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May IRS News for Tax Professionals

05/16/2018 10:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

►UPCOMING WEB CONFERENCES

The Office of Professional Responsibility: What You Need to Know about Practicing before the IRS (rebroadcast)

·         Date: June 13, 2018
·         Time: 2 p.m. (ET); 1 p.m. (CT); 12 p.m. (MT); 11 a.m. (PT)
·         Register here: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/445/24842

Please check HERE for National and Local webinars for Tax Professionals.

Check HERE for webinars and videos recently posted to the IRS Video Portal.

►TAX REFORM

IRS urges ‘Paycheck Checkup’ for key groups; tax withholding may need adjustment

·         Following the recent tax law changes, it’s especially important for certain people to use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to check if they are having the right amount of withholding.

·         Among the groups who should check their withholding are people who:

·         Belong to a two-income family.

·         Work two or more jobs or only work for part of the year.

·         Have children and claim credits such as the Child Tax Credit.

·         Have older dependents, including children age 17 or older.

·         Itemized deductions on their 2017 tax returns.

·         Earn high incomes and have more complex tax returns.

·         Received large tax refunds or had large tax bills for 2017.

Newly-revised estimated tax form and publication can help people pay the right amount

·         The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed the way tax is calculated for most taxpayers, including those with substantial income not subject to withholding.

·         The newly revised estimated tax package, Form 1040-ES is designed to help taxpayers figure these payments correctly.

·         A companion publication, Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, has additional details, including worksheets and examples, that can help taxpayers determine whether they should pay estimated tax, such as those who have dividend or capital gain income, owe alternative minimum tax or have other special situations.

Inflation Adjustments Under Recently Enacted Tax Law

·         The IRS has updated the tax year 2018 annual inflation adjustments to reflect changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The tax year 2018 adjustments are generally used on tax returns filed in 2019.

New rules and limitations for depreciation and expensing under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

·         A taxpayer may elect to expense the cost of any section 179 property and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service. The new law increased the maximum deduction from $500,000 to $1 million. It also increased the phase-out threshold from $2 million to $2.5 million.

·         See the article for more information about:

Temporary 100 percent expensing for certain business assets (first-year bonus depreciation)

Changes to depreciation limitations on luxury automobiles and personal use property

Changes to treatment of certain farm property

IRS grants relief for taxpayers affected by reduction of maximum deductible Health Savings Account contributions

·         A change in the inflation adjustment calculations for 2018 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, reduced the maximum deductible HSA contribution for taxpayers with family coverage under an HDHP by $50, to $6,850.

·         For 2018, taxpayers with family coverage under an HDHP may treat $6,900 as the maximum deductible HSA contribution.

IRS issues guidance on business interest expense limitations

·         The Treasury Department and the IRS issued Notice 2018-28, which provides guidance for computing the business interest expense limitation under recent tax legislation enacted on Dec. 22, 2017.

IRS Announces 2018 Pension Plan Limitations Not Affected by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

·         The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 does not affect the tax year 2018 dollar limitations for retirement plans announced in IR 2017-177 and detailed in Notice 2017-64.

Many corporations will pay a blended federal income tax this year under the new tax reform law

·         Many U.S. corporations elect to use a fiscal year end and not a calendar year end for federal income tax reporting purposes.

 

·         Due to a provision in the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a corporation with a fiscal year that includes Jan. 1, 2018 will pay federal income tax using a blended tax rate and not the flat 21 percent tax rate under the TCJA that would generally apply to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017.

►OTHER NEWS

What Taxpayers Should do When They Need More Time to Pay

·         Here are some tips for those who can’t pay their taxes in full.

Current Year Transcript Availability

·         Use the table to determine the general timeframe when you can request a transcript for a current year Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ return filed on or before the April due date. Availability varies based on the method you used to file your return and whether you have a refund or balance due.

Sharing Economy Tax Center

·         Small business owners that offer goods and services online may be part of the sharing economy. Activities such as ride sharing, freelancing, renting a spare bedroom and crowd funding are usually taxable. The IRS has a Sharing Economy Tax Center to help these taxpayers find the information they need to meet their tax obligations.

Combat zone tax benefits now available to Armed Forces members who served in the Sinai Peninsula; IRS accepting retroactive tax refund claims back to 2015

·         U.S. Armed Forces members who served in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt may qualify for combat zone tax benefits retroactive to June 2015, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

·         Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted in December 2017, members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard who performed services in the Sinai Peninsula can now claim combat zone tax benefits.

·         Eligible service members should review Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.

►IDENTITY THEFT / DATA THEFT / SCAM ALERTS

IRS, Security Summit Partners warn of new twist on phone scam; crooks direct taxpayers to IRS.gov to “verify” calls

·         There is new twist (yes, another new twist!) on an old phone scam as criminals use telephone numbers that mimic IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) to trick taxpayers into paying non-existent tax bills.

·         In the latest version of the phone scam, criminals claim to be calling from a local IRS TAC office. Scam artists have programmed their computers to display the TAC telephone number, which appears on the taxpayer’s Caller ID when the call is made.

