…The IRS says 2016 could be even worse. By CPA Trendlines The 2015 filing season was akin to a Tale of Two Cities, according to the IRS’s own watchdog. “For the majority of taxpayers who filed their returns and did not require IRS assistance, the filing season was generally successful,” according to the report issued to Congress by the national taxpayer advocate’s office headed by Nina Olson. “For the segment of taxpayers who required help from the IRS, the filing season was by far the worst in memory.” Meanwhile, Olson urges Congress to undertake “fundamental tax reform,” pass a “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” law, and boost IRS funding. “Everyone is in collective denial about what inadequate funding for the IRS means […]
Analysis shows smaller firms having the most trouble. CPA Trendlines Research While the 2016 Tax Season is still about 180 days away, many practitioners are still recovering the 2015 season. This year’s busy season was a tough one for America’s tax preparers. CPA Trendlines’ surveys reveal a panoply of gripes from sea to shining sea: Affordable Care Act problems. New regulations problems. Computer problems. Client problems. Even health problems and weather problems seemed worse. And who suffered the most? Solo practitioners, the ones with the gumption to go it alone, the ones who can’t stop working on tax returns to fix a computer, go to a doctor, shovel some snow, or explain federal forms to a client.
L.A. CPA Derek Davis left the Big Four to launch a smartphone app, even before renting an office for his new firm
Multi-partner firms show bullish signs. Soloists turn bearish on the U.S. economy. CPA Trendlines Research CPAs aren’t economists, but they do know numbers, and they have their fingers on the pulse of the flow of money in their local areas. They know how their own businesses and their clients’ businesses are doing, and they have at least an inkling of the causes. Remembering 2014 and living through the 2015 busy season, they are well placed to prognosticate on financial flows over the next 12 months. CPA Trendlines survey research detects a certain optimism, but it seems to be a bit more cautious among solo practitioners.
Fines run $100 per day, per employee. By Stephen L. Nelson, CPA and Elizabeth C. Nelson, CPA Small Business and the Affordable Care Act By now, many of your small business clients understand they don’t have to provide employees with health insurance. The employer mandate starts when a firm employs 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees. But here’s an awkward follow-up question: Do your small business clients understand that many of the ACA’s rules still apply to them and that they may still be vulnerable to the ACA’s 4980D excise tax penalty—which runs $100 per day per employee? LEARN MORE: Small Businesses and the Affordable Care Act: What Every Tax Practitioner Needs to Know (55-page PDF digital download) Can We Talk IRC Code Sections? People sometimes […]
The National Trends and Averages By CPA Trendlines Research While tax professionals taking a well-deserved break this summer, they are also carefully assessing how well – or poorly – they fared in Tax Season 2015 and they are beginning to lay plans for Tax Season 2016. Chief among their concerns will, no doubt, be a thorough review of their mix of services and fees. Fortunately, CPA Trendlines has compiled authoritative data in an easy-to-use set of charts, graphs and infographics to guide the strategizing for 2016. In this report, CPA Trendlines reveals: The average time it takes an amateur do-it-yourselfer to do a 1040 – useful information in understanding and communicating to clients the true value of a professional. How […]
FY 2016 budget provisions would expand authority for regulation, correctable errors. Refund fraud, especially that caused by identity theft, remains “an ongoing battle” for the IRS, Commissioner John Koskinen said in testimony about the 2015 tax season before the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight. “For that reason, and in spite of our budget constraints, we have continued to focus as much of our resources as possible on improving our efforts against identity theft,” he said, improving filters used to detect suspicious returns as they come in at a rate of more than 2 million suspicious returns so far, which is over 500,000 more than last year at this time.
Budget cuts remain a concern. By CPA Trendlines Research No matter what you think of your 2015 tax season, the IRS thinks it had it worse. Commissioner John Koskinen testified about the season before the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, and said even opening on schedule was a “major accomplishment” because of additional preparation needed for the Affordable Care Act and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, as well as a system update reflecting December’s tax extender legislation.