Simple Notice Initiative; automated collection notices and ERC webinars; EITC; ETAAC deadline; and more 

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e-News for Tax ProfessionalsJanuary 26, 2024

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Issue Number:  2024-04

Inside This Issue

  1. IRS launches Simple Notice Initiative redesign effort
  2. Webinar: Navigating through restart of automated collection notices and penalty relief on Jan. 30
  3. Employee Retention Credit Voluntary Disclosure Program webinar on Feb. 8
  4. New education series to come as IRS urges businesses to review ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program
  5. IRS, partners highlight EITC Awareness Day
  6. Taxpayers should continue to report all cryptocurrency, digital asset income
  7. Deadline approaching for the ETAAC membership applications
  8. Tax relief for Connecticut victims affected by storms, flooding
  9. News from the Justice Department’s Tax Division
  10. Technical Guidance

1.  IRS launches Simple Notice Initiative redesign effort


Work is underway on the Simple Notice Initiative, a sweeping effort to simplify and clarify about 170 million letters sent annually to taxpayers. Part of the larger transformation work taking place at the IRS with Inflation Reduction Act funding, the Simple Notice Initiative will review and redesign hundreds of notices with an immediate focus on the most common notices that individual taxpayers receive. The redesign work will accelerate during the 2025 and 2026 filing seasons, improving common IRS letters going out to individual taxpayers and then expanding into notices going to businesses.

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2.  Webinar: Navigating through restart of automated collection notices and penalty relief on Jan. 30


Tax pros: The IRS will host the webinar, Navigating through the restart of automated collection notices and penalty relief, on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. EST. Designed primarily for tax professionals whose clients were affected by the delayed notices during the COVID pandemic, this free webinar will reflect last month’s announcement that, in general, the IRS will restart collection notices reminding taxpayers of their balance due this year and provide penalty relief on millions of tax returns.

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3.  Employee Retention Credit Voluntary Disclosure Program webinar on Feb. 8


The webinar Employee Retention Credit Voluntary Disclosure Program will take place on Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. EST. Learn about the advantages of the program, how to apply and who qualifies, and other ERC resources available from the IRS. To register for this webinar and for additional information on future webinars hosted by the IRS, visit the Webinars for tax practitioners website.

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4.  New education series to come as IRS urges businesses to review ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program


The IRS renews its call for businesses to review their eligibility for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) as the agency’s law enforcement arm, Criminal Investigation (CI), begins a series of educational sessions for tax professionals. The sessions will take place in February and are part of a nationwide initiative to ensure that tax professionals have the latest information about ERC claims and understand ERC eligibility criteria.

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5.  IRS, partners highlight EITC Awareness Day


The IRS and partners around the nation launched the annual Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day outreach campaign to help millions of low-to-moderate income working Americans that are eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

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6.  Taxpayers should continue to report all cryptocurrency, digital asset income


Tax pros: Remind your clients that they must again answer a digital asset question and report all digital asset-related income when they file their 2023 federal income tax return, as they did for their 2022 federal tax returns. Everyone who files Forms 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120 and 1120S must check one box answering either “Yes” or “No” to the digital asset question. The question must be answered by all taxpayers, not just by those who engaged in a transaction involving digital assets in 2023. Read this news release for more information about digital assets, when to check yes or no on tax returns, and how to report digital asset income.

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7.  Deadline approaching for the ETAAC membership applications


Tax pros: The deadline to submit your membership applications for the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) is Jan. 31. 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. Qualified individuals who are selected will serve three-year terms on the ETAAC beginning September 2024.

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8.  Tax relief for Connecticut victims affected by storms, flooding


Individuals and businesses in parts of Connecticut affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on Jan. 10 now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. Currently, this includes New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The same relief will be available to any other Connecticut localities added later to the disaster area. The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

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9.  News from the Justice Department’s Tax Division


The United States filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado against Denver-area tax return preparer Daniel Mattison. The complaint seeks to enjoin Mattison from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and from preparing federal income tax returns for others. By repeatedly understating his customers’ tax liabilities, the complaint alleges that the United States has been harmed by Mattison’s conduct resulting in the loss in tax revenue of an estimated $1.99 million in 2018 and 2019 alone.

Iona Coates, a tax return preparer business owner in Florida, was sentenced to two years in prison for a scheme to file false tax returns and to two years in prison for an unrelated online romance scam. The two sentences are to run concurrently with each other. In addition to the term of imprisonment, Coates was ordered to serve a total of three years of supervised release for both schemes and ordered to pay approximately $186,288 in restitution to the United States related to the tax charges and $229,376.26 in restitution to the victims of the romance scheme. IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the tax scheme.

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10.  Technical Guidance


Notice 2024-23 announces special relief for taxpayers impacted by recent system issues affecting the Maryland Prepaid College Trust as described in the notice.

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