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Monthly Archives: November 2015

IRS Denies Deductions For Certain Settlement Payments to a Foreign Country in FAA 20154702F

The taxpayer had a subsidiary that participated in a business in a foreign country. The foreign country's government claimed that improper payments were made to other government officials in connection with contracts awarded to the subsidiary's business relating to specific projects.

The foreign country filed an indictment charging the taxpayer and other participants, including the taxpayer's subsidiary, with conspiracy to commit a felony in violation of the laws of the foreign country. The indictment charged that the subsidiary paid various foreign government officials in exchange for favorable contracts.
No trial was not held on the charges.  Instead the taxpayer and the foreign country entered into a settlement and non-prosecution agreement resolving all matters relating to the criminal charges contained in the indictments.

The agreement specifically stated that the taxpayer was to make the payment “in consideration of the withdrawal of the Criminal Charges and the other promises” and that the parties put their disagreement with respect to the charges aside “to avoid the burden, inconvenience and expense of further protracted and costly litigation.”

The Chief Counsel's Office advised in 20154702F  that the exception in §162(f) states that no deduction is allowed for any fine or similar penalty paid to the government of a foreign country, and that a “fine or similar penalty” includes an amount paid in settlement of a taxpayer's actual or potential liability for a civil or criminal fine or penalty. According to the Chief Counsel's Office, the settlement amount payment is therefore a fine or similar penalty paid to a government for violation of law, and the taxpayer's deduction for that payment is prohibited under §162(f).

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More Than 170,000 Banks In More Than 200 Countries Are Reporting US Taxpayer's Foreign Accounts!

Foreign banks received a new version of the IRS's Guide to registering online to Report U.S. Owned Bank Accounts under Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The guide has been reformatted to make it shorter and easier to read. The Internal Revenue Service announced in IR-2015-131 that it has upgraded FATCA's Online Registration System to:

  1. Enable sponsoring entities to register their sponsored entities to obtain a global intermediary identification number.
  2. Aid users to update their information, download registration tables and change their financial institution type. and
  3. Include an updated jurisdiction list. 

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration System is a secure, web-based system that financial institutions and other entities can use to register for FATCA purposes.

The system allows the IRS to identify Foreign Financial Institutions and certain other entities with FATCA obligations. These entities generally report on foreign financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers under the terms of FATCA or pursuant to the provisions of specific intergovernmental agreements (IGAs).  

More than 170,000 Financial Institutions
worldwide have registered with the IRS.
These Financial Institutions are located in
> 200 Jurisdictions.

In most cases, those foreign financial institutions that do not comply with FATCA or participate through an IGA are subject to 30 percent withholding on certain U.S. source payments.  

The update to the system occurred on November 16, 2015. The improvements to the system and additional features to manage user accounts include the following:

  • New questions have been added, such as asking foreign financial institutions to indicate their tax identification number in their country or jurisdiction, if they have one. Other questions relate to identifying the common parent entity of the expanded affiliated group.
  • Certain financial institutions can now change their “Financial Institution Type.”
  • Member financial institutions can now transfer to another expanded affiliated group without having to cancel their current agreement and re-register.  

The FATCA Online Registration System User Guide and FAQs have been updated for these enhancements. Additional information on this system is available at www.irs.gov/fatca. 

Do You Have Undeclared Income
From One of These 170,000 Banks
 Who Are Handing Over Your Name to the IRS?
Want to Know if the OVDP Program is Right for You?

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

for a FREE Tax Consultation
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243

Read more at: Tax Times blog

The Often Overlooked 1st Time Penalty Abatement Waiver.

Using the First-Time Penalty Abatement Waiver preview imageUsing the First-Time Penalty Abatement Waiver, This article explores the IRS first-time penalty abatement waiver and explains how to help clients remove certain penalties using it.
12 years ago, the IRS created the first-time penalty abatement administrative waiver (FTA), which allows compliant individual and business taxpayers to request abatement, or removal, of certain penalties that the IRS has assessed against them for the first time.
Despite the advantages of this IRS waiver, few taxpayers who qualify for FTA request it, according to a 2012 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
According to the report, the problem is twofold:
  1. Most taxpayers and tax professionals do not know FTA exists, and
  2. IRS representatives often incorrectly disallow an FTA when using the IRS’s faulty automated decision tool to make penalty determinations.

In effect, FTA is hidden to most taxpayers and tax practitioners, who may not be aware of how it works, how to request it, or even its existence. Through persistence, a practitioner can often persuade the IRS to reverse an initial incorrect determination that a taxpayer does not qualify for an FTA.

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IRSAC Releases Its 2015 Annual Report

Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) held its annual public meeting today and released its annual report for 2015 to the IRS Commissioner. The report includes recommendations on a wide range of tax administration issues.

The IRSAC is an advisory group to the entire agency. The IRSAC’s primary purpose is to provide an organized public forum for the Commissioner, senior IRS executives and representatives of the public to discuss relevant tax administration issues.

“Members of IRSAC volunteer their time and energy to provide us with valuable feedback and suggestions regarding the most important issues affecting all types of taxpayers," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Advisory council members convey the public’s perception of professional standards and best practices for tax professionals and IRS activities, offer constructive observations regarding current or proposed IRS policies, programs, and procedures, as well as suggest improvements to IRS operations.

Based on its report findings and discussions over the last year, the IRSAC made several recommendations on a broad range of issues and concerns including:

  • The IRS needs sufficient funding to operate efficiently and effectively, provide timely and useful guidance and assistance to taxpayers, and enforce current law, so that the integrity of, and respect for, our voluntary tax system is maintained.
  • Identity authentication of the Form 1040 series.
  • Third-party payer arrangements for employment taxes
  • Continuity of independence, strength and visibility of the Office of Professional Responsibility.
  • Statutory authority of the IRS to regulate tax practice.
  • International Information Return Penalties.

Commissioner Koskinen congratulated and thanked seven members of the Council ending their three-year terms this year:

  • Fred Murray, IRSAC Chairman – Managing Director, Tax Accounting Risk Advisory & International Tax Service at Grant Thornton, LLP, Washington D.C.
  • Michele Gaines – Jackson, Jackson & Jackson, Pittsburgh, P.A.
  • Luis Parra – Key Accounting, Bronx, N.Y.
  • Mark Mesler – Ernst & Young, LLP, Atlanta, G.A.
  • Andre’ Re – Andre’ L. Re, McDonough, G.A.
  • Karen Salemi – Zero Chaos, Pepperell, M.A.
  • Sherrill Trovato – Sherrill L. Trovato, Fountain Valley, C.A.

The IRSAC is administered by the National Public Liaison Office.  The IRSAC draws its members from the taxpaying public, the tax professional community, small and large businesses and the payroll community.

The 2015 Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council Public Report can be found on IRS.gov.

Have A Tax Problem? 



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

for a FREE Tax Consultation

Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888)882-9243.


Read more at: Tax Times blog

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