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Save the Date(s)
The May Leadership Summit is May 11-15, 2020, and includes the annual board/officer installation and the May board meeting. Registration opens soon for the installation dinner and for the following:
- NAEA's 12th Annual Fly-In: (May 11-12) Those interested in a crash course in in-person advocacy plus a day taking the EA message to Congress will need to apply once registration opens.
- NAEA PAC Congressional Club Breakfast: (May 12) The invitation-only breakfast with a member of Congress is reserved for 2019 Congressional Club-level PAC donors. CC-level donors should be on the lookout for an invitation.
- Affiliate Presidents Exchange: (May 13-14) APEX is semiannual event for state affiliate leaders to gather and learn from each other and from NAEA staff.
Need to Brush up on Passive Activity Losses? NAEA has you covered
What if Pub 925 isn't enough? (And when is an IRS publication enough, particularly given it isn't authority.) While the online Member Community (née WebBoard) is THE go-to place for just about any tax question under the sun, what if you need a little more? Then tune into Tuesday's NAEA webinar, Passive Activity Losses & Interrelated Issues, led by former IRS Senior Technical Advisor Kelly Myers, EA.
If you aren't able to watch live, you may watch the recorded version (which, btw, is how E@lert completed our own CY19 CE requirements).
IRS to Scofflaws: we're back in the saddle again
IRS is continuing its not-so-subtle charm campaign to convince the public there is in fact a new sheriff in town. First, we saw warnings to the land easement community that those transactions were going to get extra scrutiny. Then IRS announced ROs would be making house calls on high-income nonfilers. Then SB/SE Commissioner Eric Hylton trumpeted in a phone call with the press trumpeting 850 new ACS personnel. Now IRS has announced the appointment of a new promotor investigations coordinator, Brendon O'Dell.
While land easements per se are not significant issues in the professional lives of most EAs (though their cousins, façade easements — which agitate E@lert to no end, could be), we hope Congress will continue to support the agency's efforts to put a cop on the beat, and further that IRS will adequately train new staff to ensure they honor powers of attorney and to understand that the objective is to collect the proper amount of taxes owed, not merely to collect more.
EAs May Soon be the Last Great Hope for Taxpayer Privacy
NAEA has been ringing the alarm bell with policymakers over certain corporate business plans, namely tax returns for free in exchange for taxpayer PII, which in turn the company uses for ... well, just about anything you can imagine. The obvious concern is the quality of such tax preparation. The deeper concern, though, is one of taxpayer privacy and security. Who will have access to the sensitive taxpayer data, with what other data will it be merged, for what purposes will it be used?
Earlier this week, we read that a certain personal software company is buying a certain online credit score company that has made significant inroads into "free" tax preparation. Holding aside Section 7216 (how is this even legal?), we have to ask ourselves "what could possibly go wrong?"
Enrolled agents have a burden to secure taxpayer information (and to follow Section 7216), yet this is also a market advantage. EAs must clearly communicate to their clients and potential clients: America's Tax Experts will not be using your tax data for any purpose other than to advise you and prepare your taxes. PERIOD!
IRS Announces New National Taxpayer Advocate
IRS has hired a new National Taxpayer Advocate, Erin M. Collins. She has spent time at both IRS Chief Counsel and the private sector, where she was Managing Director of KPMG's Tax Controversy Services practice. Forbes' Kelly Phillips Erb (and 2019 National Conference keynoter) is on top of the breaking news — as usual. Once Ms. Collins settles in, the advocacy team will be sitting down with her to discuss the essential role enrolled agents play in the tax administration system.
A few items you may have missed:
- The South Carolina DoR recently released guidance on the Palmetto State's voluntary disclosure program in recognition of Wayfair nexus. Deloitte provides a synopsis.
- The California Franchise Tax Board just released its March 2020 Tax News, which includes information on AB 5 and worker classification (California EAs tell E@lert it's just a mess), plus tips on how to file after a centralized federal audit.
We're deep in the heart of filing season, so we'll keep this brief.
IRS this week released a newly-revised Publication 3 (Armed Forces' Tax Guide). While E@lert quibbles with the apostrophe, the content of the pub is undoubtedly useful in explaining the varied tax benefits available to those in the military.
Earlier in the week, IRS issued proposed regs reflecting TCJA changes to the business expense deduction for meals and entertainment expenses. The proposed regs generally follow Notice 2018-76, issued in October 2018.
The March 2 IRB includes proposed regs (REG-132741-17) that, generally, propose changes to the Employment Tax Regulations and also accommodate the redesigned 2020 Form W-4 (Employee's Withholding Certificate) and related withholding tables reflected in Publication 15-T (Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods)
| || EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK|
Holy cow (which invariably reminds us of Meatloaf), we are still in the thick of the filing season. In the outside world, MLB's recent decision to shut down 40+ minor league teams has the Senate's attention (and not in a good way). And Sports Illustrated sheds light on House opposition and the League's anti-trust exemption, which it holds dearly. Meanwhile in the NFL: in the ongoing Patriots QB brouhaha, USA Today advises Mr. Gisele Bündchen to stay away from the AFC West. And Maria Sharpova shares in Vanity Fair she is putting down her racquet.
Speaking of money, the markets took a swan dive this week, so perhaps something lovely from the always lovely Nanci Griffith will help your mood (spoiler alert: the markets always come back), and something funny from the always funny Betty White will help as well.
Otherwise, we offer a lovely list of tax-related items, personally curated especially for America's tax experts:
- Speaking of member benefits, the Member Forum on NAEA's website is exclusively for NAEA members (full, associate, etc.), which should be your go-to place if you are stumped by anything that comes across your desk. A recent chain on Form 1040-NR with an L1A Visa, of all things, shows our community of professionals working together.
- Heard through the Virginia Society: if your clients insist on paying IRS in legal tender, IRS has a special process for that, explained on the Service's website.
- Early bird registration for IRS' Nationwide Tax Forum opens March 1. The attendee code NAEA2020# will score you an additional $10 discount,
- The head of IRS' Taxpayer First Act Office sent NAEA a thank you letter [.pdf] in response to the association's white paper on IRS reform.
"You can observe a lot just by watching."
— Yogi Berra (1925-2015), American baseball player and coach
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NAEA E@lert | Volume 2: Issue 9
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