As you've probably heard by now, the head of the IRS's tax-exempt organizations divison, Lois Lerner, apologized on Friday that the agency targeted 501(c)4 organizations with "Tea Party" and "patriot" in their names. Lerner said this was not done out of political bias, because, as we all know, those words don't hold any political overtones. […]
The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday. Organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the […]
David Cay Johnston is no stranger to this website, though this website is possibly guilty of the crime he complained about in the Columbia Journalism Review yesterday: Last week, we pointed to a piece of news that we have yet to read or hear from most major news organizations: The federal budget deficit is going […]
For some reason, earlier this year we asked you to submit videos of your busy season exploits as part of some fake contest. The idea was haphazardly thrown together and not taken that seriously, but for whatever reason1 the post sat up top for months. Anyhoo, busy season has been over for everyone for at least a week so I guess we'll wrap this thing in old newspaper and put a bow on it, so we can all move on with our lives. Right? Right.
Condition 1: They won't be paid; Condition 2: Jesus, does it matter? They won't be paid. David Cay Johnston has the scoop: The IRS told employees Friday that it will shut down entirely for five days because of the across-the-board spending cuts mandated by Congress. All IRS employees received an email Friday that cited […]
The Internal Revenue Service has rejected a reward claim made by a whistleblower, former banker Joseph Insinga, who had sued the agency in a closely watched case. In a letter dated April 15, the IRS told Insinga that he was not entitled to a reward. A copy of the letter was provided to Reuters by his […]
In the last five years, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, has spent $11.5 million lobbying the federal government. One of the things they're lobbying against is something called "return-free filing." Never heard of it? That's weird. It's been successfully implemented in Denmark, Sweden and Spain, and only one of those countries is on the verge of financial […]
The Internal Revenue Service says it has $917 million in unclaimed tax refunds from 2009, and time is running out to claim them. The refunds are owed to nearly 1 million people who failed to file returns for 2009. Taxpayers must file their 2009 returns by April 15 to claim their refunds. After that, the money […]
Out of the $11.4 million that the IRS spent on BlackBerrys and Internet aircards in fiscal year 2011, $1.1 million worth of the devices went unused for three months to a year, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. That means that nearly 14,000 aircards and more than 750 BlackBerrys weren’t activated for a […]
This poor bastard has been sentenced to a year and a day for gyping the IRS out of their chunk of the money he stole from his employer: [Jeffrey] Scher, a certified public accountant, was employed as the chief financial officer at Bodek and Rhodes, a Philadelphia-based T-shirt wholesaler. Scher received cash receipts from Bodek […]
In case you weren't paying attention, the IRS's Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) program just got shit-canned by a federal judge. Of course, as CPAs we don't really have to care about the RTRP program because we're exempt, as are our minions, as long as we promise to micromanage them. Regardless, schadenfreude feels pretty damn […]
Last week, a number of conservative media outlets got a little bent out of shape when the IRS said that it would no longer be providing interstate migration data. The reason being that the data provided was immensely valuable because it shows how people "vote with their feet" — leaving states with high income tax […]
The IRS has put a few measures in place to soften the blow from Hurricane Sandy but the ever digilent AICPA says that is not enough. And what about the tax preparers also affected by the storm? The AICPA is on it: The American Institute of CPAs has asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to […]
If you've ever met a whistleblower, or heard one give a speech, you never get the sense that they're too caught up in their 15 minutes, marching around to the beat of their kick ass do-gooderness. Typically, it's more of a matter-of-fact story and less a reflection on the heroic moments that turned an ordinary […]
Don't expect this to be the standard result for any future snitches on corporate tax evaders, but the IRS did make good for at least one informant: The Internal Revenue Service awarded tax whistleblower and former UBS AG banker Bradley Birkenfeld $104 million for providing the agency with insider information in UBS's illegal encouragement of […]
As you know, the primary purpose of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (aka TIGTA) in the enormous fuckshow of our federal bureaucracy is to tell the IRS how awful they are at life. Yep! If there's any chance of IRS the sucking at something, TIGTA has likely investigated and issued a report about it. E-filing isn't […]
As we mentioned earlier, Maine Governor Paul LePage created a bit of a hubbub when he made the following statement about John Roberts' the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the healthcare reform law: "This decision has made America less free. We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance […]
