The House Way and Mean Committee is working on a bill that would overhaul Internal Revenue Service (IRS) operations, appeals, and taxpayer services. The Taxpayer First Act faltered in the Senate Finance Committee last April, but a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the bill for consideration last month. A major focus is improving customer service, from codifying the IRS Free File program and expanding and improving services for low-income taxpayers to strengthening cybersecurity and identity protection. The bill also seeks to create an independent appeals process for IRS matters.
Recent news accounts have claimed that federal taxpayers are receiving smaller tax refunds for the 2018 filing season, implying that their taxes are higher as a result of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. According to research by the Wall Street Journal, however, although refund amounts are indeed lower this year for many individuals, it is not necessarily a result of higher taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued additional guidance for taxpayers regarding how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect filing your 2018 tax returns. The website www.IRS.gov/getready provides information and advice for individuals and families, such as an updated IRS Withholding Calculator, details about refunds, and the new Form 1040.
Through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, taxpayers now have up to two years to file an administrative claim and bring suit for a wrongful levy by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) where the IRS has already sold the property it levied. This time limit is a significant extension on the previous nine-month time limit and applies to levies made after December 22, 2017, and on or before that date if the shorter time limit hadn't yet expired.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has updated its online withholding calculator to account for the changes to tax calculations caused by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Taxpayers are encouraged to use the updated calculator tool to ensure the correct amount is withheld from their paychecks. To access the tool and additional information from the IRS, click here.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created a special landing page to share information with tax professionals concerning the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Click through for the latest press releases, publications, and IRS legal guidance on the changes made by the latest tax reform: www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-reform
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.
President Trump and several key members of Congress have released their proposal for federal tax reform. Their main goals are to simplify the tax code, lower tax rates, increase the competitiveness of American businesses in the international arena, and repatriate dollars currently held in offshore accounts.
The United States Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on September 19, 2017, to address business tax reform goals. Chairman Orrin Hatch focused his opening remarks on the need to reduce corporate tax rates to remain competitive in the international market and to reduce the burden on the American working class. He recommended allowing businesses to deduct dividends paid as a way to offset what he interpreted as double-taxation, since investors are also taxed on dividends received. He also stressed the need to find a way to reduce the tax burden on pass-through entities such as sole proprietorships, LLCs, and partnerships.
The California Supreme Court issued a ruling on August 28, 2017 in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland that may have created a loophole for special interests to get around the limitations on tax increases established by Propositions 13 and 218. In the instant case, an initiative was proposed in Upland, California to repeal an ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries and instead allow up to three dispensaries to obtain permits, subject to an "annual Licensing and Inspection fee" totaling $75,000. Since this fee exceeds the costs incurred by the government for issuing the license, it is considered a general tax. Normally, such taxes can only be heard at general elections, but an exception was made and the initiative was voted on in a special election.