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  • 08/28/2017 4:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Various rule changes are being advanced by the Accountancy Board, including:

    ·   making the CPE requirements the same for public and private CPAs, starting with the 3-year period that ends June 2022

    ·   including ethics content

    ·   allowing some level of work when in retired status, and specify an age of 60, and requiring use of the term “retired”

    ·   raising fee authorizations, but with no actual fee increases included

    Details about the rules, hearings, sharing comments, etc. are available at, or 800-532-5904.

    There are various steps in the rule change process, including the public hearings held in Grand Forks and Bismarck. Attendance was light at the hearings, but the Society submitted a letter addressing member sentiments.

    The next step in the process is approval by the Attorney General (AG), after which materials go to the Legislative Council. The Administrative Rules Committee will address the changes in a future meeting, at which the Board of Accountancy will be on hand to respond to inquiries, and the public may also share comments. The rules aren’t yet on an agenda, but the Rule Committee schedule is found at CLICK.  

  • 08/18/2017 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The IRS today announced that a planned outage of all e-Services tools and applications has been postponed. The extended delay will allow for some additional improvements to take place in the final product.

    When a new date is set, we will issue a follow up Quick Alert.  Until further notice, all e-Services tools and applications are available to registered users, except for AIR users. The Affordable Care Act Information Return (AIR) participants will be unable to submit new or change existing Transmitter Control Code applications until this platform upgrade takes place.

    The planned outage, when it occurs, will allow for the e-Services suite of tools to be transferred to a new digital platform. The new platform will conclude a years-long effort to upgrade the technology for e-Services tools.

  • 08/16/2017 4:27 PM | Anonymous

    There will be a planned outage of all e-Services tools from 6 p.m. Thursday, August 17 through 6 a.m. Monday August 21. During this period, users will be unable to access the Transcript Delivery System (TDS) and Secure Object Repository (SOR), Registration and TIN Matching. All applications also will be offline until August 22.

    Affordable Care Act Information Return (AIR) filers may resume submission of applications for Transmitter Control Codes starting on August 22. The application process for AIR users has been offline since July because of the e-Services platform transition.

    Also on August 21, a redesigned landing page for e-Services will launch with a new look and feel.

    The scheduled outage will allow us to complete the transition of e-Services to a new platform that will improve the look and feel of applications and complete a multi-year technological upgrade. We will also perform testing during that four-day period.

    We apologize for the inconvenience but we wanted to give you early notice so you could plan accordingly. A Quick Alert will be sent shortly, and we’ll keep you informed as we move forward. 

  • 08/16/2017 4:26 PM | Anonymous

    IR-2017-125, Aug. 1, 2017                                                             

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals that ransomware attacks are on the rise worldwide as bad actors here and abroad infiltrate computer systems and hold sensitive data hostage.

    The IRS is aware of a handful of tax practitioners who have been victimized by ransomware attacks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently cautioned that ransomware attacks are a growing and evolving crime threatening the private and public sectors as well as individuals.

    The “Don’t Take the Bait” campaign, a 10-week security awareness campaign aimed at tax professionals, hopes to increase awareness about these attacks. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, working together as the Security Summit, urge practitioners to learn to protect themselves. This is part of the ongoing Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself effort.

    “Tax professionals face an array of security issues that could threaten their clients and their business,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We urge people to take the time to understand these threats and take the steps to protect themselves. Don’t just assume your computers and systems are safe.”

    Ransomware is a type of malware that infects computers, networks and servers and encrypts (locks) data. Cybercriminals then demand a ransom to release the data. Users generally are unaware that malware has infected their systems until they receive the ransom request.

    The 2017 Phishing Trends and Intelligence Report issued annually by Phishlabs named ransomware one of two transformative events of 2016 and called its rapid rise a public epidemic.

    In May 2017, a ransomware attack dubbed “WannaCry” targeted users who failed to install a critical update to their Microsoft Windows operating system or who were using pirated versions of the operating system. Within a day, criminals held data on 230,000 computers in 150 countries for ransom.

    The most common delivery method of this malware is through phishing emails. The emails lure unsuspecting users to either open a link or an attachment. However, the FBI also has warned that ransomware is evolving and cybercriminals can infect computers by other methods, such as a link that redirects users to a website that infects their computer.

    Victims should not pay a ransom. Paying it further encourages the criminals. Often the scammers won’t provide the decryption key even after a ransom is paid.

