Written by: Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee
1) Barbie Alternative
2) The Dreaded Direct File
3) Money into Enforcement
1) My old roommates from college started getting together a bunch of years ago to hang out for a weekend with our respective spouses. We call it the Big Chill. Maybe you saw the movie from 1983. The soundtrack included soul, R&B, and pop rock music from the ’60s and ’70s with the likes of Credence Clearwater Revival, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Rolling Stones, and Three Dog Night. It’s a Bar Bull-recommended flick. We’ve gathered in Milford, Pennsylvania, for many of these years. With a little bit of luck, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers find us cozied up with Afghans and quilts snug in the living room. We no longer root from the stadium on the Banks of the Ole Raritan, beer sloshing all over are neatly pressed pants and jackets and ties. It is hard to imagine that a college football game was in fact, a dress-up occasion. I especially liked going to Princeton, where the men there dressed in 1920s skimmers for effect and women wore skirts and blouses.
You may remember the first collegiate football game was between dear old Rutgers and Princeton. As has become our custom, after dinner a movie is selected to be watched on a huge flat-screen TV. It seemed only fitting that this year’s selection should be Barbie. After all, we had actually lived through that bomb business in Oppenheimer. Barbie is not a kids’ movie. Though the kiddies will delight in seeing Barbie prance around in the overpriced pink outfits, their parents had once bought them for their own Barbie dolls. The pink Corvette and the pink Barbie Dream House are front and center, too. Pink is everywhere. The movie is really a commentary about the social mess we live in today. It’s got a playful way of showing just how silly we have been. It hurt to cough up $25 to rent from Prime, but all agreed it was worth it.
But if you can’t seem to sink your teeth into Barbie, rejoice that the IRS nationwide tax forums online have been launched and include 18 new self-study seminars that satisfy continuing education requirements in the categories of federal tax law, federal tax law update and ethics. You may want to pay attention to one called: “Circular 230: Ethics and Tax Practice: How You Can Stay Out of Trouble.” Best of all the forums are free. And there is nothing pink in any of them.
2) It won’t be long before the IRS takes a bite out of the tax preparation services both of accountants and lawyers with its innovative Direct File Project. The pilot program, which would allow taxpayers to file many types of tax returns directly with the IRS, is a pilot option projected to be available for eligible taxpayers in 13 states. New Jersey is not one of them. Accountants can relax for the time being. The project will begin during the 2024 filing season. So far, nine states have joined the effort. Arizona, California, Massachusetts and New York have decided to also work with the IRS to integrate their state taxes into the direct file pilot for filing season 2024. All of the states have been asked to join the project. Time to sell Intuit short?
3) In a recent announcement, the IRS said simply that: “Prior to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA 2022) more than a decade of budget cuts prevented the IRS from keeping pace with the increasingly complicated set of tools that the wealthiest taxpayers use to hide income and evade paying their tax share.” But you may recall that millions of dollars were funneled to the IRS to strengthen enforcement with that IRA. So now the IRS, with the extra dough, will seek enforcement focused on high-income, high-wealth individuals as well as ensuring large corporations pay taxes owed. Full employment of tax controversy lawyers seems guaranteed.
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