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1. Report reveals breadth of criminal tax activities   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
From shady tax preparation businesses to identity theft gangs to corrupt IRS agents, the IRS Criminal Investigation division’s annual report reviewing its accomplishments in 2013 reveals the wide range of criminal tax activities it investigated in the past year. And, the report points out, despite a continued significant decline in staffing, the division maintained a conviction rate of more than 93%, which it noted “reflects the quality of ...[its] casework” (IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Annual Business Report, p.

2. D.C. Circuit affirms decision striking down tax return preparer regs.   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The IRS’s attempt to regulate unenrolled tax return preparers was dealt another blow on Tuesday as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the agency exceeded its statutory authority when it issued regulations imposing various requirements on tax return preparers (Loving, No. 13-5061 (D.C. Cir. 2/11/14), aff’g No.

3. New York state proposes to regulate tax return preparers   WebExclusive

BY By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Stepping into the void left when a federal court threw out the IRS’s registered tax return preparer program (see article here), the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has proposed amendments to its Personal Income Tax Regulations and Procedural Regulations to regulate tax return preparers (N.Y.

4. The rules on providing client records  

BY Alistair M. Nevius
Suppose a CPA who prepared a client’s tax returns receives a request from the client that the CPA transfer all of the client’s tax records to a new firm. The client includes the appropriate Sec. 7216 consent to disclose authorization to transfer the records. What are the CPA’s responsibilities and obligations? Multiple authorities must be considered.

5. Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning  

BY Alistair M. Nevius
This spring, following a two-year drafting process involving practitioners from across the AICPA, the AICPA Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee issued an exposure draft for public comment on a Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Practice. The proposed statement addresses the responsibilities of AICPA members when providing personal financial planning (PFP) services.

6. How can theft prevention, reporting, and return filing be improved?   WebExclusive

BY Ann Marie Maloney
Changing the April 15 due date, moving taxpayer information to the cloud, and allowing personal identification numbers (PINs) for taxpayers who want them were all on the table at a Thursday hearing held by the IRS Oversight Board to explore ways to combat fraud and improve tax administration.

7. Confidential and privileged communications  

BY Alistair M. Nevius
As tax advisers, accountants should understand when communications and work product are privileged and when they are not. The IRS is granted significant power to pursue information in examining a tax return or collecting a tax liability, and the courts have interpreted this summons power as broad authority to obtain confidential information in work product produced for and communications with a taxpayer.

8. Appeals court denies IRS request for stay in return preparer regulation case   WebExclusive

BY Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.
The IRS lost another round in its court battle to regulate tax return preparers when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied its motion to stay an injunction halting its return preparer regulation program, pending appeal of a lower court’s decision (Loving, No.

9. IRS regulation of tax return preparers struck down  

BY Alistair M. Nevius
A U.S. district court ruled that the IRS’s registered tax return preparer program exceeds its statutory authority and enjoined it from enforcing the regulations (Loving, No. 12-385 (D.D.C. 1/18/13)). In 2011 the IRS issued final regulations (T.D. 9527) making unenrolled return preparers (i.e., return preparers who are not CPAs, attorneys, or enrolled agents) subject to Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R.

10. Rules on use, disclosure of taxpayer information finalized  

The IRS issued final regulations under Sec. 7216 that govern the circumstances in which tax return preparers can disclose or use certain limited tax return information (T.D. 9608). The regulations finalize with minor changes rules that were issued in 2010 as temporary and proposed regulations (T.D. 9478 and REG-131028-09).
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