IRS Commissioner Supports Simplification of Tax Code

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), NSTP Education, Tax Professionals, Taxpayer

Koskinen acknowledged that the tax code is difficult even for tax experts. “We have to simplify the tax code. It is beyond being impenetrable. I don’t know how anyone understands all the ramifications of it,” he told the audience. “I think the pressure is building from the public to do something about the complexity of the tax code.” At the same time, Koskinen does not believe it will happen anytime soon if it does not happen in 2015; 2016 is a nonstarter because it is a presidential election year. He predicted that, if not this year, than it will likely happen within the next five years. He advised that, over that time period, there will be people working on it in great detail. “I would simply say that it’s instructive if you look at both the House and Senate at the number of individual congressmen and senators who have taken a position that tax reform is important, either for corporations or for corporations and individuals as well. You would almost think there is a quorum there if you could pull them all together for it.” Koskinen spoke of his excellent working relationship with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul … Read More

Ever Wondered about Tax Rules on Gifts You Receive?

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), IRS Forms, NSTP Education

If you gave money or property to someone as a gift, you may wonder about the federal gift tax. Many gifts are not subject to the gift tax. Here are seven tax tips about gifts and the gift tax. Nontaxable Gifts. The general rule is that any gift is a taxable gift. However, there are exceptions to this rule. The following are not taxable gifts: •••• Gifts that do not exceed the annual exclusion for the calendar year, •••• Tuition or medical expenses you paid directly to a medical or educational institution for someone, •••• Gifts to your spouse (for federal tax purposes, the term “spouse” includes individuals of the same sex who are lawfully married), •••• Gifts to a political organization for its use, and •••• Gifts to charities. Annual Exclusion. Most gifts are not subject to the gift tax. For example, there is usually no tax if you make a gift to your spouse or to a charity. If you give a gift to someone else, the gift tax usually does not apply until the value of the gift exceeds the annual exclusion for the year. For 2014 and 2015, the annual exclusion is $14,000. No Tax on Recipient. Generally, the person … Read More

Tax Season Poem – Memo Home Re: Tax Season

NSTPTax Professionals, Taxpayer

        Keith Mattson, of Mattson & Radziej Ltd. in Lakeville, Minn., originally wrote this poem, “Memo Home RE: Tax Season,” in 1990, and it was published in the Minnesota Society of CPAs’ Footnote at the time. A quarter century later, it remains highly relevant. Memo Home Re: Tax Season I’m working late, I won’t be home; Don’t try to reach me on the phone. Don’t expect me home for dinner. Don’t expect me home this winter. Don’t even try to use your pull. Don’t talk to me or shoot the bull. I don’t want you to think me cruel, But until May, my slate is full. Just tell me what you spend and earn; I’ll put it in a tax return. (I hope that you will never learn You’re just another file to churn.) I’ve got files on my floor, And on my chairs and desk are more. I’ve got them coming in the door. That’s all I do — I keep the score. So far this year, the feds are winning, With clients behind before beginning. Their tax returns show “Balance due;” Their checkbooks show a scarlet hue. Their life is on a downward trend, And … Read More

Internal Revenue Service Civil Penalties

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS)

The Internal Revenue Service is committed to ensuring civil penalties are imposed in a fair, consistent and efficient manner. This includes application of penalties that are comprehensible and effective in promoting voluntary compliance. They invite you to share your comments regarding ways to improve the Civil Penalties Program. Specifically, they are requesting your assistance in determining barriers and soliciting recommendations for an enhanced penalty strategy that achieves the following desired states: Penalty Consistency –IRS applies appropriate penalties to taxpayer actions and circumstances in a fair and uniform manner Penalty Comprehensibility –IRS and taxpayers demonstrate an understanding of taxpayer reporting, filing, and payment obligations as it relates to civil penalties Penalty Effectiveness –IRS applies and abates penalties in a manner that positively affects future reporting, filing, and payment compliance Penalty Efficiency –IRS administers penalties promptly and accurately, so not to impede timely processing of case resolution Your recommendations will be used to address weaknesses in the current program and design a uniform approach to penalty administration. Please provide your comments to the following questions.  Do not include any information regarding specific taxpayer cases. Question #1:    What are the factors that influence an effective Penalty Program?  (i.e., “What are we already doing … Read More

Taxpayer Advocate Report Finds that Taxpayers are Unable to Navigate the IRS

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Taxpayer

The excerpt below is from the article: “ACCESS TO THE IRS: Taxpayers Are Unable to Navigate the IRS and Reach the Right Person to Resolve Their Tax Issues.” Here is the link to the full Article. Taxpayers very often face difficulty in reaching the right person at the IRS in order to resolve their problems. The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) requires the IRS to make itself accessible to taxpayers, specifically by phone. Section 3709 of RRA 98 mandates that the IRS place the addresses and telephone numbers for local offices in local phone directories across the country.1 However, even though the IRS largely meets this requirement, calling the local offices does little good. The IRS does not answer the phone at local offices and has even removed the option it once provided for taxpayers, including the elderly and disabled, to leave a message.2 Another provision of RRA 98 requires the IRS to provide taxpayers with an option to talk to an employee on IRS helplines in “appropriate circumstances” and direct a taxpayer’s questions to other IRS employees who can help.3 Although the IRS does transfer callers on its main toll free phone line to live assistors … Read More

EA Boot Camp Hotel Reservation Notice

NSTPSpecial Topics Workshop

Be sure to reserve your hotel room today at The Orleans Hotel & Casino for our EA Boot Camp Event April 27th– April 30th, 2015 at the special NSTP rate of $43 a night! The last day the group rate will be available will be March 26th, 2015. Call the reservations department at 1-800-675-3267 or go online to and reference the group code A5NSC04. Please note: The group rate will no longer be available after March 26th, 2015. Any reservations made after the cutoff date will be subject to the hotel’s prevailing rate which is going to be between $200-$350 a night because the ESPN Boxing Special Event is happening during the same weekend.