Newsletters

Tax Alerts
Tax Briefing(s)

Senate tax writers on Capitol Hill continue to discuss bipartisan retirement savings bills as the House gears up for a vote on a related tax measure.


President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders have agreed to develop a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.


Highly anticipated proposed regulations have been issued on the withholding required with respect to the disposition of certain partnership interests. The proposed regulations affect certain foreign persons that recognize gain or loss on the disposition of an interest in a partnership that is engaged in a trade or business in the United States, and persons that acquire those interests. Also affected are partnerships that directly or indirectly have foreign partners.


Proposed regulations provide rules on the attribution of ownership of stock or other interests for determining whether a person is a related person with respect to a controlled foreign corporation (CFC) under the foreign base company sales income rules.


Final regulations have been issued on transactions of U.S. taxpayers that have qualified business units (QBUs) with functional currency other than the U.S. dollar.


Medicaid waiver payments were earned income, even though IRS Notice 2014-7 treated them as “difficulty of care” foster care payments that were excluded from gross income. The Tax Court held that excluding the payments from earned income would improperly deny the taxpayers’ earned income credit and the additional child tax credit.


The IRS has responded to criticism from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the National Taxpayer Advocate, among others, that resolution of identity theft accounts takes too long by increasing its measures to flag suspicious tax returns, prevent issuance of fraudulent tax refunds, and to expedite identity theft case processing. As a result, the IRS's resolution time has experienced a moderate improvement from an average of 312 days, as TIGTA reported in September 2013, to an average of 278 days as reported in March 2015. (The 278-day average was based on a statistically valid sampling of 100 cases resolved between August 1, 2011, and July 31, 2012.) The IRS has recently stated that its resolution time dropped to 120 days for cases received in filing season 2013.


The IRS budget has suffered significant funding cuts to the past few fiscal year (FY) budgets. Most recently, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters that the IRS has been forced to absorb a $346 million cut to its FY 2015 budget. Such drastic reductions directly impact the IRS's ability to enforce the nation's tax laws. This became evident after the IRS issued its annual Data Book for FY 2014. (The Data Book provides statistical information on examinations, collections, taxpayer assistance, and other activities.) This year, the Data Book indicated that IRS audit rates have fallen for individuals and large corporate taxpayers between FY 2013 and FY 2014. On the other hand, the audit rate for partnerships increased slightly, ostensibly as a result of the IRS's recent policy favoring more audits of this long-neglected sector.


It is never too early to begin planning for the 2016 filing season, the IRS has advised in seven new planning tips published on its website. Although the current filing season has just ended, there are steps that taxpayers can take now to avoid a tax bill when April 2016 rolls around. For example, the IRS stated that taxpayers can adjust their withholding, take stock of any changes in income or family circumstances, maintain accurate tax records, and more, in order to reduce the probability of a surprise tax bill when the next filing season arrives.


The Affordable Care Act—enacted nearly five years ago—phased in many new requirements affecting individuals and employers. One of the most far-reaching requirements, the individual mandate, took effect this year and will be reported on 2014 income tax returns filed in 2015. The IRS is bracing for an avalanche of questions about taxpayer reporting on 2014 returns and, if liable, any shared responsibility payment. For many taxpayers, the best approach is to be familiar with the basics before beginning to prepare and file their returns.