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The Senate Finance Committee approved its tax reform plan Thursday night by a party line vote of 14-12. The Committee wrapped up a four-day markup after defeating dozens of Democratic amendments. The plan, for which legislative language is still not available, would set a permanent 20 percent corporate rate beginning in 2019 and sunset many individual tax provisions in 2026. It would also give passthrough business owners a 17.4 percent deduction on their income. A manager's amendment introduced by Committee chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch near the end of the hearing Thursday night included changes to the tax treatment of carried interest similar to a provision ...
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House Republican leaders today formally introduced what they hope will be their signature legislative achievement in the 115th Congress: a sweeping tax reform bill that lowers individual and business tax rates, while also broadening the base by repealing or limiting many tax preferences. The "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" is slated for consideration in the Ways and Means Committee starting at noon on Monday, November 6.  At or just before the start of the session, Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) will likely unveil a different version of the bill, reflecting additional input from lawmakers and outside interests, as well as technical corrections and clarifying edits to ...
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e-Services update from IRS

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This is an update  on critical issues currently affecting e-Services users.    Because the IRS is still reviewing its contract options for an identity-proofing vendor, the move of e-Services to Secure Access authentication will be delayed. The transition was originally planned for later this month. As of today, we do not have a new date. We will communicate via Quick Alert as soon as a new launch date is set. Also, the technology upgrade of moving e-Services to a new platform continues. This means you are unable to take certain actions, like requesting an EFIN, viewing or updating an application. We recognize this is creating a hardship for ...
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Secretary Mnuchin has announced that David J. Kautter, Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, will serve as Acting IRS Commissioner when my term ends next month. As Treasury’s top tax official, Kautter oversees development and implementation of tax policies and programs as well as reviews regulations and rulings related to the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, he serves as the senior advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on issues such as tax reform. Kautter has extensive experience in the tax community, spending more than three decades at Ernst and Young, including serving as director of national tax. He later became managing director ...
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E-Services Scam Alert

