Filing season; 2024 tax forums; filing season scams; NTA Annual Report to Congress; and more

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e-News for Tax ProfessionalsJanuary 12, 2024

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Issue Number:  2024-02

Inside This Issue

  1. Tax filing season set for Jan. 29
  2. IRS ramps up new initiatives using Inflation Reduction Act funding to ensure complex partnerships, large corporations pay taxes owed
  3. Save the dates: 2024 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums
  4. Tax pros: Beware of “new client” scams as filing season approaches
  5. National Taxpayer Advocate delivers Annual Report to Congress
  6. IRS provides tips for applying to the ERC’s Voluntary Disclosure Program
  7. File wage statements, independent contractor forms by Jan. 31 deadline
  8. Deadline to apply for ETAAC membership is Jan. 31
  9. IRS offers office hours to assist with IRA/CHIPs pre-filing registration process
  10. IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals seeks senior advisor
  11. Upcoming webinars for tax practitioners
  12. News from the Justice Department’s Tax Division
  13. Technical Guidance

1.  Tax filing season set for Jan. 29


The IRS has announced Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, as the official start date of the nation’s 2024 tax season when the agency will begin accepting and processing 2023 tax returns. Taxpayers will continue to see helpful changes following ongoing transformation work at the IRS, including:
• Expanded in-person service at the Taxpayer Assistance Centers;
• Increased help available on the toll-free line and an expanded customer call back feature;
• Improvements to the Where’s My Refund? tool;
• An enhanced IRS Individual Online Account that includes chat, the option to schedule and cancel future payments, revise payment plans and validate and save bank accounts;
• A new, pilot tax filing service called Direct File that gives eligible taxpayers a new choice to file their 2023 federal tax returns online, for free, directly with the IRS; and
• Enhanced paperless processing.

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2.  IRS ramps up new initiatives using Inflation Reduction Act funding to ensure complex partnerships, large corporations pay taxes owed


The Internal Revenue Service announced continued progress to expand enforcement efforts related to high-income individuals, large corporations and complex partnerships as part of wider efforts to transform the agency. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel noted Inflation Reduction Act resources continue to help in a variety of areas. In addition to earlier announcements focusing on further improving taxpayer service during the upcoming 2024 filing season, the IRS has focused IRA resources on strengthening enforcement to pursue complex partnerships, large corporations and high-income, high-wealth individuals who do not pay overdue tax bills.

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3.  Save the dates: 2024 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums


Planning is underway for the IRS’s premier summer outreach and education program, the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums. Learn about the latest tax law, ethics, cybersecurity changes and updates directly from the IRS. This summer, the IRS will host its three-day program in the following cities:

• Chicago – July 9-11
• Orlando – July 30-Aug. 1
• Baltimore – Aug. 13-15
• Dallas – Aug. 20-22
• San Diego – Sept. 10-12

Registration begins March 1. Visit irstaxforum.com for program details.

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4.  Tax pros: Beware of “new client” scams as filing season approaches


The IRS and Security Summit partners alert tax professionals to watch out for a new round of filing season-related email schemes where cybercriminals pose as potential clients. With the 2024 tax season quickly approaching, fraudsters are impersonating real taxpayers seeking help with their taxes, using emails to try obtaining sensitive information or gain access to client data. Find information in this release about the current scam that’s circulating, where to report phishing emails and other scams, what to do if you have a data breach and more.

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5.  National Taxpayer Advocate delivers Annual Report to Congress


National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins released her 2023 Annual Report to Congress on January 10. The report credits the IRS with substantially improving taxpayer services and developing plans to transform the taxpayer experience in the coming years, but it identifies backlogs in processing amended tax returns, identity theft cases and taxpayer correspondence as continuing problems.

By law, the Advocate’s report is required to identify the 10 most serious problems taxpayers are experiencing in their dealings with the IRS and make administrative and legislative recommendations to address those problems. Some key recommendations include prioritizing the improvement of online accounts for individual taxpayers, business taxpayers and tax professionals; establishing minimum standards for paid tax return preparers; revoking the identification numbers of sanctioned preparers; and enabling all taxpayers to e-file their tax returns.

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6.  IRS provides tips for applying to the ERC’s Voluntary Disclosure Program


As part of an ongoing initiative aimed at combating dubious Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims, the IRS recently launched a Voluntary Disclosure Program to help businesses who want to pay back the money they received after filing ERC claims in error. Qualifying clients interested in this program have until March 22 to apply using Form 15434, Application for Employee Retention Credit Voluntary Disclosure Program.

