avoid criminal referral.

Those who didn't willfully fail to report their offshore accounts have the option of the IRS' streamlined filing procedures, which involve a relatively low 5% FBAR penalty. Individuals seeking to participate in this disclosure process must certify that their conduct was nonwillful due to "negligence, inadvertence or mistake," according to the IRS.

Schenck said the IRS is looking at cases that entered the streamlined procedures to determine whether they actually qualify. 

The Agency Has Had Cases That Went Into The Regular Audit Stream "Because The IRS Has Made The Determination That This Is, In Fact, A Willful Situation," She Said.

Practitioners should be aware that the recklessness standard is fluid, "and it's getting a little easier to prove with each circuit court that cites the Third Circuit as that standard for recklessness," Smeltzer said.

Do You Have Undeclared Offshore Income?
Is Your Name Being Handed Over to the IRS?
Want to Know if the OVDP Program is Right for You? 

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

IRS Issues Revenue Ruling 2021-02 Which Allows Deductions For PPP Expenses!

The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department released Revenue Ruling 2021-02 on January 6, 2021 regarding claiming deductions for expenses associated with Paycheck Protection Program loans that have been forgiven.

The guidance in Revenue Ruling 2021-02 also reverses previous guidance issued last year by the IRS and the Treasury when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fiercely opposed the ability to deduct expenses related to forgiveness of PPP loans. 

The latest coronavirus relief bill included a provision that allows the expenses to be deductible and revives the PPP with a fresh round of $284 billion in funding. It will allow expenses related to seeking forgiveness of the Small Business Administration-backed loans to be deducted by businesses that received the loans, so businesses will be able to engage accountants to help with the task of applying for PPP loan forgiveness.

Revenue Ruling 2021-02 reflects some of the changes to the tax laws that were included in the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, which was enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. 

The COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 Amended The CARES Act To Specify That No Deduction Would Be Denied, No Tax Attribute Would Be Reduced, And No Basis Increase Would Be Denied By Reason of The Exclusion From Gross Income of The Forgiveness of An Eligible Recipient’s Covered Loan.

The change applies for tax years ending after March 27, 2020.

Revenue Ruling 2021-02 obsoletes the old guidance from the IRS and the Treasury last year in Notice 2020-32 and Revenue Ruling 2020-27, which said the PPP loan forgiveness expenses couldn’t be deducted. The obsoleted guidance disallowed deductions for the payment of eligible expenses when the payments resulted (or could be expected to result) in forgiveness of a covered loan, but that has been changed now in the new guidance.

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