05-10-2013TaxEalert:AICPA Addressing "Challenging Tax Season", Client Reminders in the Tax Toolkit, Social Media for CPAs on the Power Hour and More! 


    AICPA
     
    The Tax Section Summer Learning Series Back!Learn more
           
      AICPA
    May 10, 2013
    Tax Section News
     
      Exclusive Tax Section member communications  
     
    In This Issue
        TOP NEWS  
    AICPA Addresses “Challenging Tax Season” and IRS Budget with House
    AICPA Suggests Tweaks to the New Home Office Deduction Safe Harbor Method
    How Can Theft Prevention, Reporting, and Return Filing be Improved?
    Mobile Workforce Legislation Re-Introduced in Congress
    Senate Approves Online Collection of Out-of-State Sales Taxes
    IRS Issues Penalty Relief for Storms Victims in the South and Midwest
    IRS Production Tax Credit Guidance and Safe Harbor
    Other Tax News from the Journal of Accountancy
      TOOLS & RESOURCES
    Need to Communicate with your Clients after Busy Season? Use the Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit
    Stay Current on Tax Reform with the AICPA Resource Page
    The Adviser’s Guide to Social Security: Unlocking the Mystery of Retirement Planning
    Volunteer Opportunities with the Uniform CPA Examination
    Calling all Exempt Organization Experts
    Share Your Expertise and Help the Profession. Apply to Volunteer for an AICPA Tax Committee by May 15
      UPCOMING EVENTS
    AICPA Tax Planning, Compliance and Controversy Conference...For Businesses and Individuals
    2013 AICPA Conference on Doing Business in China
    Exempt Organization Educational Resources
    2013 Tax Planning With the New Tax Law – Avoiding Unintended Consequences
    Hidden Treasures - Maximizing Your Tax Section Membership
    Washington Tax Brief
    IDGTs: Using Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts to Intentionally Do Great Things!

    TAX POWER HOUR

    Discounted CPE option available for the Tax Power Hour

    Scheduled Topics:
    5/16: Social Media for CPAs
    6/20: Tax Software Comparison
    7/18: Paperless Office Workflow

    Contact us

    taxsection@aicpa.org

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    Upcoming Events
     
    Exempt Organization Educational Resources
    May 29, 1pm - 2pm ET
    June 11 (Rebroadcast)

    Registration Options:
     - Discounted CPE (1 hour)
     - Rebroadcast (1 hour)
     - Free (without CPE)

    Tax Planning With the New Tax Law – Avoiding Unintended Consequences
    June 4, 1pm - 2pm ET
    June 17 (Rebroadcast)
    Registration Options:
     - Discounted CPE (1 hour)
     - Rebroadcast (1 hour)
     - Free (without CPE)

    Hidden Treasures - Maximizing Your Tax Section Membership

    June 7, 1pm - 2pm ET

    Registration Options:
     - Free (without CPE)

    Washington Tax Brief

    June 13, 12:30pm - 1:30pm ET

    Registration Options:
     - Discounted CPE
     - Free (without CPE)
    AICPA Employee Benefits Plans Conference

    May 14 - 16, 2013
    Grapevine (Dallas), TX

    • Tax Section members save an additional $100
    AICPA Tax Planning, Compliance and Controversy Conference...For Businesses and Individuals

    May 15 - 17, 2013
    Las Vegas, NV

    • Tax Section members save an additional $100
    AICPA Conference on Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual

    May 20 - 21, 2013
    Las Vegas, NV

    • Tax Section members save an additional $100
       
    Next Tax Power Hour
       
    Social Media for CPAs
    May 16 from 1pm - 2pm ET

    This month, we will examine integrating social media into your firm’s plans. How do you develop successful, measurable social media plans to advance your firm’s business goals? What are some real life examples of using social media plans in your practice? What free social media resources are available? We will answer these questions and discuss social media’s impact on your practice! Available free(no CPE) for Tax Section members!

     
     
    Top News
     
    AICPA Addresses “Challenging Tax Season” and IRS Budget with House

    Jeffrey Porter, Chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, submitted written testimony on Monday to the House Ways and Means Committee in response to the Committee’s recent hearing on “Internal Revenue Service Operations and the 2013 Tax Return Filing Season.” It was recommended that Congress pass legislation that would permit taxpayers to report de minimis changes in their income from a corrected Form 1099 or amended Schedule K-1 in the year of receipt of the amended form. This recommendation would remedy the issue of taxpayers having to file amended returns or incur penalties due to minimal changes in income because of amended forms.

    The AICPA also advocated for Congress to review funding levels of the IRS’s 2014 fiscal year budget. It was recommended that the IRS be given the resources necessary to properly process tax returns and enforce the tax laws, which is vital to maintaining a voluntary compliance tax system. The AICPA believes that the any increase in enforcement funding must be balanced with positive responses to the taxpaying public as customers, which has become difficult, as the IRS’s role has expanded from one concentrated on tax collection to one focused on distributing benefits to a variety of individuals and businesses.

