Tax Season Resources for CPAs

The 2019 tax season has its challenges. New legislation, cybersecurity concerns, tax technology enhancements, due diligence requirements and workload compression are just a few of the issues you’re up against. Use this collection of AICPA resources to set yourself up for a smoother filing season.

This page is provided by the Tax Section, Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Section and Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS).

IRS releases a final draft of Form W-4 for 2020, Aug. 12, 2019
The IRS posted a second and final draft of the 2020 Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. The IRS noted that the latest draft does not change any computations contained in the first draft and no further changes are expected with the final form.

Ask your clients (again) about their virtual currency transactions, July 26, 2019
The IRS began sending educational letters to taxpayers about virtual currency transactions that may require amended returns. Read IRS alerts virtual currency owners of nonfiling consequences and see IRS Notice 2014-21 to learn more. 

IRS releases a draft of Form 1040 for comments, July 11, 2019
Based on feedback received on the 2018 Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, changes have been made for the proposed 2019 Form 1040. Take a look at the latest draft.

FAQs on the hosting services ethics interpretation, June 26, 2019
A new independence ethics interpretation may impact you if you have attest clients and provide non-attest services for these clients. Get the latest guidance in this blog about hosting services from the AICPA Professional Ethics team.

IRS transcript changes, June 4, 2019
To help mitigate the potential for identity theft, on June 28, the IRS will stop faxing tax transcripts to all taxpayers, tax practitioners and third parties. The IRS will also stop mailing transcripts to third parties. Tax practitioners will still have options to obtain transcripts through the e-Services Transcript Delivery System.

IRS releases draft of Form W-4 for 2020, May 31, 2019
The IRS issued a draft of the 2020 Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to reflect changes made from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The redesign eliminated the use of withholding allowances.

New form for installment agreements, May 19, 2019
In May, the IRS released Form 433-H, Installment Agreement Request and Collection Information Statement. Taxpayers who earn wages can use this form to request an installment agreement when their liability is either greater than $50,000 or can’t be paid within 72 months.

IRS corrects error in Schedule D, May 15, 2019
The IRS notified tax software companies of an error in the Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses, worksheet.

CCH Service Interruptions, May 14, 2019
The IRS announced relief for those affected by the software outage. Visit the Wolters Kluwer News for the latest updates.

EIN application process change, April 8, 2019
Starting May 13, only individuals may request an employer identification number (EIN) as the responsible party. The change will prohibit entities from using their own EINs to obtain additional EINs. Generally, an individual must provide their name on Line 7a and Social Security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) on Line 7b of Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. The IRS clarified that they will continue to assign EINs to domestic entities that have responsible parties who are ineligible for SSNs or ITINs via paper applications (fax or mail), and those applicants will leave Line 7b blank. See the instructions to Form SS-4.

IRS posts updates and corrections to the 2018 Form 1065 instructions, April 10, 2019
The IRS announced several updates and corrections to the 2018 instructions for Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income. First, the late-filing penalty should be $200 (not $210) per month for each month or part of a month the failure to file continues. Second, the IRS corrected the instructions about taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) of partnership representatives and designated individuals. Revised instructions provide that taxpayers can enter all 0s for the TIN. Third, the IRS updated the instructions regarding a partner’s capital account analysis (see Notice 2019-20).

Tax treatment of state and local refunds explained by the IRS, March 29, 2019
The IRS provided guidance on the tax treatment of state and local tax refunds arising from any year in which the limit on the state and local tax deduction is in effect. Revenue Ruling 2019-11 provides examples that illustrate how taxpayers who are impacted by the limit determine the taxability of their refunds.

Expansion of underpayment penalty relief for individuals, March 22, 2019
IRS Notice 2019-25 expands relief from the underpayment penalty. Now, individual taxpayers whose withholding and estimated tax payments equal or exceed 80% (previous guidance provided 85%) of 2018 tax can request a waiver of this penalty. This waiver should be requested on Part II, Box A on Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates and Trusts, by including the statement “80% waiver.”  

Penalty waiver for failing to report negative tax basis capital accounts, March 7, 2019
The instructions to the 2018 Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income, include a new reporting requirement. Partnerships that do not report tax basis capital accounts must provide the amount of negative tax basis capital for any partner (at the beginning or end of the tax year) on Line 20 of Schedule K-1. In Notice 2019-20, the IRS waives the penalty for failure to provide this information for the 2018 tax year when certain criteria are met.

