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IRS tax scams are on the rise.  Therefore, it’s important to use caution when viewing emails and receiving telephone calls purportedly from the IRS.  Falling victim to a tax scam can be very costly, not only in money, but also in the amount of time and aggravations it can take to straighten out the resulting mess.


Tax-Related Portion of the Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, Enrolled, as Signed by the President on October 24, 2018, P.L. 115-271


Congressional Republicans are looking to move forward with certain legislative tax efforts during Congress’s lame-duck session. The House’s top tax writer, who will hand the reins to Democrats next year, has reportedly outlined several tax measures that will be a priority when lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., during the week of November 12. However, President Donald Trump’s recently touted 10-percent middle-income tax cut does not appear to be one of them.


The Senate Finance Committee’s (SFC) top ranking Democrat has introduced a bill to restore a retirement savings program known as myRA that was terminated by Treasury last year. The myRA program was created by former President Obama through an Executive Order.


A new, 10 percent middle-income tax cut is conditionally expected to be advanced in 2019, according to the House’s top tax writer. This timeline, although largely already expected on Capitol Hill, departs sharply from President Donald Trump’s original prediction that the measure would surface by November.


IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig gave his first speech since being confirmed as the 49th chief of the Service at the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) November 13 National Tax Conference in Washington, D.C. "You’re going to see things [I do] and go, ‘I can’t believe he did that,’" Rettig said.


The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Taxation are urging the IRS to make extensive changes to proposed "transition tax" rules.


Last year’s tax reform created a new Opportunity Zone program, which offers qualifying investors certain tax incentives aimed to spur investment in economically distressed areas. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has predicted that the Opportunity Zone program will create $100 billion in private capital that will be invested in designated opportunity zones.


The IRS is expected to soon release proposed regulations for tax reform’s new business interest limitation. "They are so broad that nearly every domestic taxpayer will be impacted," Daniel G. Strickland, an associate at Eversheds Sutherland, told Wolters Kluwer.



Charles P. "Chuck" Rettig was confirmed as the new IRS Commissioner on September 12. The Senate confirmed the nomination by a 64-to-33 vote. Rettig received both Democratic and Republican support.


New IRS guidance aiming to curb certain state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap "workarounds" is the latest "hot topic" tax debate on Capitol Hill. The IRS released proposed amendments to regulations, REG-112176-18, on August 23. The proposed rules would prevent taxpayers, effective August 27, 2018, from using certain charitable contributions to work around the new cap on SALT deductions.


The IRS has proposed to remove the Code Sec. 385 documentation regulations provided in Reg. §1.385-2. Although the proposed removal of the documentation rules will apply as of the date the proposed regulations are published as final in the Federal Register, taxpayers can rely on the proposed regulations until the final regulations are published.


Last year’s Tax Reform created a new 20-percent deduction of qualified business income for passthrough entities, subject to certain limitations. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) created the new Code Sec. 199A passthrough deduction for noncorporate taxpayers, effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. However, the provision was enacted only temporarily through 2025. The controversial deduction has remained a buzzing topic of debate among lawmakers, tax policy experts, and stakeholders. In addition to its impermanence, the new passthrough deduction’s ambiguous statutory language has created many questions for taxpayers and practitioners.


The IRS has released long-awaited guidance on new Code Sec. 199A, commonly known as the "pass-through deduction" or the "qualified business income deduction." Taxpayers can rely on the proposed regulations and a proposed revenue procedure until they are issued as final.


The IRS’s proposed pass-through deduction regulations are generating mixed reactions on Capitol Hill. The 184-page proposed regulations, REG-107892-18, aim to clarify certain complexities of the new, yet temporary, Code Sec. 199A deduction of up to 20 percent of income for pass-through entities. The new deduction was enacted through 2025 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), ( P.L. 115-97). The pass-through deduction has remained one of the most controversial provisions of last year’s tax reform.


The House’s top tax writer has unveiled Republicans’ "Tax Reform 2.0" framework. The framework outlines three key focus areas:.


The IRS faces numerous challenges, most of which are attributable to funding cuts, the National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson told a Senate panel on July 26. "The IRS needs adequate funding to do its job effectively," Olson told lawmakers.


Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Republicans are clarifying congressional intent of certain tax reform provisions. In an August 16 letter, GOP Senate tax writers called on Treasury and the IRS to issue tax reform guidance consistent with the clarifications.


