Many taxpayers have art collections. However, the art collections of some high-net-worth individuals, family offices, and business taxpayers may draw the unwanted eye of the IRS. With the increased focus on auditing high-income taxpayers, large partnerships, and using increased staff and artificial intelligence will almost certainly increase the number of cases involving artwork. At the

We have previously spoken about monetized installment sales (“MISTs”) on Dollars & Sense.  According to the IRS, these structures typically seek to defer gains associated with the sale of an appreciated asset through the use of an intermediary.  In recent years, the IRS has scrutinized taxpayers’ usage of MISTs, even proposing regulations that would make

On September 8, 2023, the IRS issued a News Release suggesting that FBAR compliance investigations and audits would heat up in the near future.  For those unfamiliar with FBARs, federal law requires United States persons to file an FBAR annually if such persons have a financial interest in or signature or other authority over foreign

Recent Government actions suggest that third-party promoters and potentially hundreds of taxpayers may be entering into abusive trust arrangements aimed at unlawfully eliminating or deferring federal income taxes. Specifically, on August 9, 2023, IRS Chief Counsel issued a Memorandum on a trust arrangement known as a “section 643(b) trust.” In the Memorandum, Chief Counsel urged

 On remand for re-calculation of 4 errors in deficiency amounts, concerning years 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, the Tax Court entered final revised decisions based on the Commissioner’s twice-revised Rule 155 computations.

During the Larkins’ appeal, the Commissioner acknowledged four errors affecting the amounts of the deficiencies, additions to tax, and penalties. The court of

For some time, the IRS has cautioned taxpayers about filing false or fraudulent ERC claims.  More recently, on September 14, 2023, the IRS issued a News Release, IR-2023-169, indicating that it would no longer process ERC claims from September 14, 2023, through “at least” December 31, 2023.  Significantly, this only relates to new ERC

A hearing is scheduled for September 11, 2023 for interested persons and organizations to provide testimony on proposed regulations on the timing and approval process for penalties. Section 6751(b) provides that:

No penalty under this title shall be assessed unless the initial determination of such assessment is personally approved (in writing) by the immediate supervisor of the individual making such determination or such higher level official as the Secretary may designate. 

The timing of when the approval is required by Section 6751(b) has been the subject of significant litigation. The Second Circuit in Chai v. Commissioner concluded that Congress enacted section 6751(b) to “prevent IRS agents from threatening unjustified penalties to encourage taxpayers to settle.” This has caused a lot of litigation in both the Tax Court and U.S. District Courts such that there are currently two different standards on timing of when such supervisory approval is required. If supervisory approval is to meet the goal of not being used as an unfair “bargaining chip” it must be required before such unwanted behavior can occur. Many groups have submitted comments asking for supervisory approval to be done earlier in the examination process than the proposed regulations require and that approval be done by a direct supervisor and not just anyone with penalty approval rights within the IRS.

For some time, promoters have shopped around an arrangement known as a “section 643(b) trust,” known alternatively as a “non-grantor, irrevocable, complex, discretionary, spendthrift trust.”  On August 9, 2023, IRS Chief Counsel issued a Memorandum that shoots down many of the contentions raised by the promoters relating to the tax benefits of these arrangements. The full Memorandum can be found here.  Taxpayers who have entered into these types of arrangements should take careful note of the IRS Chief Counsel Memorandum and should discuss its implications with a tax professional.

Section 2301 of the CARES Act, as amended, permits employers to claim employee retention credits (“ERCs”) if they meet certain requirements. Under one of those requirements, an employer may claim an ERC if the employer’s trade or business operations were fully or partially suspended due to a federal or state COVID-19 governmental order (the “Business Suspension Test”).