    AICPA Suggests Tweaks to the New Home Office Deduction Safe Harbor Method

    The AICPA made recommendations to the IRS on the safe harbor method for the home office deduction earlier this week.   The safe harbor method, under Rev. Proc. 2013-13, allows a deduction for home office expense at $5 per square foot for a maximum of 300 square feet of qualified home office space used, for a maximum yearly deduction of $1,500.  The AICPA recommendations include:

    • Increasing the initial maximum deduction to $2,000-3,000
    • Establishing a yearly or periodic cost of living adjustment to reflect inflation
    • Allowing taxpayers to deduct depreciation expense in addition to the home office deduction using the safe harbor method
    • Permitting taxpayers to deduct any home office disallowed deduction carryforward in the next year, regardless of the method used, subject to the limitations of section 280A(c)(5)
    • Ordering rules should be established, such that the carryforwards are applied first, and then the current year’s deduction (safe harbor or actual method), and any unused deduction, which was generated by use of the actual method, would be allowed to carry forward to the next tax year.
    How Can Theft Prevention, Reporting, and Return Filing be Improved?

    Changing the April 15 due date, moving taxpayer information to the cloud and allowing personal identification numbers (PINs) for taxpayers who want them were all on the table at a hearing held by the IRS Oversight Board to explore ways to combat fraud and improve tax administration. Jeffrey Porter, Chair of the AICPA’s Tax Executive Committee, spoke up for establishing one point of contact within the IRS to resolve identity theft cases, versus the 21 units that exist in the Service today. Witnesses also discussed the IRS’s proposed "real-time" tax system, which would allow taxpayers to fix problems before their return is accepted.

    Mobile Workforce Legislation Re-Introduced in Congress

    In March, the AICPA-supported Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 1129) was introduced by Representatives Howard Coble (R-NC) and Hank Johnson (D-GA), and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. A similar bill passed the House last year. The bill is needed to help businesses and their employees, who currently battle inconsistent nonresident state income tax withholding laws in 41 states.  The bill would provide a 30-day de minimis threshold before a state could impose a tax on or require withholding from the wages of a traveling (nonresident) employee working in that state. A similar bill will likely be introduced in the Senate.

    Additional information is available on the AICPA Mobile Workforce webpage.

    Senate Approves Online Collection of Out-of-State Sales Taxes

    States and local governments are one step closer to being allowed to require out-of-state businesses (including online businesses) to collect and remit sales and use taxes, as the U.S. Senate approved the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (S. 743, S. 336, H.R. 684) on May 6th. The bill would allow states to require remote sellers, who have gross annual receipts of more than $1 million in total remote sales in the United States for the preceding calendar year, to collect and remit sales tax from customers. States would first have to simplify their sales tax systems and provide free software to the remote sellers to calculate sales taxes and file sales and use tax returns. The bill now moves to the House for consideration, where it is not likely to move as quickly as it did in the Senate. President Obama expressed support for the bill and is expected to sign it if passed by Congress.

    IRS Issues Penalty Relief for Storms Victims in the South and Midwest

    On April 15, the IRS announced (in IR-2013-42) that it will provide penalty relief to taxpayers in parts of the South and Midwest that were unable to file returns by the April 15 deadline due to severe storms that plagued these regions just days before the filing deadline.  This relief will abate late-filing penalty and the late-payment penalty if the taxpayer filed the return or paid the tax within a reasonable time after the power outages and transportation problems had been resolved.  By law, the IRS cannot abate interest on the late payments.

    IRS Production Tax Credit Guidance and Safe Harbor

    The IRS provided guidelines and a safe harbor to determine when construction has begun on qualifying energy facilities in Notice 2013-29.  The renewable electricity production tax credit was extended with the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which requires construction to begin before January 1, 2014 to be eligible for the credit.  According to the notice, the construction begins by starting physical work of a significant nature or meeting the safe harbor.

    Other Tax News from the Journal of Accountancy
      • Final regulations permanently extend period to receive disclosure authorization (05/06/13)  
    • Final rules require EIN updates (05/03/13)
    • Tokyo, Hong Kong again top IRS high-cost housing list (05/02/13)
    • AICPA makes tax reform recommendations to Ways and Means Committee working groups (04/30/13)
    • Widow avoids jail time and probation in sentencing for offshore account tax evasion (04/26/13)
    • IRS decides to shut down completely on furlough dates (04/19/13)
    AICPA TOOLS & RESOURCES
     
    Need to Communicate with your Clients after Busy Season? Use the Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit

    Even though tax season over, your clients still need reminders of important issues. Use these tax tips and reminder blurbs from the Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit in your newsletters that you send to your clients. We have added timely post-busy season information about IRS notices, what to do about missed deadlines, and a reminder about the filing extension for certain taxpayers in the Boston area.

