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1. Changes made to IRS streamlined offshore compliance procedures   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The IRS updated its streamlined offshore compliance program to provide procedures taxpayers residing both inside and outside the United States should use to participate in the program. The streamlined offshore compliance program is for taxpayers whose failure to comply with requirements to report offshore assets is nonwillful. It is designed to allow U.S.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Expanded OVDP a chance to reduce penalties   CPEDirect

BY Scott Novak, Esq.
The new information-reporting requirements of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), P.L. 111-147, took effect on July 1. Among other things, FATCA requires foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report on their accounts held by U.S. taxpayers. More than 77,000 FFIs signed on and acquired approved status in the initial round of FFI registration (see tinyurl.com/ku29njb for a list).

5. New IRS appeals process starts Sept. 2   WebExclusive

BY Ann Marie Maloney
Starting Sept. 2, the IRS Office of Appeals is changing the way it handles appeals to examination decisions. Under the new Appeals Judicial Approach and Culture (AJAC) project, appeals officers are “no longer going to be examiners or investigators,” Appeals Team Manager Philip A. Oyoto told preparers at the IRS National Tax Forum (Aug.

6. SEC will scrutinize municipal advisers’ rules compliance   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
A new SEC examination initiative will scrutinize municipal advisers’ compliance with new rules and regulations that are under implementation.The SEC announced Tuesday that its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) will examine a significant percentage of municipal advisers for compliance.“The municipal adviser examination initiative will focus on the areas that are most important to protecting issuers, investors, and municipal taxpayers,” Kevin Goodman, national associate director of the OCIE’s broker-dealer examination program, said in a news release.The SEC also plans to promote compliance through outreach to municipal advisers.SEC rules that took effect July 1 generally require municipal

7. Whistleblower final rules expand definition of collected proceeds   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Comprehensive final regulations issued Thursday provide rules for whistleblower awards under Secs. 7623(a) and (b), as well as rules governing the disclosure of return information under Sec. 6103(h) to pursue these claims (T.D. 9687). The regulations provide the rules for submitting information to the IRS, define key terms, provide rules for administrative proceedings, and contain the criteria for determining the size of an award.

8. New streamlined procedures and changes to the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program are announced   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Just in time for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which goes into effect July 1, the IRS announced changes to its streamlined filing compliance procedures and its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) designed to make it easier for taxpayers to comply with their obligations to report offshore assets and accounts (IR-2014-73).

9. IRS adopts “Taxpayer Bill of Rights”   WebExclusive

BY Paul Bonner
The IRS on Tuesday released a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” intended to better communicate to taxpayers their existing statutory and administrative protections.Modeled after the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights and a document of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the 10 broad provisions were announced at a news conference at IRS headquarters in Washington by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson.

10. What tax preparers need to know about digital currency  

BY Andrew D. Gross, CPA (inactive), Ph.D., Jamie L. Hoelscher, Ph.D. and Brad J. Reed, CPA, Ph.D., CFE
Not long ago, few people had heard of bitcoins or digital currency. Now, digital currency routinely makes the headlines. Retailers such as Overstock.com, some sellers on online marketplace Etsy.com, and many other businesses now accept bitcoins as payment. By December 2013, it had been estimated that more than 1 million individuals had bitcoins, and about 10,000 people each owned more than $10,000 worth (Business Insider, Dec.
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