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Breaking: IRS Launches Voluntary Disclosure Program For Mistakenly Claimed Pandemic Tax Credits

Breaking: IRS Launches Voluntary Disclosure Program For Mistakenly Claimed Pandemic Tax Credits

To address the surge in erroneous claims for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), the IRS has introduced a "voluntary disclosure program" for businesses seeking to rectify their mistakes. The program, detailed by CNBC, was announced as a limited-time offer, enabling companies to repay credits received at a 20% discount to cover third-party promoter fees. The deadline for application is March 22, 2024, making it crucial for eligible businesses to act promptly.

The ERTC, initially designed to support small businesses affected by the pandemic, has become a target for misleading promotions, prompting the IRS to crack down on dubious filings. The new voluntary disclosure program follows the announcement that over 20,000 ERC rejection letters will be sent to taxpayers as part of the ongoing IRS initiative.

Notably, the voluntary disclosure program is specifically for companies that have received the claim or credit but have not yet heard from the IRS, excluding those already identified by the agency as ineligible. To qualify, companies must provide the IRS with information on advisors or tax preparers who assisted with the erroneous claim, along with details about the services rendered.

Applying for the program involves filing Form 15435, which can be submitted through the IRS's document upload tool. Participants who repay 80% of the credit upon signing the closing agreement will not incur interest or penalties. However, interest and penalties will apply for repayment via installment agreements.

This development aligns with the IRS's ongoing efforts to combat questionable ERTC claims, as evidenced by the issuance of rejection letters to fictitious entities that either did not exist during the eligible period or lacked paid employees.

Credit: Zach Gibson/Stringer

Furthermore, per JD Supra, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel announced an impending launch of a new Voluntary Disclosure Program in late December 2023 or early January 2024. This program aims to provide taxpayers with questionable payments the opportunity to rectify their claims and avoid future enforcement actions.

As part of the initiative, the IRS has also implemented a moratorium on processing ERTC claims, slated to continue until at least the end of December 2023. Simultaneously, the IRS has initiated criminal investigations against promoters and expanded civil tax audits of ERTC refund claims.

Businesses are encouraged to review the special programs introduced by the IRS, including the voluntary disclosure program, to rectify any misleading claims associated with the ERTC. The emphasis on proactive participation is paramount, given the limited-time nature of this opportunity to correct erroneous filings and avoid potential enforcement actions.

Feature Image Credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

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Rebekah Barton

Rebekah Barton

Rebekah's search engine optimization career began completely by accident as a college student. Over the course of her career so far, she has "grown up" with the SEO industry, from writing content while juggling classes to managing her own teams of writers and overseeing SEO strategy in subsequent roles. She is excited to bring her passion for high-quality content to CountingWorks, Inc.

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