The Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently conducted an audit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)'s latest private debt collection program and found much room for improvement. As of May 31, 2018, the private debt collection program had netted $1.3 million, but the private agencies have collected only 1 percent of the $4.1 billion assigned to the program. For reference, the industry average for 2016 was 9.9 percent.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates it is holding about $1.1 billion in unclaimed federal income tax refunds for approximately 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal tax return. The deadline to file a 2014 return to collect any refund due is this year's tax deadline, Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, recently released her 2017 Annual Report to Congress concerning tax administration issues and the challenges facing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the wake of the current tax reform legislation. One significant issue is how the IRS will be able to perform the basic tasks of tax administration given the 20-percent cut to its funding since FY 2010.
The new state Office of Tax Appeals (OTA) began hearing appeals cases as of January 1, 2018. California taxpayers may file an appeal with the OTA after receiving a Notice of Action or Notice of Determination from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) or the new California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) with an appeal deadline. Appeals will be heard by three-member panels of Administrative Law Judges in Sacramento, Fresno, and Los Angeles. Draft emergency regulations governing the appeals process are available here: https://ota.ca.gov/draft-emergency-regulations/
Pursuant to IRS Revenue Procedure 2017-52, the IRS has introduced a pilot program to resume offering private letter rulings on the tax consequences of certain distributions of stock or securities of a controlled corporation under I.R.C. Sec. 355. From September 21, 2017, through March 21, 2019, taxpayers may request a transactional ruling concerning plans to create tax-free spin-offs. For more information, click here.
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.
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently released her FY 2018 Objectives Report to Congress summarizing the recent filing season and future goals to improve Internal Revenue Service (IRS) interactions with US taxpayers.
Ordinarily, the taxpayer has the burden of proving a tax return is accurate. But when the IRS has to produce documents, its record-keeping practices are lacking. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report on July 13, 2017, that found that the IRS' electronic record retention policies do not comply with certain Federal requirements that records remain retrievable and usable for the time period needed. For example, e-mail messages are not automatically archived for all IRS employees, and the manual methods used to counteract this gap are inadequate when computer hard drives are destroyed or damaged as media storage policies and tools change.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will now return without consideration any Offer in Compromise applications submitted by taxpayers who have not filed all required tax returns. The application fee will be returned to the taxpayer, but any initial payment submitted with the returned application will be applied to outstanding tax debt. An updated Offer in Compromise Booklet (Form 656-B) reflecting this policy change will be available March 27, 2017 here.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today that it will delay the date on which e-Services users will be required to re-register and validate their identities (previously discussed here). There is no new implementation date set. The IRS will need more time to discuss security protocols with "key stakeholders" in order to ensure a smooth transition. For more information on this change, click here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/important-update-about-your-eservices-account.