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  • 04/27/2018 2:40 PM | Anonymous

    Published on Thursday, January 25, 2018 by Jeff Budiac
    In today’s strong economy, businesses large and small are booming. But with growth comes added complexity. Are businesses using accounting software that’s up to the task?

    Read more here...

  • 04/16/2018 12:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Now in its tenth year, the AICPA Leadership Academy continues to encourage emerging leaders, who understand the legacy of the profession and have the passion (and skills) necessary to address the challenges of an everchanging global business environment, to volunteer at state and national levels. Participants focus on deepening their unique leadership strengths thereby providing a solid foundation for volunteer positions. 

    Scheduled for Oct. 7-11, 2018, in Durham, NC, the 4-day event focuses on developing the four Cs:

    1. Competency: Personal and professional leadership competencies
    2. Context: Understanding the larger context of the accounting profession and business environment
    3. Collaboration: Engagement in highly collaborative learning experiences
    4. Community: Building new peer relationships

    We hope you will consider sponsoring or recommending a deserving “rising-star” for this once-in-lifetime event. We would love to see a candidate from ND!

    Applications are being accepted with a deadline of May 31, 2018. For more detailed information, direct your emerging leader(s) to this website.

  • 04/16/2018 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The AICPA is working with the AACSB to increase CPA practitioner engagement in the accreditation process. Increasing accounting practitioner engagement in the accreditation process will add value for the university accounting program seeking accreditation/reaffirmation and ultimately for the profession. The AICPA has agreed to recruit 75 CPA volunteers for the program. Selected practitioners will be a vital part of the accreditation process and governance structure by volunteering to serve on an AACSB accounting peer review team or AACSB committee. Click here for more info.

  • 03/26/2018 1:28 PM | Anonymous

    Summit partners warn tax pros to be on alert; step up security measures

    IR-2018-68, March 22, 2018

    WASHINGTON – The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry warned tax professionals to be alert to taxpayer data theft in the final weeks of the tax filing season. The Security Summit partners urged tax professionals to enhance their data safeguards immediately.

    In recent days, the “New Client” scam has re-emerged, signaling ongoing attempts by cybercriminals to target tax professionals with spear phishing schemes. In this scam, a “new client” emails the tax pro about a tax issue, attaching documents to their email that they claim to be an IRS notice or prior-year tax information. The documents actually contain malware that, if opened, enable the criminals to steal taxpayer information.

    This filing season, the Internal Revenue Service has seen a steep upswing in the number of reported thefts of taxpayer data from tax practitioner offices. Seventy-five firms reported taxpayer data thefts in January and February, nearly a 60 percent increase from the same time last year. Much of this increase follows one scam, the erroneous refund scheme, that affected thousands of taxpayers and numerous practitioners earlier this filing season.

    January through April represents prime season for cybercriminals to attack tax practitioners, but data thefts can occur at any time. Tax professionals should be on high alert and deploy strong security measures as the filing season reaches a peak with the April 17 deadline approaching. Criminals try to take advantage of this extremely busy time of year when tax professionals are in greater contact with taxpayers and are therefore in possession of more data.

    Some tax professionals may be unaware they are victims of data theft. Here are some signs:

    • Client e-filed returns begin to reject because returns with their Social Security numbers were already filed;
    • The number of returns filed with tax practitioner’s Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) exceeds number of clients;
    • Clients who haven’t filed tax returns begin to receive authentication letters (5071C, 4883C, 5747C) from the IRS;
    • Network computers running slower than normal;
    • Computer cursors moving or changing numbers without touching the keyboard;
    • Network computers locking out tax practitioners.

    Identity thieves often are part of sophisticated criminal syndicates based in the U.S. and abroad. These syndicates are resourceful, being tax savvy and having digital expertise to pull off these crimes. They use a variety of tactics to break into tax professionals’ computer systems and steal client information if appropriate security measures have not been taken.

    A common tactic, called spear phishing, occurs when the criminal singles out one or more tax preparers in a firm and sends an email posing as a trusted source such as the IRS, e-Services, a tax software provider or a cloud storage provider. Thieves also may pose as clients or new prospects. The objective is to trick the tax professional into disclosing sensitive usernames and passwords or to open a link or attachment that secretly downloads malware enabling the thieves to track every keystroke.

