IRS Continues to Refresh and Pursue International Tax Campaigns

The IRS’s Large Business & International Division Continues to
Refresh and Pursue Issues on its Active Campaigns Website.
International Tax Issues Remain a Focus.

A Brief History

We have written on this topic a number of times in the past, especially as it related to international tax issues. In January 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had announced a new audit strategy for the Large Business & International Division (LB&I) known as compliance campaigns. In doing so, they essentially shifted to examinations based on compliance issues determined to present greater levels of compliance risk, thereby improving return selection.

The IRS initially selected 13 compliance issues when it rolled out this strategy. Since the initial campaign announcement, the LB&I has added, and removed, some campaigns.

Some of the international tax issues that have been on the active campaigns list includes:

As you will notice, international tax issues are a major focus of the IRS’s compliance campaign. Recently added items to the campaign may have an impact on international taxpayers, especially when doing business in the United States or are connected with US filings.

Section 937 and IRS Forms

The most recent compliance campaigns are issues under Internal Revenue Code Section 937, as well as a couple of IRS tax forms: Form 8594, “Asset Acquisition Statement Under Section 1060” and Form 8883, “Asset Allocation Statement Under Section 338.”

Under Sec. 937(a), individuals are bona fide residents of US territories, including Puerto Rico, if they:

  • Are present in the territory for at least 183 days during the tax year, and

  • Don’t have a tax home outside the territory or a closer connection to the United States or a foreign country than to the territory.

Generally, Sec. 937(b)(2) provides any income from sources within the United States or effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States is not treated as income from sources within any US possession or as effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within such possession.

Meanwhile, Form 8594 is used by both a seller and a purchaser (including a foreign taxpayer) of a group of assets that make up a trade or business to report:

  1. Goodwill or going concern value that attaches, or could attach, to such assets, and
  2. That the purchaser’s basis in the assets is determined only by the amount the purchaser paid for the assets. Form 8883 is used to report information about transactions involving the deemed sale of corporate assets under Sec. 338.

The issues the IRS will be addressing related to new items are as follows:

  1. Puerto Rico Act 22, Individual Investors Act. This campaign addresses taxpayers who have claimed benefits through Puerto Rico Act 22, “Act to Promote the Relocation of Individual Investors to Puerto Rico,” without meeting the requirements of Sec. 937 (that is, without being bona fide residents of Puerto Rico). As a result, these individuals may be excluding income subject to federal tax on filed US income tax returns or they may have failed to file and report income subject to federal tax.

This campaign will also address individuals who have met the requirements of Sec. 937, but who may be erroneously reporting US source income as Puerto Rico source income to avoid US federal tax. This campaign will address noncompliance in this area through examinations, outreach and “soft letters.”

  1. Taxable Asset Transactions — Matching Buyers and Sellers. Parties that participate in certain taxable asset transactions must report those transactions on either Form 8594 or Form 8883, which must be attached to their tax returns. This campaign addresses business entities under the LB&I’s jurisdiction that either:
    • Didn’t report a transaction on Form 8594 or Form 8883, or
    • Reported the transaction in a manner inconsistent with the other party’s reporting of the transaction.

The active campaigns website does not say how the LB&I will address noncompliance in this area.

Addition and Subtraction

The LB&I will likely continue to add and subtract campaigns based on its perception of compliance risk. Contact your Moore Doeren Mayhew tax advisor for more details related to these compliance campaigns.

Thank you.


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