Tax Season Resources for CPAs

Set yourself up for a smoother filing season by tapping into the wealth of AICPA resources.

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

IRS urges tax professionals and taxpayers to use multi-factor authentication, Feb. 14, 2020
Tax filing season is a time when data thieves are prevalent. One way to guard against identity theft is to use multi-factor authentication. For more information about identity theft and protecting your firm and clients, visit the AICPA’s tax identity theft information and tools.

Proposed regulations update income tax withholding rules; revise Form W-4, Feb. 11, 2020
The proposed rules reflect the changes from the TCJA, including the elimination of the personal exemption. Check out the revised Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, and the IRS’s FAQs on the 2020 Form W-4.

Recent extenders impact e-filing, Jan. 28, 2020
The IRS is updating its systems to allow for extender legislation; returns may need to be paper filed until updated. Check your tax software and consider subscribing to IRS QuickAlerts.

Filing season is open, Jan. 28, 2020
The 2020 tax season for individual tax filers began on Jan. 27, 2020. The deadline to file 2019 individual tax returns and pay any tax owed is Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

IRS provides relief to financial institutions affected by required minimum distribution (RMD) tax law changes, Jan. 27, 2020
Notice 2020-6 clarifies to financial institutions that if an RMD statement is provided to an IRA owner turning 70½ in 2020, the institution will need to notify the IRA owner that no RMD is due for 2020 by April 15, 2020.

IRS updates tax withholding estimator, Jan. 14, 2020
The IRS has launched an update of its withholding calculator that incorporates changes from the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate. Changes have not yet been incorporated for the tax provisions of H.R. 1865.

IRS adds a Gig Economy Tax Center, Jan. 9, 2020
The IRS developed its Gig Economy Tax Center to assist taxpayers in this growing segment. This resource hub provides taxpayers with information on the tax implications of operating in the gig economy.

IRS adds new frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to charities that receive donations of virtual currency, Dec. 31, 2019
In addition to the guidance issued by the IRS in October 2019 related to virtual currency, two additional FAQs were added to address reporting requirements for charitable organizations receiving virtual currency.

IRS issues 2020 standard mileage rates, Dec. 31, 2019
The IRS issued the standard mileage rates for 2020 for business, charitable, medical or moving expense purposes, as well as other deduction amounts (Notice 2020-05).

New tax laws and extenders, Dec. 20, 2019
The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, H.R. 1865, made changes to retirement plan rules and health care taxes, extended expired tax provisions, provided disaster tax relief and made other changes.

IRS issues final regulations and FAQs for qualified opportunity zones, Dec. 19, 2019
The final regulations on investments in qualified opportunity zones provide clarifications on the provisions stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Treasury Department also released FAQs highlighting the differences between the proposed and final regulations.

Final regulations issued for gift and estate tax exclusion amounts, Nov. 22, 2019
Final regulations have been issued to confirm that individuals who use the increased gift and estate exclusion amounts in effect from 2018 to 2025 will not be adversely impacted after 2025 when the exclusion amount is scheduled to be reduced to pre-2018 levels.

Additional Sec. 199A IRS FAQs posted on IRS.gov, Nov. 20, 2019
The IRS posted additional FAQs to provide additional guidance about the Sec. 199A deduction. The new FAQs relate to rental real estate activities, patrons and cooperatives as well as adjustments to qualified business income.

IRS updates per-diem guidance for business travelers, Nov. 14, 2019
Revenue Procedure 2019-48 updates the rules for using per diem rates to document the amount of ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred while traveling away from home. Deducting actual allowable expenses is still available but remember to remind clients to maintain adequate records.

IRS issues tax year 2020 annual inflation adjustments, Nov. 6, 2019
Revenue Procedure 2019-44 provides the 2020 annual inflation adjustments, including the tax rate schedules for 2020.

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.

2019 Annual Tax Compliance Kit Addendum (Open to AICPA)
This supplement to the 2019 Annual Tax Compliance Kit provides a summary of the tax provisions in H.R. 1865, signed into law on Dec. 20, 2019.

Filing Season Quick Guide – Tax Year 2019 (Open to everyone)
Handy reference for tax tables, common thresholds, standard amounts, limitations and other 2019 amounts.

Tax Reform Resource Center (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section)
A central hub for resources on tax reform including FAQs, tools, videos, podcasts and advocacy.

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 Practice Quarterly: 2020 Busy Season Readiness (Open to Tax Section)
This webcast archive runs through key topics affecting your clients this busy season including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s impacts on individuals and businesses, qualified opportunity zone investing and the Sec. 199A deduction.

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.

Not-for-Profit Tax Compliance Resources (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section and NFP Section)
A curated collection of resources related to not-for-profit tax compliance.

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.