    Stay Current on Tax Reform with the AICPA Resource Page

    So much is happening in Washington on tax reform! To keep up, visit the AICPA’s tax reform webpage to read news articles, and see learn what the various proposals are and also how the AICPA is advocating for a simpler tax code and an improved tax penalty system. The webpage will be updated regularly with resources such as presentations, webcasts, and client letters, as they are developed.

    The Adviser’s Guide to Social Security: Unlocking the Mystery of Retirement Planning

    Many Baby Boomer generation clients will be retiring in the next 15-20 years and will look to you to assist them in optimizing their retirement financing.  The Adviser’s Guide to Social Security: Unlocking the Mystery of Retirement Planning blends information and planning guidance by providing actual client questions and their respective responses and is available in paperback or e-book. 

    Volunteer Opportunities with the Uniform CPA Examination

    The Regulation (REG) subcommittee, an AICPA committee that serves under the Board of Examiners (BOE), is currently accepting applications until May 15 for the 2013-2014 volunteer year, which begins October 2013.

    The AICPA is charged with protecting the public interest through the creation, administration and scoring of a high quality, reliable and valid CPA Examination, one of the three E’s required for licensure as a CPA along with education and experience. The REG subcommittee is responsible for approving all content that is presented in the Regulation section of the Exam, which includes ethics, professional and legal responsibilities, business law and federal taxation. The REG subcommittee is comprised of CPAs and represents a cross-section of the profession, with members from the Big 4, industry and academia.

    If you are interested in volunteering for the REG subcommittee, please fill out an application, including your résumé, on Volunteer Central.  If you have any questions regarding volunteering at the AICPA, please contact VolunteerServices@aicpa.org.

    Calling all Exempt Organization Experts

    During the AICPA Not-For-Profit Industry Conference (June 19 – 21, 2013), the Tax Section is hosting the extremely popular Palm Read. The Palm Read is a 30 minute session and meant to help anyone who wants to have a bird’s eye view and understanding of what their exempt organization’s 990 return means. It is a great opportunity for exempt organizations to get an “impressionistic reading” of their already filed 990 returns.

    We are hoping to provide this free service again, but we need your help! We need volunteers to offer their time to participate in the Palm Read. If you are an exempt organization expert attending the conference and you are interested in volunteering, contact Melissa Labant at mlabant@aicpa.org.

    Share Your Expertise and Help the Profession. Apply to Volunteer for an AICPA Tax Committee by May 15

    Would you like to become more involved in AICPA Tax Division activities? Apply online today. Lend your tax technical, policy, or practice management knowledge and experience by applying for committee membership. May 15 is the deadline for applying for the next service year, which begins in October. You must be a member of the AICPA Tax Section to apply to volunteer on a Tax Division Committee. Opportunities are not limited to practitioners in public accounting. We welcome members of academia, business and industry!

    Volunteer Central is our website designed to simplify the application process. A list of Tax Division committees and descriptions is available under “Tax.” You will need your AICPA membership number to log onto the site. Entering your skills and including your résumé will facilitate the selection and appointment process. This will also enable us to contact you when new task forces are formed that complement your experience.

    For general questions on AICPA volunteer groups, contact VolunteerServices@aicpa.org.  For Tax Division service opportunities, contact Ed Karl, at ekarl@aicpa.org.

    UPCOMING EVENTS
     
    AICPA Tax Planning, Compliance and Controversy Conference...For Businesses and Individuals

    May 15 - 17, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

    This AICPA conference will discuss the business and individual tax planning, compliance, and controversy phases and the issues that may arise before, during, and after your clients file their returns. Issues such as the implications of health care, identity theft, Social Security and more will also be discussed. Pre-eminent tax experts will offer guidance and provide the tools, techniques and strategies you need to effectively represent your clients.

    2013 AICPA Conference on Doing Business in China
    May 30 - 31, 2013, Washington, DC

    This AICPA conference will focus on providing strategic thinking, expert insights and practical solutions for doing business in China. This intensive one and one-half day seminar will feature renowned speakers and a full agenda of sessions to provide the latest on business trends evolving in China.
    Exempt Organization Educational Resources
    taxpowerhourMay 29, 1pm - 2pm ET (Rebroadcast June 11)

    Learn the tips and tricks on finding the latest developments affecting tax-exempt organizations. As part of the IRS' customer education and outreach initiative, the Service will discuss a wide variety of tools and resources available on the IRS's website (http://www.irs.gov/) that are available to exempt organizations. This webcast will walk through the IRSs online tools, including information on the IRS audit process for charities and other nonprofit organizations, upcoming workshops and presentations, a free periodic newsletter and other publications and much more.  Tax Section members can opt to attend this webinar free without CPE.

