Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

President Trump said that details on tax reform will be forthcoming. The House approved bipartisan legislation limiting the IRS authority in certain asset seizures. The IRS continued to provide relief to Hurricane Harvey victims and reminded all taxpayers to prepare for disasters.

White House

President Trump said that tax reform provisions will come to light “in great detail” over the next two weeks. The president spoke in North Dakota on September 6 (TAXDAY, 2017/09/08, W.1).

Congress

The House approved bipartisan legislation to limit the IRS’s authority in conducting civil asset seizure and forfeiture relating to structuring transactions (TAXDAY, 2017/09/06, C.1).

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on September 7 that a tax reform plan will be released this fall and enacted by the end of 2017 (TAXDAY, 2017/09/08, W.1).

The Senate on September 7 passed a Hurricane Harvey relief package that serves as the legislative vehicle for continuing federal funding past the end of the month. The short-term measure funds government agencies, including the IRS, through December 8 (TAXDAY, 2017/09/08, C.1). The House approved the measure on September 8.

IRS

Disaster Relief. The IRS announced measures to support leave-based donation programs to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey (IR-2017-143, Notice 2017-48; TAXDAY, 2017/09/06, I.3). The IRS also expanded its waiver of the diesel fuel penalty to cover all of Texas (IR-2017-142; TAXDAY, 2017/09/06, I.2).

Disaster Preparedness. The IRS encouraged taxpayers to take steps before a disaster strikes to protect paper and electronic documents, pointing to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and with Hurricane Irma on the way. Even if original records are on paper, these can be scanned into an electronic format, the IRS reminded taxpayers (IR-2017-145, FS-2017-11; TAXDAY, 2017/09/07, I.2).

Utilities. The IRS announced a safe harbor for utilities that inadvertently violate ITC and MACRS normalization rules. If the safe harbor applies, the IRS will not assert that the practice constitutes a violation of the normalization rules and will not deny the utility the benefits of the investment tax credit or accelerated depreciation, the Service explained (Rev. Proc. 2017-47; TAXDAY, 2017/09/08, I.1).

SOI. The Summer 2017 Statistics of Income Bulletin (SOI) is now available (IR-2017-140; TAXDAY, 2017/09/05, I.3).

Interest Rates. The IRS announced that interest rates remain the same for the fourth quarter of 2017 IR-2017-147, Rev. Rul. 2017-18; TAXDAY, 2017/09/11, I.4).

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

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