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Scheduled System Maintenance — Tomorrow
Access to multiple NAEA platforms may be either unavailable or limited in functionality tomorrow, Saturday, February 8 between 8:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. EST due to scheduled system maintenance. During this time period, members may be unable to access member records and other website-based services.
While we could not avoid this upgrade during filing season, we did our best to limit any inconvenience caused by the downtime, and thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
Last Call – Tax Season Survey
Every year, NAEA checks the pulse of the industry ahead of tax season by asking America’s Tax Experts® their views on factors impacting the profession. This is your chance to shape the media’s story. The survey closes today. If you have not responded, you can access the survey here.
Enrolled Agents Need New Technology from IRS to Better Serve Taxpayers
In our third installment exploring NAEA’s whitepaper, Creating a Taxpayer-Focused Internal Revenue Service, today we explore our recommendations for new technology.
It can take days to obtain a simple power of attorney or disclosure authorization form from a client and as long as three weeks for it to post to the Centralized Authorization File (CAF). Obtaining a Certificate of Release of Federal Tax Lien can mean a half a day waiting on hold. And EAs abroad often lack either dedicated phone lines or access to online accounts.
We believe our recommendations would go a long way toward addressing these shortcomings:
NAEA Writes Commissioner Rettig
- IRS must comply with Taxpayer First Act requirements to provide guidance on the use of private sector electronic signature options for Forms 2848 and 8821 used by Circular 230 practitioners. IRS failed to do so by the statutory deadline of January 1, 2020.
- IRS should debut tax practitioner online accounts that allow a robust and secure means of communicating with IRS employees. Correspondence audits cannot rely upon taxpayers or their representatives putting stacks of supporting documentation into the mail.
- Individual online accounts should display a Publication 1 equivalent when taxpayers use account payment options.
- A process needs to be put in place to allow foreign enrolled agents to establish online accounts to assist U.S. expatriates in complying with their tax obligations.
- Replace CAF with a real-time system that relies on algorithms to screen all power of attorney and disclosure authorization forms.
- Replace the Centralized Lien System to allow practitioners and taxpayers to quickly obtain lien release certificates.
NAEA President Jerry Gaddis, EA, last Friday in a letter to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig expressed the frustration of EAs with the current methods IRS CRS representatives use to authenticate our members. These methods require EAs to provide SSNs, DOB, source of income, and other private financial information over the phone.
In his letter, President Gaddis provided alternatives to these current practices:
NAEA intends to press these changes strongly during the IRS’s current work to reorganize the agency as required under the Taxpayer First Act.
- Authenticate practitioners by providing IRS CSRs the ability to send a practitioner a verification PIN code to the his/her registered cell phone on file with e-Services and Secure Access.
- Instruct IRS CSRs to ask practitioners up to three security questions which the practitioner would have entered in advance.
- Establish a special class of Circular 230 users who have been verified by IRS and assign these users a unique identification number to identify them as this special user class.
Lien Certificate Applications and Non-judicial Foreclosure Notices
IRS has centralized where it receives all lien certificate applications and non-judicial foreclosure notices. Effective immediately, EAs should send all lien certificate applications to the new advisory group by mail or fax. Also, send all non-judicial foreclosure notices to the new group by registered or certified mail, or personal service.
Internal Revenue Service
Advisory Consolidated Receipts
7940 Kentucky Drive
Florence, KY 41042
Lien certificate applications include discharges, subordinations, withdrawals, and certificates of non-attachment. These applications are related to: selling, transferring, borrowing, refinancing, purchasing, clarifying who the lien is against, what it attaches, and removing its effect from the public record. For more information, search “lien certificates” on IRS.gov.
Please allow 14 days for the group to receive your lien certificate application and to assign it to an advisor. The advisor will contact you if (s)he needs more information or has questions.
States, counties, municipalities, and any other foreclosing agent are required by IRC 7425 (c) to send non-judicial foreclosure notices when doing tax sales, foreclosures, deeding, etc.
Find more information in Publication 4235 (Collection Advisory Group Numbers and Addresses) and Publication 786 (Instructions for Preparing Notice of Non-judicial Sale of Property and Application for Consent to Sale).
A few state items of interest:
In TD 9893, IRS provides final regulations regarding special valuation rules for employers and employees to use in determining the amount to include in an employee’s gross income to account for personal use of an employer-provided vehicle. KPMG summary is here.
In a news release (which we know is not authority), IRS launched “Identity Theft Central,” which is not, though one could be forgiven for assuming so, where one goes to steal identities. IRS is attempting to improve online access to information for data security protection. The site includes videos on key topics for use by taxpayers and others—and perhaps may be useful to your clients.
| || EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK|
So we are in that awkward period between Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day. You may not have known that is a thing, but it is. We will take these one at a time. First (spoiler alert), the AFC team beat the NFC team in the Super Bowl. Here are highlights and here are more video highlights. Meanwhile, we unilaterally declare the Bill Murray Groundhog Day Jeep commercial the clear winner of the evening. (Disclosure: we have a terrible weakness for the original movie.)
As to Valentine’s Day, we still have plenty of time. For the man in your life, here is a great list, including poker lessons and the usual gadgets one would expect. Meanwhile, Esquire crushes it with this multilevel list for the woman in your life. And, should you be thinking about E@lert, we have one word: Sonos.
Otherwise, we offer a romantic (OK, not really) list of tax-related items, curated especially for America’s Tax Experts®:
- According to PoliticoPro and Tax Notes Today, after an SB/SE-led press conference, IRS will be adding about 850 collections employees to staff phone lines (E@lert does not believe this to be ACS hiring), about a quarter of whom are paid directly by proceeds from the agency’s private debt collection program, and up to 1,000 temporary telephone assistors.
- It is called an emergency fund: The Motley Fool offers the sobering news that only 44 percent of Americans are equipped to pay a tax bill with savings.
- RPO is sending PTIN expiration letters to those who have not renewed their PTINs.
- IRS has updated its HCTC (health coverage tax credit) website. Probably most noteworthy: Those who were previously enrolled in a monthly advance program must re-enroll for 2020.
- Kelly Phillips Erb, who writes for Forbes and keynoted at NAEA NatCon19, writes today on cryptocurrency at tax time.
- The Sixteenth Amendment turned 107 earlier this week.
“Happiness not in another place, but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.’”
— Walt Whitman (1819-1892), American poet
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NAEA E@lert | Volume 2: Issue 7
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