Tax Notes


The IRS is performing better than it did in 1999, according to an independent review George Washington University and the magazine Government Executive conducted ( www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/ir-02-62.pdf ). Contributing significantly to the service’s overall grade of B minus (up from C) was its information technology division, which improved its rating to C (from D) for its development and maintenance of the IRS’s Web site and of e-file, a service that enables taxpayers to submit their returns electronically. Of all areas rated, the agency’s management strategies drew the highest mark (B) for its clear mission statement, well-defined goals, bimonthly performance reviews and new performance measures.

Taxpayers have until October 31 to decide whether to use the five-year carryback period the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 introduced in March for net operating losses. Since those who filed returns before the law took effect could not benefit from the new provision, Congress is drafting corrective legislation. IRS revenue procedure 2002-40 ( www.irs.gov/pub/irs- drop/rp-02-40.pdf ) explains related aspects of the new law.

The IRS adds to its Web site a section on fraudulent trusts and other tax-evasion schemes ( www.ustreas.gov/irs/ci/tax_fraud/index.htm ). To help taxpayers identify and avoid such activities, the Web page also describes recent Justice Department and IRS civil and criminal actions against scam promoters and participants.

For the first time many taxpayers due money from the IRS can use the Internet to find out if their tax returns have been processed and to check the status of their refunds, as well as to resolve any related problems. The new service is available on the IRS Web site ( www.irs.gov ) to those who submitted forms 1040, 1040-A or 1040-EZ during the 2002 filing season.

The IRS says interest rates for the calendar quarter beginning July 1, 2002, remain the same as for the previous quarter ( www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/ir-02-73.pdf ). For overpayments, the rate is 6%, except for corporations, for which it is 5%. And for that portion of corporate overpayments exceeding $10,000, it is 3.5%. The underpayment rate is 6%, except for large corporate underpayments (defined under IRC section 6621(c) and section 301.6621-3 of IRS regulations on procedure and administration), for which the rate is 8%. The IRS computed these rates from the federal short-term rate, based on daily compounding determined during April 2002.

For single-click access to further coverage of the news stories listed here, visit the Journal of Accountancy Web site at www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/joahome.htm .

SPONSORED REPORT

Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.

QUIZ

News quiz: IRS warning on cyberattacks and a change in pension rules

Once again, the IRS sounds the alarm about a threat from cyberthieves. See how much you know about this and other recent news with this short quiz.

CHECKLIST

Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.