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Treasury Outlines Path to Equitable Clean Energy Economy

The Department of the Treasury outlined how the Inflation Reduction Act’s tax incentives will support the building of an equitable clean energy economy.

In a fact sheet issued October 26, 2022, the Treasury Department highlighted four key areas the tax policy built on the Inflation Reduction Act will drive clean energy:

  • the IRA will provide targeted incentives to drive investment and create opportunity in communities across the country;
  • the IRA will encourage clean energy project developers to meet strong labor standards, so that the benefits of building a clean energy economy are felt by workers making it happen;
  • the IRA will lower the costs of energy-saving property improvements and rooftop solar installation, saving working families and small businesses money on their monthly utility bills and empowering families and businesses to shield themselves from volatile fossil energy prices; and
  • The IRA allows state, local, and Tribal governments, as well as non-profit organizations and other tax-exempt entities, such as rural electric co-operatives, to receive certain tax credits as payments, expanding the range of actors that will have a direct incentive to invest in their communities.

According to the fact sheet, the law will “provide bonuses for investing in low-income communities, as well as in communities that have historically depended on the energy sector for jobs and economic activity.”

To help incentivize this, the IRA modifies and extends the clean energy Investment Tax Credit “to provide a 30 percent credit for qualifying investments in wind, solar, energy storage, and other renewable energy projects that meet prevailing wage standards and employ a sufficient portion of qualified apprentices from registered apprenticeship programs.”

It also modifies and extends the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit “to provide a credit of 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2021 dollars (adjusted for inflation annually) of electricity generated from qualified renewable energy sources.”

Other tax credits extended and/or expanded include the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit, the Residential Clean Energy Credit, and the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction.

These incentives were discussed as part of an October 26, 2022, virtual roundtable hosted by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, during which she “emphasized that the Inflation Reduction Act provides long-term clarity and certainty for the clean energy sector, and underscored Treasury’s commitment to work expeditiously to provide guidance so that investments can move forward and our climate and economy can realize the benefits of the law as quickly as possible.”

IRS Adds New Domestic Filing Exception for Partnership Schedules K-2 and K-3

Beginning with their 2021 tax years, partnerships with “items of international tax relevance” must file Schedule K-2, Partners’ Distributive Share Items—International, and Schedule K-3, Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.—International.

Draft partnership instructions for the 2022 Schedules K-2 and K-3 (Form 1065) and partner’s instructions for the 2022 Schedule K-3 were released October 25. The instructions add a “domestic filing exception” for a partnership that meets all four of the following requirements for its 2022 tax year:

  • The partnership has:
    • no foreign activity, defined as foreign income taxes paid or accrued, foreign source income or loss, or an ownership interest in a foreign partnership, corporation, foreign branch, or foreign disregarded entity, or
    • foreign activity that is limited to passive category foreign income generating no more than $300 of taxes subject to the foreign tax credit (and shown on a payee statement);
  • All of the partners are U.S. citizens or resident aliens, domestic decedent’s estates with only U.S.-citizen or resident-alien beneficiaries, domestic grantor trusts with only U.S.-citizen or resident-alien grantors and beneficiaries, or domestic non-grantor trusts with only U.S.-citizen resident-alien beneficiaries;
  • The partners receive a notification from the partnership electronically or by mail, dated no later than two months before the due date of the partnership’s return, that the partners will not receive Schedules K-3 unless they request them; and
  • The partnership does not receive a request from any partner for Schedule K-3 at least one month before the due date of the return (that is, a calendar-year partnership does not receive any requests by February 15, 2023).

A partnership that receives a timely request from a partner for a Schedule K-3 does not qualify for the domestic filing exception and must file Schedules K-2 and K-3 with the IRS and provide Schedule K-3 to the requesting partner. However, the partnership only needs to complete the parts of Schedules K-2 and K-3 that are relevant to that partner.

If a partnership receives a request from a partner for a Schedule K-3 after the one-month date but no requests by that due date, the partnership only needs to provide Schedule K-3 to the requesting partner by the date on which the partnership files its return or one month after it receives the request, whichever is later.

The draft instructions note that if a partnership fails the domestic filing exception test, it may still qualify for an exception to the filing requirement if all of its partners are eligible for the exemption from filing Form 1116.

A regularly updated IRS FAQ sheet on Schedules K-2 and K-3 states that “comments on the draft instructions can be provided to [email protected] on or before November 8, 2022.”

The draft instructions also add guidance on when a domestic partnership with only domestic activity needs to file Schedules K-2 and K-3, on reporting capital gains and losses and foreign tax redeterminations, and on reporting income inclusions required by 2022 regulations that apply aggregate treatment to domestic partnerships in some situations.

Draft instructions for S corporations’ 2022 Schedules K-2 and K-3 have not been issued yet.

Tax Gap Reaches Nearly $500 Billion, IRS Reports

The Internal Revenue Service is estimating the tax gap on tax years 2014-2016 to be $496 billion, an increase of more than $58 billion from the prior estimate.

“The increase in the tax gap estimates reflects that the IRS needs to do more, both in improving taxpayer service as well as working to improve tax compliance,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in a statement, adding that the recent funding in the Inflation Reduction Act “will help the IRS in many ways, increasing taxpayer education, significantly improving services to all taxpayers and focusing on high-income/high-wealth non-compliance in a fair and impartial manner supporting compliant taxpayers.”

IRS published a report on the new estimate on October 28, 2022.

According to the report, the estimated net compliance rate is 87 percent, defined as tax paid voluntarily and timely plus enforced and other late payments divided by the total true tax. The voluntary compliance rate, which is the amount of tax paid voluntarily and timely divided by the total true tax is estimated to be 85.0 percent.

The tax gap includes three components, including:

  • nonfiling (tax not paid on time by those who do not file on time) – $39 billion;
  • underreporting (tax understated on timely filed returns) – $398 billion; and
  • underpayment (tax that was reported on time, but not paid on time) – $59 billion.

The report estimates that $68 billion of the tax gap will eventually be paid.

The IRS also reported that the tax gap for years 2017-2019 is projected to increase to $540 billion.