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New QBI deduction form to debut

The IRS issued a draft of new Form 8995, Qualified Business Income Deduction Simplified Computation, on which taxpayers with qualified business income (QBI), qualified real estate investment trust dividends, or qualified income from a publicly traded partnership and whose taxable income does not exceed the deduction threshold amounts will calculate the QBI deduction under Sec. 199A. The form will be filed with the taxpayers' returns. For the 2018 tax year, taxpayers calculate this amount on a worksheet, which is not filed with their return. Form 8995 is expected to be used for the 2019 tax year.

IP PIN voluntary program expands

The IRS is expanding to seven additional states its voluntary program for taxpayers who wish to obtain identity protection personal identification numbers (IP PINs) and are not currently victims of tax return identity theft. The pilot program originally involved Washington, D.C.; Florida; and Georgia. IP PINs will now be available also to taxpayers in California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Rhode Island — states reporting the highest numbers of identity thefts. The IRS aims to eventually expand the IP PIN program nationwide. The Service also may assign an IP PIN to taxpayers in any state who have experienced identity theft. The voluntary program permits taxpayers who filed a tax return for the previous year to obtain an IP PIN via the IRS's Get an IP PIN online tool (available at irs.gov).

An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to prevent their Social Security number (SSN) from being used on fraudulent federal income tax returns. It allows the IRS to verify taxpayers' identities when they file their return, preventing a criminal from filing a tax return using the IP PIN holder's SSN.

Tax debts may stymie international travel, IRS warns

The IRS in News Release IR-2019-23 warned taxpayers with "a seriously delinquent tax debt" that they might not be able to obtain or renew a U.S. passport without first resolving the debt. The Service began implementing procedures in January 2018 under Sec. 7345(a), which took effect Dec. 4, 2015. A seriously delinquent tax debt is one that exceeds $50,000 (indexed for inflation; for calendar 2019, $52,000), that has been assessed, and for which the IRS has made a levy or filed a notice of lien for which the taxpayer's administrative rights have been exhausted or have lapsed. The IRS noted in the news release that when it sends a notification to a taxpayer that it has certified the taxpayer to the State Department as owing a seriously delinquent tax debt, it does not send a copy to the taxpayer's power of attorney.

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What RPA is and how it works

Robotic process automation is like an Excel macro that can work on multiple applications, says Danielle Supkis Cheek, CPA. RPA can complete routine, repetitive tasks such as data entry, freeing up employee time from lower-level chores.