    The “New Client” scam is one form of spear phishing. Here’s an example: “I just moved here from Michigan. I have an urgent Tax issue and I was hoping you could help,” the email begins. “I hope you are taking on new clients.” The email says one attachment is the IRS notice and the other attachment is the prospective client’s prior-year tax return. This scam has many variations. (See IR-2018-2, Security Summit Partners Warn Tax Pros of Heightened Fraud Activity as Filing Season Approaches.)

    The IRS Criminal Investigation Division continues to investigate a series of data thefts at tax preparers’ offices that occurred earlier this year in which the criminals added a new twist to their scheme to file fraudulent tax returns. The thieves directed the fraudulent refunds into the taxpayers’ actual bank accounts. This scam has claimed thousands of taxpayer victims. (See IR-2018-17, Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds.)

    Although reports of this data theft have lessened recently, taxpayers and tax professionals should remain on alert for this scam. Taxpayers should return any fraudulent refunds to the IRS as well as discuss security options for their checking or savings accounts with their financial institutions. Here are the recommended security steps by the Security Summit:

    • Learn to recognize phishing emails, especially those pretending to be from the IRS, e-Services, a tax software provider or cloud storage provider. Never open a link or any attachment from a suspicious email. Remember: The IRS never initiates contact via email.
    • Create a data security plan using IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, and Small Business Information Security – The Fundamentals, by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 
    • Review internal controls:
      • Install anti-malware/anti-virus security software on all devices (laptops, desktops, routers, tablets and phones) and keep software set to automatically update.
      • Use strong and unique passwords of 10 or more mixed characters, password protect all wireless devices, use a phrase or words that are easily remembered and change passwords periodically.
      • Encrypt all sensitive files/emails and use strong password protections.
      • Back up sensitive data to a safe and secure external source not connected fulltime to a network.
      • Wipe clean or destroy old computer hard drives that contain sensitive data.
      • Limit access to taxpayer data to individuals who need to know.
      • Check IRS e-Services account weekly for number of returns filed with EFIN.
    • Those who experience a security incident or a breach resulting in data disclosure should report the incident to the appropriate IRS Stakeholder Liaison.
    • Stay connected to the IRS through subscriptions to e-News for Tax Professionals, Quick Alert and Social Media.
  • 03/26/2018 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    Here are some updated tax reform resources from the AICPA:

    AICPA’s tax team has updated two (2) PowerPoint presentations on the impact of the new tax laws, which you can find at this Dropbox link.  One presentation is for individuals, and one covers business considerations.  

    More at AICPA Tax Reform Resource Center

    The AICPA’s Tax Reform Resource Center is a great repository of resources – including this March 12 Journal of Accountancy podcast on how national tax reform is impacting state taxes.


  • 02/19/2018 9:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub. L. 115-97) has created quite a stir in the tax community regarding the status of meals in a business context. Congress moved in the Act to deny any business deduction for entertainment. And the Conference Committee Report allowed that meals “associated with operating” a trade or business remain deductible.

    But the one example the Committee Report cited is one where the meal is clearly related to travel—a class of meals no one would have doubted was still an allowed expense under the law. That leaves open the far less easy to resolve question regarding what other meals still remain deductible.

    This article, written in mid-February 2018, cannot give a conclusive, final answer to this question—that will need to await IRS guidance or eventual court cases on the issue. But we can look at what we do know right now are clearly are or are not deductible, as well as recognize those expenditures for which no absolute conclusions can yet be drawn.

    To read the rest of the document, please click here to download the PDF.

  • 02/07/2018 1:39 PM | Anonymous

    A society staffer received an email with a attached zip file attached purporting to be tax info.

    They said they’d be in the office later to sign the return.

    We didn’t click on the link … careful ! 


  • 01/25/2018 3:58 PM | Anonymous
    • 1)     Filing season start date

    The start date was announced:

    ·         January 29 for individual tax returns

    ·         January 8 for business tax returns

    For 2017, medical expenses deductible if over 7.5% of AGI, not 10% as planned in a previous tax bill.

    Standard Mileage Rates for 2018 Up from Rates for 2017

     Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

    54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
    18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
    14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

    • 5)     Form 1095-B and 1095-C
    • Because of these extensions, individuals may not receive their Forms 1095-B or 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2017 individual income tax return. While information on these forms may assist in preparing a return, the forms are not required to file. Taxpayers can prepare and file their returns using other information about their health coverage. They do not have to wait for Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to file.

