Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

The IRS announced several relief measures for victims of Hurricane Harvey. President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin both discussed tax reform. Congress is scheduled to return to Capitol Hill after Labor Day.

White House

President Trump delivered a speech on tax reform on August 30 that addressed the economic need for tax reform. The president included few details on specific tax provisions over and above those general concepts previously released (TAXDAY, 2017/08/31, W.1 ).

Treasury

Mnuchin predicted that the White House and GOP leaders in Congress would release a detailed tax reform plan in the next few weeks (TAXDAY, 2017/09/01, T.2 ).

IRS

Disaster Relief. The IRS announced tax relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey. The relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines for affected individuals and businesses (IR-2017-135 ; TAXDAY, 2017/08/29, I.2 ). Streamlined procedures for loans and hardship distributions from retirement plans to help victims were also announced (IR-2017-138 , Ann. 2017-11 ; TAXDAY, 2017/08/31, I.1 ). Additionally, the IRS waived the diesel fuel penalty in response to shortages of undyed diesel fuel following Hurricane Harvey (IR-2017-139 ; TAXDAY, 2017/08/31, I.2 ).

Charitable Contributions. The IRS cautioned taxpayers about charitable giving scams after a disaster, such as Hurricane Harvey. The scams may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations (IR-2017-137 ; TAXDAY, 2017/08/30, I.2 ).

Partnerships. The IRS announced penalty relief for certain partnerships that did not file required returns by the new due date for tax years beginning in 2016. Legislation in 2015 revised due dates, the IRS explained (IR-2017-141 , Notice 2017-47 ; TAXDAY, 2017/09/05, I.4 )

FBAR. A U.S. person filing an electronic Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for foreign financial accounts has an automatic extension this year until October 16, 2017, IRS officials said during an August 30 webinar (TAXDAY, 2017/09/01, I.4 ).

Defined Benefit Plans. The IRS announced that temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed defined benefit (DB) plans has been extended. A closed DB plan provides ongoing accruals but limits those accruals to some or all of the employees who participated in the plan on a specified date (Notice 2017-45 ; TAXDAY, 2017/09/01, I.3 ).

Cybercrime. The IRS warned taxpayers and tax professionals about cybercriminals impersonating government officials. The phishing scam uses emblems of the IRS and FBI to entice users to download ransomware (IR-2017-134 ; TAXDAY, 2017/08/29, I.1 ).

By Jessica Jeane, George Jones and George L. Yaksick, Jr., Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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CCHTaxGroup

All stories by: CCHTaxGroup