One of the many beefs that people have with ObamaCare is that the IRS will be tasked with enforcing the penalty assessed to those that choose not to purchase health insurance. Joe Kristan laments: Maybe the most depressing aspect of the [SCOTUS] decision is the way it seems to endorse using the tax law as the […]
When was the last time we heard a celebrity in tax trouble complain that the only reason they're being targeted by the IRS is because they are a celebrity? The defense of Lauryn Hill's failure to file for three years is really no different, except in this case Hill's attorney (who happens to be a […]
The Service has heard everyone's concerns that whistleblower tips aren't being reviewed in a timely manner, rewards aren't paid, blah blah blah, so just everyone cool it while they sort this out: The IRS will work with “internal and external stakeholders” on a “comprehensive review” of the agency’s guidelines and procedures for handling whistle-blower complaints, Deputy […]
This is the first post from our slew of freelancer candidates. The following is by Jeremy Woodward. The House Appropriations Committee has settled on an IRS budget, and it’s not good news for everyone’s favorite group of suits and ties. The $11.8 billion allocation is $1.2 billion below what they requested. Probably not enough for […]
Last week, we learned that musician Lauryn Hill was a little behind on her taxes. Not unusual for a celebrity, many of whom are artists first and taxpaying citizens of the United States second. However, on her Tumblr, Ms. Hill set the record straight that her noncompliance was not willful and malicious, but rather 100% […]
No one is saying that you can't pass this thing, but if tests aren't your bag, maybe you should move on this. So far, more than 4,800 people have become Registered Tax Return Preparers, according to the IRS. The IRS is urging an estimated 340,000 preparers required to take the test to do so as […]
Everyone knows that the IRS makes silly mistakes from time to time, but presuming that the Service employees who look at these tax returns won't be fooled by a 1040 from "First Name: Mr." and "Last Name: Bojangles" seems a little reckless: According to an indictment obtained by CBS4, Mathew and Sandra Zuckerman are accused […]
We managed to get through tax season without any bomb/white powder/crazy man in a plane incidents at IRS locations (that we know of). That's the good news. The bad news is that anti-IRS forces never rest. Why? Because crazy never rests. Yesterday, the Service's Fresno location fell prey to a "white powder scare," which has […]
NPR's attempt to offer up something other than the usual tax day fare includes sharing IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman's workout playlist. Yes, even bureaucrats enjoy music! [I]f you're stressing over getting your taxes done before midnight Tuesday, Shulman has some songs that might inspire you to keep slogging through that return — the same songs that […]
Specifically, because a lot of taxpayers could…uh, use a hand here: A new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the combination of the weak economy, and efforts by the IRS to promote its [offer in compromise] program for helping taxpayers pay off a portion of their outstanding tax debts has […]
Doug Shulman's shop is getting $500 million of the $1 billion set aside for implementing ACA: The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate. Republican […]
Come November, we're going to have a new Commish: Douglas Shulman, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, said he doesn’t intend to stay in the job after his five-year term expires in November. “My plan is to leave at the end of my term,” he said during a question-and-answer session today at the National Press […]
The new preparer regulation system is up and running. Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, collects millions to process PTINs, while millions more go to Prometric, to administer the “competency exams.” Everyone, I mean, everything, is under control. Except for the little matter of billions of taxpayer dollars going out the door to identity thieves claiming tax […]
Yesterday, the IRS announced a major expansion of its Fresh Start initiative which attempts to help taxpayers unable to cover their tax bills. The Installment Agreement program has also been expanded, making it available for more taxpayers who are behind on their taxes. Under the new provisions, some taxpayers who have been unemployed for 30 […]
The helpful folks at the IRS are warning seniors and other high-risk taxpayers of a new scam that lures those people into filing fraudulent tax returns. Though GC readers are obviously far too sophisticated to fall for any kinds of schemes like this, it's worth sharing anyway. The scheme tempts people with little or no […]
The Service gets an 'A' for effort but also 'D' for "do more with less." The U.S. Internal Revenue Service rejected $1.6 billion in erroneous claims for the first-time homebuyer tax credit, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The refundable tax credit, worth as much as $8,000, was available to […]
But just know what you're getting yourself into: “Advancing the interests of the North Korean leadership at the moment would be harder than the IRS,” suggested Matthew Harrington, chief executive officer of public relations powerhouse Edelman U.S. The U.S. prison in Guantanamo could prove a harder sell, said [Grover] Norquist. “It’s just a little less scary […]
Just don't tell Doug Shulman.