    Tips to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

    Tax practitioners – as well as businesses, payroll departments, human resource organizations and taxpayers – should talk to an IT security expert and consider these steps to help prepare for and protect against ransomware attacks:

    ·         Make sure employees are aware of ransomware and of their critical roles in protecting the organization’s data.

    ·         For digital devices, ensure that security patches are installed on operating systems, software and firmware. This step may be made easier through a centralized patch management system.

    ·         Ensure that antivirus and anti-malware solutions are set to automatically update and conduct regular scans.

    ·         Manage the use of privileged accounts — no users should be assigned administrative access unless necessary, and only use administrator accounts when needed.

    ·         Configure computer access controls, including file, directory and network share permissions, appropriately. If users require read-only information, do not provide them with write-access to those files or directories.

    ·         Disable macro scripts from office files transmitted over e-mail.

    ·         Implement software restriction policies or other controls to prevent programs from executing from common ransomware locations, such as temporary folders supporting popular Internet browsers, compression/decompression programs.

    ·         Back up data regularly and verify the integrity of those backups.

    ·         Secure backup data. Make sure the backup device isn’t constantly connected to the computers and networks they are backing up. This will ensure the backup data remains unaffected by ransomware attempts.

    Victims should immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, Tax practitioners who fall victim to a ransomware attack also should contact their local IRS stakeholder liaison.

  • 08/16/2017 4:24 PM | Anonymous

    IR-2017-126, Aug. 4, 2017

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating tax software providers and attempting to steal usernames and passwords.

    This sophisticated scam yet again displays cybercriminals’ tax savvy and underscores the need for tax professionals to take strong security measures to protect their clients and protect their business. This is the time of year when many software providers issue software upgrades and when tax professionals are working to meet the Oct. 15 deadline for extension filers.

    These types of phishing scams are why the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, acting as the Security Summit, launched the 10-week Don’t Take the Bait campaign currently underway. This awareness effort highlights the many tactics of cybercriminals as well as the steps tax professionals can take to protect their clients and themselves.

    This latest scam email variation comes with a subject line of “Software Support Update” and highlights an “Important Software System Upgrade.” It thanks recipients for continuing to trust the software provider to serve their tax preparation needs and mimics the software providers’ email templates.

    The e-mail informs the recipients that due to a recent software upgrade, the preparer must revalidate their login credentials. It provides a link to a fictitious website that mirrors the software provider’s actual login page.

    Instead of upgrading software, the tax professionals are providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.

    The Security Summit reminds tax professionals that software providers do not embed links into emails asking them to validate passwords. Also, tax professionals and taxpayers should never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email.

    Tax professionals can review additional tips to protect clients and themselves at Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself on

    Tax professionals who receive emails purportedly from their tax software providers seeking login credentials should send those scam emails to their tax software provider. 

    For Windows users, follow this process to help the investigation of these scam emails:

    1. Use “Save As” to save the scam. Under “save as type” in the drop-down menu, select “plain text” and save to the desktop. Do not click on any links.
    2. Open a new email and attach this saved email as a file.
    3. Send a new email containing the attachment to the tax software provider, as well as a copy to
  • 08/08/2017 1:59 PM | Anonymous

    Think a data breach can’t happen to you? Think again… “Don’t Take the Bait.”

    Tax professionals increasingly are targets of national and international cybercriminal syndicates that are well funded, digitally adept and tax savvy. Each week the IRS receives three to five reports of data breaches at tax professionals’ offices. That rate is not sustainable.

    To assist tax practitioners to better protect themselves, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, partnering as the Security Summit, have launched a 10-week “Don’t take the Bait” campaign detailing specific scam tactics and how to counter them.  These news items are being issued each Tuesday.

    Here are the first three news releases plus an associated fact sheet.

    IRS Newswire

    Don’t Take the Bait, Step 1: Avoid Spear Phishing Emails (IR-17-119)
    Don’t Take the Bait, Step 2: Be Alert to Account Takeover Tactics (IR-17-120)
    Don’t Take the Bait, Step 3: Security Summit Safeguards Help Protect Individuals; Renew Focus on Curbing Data Breaches and Business Identity Theft (IR-17-123)

    IRS Fact Sheet

    Information on Identity Theft for Business, Partnerships and Estate and Trusts (FS-17-10) *

    *If you prepare 1120, 1120S, 1041s or K1s, please read.

