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September 2017 Archives

Californians Can e-File Amended Returns Starting in 2018

According to the October 2017 newsletter of the California Franchise Tax Board, beginning in January 2018, California taxpayers will be able to e-file amended individual returns for tax year 2017 and later on a new Schedule X, California Explanation of Amended Return Changes. The Form 540X will be eliminated going forward, but you will still need to paper file Forms 540X to amend returns for prior tax years.

Unfiled Returns? Possibly Good News as the IRS Suspends the Automated Substitute for Return (SFR) Program

Sometimes when a taxpayer does not file a tax return, the IRS will estimate the amount owed and prepare a Substitute for Return (SFR). More specifically, IRS computers prepare the SFRs based on information the IRS receives from third parties, such as Forms W-2 and 1099. The IRS would then issue a letter to the taxpayer regarding the proposed deficiency with penalties added for late filing and late payment. Taxpayers could respond with information about deductions, credits, or errors and discuss the proposed deficiency with an IRS employee.

Nearly Two-Thirds of IRS Hardware is Too Old

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently audited the Sustaining Infrastructure Program of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and found that, since 2013, the percentage of information technology hardware the IRS is using that is beyond its useful life has increased from 40% to its current rate of 64%. Aged hardware is more likely to fail, negatively impacting employee productivity, information security, and customer service.

Senate Committee on Finance Tackles Business Tax Reform

The United States Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on September 19, 2017, to address business tax reform goals. Chairman Orrin Hatch focused his opening remarks on the need to reduce corporate tax rates to remain competitive in the international market and to reduce the burden on the American working class. He recommended allowing businesses to deduct dividends paid as a way to offset what he interpreted as double-taxation, since investors are also taxed on dividends received. He also stressed the need to find a way to reduce the tax burden on pass-through entities such as sole proprietorships, LLCs, and partnerships.

Watch Out for Venezuelan Officials Laundering Money!

The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued an advisory alert for financial institutions concerning the potential flow of money from Venezuela to the United States due to political instability surrounding widespread corruption in the South American nation.

IRS Provides Guidance Concerning Late-Filed 2016 Partnership Returns

Certain partnerships that failed to file their required federal tax returns by the new, April 15th due date for tax years beginning with 2016 may be provided penalty relief, according to Internal Revenue Service Notice 2017-47. The calendar-year partnership due date was moved up from April 18th by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. If your partnership filed its returns with the IRS and provided appropriate copies to receipients by the historical due date, or requested an extension by that time, you may qualify for penalty relief. For more information, click here.

Update Regarding the New Office of Tax Appeals

As we inch closer to the January 1, 2018 official changeover of many responsibilities from the Board of Equalization to California's two new tax agencies (the Department of Tax and Fee Administration [TFA], and the Office of Tax Appeals [OTA]), legislators are refining and narrowing the details of future responsibilities and processes for taxpayers to avail themselves of these administrative bodies.

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