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Friday, July 31, 2015

EFC Summer Processing Schedule

In preparation for the 2016 Filing Season regularly scheduled maintenance work will be done on the Electronic Filing Center (EFC) through August 31st.  

To facilitate this, we will be processing efiles Monday 9am thru Friday 5pm ET during the summer months.  

You may continue sending efiles at any time, including weekends, which we will send to the agencies by 9am ET Mondays. If an efile deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, IRS moves the deadline to Monday. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TaxWise Bulletin – Help Protect Your Clients’ Identity

Help Protect Your Clients’ Identity
Every 2 seconds, someone’s identity is stolen in the U.S., and tax related identity theft has increased 600% over the last 5 years. To help you address this ever growing problem, Wolters Kluwer has teamed up with iPROTECT - allowing you to offer identity theft protection to your customers. 

iPROTECT offers much more than credit monitoring. It offers solutions as robust as those used by the nation’s leading financial institutions to prevent identity theft. In addition to offering your clients a valuable service at an affordable price, you can also earn a healthy profit when you sign up to become an affiliate.
Don’t let your clients fall victim to identity theft, offer iPROTECT to help construct a complete armor around their identity. Call your Account Manager at 800-495-4626 to discuss how iPROTECT can benefit your business, or sign up to be an affiliate at www.iprotect-id.com/affiliate.
With TaxWise, You Made The Right Choice
The solutions and software that you choose to partner with can make all the difference between your firm’s success or failure. With TaxWise, you can rest assured that you’ve made the best decision for your business.
  • TaxWise offers the best value combination of pricing and product features
  • Comprehensive integrated research tools keep you up to date with the latest tax law developments
  • With TaxWise, you can rest assured that we will never target your customers with DIY tax products
  • TaxWise’s real-time calculations and bilingual forms allow you to save time, expand your client base and grow your business
If you know fellow tax professionals who could benefit from all that TaxWise offers, refer them today and earn $100!Refer a friend today.
Haven't renewed your TaxWise software package for Tax Year 2015 yet? Renew now, and relax knowing you have first-rate tax and accounting solutions from Wolters Kluwer backing your business. Call your Account Manager at 800-495-4626 or renew online at offers.cchsfs.com.

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Take advantage of live interactive sessions hosted by some of the industry's leading experts with unlimited access to all CCH Seminars for a full year - only $799. Call your Account Manager to find out more about this unlimited offer - 800-495-4626View upcoming webinars included with this package


Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.,(Jul. 27, 2015)

Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.,(Jul. 27, 2015)


The Senate Finance Committee approved a two-year package of tax extenders at a cost of $95 billion. Among the provisions are an exclusion from gross income of certain clean coal power grants; modifications to the alternative fuels tax credit and excise tax for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquefied Propane Gas; and modification of mortgage information reporting requirement. While the House approved a short-term highway funding bill, the Senate unveiled a 6-year measure partially paid for with extensions of current funding provisions and tax compliance measures. Senate appropriators also approved a fiscal year 2016 measure that funds the IRS at $470 million, or 4 percent, below the FY 2015 enacted level. The Service, meanwhile, issued proposed regulations on disguised payments for services and final regulations to clarify where taxpayers should file refund and credit claims.

Treasury

Mazur on PPACA. Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur has provided some information on the operation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148) (Treasury Blog PostTAXDAY, 2015/07/21, T.1). Mazur indicated that about 76 percent (81 percent including dependents) of filers for 2014 had health insurance for the year and were not subject to the individual mandate. Another 9 percent claimed an exemption, and approximately 6 percent paid a fee. Mazur also stated that 3-to-5 percent of filers benefited from the advance health insurance premium tax credit under Code Sec. 36B and must reconcile the tax credits on their return.