    2013 Tax Planning With the New Tax Law – Avoiding Unintended Consequences

     

    June 4, 1pm - 2pm ET (Rebroadcast June 17)

    The American Relief Act of 2012 was enacted in January 2013 and included many changes to individual income taxes for 2013.  Our speakers, Donald Zidik and Karl Fava, will walk you through the key individual tax changes and discuss ideas of how to plan for and minimize individuals’ taxes.  The key topics to be discussed include:

    • The individual tax brackets, including the new top rate of 39.6%
    • The 20% capital gains and dividend tax rates
    • The return of the personal exemption phase-out and itemized deduction limitation
    • The 3.8% net investment income tax
    • The 0.9% additional Medicare tax
    • The extension and expiration of prior tax provisions, including the AMT exemption and payroll tax holiday.

    Tax Section members can opt to attend this webinar free without CPE.

    Hidden Treasures - Maximizing Your Tax Section Membership

    June 7, 1pm - 2pm ET

    New to the Tax Section or maybe you are looking to maximize the value of your membership? Then you've come to the right place!  The Tax Section offers a variety of resources, tools and practice aids to help make your life a little easier, Hidden Treasures is an informational webinar intended to review all the benefits of Tax Section membership (for prospective members) and highlight newly added resources (for existing members).

    This hour-long presentation is an interactive session that offers practical tips, website navigation tricks and (of course) includes plenty of time for Q&A. Be sure to bring your questions about what the Tax Section membership can do for you!

    Washington Tax Brief

    June 13, 12:30pm - 1:30pm ET

    One of the biggest challenges facing tax practitioners is keeping up with changes in tax law. The AICPA Tax Team focuses a significant amount of their time on doing exactly that for you.

    The Washington Tax Brief is a webinar series offered by the AICPA Tax Section to help keep you informed of what is going on in Washington that may affect you, your practice or your clients.  This webinar will update you on proposed tax law changes and fundamental tax reform initiatives, changes to IRS regulations and other guidance, OPR and PRO initiatives and priorities, current AICPA tax related advocacy initiatives, and more!

    Tax Section members have the option of attending this event free, without CPE.

    IDGTs: Using Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts to Intentionally Do Great Things!

    Archived Webinar (and PowerPoint Slides)

    The American Taxpayer Relief Act (“ATRA”) brought estate tax relief. However, the same may not be said for income tax. The ATRA significantly impacts estate planning, and an Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust provides a unique opportunity to address income tax, asset protection and life insurance needs.  This webinar will help you understand the applications of life insurance in estate planning and asset protection, understand the role of asset protection in your clients financial plans and discover how the correct application of an IDGT in a client’s financial plan will address several planning issues in one "convenient easy to use" trust.

    Coming Up on the Tax Power Hour
    taxpowerhour Discounted CPE option available for the monthly Tax Power Hour

    A discounted CPE option is now available for the Tax Power Hour. Each registration link will offer two choices to sign up for this
    event – free without CPE or CPE at a discounted price. Later this year, we plan to offer an option to register for the entire monthly series. Stay tuned!

    Scheduled Topics:

    May 16:  Social Media for CPAs (1 hour CPE): Coming up this month, we will examine integrating social media into your firm’s plans. How do you develop successful, measurable social media plans to advance your firm’s business goals? What are some real life examples of using social media plans in your practice? What free social media resources are available? We will answer these questions and discuss social media’s impact on your practice! Join us next Thursday at 1 pm ET!  Also available free (no CPE) for Tax Section members!

    June 20: Tax Software Comparison (1 hour CPE):  Tax software is the heart of tax practice. Are you happy with yours? Are you considering changing? Every year the AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy publishes an article with the features and benefits of the major tax software programs. We want to take it a step further and talk to users of those programs to learn what they like about their software. Also available free (no CPE) for Tax Section members!

    July 18: Paperless Office Workflow (1 hour CPE):  Should you scan first or scan last? That is the age-old question when it comes to paperless office workflows. This month, we have a tax practitioner who operates a "paperless" practice to walk us through their office workflows. We will walk through the entire cycle from document receipt, to the conversion of paper documents into electronic records, to the creation of electronic workpapers. We will also hear how they manage a paperless return preparation and review cycle, along with electronic delivery of tax returns. If you are a paperless firm and want to compare your process to other firms, this installment of the Tax Power Hour will help you become a "less paper" firm! 

    The Tax Power Hour is our the monthly Tax Section webcast that focuses on strategies to help tax practitioners save time, reduce stress and run an efficient practice through practical discussions on topics such as Practice Management, Business Development, Leveraging Technology and more.  Speakers are tax practitioners and other experts sharing their advice and best practices to help make you more profitable.

    If you missed a previous Tax Power Hour, you can listen again anytime.  Archives are available for one year after each event.

     
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