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Nina Olson, the Taxpayer Advocate, announced today that she is retiring at the end of July after 18 years. NAEA EVP, Bob Kerr, had this to say about Olson, "She's been indefatigable. Eighteen years is a long haul, and Nina's had the accelerator to the floor the entire time. Enrolled agents have appreciated her efforts, her accessibility, and her remarks at a variety of our meetings, including, most recently, at NAEA's 2018 National Conference, where she once again demonstrated her encyclopedic knowledge of Title 26." Learn more about NAEA's 2019 National Conference.
Nina Olson at NAEA’s 2018 National Conference. Photo credit: Robert Kerr, EA.
| || LEGISLATIVE & TAX ADMINISTRATION NEWS|
Catching Bad Guys
The Department of Justice continues to crack down on miscreant return preparers, including one in Montana and evil duos in Florida, Texas and Louisiana.
SALT Deduction Cap
The sparring over the TCJA's cap on the amount of state and local taxes a taxpayer may deduct continues. The provision is widely opposed by lawmakers from high-tax states such as New York and California. After passage, these states were attempting to create a way around the provision but were stymied when the Treasury Department quickly (within four months) released its proposed regulations in Notice 2018-54. Chairman Neal raised concerns that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin injected politics into the rulemaking process and asked the Treasury IG to investigate.
Treasury and IRS originally requested the TIGTA report not be made public. A redacted report was sent to Congress, stating the Notice 2018-54 review and approval process was reasonable, given the significant taxpayer impact. Congressman Neal released the full, unredacted report and continues to question whether politics played a role in the rulemaking process. Secretary Mnuchin is scheduled to have the hot seat before the Ways and Means Committee next week on the president's budget and we expect, ahem, a rather spirited discussion.
Farmers and Fisherman
IRS has announced it will waive the estimated tax penalty for any qualifying farmer or fisherman (or fisherwoman, presumably) who files a tax return and pays any tax due by April 15 (April 17 for taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts).
Second Quarter Interest Rates
Interest rates will remain the same for the second quarter, which begins on April 1.
IRS reminds taxpayers to pay their tax debts if they need to obtain a passport for foreign travel (Robert Wood unpacks the issue in a recent Forbes article in case you missed our earlier coverage).
Senators Grassley and Wyden, respectively the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation today to extend retroactively certain temporary tax provisions that expired in 2017 and 2018. The bill would extend the provisions through the current year and also provide tax relief to victims of major disasters in 2018. Following the "tradition" of not paying for temporary tax cuts with permanent tax increases, Senators Grassley and Wyden did not include any revenue raising provisions to cover the cost of extending these expired provisions. Reliable sources tell us the House Ways and Means Committee plans to hold a series of hearings on both tax extenders and technical corrections next month. With only six weeks left to go in this filing season, the odds of passing extenders legislation appear low.
New IRS Chief Counsel
After more than a year of waiting, Michael Desmond was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday with a strong bipartisan vote of 83 to 15. NAEA is pleased the Senate has finally given its advice and consent for Desmond, who is a well-respected tax lawyer from California with extensive experience in both the private and public sectors.
- IRS on Monday released the latest Internal Revenue Bulletin, IRB 2019-9, which includes, among other guidance, a proposed Rev. Proc. that provides a rental real estate safe harbor (and who doesn’t love a safe harbor?).
- Final regulations (TD 9848) for low-income housing credit compliance monitoring were issued on February 13.
An Arizona Department of Revenue news release from Wednesday reminds qualifying seniors they may take advantage of certain state tax credits, even if they are not required to file income tax returns.
- Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law the bill lowering the top marginal income tax rate to 5.9 percent.
- Legal Counsel Opinion No. 20181117 confirms that withdrawals from an Arkansas 529 plan to pay for a beneficiary's enrollment and attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school qualify for the deduction for contributions to a qualified tuition program.
The Franchise Tax Board yesterday released the March Tax News, which covers a variety of topics of interest to tax practitioners.
The Delaware Division of Revenue (DoR) has noticed an increase in the number of returns reporting overstated Delaware income tax withholding. The DoR warns taxpayers it considers this a sign of fraud and may result in such a return being pulled for review, which would possibly delay refunds.
Governor Cuomo may now tout the support of seven other states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington) for his "tax fairness" campaign to convince Congress to repeal the SALT deduction cap.
The Department of Revenue has issued its policy for implementing recently enacted gaming laws, including the legalization of betting on fantasy sports contests.
The comptroller has released the February Tax Policy News, just in time for March.
Tax Bulletin No. 19-2 addresses the recently enacted Veterans Benefits and Transition Act, which enables the spouse of a service member to elect to claim the same residence as the service member, even if the spouse has a different domicile.
| || EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK|
Lost your shirt on rental real estate? The ABA has a new article explaining the deduction for real estate losses for "the rest of us."
No Bueno. An IRS employee has been charged for leaking confidential financial information about Michael Cohen.
Also No Bueno. Popstar Shakira charged with tax evasion in Spain.
When Absence Does Not Make the Heart Grow Fonder. Justice, the bald eagle we reported on earlier, has returned to the nest after being absent for a few weeks. Unfortunately, his mate, Liberty, has left the nest, and their two eggs, because two other male eagles (one of whom was named Aaron Burd) were hanging around.
Get into the Swing. Glenn Miller, the famous bandleader and musician was born on this day in 1904. Little known fact: Miller scored more top ten hits than the Beatles and Elvis.
NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
for the annual NAEA Fly-In on May 14!
Applications are due March 22, 2019.
We hope to see you in D.C.
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you."
— Walt Whitman
| || |
NAEA E@lert | Volume 1: Issue 16
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