Summer Not Likely To Include Much Vacation for Treasury, IRS

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By Laura Davison

June 2 — Officials at the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service aren't likely to have a “sleepy” summer, a notoriously slow time in Washington, a former Treasury official said.

“Congress is not going to be around much between now and the election, but Treasury and IRS are going to be quite busy and I think you’re going to see a lot of activity over the summer,” Lisa Zarlenga, now a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, said June 2 at a Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation insurance tax seminar.

The earnings-stripping regulations (REG-135734-14) under tax code Section 385, the regulations (REG-139483-13) under tax code Section 367(d) halting U.S. companies from escaping taxes on overseas transfers of intangibles and proposed rules (REG-108214-15) that seek to treat so-called hedge fund reinsurers as passive foreign investment companies are all likely to be made final by early fall, Zarlenga said.

Federal agencies are facing a condensed timeline to release high profile and potentially controversial regulations prior to the presidential election in November. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has said he hopes the Section 385 regulations, that can recast intercompany debt as equity, will be released by Labor Day. (71 DTR G-5, 4/13/16)

Zarlenga said if companies or industries don't like something in the regulations, it is important to get in contact with the officials writing the rules to outline why certain groups should be eligible for exceptions.

“I don’t think they’re going to have enough time to rethink the entire approach,” Zarlenga said. “What you’re going to see is basically a similar approach, but they're willing to listen to specific carveouts for specific problems with the regulations.”

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Ferguson at

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