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The IRS began its "Dirty Dozen" list for 2022, which includes potentially abusive arrangements that taxpayers should avoid. The tax scams in this series focus on four transactions that are wrongfully promoted and will likely attract additional agency compliance efforts in the future. Those four abusive transactions involve charitable remainder annuity trusts, Maltese individual retirement arrangements, foreign captive insurance and monetized installment sales. These are the first four entries in this year’s Dirty Dozen series.


The IRS announced that is completing the processing on a key group of individual tax returns filed during 2021. Business paper returns filed in 2021 will follow shortly after. The Service began 2022 with a larger than usual inventory of paper tax returns and correspondence filed during 2021 due to the pandemic. The IRS will continue to work on the few remaining 2021 individual tax returns that have processing issues or require additional information from the taxpayer. As of June 10, the IRS had processed over 4.5 million individual paper tax returns received in 2021.


Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig is pushing back on assertions that the agency is spending less time targeting wealthy taxpayers for audit in favor of lower income taxpayers.


Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee are the latest group to call on the Internal Revenue Service to implement 2-D barcoding technology on individual tax forms.


The IRS Whistleblower Office has released the fiscal year (FY) 2021 annual report to Congress. In FY 2021, the Whistleblower Office made 179 award payments to whistleblowers totaling $36,144,926, including 20 awards paid under Code Sec. 7623(b). Whistleblower claim numbers assigned in FY 2021 grew by 55 percent year over year and claim closures increased by 13 percent. Additionally, this year’s report introduces the Code Sec. 7623 Payment and Claim Processing Analysis. The analysis shows Code Sec. 7623(b) awards were paid on average in 17 days.


Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is continuing to promote the agreement on international taxes reached by most members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on a global corporate minimum tax, but acknowledged that its overall impact will be determined by the final details.


The American Institute of CPAs is calling on Congress to fund the Internal Revenue Service at the level requested by the White House in its fiscal year 2023 budget request. Separately, the group offered its suggestions on the IRS Guidance Priority List. "In advance of the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations cycle, we request that you fund the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at necessary levels to allow it to handle all the duties required of it by Congress, including properly administering and enforcing our nation’s tax laws as well as providing needed assistance to taxpayers and their advisers in a timely and professional manner," AICPA said in a May 25, 2022, letter to Democratic and Republican leadership in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.


The Department of the Treasury is continuing its push to get funding for much needed information technology infrastructure upgrades from Congress.


The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition for certiorari in the case of A. Bittner, CA-5, 2021-2 USTC ¶50,242 . In Bittner, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that each failure to report a qualifying foreign account on the annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) constituted a separate reporting violation subject to penalty. This means that the penalty applies on a per-account basis, not a per-form basis. The Fifth Circuit disagreed with a Ninth Circuit panel that adopted a per-form interpretation ( J. Boyd, CA-9, 2021-1 USTC ¶50,112).


Tax reform discussions continue on Capitol Hill with legislation expected to be released very soon. GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate appear to be aiming for a comprehensive overhaul of the Tax Code. President Trump and Republicans in Congress have set out an ambitious schedule of passing a tax reform bill before year-end. 


Holiday gifts made to customers are generally deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses as long as the taxpayer can demonstrate that such gifts maintain or improve customer goodwill. Such gifts must bear a direct relationship to the taxpayer's business and must be made with a reasonable expectation of a financial return commensurate with the amount of the gift. However, the $25 annual limitation per recipient on deductibility is applicable to holiday gifts, unless a statutory exceptions applies.


For purposes of federal tax, employers must withhold and pay FICA taxes (7.65%) if they paid a household employee cash wages of at least $2,000 in 2016 or in 2017 ($2,100 in 2018). Employers must pay FUTA tax (6%) if they paid total cash wages of at least $1,000 in a calendar quarter to household employees. A homeowner may be an “employer” to a housekeeper; or, if enough evidence is shown, merely a recipient of services by an independent contractor or self-employed individual.


Tax writers in Congress are set to begin debating and writing tax reform legislation. On September 27, the White House and GOP leaders in Congress released a framework for tax reform. The framework sets out broad principles for tax reform, leaving the details to the two tax-writing committees: the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. How quickly lawmakers will write and pass tax legislation is unclear. What is clear is that tax reform is definitely one of the top issues on Congress’ Fall agenda.