Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

The IRS continued to announce relief for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Senate Finance Committee held the first of what is expected to be a series of tax reform hearings. GOP leaders in the House predicted that a tax reform framework would be unveiled before the end of September.

Congress

House. Top congressional Republicans and the White House are expected to release a framework of their tax reform plan during the week of September 25 (TAXDAY, 2017/09/14, C.1).

The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing entitled “IRS Reform: Resolving Taxpayer Disputes” on September 13. Lawmakers and witnesses discussed issues with current IRS dispute resolution procedures and how to make improvements (TAXDAY, 2017/09/14, C.2).

Senate. The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) held a tax reform hearing examining the individual side of the tax code on September 14. Lawmakers indicated that the hearing would be the first in a series of hearings leading up to the committee’s draft of comprehensive tax reform legislation (TAXDAY, 2017/09/15, C.1).

Treasury

Compliance. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reviewed the IRS’s Exam function and reported that staffing and audit coverage have declined in recent years (TAXDAY, 2017/09/14, T.2).

Information Technology. TIGTA reported that 64 percent of the IRS’s IT hardware is beyond its useful life (TAXDAY, 2017/09/15, T.3).

IRS

Disaster Relief. The IRS announced special relief designed to support leave-based donation programs to aid victims of Hurricane Irma (Notice 2017-52; TAXDAY, 2017/09/15, I.4). The Service also provided relief for certain employee benefit plans because of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma (Notice 2017-49; TAXDAY, 2017/09/13, I.2). Additionally, the IRS announced streamlined procedures for loans and distributions from retirement plans to help victims of Hurricane Irma (IR-2017-151, Ann. 2017-13; TAXDAY, 2017/09/13, I.6).

REMICs. The IRS updated recently released penalty relief to include real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) (Notice 2017-47; TAXDAY, 2017/09/13, I.3).

FATCA. The IRS reminded foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to renew their FFI agreements if required by October 24, 2017 (IR-2017-153; TAXDAY, 2017/09/15, I.8).

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

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