The IRS has established a plan to modernize its systems with an eye toward better service to taxpayers. Cybersecurity is a top priority for the IRS in 2019, as is protecting taxpayer data. The newly released plan outlines a six-year strategy to expand taxpayers' access to their own information and customer support options, to increase secure systems available for tax practitioners' use, and to streamline implementation of new tax provisions.
Federal and California state tax agencies have offered relief to certain taxpayers affected by the 2018 wildfires in Northern California. The Internal Revenue Service will postpone specific deadlines, waive penalties, and provide other relief as detailed here. The California Franchise Tax Board's list of qualified disasters and instructions for claiming relief can be found at this link. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (formerly the BOE) is also offering relief for businesses impacted by the fires, including extensions to file returns and relief from certain penalties or interest. Details on the specific CDTFA programs offering relief, and instructions for requesting relief, are available here.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released its top-12 list of tax scams to watch for in the current tax year, an annual list called the "Dirty Dozen." Topping the list in 2018 are the perennial telephone and phishing scams, identity theft, and return preparer fraud. Also included are acts such as falsely padding deductions, making improper claims for business credits, and falsifying income. For the complete list and information from the IRS on how to protect yourself from tax scams, click here.
Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, recently released her 2017 Annual Report to Congress concerning tax administration issues and the challenges facing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the wake of the current tax reform legislation. One significant issue is how the IRS will be able to perform the basic tasks of tax administration given the 20-percent cut to its funding since FY 2010.
If you are a tax professional, take note of recent changes that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) have made to their power of attorney forms that may affect your ability to access client information. The IRS form, found here, has expanded section 5a to include a box you must check if you have intermediaries access client transcripts for you. The FTB has completely rehauled its power of attorney form system --- there is a new form to use for individuals, a separate form for business entities, and a third form to use when you want to revoke your power of attorney. To learn more about the various the changes to the FTB forms, click here.
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently released her FY 2018 Objectives Report to Congress summarizing the recent filing season and future goals to improve Internal Revenue Service (IRS) interactions with US taxpayers.
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently released her 2016 annual report to Congress recommending that the IRS continue its improvements to becoming service-oriented and that the tax code be significantly simplified. According to data the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) analyzed, taxpayers collectively spend about six billion hours per year complying with filing requirements, "the equivalent of three million full-time workers."
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed a revised schedule of fees for installment agreements made on or after January 1, 2017. The changes increase the highest possible fee to $225 (up from $120), but reduces fees for certain types of agreements.
Businesses on the cutting edge of technology may kick off the new year with a "sharing economy" workforce approach. Businesses that use a web-based approach to offering services, including the rental of tangible personal property, may qualify for the benefits related to this relatively new classification. Be aware of the IRS' requirements and the related rules for the best business practices and for preparedness in the event of an audit.
The California Franchise Tax Board recently compiled statistics regarding the 2016 tax filing season. It released data regarding individual and business returns, refunds, and taxpayer services. Highlights included: