The Internal Revenue Service has a message for companies thatowe taxes on overseas profits: Auditors are closely watching.

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The IRS included repatriation tax payments—the levies companiesowe on their accumulated offshore earnings, according to the 2017tax law—as an area of focus for the agency's auditors, according toa list on their website updated Monday. Agency officials previouslysaid the area is ripe for abuse because companies could try tominimize their foreign profits in an attempt to reduce their taxbills.

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President Donald Trump's tax overhaul requires U.S.-basedcompanies to pay tax on the trillions in profits they've stashedabroad since 1986. The new rules set a one-time rate of 15.5percent on cash and 8 percent on non-cash or non-liquid assets.Payments can be made over eight years.

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Previously, companies had to pay the old 35 percent corporaterate, but only if they brought the money back to the United States.If they kept the money overseas, they could defer any taxesdue.

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The agency also said the audit could expand beyond reviewingtaxes paid on offshore profits—it could trigger an examination ofother changes companies made to their tax strategies after the 2017law, which cut the corporate rate to 21 percent and overhauled theinternational tax rules.

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"It is anticipated that returns selected as part of the 965campaign will also be risked and, if appropriate, examined forother material issues, especially issues related to" corporateplanning in response to the tax law, the IRS said on its website, referring tothe tax code section containing the repatriation taxes.

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The congressional scorekeeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation,estimates the repatriation levy will generate $338.8 billion in taxrevenue over 10 years. Trump has said, without specifying hissource for the information, that he expects $4 trillion to returnto the U.S.

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