The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) advanced President Donald Trump’s nomination of Charles Rettig for IRS Commissioner. The SFC approved the nomination on July 19 by a 14-to-13 party line vote.


President Donald Trump and House GOP tax writers discussed "Tax Cuts 2.0" in a July 17 meeting at the White House. The next round of tax cuts will focus primarily on the individual side of the tax code, both Trump and House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady, R-Tex., reiterated to reporters at the White House before the meeting.


House Republicans and the Trump Administration are working together to craft a tax cut "2.0"outline, the House’s top tax writer has said. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., told reporters during the week that House tax writers and the White House are currently working to finalize the "framework."


The Senate Finance Committee’s (SFC) leading Democrat has released a report critiquing Republicans’ 2017 overhaul of the tax code. The report, focusing primarily on international tax reform, was released by SFC ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on July 18.


Homeowners will be hurt financially by last year’s tax reform, according to a new House Democratic staff report. The report alleges that real estate developers will primarily benefit from the new tax law at the expense of homeowners.


A "phase two" tax reform outline could be unveiled by House GOP tax writers by August. Republicans have started to increase their tax meetings related to the effort, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., told reporters on June 13.


A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers have introduced companion Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC) bills. The measure aims to strengthen the HTC by encouraging investment and minimizing administrative burdens, according to the lawmakers.


House tax writers have moved two bills through committee. The bills focus on IRS hiring and the tax treatment of mutual ditch irrigation companies. The House Ways and Means Committee approved the measures in a June 21 markup.


The American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Taxation has expressed concerns to top Senate tax writers about certain congressional IRS reform efforts. The ABA Section of Taxation sent a June 6 letter to Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., regarding the House-approved bipartisan Taxpayer First Act (HR 5444).


The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that nonqualified employee stock options are not taxable compensation under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The term "money remuneration" in the Act unambiguously excludes "stock."


The IRS expects to issue guidance on the Code Sec. 199A passthrough deduction in July, Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter has said. Kautter outlined the timeline of various guidance proposals at the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Taxation May Meeting in Washington, D.C.


Congressional lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to focus on tax reform. Republicans and Democrats alike have been discussing the effects of tax reform, albeit reaching different conclusions.


The IRS’s "Achilles’ heel" is using outdated software originating from the 1960s, Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter told Senate lawmakers. Kautter and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified in a May 22 Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing.


The Treasury Department and the IRS, along with the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services, issued a notice of clarification to more thoroughly explain their decision not to adopt recommendations made by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and certain other commenters regarding T.D. 9744. The challenged regulations govern the coverage of emergency services by group health plans and health insurance issuers under the ACA’s copayment and coinsurance limitations.


The IRS has issued a new five-year strategic plan to guide its programs and operations and to help meet the changing needs of taxpayers and members of the tax community. "Providing service to taxpayers is a vital part of the IRS mission and the new Strategic Plan lays out a vision of ways to help improve our tax system," remarked IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter.


The House on April 18 approved the two largest bills of a bipartisan IRS reform package. On April 17, the House approved seven other bills, by voice vote, which are also part of the larger bipartisan package. Its aim is to restructure the IRS for the first time in 20 years. The entire package of bills was approved by the Ways and Means Committee several weeks ago.


The IRS provided an additional day for taxpayers to file and pay their taxes, following system issues that surfaced early on April 17. Individuals and businesses with a filing or payment due date of April 17 had until midnight on Wednesday, April 18, to file returns and pay taxes. Taxpayers did not need to take extra actions to receive the extra time.


The White House and Republican lawmakers are continuing discussions focused on a second round of tax reform, according to President Trump’s top economic advisor. National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow said in an April 5 interview that Trump and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., spoke earlier in the week again about a "phase two" of tax reform


Certain proposed regulations issued by Treasury will now be subject to additional oversight by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Treasury and OMB released on April 12 specifies terms under which the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within OMB will review future tax regulations.


The IRS is already working on implementing tax reform, according to IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter. Speaking at a Tax Executives Institute event in Washington, D.C., Kautter discussed current IRS efforts toward implementing tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97).


Just hours before government funding was set to expire, President Trump on March 23 signed the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, averting a government shutdown. The $1.3 trillion fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending package, which provides funding for the government and federal agencies through September 30, contains several tax provisions and increased IRS funding.