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The IRS is sending the following QuickAlert today to users of e-Services: The IRS today warned all e-Services users to beware a new phishing scam that tries to trick tax professionals into “signing” a new e-Services user agreement. The phishing scam seeks to steal passwords and data. All tax professionals should be aware that as e-Services begins its move later this month to Secure Access authentication and its two-factor protections, cybercriminals likely will make last-ditch efforts to steal passwords and data prior to the transition. Don’t take the bait! The scam email claims to be from “e-Services Registration” and uses “Important Update about Your ...
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The National Society of Accountants (“NSA”) is pleased to submit comments on the Exposure Draft of Proposed Section 14(q) of the Uniform Accountancy Act, or UAA. As you may know, NSA is a voluntary association of Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, licensed public accountants, and other financial professionals. A significant percentage of NSA members are subject to regulation by a state Board of Accountancy. NSA has long disagreed with the premise of Section 14(g), which is that the public is incapable of distinguishing between a certified public accountant and an accountant that is “enrolled,” “licensed,” “registered,” or “accredited.” Consequently, ...
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The House Ways and Means Committee this afternoon released a bill that would provide tax relief to those impacted by the recent hurricanes.  It is expected the bill will receive consideration in the House and Senate in the very near future. Enactment of the “ Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017” would provide the following targeted actions to help American families and communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria: Deduction for Personal Casualty Losses: With respect to uncompensated losses arising in the disaster area, eliminates the current law requirements that personal casualty losses must exceed 10 ...
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Brian L. Thompson, CPA, of Bailey & Thompson Tax & Accounting in Little Rock, AR was elected President of the National Society of Accountants (NSA) at its recent 72nd Annual Convention in Reno, NV. He will serve in the position for one year. Thompson has more than 20 years of experience as an accountant and served as NSA First Vice President last year, NSA Second Vice President the year before that, four years as NSA Secretary-Treasurer, NSA State Director in Arkansas, and Chair of the NSA Budget Committee. He has also served as President of the Arkansas Society of Accountants. He holds the credential of Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Thompson ...
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The IRS today released Announcement 2017-13  which provides relief to victims of Hurricane Irma, which caused damage to Florida and several other areas.  It permits easier access to victims’ funds held in workplace retirement plans and in IRAs, for the period beginning September 4, 2017, and ending January 31, 2018.  The relief provided in the announcement is in addition to the relief already provided by the IRS pursuant to News Release IR-2017-150. The full announcement has been reattached below. Relief for Victims of Hurricane Irma Announcement 2017-13 Purpose This announcement provides relief to taxpayers who have been adversely affected by Hurricane ...
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The Internal Revenue Service today warned people to avoid a new phishing scheme that impersonates the IRS and the FBI as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage. The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It tries to entice users to select a “here” link to download a fake FBI questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads a certain type of malware called ransomware that prevents users from accessing data stored on their device unless they pay money to the scammers. “This is a new twist on an old scheme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “People should stay vigilant against email scams that try ...
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The Financial Accounting Standards Board on August 3 issued a proposed Accounting Standard Update (ASU) intended to clarify and improve the scope and the accounting guidance for contributions received and made, primarily by not-for-profits. FASB requested comments on the proposed ASU by November 1, 2017. According to FASB, the proposed ASU is intended to help organizations decide if transactions should be accounted for as a contribution or an exchange. Organizations would accomplish this by using clarifying guidance to evaluate whether a resource provider is receiving value in return for the resources transferred.  The proposed ASU also helps organizations ...
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The IRS has issued regulations updating the due dates and time extensions for filing certain tax returns and information returns to reflect recent laws. The changes are set out in final and temporary regulations (T.D. 9821) issued July 18 and will bring those dates into agreement with requirements in Section 2006 of the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 and Section 201 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015. The final and temporary rules: Amend Treasury regulations to account for the due dates for the income tax returns of C corporations specified by Section 2006(a) of the Surface Transportation ...
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A House panel on June 29 approved a bill calling for an additional $149 million cut to the IRS budget. The proposal would also limit the agency's oversight of conservation easements, tax-exempt organizations, and estate taxes. The bill protects "the rights and privacy of taxpayers" and "ensures that the IRS is using its funds appropriately," Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said at the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee markup. The subcommittee approved the bill by a voice vote. The full appropriations panel is expected to take up the legislation when Congress returns from its July ...
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The IRS is now accepting renewal applications for the ITINs set to expire at the end of 2017. The agency urges taxpayers affected by changes to the ITIN program to submit their renewal applications as soon as possible to avoid the rush. In the second year of the renewal program, the IRS has made changes to make the process smoother for taxpayers. The renewal process for 2018 is beginning now, more than three months earlier than last year. "This is an important program, and the IRS is opening the renewal process several months earlier to help taxpayers and make the process smoother," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We encourage taxpayers affected ...
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The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to beware of phishing emails purporting to be from a tax software education provider and seeking extensive amounts of sensitive preparer data. The email’s origin is unknown but likely issued by cybercriminals who could be operating from the U.S. or abroad. The email is unusual for the amount of sensitive preparer data that it seeks. This preparer information will enable the thieves to steal client data and file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS reminds all tax professionals that legitimate businesses and organizations never ask for usernames, passwords or sensitive data via email. ...
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Thirty students have earned scholarships from the National Society of Accountants (NSA) Scholarship Foundation. Together, they will receive $37,950 in scholarship awards. The Foundation has provided more than $1 million since 1969 to deserving undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to pursuing a career in accounting, helping to develop more qualified young accountants. The scholarships range from $500 - $3,000. Recipients were selected on the basis of an overall outstanding academic record, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, stated goals and aspirations, and financial ...
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The IRS has announced it will begin issuing new and renewal PTINS at no cost beginning today. The change follows the suspension of the PTIN program as a result of the June 1 court decision in Steele v. United States , where the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled the IRS can require tax return preparers to obtain and use a preparer tax identification number, but that it does not have the authority to make them pay for it. Furthermore, the Court ordered the IRS to provide tax professionals “with a full refund of all PTIN fees paid.” IRS officials noted that the PTIN is now used for a number of purposes in addition to the submission ...
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If it seems there is a new tax scam every week, that is because there is. This week's scam is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. The IRS says this scam is being reported across the country, so taxpayers should be alert to the details. In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that ...
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PTIN Litigation

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On June 1, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the Internal Revenue Service’s authority to require the use of a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), but enjoined the IRS from charging a user fee for the issuance and renewal of PTINs. In accordance with this order, PTIN registration and renewal is currently suspended.   The IRS, working with the Department of Justice, is considering how to proceed. As additional information becomes available, it will be posted at  www.irs.gov/taxpros
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The Administration's budget proposal released on Tuesday, May 22, includes two provisions that may affect NSA members. In the section of the budget proposal related to reducing improper payments, there is a proposal to increase oversight of paid tax return preparers as well as a proposal to provide more flexible authority for the IRS to address correctable errors. According to the budget documents, the preparer oversight provision is expected to reduce the federal budget deficit by $439 million during the ten year budget window, whereas correctable error authority is expected to reduce the budget deficit by $655 over the same timeframe. NSA Executive ...
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