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State Board Report

November 2014

Despite pay freezes, shutdowns and furloughs, the level of dedication of the Internal Revenue Services’ 12,000-member workforce is “amazing,” IRS Commissioner John A. Koskinen told the Annual Meeting on November 4. He outlined for NASBA the progress the IRS has made despite challenges. The IRS is implementing the Affordable Care Act and preparing for the global exchange of information as a result of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). They are also ensuring the Earned Income Tax Credit program is being applied appropriately and are implementing their new voluntary education program for return preparers who are not CPAs, attorneys or Enrolled Agents.

“We would prefer to see Congress enact legislation allowing the IRS to impose mandatory oversight of tax return preparers. But until that happens, we have a responsibility to ensure to the extent that we can that preparers meet the standards of competence and professionalism we need to uphold our system of voluntary compliance. As part of our management of this program, we are also advising taxpayers of the significant qualifications of CPAs, attorneys and Enrolled Agents who spend significantly more time developing their expertise than the preparers who only complete the minimum level of continuing education offered under our voluntary program,” Commissioner Koskinen stated. The complete text of the Commissioner’s speech can be found in the Presentations and Speeches section of this website.

Identity theft and tax scams are also being focused on by the IRS. Last year more than 1,200 individuals were involved with tax-related identity theft and recommended for prosecution, the Commissioner reported. As for tax scams, he advised that taxpayers need to know that if there is an issue with their return, the IRS will initially contact them by mail, not by phone.

“Large partnership audits were the focus of a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, and the real Catch-22 of GAO’s final conclusions was that we need funding to implement the changes recommended,” he observed.

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