Certified Public Accountants & Advisors

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The IRS expects to issue guidance on the Code Sec. 199A passthrough deduction in July, Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter has said. Kautter outlined the timeline of various guidance proposals at the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Taxation May Meeting in Washington, D.C.


Congressional lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to focus on tax reform. Republicans and Democrats alike have been discussing the effects of tax reform, albeit reaching different conclusions.


The IRS’s "Achilles’ heel" is using outdated software originating from the 1960s, Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter told Senate lawmakers. Kautter and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified in a May 22 Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing.


The Treasury Department and the IRS, along with the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services, issued a notice of clarification to more thoroughly explain their decision not to adopt recommendations made by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and certain other commenters regarding T.D. 9744. The challenged regulations govern the coverage of emergency services by group health plans and health insurance issuers under the ACA’s copayment and coinsurance limitations.


The IRS has issued a new five-year strategic plan to guide its programs and operations and to help meet the changing needs of taxpayers and members of the tax community. "Providing service to taxpayers is a vital part of the IRS mission and the new Strategic Plan lays out a vision of ways to help improve our tax system," remarked IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter.


The IRS Large Business and International (LB&I) Division has identified and selected six additional compliance campaigns. The IRS previously announced 13 campaigns on January 31, 2017, followed by an additional 11 on November 3, 2017, and five more on March 13, 2018. These campaigns help LB&I move in the direction of issue-based examinations. In addition, a compliance campaign process helps the organization decide which compliance issues present risks and the best way to respond to such risks.


The IRS intends to provide guidance on the new information reporting obligations for certain life insurance contract transactions under Code Sec. 6050Y. The proposed regulations will provide guidance on the modifications to the transfer for valuable consideration rules for life insurance contracts under Code Sec. 101(a). In addition, the IRS has delayed the reporting requirements under Code Sec. 6050Y until the final regulations are issued.


The IRS has released the 2018 optional standard mileage rates to be used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, moving and charitable purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup of panel truck will be:

  • 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (up from 53.5 cents in 2017);
  • 18 cents per mile for medical and moving expenses (up from 17 cents in 2017); and
  • 14 cents per mile for miles driven for charitable purposes (permanently set by statute at 14 cents).

Comment. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate after using a depreciation method under Code Sec. 168 or after claiming the Code Sec. 179 deduction for that vehicle. A taxpayer may not use the business rate for more than four vehicles at a time. As a result, business owners have a choice for their vehicles: take the standard mileage rate, or “itemize” each part of the expense (gas, tolls, insurance, etc., and depreciation).


January 1, 2018 not only brings a new year, it brings a new federal Tax Code. The just-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes sweeping changes to the nation’s tax laws. Many of these changes take effect January 1. Everyone – especially individuals and business owners – needs to review their tax strategies for the new law. The changes are huge. However, many changes are temporary, especially for individuals.


The start of a New Year presents a time to reflect on the past 12 months and, based on what has gone before, predict what may happen next. Here is a list of the top 10 developments from 2017 that may prove particularly important as we move forward into the New Year:


Many federal income taxes are paid from amounts that are withheld from payments to the taxpayer. For instance, amounts roughly equal to an employee's estimated tax liability are generally withheld from the employee's wages and paid over to the government by the employer. In contrast, estimated taxes are taxes that are paid throughout the year on income that is not subject to withholding. Individuals must make estimated tax payments if they are self-employed or their income derives from interest, dividends, investment gains, rents, alimony, or other funds that are not subject to withholding.


Employers generally have to pay employment taxes on the wages they pay to their employees. A fine point under this rule, however, is missed by many who themselves have full time jobs and don’t think of themselves as employers: a nanny who takes care of a child is considered a household employee, and the parent or other responsible person is his or her household employer. Housekeepers, maids, babysitters, and others who work in or around the residence are employees. Repairmen and other business people who provide services as independent contractors are not employees. An individual who is under age 18 or who is a student is not an employee.


The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns this year and issue billions of dollars in refunds. That huge pool of refunds drives scam artists and criminals to steal taxpayer identities and claim fraudulent refunds. The IRS has many protections in place to discover false returns and refund claims, but taxpayers still need to be proactive.


An employer must withhold income taxes from compensation paid to common-law employees (but not from compensation paid to independent contractors). The amount withheld from an employee's wages is determined in part by the number of withholding exemptions and allowances the employee claims. Note that although the Tax Code and regulations distinguish between withholding exemptions and withholding allowances, the terms are interchangeable. The amount of reduction attributable to one withholding allowance is the same as that attributable to one withholding exemption. Form W-4 and most informal IRS publications refer to both as withholding allowances, probably to avoid confusion with the complete exemption from withholding for employees with no tax liability.