The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has renewed its call for immediate guidance on new Code Sec. 199A. The AICPA highlighted questions about qualified business income (QBI) of pass-through income under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97). "Taxpayers and practitioners need clarity regarding QBI in order to comply with their 2018 tax obligations," the AICPA said in a February 21 letter to the Service.


A top House tax writer has confirmed that House Republicans and the Trump administration are working on a second phase of tax reform this year. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., said in an interview that the Trump administration and House Republicans "think more can be done."


The House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee held a March 14 hearing in which lawmakers and stakeholders examined the future of various temporary tax extenders post-tax reform. Over 30 tax breaks, which included energy and fuel credits, among others, were retroactively extended for the 2017 tax year in the Bipartisan Budget Act ( P.L. 115-123) enacted in February.


The IRS has released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address a taxpayer’s filing obligations and payment requirements with respect to the Code Sec. 965 transition tax, enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Creation Act ( P.L. 115-97). The instructions in the FAQs are for filing 2017 returns with an amount of Code Sec. 965 tax. Failure to follow the FAQs could result in difficulties in processing the returns. Taxpayers who are required to file electronically are asked to wait until April 2, 2018, to file returns so that the IRS can make system changes.


President Trump on February 9 signed the Bipartisan Budget Act into law after a brief government shutdown occurred overnight. The legislation contains tax provisions in addition to a continuing resolution to fund the government and federal agencies through March 23. The House approved this new law in the early morning hours of February 9, by a 240-to-186 vote. The Senate approved the bipartisan measure a few hours earlier, by a 71-to-28 vote.


The Treasury Department has proposed repealing 298 regulations. According to the Treasury, the targeted rules are unnecessary, duplicative or obsolete. In addition, the Treasury proposed to amend another 79 regulations to reflect the repeal.


The Trump administration on February 12 released its much-anticipated fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request, "Efficient, Effective, Accountable An American Budget." The administration’s proposal calls for IRS funding that focuses additional resources on enforcement and cybersecurity. Coming off passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this year’s budget recommendations contain only a handful of additional tax proposals when compared to some prior-year budget requests.


The Treasury and IRS have released their second quarter update to the 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan. The updated 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan now reflects 29 additional projects, including 18 projects that have become near term priorities as a result of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017.


New proposed regulations under the centralized partnership audit regime address how and when partnerships and their partners adjust tax attributes to take into account partnerships’ payment adjustments. They also provide, among other additions and clarifications to earlier proposed regs, rules to adjust basis and capital accounts if the partnership adjustment is a change to an item of gain, loss, amortization or depreciation.


The 2018 filing season for 2017 tax-year returns officially launched on January 27. On the other end of the filing season, taxpayers have two additional days to file their 2017 returns: the traditional April 15 filing deadline moves to April 17 this year. Some early filers, however, may find their refunds delayed if they are claiming the additional child tax credit (ACTC) and/or the earned income tax credit (EITC).


Much-anticipated withholding tables for 2018 have been posted by the IRS. While the new withholding tables are designed to work with existing Forms W-4, the agency encouraged taxpayers to use its online withholding calculator to make adjustments if necessary. New Forms W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, will be released for 2019 withholding; withholding for 2018 will adapt to existing Forms W-4 already submitted by employees. Based upon the specific impact of the new tax law on their situations, some employees may wish to file a revised Form W-4 to supplement revisions to the withholding tables already being made by the IRS.


President Trump signed legislation on January 22 to delay the medical device excise tax, the health insurance provider fee and the excise tax on high-dollar health plans. All three taxes were delayed in a temporary funding bill.


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did not directly change the tax rate on capital gains: they remain at 0, 10, 15 and 20 percent, respectively (with the 25- and 28-percent rates also reserved for the same special situations). However, changes within the new law impact both when the favorable rates are applied and the level to which to may be enjoyed.


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increases bonus depreciation rate to 100 percent for property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2023. The rate phases down thereafter. Used property, films, television shows, and theatrical productions are eligible for bonus depreciation. Property used by rate-regulated utilities, and property of certain motor vehicle, boat, and farm machinery retail and lease businesses that use floor financing indebtedness, is excluded from bonus depreciation.


