As it has done every year for the past 20 years, this year’s edition does much more than repeat the rules. It shows you how to apply the rules for your clients' benefit with more than 150 tools and practice aids. This includes step-by-step guidance and work programs for handling more than 40 matters, checklists for preparing forms and completing other tasks, summaries of the applicable law, sample letters to clients and the IRS, and profiles of commonly encountered situations with engagement strategies and filled-in forms.
Some of the important update features of the 2012 edition are listed below. As you can tell, the Guide will more than pay for itself even if you don’t handle a single audit or collection case this year.
- Dealing with Identity Theft. Identity theft is an exploding problem for the IRS and for taxpayers. This edition has updated discussion, including a new client profile, on what to do if a client is a victim of identity theft.
- Foreign Reporting Confusion. There has been a lot of confusion on what foreign reporting form to file. The Guide clarifies who must file the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) or Form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets), what must be reported, and the penalties for not doing so.
- Responding to IRS Notices. IRS correspondence examinations now account for 75% of all examinations, and all collection cases routinely start with a series of notices to the taxpayer. This year’s edition will help you respond to these notices.
- Latest Practice Developments. To keep you up-to-speed, the Guide has incorporated recent tax practice developments, such as applying for or renewing PTINs, requesting and maintaining provisional PTINs, and CPE requirements for registered tax return preparers, to name just a few.
- Electronic Accounting Software. The IRS is using accounting software to conduct audits, so the Guide addresses requests for taxpayers’ accounting software, the limits on using the electronic files, and the safeguarding of those files.
- Voluntary Settlement Programs. One way the IRS is dealing with dwindling resources is to offer carrots to taxpayers, such as Voluntary Worker Classification and Offshore Settlement Programs, both of which are discussed in this edition.
- Withdrawal of Tax Lien. Requesting the withdrawal instead of the release of a filed tax lien following payment is better for the taxpayer’s credit rating. So, the Guide provides the circumstances when withdrawal is possible and the steps for doing so.
- Fresh Start for Those Who Owe. The IRS has liberalized its Fresh Start Initiative for taxpayers who owe taxes and/or penalties. This year’s edition incorporates the latest changes, such as the increased threshold for obtaining a streamlined installment agreement, and more flexible terms for obtaining an offer in compromise.
- Innocent Spouse Improvements. The 2012 edition addresses recent guidance that revises the threshold requirements for requesting equitable relief and the factors the IRS uses to ensure that innocent spouse relief is granted when the facts and circumstances warrant it.
- Form 2848 Revisions. A Form 2848 Power of Attorney is used in every engagement to designate the practitioner to represent the taxpayer. This edition explains revisions to the form, including the need to obtain separate forms from a married couple when representing both in a joint return engagement.
The guidance and practice tools in PPC’s Guide to Dealing with the IRS have stood the test of time, and in fact are more important now than before. With “practice before the IRS” including the preparation of federal tax returns for submission to the IRS, a misstep could potentially cost you your livelihood.
Some practitioners go strictly to the IRS website for help. Unfortunately, finding what you need can be difficult, and once located, the information is not always up to date. More importantly, the website is written from the IRS’s point of view. So, relying solely on the IRS website is like going to a fox for tips on how to keep the hen house safe. Free today, but costly down the road when the fox is at the door.
Written, updated, and reviewed by experienced enrolled agents, attorneys, and CPAs, the Guide provides the explanation, interpretation, examples, client profiles, filled-in forms, and other tools that you and your staff need to effectively and efficiently work with today’s IRS. Don't trust your practice livelihood to anyone else!