Reporting of estate and trust beneficiaries’ excess deductions, Feb. 27, 2019
If an estate or trust is filing a final return and has excess deductions on termination, the 2018 instructions for Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) direct a beneficiary to claim his or her excess deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, Line 16. However, the Form 1040 instructions for Schedule A do not list excess deductions as one of the allowable deductions. The IRS issued Notice 2018-61 requesting comments on the deductibility of excess deductions. The AICPA submitted comments and spoke with the IRS in March on the issue. Because the IRS is still considering the issue, practitioners may want to consider extending tax returns.

Review your tax software, Feb. 25, 2019
AICPA Tax Section members report that some tax return preparation software may not be fully updated to reflect new provisions from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), such as the Sec. 199A qualified business income (QBI) deduction. Carefully review your software calculations to determine if overrides are needed.

When to use Sec. 199A proposed or final regulations for 2018 returns, Feb. 25, 2019
For tax year 2018, taxpayers may choose to apply either the older proposed Sec. 199A regulations or the new final regulations, but they must generally do so on an all-or-nothing basis. Therefore, both sets of regulations may need to be evaluated for returns being prepared for 2018. Review this guidance and chart to help you decide. The information is compliments of RSM.

Double check the partnership representative on client returns, Feb. 22, 2019
The centralized partnership audit procedures became effective for partnerships with tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. This means that for 2018 calendar-year partnerships, a partnership representative must be named on Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income. Ensure that your tax software is not defaulting to rolling forward the tax matters partner if that person is not the named partnership representative. Read more about the role of the partnership representative.

IRS releases draft 2019 Form 8995, Qualified Business Income Deduction Simplified Computation, Feb. 13, 2019
The IRS posted a draft of a form that affected taxpayers will submit with their 2019 tax returns showing how they computed their qualified business income (QBI) deduction under Sec. 199A. The draft form contains the same computation found in the instructions to Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, with the difference being the form will be submitted to the IRS for 2019 tax returns. Note that taxpayers do not file a separate QBI deduction form for 2018 returns. Read more.

IRS issues new forms to make/revoke partnership audit “push out” election, Feb. 6, 2019
The IRS issued new forms to make and revoke the election to “push out” partnership adjustments to their partners under the centralized partnership audit regime. See Form 8988, Election for Alternative to Payment of the Imputed Underpayment, and Form 8989, Request to Revoke the Election for Alternative to Payment of the Imputed Underpayment.

New basis schedule requirement for S corporation losses, Dec. 15, 2018
Check the box in Part II, Schedule E, Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, for taxpayers reporting S corporation losses on 2018 returns, and also attach a stock and debt basis computation with the return. S corporation losses being claimed in excess of basis has been a campaign of the IRS for several years. In response, the AICPA submitted a comment letter. For assistance, see our S Corporation Shareholder Basis Schedule (an exclusive Tax Section member tool). 

Home office deduction (Form 8829) changes in the calculation of mortgage interest and real estate taxes, Dec. 10, 2018
The 2018 instructions to Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, provide a different method for calculating the allocation of home mortgage interest and real estate taxes. The changes relate to whether the taxpayer has a net profit on Schedule C, is itemizing deductions, and/or is limited to a $10,000/$5,000 deduction of state and local tax.

New address for filing estate and gift tax returns
The mailing address for filing paper returns of Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, as well as other related forms are changing. Confirm the mailing address for these forms to avoid delays in processing.

Annual Tax Compliance Kit (Open to Tax Section)
Comprehensive toolkit to help you effectively prepare returns this tax season — contains engagement letters, organizers, checklists and practice guides.

Tax Technology Resource Center (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section)
Information and tools to help you embrace technology to run a more efficient tax practice; contains tips on tax software solutions, IRS online tools, cybersecurity and tax practice management to help you this tax season.

Tax Section Webcast Archives (Open to Tax Section)
Listen to previously-recorded webcasts (no CPE is available) on key topics impacting tax season, such as the new rules of Sec. 199A, changes in accounting methods for small business taxpayers and other tax law changes.

Tax Return Due Dates (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section)
Guidance and tools to help you comply with tax return and payment due dates and maximize workflow productivity.

Partnership Audit and Adjustment Rules (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section)
Guidance and FAQs to help you understand the new centralized partnership audit regime along with a template letter to help you communicate the changes to your clients.

Initial Business Return Filing Checklist (Open to Tax Section)
Checklist to help your business clients effectively file a first-year return.

