The following information was contained in the February 2020 IRS News for Tax Professionals newsletter. Click on the headline links to read the full article.

For questions or more details on these topics, contact Senior Stakeholder Liaison Evette Davis at evette.davis@irs.gov.

IRS NEWS

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Refunds | The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, although some require additional time. You should only call if it has been:

  • 21 days or more since you e-filed
  • 6 weeks or more since you mailed your return, or when
  • “Where’s My Refund” tells you to contact the IRS

IRS provides relief to financial institutions affected by tax law change raising the age for required minimum distributions

  • The IRS has provided relief to financial institutions that were expected to provide required minimum distribution (RMD) statements to IRA owners by January 31,
  • Notice 2020-6 clarifies that if an RMD statement is provided for 2020 to an IRA owner who will turn age 70½ in 2020, the IRS will not consider the statement to be incorrect, but only if the financial institution notifies the IRA owner no later than April 15, 2020, that no RMD is due for 2020.

IRS and Treasury issue guidance for students with discharged student loans and their creditors

  • The IRS and Department of the Treasury issued Revenue Procedure 2020-11 that establishes a safe harbor extending relief to additional taxpayers who took out federal or private student loans to finance attendance at a nonprofit or for-profit
  • Relief is also extended to any creditor that would otherwise be required to file information returns and furnish payee statements for the discharge of any indebtedness within the scope of this revenue procedure.

Improved Tax Withholding Estimator helps workers target the refund they want; shows how to fill out new 2020 W-4

The Tax Withholding Estimator incorporates the changes from the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, that employees can fill out and give to their employers this year.

National Taxpayer Advocate delivers Annual Report to Congress: focuses on Taxpayer First Act implementation, taxpayer service, and IRS funding

Acting National Taxpayer Advocate Bridget Roberts released her 2019 Annual Report to Congress. Key challenges highlighted in the report include implementation of the Taxpayer First Act, inadequate taxpayer service and limited funding of the agency.

Roberts also released the third edition of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s “Purple Book,” which presents 58 legislative recommendations designed to strengthen taxpayer rights and improve tax administration.

IRS issues 2019 annual report; highlights program areas across the agency

The IRS released a new annual report highlighting accomplishments across the nation’s tax agency during Fiscal Year 2019.

“Internal Revenue Service Progress Update/Fiscal Year 2019 – Putting Taxpayers First” provides an overview of a variety of operations across taxpayer service, compliance and support areas. The 41-page document is built around the agency’s six strategic goals.

Focus on Opportunity Zones

TAX TIPS to share with clients

Gig economy work can affect a taxpayer’s bottom line | Taxpayers who work in the gig economy need to understand how their work affects their taxes. A little pre-planning can help make sure gig economy workers are prepared when it’s time to file their tax return.

EMPLOYERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS

What’s new for QBID/Sec 199A?

FTDs for a fiscal year taxpayer

Q: When using EFTPS to make an FTD for a fiscal year taxpayer, what year do you use? Is it the year when the fiscal year starts, or the year when the fiscal year ends?

 A: Use the year for when the fiscal year ends.

  • See IRM 3.17.277.15 (12-13-2019). Go to this link https://www.irs.gov/irm/part3/irm_03- 017-277#idm140363642054672 Then scroll down to (88).
  • (88) TAX PERIOD – The month and year in which the length of liability ends for a particular return or payment transaction. For Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return, the tax period is the beginning month of For Form 706, U.S. Estate Tax Return, the tax period is 000000. The tax period cannot be later than the current year/month plus one year.

YOUR PRACTICE

If you need to mail in a tax return or payment:

Clarification on Lockboxes

  • Per “e-News for Small Business Issue 2020-2,” lockboxes in Cincinnati and Hartford are closing on July
  • The lockboxes that are closing do not relate to 1040 estimated tax payments. They relate to business
  • Publication 3891 has all the lock box addresses for 2020

IRS Guidance

TAX EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS

Charities and Nonprofits home page

IDENTITY THEFT / DATA THEFT / SCAM ALERTS

UPCOMING WEBINARS

There will be two webinars in February. Please check Webinars for Tax Practitioners for updates.

THE BEST OF IRS.GOV

The Taxpayer First Act page on IRS.gov has been updated. Check it out!

e-NEWS SUBSCRIPTIONS and SOCIAL MEDIA

ews Subscriptions | The IRS offers several e-News subscriptions on a variety of tax topics. Click above for information about subscribing.

IRS Social Media | The IRS uses social media tools to share the latest information on tax changes, scam alerts, initiatives, products and services.

NEWS FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Federal Trade Commission

Small Business Cybersecurity: Protect Your Small Business | Learn the basics for protecting your business from cyberattacks. These business cybersecurity resources were developed in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.