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August 9, 2019

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Issue Number:  2019-28

Inside This Issue

1.     IRS Launches Tax Withholding Estimator

2.     Tax Security 2.0: Signs of Client Data Theft

3.     Nationwide Tax Forums: Last Chance to Sign Up for Orlando; San Diego Sold Out

4.     Additional Missouri Disaster Victims Qualify for Tax Relief

5.     Office of Professional Responsibility Announces Disciplinary Sanctions

6.     Tax Division Judgments

7.     Technical Guidance


1.  IRS Launches Tax Withholding Estimator


The IRS launched a new Tax Withholding Estimator this week, an expanded, mobile-friendly tool designed to make it easier to have the right amount of tax withheld during the year. The Tax Withholding Estimator replaces the Withholding Calculator, and it offers workers, as well as retirees, self-employed individuals and other taxpayers, a more user-friendly step-by-step tool for effectively tailoring the amount of income tax they have withheld from wages and pension payments. The IRS took feedback from taxpayers and tax professionals as it developed the Tax Withholding Estimator.


2.  Tax Security 2.0: Signs of Client Data Theft


As a tax professional, you need to know the tell-tale signs of data theft. Global crime syndicates are well-financed, highly skilled and savvy in their attempts to steal sensitive tax data.

“Learning the signs of identity theft is critical for anyone handling taxpayer data,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “It can be as subtle as an unusually slow computer system or as obvious as multiple clients unexpectedly receiving the same IRS notice. Paying attention to these details is critical, and fast action alerting the IRS and calling in a security expert can help protect taxpayers and your business.


3.  Nationwide Tax Forums: Last Chance to Sign Up for Orlando; San Diego Sold Out


Tax professionals: There is still space at the 2019 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Orlando next week. With the September Forum in San Diego sold out, the Orlando IRS Tax Forum Aug. 13-15 offers the last chance to register to earn up to 19 continuing education credits from the IRS.

Learn about the tax law changes for 2019, the rules around Qualified Business Income, how to protect your clients’ data and more.

Visit the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum website to register.


4.  Additional Missouri Disaster Victims Qualify for Tax Relief


Storm victims in the Missouri counties of Callaway, Jefferson, Lewis, McDonald, Newton and Saline now qualify for tax relief following severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding that took place on April 29.

Visit the IRS disaster relief page for more.


5.  Office of Professional Responsibility Announces Disciplinary Sanctions


The IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) enforces standards of practice for credentialed tax professionals such as enrolled agents, certified public accountants and attorneys. Tax professionals who do not meet the standards may be subject to disciplinary actions such as censure, suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS. For a list of recently disciplined individuals, see Internal Revenue Bulletin 2019-32, pages 621-623.


6.  Tax Division Judgments


The Justice Department Tax Division this week reported:

  • A Waco, Texas, tax return preparer pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States. According to the indictment, Janell Lightner assisted co-defendant Stacey Anderson of Anderson Professional Tax Services in the preparation and filing of false tax returns claiming false business items and/or education tax credits to fraudulently increase their clients’ tax refunds from the IRS. Lightner has admitted to causing a tax loss of over $1.3 million.
  • A federal jury in Flint, Mich., convicted Gerri Avery of engaging in a corrupt endeavor to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Avery obstructed the IRS in its attempts to collect payroll taxes due and owing for Integrated HCS Practice Management (Integrated) by providing false and misleading information to the IRS Revenue Officer attempting to collect the taxes owed.


7.  Technical Guidance


Revenue Procedure 2019-34 provides simplified procedures for an insurance company to obtain automatic consent of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to change its methods of accounting for life insurance reserves, amounts under section 807(c)(3), and specified policy acquisition expenses under section 848, as applicable, to comply with sections 807 and 848, as amended by sections 13517 and 13519 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for the taxable year beginning after Dec. 31, 2017.