Partnerships, S corporations, and U.S. persons with interests in foreign partnerships may rely on transition relief from penalties for tax years beginning in 2021 with respect to new Schedules K-2 and K-3. These schedules may be required for:
- Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income,
- Form 1120-S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation, and
- Form 8865, Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Partnerships.
The IRS also released new draft instructions for Schedules K-2 and K-3. Comments are requested.
Reporting Requirement for Interests in Foreign Partnerships
For tax years beginning in 2021, two new forms may be required when a partnership files Form 1065 or Form 8865, or an S corporation files Form 1120-S (1) Schedule K-2, Partners’ Distributive Share Items—International, and (2) Schedule K-3, Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.
The IRS released final versions of these schedules on June 3 and 4, 2021, after receiving comments on draft versions it released in July of 2020.
Waived Penalties for Failing to File or Furnish Schedules K-2 and K-3
The IRS recognizes that a filer may not have systems or procedures in place to obtain information about its partners, shareholders, or the controlled foreign partnership (CFP) to determine whether and how it must file a part of Schedules K-2 and K-3.
Accordingly, for tax years beginning in 2021, penalties will not be imposed for incorrect or incomplete reporting on Schedules K-2 and K-3 if the partnership or S corporation establishes to the satisfaction of the IRS that it made a good faith effort to comply with the requirements to file or furnish the schedules. A Schedule K-2 or K-3 filer that does not establish that it made a good faith effort to comply with the new requirements is not eligible for this penalty relief.
Good Faith Effort to Complete Schedules K-2 and K-3
In determining whether a filer makes a good faith effort to complete Schedules K-2 and K-3, the IRS will take into account:
- the extent to which the filer has changed its systems, processes, and procedures for collecting and processing relevant information;
- the extent to which the filer has obtained information from partners, shareholders, or the CFP, or applied reasonable assumptions when information is not obtained; and
- the steps the filer has taken to modify the partnership or S corporation agreement or governing instrument to facilitate the sharing of information with partners and shareholders that is relevant to determining whether and how to file Schedules K-2 and K-3.
With respect to relevant information about partners, shareholders, or the CFP, the IRS will assess the effort the Schedule K-2/K-3 filer made to obtain this information and the reasonableness of any assumptions, taking into account the relationship between the Schedule K-2/K-3 filer and its partners, shareholders or the CFP. For example, the appropriate level of diligence and/or the reasonableness of an assumption may differ with respect to a partner that manages or controls the partnership, or a partner with a significant interest in the partnership, as compared to partners holding small interests for which there may not be the same ease of access to information. A Schedule K-2/K-3 filer may have made a good faith effort despite being unsuccessful in obtaining information from its partners, shareholders, or the CFP.
The IRS requests comments on the new draft instructions to Schedules K-2 and K-3 for tax years beginning in 2021. The IRS is especially in comments regarding:
- instances where the instructions do not provide sufficient guidance on how to complete the returns or where additional clarity is needed;
- suggestions for addressing structures and situations that make it difficult to determine certain information (for example, tiered partnership structures or publicly-traded partnerships; and
- reasonable assumptions Schedule K-2/K-3 filers could make in determining whether and how to complete Schedules K-2 and K-3 for tax years beginning after 2021, and whether these assumptions may differ between various parts of the Schedules K-2 and K-3.
Comments must be submitted in writing and should include a reference to Notice 2021-39. The IRS strongly encourages electronic comments submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov (type IRS-2021-0006 in the search field on the regulations.gov homepage to find this notice and submit comments). However, to the extent practicable, the IRS will also consider paper comments it receives by mail.