Thomas Sitzler swears that he didn't mean any harm, can't even make a bomb, and this is all came about due to a little liquid courage. A Birmingham area man, charged with making a phone threat to blow up an Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, Texas, has entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors […]
Wouldn’t life be sweet if our bosses gave us more money when we failed? Gee, I wouldn’t have hit on the client’s daughter at that bar if only you paid me better… Yet that’s just what we’re supposed to do with the IRS. Caleb notes that the Taxpayer Advocate pointed out all sorts of ways […]
Earlier this week, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson gave her annual report to Congress. It's always a hoot as Ms. Olson's job is pretty much to tell the IRS why they suck. This year's report was critical to be sure, but Ms. Olson surprisingly seemed to take up the torch for the Service: The agency’s […]
If your creepy uncle, known for bad behavior with underaged girlfriends, bought an ice cream truck, you’d not trust him to limit himself to selling ice cream. Last year the Taxpayer Advocate’s Office tried to force the IRS to stop luring people who have foot-faulted their foreign account reporting obligations with the promises of leniency, […]
Doug Shulman believes in third chances: IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who announced the program’s renewal Monday, said previous efforts in 2009 and 2011 resulted in the collection so far of $4.4 billion from 33,000 people. He said the government could gain several times that amount, as a result of both the newest initiative plus people […]
Your efforts to keep the increase in the tax gap under $100 billion is greatly appreciated. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that U.S. companies and individuals failed to pay $385 billion in taxes they owed in 2006, an increase from $290 billion five years earlier. The agency said the rate of compliance remained almost unchanged at […]
How do we know? Well for starters, the number audited tax returns with income over $1 million went up by nearly 50% last year. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said it audited 12.48 percent of individual tax returns (USCBTAXR) with income exceeding $1 million during fiscal 2011, a high that was reached at a time […]
You've probably heard by now that escaped mental patient Michele Bachmann has suspended her campaign for president. While this is upsetting for many that stand proudly around the Bachmann couldron, the congresswoman should know that while voters all over Iowa were skipping over her name with ease last night, the Iowa City school district also […]
This is from the November issue of the Ohio Society of CPAs' CPA Voice: OSCPA submitted a comment letter to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman and Director of the IRS Return Preparer Office David R. Williams, regarding fingerprinting of certain non-signing PTIN applicants. Written on behalf of OSCPA’s more than 22,000 members, the letter commended the […]
In January, the tax world was still reeling from the extension of the Bush-era tax rate cuts signed into law in December. It also allowed rich people who died in 2010 to go to their rest without paying estate taxes, making George Steinbrenner a happy ghost. It also allowed living taxpayers to make tax-free […]
Also! Over 900 applicants had an incarceration date within the last 10 years received active or provisional PTINs and over 70% of those did not disclose their felony conviction. • 962 PTIN applicants on the IRS’s Prisoner File with an incarceration date within the last 10 years received active or provisional PTINs – 745 (77 […]
Our resident tax nerd, Joe Kristan, touched on the IRS competency exam a couple of weeks ago but yesterday the IRS officially rolled out the red carpet. So, if you prepare tax returns but aren’t a CPA, lawyer, or enrolled agent, you now have the distinct pleasure of spending $116 to spend a few hours with everyone’s favorite test vendor – Prometric – whose proctors will keep a watchful eye on you to make sure your ostomy bag isn’t a secret answer bank, that you aren’t packing heat and your gum is appropriately disposed of. What’s the point of all this, you ask? IRS Commish Doug Shulman can answer that:
“This is another major step forward in our effort to enhance tax preparation service to millions of taxpayers. People should feel assured that the person they hire to prepare their federal tax returns has a working knowledge of the tax code,” said Doug Shulman, IRS Commissioner. “The majority of tax return preparers are reputable professionals but the few bad apples cause great harm to taxpayers and the industry.”