The IRS has released the 2018 optional standard mileage rates to be used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, moving and charitable purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup of panel truck will be:

  • 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (up from 53.5 cents in 2017);
  • 18 cents per mile for medical and moving expenses (up from 17 cents in 2017); and
  • 14 cents per mile for miles driven for charitable purposes (permanently set by statute at 14 cents).

Comment. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate after using a depreciation method under Code Sec. 168 or after claiming the Code Sec. 179 deduction for that vehicle. A taxpayer may not use the business rate for more than four vehicles at a time. As a result, business owners have a choice for their vehicles: take the standard mileage rate, or “itemize” each part of the expense (gas, tolls, insurance, etc., and depreciation).


January 1, 2018 not only brings a new year, it brings a new federal Tax Code. The just-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes sweeping changes to the nation’s tax laws. Many of these changes take effect January 1. Everyone – especially individuals and business owners – needs to review their tax strategies for the new law. The changes are huge. However, many changes are temporary, especially for individuals.


The start of a New Year presents a time to reflect on the past 12 months and, based on what has gone before, predict what may happen next. Here is a list of the top 10 developments from 2017 that may prove particularly important as we move forward into the New Year:


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act modifies Section 529 qualified tuition plans to allow the plans to distribute up to $10,000 in tuition expenses incurred during the tax year for designated beneficiaries enrolled at a public, private, or religious elementary or secondary school. Section 529 plans used to only be allowed for college tuition, up to full tuition amounts. That provision for college tuition remains the same.


Yes, conversions from regular (traditional) tax-deferred individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to Roth IRAs are still allowed after enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In fact, in some instances, such Roth conversions are more beneficial than they were prior to 2018, since the tax rates on all income, including conversion income, are now lower. However, the special rule that allows a contribution to one type of an IRA to be recharacterized as a contribution to the other type of IRA will no longer apply to a conversion contribution to a Roth IRA after 2017.


Tax reform discussions continue on Capitol Hill with legislation expected to be released very soon. GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate appear to be aiming for a comprehensive overhaul of the Tax Code. President Trump and Republicans in Congress have set out an ambitious schedule of passing a tax reform bill before year-end. 


Year-end tax planning can provide most taxpayers with a good way to lower a tax bill that will otherwise be waiting for them when they file their 2017 tax return in 2018. Since tax liability is primarily keyed to each calendar tax year, once December 31, 2017 passes, your 2017 tax liability for the most part – good or bad – will mostly be set in stone.


As the 2018 filing season nears, the IRS is reminding taxpayers that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains on the books. The ACA’s reporting requirements for individuals have not been changed by Congress. At the same time, the Trump Administration has proposed administrative changes to the ACA, which could expand health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), the use of short-term, limited duration health insurance, and association health plans.


Holiday gifts made to customers are generally deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses as long as the taxpayer can demonstrate that such gifts maintain or improve customer goodwill. Such gifts must bear a direct relationship to the taxpayer's business and must be made with a reasonable expectation of a financial return commensurate with the amount of the gift. However, the $25 annual limitation per recipient on deductibility is applicable to holiday gifts, unless a statutory exceptions applies.


For purposes of federal tax, employers must withhold and pay FICA taxes (7.65%) if they paid a household employee cash wages of at least $2,000 in 2016 or in 2017 ($2,100 in 2018). Employers must pay FUTA tax (6%) if they paid total cash wages of at least $1,000 in a calendar quarter to household employees. A homeowner may be an “employer” to a housekeeper; or, if enough evidence is shown, merely a recipient of services by an independent contractor or self-employed individual.


Tax writers in Congress are set to begin debating and writing tax reform legislation. On September 27, the White House and GOP leaders in Congress released a framework for tax reform. The framework sets out broad principles for tax reform, leaving the details to the two tax-writing committees: the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. How quickly lawmakers will write and pass tax legislation is unclear. What is clear is that tax reform is definitely one of the top issues on Congress’ Fall agenda.


As millions of Americans recover from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Congress is debating disaster tax relief. The relief would enhance the casualty loss rules, relax some retirement savings rules, and make other temporary changes to the tax laws, all intended to help victims of these recent disasters. At press time, a package of temporary disaster tax relief measures is pending in the House. The timeline for Senate action, however, is unclear.


