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News & Press: Federal Tax News


Tuesday, May 9, 2017  
Posted by: Linda Keast
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Submitted 05/07/2017 by Brian Wozniak IRS SB/SE CSO

Nationwide Tax Forums Early Bird Rate Expires May 31

Register for the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums by May 31 and get an early bird rate of $235. Beginning June 1, the price goes up to $255. Tax professionals can earn up to 18 Continuing Professional Education credits this summer at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums.


IRS Seeks Nominations for the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council

The IRS is accepting applications for the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC). Applications are being accepted through June 16.


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

Starting this month, the Internal Revenue Service will begin 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. The new program, authorized under a federal law enacted by Congress in December 2015, enables these designated contractors to collect, on the government’s behalf, unpaid tax debts. Usually, these are unpaid individual tax obligations that are not currently being worked by IRS collection employees and often were assessed by the tax agency several years ago. 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.

If a private collection company contacts you on behalf of the IRS, here’s a video on how to find out if it’s legitimate.


Tax Professionals Warned of e-Services Scam; Urged to be Wary of Schemes as Filing Season Deadline Approaches

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to beware of phishing email scams claiming to be from IRS e-Services and of schemes in general as the April 18 deadline nears. The IRS noted a particular surge in the past 24 hours related to a phishing email scam that seeks to steal practitioners’ usernames and passwords for IRS e-Services.  The subject lines on these scam emails vary but they generally are related to e-Service account closures.


For Small Business Startups, IRS Explains New Option for Claiming Research Credit; Option Still Available for Those That Already Filed

The IRS issued interim guidance explaining how eligible small businesses can take advantage of a new option enabling them to apply part or all of their research credit against their payroll tax liability, instead of their income tax liability.  Notice 2017-23 provides guidance on a new provision included in the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted in December 2015. This new option will be available for the first time to any eligible small business filing its 2016 federal income tax return this tax season. Those who already filed still have time to choose this option.  The option to elect the new payroll tax credit may especially benefit any eligible startup that has little or no income tax liability. To qualify for the new option for the current tax-year, a business must have gross receipts of less than $5 million and could not have had gross receipts prior to 2012.


Offer In Compromise

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.


Revenue Procedure 2017-33

Provides guidance under the Protecting Americans for Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) regarding amendment to (i) expensing section 179 property, (ii) the additional first year depreciation deduction under section 168(k), and (iii) the qualified Indian reservation property depreciation provision under section 168(j).

Revenue Procedure 2017-33 will be in IRB 2017-19, dated 05/08/2017.


Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals

A tax professional who experiences any type of data breach should quickly report the incident to the IRS. Tax professionals may contact their local stakeholder liaison. See details at Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals.


How to Report a W-2 Data Theft

Businesses and payroll service providers can now quickly report data losses resulting from a scam fraudsters are using to trick employees into revealing W-2 information. Find out how at Form W2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers. If notified in time, the IRS can prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names.

Submitted by Brian Wozniak IRS SB/SE CSO


IRS Updates Allowable Living Expense Standards for 2017

The 2017 updates to the Allowable Living Expense (ALE) standards will be available March 27. Use the ALE Standards to reduce subjectivity in determining what a taxpayer may claim as basic living expenses necessary to avoid undue hardship when the taxpayer must delay full payment of a delinquent tax. The standard allowances provide consistency and fairness in collection determinations by incorporating average expenditures for basic necessities for citizens in similar geographic areas.


IRS Releases FY 2016 Data Book Showing Range of Tax Data, Including Service and Enforcement Changes

The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2016 IRS Data Book, a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year. The 2016 IRS Data Book describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016, and includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance, the IRS budget and workforce as well as other data. This edition contains charts that show trends such as increases in telephone service and declines in enforcement activities when compared to 2015.

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