To use this IRS fillable smart form, applicants must:
• Have the current version of Adobe Reader or Acrobat Pro to use the form. See Downloading and Printing tips if you need help getting the most recent free version of Adobe Reader.
• Right-click the link to the form.
• Choose “Save link as” to download the form to their computer.
• Open, fill out, sign and save the Form 15434.
• Submit the application form to the IRS using the IRS Document Upload Tool.

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7.  File wage statements, independent contractor forms by Jan. 31 deadline


Remind your employer clients they have until Jan. 31 to submit wage statements and forms for independent contractors with the government. New electronic filing requirements affect Forms W-2 that are required to be filed in 2024. Businesses that file 10 forms or more must file W-2s and certain information returns electronically.

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8.  Deadline to apply for ETAAC membership is Jan. 31


Reminder: The IRS is accepting membership applications for the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC). The ETAAC is an organized public forum for discussion of issues in electronic tax administration, such as prevention of identity theft and refund fraud. Applicants should have experience in state tax administration, cybersecurity and information security, tax software development, tax preparation, payroll and tax financial product processing, systems management and improvement, and implementation of customer service initiatives. The IRS also strongly encourages applications from people representing the viewpoints of average taxpayers, including consumer advocates and others with an interest in tax issues. Deadline to submit your application is Jan. 31, 2024. Qualified individuals who are selected will serve three-year terms on the ETAAC beginning September 2024.

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9.  IRS offers office hours to assist with IRA/CHIPs pre-filing registration process


The IRS offers office hours to help entities with the pre-filing registration process on the new IRA/CHIPS Pre-filing Registration Tool. Pre-filing registration is a required step for applicable entities and eligible taxpayers to take advantage of elective payment or transfer of credits available in the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS Act. Representatives from the IRS will be available to answer your pre-filing registration questions over Microsoft Teams. Registration is required and can be completed by clicking on one of the following links:

Jan. 16 from 1-2 p.m. ET
Jan. 19 from 1-2 p.m. ET
Jan. 23 from 1-2 p.m. ET
Jan. 26 from 1-2 p.m. ET
Jan. 30 from 1-2 p.m. ET
Feb. 2 from 1-2 p.m. ET
Feb. 6 from 1-2 p.m. ET
Feb. 9 from 1-2 p.m. ET

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10. IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals seeks senior advisor


The Independent Office of Appeals has a senior advisor position open for interested applicants to apply through Jan. 22. The senior advisor is responsible for providing expert tax analysis on legislative issues, litigation matters, tax administration policies and program priorities. The senior advisor works on the most sensitive and complex matters of high importance to the agency including coordinating with IRS Chief Counsel to coordinate published guidance and other technical tax administration issues that reflect Appeals’ unique role in tax administration. The IRS offers a wealth of workplace flexibilities, highly competitive pay and benefits – it’s a great place to start or grow a professional career in civil service. We invite members of the tax pro community to share and consider applying for this exciting career.

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11.  Upcoming webinars for tax practitioners


The IRS offers the upcoming live webinars to the tax practitioner community. For more information or to register for the webinars, visit the Webinars for Tax Practitioners webpage:

• 2024 IRS/California Society of Enrolled Agents (CSEA) practitioner seminars on Jan. 17-18, 2024, from noon – 5 p.m. ET. Earn up to 9 hours of IRS qualified CE credits, including 2 hours of Federal Ethics.
• Digital day by IRS’s Online Services on Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. ET. Earn up to 2 CE credits (Federal Tax); certificates of completion are being offered.
• ABCs of Foreign Tax Credit (FTC) for individuals at 1 p.m. ET. Earn up to 2 CE credits (Federal Tax); certificates of completion are being offered.

The IRS posted a free online video of a recent 2023 Forum 1099-K webinar, which focused on various issues for taxpayers who receive income typically reported to them on Form 1099-K, including those who often use popular payment apps and online marketplaces.

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12.  News from the Justice Department’s Tax Division


Two men were recently sentenced for crimes arising from their organization, promotion and sale of abusive syndicated conservation easement tax shelters. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Jack Fisher, James Sinnott and their co-conspirators sold more than $1.3 billion in fraudulent tax deductions, leading to a tax loss to the IRS of more than $450 million. Fisher, a certified public accountant (CPA), was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Sinnott, an attorney, was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

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13.  Technical Guidance


Notice 2024-19 provides relief from certain penalties imposed solely for failure of a partnership with unrealized receivables or inventory items to furnish Part IV of Form 8308, Report of a Sale or Exchange of Certain Partnership Interests, by Jan. 31, to the transferor and transferee in certain transfers of partnership interests that occurred in calendar year 2023.

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