Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

Congress remains focused on post-tax reform legislation infrastructure proposals. A fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill could be released by the House as early as the week of March 12.

Congress

Senate. Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on March 8 introduced the bipartisan Retirement Enhancement and Savings Bill of 2018 (RESA) (Sen. 2526). The measure aims to increase employer incentives to encourage employee retirement savings (TAXDAY, 2018/03/09, C.1).

Senate Democrats have unveiled a plan to rollback certain tax cuts and benefits enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97) to finance a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal (TAXDAY, 2018/03/08, C.1).

House. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told House lawmakers in a House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee hearing that the IRS needs additional funding to properly implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/07, C.1).

House Ways and Means Democrats sent a letter to Acting IRS Commissioner David J. Kautter regarding the Service’s interpretation of certain provisions within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/06, C.1).

IRS

Refunds. The IRS has announced that federal income tax refunds totaling more than $1.1 billion may be waiting for an estimated 1-million taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2014 (IR-2018-44) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/09, I.1).

Fraud. IRS’s 2018 “Dirty Dozen” list includes tax return preparer fraud (IR-2018-45; FS-2018-5) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/09, I.2).

Disaster Relief. The IRS has provided relief to victims of tropical storm Gita in American Samoa (AS-2018-01) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/09, I.3).

Filing. The IRS has urged taxpayers to take advantage of IRS Publication 17 for common tax inquires given the fast approaching tax-filing deadline (IR-2018-46) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/09, I.4).

Fraud. Tax-related identity theft remains serious enough to earn a spot on the agency’s annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams (IR-2018-42) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/08, I.1).

Tips. The IRS has announced the Tax Time Guide, a series of 10 daily tips from the IRS, to help taxpayers get assistance they need as the April 17 deadline approaches (IR-2018-41; FS-2018-4) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/07, I.3).

OPR. The IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has modified its investigation procedures to give practitioners an opportunity to seek information about misconduct referrals before it closes the case (TAXDAY, 2018/03/07, I.4).

TAP. The IRS has announced that it has renewed the charter for the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Committee (TAP) for a two-year period beginning February 27, 2018 (TAXDAY, 2018/03/06, I.1).

ETAAC. The charter for the IRS Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) was renewed (TAXDAY, 2018/03/06, I.2).

Fraud. The IRS has listed email “phishing” schemes as a top filing season concern and part of the annual listing of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2018 (IR-2018-39) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/06, I.3).

TINs. The Treasury Department and IRS have expanded the jurisdictions that can be included on the list of jurisdictions that do not issue foreign taxpayer identification numbers (Foreign TINs) (No TIN list) (Notice 2018-20) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/06, I.4).

HDHP. The IRS has clarified that a health plan providing benefits for male sterilization or male contraceptives without a deductible, or with a deductible below the minimum deductible for a high deductible health plan (HDHP) under Code Sec. 223(c)(2)(A) is not an HDHP (Notice 2018-12) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/06, I.5).

Comment. The IRS has requested comments on various Forms and Regulations (TAXDAY, 2018/03/06, I.6).

OPR. The IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility has published the names of attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, enrolled retirement plan agents and appraisers who have been disbarred from practice before the IRS (Ann. 2018-4) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/05, I.1).

Inflation. The IRS has modified certain previously released inflation-adjusted amounts. Generally, these new inflation-adjusted figures apply to tax years beginning in 2018 or transactions or events occurring in calendar year 2018 (Rev. Proc. 2018-18) (TAXDAY, 2018/03/05, I.2).

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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