WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today the overwhelming acceptance of a time-limited settlement offer made to certain taxpayers under audit who participated in abusive micro-captives.
Nearly 80% of taxpayers who received offer letters elected to accept the settlement terms. In addition, the IRS is establishing 12 new examination teams that are expected to open audits related to thousands of taxpayers in coming months.
“The overwhelming acceptance rate of the private settlement offer is a reflection of the success of the government’s work to stop this abuse”, said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Taxpayers who elected to accept the IRS’ terms have done the right thing by coming into compliance with their federal tax obligations and putting this behind them. Putting an end to abusive schemes is a high priority for the IRS”.
Abusive micro-captives have been a threat to tax administration and a concern to the IRS for several years. The transaction has appeared on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams since 2014. In 2016, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued Notice 2016-66, which identified certain micro-captive transactions as having the potential for tax avoidance and evasion.
The settlement offer followed three U.S. Tax Court decisions confirming that certain micro-captive arrangements are not eligible for federal tax benefits. The terms of the settlement required substantial concession of the income tax benefits claimed by the taxpayer together with appropriate penalties.
The IRS will continue to vigorously pursue those involved in these and other similar abusive transactions going forward. Enforcement activity in this area is being significantly increased. To that end, the IRS is deploying additional resources, which includes setting up 12 new examination teams comprised of IRS employees.
These employees come from Large Business, International Business, Small Business, Self-Employed divisions that will be working to address these abusive transactions. IRS to open additional exams. These teams will use all available enforcement tools, including summonses, to obtain necessary information.