As noted earlier, the new tax law was pushed through Congress in record speed. It appears to benefit most large businesses but contains a number of ambiguities. While many CTOs have requested that their company’s government affairs teams and industry groups get clarification and guidance, they have had limited success. The general feedback received is that the divided Congress has little appetite for making changes to the tax law.
CTOs report that their industry lobbyists and company’s government liaisons are either reluctant to push Congress too forcefully for additional legislative changes — with many simply showing appreciation for their efforts in passing a new tax law — or have moved on to other issues. The consensus is that clarification is highly unlikely to come from Congress in the form of a technical corrections bill for the reasons mentioned above.
Treasury reportedly is receptive to issuing regulations on the international tax and other provisions and has promised additional guidance in a number of areas well before year end. However, Treasury is still trying to figure out the limits of its authority and does not want to go beyond the scope of the new tax law. The bottom line is that no one seems to really know when it might happen, how extensive it will be, or even what positions Treasury might be taking.
Companies undoubtedly will continue to seek clarification. Most CTOs believe that it’s more effective to work through industry associations, part of a group of companies within an industry, or even cross-industry if there are common concerns. The IRS and Treasury prefer to address issues on a more comprehensive basis as opposed problems only affecting one or a limited number of companies.
— Are you conducting lobbying efforts through your industry organization, crossindustry groups, your government affairs team, or all?
— What information has been brought back and has it been valuable or actionable?
— Have you compiled a list of tax issues that affect your company and prioritized which are most important and need answering most quickly?