e-News for Tax Professionals Issue Number: 2018-21

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e-News for Tax Professionals May 25, 2018

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Issue Number:  2018-21

Inside This Issue


  1. Security Summit: Scammers Pose as Tax Pro Associations
  2. E-File, e-Services Down Over Holiday Weekend
  3. Upcoming Enrolled Agent Notifications and Verification of Continuing Education Credits
  4. CFP Board Approves Courses at the 2018 Nationwide Tax Forums
  5. Law Change Affects Moving, Mileage and Travel Expenses
  6. New Law Gives Individuals, Businesses More Time to Challenge a Wrongful IRS Levy
  7. IRS Releases New Strategic Plan
  8. Help Your Client: Plan Ahead for Vacation Home Rentals
  9. Technical Guidance

1.  Security Summit: Scammers Pose as Tax Pro Associations

The IRS and its state and industry Security Summit partners alert tax practitioners to a new phishing scheme in which cyber criminals pose as state accounting and tax professional associations. A number of tax professionals have reported to the IRS they have received emails attempting to trick them into disclosing email usernames and passwords.

Cybercriminals specifically targeted tax professionals in Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina and Canada. One awkwardly worded phishing email states: "We kindly request that you follow this link HERE and sign in with your email to view this information from (name of accounting association) to all active members. This announcement has been updated for your kind information through our secure information sharing portal which is linked to your email server."

If you are a member of a professional association, go directly to your association website by typing the address into your browser rather than opening any link or attachment in an email. If you receive a suspicious email regarding taxes, the IRS or phishing attempts to gain access to your client information, forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

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2.  E-File, e-Services Down Over Holiday Weekend

The IRS will conduct its annual Memorial Day Systems Shutdown from 6:00 pm EST on Saturday, May 26, through 7:00 am EST on Tuesday, May 29.

The Modernized e-File Systems (MeF) (both Production and ATS) will not be available during this timeframe. Please refrain from accessing the MeF Systems to transmit business, individual or state tax returns, retrieve acknowledgements or submit any other service requests. You can monitor the MeF Status Page for any updates. In addition, the e-Services' Transcript Delivery System, TIN Matching, ACA and the e-file Application will also not be available during this time.

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3.  Upcoming Enrolled Agent Notifications and Verification of Continuing Education Credits

As the enrollment renewal cycle has finished, the IRS Return Preparer Office (RPO) will send letters to Enrolled Agents (EAs) whose enrollment status is being terminated or inactivated because of failure to renew. Termination letters will go out in late May, while inactive letters will go out mid-June 2018.

EAs with SSNs ending in 7, 8, or 9 (or those with no SSN) who have not renewed for the 2015 and 2018 cycles will have their enrollment placed in terminated status. Anyone in terminated status must re-take the Special Enrollment Exam to apply for re-enrollment. The same EAs who did not renew for the 2018 cycle will have their enrollment placed in inactive status. Anyone in inactive status can still submit a late renewal for approval with proof of CE.

Additionally, RPO will be sending Letter 5781 to a random sample of EAs requesting verification of their continuing education credits for the past three years

If you have questions about your enrollment status, please contact the Office of Enrollment at (855) 472-5540. For more information on both EA notifications and Letter 5781, see the Enrolled Agent News page on IRS.gov.

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4.  CFP Board Approves Courses at the 2018 Nationwide Tax Forums

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has approved 38 courses for continuing education credits for Certified Financial Planners at this summer's IRS Nationwide Tax Forums. Some of the courses featured at this summer's tax forums include:

 • Cybersecurity for Tax Professionals
 • Get Ready for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act New Due Diligence Requirements
 • Highlights of Tax Changes from a Tax Forms Perspective
 • Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency – An Introduction and the Related Tax Consequences of Buying, Holding and Selling

Register and provide your CFP number, scan your badge upon entering a session, and IRS will report the credit on your behalf. You can earn up to 18 credits at the 2018 Forums.

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5.  Law Change Affects Moving, Mileage and Travel Expenses

The Internal Revenue Service today provided information about changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that affect: move-related vehicle expenses, un-reimbursed employee expenses and vehicle expensing.

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6.  New Law Gives Individuals, Businesses More Time to Challenge a Wrongful IRS Levy

Individuals and businesses have additional time to file an administrative claim or to bring a civil action for wrongful levy or seizure, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the tax reform law enacted in December, extended the time limit for filing an administrative claim and for bringing a suit for wrongful levy from nine months to two years.

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7.  IRS Releases New Strategic Plan

The IRS released a new five-year Strategic Plan outlining goals to improve taxpayer service and tax administration. The Fiscal Year 2018-2022 IRS strategic plan will serve as a roadmap to help guide IRS programs and operations. It will also help meet the changing needs of taxpayers and members of the tax community.

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8.  Help Your Client: Plan Ahead for Vacation Home Rentals

Do you have a client who plans to rent out a property during the summer months? Remind her of the tax implications of residential and vacation home rentals. If your client receives money for the use of a house that's also used as the client's personal residence, generally, the rental income must be reported on a tax return.

For more information, review this IRS YouTube Video or visit: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/plan-ahead-for-vacation-home-rentals.

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9.  Technical Guidance

Revenue Procedure 2018-34 provides the applicable percentage table in section 36B(b)(3)(A)(i) and the required contribution percentage in section 36B(c)(2)(C)(i)(II) to provide the percentages to be used for 2019.

Notice 2018-54 states that the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS intend to issue proposed regulations addressing the deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes. These proposed regulations will clarify the relationship between federal charitable contribution deductions and the new statutory limitation on the deduction of state and local taxes.

Notice 2018-42 updates Notice 2018-03, 2018-2 I.R.B. 285 (released to the Public Dec. 14, 2017), in light of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Public Law 115-97 (Dec. 22, 2017)), which made amendments to §§ 67 and 217 of the Internal Revenue Code.  This notice updates Notice 2018-03 providing current information as to the optional 2018 standard mileage rates for taxpayers to use in computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving expense purposes.  

Notice 2018-42 will be published in IRB 2018-24 on June 11.

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