Category: Practice Management

Tax Resolution Hot Sheet™ #5: IRS Levy Procedural Deviations for ACTC

In this issue:

  • Three procedural deviations on levy action in relation to ACTC, Recovery Rebates, and RRF Payments
  • Are you meeting the needs of your clients?

A Trio of Procedural Deviations in Relation to Certain Levies
Two IRM procedural deviations were issued on July 13, 2021, to join one that was issued March 18, 2021, in relation to levy action taken against tax debtors that receive certain federal payments. These are of no surprise to any tax pro, of course, but it’s nice to see the Service still paying attention to such small details that can directly impact the lives of millions of Americans.

These SB/SE Collection memos can be found here:

Each memo says more or less the same thing, just in relation to a different source of funds. In short, the procedural deviations stipulate that the IRS must release levies that attach to any account containing funds from one of the three sources. Also, IRS personnel should not issue levies against bank accounts that are known to contain such funds.

If a Collection employee believes that such an account should still be levied, each memo specifies that such levies must be run up the flagpole to either an Area Director or Campus Director before commencing with levy action or refusing to release such a levy.

For 1040 tax debtors with children in particular, this can, for all intents and purposes, provide a get out of levy free card. Since levies should not be issued on accounts to which Advance Child Tax Credit funds are deposited until the conclusion of such monthly payments in December 2021, a shrewd taxpayer representative can effectively “shield” one client bank account from levy action through the end of the year. If your client is eligible for ACTC payments, but is foregoing them to avoid having to deal with potential issues in 2022, it might be worth rethinking that.

Protecting clients from levy action is one of the biggest benefits that a tax pro can bring to a tax debtor, and this can now provide a short-term avenue for doing so, thus giving you time to correct the other underlying issues that got the taxpayer in trouble in the first place.

Ready to learn more about levy releases? Check out CTR-161: Levies & Levy Releases for 2 CE/CPE hours, inside the Tax Resolution Continue reading

Tax Resolution Hot Sheet™ #4: Appeals – Digital Signatures, Digital Case Files

In this issue:

  • Reissuance of digital signature guidance for Appeals
  • Extension of electronic case file pilot for Examination Appeals
  • Make just one more cold call

Extension of Digital Signature Guidance
Today, we have a pair of Appeals-related guidance extensions to discuss. First up is memo AP-08-0521-0015. In response to the pandemic last year, Appeals basically had no other choice than to create a procedural deviation to allow for digital signatures on many documents. More specifically, this change related to digital images of signatures, which are usually verboten.

In other words, Appeals was able to temporarily accept signatures that were drawn on computer — e.g., there was never a wet ink signature to start with. It’s also important to note that these are NOT true “digital signatures”, which have some sort of authentication protocol attached to them. This is literally just drawing a signature with your mouse, or taking a photo of a signature with your phone and cropping it, and then copy/pasting it into the IRS form, with no security provisions.

In other departments, such as the CAF Unit, we’ve already seen relatively quick (by government standards) creation of true digital signature options. It’s my hope that the Service will expand those technologies to all departments sooner rather than later, making life easier for everybody.

Also in this procedural deviation is the ability for Appeals personnel to receive taxpayer documents via email and to send taxpayers documents via SecureZip. We can only hope that this is going well, and that in the future we can do the same with Collections and Examination. Then we’d really be living the dream, eh?

These temporary provisions were set to expire, but have been extended through Dec. 31, 2021.

Electronic Case Files in Field Examination Appeals
IRS field units still use paper files for the vast majority of the work they do. When a taxpayer is getting put through the ringer on either the Collection or Exam side, there’s a massive amount of paper created. Running an audit from an iPad? Pfft, maybe by 2050, if we’re lucky. 🙂

But, at least there are some steps in the right direction. Within SB/SE, there has been a pilot program running for a little while (pre-COVID) that allows for digital case files for certain types of field examination. These are mostly individual income tax examinations that are being run under this program. Payroll tax, excise tax, gift … Continue reading

May 17th Doesn’t Matter

Some people really don’t like having their pre-conceived notions challenged.

For example, consider this response to the email I sent yesterday:
—-
Boy are you wrong!!! Congress passed the Legislation after tax season already started – beyond our control.
IRS needed to interpret the changes made in the final Legislation – beyond our control.
Tax software needed to be updated for those changes – beyond our control.
State Legislators needed to decide if they were going to follow federal changes – beyond our control.
—-

…plus six more lines, including one extolling my “insensitivity and arrogance”.

All because I had the audacity to declare that yesterday was the end of filing season.

In total, I received over 30 replies to yesterdays email. That’s a lot of replies for what was probably the shortest email I’ve ever sent.

Just so everyone knows, I am completely aware that IRS extended the filing and payment deadline to May 17th — I’m not an idiot living under a rock (although that’s heavily debated).

But as I’ve written a few times in these emails over the past month plus, just because the IRS extended the deadline, doesn’t mean you have to.

My advice to all tax pros has been to “act as if” April 15th was still the deadline, and do as you would in any other year. That means wrapping up existing returns in progress between April 1 and 15. As of April 1, cutting off any clients that have not brought you docs yet — everybody not in-progress goes on extension to October. The same best practices that you would use in any other year.

Why?

The most important reason is so that this doesn’t throw off your business operations for the rest of the year. In other words, don’t let external forces dictate your business decisions. Tax professionals that simply embrace the May 17th extended deadline will, inevitably, continue to operate in “filing season mode”. That means delaying 1040 tax resolution season marketing. That means skipping late April and early May business development opportunities, such as new ad campaigns, the early return of some trade shows, potential speaking opportunities, and the like.

By failing to enforce a standard April 15th deadline upon your clients, you are stepping over dollars to pick up dimes. If you also offer accounting services, and you stay 100% in “tax season mode”, think of all the potential accounting clients that … Continue reading