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1. Changes proposed to allocation rules for rollovers   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The IRS says it has become aware that some plan providers have been treating disbursements from retirement plans that contain both pretax and after-tax contributions as a single distribution of the aggregate disbursement amount, rather than as separate distributions, as required by the regulations. In proposed regulations issued on Thursday (REG-105739-11) and Notice 2014-54, the IRS gave its blessing to this treatment, providing rules on how to allocate pre- and after-tax amounts distributed from IRAs, including Roth IRAs, to multiple destinations.

2. Special per diem rates issued for 2014–2015 travel expenses   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Friday, the IRS issued its annual update of special per diem rates for use in substantiating certain business expenses taxpayers incur when traveling away from home in 2014 and 2015 (Notice 2014-57).The notice provides the transportation industry meal and incidental expenses rates, the rate for the incidental-expenses-only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method.

3. IRS announces proposed changes to cafeteria plan elections and lookback period   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The IRS issued two notices on Thursday, proposing to change the rules for when a taxpayer can revoke health care coverage in a cafeteria plan and enroll in a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace exchanges, and how to measure the lookback period for determining who is a full-time employee when an employee moves positions within the same employer group.

4. Regulations update hybrid defined benefit plan rules   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Monday, the IRS released final and proposed regulations providing guidance on so-called hybrid defined benefit pension plans (T.D. 9693 and REG-111839-13). The regulations deal with changes made by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, P.L. 109-280, and the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, P.L.

5. PFIC reporting rules do not apply to certain marked-to-market stock   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Wednesday, the IRS announced that it will amend the regulations governing the reporting requirements for U.S. persons who hold stock in passive foreign investment companies (PFICs). The amendments will provide that, if a taxpayer marks to market PFIC stock under Sec. 475 or any Code section other than Sec.

6. IRS explains power-of-attorney requirements for corporate taxpayers   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Tuesday, the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) issued a bulletin clarifying when corporate officers or employees must have a valid power of attorney in order to represent the company before the IRS (OPR Bulletin 2014-12). The bulletin also discusses how the existence of a power of attorney may be evidence that the officer or employee is subject to the rules of Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R.

7. CPA practitioners sue to stop PTIN fees   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Two CPAs have filed suit in the U.S. district court for the District of Columbia, asking the court to stop the IRS from charging fees for issuing preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs), to obtain refunds of fees paid in the past, and to enjoin the IRS from asking for more information than needed to issue preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs) (Steele, No.

8. 2014 tax software survey  

BY Paul Bonner
For the second year in a row, the beginning of income tax filing season was delayed. This year, the delay was due to a 16-day partial government shutdown in October 2013 that resulted in a Jan. 31 start date for the IRS to accept electronically filed returns. Other complicating factors included the advent of the net investment income tax, the new 39.6% top tax rate bracket, and the return of the itemized deduction limitation and personal exemption phaseout.Software vendors nonetheless managed to roll out their updated versions on time, and users were generally satisfied with the results

9. ERISA: 40 years later  

BY Rebecca J. Miller, CPA, Robert A. Lavenberg, CPA, J.D. and Ian A. MacKay, CPA, CGMA
Forty years ago, Congress passed landmark legislation to protect workers’ pensions from abuses. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which President Gerald Ford signed into law on Labor Day, Sept. 2, 1974, greatly expanded the federal government’s role in regulating private-sector retirement plans and made the government the guarantor of private pensions by creating the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

10. Success-based fees and milestone payments   CPEDirect

BY Alistair M. Nevius
When taxpayers incur costs that relate to an acquisition or restructuring, they generally must capitalize any costs incurred to facilitate (i.e., investigate or otherwise pursue) the transaction (Regs. Sec. 1.263(a)-5). When fees paid to service providers are contingent upon the successful closing of a transaction, taxpayers can use a facts-and-circumstances test or a safe harbor to determine what portion of the fees are deemed to “facilitate” that transaction (Rev.
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