The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) sought to replace existing partnership audit regulations with a streamlined set of rules for auditing partnerships and their partners at the partnership level. Under the final proposed audit regulations (BBA Regulations), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can now impose an assessment for underpayment of income tax directly on a partnership, marking a significant departure from the current treatment of partnerships as pass-through entities not subject to federal income tax. A recent presentation by Baker Tilly Virchow Krause offered a comprehensive overview of the BBA Regulations and practical ways for managers to address these changes. The program was moderated by Mark Heroux, a principal at Baker Tilly and former trial attorney in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, and featured Colin Walsh and Brad Polizzano, Baker Tilly senior manager and manager, respectively. This article, the first in a two-part series, provides an overview of the BBA Regulations, identifies key ways in which they differ from existing partnership audit regulations and explains the new concept of a “partnership representative.” The second article
will discuss the treatment of underpayments under the BBA Regulations and the option for partnerships to push out the adjustment to those who were partners during the year that was under review; the application of Accounting Standards Codification 740 to partnerships; the ways in which most managers will need to update their partnership agreements; and the effect of the BBA Regulations on the filing of state tax returns. For additional recent insights from Baker Tilly, see “How Private Fund Managers Can Navigate the Hazards of State Income-Sourcing Rules
” (Jul. 13, 2017); and “How Tax Reforms Proposed by the Trump Administration and House Republicans May Affect Private Fund Managers
” (Feb. 9, 2017).