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Tax Alerts
January 20, 2021
Tax Briefing(s)

Final regulations clarify the definition of "real property" that qualifies for a like-kind exchange, including incidental personal property. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA, P.L. 115-97), like-kind exchanges occurring after 2017 are limited to real property used in a trade or business or for investment.


The IRS has released rulings concerning deductions for eligible Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan expenses.


The IRS has issued final regulations under Code Sec. 274 relating to the elimination of the employer deduction of for transportation and commuting fringe benefits by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97), effective for amounts paid or incurred after December 31, 2017. The final regulations address the disallowance of a deduction for the expense of any qualified transportation fringe (QTF) provided to an employee of the taxpayer. Guidance and methodologies are provided to determine the amount of QTF parking expenses that is nondeductible. The final regulations also address the disallowance of the deduction for expenses of transportation and commuting between an employee’s residence and place of employment.


As part of a series of reminders, the IRS has urged taxpayers get ready for the upcoming tax filing season. A special page ( https://www.irs.gov/individuals/steps-to-take-now-to-get-a-jump-on-next-years-taxes), updated and available on the IRS website, outlines steps taxpayers can take now to make tax filing easier in 2021.


This year marks the 5th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week-a collaboration by the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry. The IRS and the Security Summit partners have issued warnings to all taxpayers and tax professionals to beware of scams and identity theft schemes by criminals taking advantage of the combination of holiday shopping, the approaching tax season and coronavirus concerns. The 5th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week coincided with Cyber Monday, the traditional start of the online holiday shopping season.


The IRS has issued proposed regulations for the centralized partnership audit regime...


The IRS has issued final regulations with guidance on how a tax-exempt organization can determine whether it has more than one unrelated trade or business, how it should identify its separate trades and businesses, and how to separately calculate unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) for each trade or business – often referred to as "silo" rules. Since 2018, under provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the loss from one unrelated trade or business may not offset the income from another, separate trade or business. Congress did not provide detailed methods of determining when unrelated businesses are "separate" for purposes of calculating UBTI.


The IRS has modified Rev. Proc. 2007-32, I.R.B. 2007-22, 1322, to provide that the term of a Gaming Industry Tip Compliance Agreement (GITCA) is generally five years, and the renewal term of a GITCA is extended from three years to a term of up to five years. A GITCA executed under Rev. Proc. 2003-35, 2003-1 CB 919 and Rev. Proc. 2007-32 will remain in effect until the expiration date set forth in that agreement, unless modified by the renewal of a GITCA under section 4.04 of Rev. Proc. 2007-32 (as modified by section 3 of this revenue procedure).


Final regulations issued by the Treasury and IRS coordinate the extraordinary disposition rule that applies with respect to the Code Sec. 245A dividends received deduction and the disqualified basis rule under the Code Sec. 951A global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) regime. Information reporting rules are also finalized.


The IRS has responded to criticism from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the National Taxpayer Advocate, among others, that resolution of identity theft accounts takes too long by increasing its measures to flag suspicious tax returns, prevent issuance of fraudulent tax refunds, and to expedite identity theft case processing. As a result, the IRS's resolution time has experienced a moderate improvement from an average of 312 days, as TIGTA reported in September 2013, to an average of 278 days as reported in March 2015. (The 278-day average was based on a statistically valid sampling of 100 cases resolved between August 1, 2011, and July 31, 2012.) The IRS has recently stated that its resolution time dropped to 120 days for cases received in filing season 2013.


The IRS budget has suffered significant funding cuts to the past few fiscal year (FY) budgets. Most recently, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters that the IRS has been forced to absorb a $346 million cut to its FY 2015 budget. Such drastic reductions directly impact the IRS's ability to enforce the nation's tax laws. This became evident after the IRS issued its annual Data Book for FY 2014. (The Data Book provides statistical information on examinations, collections, taxpayer assistance, and other activities.) This year, the Data Book indicated that IRS audit rates have fallen for individuals and large corporate taxpayers between FY 2013 and FY 2014. On the other hand, the audit rate for partnerships increased slightly, ostensibly as a result of the IRS's recent policy favoring more audits of this long-neglected sector.


It is never too early to begin planning for the 2016 filing season, the IRS has advised in seven new planning tips published on its website. Although the current filing season has just ended, there are steps that taxpayers can take now to avoid a tax bill when April 2016 rolls around. For example, the IRS stated that taxpayers can adjust their withholding, take stock of any changes in income or family circumstances, maintain accurate tax records, and more, in order to reduce the probability of a surprise tax bill when the next filing season arrives.


The Affordable Care Act—enacted nearly five years ago—phased in many new requirements affecting individuals and employers. One of the most far-reaching requirements, the individual mandate, took effect this year and will be reported on 2014 income tax returns filed in 2015. The IRS is bracing for an avalanche of questions about taxpayer reporting on 2014 returns and, if liable, any shared responsibility payment. For many taxpayers, the best approach is to be familiar with the basics before beginning to prepare and file their returns.