And we’d have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids! Tax Notes comes through this morning with confirmation ($ link) that opposition to the preparer regulation provision caused the Senate Finance Committee leadership to postpone the markup of the ID-theft bill scheduled for yesterday.
“I think there’s probably a way in which that [bill] could get back on track,” said Senate Finance Committee member John Thune, R-S.D. The pending legislation’s proposal to grant Treasury and the IRS authority to regulate paid tax return preparers “was probably the principal concern” of some senators, Thune said.
“I think more of it, the whole issue, was whether or not to give the IRS more authority — more power, more people, more resources, all that,” Thune added.
Apparently both Chairman Hatch and ranking minority member Wyden favor reviving the preparer regulation power grab, derailed by the courts in 2013. So does the head of the National Association of Enrolled Agents. A petulant Senate staffer blames the CPAs:
A Senate staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Tax Analysts that the “AICPA once supported common-sense efforts to regulate unenrolled paid preparers — an important effort, given that unregulated tax preparers are largely responsible for a wide range of tax filing mistakes that occur at the expense of taxpayers.”
“But now,” the staffer continued, “it seems the group has now lobbied hard in opposition to the bill, ostensibly on the grounds that the bill should be changed to impose limitations on IRS’s authority to require preparers to obtain” preparer tax identification numbers.
I would argue that the AICPA is serving the interests of its members and the general public. I would also say they are serving the EA’s interest better than their own organization. I think another IRS-approved preparer designation could be fatal to the already-struggling Enrolled Agent brand.
I also hate when people invoke “common sense” when pushing through a bad idea. It’s another way of saying “shut up, peasant.” Unless, of course, it’s “common sense” to give an IRS that is failing at its job while abusing its power more to do.
IRS issues special per-diem rates for the year starting 10/1/15 (Notice 2015-65). The rates include the special transportation industry per-diems the incdental expenses-only rate, and the rates and lists of “high-low” localities.
Andrew Mitchel, Is the IRS Missing Names From Its Quarterly Publication of Expatriates? “It is possible that the IRS is only including the names of individuals who have renounced their U.S. citizenship. Perhaps the IRS is not including the names of individuals who have relinquished and not including the names of former long-term green card holders.”
Robert Wood, IRS Hunts Belize Accounts, Issues John Doe Summons To Citibank, BofA. If you’re tax planning is based on offshore bank secrecy, you should rethink your plans.
Robert D. Flach has issued his 2015 YEAR END TAX PLANNING GUIDE. $3 for pdf, $4.50 in print.
Scott Schumacher, Getting to Yes, Sooner (Procedurally Taxing). “Whatever the [Tax] Court can do to encourage pro se petitioners to participate in a settlement conference as early as possible will benefit all parties involved.”
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 861
Roberton Williams, Despite Promises, Jeb Bush’s Tax Plan Wouldn’t Eliminate Marriage Penalties (TaxVox).
How many auditors does the Pope have? Pope Francis Weighs In on Tax Policy (Scott Greenberg, Tax Policy Blog).
Now, Pope Francis has also made a foray into tax policy, calling for churches and religious orders that conduct regular business activities to pay taxes on their income…
However, in the United States, a church that operated a hotel would likely be subject to the Unrelated Business Income Tax, which applies to tax-exempt organizations that conduct business operations that are unrelated to their tax-exempt purpose. So, the Pope would likely be satisfied with current U.S. law, which requires church-operated businesses to pay taxes on their profits (with a few notable exceptions).
Blessed be the 990-T.
Bob McIntyre, Congress Is Working to Revive Rules That Make Corporate Tax Avoidance Easier (Tax Justice Blog). That’s Tax Justice talk for “working on extender legislation.”
Career Corner. Do Millennial Accountants Golf? (Caleb Newquist, Going Concern).