Does IRS Need a Practitioner Services Division?

Typing numbers for income tax return with pen and calculator

Practitioner orgs say “Yes!”

By CPA Trendlines Research

The Internal Revenue Service has less than six months to provide Congress with a comprehensive strategy for providing taxpayers with better service. The report, due July 1, is mandated by the Taxpayer First Act of 2019.

MORE: IRS Urged to Form Tax Preparer Strategy | Accountants Cautiously Bullish on the Economy | SURVEY RESULTS: Tax Pros Forecast a Better 2020 | Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code? | Tax Pros Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season | IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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The IRS is already hammering out a strategy on several fronts – enforcement, technology, modernization, training, cybersecurity, overall structure and organization, and, yes, taxpayer experience.
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IRS Urged to Form Tax Preparer Strategy

Portrait of Bridget T. Roberts
Roberts

Taxpayer Advocate says it’s long overdue.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Every year by legal mandate, the National Taxpayer Advocate, who heads the Taxpayer Advocacy Service within the IRS, files a report to Congress. The report identifies problems within the IRS and offers recommendations to solve them.

MORE: Accountants Cautiously Bullish on the Economy | SURVEY RESULTS: Tax Pros Forecast a Better 2020 | Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code? | Tax Pros Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season | IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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This year, the acting director of the TAS, Bridget T. Roberts, has identified the lack of a comprehensive strategy for the tax practitioner community as one of the IRS’s most serious problems. Although 80 million Americans depend on tax preparers to do their civic duty, the IRS’s efforts to serve practitioners is focused mostly on misconduct issues, not on helping them get the job done.
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Tax Season Is Hacker Season

Checklist: Five things to do today to protect your firm and your clients.

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer:
New year, new strategies

Join the survey. Get the results.

By Jess Coburn
Applied Innovations

Businesses of all sizes are targets from what has become the most vicious, innovative, and lucrative criminal endeavors we’ve ever witnessed. And tax practitioners are particularly easy targets.

MORE ON BUSY SEASON 2020: IRS Urged to Form Tax Preparer Strategy5 Small Leaks That Can Sink a Tax SeasonData Points Down as Tax Season OpensThe Fight for New Tax Clients5 Tax Review KeysTax Pros Forecast a Better 2020 |  See all Tax Season 2020 coverage here

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The financial services industry is perhaps the most targeted because of the value of data it possesses. And the most frequently targeted are CPAs and those who prepare tax returns.

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Accountants Cautiously Bullish on the Economy

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer. Join the survey. Get the Results
The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer. Join the survey. Get the Results

“Local optimism” a bit better than last year.

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer
New year, new strategies.

Join the survey. Get the results.

By CPA Trendlines Research

When CPAs talk about the economy, people listen. They listen because accountants have their finger on the pulse of the economy. They look at real numbers all day. They look at where the numbers are coming from and where they’re probably going. It’s what they do.

MORE: Pros Improving Performance | Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code? | Tax Pros Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season | IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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For that reason, CPA Trendlines’ 2020 Busy Season Barometer steps back from strictly tax issues to ask how things look economically. The answers are always interesting.

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SURVEY RESULTS: Tax Pros Forecast a Better 2020

Difficult clients? Show them the door.

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer: New year, new plans?
Join the survey. Get the plans.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Last year was rough on tax preparers – the overhaul of the tax code on top of the government shutdown, the forms and schedules unavailable, the obsolete software.

MORE: Tax Pros Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season
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But as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And according to the early results of the CPA Trendlines 2020 Busy Barometer, those who survived last year have learned some lessons and are making changes.
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Suchoff Takes Cannabis Accounting Passion National

Portrait of Sandy Suchoff
Suchoff

She cites the usual complicators: 280E, the dearth of banking services.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Sandy Suchoff’s initial interest in cannabis came when a family member had an immune deficiency condition. The treatments seemed almost as hazardous as the disease itself.

MORE ON CANNABIZ: Why Are CEOs So Confused? | Everything You Wanted to Know about Dispensary Accounting but Were Afraid to Ask | ‘High Times’ at AICPA | CPA Cathro Goes 90% Cannabiz in the Bay State | Why Jax Wheatley Shifted from LBGTQ to Cannabis Clients
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Medications came with lists of serious side effects and often conflicted with each other. But from what Suchoff read – and she read a lot – cannabis could do a world of good without threatening harm.
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Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code?