IRS

Refund Claims. The IRS issued final regulations to clarify where taxpayers should file refund and credit claims (T.D. 9727TAXDAY, 2015/07/24, I.2). The regulations require that claims be filed at the service center based on the taxpayer’s current residence.
Retirement Plans. The IRS announced that it will make changes to the determination letter program for qualified individually designed retirement plans (Announcement 2015-19TAXDAY, 2015/07/22, I.1). The IRS also plans to eliminate the staggered five-year determination letter remedial amendment cycle for individually-designed plans.
FATCA. The IRS has concluded that data transmitted through the International Data Exchange Service (both to and from the IRS) is protected return information under Code Sec. 6103 (AM 2015-005TAXDAY, 2015/07/22, I.3). Furthermore, information sent to a foreign government is protected by treaty under Code Sec. 6105.
Personnel. The IRS announced that Lee Martin will become director of the IRS Whistleblower Office and that Stephen Whitlock will become director of the Office of Professional Responsibility (TAXDAY, 2015/07/24, I.4). Both appointments become effective August 3, 2015.
By Jeff Carlson and Brant Goldwyn, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

COM maintenance Thursday night, July 30th

For those of you that use the Central Office Manager tool to administer your sub-offices, this tool will be unavailable this Thursday July 30th from 9pm to 1am EST. A maintenance page will be visible during this planned maintenance period.



Friday, July 17, 2015

Extended maintenance July 18-19 for certain SFS products, tools, and apps

Extended maintenance July 18-19 for certain SFS products, tools, and apps

In preparation for the 2016 Filing Season, regularly scheduled maintenance work will be performed periodically through August 31st.

The next scheduled time period is this Saturday July 18th 9pm through Sunday July 19th at 7am EDT.

During this maintenance period, the following products, tools, or applications will not be accessible:
Electronic Filing Center (EFC)
Support site pages that require login
TaxWise Online

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Friday webinar- ACA: Understanding the Employer Mandate

Friday webinar-  ACA: Understanding the Employer Mandate

There’s still time!

Tomorrow's online CCH Seminar, Affordable Care Act: Understanding the Employer Mandate, provides an update and helpful guidance on the latest developments for the ACA employer mandates and what businesses should be doing now to comply with the new rules.



Don't miss out! 

Join Steve Siegel, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation) on 

Friday, July 17 at 1 p.m. ET.

From IRS.gov: File Your 2014 Tax Return Now to Receive Timely Advance Payments in 2016

From IRS.gov:  File Your 2014 Tax Return Now to Receive Timely Advance Payments in 2016


If you received advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2014 under the health care law, you should file your 2014 tax return as soon as possible this summer to ensure you can timely receive advance payments next year from your Marketplace.

If advance payments of the premium tax credit were paid on behalf of you or an individual in your family in 2014, and you do not file a 2014 tax return, you will not be eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit or cost-sharing reductions to help pay for your Marketplace health insurance coverage in 2016.  This means you will be responsible for the full cost of your monthly premiums and all covered services.   In addition, we may contact you to pay back some or all of the 2014 advance payments of the premium tax credit.


Refer to the full article below

IRS ACA article

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Support email address is customer.support@cchsfs.com

Reminder: to obtain support via email for any of our products, use customer.support@cchsfs.com

Any prior support email boxes are retired as of July 15, 2015. Emails sent to retired email boxes will return an 'undeliverable' message to the sender.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Confusion Reigns over IRS Tangible Property Repair Regs:- Accounting Today article

