2014-07-11TaxEalert: Circular 230 Disclaimer Update; Get Help on Managing Staff 


     
           
      AICPA
    July 11, 2014
    Tax Section News
     
      Exclusive Tax Section member communications  
             
     
    In This Issue
      TOP NEWS
    Circular 230 Disclaimers: Deal or No Deal?
    Limit on Direct Deposit of Refunds will Go into Effect in 2015
    IRS Released More Details for Voluntary Preparer Compliance Program
    IRS Provides AICPA-Requested Relief for Portability Elections — Relief Until the End of 2014
      TOOLS & RESOURCES
    IRS Payment Mix Comparison Tool
    FAQs on Tax Return Positions Now Updated
    New Identity Theft Resources
    5 Tips for Managing Staff During Summer
    A Cure for Writer's Block — Timely Articles to Connect with Clients
    Contact Us

    taxsection@aicpa.org

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    Featured Blog
    Time to Change the De Minimis Amount for Tangible Property?

    Since the release of the final tangible property regulations, practitioners and taxpayers have shared numerous concerns about their complexity and administrative burden. One of the most common complaints is the de minimis safe harbor election. Read more.


    Upcoming Webcasts

    Financial Planning & Tax Considerations for Same-Sex Couples
    July 14, 1-2:45pm ET

    Registration Options:
    Discounted CPE (2 hours)  

    CPA Financial Planning Thought Leadership: Being the Adviser of Choice
    July 15, 1-2pm ET

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    Tax Research Techniques: Effectively Research, Resolve, and Document Tax Issues
    July 15, 1-2pm ET

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    Free, without CPE  

    Tax Power Hour: Digital Tools for the Paperless Office
    July 17, 1-2pm ET

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    Free, without CPE  

    AICPA Insights Live: BitcoinAll the Way to the General Ledger
    July 22, 1:30-2:30pm ET

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    Advanced Tax Quarterly: Leading Practices for Structuring the Family Office
    July 24, 1-2:40pm ET

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    Discounted CPE (2 hours)  


    Upcoming Conferences
    AICPA Advanced Estate Planning Conference
    Chicago, IL
    July 21-23
    2014-2015 AICPA Tax School: Tax Staff Essentials
    Durham, NC
    July 21-25
    2014-2015 Tax School: Tax Staff Essentials
    Chicago, IL
    July 28 - Aug 1
    Feeling Lucky?
    Congratulations to the winners of the drawing for a free conference!

    Alan Grothe, CPA, Atlanta, GA

    Darlene Dotzer, CPA, Anchorage, AK


    Entries were collected at the Tax Section booth during the Conference on Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual, May 2014 and Practitioner's Symposium TECH+ Conference, June 2014.

    The Tax Section hosts a booth at select conferences each year to promote membership and to highlight our advocacy efforts. We use this opportunity to show our appreciation for our members with a small gift; this year's "Thank You" gift was a portable charger. Be sure to check if there is a Tax Section booth the next time you are at an AICPA conference. You just might win a free conference!

     

     

     

     
    Top News
    Circular 230 Disclaimers: Deal or No Deal?

    After years of frustration among tax practitioners, relief came in the form of final Circular 230 regulations which meant the days of required disclosures attached to emails, faxes, and other correspondence had come to an end. Effective June 12, 2014, the previous covered opinion rules in section 10.35 were removed and replaced with new guidance in section 10.37. While this is welcome news to many, there are still those who have become so accustomed to having the disclosures that simply removing them elicits anxiety. 

    As a result, many practitioners have been slow to remove the disclaimers that are now a standard part of most outgoing email. The problem with this slow response is that Karen Hawkins, Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility, has been clear on stating that the removal of any reference to Circular 230 or the IRS is not optional. It is important that the public not be misinformed and her office will take action against preparers who continue to use the original language.

    The new regulations do allow for “an appropriate statement describing any reasonable and accurate limitations of the advice rendered to the client.” Each individual or firm must determine what form of disclaimer should be included in their respective emails based on the type of work being performed, so long as the specific language in section 10.35 is removed. Read more on this topic in a Journal of Accountancy article.

    Limit on Direct Deposit of Refunds will Go into Effect in 2015

    In its latest attempt to fight tax refund fraud, the IRS stated that, beginning in January 2015, it will impose a limit of three electronic direct deposits of tax refunds into a single financial account or prepaid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive the fourth and subsequent refunds in a paper check instead of a direct deposit. Read more.

