Tax filing season resources—Tax year 2011

January 24, 2012

This is the one-stop shop for all the updates you need to know for this year’s tax filing season. Find resources from the Journal of Accountancy, plus tax return checklists and tax savings tips from the AICPA, categorized by tax topic.
 

INDIVIDUAL TAX

Tax season starts
Jan. 16, 2012
Tuesday, Jan. 17, marks the start of tax season, as the IRS opens up its system to accept e-filed individual tax returns. It will also start accepting returns through its Free File program. Unlike last year, when the start of tax season was delayed for some taxpayers by last-minute tax law changes, this year the IRS will be accepting all individual returns when it opens up its e-filing system.

New tax provisions for 2012
Jan. 2, 2012
The new year brought with it several tax law changes, including new credits for hiring veterans, new rules for capital gain and foreign financial asset reporting, and an increased due diligence penalty for practitioners who prepare returns that claim the earned income credit.

Tax relief and health care acts shape 2011 returns 
January 2012
Keep on top of this tax filing season’s changes in tax law and practice and procedure. Plus: A downloadable PDF with a handy collection of important numbers for individual returns to keep at your fingertips during tax season.

Standard mileage rates for 2012 released
Dec. 9, 2011
The IRS released standard mileage rates for use in 2012. Taxpayers can use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile.

 

BUSINESS TAX

New tax provisions for 2012
Jan. 2, 2012
The new year brought with it several tax law changes, including new credits for hiring veterans, new rules for capital gain and foreign financial asset reporting, and an increased due diligence penalty for practitioners who prepare returns that claim the earned income credit.

Tax relief and health care acts shape 2011 returns 
January 2012
Keep on top of this tax filing season’s changes in tax law and practice and procedure. Plus: A downloadable PDF with a handy collection of important numbers for individual returns to keep at your fingertips during tax season.

Many tax provisions set to expire at year-end
Dec. 22, 2011
While Congress has focused on trying to extend the reduced payroll tax rate, a large number of other expiring provisions have been ignored. Among the changes scheduled to take effect January 1 are elimination of 100% bonus depreciation and increased Sec. 179 expensing amounts, reduction of the AMT exemptions to their statutory levels, and expiration of the research and development credit.

Standard mileage rates for 2012 released
Dec. 9, 2011
The IRS released standard mileage rates for use in 2012. Taxpayers can use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile.

 

PRACTICE, PROCEDURES AND COMPLIANCE

IRS accepting PTIN renewals after Dec. 31 deadline
Jan. 10, 2012
The IRS' online system for new preparer tax identification number applications is back up after being taken down in late December for maintenance. In addition, the IRS is continuing to accept renewals of expired PTINs despite the passing of the Dec. 31, 2011, renewal deadline.

IRS PTIN application system to go down for maintenance
Dec. 21, 2011
The IRS announced on its website that it will not be accepting new applications for preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs) from 5 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 23, until approximately 6 a.m. EST on Monday, Jan. 9. The IRS PTIN system will be available for renewals during that time.

IRS issues final regs on EITC due diligence
Dec. 19, 2011
The IRS issued final regulations with the due-diligence requirements for tax return preparers who prepare tax returns on which taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit (EITC). The new rules require tax return preparers to submit Form 8867, Paid Preparer’s Earned Income Credit Checklist, to the IRS.

 

EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS

New Form 990 has a few significant changes for 2011
Jan. 24, 2012
The IRS has posted a new version Form 990 for 2011 filings by tax-exempt organizations. Among other changes, the new form revises how exempt organizations report income from joint ventures and changes the threshold for required reporting of activities outside the United States.

Some Form 990 filers have extension to March 30
Dec. 16, 2011
The IRS extended the filing deadline for Form 990 until March 30, 2012, for many tax-exempt organizations with a filing due date during the first two months of the new year. Organizations affected by the extension normally would have a filing deadline of Jan. 17 or Feb. 15, 2012. The extension does not affect calendar-year exempt organizations with a May 15, 2012, filing deadline.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO CHECK FOR ASSISTANCE

AICPA 2011 Tax Practice Guides and Checklists
The 2011 Practice Guides and Checklists have been updated, reviewed and tested and are ready to download. The comprehensive package includes engagement letters, organizers, checklists, and miscellaneous practice guides. In addition to the Word and PDF versions, the AICPA is launching a new interactive version of the individual and C corporation checklists that makes document management and handling by multiple preparers much easier.

Interactive Tax Checklists
Coordinate and collaborate with efficiency during your busiest time of year with the AICPA Interactive Tax Checklists. With advanced sharing and collaboration capabilities, visual navigation and checklist review status, you will experience a more efficient process for managing your upcoming tax season.

Keep up to date through various additional resources for tax preparers:

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: EARLY CAREER

Making manager: The key to accelerating your career

Being promoted to manager is a key development in a young public accountant’s career. Here’s what CPAs need to learn to land that promotion.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: MIDDLE CAREER

Motivation and preparation can pave the path to CFO

CPAs in business and industry face intense competition to land a coveted CFO job. Learn how to best prepare yourself for the role.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: LATE CAREER

Second act: Consulting

CPAs are using experience to carve out late-career niches. Learn how to successfully make a late-career transition to consulting, from CPAs who have done it.