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| || LEGISLATIVE & TAX ADMINISTRATION NEWS|
It has taken five years, but Congress has finally passed the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, the first comprehensive IRS reform measure to pass in twenty years. NAEA worked closely with tax writers during the entire process and secured a number of provisions that will benefit enrolled agents and their clients. Most importantly, the bill directs the IRS to issue guidance on the use of commercially available electronic signatures applications so your clients can electronically sign powers of attorney and authorization disclosure forms. NAEA worked with tax writers to draft the language, pushed for its inclusion, and protected it through all of the various incarnations of the legislation. NAEA member advocates as recently as last month were on Capitol Hill pushing Congress for this much needed and long overdue customer service improvement. Think of the time this will save you and your clients! NAEA applauds Congress for passing these much needed taxpayer protection and customer service improvements and looks forward to the president signing this bill into law.
No Time to Rest on Our Laurels
Action is also heating up on NAEA’s two other advocacy priorities: increasing funding for IRS and minimum standards for paid tax return preparers.
Extenders Outlook Still Murky
- IRS Budget. The House has begun its annual consideration of appropriations bills that fund government agencies, including the bill to fund IRS. The IRS funding bill passed the full Appropriations Committee this week and will likely be grouped with other funding bills for floor consideration in the coming weeks. The House bill provides $12 billion in funding for IRS, including an additional $400 million for hiring auditors and collection personnel.
- Minimum Standards for Return Preparers. Jeff Trinca, NAEA’s intrepid and oft-quoted legislative counsel, has gotten word that a minimum standards bill may be introduced in the House soon.
Ways and Means Chairman Neal has developed an extenders package that would retroactively extend expired provisions for three years while also expanding refundable credits such as EITC and CTC. However, the package would be paid for by increasing the corporate tax rate, a non-starter for both House and Senate Republicans. Neal has indicated the Ways and Means Committee could mark-up the bill as soon as next week. Meanwhile, Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Wyden have created five task forces to examine which provisions should be saved and how to do so in a permanent way. Clearly, there is no consensus yet on how to move an extenders package.
Understanding Changes to Transcript Delivery Options
IRS will be hosting a webinar on alternatives to faxing tax transcripts on June 19. NAEA has and will continue to closely follow the rollout of the new program, including making sure all parts of the IRS are fully trained in the new policy.
Not So Quick, Blue States
Treasury finalized regulations to thwart efforts by some high-tax jurisdictions to get around the limitations on deducting state and local taxes enacted as part of the TCJA. In response, blue state legislators, such as Senator Menendez of New Jersey, continue to push legislation to undo the deduction cap.
Bonds and Yields and Curves, Oh My
Notice 2019-40 provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, and others.
The governor and Democrat leaders have agreed to delay the imposition of a payroll tax intended to fund family and medical leave benefits.
The legislature has passed a $5,000 refundable income tax credit for taxpayers who purchase homes as their primary residence in “extremely blighted areas.”
The Department of Taxation and Finance has updated information on the School Tax Relief (STAR) program, including which taxpayers can receive an exemption on their property taxes and which ones may choose to receive their STAR credit by check.
Individual estimated taxes are due June 15.
| || EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK|
Who Ya Gonna Call? The IRS Chief Counsel’s office has released its directory, which includes names and phone numbers for Chief Counsel staff by topic and IRC section.
Victory for Young Entrepreneurs in Texas. The governor signed a bill prohibiting localities from regulating or forbidding children from setting up lemonade stands on private property after police tried to do just that in 2015.
Conservation Easements in the Crosshairs (again). Senate Finance Committee Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Wyden called out three attorneys for less than forthright answers about syndicated conservation easements. “In three letters transmitted today, the Finance Committee leaders made clear that incorrectly citing inapplicable legal provisions is not a reason for noncompliance.” Ouch.
A Better Way to Get Your Kid to Summer Camp. The Post Office used to ship more than just letters – as long as they weighed less than 11 pounds, kids could be shipped for less than the cost of a train ticket!
Public Economics has lost a Leader. Martin Feldstein, the Harvard economics professor who cemented public economics as an empirical science, has died at age 79.
Inspiration for the quote this week comes from NAEA’s work on the Taxpayer First Act.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
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NAEA E@lert | Volume 1: Issue 30
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