IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, Says To Contact Congress:

NSTPAnnual Filing Season Program (AFSP), Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

In a recent speech before a group of tax practitioners Koskinen told tax preparers and others who are frustrated with long wait times on the service’s phone lines to call their member of Congress. Koskinen said, “Congress needs to hear and understand the impact of the funding cuts. As I tell people on Capitol Hill, we are the only agency still operating at the post-sequester level.” The IRS budget was cut 7 percent in Fiscal Year 2014, even as the agency took on the burden of administering the tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This is “the biggest challenge facing the IRS,” according to Koskinen. “Congress is starving our revenue-generating operation,” he explained. “If voluntary compliance with the Tax Code drops by 1 percent, it costs the U.S. government $30 billion per year. The IRS annual budget is only $11 billion per year.” While IRS budget cuts may have been driven partially by outrage over the tax scandal involving targeting of conservative groups last year, Koskinen emphasized that “this was a mistake that should never happen again. My job is to make sure the public knows that.” Koskinen also spoke about the IRS voluntary education program the agency plans … Read More

Software Available To Track Bitcoin Transactions

NSTPBitcoin, Digital Currency

Libra Services has released LibraTax, a new software solution that lets individuals and businesses that have transacted business in Bitcoin and other digital currencies to calculate their tax obligations. The software calculates reportable capital gains on digital currencies following guidance released by the Internal Revenue Services in March. With its first-to-market and comprehensive solution, Libra automates the accounting process by retrieving the user’s transaction history from the public ledger (called the blockchain) and synchronizing that with the digital currency’s historical fair market value. The software accommodates all types of taxable events, including income, gifts and donations. “We’re excited that these easy-to-use, automated tools for consumers, tax professionals and accounting firms are finally available,” said Libra founder and CEO Jake Benson.

NSTP wraps up the annual workshops in Williamsburg and Napa, Next Years Special Topics Workshops are on the horizon.

NSTPNSTP Education, Special Topics Workshop

2015 Napa Special Topics Workshop – July 20-22, 2015                           NSTP members and guests were in attendance in Williamsburg and Napa at workshops featuring Paul La Monaca, Barry Iacono, and Nina Tross covering topics regarding estate and trust tax reporting, financial planning, foreign tax issues, employee vs. independent contractor, and the Affordable Care Act. In their off time the attendees enjoyed the history and charm of Colonial Williamsburg along with Busch Gardens Amusement Park, and the plethora of wineries and spas in the Napa and Sonoma Valley. We look forward to seeing you in 2015 in Williamsburg over the dates of June 24 – 26 where we will celebrate both the 15th anniversary of the Williamsburg seminar and the 30th anniversary of the NSTP. The Napa 2015 dates of July 20 – 22 will be proceeded by a wine and culinary tour on Sunday, July 19th.   2015 Williamsburg Special Topics Workshop – June 24-26, 2015         

AICPA Sues IRS Over Voluntary Program For Tax Preparers

NSTPAnnual Filing Season Program (AFSP), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), RTRP, Voluntary Program

The AICPA has filed a lawsuit  in federal court against the IRS questioning the legality of the new voluntary Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP).  In June, the AICPA had written a letter  to the IRS warning that the AFSP would be illegal; however, IRS Commissioner Koskinen stated that the agency’s Office of Chief Counsel and the Treasury Department’s General Counsel had reviewed the matter carefully and assured the IRS that it had the legal authority to proceed. “By implementing a purportedly ‘voluntary’ program that is mandatory in effect, the rule is an end-run around Loving v. IRS, a federal court ruling which struck down the IRS’s earlier attempt to regulate tax return preparers,” Melancon (AICPA President and CEO) stated.  “The IRS simply does not have the authority to proceed with the new rule. By doubling the number of categories of tax return preparers to eight, the rule will also confuse consumers. Worse yet, the new rule will do nothing to address the problem of unethical or fraudulent tax return preparers—which should be a top priority. As a result, the AICPA has filed suit in federal court to prevent the IRS from moving ahead with this unjustified and unlawful program. The IRS … Read More