Confusion Reigns over IRS Tangible Property Repair Regs





The middle of summer is not the time of year that most of us want to think about taxes. However, the IRS’s tangible property repair regulations that were released this year require some reflection.
These regulations led to some confusion as well as a rush to implementation. Some taxpayers implemented them correctly, while others completed only some of the steps necessary to ensure compliance with the new law. Fortunately, taxpayers have until the extension date of the 2014 return to finalize implementation. Even if a return was previously filed, a taxpayer can amend a return with a Change in Accounting Method if that return is filed by their extension date.
Firms may be asking why a taxpayer would even be concerned with these regulations at this point. Others may be thinking that the Small Taxpayer Safe Harbor under Revenue Procedure 2015-20 means that no action is necessary. Though the revenue procedure allows many taxpayers to prospectively adopt the new repair regulations, it is not always the most prudent measure to do so.
Take, for example, a company with $9 million in fixed assets and $5 million in gross receipts. For purposes of this example, the taxpayer acquired a $5 million property in 2001. Then in 2010 the taxpayer replaced the lights as part of a building improvement. The new lights are considered capital and the taxpayer can take a partial disposition on the original lights. If the original lights were determined to have a $90,000 basis at the time of purchase, this could create a potential catch-up adjustment of $60,000. The only way for the taxpayer to claim the $60,000 deduction would be to file a Form 3115, “Application for Change in Accounting Method,” along with the 2014 tax return. If the taxpayer does not file a 3115, the original lights will stay on the books until they are fully depreciated in 2040 or until the property is sold. Even if the taxpayer replaces the lights again, they will not be able to deduct the original lights. This is a simplified example, but it shows how the numbers can quickly grow.
Whether a taxpayer chooses to file a 3115 or not, moving forward they must comply with the new regulations prospectively. A common misconception is that if a taxpayer chooses the simplified method, the lack of change means no changes are necessary for fixed assets. This is incorrect. Taxpayers need to adopt the new repair regulations starting Jan. 1, 2014, whether they have filed a 3115 or not.
So what are the next steps that a taxpayer and provider should be taking?  Taxpayers should consider the following three steps. While this does not cover all of the issues, it is a good starting point to ensure taxpayers are not missing out on opportunities.
Step One: Ensure Taxpayers Have a Capitalization Policy in Place
A critical portion of the new regulations is the issuance of a de minimis standard for capitalization. This is something taxpayers have been requesting for years. However, in order to utilize this new standard the IRS states that a capitalization policy needs to be in place. Any taxpayer that does not have a capitalization policy in place should make sure this issue is addressed as soon as possible.
In addition to the capitalization policy protecting the de minimis safe harbor, there are other reasons to ensure a capitalization policy is in place. During the 2014 tax year, taxpayers around the country spent millions of dollars to ensure their fixed asset listings were scrubbed. Many taxpayers filed 3115 forms to ensure they were maximizing the benefits of the new repair regulations. This included looking for partial dispositions, as well as reviewing prior capitalized assets to see if they could be treated as repairs.
Taxpayers who do not update their capitalization policies to track these issues will be forced to go through the same issues again in the future. It is critical that the lessons learned during this tax season are implemented to ensure assets are correctly handled moving forward.
Step Two: Determine if a 3115 is Necessary, where One Has Not Been Filed
Many taxpayers have already filed 3115 forms to clean up their fixed asset listings; however, many have not. Due to the complex nature of 3115s, some taxpayers have delayed implementation. This could be for many reasons. Some taxpayers have not wanted to spend the time and money to review their assets, others have determined there is no change, and still others fall under the small taxpayer safe harbor under Revenue Procedure 2015-20. However, many of these taxpayers should still be reviewing their assets to determine if a benefit still applies.
Step Three: Communication Between Taxpayer and Preparer
In many cases, the most crucial step is for taxpayers and preparers to sit down and discuss these new regulations in detail. It is critical to communicate what changes were made, if any, and how taxpayers should move forward in the 2015 tax year. Some taxpayers, unaware of the extent of the 3115 changes, have reverted back to the old way of handling their assets. For these taxpayers, the 3115s had minimal effect as they reverted back to the old way of doing things as soon as the 2014 return was filed. It is critical that taxpayers understand these changes to ensure future compliance.
Time is running out to implement these regulations. Taxpayers who desire to look at their assets on a retroactive basis need to start reviewing them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the process of reviewing a taxpayer’s assets takes time.
While summer is not the time of year that tax preparers want to spend looking at these issues, it is critical that we do not wait. Taxpayers who wait may miss out on some of the opportunities that these regulations create. Providers who wait may see their clients moving on to new tax preparers who are more proactive on these regulations.
David McGuire is director of the Cost Segregation Practice at McGuire Sponsel. His expertise includes fixed assets, cost segregation, and depreciation law. His background includes consulting on repair and maintenance studies under the 263(a) regulations and reviewing corporate capitalization policies. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of the repair regulations for accounting training seminars nationwide

Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.,(Jul. 13, 2015)

Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.,(Jul. 13, 2015)

The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) working groups released their reports offering policy options and recommendations for the committee to consider as part of comprehensive tax reform. SFC Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, noted that a busy Senate calendar may prevent the mark up of tax extenders in the near future, despite his desire to do so. The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it will recognize more same-sex couples as married, for determining their entitlement to Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments. The IRS, meanwhile, released guidance on pension plan risk transferring, tax-avoidance transactions, and health care preventive services.

