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On 13 March 2023, FDA issued a notice regarding guidance documents related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including which of the guidance documents will no longer be in effect after expiration of the declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). The notice followed a Department of Health and Human Services announcement on 9 February that it is planning for the declaration of the PHE to expire on 11 May 2023.

On 21 February 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued OFAC Compliance Communique: Guidance on Authorized Transactions Related to Earthquake Relief Efforts in Syria. The Guidance responds to specific questions OFAC received related to earthquake relief efforts in Syria and explains how to provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people in compliance with US sanctions.

Clean hydrogen plays a critical role in net zero strategies of the world’s leading economies. The US and the EU have already taken significant steps to position themselves at the forefront of the global race to net zero by launching state support packages on an unprecedented scale. Please join Baker McKenzie’s experts on 19 April 2023 at 3:00 pm GMT for a compare and contrast discussion of the US Inflation Reduction Act and the Green Deal Industrial Plan for the Net-Zero Age with a focus on hydrogen.

On 9 March 2023, the Biden administration released its revenue proposals for fiscal year 2024, which included several proposals to revise the tax code related to cryptocurrency and other digital assets. The Greenbook contains a number of tax proposals relating to digital assets, which are defined in section 6045(g)(3)(D) as: “any digital representation of value which is recorded on a cryptographically secured distributed ledger or any similar technology as specified by the Secretary.” Some of these proposals were included in the Biden administration budget proposals for fiscal years 2022 and 2023, or in bills introduced in the last session of Congress.

On 14 March 2023, we recognized Equal Pay Day in the US. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn the same amount that men earned in the previous year. Because women earn less, on average, than men (according to the US Census Bureau), they must work longer for the same amount of pay. It is vital to know that the wage gap is even greater for most women of color. In the first video of the ID&E IMPACT video chats miniseries, Baker McKenzie’s Employment & Compensation lawyers discuss the increasing requirements for employers to disclose pay information, and practical tips to help negotiate the current landscape, particularly as a multistate employer.

Baker McKenzie’s Sanctions Blog published the alert titled BIS, DOJ and OFAC publish compliance note warning public of Russian evasions of export controls and sanctions on 10 March 2023. Read the article via the link here. Please also visit our Sanctions Blog for the most recent updates.

On 3 March 2023, the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice published details of a three-year Pilot Program Regarding Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks. The Compensation Pilot Program is effective 15 March 2023 and from that date it will be applicable to all corporate criminal matters handled by the DOJ Criminal Division. At the same time, DOJ also updated its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance document to reflect the criteria introduced by the Compensation Pilot Program, among other updates.

Recent developments across the three branches of government address the tax treatment of syndicated conservation easement transactions. The US Tax Court first held as invalid the notice designating the transactions as listed transactions. The Treasury and IRS then issued modified guidance in the form of proposed regulations, addressing the notice and comment deficiencies cited by the court. Finally, Congress enacted legislation separately addressing issues presented by these transactions.

The IRS is laying the groundwork for more aggressive and contentious transfer pricing controversies, recently revealing that it will more actively consider applying the economic substance doctrine and related penalties in those cases. It is unclear how the IRS would apply the doctrine to otherwise economically meaningful related party arrangements, but the IRS’s shot across the bow should be taken seriously, and the new approach will likely soon be made manifest at the examination stage.

On 6 March 2023, FDA issued a Dietary Supplement Ingredient Directory. The Directory is hosted on the agency’s website and is intended to help the public quickly find what the FDA has said about a specific ingredient and whether the agency has taken any action with regard to the ingredient. Importantly, the Directory will replace the previous FDA Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List, which listed ingredients identified by the agency as not lawfully marketed in dietary supplements.