In the 1990s, tax reform was about as big of a focal point as it is today. Some of the reasons were rate reduction and international competitiveness. There were a few concerns about IRS activities, such as a technology modernization effort that cost over $2 billion with little results. A commission was created by P.L. 104-52 (11/19/95). This 17-member group was the National Commission on Restructuring the IRS, co-chaired by Senator Kerrey (D-NE) and Congressman Portman (R-OH). Read More
On June 14, 2017, I had the privilege to testify on behalf of the AICPA before the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. The title of the hearing – Tax Reform: Removing Barriers to Small Business Growth. A goal of the hearing was for this committee to help the Senate Finance Committee know that they want to be sure tax reform helps small businesses and that such businesses are not forgotten in efforts to reduce the corporate tax rate. Read More
At the start of the 21st century, I was involved with a project with the AICPA on tax reform. An outcome of our task force work was a set of ten principle of good tax policy. The goal was for lawmakers to apply these to both existing tax rules and proposals for change to identify where they did and did not meet the principles. Where not met, hopefully improvement could be made.
Years ago, the IRS had about 104,000 employees. Today it is around 83,000. Certainly, they don’t need as many people to open envelopes due to e-filing, but this change results in a big drop in taxpayer services and audits. A common lament I hear from tax practitioners is the challenge of having to deal with notices from the IRS. It is difficult to get to talk to someone from the IRS who has the knowledge and file access needed to resolve the issue and you likely need to wait 30 minutes or more to talk to someone.
The AICPA Tax Division has a nice tax reform resources website that includes comment letters and testimony from the AICPA and short update videos. I’ve got one there dated February 27 on what to tell your clients about tax reform. I hope you’ll check it out and that it helps give you some ideas of information to share with your clients to help them understand tax reform and the possible effects on them.
In 2015, Congress changed the due date for several types of entities as well as for the FBAR (for foreign financial accounts). The AICPA has a wonderful chart with all of the new dates noted.
When Congress made the changes for C corporations, they apparently had a concern with a change that would move a due date from one government fiscal year into the next fiscal year. The federal government’s fiscal year ends September 30.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (hereinafter “AICPA”) has requested the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (hereinafter the “Service”) to issue some form of immediate administrative authority governing the enhanced R&D Tax Credit Program (hereinafter “RTCP”) in connection to qualifying Small Businesses and qualifying Start-Up Companies to accurately calculate the R&D Tax Credit from a quantitative perspective effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016.
2017 AICPA Real Estate & Construction Conference
Save The Date: December 7th – December 9th, Las Vegas, NV
Join Peter J. Scalise, the Federal Tax Credits & Incentives Practice Leader for Prager Metis CPAs, at the upcoming AICPA Real Estate & Construction Conference at the Wynn in Las Vegas, NV on Wednesday, December 7th between 4:00PM and 6:00PM for the Construction Tax Planning Panel Discussion.
I think it is correct to say that all taxpayers are affected by the Affordable Care Act in some way. Certainly individuals living in the US. All must answer a question on the 1040 as to whether everyone in the “shared responsibility family” (basically those listed on the return), had health coverage for all months of the year. If there are any uncovered months, the next step is to see if an exemption applies for that month. If no exemption for any month, a penalty is computed and reported on the 1040. Read More
On Tuesday, April 21st The American Institute of CPAs (hereinafter the “AICPA”) has recommended to the Internal Revenue Service (hereinafter the “Service”) that the De Minimis Safe Harbor threshold amount under the Final Treasury Regulations governing Tangible Property be increased from $500 to $2,500 for small business entity taxpayers without an Applicable Financial Statement (hereinafter “AFS”).
Troy K. Lewis, the AICPA Tax Executive Committee Chair advised the Service that “the AICPA believes the requirement that a taxpayer have an AFS to use the $5,000 De Minimis Safe Harbor threshold unfairly discriminates against smaller taxpayers, and recommends an alternative test to allow such taxpayers to use the De Minimis rule.” Read More
Changing the April 15 due date, moving taxpayer information to the cloud, and allowing personal identification numbers (PINs) for taxpayers who want them were all on the table at a Thursday hearing held by the IRS Oversight Board to explore ways to combat fraud and improve tax administration. The board, composed of presidential appointees with tax, technology, or business expertise, advises the IRS on the best ways to meet taxpayer needs.
Fraud and Identity theft
Fraud and identity theft are still rampant, according to Michael Phillips, acting principal deputy inspector general, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), who cited billions of dollars fraudulently claimed on refundable credits such as the American Opportunity tax credit. He said “the IRS recently prevented $12.1 billion of potentially fraudulent refunds from being issued, but more work needs to be done”.
Fraud comes in many forms, observed James R. White, director of tax issues for the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). Given its many sources, such as failure to file, underreporting, and off-shore tax evasion, Read More
- IRS now requires a creation of Refrence ID of the foreign corporation and this must be completed for all years ending on or after December 31, 2012.
- According to AICPA – “ The most notable change and one that the AICPA has recently addressed in a comment letter to the IRS, is the constructive ownership exception which was previously available to Category 3 and 4 filers only. The exception has now been extended to all Category 5 filers where ownership in the foreign corporation is solely through application of constructive ownership principles and the U.S. person through whom the U.S. shareholder constructively owns an interest in the foreign corporation files Form 5471 reporting all required information. “
- Other changes can be found in “What’s new” section of Form 5471.
- In the filer identification section, a line has been added to request the reference ID number of the PFIC or QEF.
- New Part I, Summary of Annual Information was added to reflect the new annual filing requirement of section 1298(f) which was added by section 521 of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act of 2010. However, this new Part I is not required until the underlying regulations are published. For now, they have been marked as Reserved For Future Use. Form 8621 will be revised when Part I becomes effective.
- The elections in Part II of the form have been reordered and the filing requirements for new elections F, G, and H have been modified. Please complete Part II carefully with these changes in mind.
- See instructions for all changes very carefully.