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Steven Toscher to Speak at Strafford Webinar Encore Presentation: Form 5471 Substantial Compliance Rules: New IRS International Practice Unit Guidance

Due to overwhelming popularity, an encore presentation has been scheduled with live Q&A for Thursday, November 30, 1:00pm-2:30pm EST.
Click here for more information.

Form 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations, is one of the most complex reporting obligations in the U.S. offshore information tax reporting regime. A taxpayer who fails to file a “substantially complete” Form 5471, absent reasonable cause, is subject to severe monetary and other penalties, beginning at $10,000 per year per missed form.

Additionally, the statute of limitations remains open for failure to file a Form 5471 on the taxpayer’s entire return until the IRS receives a substantially complete filing. This subjects the tax return to a longer period of audit scrutiny.

Further complicating matters is that neither IRC 6038 nor its regulations provide any definition of “substantially complete” for purposes of determining whether penalties apply. The Service recently issued an IPU to provide guidance to tax examiners on failure to file penalties, as well as what constitutes “substantial compliance” for a Form 5471 filing.

The IPU provides fact pattern examples for IRS audit examiners showing where a Form 5471 may be considered not substantially complete and can be used by practitioners as a tool to evaluate the compliance of client filings.

We will provide tax counsel and advisers with a practical discussion of recent IRS International Practice Unit (IPU) guidance on what constitutes “substantial compliance” in filing Form 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect To Certain Foreign Corporations. The panel will detail the IRS guidance on application of the substantial compliance doctrine, and the meaning of “substantially complete” for purposes of the Service’s imposition of penalties related to international information return requirements.

We will review these and other key concepts:

  • IRC 6038 information reporting requirements and penalties.
  • IPU guidance on Category 4 vs. Category 5 filers.
  • How the IPU advises examiners to view substantial compliance in light of tax court holdings and prior IRS advice.
  • Errors “beyond the face” of Form 5471 that will cause an examiner to treat the filing as not substantially complete.
  • Common errors on Form 5471 that render the filing to be not substantially complete.
  • After our presentations, we will engage in a live question and answer session with participants so we can answer your questions about these important issues directly.


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