IRS Exam staffing in fiscal year (FY) 2016, the latest tax year with statistics available, reached a 20-year low. As a result, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has reported that the IRS undertook fewer audits.


IRS Chief Counsel, in generic legal advice (AM-2017-003), recently described when a qualified employer may take into account the payroll tax credit for increasing research activities. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) created the payroll credit aimed at start-ups with little or no income tax liabilities. This tax break allows taxpayers to get the cash benefit of the payroll tax credit sooner as they reduce their payroll tax liability as payroll payments are made, instead of having to wait until the end of the quarter to receive the credit.


Yes, however, there are special timing rules for foreign adoptions. These rules differ from the timing rules for domestic adoptions and impact when you may claim qualified adoption expenses.


House and Senate lawmakers have started their August recess, leaving pending tax legislation for after Labor Day. In past years, September has been a busy month for tax legislation and this year is likely to be the same. Before leaving Capitol Hill, lawmakers took actions in several areas related to tax reform.


The IRS remains focused on an issue that doesn’t seem to be going away: the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Recently, the IRS issued still another fact sheet “reminding” employers about the importance of correctly classifying workers for purposes of federal employment taxes (FS-2017-9). Generally, employers must withhold income taxes, withhold and pay social security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to employees. They are lifted of these obligations entirely for independent contractors, with usually the only IRS-related responsibility being information reporting on amounts of $600 or more paid to a contractor.


A recent Tax Court decision and pending tax reform proposals have intersected in highlighting how stock sales can be timed for maximum tax advantage. The taxpayer in the recent case (Turan, TC Memo. 2017-141) failed to convince the Tax Court that he timely made an election with his broker to use the last-in-first-out (LIFO) method to set his cost-per-share cost basis for determining capital gains and losses on his stock trades on shares of the same company. As a result, he was required to calculate the capital gain or loss on his stock trades using the firm’s first-in-first-out (FIFO) “default” method, which, in his case, yielded a significant increase in tax liability for the year.


Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting is part of a larger initiative by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) known as the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. CbC reporting generally impacts large multi-national businesses. Because CbC is part of BEPS it is important to be familiar with the core concepts.


An eligible taxpayer can deduct qualified interest on a qualified student loan for an eligible student's qualified educational expenses at an eligible institution. The amount of the deduction is limited, and it is phased out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds certain thresholds.


No. The IRS continues to treat virtual currency as property for U.S. federal tax purposes. However, last year, a government watchdog, and this year, a group of lawmakers, urged the IRS to clarify its virtual currency guidance.


Every year, millions of post-secondary students access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This year, the DRT is unavailable for FAFSA filers because of cybersecurity concerns. The information needed to complete the FAFSA can be found on a previously filed federal income tax return.


Since taking office in January, President Trump has called for comprehensive tax reform. The President’s recently released fiscal year (FY) 2018 outlines some of his key tax reform principles. At the same time, White House officials said that more tax reform details will be released in coming weeks. These details are expected to describe rate cuts for individuals and businesses, new incentives for child and elder care, elimination of certain deductions and credits, and more.


The future of the Affordable Care Act and its associated taxes has moved to the Senate following passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in the House in April. Traditionally, legislation moves more slowly in the Senate than in the House, which means that any ACA repeal and replacement bill may be weeks if not months away.


Many businesses consider the occasional wining and dining of customers and clients just to stay in touch with them to be a necessary cost of doing business. The same goes for taking business associates or even employees out to lunch once in a while after an especially tough assignment has been completed successfully. It's easy to think of these entertainment costs as deductible business expenses, but they may not be. As a general rule, meals and entertainment are deductible as a business expense only if specific conditions are met. What's more, the deduction for either type of expense generally is limited to 50 percent of the cost.


As “hurricane season” officially begins, the IRS has released a number a tax tips, reminders and other advice to help taxpayers weather the storm of natural disasters and similar emergencies. The underlying theme for all IRS "tax tips" is that recordkeeping has generally become easier in the digital age. However, it remains the primary responsibility of the taxpayer to preserve adequate records whether or not caused by a disaster.


Individuals, trusts, estates, personal service corporations and closely held C corporations may only deduct passive activities losses from passive activity income. The rules do not apply to S corporations and partnerships but do apply to their respective shareholders and partners. In general, limited partners are not deemed to materially participate in partnership activities. Thus, a limited partner's share of partnership income is passive income. However, general partners or acting general partners may hold limited partnership interests and materially participate in the partnership.


