The IRS may end up less ridiculous than they appear to be in writing. We mentioned last week the new IRS Publication 1345 rules for e-file tax firms that by their terms appear to require practitioners to card their in-office clients and run credit checks on clients who mail or upload their tax information. Our local “stakeholder liaison (the IRS representative who works with practitioners) called me and said she has been told by higher-ups that the requirements will be less severe than they look. She also called Jason Dinesen, who reports:
This IRS this afternoon confirmed to me and other practitioners who had been making the IRS’s lives miserable the last few days that: the new e-file rules apply only to electronically signed e-file authorizations. And “electronically signed” means signed by some means other than pen-to-paper.
I hope this is true, but I will feel better when the IRS puts it in writing. After all, you aren’t protected form penalties by oral advice. But even if it is true, it seems even sillier than the original rule. The whole idea is to prevent identity theft, but it’s a rare ID thief who hires a practitioner to steal identities. It would be rarer still for one to go through the trouble of using an e-signature return. That’s why I’m not fully convinced by the liaison; it just would create a requirement so onerous for a narrow set of returns that few people will file that way.
If you’re a serious poker player, you might want to check out Staking and the 2014 WSOP: Nothing Has Changed.
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 383
Lyman Stone, New State-Level Price Data Shows Smaller State Real Income Differences (Tax POlicy Blog):
Federal tax progressivity has strange consequences. People who are “poor” in one state could be “rich” in another without changing the dollar amount of their income. So the progressive nature of the federal income tax can lead to poor- or middle-class people in high-price states paying taxes equivalent to what significantly richer (in real, standard-of-living terms) people would pay in low-price states.
It costs more to be rich in New York than Des Moines.
Renu Zaretsky, The ACA, Extenders, and More Swiss Banks. The TaxVox headline roundup includes a link to a NY Times piece on a recent IRS ruling to prevent “dumping” of employees on state exchanges through tax-free reimbursement plans. Just one more hasty patch on a leaky system.
Robert D. Flach comes back from a long weekend with your Tuesday Buzz!
News from the Profession. California Board of Accountancy Says the Early Bird Gets the CPA Exam Worm (Going Concern)
Going the extra mile to save on taxes. An Alaska doctor should get points for endurance, anyway, even if it turns out that he is a tax cheat. The Justice Department accuses Michael Brandner, an Anchorage doctor, of evading taxes through offshore accounts. According to the Department press release, the physician literally was operating under-the-radar (my emphasis):
According to court documents, Brandner engaged in a scheme to hide and conceal millions of dollars of assets from the Alaska courts and from his wife of 28 years who was divorcing him. Shortly after the divorce was filed, Brandner left Alaska and drove to Central America after converting assets into five cashier’s checks worth over $3,000,000.
Driving from Alaska to Panama isn’t for the faint-hearted. Driving their with $3 million in cashiers checks — that’s impressive, in a crazy sort of way. If he is convicted, his sentence should include time served on the road.