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Weekly IRS Roundup January 6 – January 10, 2020

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of January 6 – January 10, 2020.

January 6, 2020: The IRS issued a News Release confirming that the 2019 tax filing season will be open for individual filers—and that the IRS will begin accepting and processing 2019 tax year returns—on January 27, 2020. The IRS explained that though taxpayers may prepare returns through the IRS’ Free File program before that date, the IRS will begin processing these returns when their systems open on January 27. The IRS also noted that the deadline to file 2019 tax returns and to pay any tax owed is April 15, 2020.

January 8, 2020: The Acting National Taxpayer Advocate released her 2019 Annual Report to Congress, highlighting challenges such as the implementation of the Taxpayer First Act, inadequate taxpayer service and limited funding of the agency. Also released was the third edition of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s Purple Book, which presents 58 legislative recommendations designed to strengthen taxpayer rights and improve tax administration. Among other issues, the Report emphasized that the IRS is struggling to meet its stated Mission because it is underfunded, and stressed that the IRS should use the Taxpayer First Act as an opportunity to identify taxpayer needs and preferences and to develop initiatives to meet them.

January 9, 2020: The IRS issued a News Release reminding taxpayers that signing up for direct deposit is the fastest way to receive their federal tax refund. The IRS explained that by using direct deposit, a taxpayer could split their refund into up to three financial accounts, including Individual Retirement Accounts.

January 9, 2020: The IRS issued a News Release announcing the launch of the Gig Economy Tax Center on IRS.gov, citing the various resources that will make it easier for taxpayers to find information about the tax implications for both the companies that provide the services and for the individuals who perform them. The IRS touted the Center’s necessity, given that many gig workers do not receive a W-2 or a Form 1099 but must still pay taxes on that income.

January 10, 2020: The IRS issued proposed regulations that revise the applicability dates for previously proposed regulations under section 382(h), delaying the applicability of those proposed rules and providing transition relief for eligible taxpayers. The proposed regulations were initially published in September 2019 and would revise the rules in §§1.382-2 and 1.382-7, affecting the determination of the net built-in gains and losses and recognized built-in gains and losses under section 382(h) that, in turn, affect the limitation under section 382 on net operating losses and disallowed business interest expense under section 163(j).

January 10, 2020: The IRS released a supplement to the 2019 instructions for Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s US Source Income Subject to Withholding. The instructions now reflect proposed regulations that would reduce taxpayers’ burdens with respect to certain requirements under FATCA. The instructions also now include the revised backup withholding tax rate of 24%, as enacted by the TCJA.

January 10, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Jenni Saperstein in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

© 2020 McDermott Will & Emery

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About this Author

In 1934 E.H. McDermott opened a law practice that focused exclusively on taxes. As chief counsel to the Joint Committee on Taxation of the United States Congress, McDermott observed firsthand how the rapidly expanding federal tax laws were affecting businesses and individuals. He recognized the need for a law firm to assist people and their businesses to understand and comply with their changing tax obligations.

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