The American Institute of CPAs is asking Congress, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department for more guidance on the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, along with a dedicated service unit for tax practitioners.

The AICPA sent letters this week to Republican and Democratic leaders of the Houses and Senate Appropriations Committees, along with IRS and Treasury outlining its concerns. In a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders, the AICPA called on them to provide the IRS and the Treasury with the necessary resources to provide the extra guidance and services that taxpayers and practitioners will require to cope with the far-reaching tax legislation that President Trump signed into law last month.

“Given the Service’s critical role in issuing guidance and implementing the new tax laws, Congress should ensure a modern-functioning IRS for the 21st Century,” wrote AICPA Tax Executive Committee chair Annette Nellen. “Most notably, Congress should determine the appropriate level of services it desires and that is needed by the IRS, and dedicate the appropriate resources for them to meet these goals. Appropriate hiring, adequate training, and a modern technological infrastructure are also essential for the IRS to meet its responsibilities.”

The AICPA wants the IRS to create a dedicated practitioner services unit that goes beyond the Practitioners Priority Service that the IRS has provided for years to respond to calls from tax professionals. “Enhancing the relationship between the IRS and practitioners would benefit both the IRS and the millions of taxpayers served by the practitioner community,” Nellen wrote. “The IRS should create a new dedicated ‘executive-level’ practitioner services unit that would centralize and modernize its approach to all practitioners. Moreover, by centralizing these programs, IRS employees would have a consolidated approach to timely resolving issues and preventing unnecessary delays and inefficiencies. During a period of sweeping tax law changes, Congress should ensure that Treasury and the IRS have the ability to provide detailed guidance to taxpayers. Furthermore, the mindset to provide timely assistance to taxpayers should extend to all IRS taxpayer services, including a dedicated tax practitioner services unit.”

In a letter Monday to the IRS and the Treasury Department, the AICPA pointed to 39 areas of the new tax law that require immediate guidance to help taxpayers comply with their 2017 tax obligations and make informed decisions about cash-flow, entity structure, retirement, wealth transfer and other tax planning issues.

“There are three areas of main concern,” Nellen wrote. “First, under section 199A, guidance is needed on the definition of specified service trade or business, the interaction of this section with other Code sections and the calculation of the section 199A deduction for complex

business structures. Second, for section 481 accounting method changes, general procedural guidance is needed for making accounting method changes in order to comply with the new rules.

Finally, penalty relief for underpayment of taxes is needed. Taxpayers and preparers need sufficient time to determine the appropriate withholding and estimated tax payments for businesses, individuals, trusts, estates, and other entities that may have a dramatically different tax liability in 2018 or that are affected by provisions effective for 2017.”

AICPA building in Durham, N.C.
AICPA building in Durham, N.C. Photo: AICPA

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