If there’s any good news for taxpayers regarding across-the-board federal budget cuts that began to take effect March 1, it’s that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not expect the so-called “sequester” to delay tax refunds this spring.
Opponents of regulations for commercial tax preparers like to argue that they’re sticking-up for the proverbial little guy – the individual taxpayer, not to mention the small businessman or -woman. Establishing rules for paid preparers only creates burdens for small businesses, they say. And they add that those burdens carry costs that are, in turn, passed-along to customers.
But these arguments actually turn the truth on its head. Protecting individual taxpayers from unscrupulous or incompetent tax preparers demands some fundamental, common-sense standards. It’s not too much to ask that commercial preparers obtain basic training, pass competency exams, and seek continuing education to stay current on ever-changing tax laws. Yet these are exactly the rules that a U.S. District Court judge overturned last month in a ruling the IRS formally appealed last week. Read the rest of this entry
The Community VITA field just wrapped-up yet another successful observance of EITC Awareness Day, which is used to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit and the valuable assistance it gives to hardworking, low- and moderate-income families. In 2011, this tax credit was responsible for keeping more than 6 million people – including about 3 million kids – out of poverty. And yet, the IRS estimates that each year, 1 in 5 eligible taxpayers fails to claim it.
NCTC hosted a Congressional briefing in Washington, DC on Jan. 24, co-sponsored by 19 other national policy and advocacy partner organizations, entitled “Together Strengthening Working Families: The Federal & State Earned Income Tax Credits.” The event drew more than 70 attendees, including many staff members from both the House and the Senate, and both Democrat and Republican offices. Read the rest of this entry
The movement toward common-sense regulation of paid tax preparers has hit a bump, but hopefully not for long.
A federal judge has ruled against the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts at better-safeguarding the financial security of the tens of millions of taxpayers who turn to commercial preparers each year. However, NCTC and the VITA field strongly urge federal policymakers to take the next wisest, appropriate steps necessary to ensure taxpayers don’t lose ground in the pursuit of accurate and high-quality services – steps that include the possibility of an appeal. Read the rest of this entry
It’s that time again. Once tax season starts, your time becomes your most valuable (and scarce) asset. Any amount of time wasted means fewer clients served, fewer volunteers trained, or some other inefficiency.
Here are six things to do before tax season starts to make sure you don’t lose a single second: Read the rest of this entry
Self quality review is not allowed at VITA tax sites for the upcoming tax season and beyond. This means each tax return must be reviewed by a quality reviewer independent of the tax preparer. Many tax sites will be affected by the policy, which will increase the burden on VITA programs and strain their resources.
Those VITA programs affected must implement a method to complete an acceptable quality review when resources limit the ability to complete a “traditional” face‐to‐face review between the taxpayer and an independent quality reviewer.
NCTC has worked with our members and the IRS on Elimination of Self Quality Review Guidelines. These guidelines provide a list of “acceptable” alternative approaches, summarized below, that programs may employ in the upcoming tax season to complete an appropriate and acceptable quality review of a completed tax return. Read the rest of this entry