    I’ll be sharing these news releases each Tuesday. You can also view them at:

    This series is available in Spanish, too.

    Please share this with your members, staff, colleagues and anyone who may benefit from this information.

    Alan Gregerson

    IRS/Senior Stakeholder Liaison

    Bloomington, MN 55425

    E-mail, Phone 763-347-735 

    Subscribe to IRS Newswire 

  • 06/28/2017 3:16 PM | Anonymous

    Here is important update on the ITIN renewal processes, and links for additional information on the ITINs.

  • 06/21/2017 4:16 PM | Anonymous


    July 2017


    July 19, 2:00 p.m. (ET), 1:00 p.m. (CT), 12:00 p.m. (MT), 11:00 a.m. (PT)

    The Office of Professional Responsibility: What You Need to Know About Practicing Before the IRS

    • This FREE 2-hour broadcast is for all tax professionals.
    • Topics include:
    • Regulations governing tax practice before the IRS (Circular 230, Rev. 6/2014)
    • Due diligence obligations of tax professionals
    • Overview of other key Circular 230 provisions
    • Practitioner responsibilities to their clients and to the tax administration system
    • Best practices for all tax professionals
    • Office of Professional Responsibility policies and procedures
    • Certificates of completion are being offered. Earn 2 CE credits of Ethics.
    • Click HERE for National and Local webinars for Tax Professionals.
    • Click HERE for webinars and videos recently posted to the IRS Video Portal.


    Follow @IRStaxpros on Twitter

    ·       @IRStaxpros is an IRS Twitter feed offering daily news and guidance for tax professionals. Follow it at

    For Letter Rulings and Similar Requests: Electronic Payment of User Fees Starts June 15; Replaces Paying by Check

    ·       Beginning June 15, taxpayers requesting letter rulings, closing agreements and certain other rulings from the Internal Revenue Service will need to make user fee payments electronically using the federal government’s system.

    What's New - Estate and Gift Tax

    ·       Revenue Procedure 2017-34 provides a simplified method to obtain an extension of time under § 301.9100-3 to file a return to elect portability of the deceased spousal unused exclusion (DSUE) amount pursuant to § 2010(c)(5)(A).

    ·       For additional topics, see What's New - Estate and Gift Tax on

    Interest Rates Remain the Same for the Third Quarter of 2017

    ·       Interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning July 1, 2017. The rates will be:

    o   four (4) percent for overpayments (three (3) percent in the case of a corporation);

    o   1 and one-half (1.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding

    o   four (4) percent for underpayments; and

    o   six (6) percent for large corporate underpayments. 

    ·       Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points.

    ►Your Practice

    PTIN System Down

    ·       On June 1, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the Internal Revenue Service’s authority to require the use of a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), but enjoined the IRS from charging a user fee for the issuance and renewal of PTINs. As a result of this order, PTIN registration and renewal is currently suspended.

    ·       The IRS, working with the Department of Justice, is considering how to proceed. As additional information becomes available, it will be posted on our Tax Pros page.

    RPO to Inactivate/Terminate Enrolled Agents Who Haven't Renewed

    ·       Beginning in June 2017, the Return Preparer Office (RPO) will send letters to enrolled agents whose enrollment status is being inactivated or terminated because of failure to renew.

    Opportunity Coming to Participate in New Correspondence Examination Digital Pilot Program

    ·       The IRS Taxpayer Digital Communications (TDC) Secure Messaging pilot program has started with correspondence examinations involving Schedule A and has expanded to include some other issues. During the pilot the IRS will invite approximately 8,000 taxpayers under correspondence examinations to communicate with the Service using secure messaging through digital communication channels.

    ·       The pilot program is by invitation only. Taxpayers and their tax professionals with valid powers of attorney (POA) can participate only if the client receives a marketing insert or letter saying they are eligible.

    ·       If your client is invited, encourage him or her to volunteer for this pilot program. Your POA must already be on file and showing on the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) system before you as a tax professional can participate.

    ·       After your client receives an invitation and registers via IRS Secure Access, you must also authenticate via IRS Secure Access under your own SSN and complete the “Request Access” verification process. After IRS verifies the POA is authorized, you will have access to your own secure message mailbox in TDC to receive copies of messages and communicate with IRS.

    ·       The tax professional community is an important part of our process for improving customer service. We appreciate and value your input.

