Over the last few years, the Justice Department has worked with the IRS to more aggressively prosecute cases involving employment tax noncompliance and the failure to remit trust fund taxes to the U.S. Treasury.  Trust fund taxes are taxes withheld from the wages of employees such as federal income tax withholding and FICA tax withholding.  Owners, corporate officers, and employees who are responsible for remitting such taxes may also be found to be personally liable for the failure to pay over trust fund taxes and, as the following described cases indicate, they may face criminal prosecution for such failures. 
Continue Reading Justice Department Continues Criminal Prosecutions in Employment Tax Cases

On November 6, the IRS issued its final reminder alert that the deadline for all Qualified Intermediary (“QI”) (including Qualified Derivatives Dealer (“QDD”)), Withholding Foreign Partnership (“WP”) and Withholding Foreign Trust (“WT”) applications for the 2019 year is November 15, 2019.
Continue Reading November 15 Deadline Approaching for 2019 Qualified Intermediary Applications

Last week, the Acting Director of IRS of Field Operations for the LB&I Foreign Payments Practice (“FPP”) announced that the IRS will launch a compliance campaign this summer focused on foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) that are not satisfying their reporting obligations under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”).  Speaking at a tax controversy forum at NYU, Kimberly Schoenbacher indicated that the IRS will be sending notices to FFIs that failed to file Forms 8966 (FATCA Report) reporting assets held in accounts by U.S. persons.

Continue Reading IRS to Launch FATCA Compliance Campaign for FFIs

Last week, Kimberly Schoenbacher, the Acting Director of Field Operations for the LB&I Foreign Payments Practice (“FPP”), sent a message to taxpayers who may be noncompliant with Chapter 3 and FATCA withholding and reporting: the IRS is actively honing in on Form 1042 nonfilers, Form 1042 failures, and Forms 1042 and 1042-S that do not reconcile. Schoenbacher remarked at the International Tax Withholding and Information Reporting Conference in New York that the IRS has sent letters to thousands of taxpayers across the country regarding compliance failures related to Forms 1042 (Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons) and 1042-S (Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding). The letters were issued under the Form 1042/1042-S compliance campaign announced by LB&I in 2018. The campaign seeks to address withholding, deposit, and reporting noncompliance on the part of withholding agents making payments of U.S.-source income to foreign persons.

Continue Reading IRS Warns Withholding Agents to Consider FPP Correction Program to Avoid Penalties

On March 15, 2019, the IRS released a new practice unit entitled “Introduction to Traditional Automatic Exchange of Information.”  The practice unit provides a summary of the procedures for the IRS Automatic Exchange of Information or AEOI Program, which administers the regular and automatic exchange of taxpayer information required by tax treaties and Tax Information Exchange Agreements or TIEAs between the United States and foreign governments.  Such “traditional” exchanges can be contrasted with the exchange of information under newer programs like FATCA or the OECD’s BEPS project.

As explained on the IRS website, practice units provide a general discussion regarding concepts, processes, or transactions and serve as a means to collaborate and share information and knowledge for employees of the IRS.  Practice units are not official guidance, are not official pronouncements of law or directives, and cannot be cited or relied upon as legal authority.  They merely provide useful context and practical information for taxpayers, and taxpayers should independently confirm information provided in practice units with applicable legal authorities before relying on information found in the practice units.


Continue Reading IRS Issues Practice Unit on Traditional Automatic Information Exchange

On February 27, 2019, LB&I issued a memorandum (LB&I-04-02019-002) outlining a new program administred by the Foreign Payments Practice (“FPP”) that allows withholding agents to report and correct failures under Chapter 3 or 4.  The program and its procedures arose based upon the frequency with which taxpayers contact FPP regarding potential corrections for Chapter 3 and 4 withholding compliance failures.  The program establishes FPP as the central point of contact for withholding agents wishing to submit delinquent withholding tax returns, remit unpaid taxes, and seek request penalty relief.  The program is available to withholding agents other than those that are qualified intermediaries, withholding foreign partnerships, and withholding foreign trusts, but withholding agents may not participate in the program if they are currently under IRS audit for the delinquent filings, or if they are before IRS Appeals or in litigation related to issues involving noncompliance with Chapters 3 or 4 of the Code.  Although multiple years may be included in a single submission, withholding agents may only avail themselves of the program one time.

Continue Reading LB&I Establishes Correction Program for Compliance Failures under Chapters 3 and 4

Yesterday, the IRS added three new FAQs to its list of frequently asked questions on compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”).  The questions address the need for withholding agents to obtain foreign TINs or dates of birth for nonresident alien or foreign entity on beneficial owner withholding certificates, e.g., Forms W-8BEN

During a state visit by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore and the United States announced they were negotiating a reciprocal Model 1 IGA.  The countries had previously entered into a nonreciprocal Model 1 IGA in 2014 that went into effect on March 28, 2015.  Unless Congress enacts legislation providing for greater collection of

John Sweeney, Branch 8 Chief in the IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel International, said on June 2 that proposed and temporary regulations limiting refunds and credits claimed by nonresident alien individuals and foreign corporations for taxes withheld under Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 of the Code will be released soon.  According to Sweeney, who