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The gap between taxes owed and taxes collected by the Internal Revenue Service could be approaching $1 trillion, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Government Operations Subcommittee as he advocated for more funding for the agency.


Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig remained positive that the agency will be able to return to a normal backlog of unprocessed returns and other mail correspondence by the end of the year and noted progress on hiring more people to help clear the backlog.


The IRS addressed the following common myths about tax refunds:


The IRS has informed taxpayers that the agency issues most refunds in less than 21 days for taxpayers who filed electronically and chose direct deposit. However, some refunds may take longer. The IRS listed several factors that can affect the timing of a refund after the agency receives a return.


The IRS reminded educators that they will be able to deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses when they file their federal income tax return for tax year 2022. This is the first time the annual limit has increased since 2002.


Taxpayers who may need to take additional actions related to Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) should begin receiving letters from the IRS in April. Taxpayers who attached Form 8996, Qualified Opportunity Fund, to their return may receive Letter 6501, Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) Investment Standard. This letter lets them know that information needed to support the annual certification of investment standard is missing, invalid or the calculation isn’t supported by the amounts reported. If they intend to maintain their certification as a QOF, they may need to take additional action to meet the annual self-certification of the investment standard requirement.


The IRS informed taxpayers that it will send Notices CP2100 and CP2100A notices to financial institutions, businesses, or payers who filed certain types of information returns that do not match IRS records, beginning mid-April 2022.


The IRS has issued a guidance stating that government employees who receive returns or return information pursuant to disclosures under Code Sect. 6103(c), are subject to the disclosure restrictions, like all designees who receive returns or return information pursuant to taxpayer consent. Further, government employees who receive returns or return information pursuant to disclosures under Code Sec. 6103(k)(6) or (e), other than Code Sec. 6103(e)(1)(D)(iii) (relating to certain shareholders), are not subject to the disclosure restrictions with regard to the returns or return information received.


The IRS has provided a waiver for any individual who failed to meet the foreign earned income or deduction eligibility requirements of Code Sec. 911(d)(1) because adverse conditions in a foreign country precluded the individual from meeting the requirements for the 2021 tax year. Qualified individuals may exempt from taxation their foreign earned income and housing cost amounts.


The Supreme Court reversed and remanded a Court of Appeals decision and held that Code Sec. 6330(d)(1)’s 30-day time limit to file a petition for review of a collection due process (CDP) determination is an ordinary, nonjurisdictional deadline subject to equitable tolling in appropriate cases. The taxpayer had requested and received a CDP hearing before the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals pursuant to Code Sec. 6330(b), but the Office sustained the proposed levy. Under Code Sec. 6330(d)(1), the taxpayer had 30 days to petition the Tax Court for review. However, the taxpayer filed its petition one day late. The Tax Court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction and the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed, agreeing that Code Sec. 6330(d)(1)’s 30- day filing deadline is jurisdictional and thus cannot be equitably tolled.


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on IRS’ performance during the 2021 tax filing season. The report assessed IRS’ performance during the 2021 filing season on: (1) processing individual and business income tax returns; and (2) providing customer service to taxpayers. GAO analyzed IRS documents and data on filing season performance, refund interest payments, hiring and employee overtime. GAO also interviewed cognizant officials.


The Tax Code contains many taxpayer rights and protections. However, because the Tax Code is so large and complex, many taxpayers, who do not have the advice of a tax professional, are unaware of their rights. To clarify these protections, the IRS recently announced a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, describing 10 rights taxpayers have when dealing with the agency.


Taxpayers who are self-employed must pay self-employment tax on their income from self-employment. The self-employment tax applies in lieu of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes paid by employees and employers on compensation from employment. Like FICA taxes, the self-employment tax consists of taxes collected for Social Security and for Medicare (hospital insurance or HI).


The simple concept of depreciation can get complicated very quickly when one is trying to determining the proper depreciation deduction for any particular asset. Here’s only a summary of some of what’s involved.