Got it? It’s for the good of the country. Just make sure you don’t have a runny nose on the day of your test. That’ll get you in trouble.
“Perhaps the most telling indicator of taxpayer confusion over the code’s complexity is that today, 90% of individual taxpayers pay for professional tax preparation or tax software to prepare their tax returns. IRS research estimates that, over the past 10 years, the burden for the typical taxpayer has increased by about 20% and would likely be even more if they had to prepare returns themselves without any aids or tools. Moreover, we estimate individual taxpayers and businesses spend more than 7 [billion] hours each year complying with filing requirements.” [Tax-News via Tax Foundation]
It’s a pretty sad reflection of the current state of affairs in my homebase of Washington, DC if the IRS, Paris Hilton, Nixon circa Watergate and the BP oil spill have a higher approval rating than the 112th Congress.
According to Chris Cillizza in WaPo, the only thing less popular than Congress is Fidel Castro.
And as we already know, the Fed is less popular than the IRS too.
You may have heard some carefully coiffed pols shouting about the need for our government to “cut spending.” If you’re a Republican, this means everything is fair game with the exception of the defense budget. For Dems, it’s entitlements. Since these two sacred cows of the federal budget dare not be touched, all the stuff in between is on the chopping block. One of the easier areas of government for pols to offer up for sacrifice is the Treasury Department, specifically the IRS. Because GOD KNOWS we don’t need “a goon squad 5,000 IRS agents tromping around the country.”
It appears that all the budget thumping has worked and the IRS is looking for volunteers to help move this along:
The Internal Revenue Service has offered buyouts to 5,400 employees as it begins preparing for a likely budget cut of more than 3 percent.
The agency, which had 94,711 workers in fiscal 2010, plans to accept no more than 1,600 buyout applications. A second round of buyouts could follow. The Obama administration has said that as many as 4,000 IRS jobs could be cut over the next year, including some that would reduce tax enforcement and collections.
“This is really focused on trying to deal with the current budget situation and the uncertainty that we’re facing at this point in time,” Beth Tucker, deputy IRS commissioner for operations support, said in an interview today.
IRS officials directed the first round of buyout offers to back-office employees who don’t interact with taxpayers. A potential second set of cuts would affect “a wider range of employees who deal directly with taxpayers in service and enforcement matters,” commissioner Douglas Shulman wrote in a Nov. 4 memo to employees.
First off, putting 4,000 people out of work won’t make for a balanced budget. Secondly, I’m not saying these “buyouts” are actually “layoffs” but if you consider the fact that these “buyouts” include current employees will receive money and not be required to report to their cubicles EVER AGAIN sounds pretty similar to how “layoffs” work. Maybe it’s just me.
IRS Offers Buyouts to 5,400 Employees [Bloomberg]
When nature makes a mistake, it can be expensive to repair. Rhiannon O’Donnabhain long suspected that nature had mistakenly assigned him to the wrong team, and after growing up male, fathering three children, and getting divorced, looked into fixing that. A diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) was reached, and the process began.
There was a lot involved. The Tax Court says the process included:
– 20 weekly individual therapy sessions.
– Hormone therapy
– facial surgery
– genital surgical sex reassignment
– breast augmentation surgery
This process continued under the watchful (but not free) observation of a therapist.
Now female, O’Donnabhain deducted $21,741 in medical expenses related to the reassignment on her 2001 return. The IRS objected, but the Tax Court upheld her medical deductions for all but the breast augmentation (they said that was cosmetic, not medical).
