IRS Simplifies Reporting Requirements for Corps and Shareholders

The IRS is heavily promoting electronic filing options. This promotion has run into problems with corporations because of complex regulations. The IRS is now moving to correct this problem.

IRS Simplifies Reporting Requirements for Corps and Shareholders

Corporate tax filings are legendary for their complexity, number of forms that must be filed and general burden they create. Large, publicly traded corporations make every effort to file the proper forms, but the burden is such that when all is said and done, one corporation reported it had to file the equivalent of three tax forms for every working hour of the year. For small corporations and shareholders, the burden is not much less.

Given this massive tax burden, the idea of a corporation filing electronic tax returns is laughable. The IRS has finally realized as much. In response, it is making an effort to simplify or do away with regulations. In fact, the service has changed over 20 different regulatory groups to massively simplify a variety of tax situations.

One area of simplification has to do with the transfer of interest in certain types of corporate share transfers. Known as a section 351 transfer, the regulations previously required both the corporation and shareholder to file up to 18 different information items. Yes, 18! To simplify this mess, the IRS is now requiring the filings only for individuals that own more than five percent of a publicly traded company or one percent of a private company. Those still required to file will now only have to provide very basic information. This is a vast improvement on the old system.

One of the big red tape problems for corporate and shareholder filings is a simple one. The IRS has historically required everything to be physically signed by certain shareholders. This was essentially a method for forcing shareholders to come forward regardless of the corporate planning being done. The IRS is now de-emphasizing the signature requirements and allowing the same forms to simply be filed electronically. It sounds like a small thing until you go through the experience of sending a form to 15 different shareholders around the country.

The effort of the IRS to simply corporate and shareholder filings should be applauded. It is a small step in dealing with a large problem.

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