    IRS Released More Details for Voluntary Preparer Compliance Program

    The IRS issued a revenue procedure formally instituting the program it unveiled last week in which unlicensed preparers will receive a record of completion for competing 18 hours of continuing education; it will be valid for one calendar year and offer limited rights to practice before the IRS. The AICPA stated in a letter to the IRS that litigation could result if it implements the program, citing numerous legal and policy concerns. The IRS has not solicited public comment for the program. Read more on this topic in a Journal of Accountancy article.

    IRS Provides AICPA-Requested Relief for Portability Elections — Relief Until the End of 2014

    The AICPA effectively advocated and IRS listened to the AICPA comments when it recently issued Rev. Proc. 2014-18, providing an automatic extension of time for certain estates without a filing requirement to elect on or before Dec. 31, 2014, portability of the decedent’s unused exclusion amount for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse, including same sex married couples. Previously, the only method of relief was to seek a private letter ruling from the IRS. This relief applies to certain estates of decedents who died after Dec. 31, 2010, and before Jan. 1, 2014. 

    The AICPA had requested relief for practitioners and estate clients who had missed filing the portability election. In addition, the AICPA had recently requested more guidance on the process for estates to claim portability of the estate tax exemption if they were not required to, and did not previously, file Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, because they were below the filing threshold. In addition, the AICPA has previously requested that IRS issue closing letters to estates that elect portability and the new Rev. Proc. states that such closing letters will be issued to estates who file under the Rev. Proc.

    Other Tax News from the Journal of Accountancy
    E-filing of amended returns, elimination of Form 1040X among other TIGTA recommendations (07/09/2014)
    Streamlined tax-exempt application process introduced (07/01/2014)
    IRA participants can purchase longevity annuities (07/01/2014)
    IITNs will expire after five years under new IRS policy (07/01/2014)
    Regulations provide guidance for small-employer premium tax credit (06/27/2014)
    Final rules involve disregarded entities, indoor tanning tax, and FICA and FUTA exemptions (06/25/2014)
    New rules allow one-month orientation period before 90-day health plan waiting period (06/23/2014)
     
    Tools & Resources
    IRS Payment Mix Comparison Tool

    The IRS is inviting AICPA members to assist in testing a new web-based tool, the Payment Mix Comparison Tool (PMCT), in situations involving a client’s receipt of Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions. If you are interested in volunteering your time to help the IRS further develop this tool, please visit our PMCT page for more information.

    FAQs on Tax Return Positions Now Updated
    The SSTS Guidance Task Force of the Tax Practice Responsibilities Committee has recently updated the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on SSTS, which are based on guidance developed by the SSTS Guidance Task Force in response to questions that were presented during the SSTS public exposure period and since that time in administering the SSTS. FAQs are available for estimated topics, home office, and more. All information can be found under our SSTS web page.
    New Identity Theft Resources

    The AICPA Tax Section has recently released two videos to help practitioners with recognizing and resolving identity theft.

    • How Do You Resolve Identity Theft?: View a video from tax practitioners who share their strategies to resolve tax-related identity theft (IRS form to file, who to call, authorization needed, etc.).
    • Recognizing Identity Theft: View a video from tax practitioners who share common reasons why tax-related identity theft occurs and how to recognize when it happens to your clients.
    5 Tips on Managing Staff During the Summer

    Looking for help on managing staff during the summer months? View a video from Ami Oppe, CPA and Tax Manager at Walsh, Kelliher & Sharp to learn the tips and tricks she uses in her practice to keep staff motivated and engaged after tax season.

    A Cure for Writer's Block — Timely Articles to Connect with Clients

    Keep your website, social media, or newsletter fresh the easy way. Cut and paste one of these ready-made free tax tips and reminders and you are done! More than 20 mini articles, updated each month, cover a broad range of topics. Encourage clients to start planning now to reduce their liability for next year or remind them of how their CPA can help with year-round issues, like wills and education expense planning. The AICPA’s Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit offers this and more.  

    Featured Event

    Tax Power Hour: Digital Tools for the Paperless Office
    How can you take your paperless, efficiently run office to the next level? The answer depends on how paperless you are now and which tools you are using to supplement your workflow and procedures. Spend an hour with us to explore a number of digital tools available to CPAs (in-house servers vs. cloud, virtualization, mobile friendly devices, remote technology, etc.). We will walk you through ways you can use technology to improve your office management, and in turn, your bottom line profitably. Learn more about our Tax Power Hour series.

     

     
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