Nearly half-way into the year, tax legislation has been hotly debated in Congress but lawmakers have failed to move many bills. Only one bill, legislation to make permanent the research tax credit, has been approved by the House; its fate in the Senate still remains uncertain. Other bills, including legislation to extend many of the now-expired extenders before the 2015 filing season, have stalled. Tax measures could also be attached to other bills, especially as the days wind down to Congress' August recess.


Transit incentives are a popular transportation fringe benefit for many employees. Although the costs of commuting to and from work are not tax-deductible (except in certain relatively rare cases), transportation fringe benefits help to offset some of the costs, including the expenses of riding mass transit or taking a van pool to work. Under current law, the value of qualified transportation fringe benefits provided to an employee is excluded from the employee's gross income and wages for income and payroll tax purposes.


With the April 15th filing season deadline now behind us, it’s not too early to turn your attention to next year’s deadline for filing your 2014 return. That refocus requires among other things an awareness of the direct impact that many "ordinary," as well as one-time, transactions and events will have on the tax you will eventually be obligated to pay April 15, 2015. To gain this forward-looking perspective, however, taking a moment to look back … at the filing season that has just ended, is particularly worthwhile. This generally involves a two-step process: (1) a look-back at your 2013 tax return to pinpoint new opportunities as well as "lessons learned;" and (2) a look-back at what has happened in the tax world since January 1st that may indicate new challenges to be faced for the first time on your 2014 return.

A new tax applies to certain taxpayers, beginning in 2013—the 3.8 percent Net Investment Income (NII) Tax. This is a surtax that certain higher-income taxpayers may owe in addition to their income tax or alternative minimum tax. The tax applies to individuals, estates, and trusts (but not to corporations). Individuals are subject to the tax if they have NII, and their adjusted gross income exceeds a specified threshold—$250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly; $200,000 for unmarried individuals.

As virtual currencies such as Bitcoin rise in prominence and use, the IRS has for the first time described how virtual currency will be treated for tax purposes. The agency concluded in new guidance (Notice 2014–21) that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies like it are not to be treated as currency, but as property.

The applicable federal rates (AFRs) are used for a number of federal tax provisions. For example, Code Sec. 1274 uses AFRs to determine whether a debt instrument has original issue discount (OID or imputed interest). This determination requires the calculation of the present value of payments made on the debt instrument; present value is calculated using a discount rate equal to the AFR, compounded semi-annually.

Code Sec. 162 permits a business to deduct its ordinary and necessary expenses for carrying on the business. However, Code Sec. 274 restricts the deduction of entertainment expenses incurred for business by disallowing expenses of entertainment activities and entertainment facilities. Many expenses are totally disallowed; other amounts, if allowed under Code Sec. 274, are limited to 50 percent of the expense.

The current likelihood that your business will become involved in an employment tax audit or an employment-related income tax audit has increased: the IRS is aggressively attempting to reduce the "tax gap" of uncollected revenues in a time of increasing budget austerity. Employment tax noncompliance is estimated by the IRS to account for approximately $54 billion of the tax gap. Under-reporting of FICA makes up $14 billion; under-reporting of self-employment tax accounts for $39 billion; and under-reporting of unemployment tax accounts for $1 billion in lost revenue. Add to that total amount over $50 billion in estimated employment-associated income tax lost that are the result of missteps in withholding obligations, tip reporting, and proper fringe benefit classification . . . and employers are forewarned. The IRS is stepping up its auditing in these areas and has been conducting studies to maximize the best use of its agents' time to do so.

In response to the economic downturn that has affected the retirement portfolios of millions of individuals across the country, Congress has been considering a variety of alternatives to offer relief to those who face financial emergencies and need immediate access to their funds. Two of the most significant proposals that have been recommended include: (1) significant broadening of the suspension of the 10 percent penalty tax on early withdrawals from IRAs and defined contribution plans, and (2) extending the temporary suspension of the penalty tax imposed on individuals age 70 ½ or older who do not take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from certain retirement plans.