The expert testimony also establishes that given (1) the risks, pain, and extensive rehabilitation associated with sex reassignment surgery, (2) the stigma encountered by persons who change their gender role and appearance in society, and (3) the expert-backed but commonsense point that the desire of a genetic male to have his genitals removed requires an explanation beyond mere dissatisfaction with appearance (such as GID or psychosis), petitioner would not have undergone hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery except in an effort to alleviate the distress and suffering attendant to GID. Respondent’s contention that petitioner undertook the surgery and hormone treatments to improve appearance is at best a superficial characterization of the circumstances that is thoroughly rebutted by the medical evidence.
Now the IRS has changed its mind. In an Action on Decision published yesterday the IRS said that they will follow the Tax Court’s decision and will allow gender reassignment costs as a medical deduction for diagnosed GID.
Unfortunately, there still is no known medical fix for Accountants Personality Disorder. Medicine remains helpless to treat the many rock stars trapped in CPA personalities.
Let this serve as a warning to any would-be embezzlers out there, if you steal, you better report it to the IRS.
42-year-old Collette Snyder of Timonium, MD pleaded guilty earlier this month to filing false tax returns in 2007 and 2008 after she neglected to claim over $382,000 embezzled from her former employer, Towson, MD-based Maple Leaf Title.
As part of her duties at the title company, Snyder had signature authority over the company’s operating, settlement and recording accounts, which allowed her to begin embezzling money from MLT accounts starting in 2007. She deposited company checks directly into her personal bank account, as well as made checks payable to her husband without his knowledge, forging his signature to deposit those checks in an account he was not aware of. At that point, Snyder had been an employee of MLT for two years.
Snyder took around $149,560 in 2007 and $232,968 in 2008. These embezzled funds were used to purchase jewelry, a BMW, trips, home improvements and private school tuition.
Because reporting this money to the IRS without it clearly declared on her W-2 (despite her writing “payroll” in the memo section of company checks she wrote out to herself) would have alerted authorities to the fraud, Snyder neglected to mention the ill-gotten gains. This resulted in an estimated tax loss of $115,529.37 for her 2007 and 2008 returns.
Due to the embezzlement by Snyder and MLT President Anthony Weis, MLT was unable to perform its duties as a provider of settlement services. With MLT’s escrow account drained, existing mortgage notes could not be paid off by MLT, meaning clear and free title could not be passed to the new lender and borrower of those notes. An insurance company that had issued title insurance policies to the borrowers guaranteeing clear title ultimately paid out $3.9 million to financial institutions that held mortgage notes.
Weis pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was sentenced to 78 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $4,007,705, which includes the loss to the title insurance company and the expenses of the individual victims. He began his sentence in May of this year. The interesting part of this story is that Weis stole money intended for his clients’ real estate closings. And then Snyder stole from the company. Birds of a feather…
Snyder faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled her sentencing for February 3 , 2012 at 11:00 am.
“Mortgage fraud adds to the underground economy that erodes the integrity of our tax system and threatens the financial health of our communities. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to ‘following the money trail’ to ensure that those who engage in these illegal activities are vigorously investigated and brought to justice,” said IRS – Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett.
After just telling you why an accounting career path may be a little more secure than law, a friend of GC passed along this little bit of news from the IRS’s Office of Chief Counsel:
From: [IRS Office of Chief Counsel]
Date: Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Subject: RE: Chief Counsel Honors Program
To: [IRS Counsel Hopeful]
Thank you for applying to the Office of Chief Counsel. Unfortunately, we will not be hiring under the Honors Program for fall 2012. We appreciate your interest and hope that you will consider us in the future. Thank you.
Attorney Recruitment & Retention Office
Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service
On the other hand, if you’re interested in running a IRS garage sale, they do have some extra junk on their hands.
“Pennies on the dollar” may be a great pitch on cable television, but it’s not a surefire business plan. Desperate taxpayers who have paid money up front to JK Harris to resolve their tax debts at a discount are joining the IRS as potential “pennies on the dollar” creditors now that this leader in the tax settlement industry is filing for bankruptcy protection.
This is the second major blow this year to cable TV ad revenues. Earlier this year “Tax Lady” Roni Deutch gave up her law license in the face of charges that she took fees up front to resolve tax debts and failed to follow through.