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More than token efforts are needed.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The Internal Revenue Service has its work cut out for it this year. Government outlays are expected to increase by a good $200 billion in 2020, and the deficit is expected to rise from $981 billion to just over a trillion dollars, provided revenues increase by a projected $188 billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the tax reductions effected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will increase the budget deficit by a net $1.891 trillion by 2027.

MORE: Tax Pros Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season | IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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So the IRS needs every penny it can scrape up. But the scraping’s been hindered by agency budget cuts and consequent losses of personnel. Just as the country needs more revenue than ever, its tax collector is struggling to enforce its tax code.
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[SURVEY RESULTS] Tax Pro’s Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season

Higher revenues and net profits. What's not to like?

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer: New year, new plans?
Join the survey. Get the plans.

By CPA Trendlines Research

It may be too soon to say for sure, but America’s tax pros think we might be coming up on a pretty good tax season – more clients, no big new tax rules, software up and running, staff up to speed on last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

MORE: IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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Granted, this is a comparison with last year, an annus horribilis that will go down in annals of accountancy. Remember? A major overhaul of tax rules. A shortage of new forms. Software suddenly obsolete. Clients confused. And the IRS shuttered for a government shutdown.
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IRS Undertakes Overhaul

Rettig

Including a 6-point strategic plan.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Chuck Rettig has been commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service for just over a year, but he has behind him 36 years of experience as a tax professional.

MORE: Should the IRS Go Down in History? | 5 Easy Ways That Congress Could Fix Tax Collection | 4 Ways to Fix IRS Collections | 3 Ways to Improve IRS Levies | How the IRS Abuses ‘Math Errors’ | Taxpayers Deserve Better Receipts | Troubles with IRS Private Debt Collection | What Difference Does One Word Make?
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That experience includes the experience of trying to get answers out of the IRS, waiting on hold, struggling to make sense of tens of thousands of pages of tax rules and rulings, and dealing with mid-season pronouncements. He knows how it is.
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It’s Official: IRS Sets Monday, Jan. 27, as Start of Filing Season 2020

April 15 is in 98 days. But who's counting?

By CPA Trendlines

The Internal Revenue Service confirmed that the nation's tax season will start for individual tax return filers on Monday, January 27, 2020, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2019 tax year returns.

Follow all our Busy Season coverage here

The deadline to file 2019 tax returns and pay any tax owed is Wednesday, April 15, 2020. More than 150 million individual tax returns for the 2019 tax year are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the traditional April tax deadline. READ MORE →

Receipt Bank Raises $73 Million

Debt and equity infusion to be used for expansion and product development.

By CPA Trendlines Research

London-based Receipt Bank, which fields machine-learning software that fetches financial information from multiple sources, digitizing and categorizing it for more than 50,000 accountants and bookkeepers, has raised $73 million in debt and equity financing for product development and market expansion.

The news follows Bill.com's initial public offering in December on the New York Stock Exchange where it sold 9.82 million shares, raising $216 million and giving it a valuation of about $1.6 billion. Bill.com automates invoicing for 81,000 businesses.

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Trending for 2020

The most-read articles at CPA Trendlines for 2019.

If past is prologue, tax and accounting practitioners are heading into 2020 with their eyes squarely focused on a new Busy Season, new services lines, and the unrelenting, unforgiving changes in the business and profession.

Here are the top 10 most-read, most-shared articles from 2019 at CPA Trendlines:

1. Ready for Non-CPA CPA Firms?

What the AICPA and NASBA could learn from other professions.
By Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA
See more by Donny Shimamoto

2. 16 Big Questions for Tax Season

America’s tax and accounting practitioners are suffering the brunt of the shortcomings at the IRS. But the profession may have some of the solutions.
By CPA Trendlines Research
See more by CPA Trendlines Research

3. Is Client Accounting Services Overhyped?

New CPA Trendlines study shows broad interest in CAS, but also widespread failures to achieve hoped-for goals.
What's your busy season forecast? Join the survey: Get the results.
By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research
See more by CPA Trendlines Research READ MORE →