Highlights and Updates for the CAP 2024 Application Period


Return to Open Year Criteria - For the 2024 CAP year, we are continuing the regular open year eligibility criteria of one filed return and one unfiled return open on the first day of the applicant's CAP year. There are several exceptions to this requirement (e.g., pending Advance Pricing Agreement resolution or Competent Authority Assistance, etc.).

Eligibility Criteria for New Applicants - For a new applicant currently under examination to be eligible for participation in the CAP Program, the applicant can have no more than three tax years open for examination on the first day of the applicant's CAP year, and the examination team determines (with concurrence from the applicant) that these open years will close from the examination group no later than 12 months after the first day of the applicant's CAP year if accepted.

Bridge Phase – Bridge Plus Pilot – We are updating the new Bridge Plus pilot phase of the CAP program which was previously announced earlier this year (IR-2023-25, Feb. 13, 2023).

During the Bridge phase, which started in 2019, the IRS does not accept any disclosures, conduct any reviews or provide any assurances. In the three years since its inception, the IRS has received consistent feedback from taxpayers that participation in the Bridge phase deprives them of the most important aspect of CAP, the review by the IRS.

In response to this feedback, the IRS announced a new pilot phase called "Bridge Plus." This new phase was launched in April 2023 and taxpayers that were eligible to apply for this phase were required to provide book-to-tax reconciliations, credit utilization and other supporting documentation shortly after their audited financial statements were finalized. An IRS team then risk-assessed the documents to determine if the taxpayer was suitable for the Bridge Plus phase.

Taxpayers accepted into this new phase are required to submit a draft return 30 days before the filing of their tax return with the IRS. The IRS team will review the draft return for consistency with the taxpayer's prior submissions. If the draft return is consistent, the taxpayer will be instructed to file a return. If the filed return is consistent with prior submissions, the taxpayer will be issued a full acceptance letter.

To date, approximately 50% of the taxpayers invited to be considered for Bridge Plus accepted the opportunity. Those that accepted provided the required supporting documentation. The IRS risk assessment teams then reviewed the taxpayer's return information and determined which taxpayers could be accepted into the Bridge Plus pilot. The IRS anticipates receipt of the draft tax returns from participating taxpayers in line with the proposed timeline.

Due to positive feedback, both internally and externally, the quality of taxpayer submissions, and taxpayer cooperation, the IRS will again invite taxpayers currently in Bridge for 2023 to participate in Bridge Plus for 2023. The IRS expects to send Bridge Plus invitations in early 2024 and the review process for those that participate will begin in May 2024.

The IRS is planning to replace Bridge with Bridge Plus for 2024, meaning participation will no longer be optional. This will be a significant change to the program and taxpayers are welcome to submit comments to the IRS concerning this change to *LB&I CAP Bridge Plus. Given that the Bridge Plus process does not begin until the taxpayer's tax year has ended, the projected start time for 2024 Bridge Plus would be Spring of 2025 for calendar year end taxpayers.

Draft Form 14234-E Cross Border Activities Questionnaire (CBAQ) – LB&I continuously evaluates our compliance programs for opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness in a manner which is guided by feedback from our internal and external stakeholders. Feedback from CAP taxpayers and IRS CAP teams has identified challenges to completing the review and resolution of international issues during CAP cycles within the CAP timeframes. And indeed, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increased the scope and complexity of international issues that CAP teams and taxpayers have had to consider in recent years.

To address this, we are building on the success that the CAP program has seen with respect to other complex issues – namely research credit and transfer pricing – through the utilization of the "CAP Research Credit Questionnaire (CRCQ)" and "Material Intercompany Transactions Template (MITT)" that gather information from CAP taxpayers at the beginning of the CAP process. Those forms have supported our efforts to properly identify the issues that warrant an application of time and resources up front (and deselect those that do not), and to enable planning for sufficient resources for timely review and resolution. To that end, a new Form 14234-E Cross Border Activities Questionnaire (CBAQ), which is in draft status, has been developed to cover specified international issues.

For the 2024 CAP cycle, the new CBAQ form is not required to be completed by either new CAP applicants or returning CAP taxpayers. We invite feedback from CAP taxpayers on this new draft form, as feedback will be considered when finalizing this form before it is required (for the 2025 CAP cycle).

Please submit any comments or questions regarding the draft CBAQ form to the CAP mailbox at lbi.irs.cap.program@IRS.gov by January 31, 2024.