As part of ensuring high income taxpayers pay what they owe, the IRS warned businesses and tax professionals to be alert to a range of compliance issues associated with Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). Prior to the Inflation Reduction Act, more than a decade of budget cuts prevented IRS from keeping pace with the increasingly complicated set of tools that the wealthiest taxpayers may use to hide their income and evade paying their share.“The IRS is now taking swift and aggressive action to close this gap,” Werfel said.
ESOPs can be complex arrangements; they are retirement plans that allow employees to own stock in their employer’s company. The IRS announced that it will continue to undertake enforcement strategies to ensure compliance with tax law requirements by employers sponsoring an ESOP. “This means spotting aggressive tax claims as they emerge and warning taxpayers. Businesses and individual taxpayers should seek advice from an independent and trusted tax professional instead of promoters focused on marketing questionable transactions that could lead to bigger trouble.”IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The IRS has already identified numerous valuation issues with employee stock and prohibited allocation of shares to disqualified persons among other issues in its current compliance efforts.
The IRS encouraged the public to report individuals who promote improper and abusive tax schemes as well as tax return preparers who deliberately prepare improper returns. To report an abusive tax scheme or a tax return preparer, people can mail or fax a completed Form 14242, Report Suspected Abusive Tax Promotions or Preparers, and any supporting materials to the IRS Lead Development Center in the Office of Promoter Investigations. Alternatively, taxpayers and tax practitioners may send the information to the IRS Whistleblower Office for a possible monetary reward.