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MICPA Updates: Great tax topics as we approach the start of tax season, GASB guidance updates and more

by micpa | Jan 05, 2016   ()

IRS Extends Due Dates for New Health Care Reporting Forms
The IRS extended the due dates for new health care information reporting forms in 2016. Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers, and applicable large employers now have additional time to provide health coverage information for 2015 to individual taxpayers and the IRS. The IRS is prepared to accept filings of the information returns beginning in January 2016. However, providers and certain employers must now furnish individuals with either Form 1095-B or 1095-C by March 31, 2016. While the due dates for issuers filing these forms and the associated Form 1094 with the IRS are May 31, 2016, for paper filers and June 30, 2016, for electronic filers, employers and other coverage providers are encouraged to furnish statements and file the information returns as soon as they are ready. 

Individual taxpayers will generally not be affected by this extension and should file their tax returns as they normally would. Due to these extensions, some individual taxpayers may not receive a Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2015 tax returns. While these forms may assist in preparing a return, they are not required. Like last year, taxpayers can prepare and file their returns using other information about their health insurance.  Learn more in this IRS Q&A for individuals, and this article from the Journal of Accountancy online.

Michigan Treasury Essential Services Assessment (ESA) Topics
The Michigan’s new Essential Services Assessment (ESA) due August 15 for the first time, the Department of Treasury issued the following interpretation guidance on three ESA Topics:

For additional ESA information, links to statutes, forms, and to sign up for the ESA List Serv, visit www.michigan.gov/esa.

In Case You Missed It: Michigan Treasury Unveiled Redesigned Website
As 2015 drew to a close, the Michigan Department of Treasury launched a new website with significant changes in appearance and functionality. Check out the new Treasury and Taxes webpages. Additional updates are in process and completion of the re-design is expected in late February.

2016 Tax Season Opens Jan. 19
Following a review of the tax extenders legislation signed into law last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced the nation’s tax season will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The IRS will begin accepting all business tax returns on Jan. 9, except for the Form 94x, which will begin on Jan. 11.

Small Businesses: Get Your Blank Wage and Tax Statements Forms Early
Don’t wait until the last minute to get blank Forms W-2, W-3 or 1099. The demand for paper tax products is declining because of an increase in e-filing and the availability of products online. Due to the decreased demand and printing and shipping costs, the IRS will no longer stock Forms W-2, W-3 and 1099 in Taxpayer Assistance Centers. The forms, which are used by small business owners, can be ordered online or by telephone and mailed directly to the taxpayer’s home or business address. To order online, go to the IRS’ Online Ordering for Information Returns and Employer Returns website. To order by phone, call the IRS at (800) 829-3676.  The Social Security Administration also offers an online option to create and file electronic Forms W-2.

IRS Reminds Taxpayers to Plan Ahead If They Need a Tax Transcript
The IRS reminds taxpayers that the quickest way to get a copy of their tax transcript is to order it online using the Get Transcript application on IRS.gov. By planning ahead, they should receive their transcript in the mail within five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request online.

Free Client Communication Materials for Tax Season
Members who are preparing for the 2016 tax season will find these mini tax articles from the AICPA’s Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit very useful to alert clients to important tax items and remind them of your value as a CPA.

EITC Letters 5621 and 5621-A
The IRS is sending letters to some taxpayers who may not be entitled to some or all of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) claimed on their 2014 tax returns. If your client receives a letter, he or she is asked to review their 2014 tax return for accuracy and, if needed, file an amended tax return to make corrections. Taxpayers who filed questionable EITC claims may receive one or both of the following letters:   

  • Letter 5621 asks the taxpayer to review his/her tax return to determine if the children claimed each met all the qualifying child rules for the credit
  • Letter 5621-A asks the taxpayer to review his/her tax return to determine if all the income and expenses reported from self-employment on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ are complete and correct

For more information on your due diligence requirements, visit the Tax Preparer Toolkit on EITC Central.

Help Your Not-For-Profit Clients Prepare for Their Next Audit
U.S. generally accepted auditing standards emphasize the auditee's responsibility for financial reporting. As a result, the cost and efficiency of the audit is directly affected by how well your clients prepare. This AICPA Insights blog post outlines best practices to help make your not-for-profit clients' audit a success.

GASB Issues Guidance for External Investment Pools and Pool Participants
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued guidance (Statement 79) addressing how certain state and local government external investment pools and participants in external investment pools may measure and report their investments in response to changes contained in an SEC rule due to take effect in April 2016. References to that rule were previously incorporated in GASB literature. Statement 79 provides guidance that will allow many pools to continue to qualify for amortized cost accounting. Read more.

GASB Proposes Guidance on Fiduciary Activities, Asset Retirement Obligations and Pensions
GASB also issued three Exposure Drafts proposing accounting and financial reporting guidance related to fiduciary activities, certain asset retirement obligations, and pension issues. Comments are due in February and March. Read more

Source: micpa
Source: micpa

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