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1. Regulations update hybrid defined benefit plan rules   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Monday, the IRS released final and proposed regulations providing guidance on so-called hybrid defined benefit pension plans (T.D. 9693 and REG-111839-13). The regulations deal with changes made by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, P.L. 109-280, and the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, P.L.

2. PFIC reporting rules do not apply to certain marked-to-market stock   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Wednesday, the IRS announced that it will amend the regulations governing the reporting requirements for U.S. persons who hold stock in passive foreign investment companies (PFICs). The amendments will provide that, if a taxpayer marks to market PFIC stock under Sec. 475 or any Code section other than Sec.

3. IRS explains power-of-attorney requirements for corporate taxpayers   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Tuesday, the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) issued a bulletin clarifying when corporate officers or employees must have a valid power of attorney in order to represent the company before the IRS (OPR Bulletin 2014-12). The bulletin also discusses how the existence of a power of attorney may be evidence that the officer or employee is subject to the rules of Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R.

4. CPA practitioners sue to stop PTIN fees   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Two CPAs have filed suit in the U.S. district court for the District of Columbia, asking the court to stop the IRS from charging fees for issuing preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs), to obtain refunds of fees paid in the past, and to enjoin the IRS from asking for more information than needed to issue preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs) (Steele, No.

5. 2014 tax software survey  

BY Paul Bonner
For the second year in a row, the beginning of income tax filing season was delayed. This year, the delay was due to a 16-day partial government shutdown in October 2013 that resulted in a Jan. 31 start date for the IRS to accept electronically filed returns. Other complicating factors included the advent of the net investment income tax, the new 39.6% top tax rate bracket, and the return of the itemized deduction limitation and personal exemption phaseout.Software vendors nonetheless managed to roll out their updated versions on time, and users were generally satisfied with the results

6. ERISA: 40 years later  

BY Rebecca J. Miller, CPA, Robert A. Lavenberg, CPA, J.D. and Ian A. MacKay, CPA, CGMA
Forty years ago, Congress passed landmark legislation to protect workers’ pensions from abuses. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which President Gerald Ford signed into law on Labor Day, Sept. 2, 1974, greatly expanded the federal government’s role in regulating private-sector retirement plans and made the government the guarantor of private pensions by creating the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

7. Success-based fees and milestone payments   CPEDirect

BY Alistair M. Nevius
When taxpayers incur costs that relate to an acquisition or restructuring, they generally must capitalize any costs incurred to facilitate (i.e., investigate or otherwise pursue) the transaction (Regs. Sec. 1.263(a)-5). When fees paid to service providers are contingent upon the successful closing of a transaction, taxpayers can use a facts-and-circumstances test or a safe harbor to determine what portion of the fees are deemed to “facilitate” that transaction (Rev.

8. Rules for written tax advice finalized  

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Circular 230 final regs. make ubiquitous email disclaimer no longer necessary.The IRS issued final regulations under Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R. Part 10), on the rules for practitioners to provide written tax advice and certain other related provisions, adopting the proposed regulations (REG-138367-06) issued in September 2012 with some modifications.The new rules withdraw the covered opinion rules in Circular 230, Section 10.35, which were widely considered unworkable, and replace them with one standard for written tax advice in Circular 230, Section 10.37.

9. Madoff account value must be determined at trial  

BY Charles J. Reichert, CPA
The IRS is denied summary judgment on an estate’s valuation of its account in an infamous Ponzi scheme.Whether an account managed by Madoff Investments or its claimed holdings are considered property included in a gross estate and whether a willing buyer or seller of the account could reasonably know or foresee before its collapse that the account was part of a Ponzi scheme are disputed material facts that should be determined at trial, the Tax Court held.

10. Tax software: Ethical, legal, and professional liability risks  

BY Deborah K. Rood, CPA
Software is an essential tool for driving efficiencies and profitability in a CPA firm tax practice. Practitioners select software based on various factors, including price, ease of use, scalability to practice size, technology features, and technical support (see “2014 Tax Software Survey,” page 26). Software users also should be aware of maintenance requirements and risks of use.
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