President Trump on April 26th, just before his “100 days” in office, unveiled his highly-anticipated tax reform outline –the “2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs.” The outline calls for dramatic tax cuts and simplification: lower individual tax rates under a three-bracket structure, doubling the standard deduction, and more than halving the corporate tax rate; along with changing the tax treatment of pass-through businesses, expanding child and dependent incentives, and more. Both the alternative minimum tax and the federal estate tax would be eliminated. The White House proposal does not include spending and tax incentives for infrastructure; nor a controversial “border tax.”


The Treasury Department is to undertake a review and re-evaluation of tax regulations issued by the IRS since January 1, 2016. President Trump signed an Executive Order 13789 (“Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens”) ordering this action on April 21. Following its review and re-evaluation, the Treasury Department will make recommendations.


The IRS processed more than 128 million returns and issued some 97 million refunds without hitting any major roadblocks by the end of the filing season. As in past years, the vast majority of returns were filed electronically. Likewise, most refunds were deposited electronically. Although the filing season has ended for most individuals, millions are on extensions.


Audit coverage rates are at low levels, the IRS has reported. According to the IRS, the audit coverage rate for individuals fell 16 percent from FY 2015 to FY 2016. The 0.7 percent audit coverage rate for individuals was the lowest coverage rate in more than a decade, the agency added.


Although the employee may end up with the same amount whether something is designated a tip or a service charge, the IRS reporting requirements for the employer do differ. Basically, any amount required to be paid by a customer rather than at the customer’s discretion is considered a service charge by the IRS.


Lawmakers continue to debate comprehensive tax reform, aiming for a package to clear Congress and be signed into law by the President before summer. At the same time a “mini” tax reform package in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replacement plan appears to have stalled in Congress.


The IRS has released the inflation-adjusted limitations on depreciation deductions for business-use passenger automobiles, light trucks, and vans first placed in service during calendar year 2017. All limitations are inflation-adjusted based upon October 2016 CPI amounts, with rounding conventions that account for almost all 2016 limits remaining the same for 2017 (only the third-year limitation for light trucks and vans rose, from $3,350 to $3,450 in 2017).


In a case that provides a lesson to anyone donating property to charity for which a deduction of more than $500 is claimed – get proof in writing and get it at the time you donate the property. After-the-fact substantiation, no matter how convincing, is not acceptable under the tax law to support a deduction.


Starting a new business venture can prove exciting, but rather costly. There are certain tax advantages that can help alleviate some of the financial burden associated with entrepreneurship.


Miscellaneous itemized deductions are certain nonbusiness expenses that individuals as taxpayers who otherwise itemize deductions may take against their taxable income. Such miscellaneous expenses are allowed only to the extent that they exceed 2-percent of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. Miscellaneous itemized deductions may also be limited by the overall itemized deduction phase-out.


As the new administration and Congress get to work, tax reform is high on the agenda. Although legislative language has not been yet released, statements from tax writers in Congress shed some light on various proposals.


The filing season is the most active time of the year for tax scams. These scams take every shape and form, ranging from telephone calls to individuals to sophisticated schemes targeting employers and businesses. The goal of all these scams is identity theft. Using legitimate identities of unsuspecting individuals allows criminals to file fraudulent returns and claim bogus refunds.


The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), in its recently released final report for the 2016 filing season, highlighted the IRS’s response to what was good and what was bad about its performance. It signals what the IRS is doing during the 2017 filing season currently underway to improve things (TIGTA, Ref. No. 2017-40-014). Nevertheless, although the IRS had improved in a number of areas with respect to the 2016 filing season, TIGTA reports that the agency continues to be plagued by numerous challenges.


The first step is to determine if you qualify for the federal fuel tax credit. The IRS has uncovered significant fraud associated with the fuel tax credit and is watching for fraudulent claims. The credit is not available to most taxpayers but only to qualified taxpayers, such as taxpayers engaged in farming. However, some ineligible taxpayers claim the credit in order to inflate their refunds. Fuel tax credit fraud can result in a penalty of $5,000.


Tax-related identity theft spikes during the filing season. Many taxpayers discover for the first time that they are victims of identity theft when they receive a letter from the IRS.


