Line items


Schoolteacher expense deduction items include PPE

In Rev. Proc. 2021-15, the IRS gave guidance on which personal protective equipment (PPE) and other protective items qualify as classroom supplies for purposes of the above-the-line deduction by elementary and secondary schoolteachers. This safe harbor was mandated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, P.L. 116-260. Under it, the deduction under Sec. 62(a)(2)(D)(ii) may be claimed for unreimbursed expenses paid or incurred after March 12, 2020, by eligible educators for protective items to stop the spread of COVID-19, including, but not limited to: face masks; disinfectant; hand soap; hand sanitizer; disposable gloves; physical barriers; air purifiers; tape, paint, or chalk to guide social distancing; and other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

IRS proposes fee for estate closing letters

The IRS proposed charging $67 to issue an estate tax closing letter, which it previously has provided free. Prop. Regs. Sec. 300.13 instituting the fee was released in late December (REG-114615-16). Before June 2015, the IRS generally issued an estate closing letter for every estate return filed, the Service explained in the preamble. Since then, it has done so only upon request. This change occurred partly because the number of estate tax filings dramatically increased after late 2010, when the "portability" provision in Sec. 2010(c) was enacted that allows a deceased spouse's unused applicable exclusion (DSUE) amount to pass to a surviving spouse. Since then, many or most estate returns report no tax due but establish the DSUE amount. During the same time, the IRS's available resources and budget have been stretched, the preamble stated. However, the IRS recognizes that an estate closing letter, although limited in its procedural scope, provides executors and other stakeholders helpful confirmation in administering and closing a probate estate.

FBARs to include virtual currency

In late December, Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a brief notice (FinCEN Notice 2020-2) stating that it intends to propose amendments to regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act to specifically include a foreign account holding virtual currency as a type of account reportable under 31 C.F.R. Section 1010.350. Previously, a foreign account holding virtual currency has not been among the types of accounts reportable under 31 C.F.R. Section 1010.350(c) and therefore not required to be reported on a FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

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100th ANNIVERSARY

Black CPA Centennial, 1921–2021

With 2021 marking the 100th anniversary of the first Black licensed CPA in the United States, a yearlong campaign kicked off to recognize the nation’s Black CPAs and encourage greater progress in diversity, inclusion, and equity in the CPA profession.