On February 28, 2023, the Supreme Court decided Bittner v. United States—a rare Supreme Court foray into Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN reporting of foreign bank and financial accounts under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). The BSA is codified under Title 31 (Money and Finance) of the United States Code rather than Title 26 (the Internal Revenue Code) so the section references in this post are to Title 31. At issue was how to calculate penalties for nonwillful violations of the BSA’s recordkeeping and reporting obligations for foreign transactions and accounts. By a narrow 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court held that the penalty for a nonwillful violation of the reporting requirements shall be assessed on a per-form basis rather than a per-account basis, a result favorable for those taxpayers with nonwillful failures.
The Internal Revenue Service recently released an online tool to help U.S. withholding agents comply with withholding and reporting obligations on IRS Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding. Forms 1042-S are issued by withholding agents to non-U.S. beneficial owners of U.S. source FDAP income under Chapter 3 and to non-U.S. payees who receive U.S. source withholdable payments under Chapter 4. Given the complexity of the Form 1042-S, this tool provides withholding agents with an opportunity to screen their draft Forms 1042-S for errors prior to filing. The Form 1042-S Data Integrity Tool performs a quality review of data before IRS submission at no cost to the user.
Continue Reading IRS Releases Form 1042-S Data Integrity Tool to Assist Withholding Agents in Complying With Withholding and Reporting Obligations
Earlier this month, both houses of Congress passed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (“2021 NDAA”). Included in Title LXIV of the 2021 NDAA (Title 64 for those of us rusty on Roman numerals), are new information reporting requirements intended to identify individual beneficial owners of certain business entities. Subject to a number of exceptions, the bill requires certain U.S. and foreign entities to file annual reports with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) that will disclose information regarding the beneficial owners of reporting companies. Overall, the reporting will identify those individuals exercising “control,” as the term is defined, over those entities required to report. According to the legislation, over two million corporations, LLCs, and similar entities are formed under state law in the United States each year, and many “malign actors seek to conceal their ownership” of various entities intended to facilitate illegal activity. Accordingly, the reporting mandated by the legislation is intended to help protect national security interests and interstate and foreign commerce, as well as counter the financing of terrorism.
The legislation passed both chambers by overwhelming majorities − 335-78 in the House and 84-13 in the Senate. Notwithstanding the significant Congressional support, President Trump has not yet signed the bill into law and has suggested that he may veto the bill (H.R. 6395). The legislation will become law tomorrow (December 24, 2020) if the President does not veto the bill. Even if the President vetoes the bill, it appears likely that Congress will override it by reconvening after Christmas and before the new year. H.Res. 1271 (the rule providing for the consideration of the Senate amendment to H.R. 133 (the end-of-year package that includes COVID relief)) provided that if a veto message is laid before the House on the 2021 NDAA, the veto message and the bill shall be postponed until the legislative day of Monday, December 28, 2020. Accordingly, if Trump vetoes the bill, the House will vote on its override on December 28.
UPDATE: President Trump vetoed the bill on December 23, 2020.
UPDATE: The House of Representatives voted to override President Trump’s veto on December 28, 2020. Additional coverage is available here.
UPDATE: The Senate voted to override President Trump’s veto on January 1, 2021. Additional coverage is available here.Continue Reading New Information Reporting on Beneficial Owners Included in 2021 NDAA
On October 14, 2020, the IRS posted Tax Tip 2020-136 entitled, “Helpful information for taxpayers on backup withholding.” This particular Tax Tip serves as a great reminder for payers making payments for which backup withholding is required, especially if they are unaware of the troubling consequences of noncompliance.
Continue Reading IRS Posts Tax Tip on Backup Withholding
On September 22, 2020, the IRS issued IRS Announcement 2020-12 to inform lenders that they should not file Forms 1099-C with the IRS or furnish copies of the Forms 1099-C to borrowers with respect to the forgiveness of covered loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).
Continue Reading IRS Tells Lenders not to File Forms 1099-C for Forgiven PPP Loans
Late Friday, the IRS released Notice 2020-65 providing guidance to employers regarding the implementation of President Trump’s presidential memorandum issued on August 8, 2020. The memorandum directed the Secretary of the Treasury to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of employee Social Security taxes for the period from September 1 to December 31, 2020 (see earlier coverage of the presidential memorandum). Shortly after the memorandum was released, Secretary Mnuchin confirmed that the deferral is voluntary and that employers may continue to withhold and deposit employee Social Security taxes in accordance with their normal schedule (see earlier coverage of Sec. Mnuchin’s confirmation that deferral is voluntary).
Continue Reading IRS Issues Notice 2020-65 Providing Guidance on Employee Social Security Tax Deferral
The IRS recently announced that it erroneously sent failure-to-deposit (“FTD”) penalty notices to certain employers that reduced their employment tax deposits on Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) in anticipation of claiming sick and family leave credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) or the employee retention credit (“ERC”) under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Securities (“CARES”) Act.
Continue Reading IRS Warns Employers Claiming New Tax Credits of Erroneous Penalty Notices