As you probably would expect, tax news and updates are coming fast and furious as we get closer to January 1. One important new development is that the IRS has added student loans to the list of ways professional tax preparers can verify financial account data when you register for its online e-Services. The IRS added numerous steps for verifying one’s identity after experiencing data breaches within the IRS e-Services system. Get the details in this latest article about the IRS e-Service registration process.
IRS Proposes Higher Fees for Enrolled Agents
The IRS wants to raise fees for enrolled agents (EA) and employee retirement plan agents (ERPA) from $30 to $67. The agency says the raise in price is to cover the additional cost of processing EA and ERPA applications. Read more about the price increase and the public comment period.
Good News for Estate Tax
The IRS recently stated it intends to make the recently increased estate tax limits permanent for gifts given before the limits expire. What this means is that if someone dies and leaves someone $9 million dollars in 2018, when/if the estate tax limit goes back to its former limits ($5.45 million), as it’s slated to do at the end of 2025, recipients won’t owe taxes on the difference in 2026. Get more details on how the tax works, plus increases in giving limits.
Expansion to Free IRS Filing Software
The IRS and Free File Alliance, a nonprofit that works with the IRS to offer free online tax filing services to taxpayers, have reached an agreement. In 2019, they will offer some free tax filing services, as well as expand service offerings. Check out the details about the new agreement and how the service works for taxpayers.
Ohio Becomes First State to Accept Bitcoin
Ohio will now accept the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as payment for taxes, making it the first state in the U.S. to do so. The move has surprised some people in the industry, since Bitcoin has been dropping in value and because of money laundering risks associated with cryptocurrency. On the other hand, the blockchain technology cryptocurrencies use could also increase transparency and make tracking easier. Ohio has set up an online portal where taxpayers have to register to pay with Bitcoin in order to reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud. Read more about this latest decision from Ohio.
Wait and See with Cryptocurrency
Speaking of cryptocurrency, the medium took a big dip on Cyber Monday, as people sold off their tokens or spent them on deals. However, many analysts think the dip is temporary, because reputable places, such as state governments (Ohio) and large accounting firms, are starting to get into blockchain, signaling that the technology is becoming more accepted and the related currencies more reputable. It’s worth reading more of the analysis before making any big moves with your cryptocurrency investments.
Choosing the Best Business Entity
When advising your clients on the best tax entity to choose for their businesses, there’s a lot to consider in the new tax law. This recent article about business entities from Forbes does a good job of breaking down some of the most common choices and considerations business owners have.
For those of you who like to analyze what’s going on in politics, here’s an interesting look at what the new Congress could mean for tax and budget policy.