S Corporation Shareholder Basis Schedule (Open to Tax Section)
Keep track of S corporation shareholder basis with this template.

Reasonable Compensation for Closely-Held Businesses Guide (Open to Tax Section)
Presents factors to consider when helping clients assess a reasonable salary for key employees/shareholders.

Sec. 7216 Guidance and Sample Consent Forms (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section and PFP Section)
Sec. 7216 prohibits tax preparers from disclosing or using tax return information. Use these resources to comply.

Tax Extensions FAQs for Clients (Open to AICPA)
Educate your clients about the implications of extending their tax return and why it may be beneficial to do so.

Personal Finance Scorecard (Open to AICPA)
Discover client needs and new ways to add value with this scoring tool.

Busy Season Fun Calendar (Open to AICPA)
Keep staff motivated and show them their efforts are appreciated; developed by PCPS.

Tax Reform and Tax Law Changes

For more, visit the Tax Reform Resource Center.

Tax Technology and Cybersecurity

For more, visit the Tax Technology Resource Center.

Tax and Financial Planning Services

For more, visit the hub for Planning & Tax Advisory Services.

State Tax Nexus

Disaster Relief

For more, visit the hub for Casualty Loss and Disaster Relief.

Tax Planner’s Field Guide (Open to Tax Section and PFP Section)
Handy year-round guide with important tax compliance dates and monthly planning ideas and action steps.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Information Security Plan (Open to Tax Section)
Use this template to help you comply with the safeguards rule contained in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

Tax Podcast: Billing and Collection (Open to Tax Section)
Learn why some firms are moving away from billable hours and timesheets.

Tax Podcast: Workflow (Open to Tax Section)
Improve your tax return workflow with these tips.

Flexible Work Arrangements Guide (Open to PCPS)
Embrace a flexible work environment this tax season and improve the work/life integration within your practice. This guide will give you models to adapt to your practice.

Internship Program Quick Start Guide (Open to everyone)
Manage your workload better by leveraging interns. Use this guide to craft an intern program and smooth out your tax season, while providing an opportunity to learn.

Client Evaluation Tool (Open to PCPS)
Provides guidance about how to rank a firm's clients based on several criteria.

Service Proposal Worksheet (Open to Tax Section)
Helps you determine how to price a variety of client services and set up payment terms.

Client Termination Letter and Checklist (Open to Tax Section)
Don’t let bad-fit clients make tax season harder than it already is. Start your busy season off right with clients you look forward to serving.

Adding Virtual Client Meetings to Your Practice (Open to Tax Section)
Learn how to leverage today’s technology to meet with your clients virtually.

Client Communications

  • Client Communication Tracker (Open to Tax Section)
    Sample document that you can use to track each client's correspondence.
  • Tax Practitioner’s Marketing Toolkit (Open to AICPA)
    Stay on top of your brand and marketing even during tax season with these easy-to-execute tools.
  • Social Media Toolkit (Open to everyone with some content locked to PCPS)
    Contains relevant resources for CPAs and their firms to have a successful social media presence.
  • Broadridge Advisor (Open to PFP Section)
    Over 3,000 client-friendly articles, presentations and calculators on topics like tax, retirement, estate, risk management and investment planning.

IRS Tax Forms and Publications (Open to everyone)
Access IRS tax forms/instructions and publications you need for completing your clients’ returns.

IRS Draft Tax Forms (Open to everyone)
Use this index to see the latest draft IRS tax forms.

IRS Hotlines Quick Reference Chart (Open to Tax Section)
Shows key phone numbers to contact the IRS.

Contacting the IRS FAQS (Open to Tax Section)
Contains answers to common questions when working with the IRS, from what information to include on all written correspondence, to best practices on how to interact with agents.

Using IRS E-Services (Open to Tax Section)
Learn about the Transcript Delivery System and other e-Services products, and effectively use these tools in your practice.

IRS Notice Guidance and Resources (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section)
Contains resources to help you effectively address IRS issues.

IRS First-Time Penalty Abatement (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section)
Contains guidance and best practices regarding penalty abatement.

Federal Taxpayer Penalties Quick Reference Chart (Open to Tax Section)
Summarizes common federal taxpayer penalties that the IRS may assess.

Federal Tax Return Preparer Penalties Quick Reference Chart (Open to Tax Section)
Details the various penalties assessed against tax preparers including how the amounts are calculated, abatement opportunities and tips.

Levels of Confidence for Tax Return Positions (Open to Tax Section)
Understand the relationship between levels of confidence, disclosure and potential penalties for preparers and taxpayers.