     6)     New Scam

    Consumer Alert: IRS Warns Taxpayers, Tax Pros of New Email Scam Targeting Hotmail Users

  • 01/25/2018 3:12 PM | Anonymous

    The IRS continues to review its procedures to better protect sensitive taxpayer data. As part of this effort, the IRS will request additional information from tax professionals who contact us through the Practitioner Priority Service or any toll-free IRS telephone number.

    This procedural change will require tax practitioners to provide personal information so that our customer service representatives may confirm their identities. This additional information may include data such as your Social Security number and your date of birth. This personal information, in addition to the CAF number, is necessary to verify the identities of the person to whom we are releasing taxpayer information.

    We’ve also made an update to Form 2848, Power of Attorney, and Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, that will require you to inform your client if you are using an Intermediate Service Provider to access client transcripts via the Transcript Delivery System. A box must be checked if you are using a third party. We define Intermediate Service Providers as privately owned companies that offer subscriptions to their software and/or services that the taxpayer’s authorized representative can use to retrieve, store, and display tax return data (personal or business) instead of obtaining tax information directly from the IRS. The IRS must know who is using our tools; and taxpayers must know when a party other than their authorized representative is involved in accessing their sensitive data.

    We realize there have been a number of changes for tax professionals in recent weeks. But each change is intended to enhance protections for you and your clients. Unfortunately, business as usual is no longer an option. Cybercriminals are well-funded, persistent and adept at stealing data from outside the IRS and using it to eventually file fraudulent tax returns. As cybercriminals evolve, so must we.

    As part of our efforts, we also have strengthened protections for IRS e-Services. If you are an e-Services account holder, we urge you to immediately upgrade your account through our new two-factor identity verification process. Some of you may need to complete this process by mail which could add 10 days or more to the process. Please, do not wait until the start of filing season or until you have an urgent need for one of the e-Services tools before updating your account.

    In the future, we will be asking each e-Service user to sign a new user agreement intended to ensure that all tax professionals understand their security obligations. We will share this information with you in advance.

    Protecting you and your clients from identity theft is a paramount issue for us. But we can’t do it alone. We need your help and your understanding as we continue to review and enhance our procedures.

    -- NPL Communications
    ACA Information Center for Tax Professionals
    Tax Professionals page on irs.gov

  • 01/10/2018 3:53 PM | Anonymous

    IRS Message to the Tax Professional Community:

    The IRS continues to review its procedures to better protect sensitive taxpayer data. As part of this effort, the IRS will request additional information from tax professionals who contact us through the Practitioner Priority Service or any toll-free IRS telephone number.

    This procedural change will require tax practitioners to provide personal information so that our customer service representatives may confirm their identities. This additional information may include data such as your Social Security number and your date of birth. This personal information, in addition to the CAF number, is necessary to verify the identities of the person to whom we are releasing taxpayer information.

    We’ve also made an update to Form 2848, Power of Attorney, and Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, that will require you to inform your client if you are using an Intermediate Service Provider to access client transcripts via the Transcript Delivery System. A box must be checked if you are using a third party. We define Intermediate Service Providers as privately owned companies that offer subscriptions to their software and/or services that the taxpayer’s authorized representative can use to retrieve, store, and display tax return data (personal or business) instead of obtaining tax information directly from the IRS. The IRS must know who is using our tools; and taxpayers must know when a party other than their authorized representative is involved in accessing their sensitive data.

    We realize there have been a number of changes for tax professionals in recent weeks. But each change is intended to enhance protections for you and your clients. Unfortunately, business as usual is no longer an option. Cybercriminals are well-funded, persistent and adept at stealing data from outside the IRS and using it to eventually file fraudulent tax returns. As cybercriminals evolve, so must we.

    As part of our efforts, we also have strengthened protections for IRS e-Services. If you are an e-Services account holder, we urge you to immediately upgrade your account through our new two-factor identity verification process. Some of you may need to complete this process by mail which could add 10 days or more to the process. Please, do not wait until the start of filing season or until you have an urgent need for one of the e-Services tools before updating your account.

    In the future, we will be asking each e-Service user to sign a new user agreement intended to ensure that all tax professionals understand their security obligations. We will share this information with you in advance.

    Protecting you and your clients from identity theft is a paramount issue for us. But we can’t do it alone. We need your help and your understanding as we continue to review and enhance our procedures.

    Thank you.  


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