Tax nerds see the late night ads when we get home and wonder how these outfits manage to get such great deals out of the IRS when getting the Service to actually forgive tax debts is like pulling teeth from a grumpy rhino for the rest of us.
TaxMasters now stands as the biggest remaining player in the TV tax settlement business, but they have their own problems. They were de-listed last month from the OTC Bulletin Board to the pink sheets for failing to file their 10-Q due August 15. The last reported trade for Taxs.pk is at 13 cents. They have also been sued by the Minnesota Attorney General for allegedly deceptive practices. ABC News reported on the suit:
The Minnesota attorney general says many of the company’s employees are skilled tele-marketers who have little knowledge of the complicated tax issues faced by people who have fallen behind in filing their returns or making tax payments. “When you call, you think you’re talking to a tax professional,” said Swanson. “You’re really talking to just a salesperson who’s trying to get you to sign up.”
So maybe the secret is that the late night settlement outfits are staffed by telemarketers who just happen to be awesome at selling pennies-on-the-dollar deals to the IRS. If that’s true, though, they seem to be having a lot of trouble turning what would truly be a remarkable and valuable skill into profits.
Wars with Canada turn out badly. While the Canadians are a seemingly peaceful people, content with their Tim Horton’s and their hockey, they seem to come out on top in a fight. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold learned that lesson early on, and things went no better in 1812.
Now IRS Commissioner Shulman is baiting Canada for another war:
Premier David Alward, one of New Brunswick’s best known dual citizens, says he has been caught in the same broad net U.S. officials have cast to catch international tax evaders.
This prominent Canadian has been dragged into a U.S. tax nightmare the same way as thousands of other well-meaning expats:
Alward was born in Beverly, Mass., and spent his early years in the United States before his family settled in New Brunswick.
“I’ve had to scramble like thousands of other people,” Alward said, adding that he is complying with the U.S. demand for tax returns going back years and detailed disclosures.
The IRS is going after offshore tax violators in a big way. It’s natural that there are more in Canada than anywhere else because of geography and economics. But the IRS approach has been to enforce traffic safety by shooting jaywalkers.
While the US taxes its citizens on worldwide income, many, maybe most, expatriates have little or no U.S. tax liability. The foreign earned income exclusion and the foreign tax credit take care of that. But the long-obscure “FBAR” requirement to report foreign financial accounts over $10,000 threatens to impoverish many of these people anyway. The penalties for failing to file the FBAR Form, Form TD 09.22-1, are the greater of $10,000 or half the value of the account. The IRS is freely asserting these penalties even when little or no tax is due, and is even applying them to Canadian retirement accounts of U.S. expats like Alward.
The IRS has had two “amnesties” to draw expats into its loving arms, and the program has been a disaster for many ordinary folks who have signed up to try to clean up their records. Taxpayers living in Canada since childhood are presumed to be tax cheats, and penalized accordingly.
The IRS could learn a lot from states in handling these issues. The IRS “amnesties” have been progressively more restrictive, with higher penalties, making it more and more dangerous for folks with trivial paperwork violations to come out of the cold. Many states, in contrast, have standing deals where out-of-state taxpayers can clean up their tax histories by filing a few years of back tax returns, no questions asked. If the IRS would take this approach, and waive FBAR penalties for accounts under, say, $200,000 — and for all retirement accounts –maybe we won’t have to worry about the White House getting sacked again.
But fingerprints, on the other hand, those will be necessary.
Certain tax return preparers who must pass a suitability check will have to provide their fingerprints so that a Federal Bureau of Investigation database search can be conducted. Generally, the fingerprint requirement will affect those preparers who currently have provisional PTINs.
Under the current proposed regulations, any participant in the PTIN, acceptance agent, or authorized e-file provider programs who resides and is employed outside of the U.S. will not have to be fingerprinted to participate in these programs. Those preparers, however, must comply with all the other elements of the suitability check. In addition, the Treasury Department and the IRS are continuing to study which additional requirements should apply to people outside the U.S. Any additional requirements will be set forth in future guidance.
Attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agent and enrolled actuaries also are expected to be exempt from the fingerprinting requirement at this time. However, they are still required to answer all the suitability questions on the PTIN application, such as whether they have been convicted of a felony in the previous 10 years. Individuals participating in the PTIN, acceptance agent, or authorized e-file provider programs also are required to meet any other requirements of the programs in which they are participating.
If you’re weren’t sufficiently annoyed with the IRS’s new oversight regulations. This might do the trick.
A suspicious backpack was found at an IRS office Ocala, Florida yesterday that resulted in the 100 employees being evacuated from the building and also business in the surrounding area. In this day and age of misplaced IRS hating, authorities always approach these situations with caution and swiftly destroyed the pack after viewing the X-rays noting notebooks and “an electronic device with wires.” The contents turned out to be nothing more than someone’s psychology textbook, notebooks and a tape recorder, among other school-y items. This will be the best excuse that psych prof will ever hear. [Ocala]
As of September 2010, the tax agency had 80,606 items in storage, of which 28% — or 22,486 items — had been there for at least a year and a half without being used or moved, according to [a TIGTA] report. Those items took up 34,194 square feet of warehouse space costing about $862,000 in rent annually. [WSJ]
Let’s open with, “If I don’t see [so and so], I will blow this place up.” That’s a definite no-no. Also to be avoided would be statements such as, “You’re gone. You’re all [redacted but I’m guessing it was “fucking”] gone. You’re gonners.” And yet that’s what 48 year-old Paul Weber did in La Crosse, Wisconsin. What’s especially odd is that Weber didn’t make these statements in immediate succession. He first asked for “Kevin” then made the threat, bolted the office only to return and make the second threat. I guess Weber felt like returning in order to take a stand. Which is more than we can say for the Democrats in Madison.
[via La Crosse Tribune]
You’ve been warned, scofflaws.
The inspector general audit found that the criminal unit closed 4,325 cases in fiscal 2010, well above its goal of 3,900, a mark the unit did not hit in 2009.
The average investigation, meanwhile, took exactly one year, a roughly 9 percent improvement over 2009, and the number of convictions in legal source tax cases also rose 7 percent from 2009 to 2010, and has jumped close to 23 percent since fiscal 2006.
As the audit points out, the unit’s performance also improved even as its staffing numbers decreased by roughly 2 percent since 2006.
And they probably all carry shotguns.
IRS hitting criminal investigation targets [OTM/The Hill]
The IRS’s naggy watchdog, the Treasury Insepector General of Tax Administration, has released a new audit that found the Service doesn’t follow up on math errors quickly enough and that they should start picking up their game, especially in the case of taxpayers who are trying to utilize the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS, who is normally looking to do things better, did not appreciate the sentiment:
[T]he IRS was cool to the report’s recommendations, asserting that it has limited resources and noting that it usually sends interim letters to taxpayers if their cases will not be handled within 30 days. The agency’s Richard Byrd also noted that the IRS receives some 20 million paper letters each year. “While important, replies to math errors represent a small fraction of our overall inventory,” Byrd wrote.
Seriously. They’ve got an over-eager AICPA to deal with.
[via OTM/The Hill]
The House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee held a hearing yesterday to discuss how to best reform the Internal Revenue Code.
Oddly, former Republican Presidential Candidate and conservative stud of the Fox News stable, Mike Huckabee, was invited to give his thoughts on the matter which include eliminating the IRS and replacing it with the dead in the water FairTax:
[Huckabee] is urging Congress to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service, along with taxes on income, payrolls and estates, and replace them all with a single retail sales tax. Huckabee told the House Ways and Means Committee today that Congress should pass legislation to achieve those goals, dubbed the FairTax, which is popular with many Republican voters even as it makes little legislative progress.
Now maybe Huckabee secretly crammed in rigorous tax study during his one year at seminary but this is a guy who was convinced Donald Trump was going to run for President.
Welcome to the when-do-the-blackouts-start edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, an IRS revenue agent is thinking about the future and wonders if there is anything to look forward to after a stretch inside the House of Shulman. Will he be greeted with contempt or disdain by potential employers outside of the Treasury Department?
Trapped in your job? Not sure if you can bottle up your rage during your upcoming compensation discussion? Need ideas for your next