Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

Returning to Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., discussed some of his plans for 2016. The IRS withdrew regulations about substantiating certain charitable contributions and the National Taxpayer Advocate warned about the consequences of further reducing services to taxpayers.


House. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on January 7 that he wants 2016 to be a year of ideas (TAXDAY, 2016/01/08, C.1). “This means putting together a pro-growth agenda and putting it together quickly,” Ryan said.

On January 6, the House approved the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 (HR 3762) to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148) (TAXDAY, 2016/01/08, C.1). The Senate had previously approved the legislation. President Obama vetoed the bill on January 8.


Charitable Organizations. The IRS has withdrawn proposed regulations (NPRM REG-138344-13) that would implement the Code Sec. 170(f)(8)(D) statutory exception to the contemporaneous written acknowledgment requirement for substantiating charitable contribution deductions of $250 or more (TAXDAY, 2016/01/08, I.1).

National Taxpayer Advocate. The National Taxpayer Advocate released her annual report to Congress and expressed concern about the declining customer service on the part of the IRS (IR-2016-1; TAXDAY, 2016/01/07, I.1). The National Taxpayer Advocate also discussed tax-related identity theft, services to practitioners and other topics.

Disaster Relief. Victims of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that began on December 23, 2015, in parts of Mississippi may qualify for tax relief, the IRS has announced (IR-2016-2; TAXDAY, 2016/01/08, I.2). The counties of Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Quitman and Tippah have been declared federal disaster areas.

Information Reporting. The IRS has announced that it will waive penalties on eligible educational institutions required to file Forms 1098-T, Tuition Statement, for the 2015 calendar year, solely because they fail to include a student’s correct taxpayer identification number (TIN) on Form 1098-T (Announcement 2016-3; TAXDAY, 2016/01/08, I.3). The relief is limited to 2015 Forms 1098-T required to be filed by eligible educational institutions by February 29, 2016, or March 31, 2016 (if filed electronically), the IRS explained.

Employee Plans. The IRS announced that it intends to update Rev. Proc. 2007-44, 2007-2 CB 54, in anticipation of the elimination, effective January 1, 2017, of the five-year remedial amendment cycle system for individually designed plans under the Employee Plans (EP) determination letter program (Notice 2016-3; TAXDAY, 2016/01/05, I.2). The update will also provide that expiration dates on determination letters issued prior to January 4, 2016, are no longer operative.

IRS Hearing. Speakers at an IRS hearing on proposed regulations under Code Sec. 2801 (NPRM REG-112997-10, I.R.B. 2015-39, 422) told the IRS that the statute and proposed regulations would unfairly and excessively impose heavy taxes on U.S. residents who move abroad (TAXDAY, 2016/01/07, I.4).

Taxpayers Living Abroad. The IRS has reminded U.S. taxpayers living abroad about resources on its website (IR-2016-3; TAXDAY, 2016/01/08, I.4). Six new videos are available to help taxpayers.

By George L. Yaksick, Jr., Wolters Kluwer News Staff



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