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July 5, 2019

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Issue Number:  2019-23

Inside This Issue

1.        Chicago IRS Tax Forum: Tax Pros Get Up-to-Date on Cybersecurity, Tax Law; Hear from IRS Commissioner

2.        Form 14242, Report Suspected Abusive Tax Promotions or Preparers, Now Available in Spanish and Mandarin

3.        IRS Adds Identity Protection Step to Apply for, View or Change Online Payment Plans

4.        Amended Tax Relief for Arkansas and Ohio Disaster Victims

5.        Engineering Firm CPA Sentenced to Prison for Role in Tax Scheme


1.  Chicago IRS Tax Forum: Tax Pros Get Up-to-Date on Cybersecurity, Tax Law; Hear from IRS Commissioner


Tax professionals who attend the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Chicago, July 23-25, will be on the cutting edge of cybersecurity, changes to the tax law and more. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig will be the keynote speaker.

Save $115 if you register by July 9.


2.  Form 14242, Report Suspected Abusive Tax Promotions or Preparers, Now Available in Spanish and Mandarin


Common abusive tax scams include falsifying income, home-based business, and trust and off-shore schemes. To report promoters of these scheme types or any others you are aware of, complete and send a referral form, now available in Spanish and Mandarin, along with any promotional materials, to the IRS.


3.  IRS Adds Identity Protection Step to Apply for, View or Change Online Payment Plans


The IRS recently updated its identity verification process to better protect taxpayer information when a tax professional or taxpayer creates or accesses an online payment plan account.

In addition to basic personal and tax information, the tax pro or taxpayer now needs one of the following:

• A financial account in the name of the taxpayer
• A mobile phone number registered in the name of the taxpayer

There’s also an option to receive a verification code by mail.

Help spread the word about the added step to apply for, view or change a payment plan by sharing this drop-in article (PDF).


4.  Amended Tax Relief for Arkansas and Ohia Disaster Victims


Storm victims in the Arkansas counties of Lincoln and Searcy now qualify for tax relief following severe storms and flooding beginning May 21. Additionally, storm victims in the Ohio county of Mahoning qualify for tax relief following severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, flooding, and landslides that began on May 27.

Visit the IRS disaster relief page for all updates on tax relief for disaster victims.


5.  Engineering Firm CPA Sentenced to Prison for Role in Tax Scheme


Michael H. Higa, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and controller of several engineering businesses, was sentenced to 40 months in prison in Honolulu, Hawaii. A jury recently convicted Higa of conspiracy to defraud the United States along with co-conspirator Wagdy Guirguis. In addition to the conspiracy conviction, Higa was also convicted of one count of assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. The convictions arose from a scheme to divert funds from Guirguis’ business entities for his own personal benefit and to avoid the payment of federal employment taxes, corporate and individual income taxes, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) penalties.