Recent Tax Law Updates

On Dec. 20, 2019, new tax provisions were passed in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act that included the repeal of three health care taxes, changes to retirement plan rules, extensions to several expired tax provisions and disaster tax relief.

Virtual Currency

The Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and its schedules include several updates, such as a new question about transactions with virtual currency. The instructions for Schedule 1 describe the virtual currency transactions that will need to be reported. If the taxpayer didn’t have any virtual currency transactions and no other information is reported on Schedule 1, no further action is required.

Data Security Responsibilities

Data security is a hot topic for tax professionals and the IRS. The IRS has stepped up its efforts to combat data breaches by raising awareness of tax practitioners’ data security responsibilities including a requirement that PTIN holders acknowledge their responsibility for having a data security plan in place to protect their clients’ information.

Partnership Audits

The centralized partnership audit regime under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) became effective for partnerships with tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. The new regime significantly impacts how the IRS will audit partnership returns and collect any resulting taxes.

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.

Document Retention FAQs for Tax Practitioners (Open to AICPA)
Provide guidelines for tax practitioners to consider when preparing a written document retention policy for their firm.

Tax and Financial Planning Services (Open to everyone with some content locked to Tax Section and PFP Section)
Learn more about strengthening your role as an adviser by offering financial planning services.

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.

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

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

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

Federal Taxpayer Penalties Guide (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.

No need to report some transactions in video game currency, IRS says, The Tax Adviser, Feb. 18, 2020
The IRS provides clarification on virtual currencies in a gaming environment.

Final rules determine maximum vehicle values, The Tax Adviser, Feb. 4, 2020
The IRS finalized the rules for maximum vehicle values under the cents-per-mile valuation rule and the fleet-average valuation rule after changes from TCJA.

Sec. 280E is not an excessive fine under Eighth Amendment, Journal of Accountancy, Feb. 1, 2020
The Tax Court denies a challenge by a California marijuana business.

Use of standard mileage rate, other rules updated for TCJA, Journal of Accountancy, Feb. 1, 2020
Modifications address the period during which miscellaneous itemized deductions are suspended.

Taxpayer-favorable changes in the bonus depreciation regs., Journal of Accountancy, Feb. 1, 2020
The rules apply to the 100% additional first-year depreciation deduction in Sec. 168(k), in effect through 2022.

Electronic filing mandated for Sec. 501(c)(3) applications, The Tax Adviser, Jan. 31, 2020
The IRS announced that Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)(3), must now be submitted electronically.

More taxpayers qualify for student loan COD relief, The Tax Adviser, Jan. 16, 2020
The IRS has extended its safe-harbor relief from recognizing COD income for students whose loans were discharged because their schools were closed or as a result of some type of fraud.

2020 tax filing season preview, Journal of Accountancy, Jan. 1, 2020
As CPAs prepare for the 2020 filing season, there are some issues for individuals and business entities to consider.

Qualified opportunity zone regs. finalized, The Tax Adviser, Dec. 20, 2019
The IRS issued final regulations providing guidance on tax-favored investments in qualified opportunity zones (QOZs).

Year-end government spending bill contains many tax provisions, The Tax Adviser, Dec. 19, 2019
The consolidated appropriations bill passed by Congress makes many changes to retirement plan rules, repeals health care taxes, extends expired tax provisions, provides tax relief for disaster victims and makes other changes.

5th Circuit invalidates health care law’s individual mandate, The Tax Adviser, Dec. 19, 2019
The Fifth Circuit held that the “individual mandate” under Sec. 5000A, which imposes a “shared responsibility payment” on taxpayers who do not obtain health insurance that provides at least minimum essential coverage, is unconstitutional now that the payment amount has been reduced to zero.

Proposed regs. would govern Sec. 162(m) executive compensation limits, The Tax Adviser, Dec. 17, 2019
The IRS issued proposed regulations on the Sec. 162(m) $1 million limit on executive compensation paid by certain publicly held corporations.

Final regs. issued on foreign tax credits, The Tax Adviser, Dec. 17, 2019
The IRS officially released final regulations providing guidance on determining foreign tax credits. The regulations include changes necessitated by the law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Guidance issued on payments to charitable organizations, The Tax Adviser, Dec. 16, 2019
The IRS issued additional rules on the treatment of deductions for charitable contributions in lieu of state and local taxes, an area in which it has already issued final regulations and other guidance.

Partnership capital reporting requirements postponed until 2020, The Tax Adviser, Dec. 10, 2019
The IRS is postponing the requirement to report partners’ shares of partnership capital on the tax-basis method for 2019 (for partnership tax years beginning in calendar 2019) until 2020 (for partnership tax years that begin on or after Jan. 1, 2020).

For the latest news, see the AICPA’s The Tax Adviser.

Reviewed Feb. 19, 2020