The change in administrations in Washington has generated a new focus on tax reform. The White House and lawmakers from both parties have discussed tax cuts, infrastructure spending, and more to encourage economic growth. However, the details of their plans have yet to be revealed. Tax reform legislation may be unveiled in February.


The 2017 tax filing season launched on January 23. The IRS predicted a few speedbumps for taxpayers, especially for taxpayers who file early in anticipation of early refunds. The agency expects to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns. The vast majority of individual income tax returns will be filed electronically and the IRS has extra safeguards in place to protect taxpayers from cybercrime.


National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, in a recent report to Congress, urged the IRS to change its culture from one that is enforcement-oriented to one that is service-oriented. Such a change, Olson provided, would create an environment that encourages taxpayer trust and confidence. In the report, Olson also highlighted key areas for tax simplification and the top-10 most litigated tax issues.


The IRS has rules that limit the deductibility of expenses and losses from a hobby or activity not engaged in for profit. If the IRS determines that an activity is not profit-driven, deductions from the activity are limited to the amount of income the activity generates. Losses from such activities cannot be used to offset other income, such as salary or investments.


The prudent businessperson is always cautious when he or she is offered a great bargain on real estate, equipment, a business interest, or some other property that just might be too good to be true. Even in connection with ordinary business transactions but especially when considering taking over a property or business that in a bargain because of some legal wrinkle, you should consider whether there might be some tax liability attached to the bargain that could come back to haunt you down the road.


Congress ended 2016 passing a few targeted tax bills and lawmakers focused on the incoming Trump administration and tax reform in 2017. President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Already, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are preparing for what is expected to be spirited debate over tax cuts in 2017.


The IRS has released the 2017 optional standard mileage rates that employees, self-employed individuals, and other taxpayers can use to compute deductible costs of operating automobiles (including vans, pickups and panel trucks) for business, medical, moving and charitable purposes. The updated rates are effective for deductible transportation expenses paid or incurred on or after January 1, 2017, and for mileage allowances or reimbursements paid to, or transportation expenses paid or incurred by, an employee or a charitable volunteer on or after January 1, 2017.


The individual income tax filing season opens on January 23, 2017, the IRS has announced. The IRS also reminded taxpayers that the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) (P.L. 114-113) may impact certain refunds in 2017.


The Surface Transportation Act of 2015: Tax Provisions (enacted on Jul. 31, 2015) provided for major changes in certain tax return deadlines. To allow for a transition period for taxpayers to adjust to the new due dates, the new filing deadlines carried a delayed effective date: for tax returns for tax years starting on or after January 1, 2016. As a result, the upcoming 2017 filing season is the first year these changes will take place.


A new year may find a number of individuals with the pressing urge to take stock, clean house and become a bit more organized. With such a desire to declutter, a taxpayer may want to undergo a housecleaning of documents, receipts and papers that he or she may have stored over the years in the event of an IRS audit. Year to year, fears of an audit for claims for tax deductions, allowances and credits may have led to the accumulation of a number of tax related documents—many of which may no longer need to be kept.


One month after the presidential election, taxpayers are learning more about President-elect Donald Trump’s tax proposals for his administration. Although exact details, including legislative language, are likely months away, taxpayers have a snapshot of the president-elect’s tax proposals for individuals and businesses.


Every four years, Congress returns to work after a summer recess and is overshadowed by the looming presidential election. This year is no exception with taxpayers and lawmakers focused on Election Day, November 8. In the meantime, however, lawmakers have almost two months to take up legislation left pending when they recessed in July. Included on their agenda are many tax-related bills, potentially impacting individuals, businesses and others.


As Congress August recess nears, lawmakers are moving tax legislation for individuals and businesses. Bills targeted to tax reform, small business tax relief, and more have been introduced and are working their way to votes in the House and Senate. Congress is also grappling with the IRS’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2017.


Tax reform continues to be highly touted in Congress as lawmakers from both parties call for simplification of countless complex rules, overhaul of tax rates, and more. At times this year, President Obama and Congressional Republicans seem far apart on a way forward, but at similar times in the past, agreements have quickly and often surprisingly emerged, most recently in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act). As the November elections approach more closely every passing day, lawmakers from both parties and the President have a short window to agree on tax legislation. The weeks leading up to Congress’ summer recess may be decisive.