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IRS Launches Online Payment, Transcript Services
The IRS has begun IRS Direct Pay, a web-based resource that allows taxpayers to pay tax bills or make estimated tax payments ( Taxpayers must have a Social Security number to use the service, which also allows them to schedule payments up to 30 days in advance and check the status of pending payments. Another web application, Get Transcript, allows taxpayers to obtain a record of their IRS account ( The IRS next plans to streamline applying for installment agreements (by taxpayers or their authorized representatives) by revamping its Online Payment Agreement Application page (

Small Businesses Can Get Late-Filing Relief for Retirement Plan Reports
The IRS launched a temporary pilot program offering penalty relief for delinquent filing by plan sponsors and administrators of Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and its short and EZ versions, as applicable (Rev. Proc. 2014-32). For one year starting June 2, the IRS will relieve penalties under Secs. 6047(e), 6058, and 6059. The relief is available only with respect to plans not subject to Title 1 of ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974). Thus, the relief generally is available only for plans that cover only the owner of a business (and spouse) or one or more partners (and spouse or spouses) in a business partnership (“one-owner” plans), and foreign plans. Relief is not available for a delinquent return for which a penalty has been assessed. Participants must file a complete Form 5500 series return for each delinquent year, in the form and manner described in the revenue procedure.

TIGTA Finds $2.3 Billion Alimony Tax Gap
Approximately $2.3 billion more in alimony was deducted by taxpayers than included in income by its recipients for 2010, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported (Rep’t No. 2014-40-022). For 47% of returns with deductions, no alimony income was reported on a corresponding recipient’s return, or the amount reported did not correspond with the deduction. TIGTA faulted examination policies including a deduction dollar amount trigger that prevented the IRS from detecting many mismatches and, in some cases, failure of taxpayers claiming deductions to provide recipients’ taxpayer identification number as required.


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.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


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.