    TAXES. SECURITY. TOGETHER. (Identity Theft)

    • IRS Offers Help to Students, Families to Get Tax Information for Student Financial Aid Applications
    •     The U.S. Department of Education today announced the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is now available for borrowers applying for an income-driven repayment plan. New encryption protections have been added to the Data Retrieval Tool to further protect taxpayer information. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will return Oct. 1, 2017, on the online 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.


    IRS Approves First Group of Certified Professional Employer Organizations; More Expected in Coming Months

    ·       The IRS issued notices of certification to 84 organizations that applied for voluntary certification as a Certified Professional Employer Organization (CPEO).

    ·       After the IRS receives the required surety bond from an approved CPEO applicant, the IRS will publish that CPEO’s name, address, and effective date of certification on

    ·       Under legislation enacted in late 2014, the IRS established a voluntary certification program for professional employer organizations (PEOs). These organizations typically handle various payroll administration and tax reporting responsibilities for their business clients.

    ·       Certification affects the employment tax liabilities of both the CPEO and its clients.  A CPEO is generally treated as the employer of any individual performing services for a client of the CPEO and covered by a CPEO contract between the CPEO with the client, but only for wages and other compensation paid to the individual by the CPEO.

    ·       To become and remain certified under the new program, CPEOs must meet tax compliance, background, experience, business location, financial reporting, bonding, and other requirements.


    ·       Go to Stay Exempt on to see Issue Podcasts on:

    ·       When are Commercial-Type Activities a Substantial Nonexempt Purpose for an IRC 501(c)(3) Organization?

    o   Learn about determining when commercial-type activities further a substantial nonexempt purpose for an IRC 501(c)(3) organization

    ·       IRC 501(c)(3) Proposing Denial

    o  Learn about the five-step roadmap the IRS uses to determine whether proposing denial is appropriate for an organization requesting recognition of tax exemption under IRC 501(c)(3)

    ·       What is an Issue Podcast?

    o   An Issue Podcast is a resource the IRS uses for sharing technical knowledge.

    o   An Issue Podcast is a short (approximately 15 minute), on-demand audio and visual presentation that includes:

    o   A brief summary and analysis of an issue

    o   References to key resource materials


    ·       Four Resources to Help You Create a Safe Workplace

    o   When was the last time you revisited your workplace safety plan? Not only is it the law, but it also can ensure that you and your employees are always safe.

    o   We would like to highlight four resources that will help you identify unsafe behaviors, create opportunities for improvement and help you (and your employees) make well-informed safety decisions on a daily basis.

    ·       Savings Plans for Small Businesses

    o   This self-paced training exercise will give you an overview of savings plans and strategies for your small business.

    o   Learn about the contingency and long-term savings, tax breaks, retirement savings and much more.


    Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

    Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter

    Basic Tools for Tax Professionals

    Recent Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts

    Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance

    Federal Trade Commission:

  • 06/21/2017 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Tax Professional,

    We have three Small Business/Self-Employed Collection messages that I want to share with you. These messages are: (1) Payment Options and Other Online Tools; (2) Offer-In-Compromise which include important initial payment changes; and (3) Private Debt Collection.

    Payment Options and Other Online Tools:

    • Apply for an Online Payment Agreement for Individuals and Businesses
    • This application allows a qualified taxpayer or authorized representative (Power of Attorney) the opportunity to avoid long telephone wait times or the need to visit or write to an IRS office to apply for an installment agreement. Once you complete the online process, you will receive immediate notification of whether your agreement has been approved.

                If you're financially unable to pay your tax debt immediately, you can make monthly payments through an installment agreement. As long as you pay your tax debt in full,  

                you can reduce or eliminate your payment of penalties or interest, and avoid the fee associated with setting up the agreement.

    • IRS Direct Pay! - Use this secure service to pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment directly from your checking or savings account at no cost to you. You'll receive instant confirmation that your payment has been submitted.
    • Check Your Balance and View Your Payment History – You can view your balance online or refer to the information in the notice you received to determine the amount you owe.  When you access your tax account you can also view your recent payment history.

    Offer In Compromise:

    • Offer-In-Compromise - An offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe.

    New Change:

    Beginning with Offer applications received on or after March 27, 2017: The IRS will return any newly filed Offer in Compromise application if you have not filed all required tax returns. Any application fee included with the OIC will also be returned. Any initial payment required with the returned application will be applied to reduce your balance due. This policy does not apply to current year tax returns if there is a valid extension on file.

