Issue 41411 The IRS must identify and implement alternative means to verify the identity of taxpayers living overseas and thereby enable them to be able to create and access an online account with the IRS.
ID 1731 Part I, Item 3, 1st bullet point
Interview the taxpayer, ask questions, and contemporaneously document the taxpayer’s responses …
The word “contemporaneously” is a new addition to this form. We understand the concern that there have been issues in EITC requests, which may, in certain cases, been due to failure of the tax return preparer to exercise adequate due diligence. However, since the EITC was adopted to offer needed assistance to low income taxpayers and most low-income taxpayers will need the assistance of a tax return preparer, enhancement of existing detailed requirements may make more tax return preparers less inclined to represent low income taxpayers in requesting an EITC.
In an analogous area, the Treasury proposed adoption of regulations under Code §385, which addresses whether a debt instrument should be treated as true debt for tax purposes. The Treasury proposed adoption of detailed documentation requirements, some of which required preparation of contemporaneous documentation. In analyzing public comments on the proposal, the Treasury was ultimately persuaded by comments that said the “complexity, cost and burden” imposed by the regulations call for its withdrawal. As a result, the Treasury chose to not finalize those regulations but rather postponed adoption pending further study.
At the same time the Treasury was receptive to concerns affecting large businesses, the Treasury should do the same for low-income taxpayers. Many low-income taxpayers seek assistance from VITA tax clinics who are especially overworked. These VITA preparers may be less inclined to assist on EITC requests given the added time this new rule will place on them, which will frustrate a long-standing program of Congress adopted to help the poor. As a result, we suggest deletion of the contemporaneous standard.
The word “contemporaneously” was included to conform with the instructions and regulations. The instructions inform the return preparer they must contemporaneously document their inquiries and the taxpayer’s responses in their files. Treasury Regulation 1.6695-2(b)(3) “. . . The tax return preparer must also contemporaneously document in the preparer’s paper or electronic files any inquiries made and the responses to those inquiries.”
ID 1732 Part I, Item 4(b)
Did you contemporaneously document your inquiries?
Same reason as for item above.
Non-adopt. Same reason as for item above.
ID 1733 Part 1, Box 5, Line 1
Should read: Do you intend on complying with the record retention requirement?
Justification: The record retention requirement begins when the tax professional completes the tax return, obtains the information and prepares the worksheet and continues for three years. This question is written as if the record retention requirement began prior to the time when the tax pro met with the taxpayer or the tax return was prepared and filed – and that is incorrect. The question should be written to ask if the tax pro will in fact comply with this requirement that begins when the return is completed/filed. It is grammatically incorrect as the requirement is set to apply to the period that follows as it cannot occur in the past.
Non-adopt. The question has been vetted by counsel.
ID 1734 Part I question 3
Combine into 1 bullet point
Remove paragraph in Red
The 2 bullet points say the same thing
– Redundant – If the interviewer is asking the questions then they are at that point reviewing the data so why would we need to ask if the data was reviewed?
Non-adopt. The questions appear redundant but it’s to clarify that the return preparer (1) must determine that the taxpayer is eligible for the credits. And then (2) review that information to determine the amount of the credits.
ID 1735 Part I question 4
Bold “YES” and “NO”
(If “Yes,” answer questions 4a and 4b. If “No,” go to question 5.) Bolding this will help prepares and taxpayers see this quickly and move on to the next question
ID 1736 Part I question 7
Bold – (If credits were disallowed or reduced, go to question 7a; if not go to question 8)
Again, Bolding will allow better directive.
ID 1737 Part II question 9a
Rewrite last sentence too and bold (Skip to 10 if no qualifying child) Simplify and shorten the statement
Adopt. We will review to determine how the sentence can be simplified. And will bold any statement in the parentheses.