Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

During the week of April 23, lawmakers continued to discuss tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as well as the possibility of a second tax bill this year. The IRS is currently reviewing a series of questions from bipartisan House lawmakers on the IRS’s Tax Day systems glitch.

Congress

The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) issued reports on federal tax baseline projections and macroeconomic modeling. Also, the JCT issued a report on solvency of multiemployer pension plans.

House. A bipartisan group of House Ways and Means Committee tax writers sent Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter a letter expressing certain concerns.

Senate. The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) held an April 24 hearing to examine early impressions of the new tax law.

Treasury

Proactive processes to identify and mitigate potential misuse of electronic payments systems are needed, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA Ref. No. 2018-40-031)

In addition, the Treasury has outlined its progress in enforcing President Trump’s regulatory reform, undertaken primarily to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens, (TDNR SM-0366)

IRS

Meanwhile, the IRS

  • has updated FAQs on ACA coverage, medical expense deductions and more.
  • Delegated authority on matters related to agent for consolidated group.
  • will provide guidance on the new information reporting obligations for certain life insurance contract transactions under Code Sec. 6050Y. The IRS has delayed reporting requirements under Code Sec. 6050Y until the final regulations are issued, (IR-2018-104; Notice 2018-41).
  • will host webcasts for National Small Business Week, April 29 to May 5, (IR-2018-105).
  • extended temporary relief provided for Wisconsin energy emergencies (Notice 2018-39).
  • will spotlight cybersecurity awareness through Nationwide Tax Forums during 2018 given the recent tax law modifications and the prevailing cybersecurity threat, (IR-2018-106).
  • modified the annual limit on 2018 HSA contribution deductions for individuals with family coverage under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) (IR-2018-107; Rev. Proc. 2018-27).
  • provided the  general rules and specifications for reproducing paper and computer-generated substitute for certain forms, (Rev. Proc. 2018-24).
  • warned taxpayers of a new twist on an old phone scam as criminals use telephone numbers that mimic IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) to lure them into paying nonexistent tax bills, (IR-2018-103).
  • clarified the difference between initial contacts and contacts for investigative collection.
  • issued tips on income received as tips, what to do after tax-filing deadline and amending tax returns.
  • spotlighted Taxpayer Bill of Rights: Right to a Fair and Just Tax System.
  • released a Fact Sheet regarding depreciation deductions that were changed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97), (FS-2018-9).

Rates

In addition, the IRS provided the:

  • applicable federal rates for May 2018 (Rev. Rul. 2018-12);
  • nationwide average purchase price of residences in the United States to issuers of qualified mortgage bonds and mortgage credit certificates (Rev. Proc. 2018-28);
  • nonconventional source fuel reference price for calendar year 2017, (Notice 2018-32); and
  • foreign housing expense exclusion/deduction amounts for tax year 2018, (Notice 2018-33).

Finally, the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) will hold a public meeting on Thursday, June 7, 2018.

An energy company could not include hedging gains and losses in its income because the law specifically limits the definition of income to income from oil and gas property.

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