    • OIC Pre-Qualifier Tool Before you complete the OIC application, use this tool to see if you may be eligible for an offer in compromise.

    Private Debt Collection:

    • Private Debt Collection - The Internal Revenue Service plans to begin private collection of certain overdue federal tax debts in April 2017 and has selected four contractors to implement the new program. These private collection agencies will work on accounts where taxpayers owe money, but the IRS is no longer actively working them.
    • Scam Phone Calls - Stay Vigilant Against Scams.  IRS urges you to be on the lookout for unexpected scam phone calls from anyone claiming to be collecting on behalf of the tax agency.
    • TIGTA Office of Investigations - To report a threat, assault or attempted assault by a private collection agency employee, contact the TIGTA Office of Investigations with responsibility for your geographic area.

  • 04/18/2017 9:09 AM | Anonymous


    Private Collection of Some Overdue Federal Taxes Starts in April; Those Affected Will Hear First From IRS; IRS Will Still Handle Most Tax Debts

    • The IRS is sending letters to a relatively small group of taxpayers whose overdue federal tax accounts are being assigned to one of four private-sector collection agencies.
    • Taxpayers being assigned to a private firm would have had multiple contacts from the IRS in previous years and still have an unpaid tax bill.
    • As always, the IRS encourages taxpayers behind on their tax obligations to come forward and either pay what they owe or set up a suitable payment plan. This means there’s no need to wait for a phone call or letter from the IRS or any of its contractors.
    • The IRS reminds taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers posing as private collection firms.


    • Your clients can make Estimated Tax Payments using Direct Pay.
    • Your clients can look up their Estimated Tax Payments using:

    View Your Account Balance and Payment History

    •  If you're an individual taxpayer, you can use this tool to find out:
    • Your payoff amount, updated for the current calendar day
    • The balance for each tax year for which you owe
    • Up to 18 months of your payment history (NEW!)

    Helpful tools when your client gets a notice or letter from the IRS

    Helpful tools for your clients with a balance due

    National Small Business Week

    In recognition of National Small Business Week, April 30 to May 6, the IRS is highlighting products to help small business owners and self-employed individuals understand and meet their tax obligations:                  

    Offers in Compromise – New Policy

     Beginning with Offer applications received on or after March 27, 2017: The IRS will return any newly filed Offer in Compromise application if you have not filed all required tax returns. Any application fee included with the OIC will also be returned. Any initial payment required with the returned application will be applied to reduce your balance due. This policy does not apply to current year tax returns if there is a valid extension on file.

     Form 656-B, revised March 2017 


    No news this month.


    No news this month.

    TAXES. SECURITY. TOGETHER. (Identity Theft)

    Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance

    •  This is the main page for ID Theft. Check out resources for you and your clients.



     As part of your estate and advance health care planning, having a power of attorney is a critical component of protecting your interests. Unlike a will which outlines your wishes, and how your wealth and property will be distributed after you are gone; this legal document authorizes another person to act on your behalf when you are not able to manage your affairs on your own.

     Documenting your requests can be difficult to address but doing so could resolve certain legal issues if done in advance. By designating someone to make decisions for you means your wishes will be carried out when you may not have a voice. Take action on this vital document today.

    Access our Power of Attorney Guide


    Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

    Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter

    Basic Tools for Tax Professionals

    Recent Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts

    Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance

    Federal Trade Commission:


    *Closed captioning offered for afternoon web conferences ONLY.

    Understanding Payment Options – Part II – 75 minutes

    Working with the IRS Office of Appeals -- What to Expect – 90 minutes

    • May 3, 2017 –1:00 pm Central, 12:00 Mountain
    • Register&Attend: 
    • Topics include information on the role of Appeals, an overview of Appeals policies and procedures, and an outline of case procedures for examination and collection cases.

    Understanding Correspondence Examinations – 75 minutes

    Understanding the Automated Underreporter Program – 75 minutes

    Understanding Form 8300 – 75 minutes

    (Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business)

    Continuing Education:

    All participants who qualify will receive a Certificate of Completion.

    Tax Professionals – Earn 1 CE Credit Category: Federal Tax

    •   Click HERE for National and Local webinars for Tax Professionals.
    •   Click HERE for webinars and videos recently posted to the IRS Video Portal.
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