Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

In the Weekly Report from Washington, D.C. this week, congressional negotiators were set to release details on the Conference Committee’s version of HR 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, on December 15. The bill will now move to the House and Senate for a final vote. The IRS issued standard mileage rates for 2018, relief for late 2016 partnership-return filers and casualty loss victims, as well as other guidance.

Congress

House and Senate conferees met throughout the week to hammer out a final Conference Bill for HR 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. At press time, an agreement was announced and the Conference Bill text was expected to be released. The full House and Senate are expected to vote on this final tax bill during to week of December 18. And, the bill is expected to be sent to the president before Christmas.

IRS

Standard Mileage Rates.

The IRS released the 2018 optional standard mileage rates. For 2018, the rates have increased to 54.5 cents per mile for business uses and 18 cents per mile for medical and moving uses (IR-2017-204, Notice 2018-3).

2018 Withholding Tables.

The IRS issued a statement that it is taking steps to prepare guidance on withholding reflecting any new legislation. In addition, it anticipates that initial withholding guidance (Notice 1036) will be available in January 2018.

CI Division Annual Report.

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division’s Annual Report for FY 2017 shows significant staffing declines over the past several years. Accordingly, those reductions have resulted in a significant decline in business results.

Partnership Returns.

The IRS has amended relief that was provided for entities required to file partnership returns by the new due date for tax years beginning in 2016, to extent relief to fiscal-year filers whose tax years began in 2016 but did not end until 2017 (IR-2017-205, Notice 2017-71).

Mortality Improvement Rates.

The IRS has provided the updated mortality improvement rates and static mortality tables to be used under Code Sec. 430(h)(3)(A), used to calculate the funding target and other items (Notice 2018-2).

Casualty Losses.

The IRS issued safe-harbor guidance for individuals who realized losses to their residences and personal belongings due to natural disasters, including losses due to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (IR-2017-202; Rev. Proc. 2018-8; Rev. Proc. 2018-9).

Pension Plans.

The IRS released the 30-year Treasury bond weighted average interest rate, the unadjusted segment rates, the adjusted rates and the minimum present value segment rates for pension plan years beginning in December 2017 (Notice 2017-76).

Email Scam.

Taxpayers have been warned about a new email scam targeting users of a leading webmail service provider (IR-2017-203).

Tax Season Reminder.

The IRS has released the sixth in a series of reminders to help taxpayers prepare for the upcoming tax filing season, stressing actions to be taken before the end of the 2017 tax year that would impact their tax returns. (IR-2017-201)

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

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