Message form Carol A. Campbell, Director, IRS Return Preparer Office

NSTPAnnual Filing Season Program (AFSP)

DEAR TAX RETURN PREPARER, Set yourself APART! Participate in the Annual Filing Season Program. The voluntary program is for non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. The Annual Filing Season Program promotes the importance of education and filing season preparation for return preparers without professional credentials. We encourage you to take time to review the requirements and consider participating for the upcoming 2017 filing season. Why should you participate? Many of you already take continuing education (CE) courses, so participating in the Annual Filing Season Program won’t require a major adjustment for you. You need either 15 or 18 hours of continuing education in specific categories and you must complete them by December 31, 2016. Also, you must take the courses from IRS-approved CE providers. By participating in the program and receiving an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion, you will be included in the IRS’s public directory of tax return preparers. The “Directory of Federal Tax Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications” is a searchable database that includes the names, city, state, zip code, and credentials of all current year Annual Filing Season Program participants, enrolled agents, attorneys, CPAs, enrolled retirement plan agents and … Read More

EXPANDED WORK OPPORTUNITY CREDIT

NSTPIRS Credits and Deductions

With the September 28, 2016 key certification deadline fast approaching, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding employers to take advantage of a valuable tax credit designed to help those who hire long-term unemployment recipients, certain veterans, recipients of various kinds of public assistance and other workers who face significant barriers to employment. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, retroactively extended the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for nine categories of workers hired on or after January 1, 2015. For the first time, the legislation also added a tenth category for long-term unemployment recipients hired on or after January 1, 2016 who had been unemployed for a period of at least 27 weeks and received state or federal unemployment benefits during part or all of that time. The special September 28, 2016 certification deadline applies to eligible workers hired between January 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016. Normally, to qualify for the credit, an employer must first request certification by filing IRS Form 8850 with the state workforce agency within 28 days after the eligible worker begins work. But due to the late enactment of the legislation extending the WOTC and its retroactive impact, the IRS … Read More

IRS PLANS TO CLOSE OPERATIONS IN CALIFORNIA, KENTUCKY AND TEXAS

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS has announced that because of the growing trend of electronic tax filing, the agency will close paper-return processing operations in California, Kentucky and Texas. The shutdowns will start in 2019 at the Covington, Kentucky, facility, where 1,800 jobs will be eliminated. In 2021, another 3,000 IRS workers at the IRS’ Fresno, California, campus will be reassigned. The remaining paper-only operation will stop in 2024 in Austin, Texas, meaning that around 2,400 IRS staff positions will be eliminated.   In 2008, around 58 percent of returns were filed electronically. Last year, paper filed returns fell even further behind electronic filers, who accounted for 85 percent of 1040s the IRS received.   Based on budget realities and operational needs, the IRS is always looking for ways to do its job more efficiently. Similar office consolidations took place in 2003, when 10 IRS campuses across the country were merged into five and again in 2012 when the IRS announced plans to close 43 smaller offices.   When this latest round of office closures is completed in eight years, the IRS will be left with just two paper return processing sites: Kansas City, Missouri, and Ogden, Utah.   “This is distressing news … Read More

PRIVATE DEBT COLLECTORS

NSTPUncategorized

The IRS has stated that there are almost 19 million taxpayers who owe more than $400 billion in back taxes. Of those, 4 million people are paying the IRS through installment agreements, and the IRS is actively working 7 million more cases seeking payment from taxpayers.   The 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act included a provision requiring the IRS to utilize private debt collectors. There have been two previous attempts to use debt collection agencies and concerns about the treatment of taxpayers and confidentiality issues the programs were both discontinued.   Seven facts you need to know (from TaxProToday) It is coming soon. The IRS plans to select its authorized private debt collectors in the next two months and then begin using them in early 2017. The IRS will publish the names of these collectors on IRS.gov. Private debt collectors will try to pursue the old, uncollectible accounts. The IRS wants private debt collectors to go after cases the IRS would never pursue – that is, outstanding, inactive receivables. The case criteria for private debt collectors are: More than one-third of the 10-year collection statute has expired; No IRS employee is assigned to collect the debt; and, The … Read More

IRS and Security Summit Partners Warn of Fake Tax Bill Emails

NSTPFraud, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Online Scams

The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners today issued an alert to taxpayers and tax professionals to be on guard against fake emails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act.   The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email that includes the fake CP2000 as an attachment. The issue has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.   The CP2000 is a notice commonly mailed to taxpayers through the United States Postal Service. It is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. The indicators are: These notices are being sent electronically, even though the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms; The CP 2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address; The underreported issue is related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requesting information regarding 2014 coverage; The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C.   The fraudulent CP2000 notice included a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to … Read More

Notice 2016-55

NSTPDonation Programs, Natural Diaster

Notice 2016-55 provides guidance on the treatment of leave-based donation programs to aid victims of the severe storms and flooding in Louisiana that began on August 11, 2016 (Louisiana storms).   TREATMENT OF LEAVE-BASED DONATION PAYMENTS In response to the extreme need for charitable relief for victims of the Louisiana storms, employers may have adopted or may be considering adopting leave-based donation programs.   Under leave-based donation programs, employees can elect to forgo vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange for cash payments that the employer makes to charitable organizations described in § 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code (§ 170(c) organizations). This notice provides guidance for income and employment tax purposes on the treatment of cash payments made by employers under leave-based donation programs for the relief of victims of the Louisiana storms.   The Service will not assert that cash payments an employer makes to § 170(c) organizations in exchange for vacation, sick, or personal leave that its employees elect to forgo constitute gross income or wages of the employees if the payments are: (1) made to the § 170(c) organizations for the relief of victims of the Louisiana storms; and (2) paid to the § 170(c) organizations … Read More