Congress

A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently introduced companion legislation in both chambers, the Small Business Healthcare Relief Bill (HR 2911Sen 1697), to roll back an IRS rule imposing fines on small businesses providing Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), which help defray the cost of workers’ insurance or medical expenses (TAXDAY, 2015/07/08, C.1). The legislation, introduced by Sens. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and House Ways and Means member Charles Boustany, R-La., and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., would ensure that small businesses and local municipalities with fewer than 50 employees are allowed to continue using pre-tax dollars to give employees a defined contribution for healthcare expenses. It would also protect employers from being financially penalized for providing HRAs.
House. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., requested answers from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew regarding payments the administration has made to insurance companies to subsidize cost-sharing under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148) after the administration requested—but did not receive from Congress—an appropriation of funding. In a letter dated July 7, the chairmen notified Lew that the committees are examining the implementation of the regarding payments the administration has made to insurance companies to subsidize cost-sharing under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (PPACA’s cost-sharing program In a July 7 letter to Burwell, Upton and Ryan issued a similar request, asking that HHS respond by July 21.
Senate. Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced on July 8 that they had received reports from the committee’s five bipartisan tax working groups (TAXDAY, 2015/07/09, C.1). The reports offer policy options and recommendations for the committee to consider as part of comprehensive tax reform and focus on the areas of: individual income tax; business income tax; savings and investment; international tax; and community development and infrastructure. The most anticipated report is international tax reform, as it is the one area where lawmakers have suggested stands the greatest chance of being acted upon in 2015.
Over 50 tax credits and deductions commonly referred to as extenders could be marked up as soon as the end of July, but Hatch said there might not be enough time to reach that goal despite his desire to do so (TAXDAY, 2015/07/10, C.1). Part of the problem, according to Hatch, is the Senate’s schedule and the demands of other legislative priorities, especially an extension of the Highway Trust Fund.

IRS

Pension Plan Risk-Transferring. The IRS has advised that it will amend the regulations on required minimum distributions underCode Sec. 401(a)(9) to prevent plans from replacing lifetime annuity benefits with lump sum payouts or other accelerated benefits (Notice 2015-49TAXDAY, 2015/07/10, I.3). The IRS indicated that generally the regulations will be effective in 2015.
Tax-Avoidance Transactions. The IRS has identified "basket option contracts" as listed transactions engaged in for tax avoidance, by inappropriately deferring income and by converting ordinary income and short-term capital gain into long-term capital gain (Notice 2015-47TAXDAY, 2015/07/09, I.2Notice 2015-48TAXDAY, 2015/07/09, I.3). The IRS has also identified "basket contracts" as transactions of interest. The designations trigger various return disclosure and correction obligations, and require material advisors to maintain client lists.
Health Care Preventive Services. The IRS and the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services have issued final regulations regarding coverage of certain preventive services under the PPACA (T.D. 9726TAXDAY, 2015/07/13, I.2). The regulations finalize provisions from: interim final regulations issued in 2010 related to coverage of preventive services; interim final regulations issued in 2014 related to the process for an eligible organization to provide notice of its religious objection to the coverage of contraceptive services; and proposed regulations issued in 2014 related to the definition of an "eligible organization"that may avail itself of an accommodation with respect to the coverage of contraceptive services.
Disaster Relief. The IRS announced that victims of severe storms and other extreme weather in parts of Arkansas will qualify for tax relief, including the postponement of filing and payment deadlines (DAL-2015-78TAXDAY, 2015/07/07, I.3). FEMA announced that certain areas in Nebraska and Arkansas affected by extreme weather are eligible for disaster assistance and may deduct their losses on their 2014 tax returns (TAXDAY, 2015/07/07, I.4).

More Developments

Same-Sex Couples. As a result of the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges2015-1 ustc ¶50,357, the SSA will recognize more same-sex couples as married, for determining their entitlement to Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments (SSA Press ReleaseTAXDAY, 2015/07/10, M.1). SSA encouraged individuals who are or were in a same-sex marriage to apply for benefits, to preserve the filing date and protect against the loss of potential benefits.
TPC Report. While lawmakers push individual tax rate cuts as an integral part of tax reform, a tax rate cut of one percent is not necessarily beneficial to most taxpayers, according to a recent report by the Tax Policy Center. According to the Tax Policy Center analysis, a one-percent rate cut would add 0.5 percent to average after-tax income, or about $360. But households making less than $30,000-a-year in expanded cash income would receive almost no benefit at all, while those making $1 million or more would enjoy an average boost in after-tax income of 0.8 percent, or almost $17,000, the Tax Policy Center reported.
By Jeff Carlson and Brant Goldwyn, Wolters Kluwer News Staff