·         If the taxpayer questions their demand for tax payment, they direct the taxpayer to IRS.gov to look up the local TAC office telephone number to verify the phone number. The crooks hang up, wait a short time and then call back a second time, and they are able to fake or “spoof” the Caller ID to appear to be the IRS office calling. After the taxpayer has “verified” the call number, the fraudsters resume their demands for money, generally demanding payment on a debit card.

When to file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit

·         Taxpayers who experience tax-related identity theft may wonder when they should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.

·         In the vast majority of tax-related identity theft cases, there is no need to file the Form 14039 affidavit. The Form 14039 affidavit should be filed if the taxpayer attempts to file an electronic tax return and the IRS rejects it because a return bearing the taxpayer’s Social Security number already has been filed. Or, it should be filed if the IRS instructs the taxpayer to do so.

►YOUR PRACTICE

Speed Up Correspondence Audits with Secure Messaging

·         The IRS is testing the Taxpayer Digital Communications (TDC) Secure Messaging program to streamline correspondence audits. The TDC program focuses on audits involving Schedule A Itemized Deductions, the Child Care Credit and the Education Credit, which are processed by the IRS Philadelphia Campus. For approximately 19,000 of these audits, taxpayers and their tax professionals with valid powers of attorney (POA) can communicate with the IRS using secure messaging.

·         This program is by invitation only. If your client is under audit with the Philadelphia Campus and the audit letter says the client can use secure messaging to reply to the IRS, encourage your client to sign up using the website provided in their letter. Once your client registers via IRS Secure Access, you will be able to register under your own SSN and complete the request access verification process.

·         Before you can participate as a tax professional, your power of attorney must be filed on the IRS Centralized Authorization File (CAF) system. After you authenticate and the IRS verifies your power of attorney, you will have access to your own secure messaging mailbox.

·         Additional Information regarding secure messaging and other options is available on IRS.gov at Alternatives to Secure Messaging.

Tax law, cybersecurity key topics at the 2018 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums

·         With recent tax law changes and continued cybersecurity threats facing the tax community, the IRS encourages tax professionals to sign up for this summer’s Nationwide Tax Forums to get the latest information and developments.

·         Each of the five IRS Nationwide Tax Forums is a three-day event with more than 40 seminars and workshops. These focus on a wide variety of federal and state tax issues presented by experts from the IRS and partner organizations. Tax professionals can earn up to 18 continuing education credits.

·         Tax professionals who pre-register by June 15 will receive an early bird rate of $235 per person. The standard rate of $255 is available starting June 16 and ends two weeks prior to the start of each Forum. Attendees registering on-site or after the deadlines below will pay $370.         

Location                                   Forum Dates                Standard Reg Deadline

Atlanta, GA                               July 10 - 12                   June 26

National Harbor, MD                  July 17 - 19                   July 3

(near Washington, DC)

San Diego, CA                          Aug. 7 - 9                      July 24

Chicago, IL                               Aug. 21 – 23                 Aug. 7

Orlando, FL                               Sept. 11 – 13                Aug. 28

Keep All Information for a Complete Tax Record

·         As a tax professional, you know how important it is to keep good records. Did you know that includes records of electronic and telephone contacts with the IRS? If questions later arise, having a complete record of all documents and contacts may speed up resolution of your issue.

·         If you need to contact the IRS by telephone, note key information from the conversation, such as:

The date and time of the call

The name and employee identification number of the contact representative

Any resolution or information you received from the representative.

·         Before you call, also check IRS.gov for the topics and information people ask about most. You may find the information you are looking for without having to call the IRS.

►EMPLOYERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS:

Business owners: Ensure employees check their withholding

·         Business owners should remind employees to check their withholding and do a “paycheck checkup” following changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Using the Withholding Calculator is the best way for employees to check that they aren’t having too much or too little tax withheld from their paychecks.

IRS provides certain small employers with relief for the small business health care tax credit for 2017 and later years

·         The IRS issued guidance that provides relief for certain small employers that wish to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for 2017 and later years.

·         In general, the relief provided helps employers who first claim the credit for all or part of 2016 or a later taxable year for coverage offered through a SHOP Marketplace, but don’t have SHOP Marketplace plans available to offer to employees for all or part of the remainder of the credit period because the county where the employer is located has no SHOP Marketplace plans.

►NEWS FROM OTHER AGENCIES

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

·         Mission Statement: The Wage and Hour mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the Nation's workforce.

·         The WHD enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes.

►IN EVERY ISSUE

Tools for Tax Professionals

·         Subscribe to e-News for Tax Professionals

Preparers can register to get this electronic newsletter. It’s one of the best ways for tax professionals to get the latest national and local IRS news. (Editor’s note: most of the articles in this monthly newsletter come from e-News for Tax Professionals.)

  • Tax Scams / Consumer Alerts
  • We send out emails each time there’s a new tax scam. It gets confusing to remember all of them. You don’t have to! This page lists ALL scams targeting taxpayers, tax professionals and others

·   Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

Loads of info here, including:

Federal Trade Commission:


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