E-signature, encrypted email extension; EA renewal; Tax Forums Online; 401(k), IRA contribution increase; and more

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e-News for Tax ProfessionalsNovember 3, 2023

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Issue Number: 2023-44

Inside This Issue

  1. IRS extends use of electronic signatures, encrypted email
  2. Enrolled agent renewal season underway
  3. Continuing education credit available through Nationwide Tax Forums Online
  4. Contribution limits for 401(k), IRA plans increase in 2024
  5. Review tax withholding now before time runs out
  6. Protect your clients, protect yourself against online threats
  7. Digital asset public hearing rescheduled for Nov. 13
  8. New IRS Energy Credits Online tool allows sellers of clean vehicles to register for time-of-sale reporting, advance credit payments

1.  IRS extends use of electronic signatures, encrypted email

The IRS this week announced it is extending the ability of tax professionals to use digital signatures and encrypted email. The IRS will accept digital signatures on certain documents indefinitely, while it will permit use of encrypted email – when a tax professional is working directly with IRS personnel – through Oct. 31, 2025.

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2.  Enrolled agent renewal season underway

Enrolled agents: If your Social Security number (SSN) ends in a in 7, 8, 9 or no SSN, you must renew your status as an enrolled agent by Jan. 31, 2024. You must renew your status every three years to remain eligible to practice before the IRS. Failure to renew your status by the Jan. 31, 2024, deadline will result in your enrolled agent status becoming “inactive.” To renew:

  • Complete Form 8554, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the IRS, online at Pay.gov.
  • Pay the $140 renewal fee.

All enrolled agents must also have an active Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and you must enter it on Form 8554. Renewals may take up to 90 days to process. Failure to accurately report your continuing education (CE) may delay processing of your application. If you have questions about the renewal process, call toll-free 855-472-5540 (hours: 6:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT). Visit IRS.gov/ea for more information about the enrolled agents program.

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3.  Continuing education credit available through Nationwide Tax Forums Online

Tax pros: If you’re in need of continuing education (CE) credits before the end of the year, visit the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums Online webpage. The IRS tax forum online webpage features 18 new self-study seminars that offer options for Ethics, Federal Tax Law and Federal Tax Law Update CE credits. The seminars include:

  • Tax Law Changes for TY2023, which provides a general overview of tax law changes for TY2023, as illustrated by the impact on tax forms, instructions and publications.
  • IRS Strategic Operating Plan and Implementation, which provides an overview of how the agency is transforming the way it serves taxpayers and tax professionals, and the way the IRS administers the tax system. This presentation focuses on initiatives that will be of most interest to tax professionals, such as new service offerings, new ways to interact with the IRS and improvements to taxpayer and tax professional service.
  • Circular 230 and Ethics in Tax Practice: How You Can Stay Out of Trouble. This seminar delivers an overview of the Office of Professional Responsibility, discusses Circular 230 and highlights the importance of diligence in tax practice, as well as other provisions in which diligence is an implicit requirement.

The 18 self-study seminars were recorded during the summer 2023 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums and are available for CE credit or review. For a complete list of seminars and to register, visit the Nationwide Tax Forums Online.

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4.  Contribution limits for 401(k), IRA plans increase in 2024

The amount individuals can contribute to their 401(k) plans in 2024 has increased to $23,000, from $22,500 in 2023. Also, the limit on annual contributions to an IRA increased to $7,000, from $6,500. The IRA catch up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and older remains at $1,000 for 2024. Details on these and other retirement-related cost-of-living adjustments for 2024 are in Notice 2023-75.

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5.  Review tax withholding now before time runs out

With the end of 2023 approaching, encourage your clients to review their tax withholding as soon as possible to avoid a potential surprise when they file their tax return next year.

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6.  Protect your clients, protect yourself against online threats

As the tax season approaches, the IRS and its Security Summit partners encourage tax professionals to remain vigilant against online threats and learn best practices to protect against cybersecurity attacks. This news release is also available in Spanish and Simplified Chinese.

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7.  Digital asset public hearing rescheduled for Nov. 13

A hearing on proposed regulations regarding digital asset transactions, previously scheduled for Nov. 7, has been rescheduled for Nov. 13. The new date coincides with the deadline for comments on a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on Aug. 29.

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8.  New IRS Energy Credits Online tool allows sellers of clean vehicles to register for time-of-sale reporting, advance credit payments

Clean vehicle dealers can now register using the new IRS Energy Credits Online tool, known as IRS Energy Credits Online. The new tool enables dealers and sellers of clean vehicles to complete the entire process online and receive advance payments within 72 hours. The tool will generate a time-of-sale report that the taxpayer will use when filing their federal tax return to claim or report the credit. Beginning in 2024, clean vehicle sellers and licensed dealers must use the tool for their customers to successfully claim or transfer the new or previously owned clean vehicle credit for vehicles placed in service on Jan.1, 2024, or later.

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