The tax prep season is just upon us, and it has some very interesting wrinkles already. To begin with, Congress once again enacted legislation just before it left for the Holiday recess that directly impacted tax return preparation. Then there is the concern over severe implications of the tax preparer penalty changes.

With quite a bit of noise and urging, IRS decided just in time to issue interim guidance in an attempt to placate some very upset preparers. A statement by Tom Ochsenschlager, AICPA vice president for taxation, seems to indicate that it might have worked.  “The IRS notice gives practitioners the appropriate message that the Service will go after practitioners who don’t act in good faith, while providing a level of comfort for the vast majority of practitioners who strive to do the right thing every day,” says Ochsenschlager in an AICPA press release.

Throw in that the refund anticipation loans are being reevaluated, and you can see the tax prep season has begun in earnest, and there already are a lot of late changes for which adjustments are necessary and which ultimately might dramatically impact tax return preparation.

In order to assist, Practical Accountant has added a special new section, Tax Season Essentials, in our January through April issues, which reports on late-breaking developments regarding rulings, revenue procedures, form changes, and announcements that directly impact the returns that you are preparing. The newswire on will also alert you to these late-breaking developments.   

I expect many more wrinkles and a couple of surprises as the tax-prep season progresses. But that seems par for the course and not bothersome at all for the powers that be. I wish I could say that was the same for those toiling in the tax–prep trenches.

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