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Rules Governing Practice before IRS

IRS Announces Rollout of Five Large Business and International Compliance Campaigns

March 13, 2018

IRS Announces Rollout of Five Large Business and International Compliance Campaigns

The IRS Large Business and International division has announced the identification and selection of five additional compliance campaigns. LB&I had announced on Jan. 31, 2017, the rollout of its first 13 campaigns to be implemented, and on Nov. 3, 2017, an additional 11 campaigns. LB&I continues to move toward issue-based examinations and a compliance campaign process in which the organization decides which compliance issues that present risk require a response in the form of one or multiple treatment streams to achieve compliance objectives. This approach makes use of IRS knowledge and deploys the right resources to address those issues.

The campaigns are the culmination of an extensive effort to redefine large business compliance work and build a supportive infrastructure inside LB&I. Campaign development requires strategic planning and deployment of resources, training and tools, metrics and feedback. LB&I is investing the time and resources necessary to build well-run and well-planned compliance campaigns.

These five additional campaigns were identified through LB&I data analysis and suggestions from IRS compliance 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 five campaigns selected for this rollout are:

  • Costs that Facilitate an IRC Section 355 Transaction

    Practice Areas: Enterprise Activities

    Lead Executives:Scott Ballint

    Costs to facilitate a tax-free corporate distribution under IRC Section 355, such as a spin-off, split-off or split-up, must be capitalized and are not currently deductible. Some taxpayers may execute a corporate distribution and improperly deduct the costs that facilitated the transaction in the year the distribution was completed. The goal of this campaign is to ensure taxpayer compliance with the requirement to capitalize, not deduct, the facilitative costs when the distribution is completed. The treatment stream for this campaign is issue-based examinations.:
  • SECA Tax

    Practice Areas: Pass Through Entities and Northeastern Compliance

    Lead Executives: Cliff Scherwinski and Darlena Billops-Hill

    Partners report income passed through from their partnerships.  Unless an individual partner qualifies as a “limited partner” for self-employment tax purposes, the partner’s distributive share is subject to self-employment tax under the Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA). Some individual partners, including service partners in service partnerships organized as state-law limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies, have inappropriately claimed to qualify as “limited partners” not subject to SECA tax.
  • Partnership Stop Filer

    Practice Areas: Pass-Through Entities and Western Compliance

    Lead Executives: Cliff Scherwinski and Eric Slack

    Partners report income, losses, and other items passed through from their partnership. Some partnerships stop filing tax returns for various reasons yet still have economic transactions that are not being reported to their partners. That activity is likely not being reported by the partners. The treatment streams for this campaign include issue-based examinations, soft letters encouraging voluntary self-correction, and stakeholder outreach.
  • Sale of Partnership Interest

    Practice Areas: Pass-Through Entities and Eastern Compliance

    Lead Executives: Cliff Scherwinski and Joseph Banks

    Generally, the sale of a partnership interest results in capital gain or loss. If the partner held the interest for more than one year, the long-term capital gain tax rate is usually 15 percent. If the partnership depreciated real property or has appreciated collectibles at the time of the sale or exchange, higher capital gain rates may apply. If the partnership has inventory items or unrealized receivables at the time of the sale or exchange, a portion of the gain or loss will be ordinary gain or loss.

    This campaign will address taxpayers who do not report the sale or do not report the gain or loss correctly. Incorrect reporting may include the gain or loss amount or reporting the entire gain as long-term capital gain (usually 15 percent). Often, a portion of the gain is ordinary gain or taxed at the 25 percent or 28 percent long-term capital gain rates.

    A variety of treatment streams will address taxpayer noncompliance, including examinations. When appropriate, the Service will issue soft letters. Additional treatment streams include practitioner and taxpayer outreach, tax software vendor outreach, and tax form and publication change suggestions.

  • Partial Disposition Election for Buildings

    Practice Area: Eastern Compliance

    Lead Executive: Judith McNamara

    IRC Section168 disposition regulations (Treas. Reg. Section 1.168(i)-8), issued August 2014, provide rules for recognizing gain or loss on the disposition of MACRS property and allow taxpayers to elect to recognize partial dispositions of property.
    To comply with the Section168 disposition regulations and make a partial disposition election, a taxpayer must be able to substantiate that it:
     
    1. disposed of a portion of a MACRS asset owned by the taxpayer;
    2. identified the asset that was partially disposed;
    3. determined the placed-in-service date of the partially disposed asset;
    4. determined the adjusted basis of the disposed portion; and
    5. reduced the adjusted basis of the asset by the disposed portion.

    The goal of this campaign is to ensure taxpayers accurately recognize the gain or loss on the partial disposition of a building, including its structural components. The treatment stream for this campaign is issue-based examinations and potential changes to IRS forms and the supporting instructions and publications.