IRS Collection Guidance and Resources (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section)
Contains resources to help you advise your clients on IRS collection enforcement and payment plan options.

Using the IRS Online Payment Agreement (OPA) Tool (Open to Tax Section)
Gain insight into the OPA tool that allows your client (or you as an authorized representative) to apply for certain types of payment agreements.

IRS Authorizations Quick Reference Guide (Open to Tax Section)
Provides a summary of the various types of IRS authorizations and best practices.

Rules proposed for classifying cloud and digital content, The Tax Adviser, Aug. 13, 2019
The IRS has issued proposed regulations to clarify how to classify transactions involving digital content and cloud computing for the purpose of sourcing rules and Subpart F.

IRS changes its third-party contact procedures, The Tax Adviser, Aug. 6, 2019
The IRS issued updated procedures for third-party contacts to reflect changes enacted in the recent Taxpayer First Act, requiring the IRS to notify taxpayers at least 45 days before it contacts a third party to determine or collect a tax.

Federal court rejects change to substantial-donor reporting requirement, The Tax Adviser, Aug. 2, 2019
If the IRS wishes to no longer require tax-exempt organizations to report information about their substantial financial donors, it must follow a proper notice-and-comment process.

Taxpayers may revoke or make late bonus depreciation elections, The Tax Adviser, July 31, 2019
The IRS will permit taxpayers to change their bonus depreciation treatment for property acquired after Sept. 27, 2017 and placed in service during a tax year that includes Sept. 28, 2017.

IRS permits certain partnerships to file superseding partnership returns, The Tax Adviser, July 29, 2019
The IRS is permitting certain partnerships that timely filed their tax returns for the 2018 tax year an extension of time to file superseding returns and Schedules K-1 for their partners.

Guidance adds preventive care items to high-deductible health plans, The Tax Adviser, July 17, 2019
The IRS added 14 types of preventive care items that qualify to be provided under a high-deductible health plan to treat chronic medical conditions.

Final rules permit truncated TINs on W-2s, The Tax Adviser, July 2, 2019
As part of its effort to reduce identity theft, the IRS issued final rules permitting employers to provide truncated taxpayer identification numbers on Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, they provide to employees.

Congress approves IRS reform bill, drops Free File language, The Tax Adviser, July 2, 2019
The bill establishes an independent appeals office and requires the IRS to develop a customer service strategy. A controversial provision codifying the Free File program was dropped from the bill.

Supreme Court holds North Carolina cannot tax trust, The Tax Adviser, June 21, 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision holding that North Carolina’s attempt to tax a trust based solely on the residence of a beneficiary violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Virtual currency not FBAR reportable (at least for now), The Tax Adviser, June 19, 2019
The AICPA Virtual Currency Task Force reached out to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to help practitioners answer the question of whether virtual currency (or cryptocurrency) must be reported on FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

W-2 methods proposed for Sec. 199A(g) deduction by agricultural co-ops, The Tax Adviser, June 18, 2019
The IRS issued methods for calculating W-2 wages for the Sec. 199A(g) deduction for agricultural and horticultural cooperatives, similar to the former Sec. 199 domestic production activities deduction.

Final HRA rules permit integration with individual health insurance, The Tax Adviser, June 17, 2019
The IRS issued final regulations on health reimbursement arrangements, which may be offered to individuals as individual coverage HRAs and integrated into health insurance plans.

Final rules govern GILTI, Subpart F income, and foreign tax credits, The Tax Adviser, June 17, 2019
The IRS issued final regulations on the Sec. 951A global low-taxed income inclusion and foreign tax credits, finalizing proposed rules issued in October and December 2018.

Congress approves IRS reform bill, drops Free File language, The Tax Adviser, June 14, 2019
The bill establishes an independent appeals office and requires the IRS to develop a customer service strategy. A controversial provision codifying the Free File program was dropped from the bill.

SALT deduction cap rules finalized, safe harbor proposed, The Tax Adviser, June 12, 2019
Here are details on the new rules that deny a federal tax deduction to taxpayers who donate to a state charitable fund and receive a state or local tax credit in return.

Ninth Circuit upholds IRS cost-sharing regulation, The Tax Adviser, June 10, 2019
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Tax Court decision that had held that a cost-sharing regulation that required allocation of stock-based compensation was invalid.

See the AICPA's The Tax Adviser for the latest news.

Reviewed Aug. 13, 2019