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ACA Has Day in Court

At any time in the next 10 weeks – probably on a Monday or Thursday – the US Supreme Court will announce its decision in the case of King v. Burwell, the current challenge by opponents to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This is not the first court challenge to the ACA, nor is it likely to be the last. 

King v. Burwell is the latest in four cases that challenge US Treasury regulation, 26 C.F.R. § 1.36B-2(a (1) as implemented by the Internal Revenue Service.  The regulation provides for subsidies on health insurance sold by state-run exchanges, and also on the federal exchange.  The challengers in all four cases claim that the IRS exceeded the authority Congress gave it by including subsidies for, citing the language of the ACA. 

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Strike That: IRS Guidance for Amending a Return

Yesterday, the IRS released advice for amending a federal tax return. Among the ten tips, the article highlights the circumstances necessitating an amended return, the number of forms needed, how long to wait before filing, when owed taxes should be paid, and more.

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How To Start A Successful Tax Preparation Business

The tax preparation industry consists of some 1.2 million paid professionals, according to US News and World Report, engaged in the preparation and filing of forms required by the federal, state and local governments.  The industry generates $9 billion in revenue, and last year prepared more than 82 million individual income tax returns.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that industry growth is roughly 10 percent per year, consistent with the average of all industries.

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Easier 11th Hour Filing

Yesterday the IRS provided advice for submitting returns just before – or on – April 15, listing seven steps to follow:

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Reports Find IRS Unpopular but Necessary

The Internal Revenue Service currently suffers from both the animosity many citizens bear toward the government’s collection agency and a series of political, legal, constitutional, and public relations gaffes that will be difficult to correct in the short term.  These perception and legal issues could cause serious problems for professional tax return preparers.

A national telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters earlier this year found that half of those polled to not trust the IRS to enforce the tax laws fairly.  Only 31 percent indicated that they trust the agency.  The survey, conducted for Rasmussen by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC, was conducted on March 22–23, 2015, and has a margin of error +/- 3 percentage points and a 95 percent level of confidence.

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Why Is My Refund Lower Than Anticipated?

If you have certain kinds of debt, including federal and state back taxes, child support, and student loans, then the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) – part of the Department of Treasury – can use your tax refund to offset that debt.

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AICPA Survey Finds Business Executives Lower Expectations on Profit, Sales and Expansion

Business leaders in the finance and accounting industries are taking a cautious view of their expectations for profit, revenue, and expansion in the coming year. That’s the major finding of the first quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls chief executive officers, chief financial officers, controllers and other certified public accountants in US companies.

While optimism about these key performance indicators is still high, and the outlook for the economy in general is still positive, it is less so than was reported in the fourth quarter of last year.  The CPA Outlook Index—a comprehensive gauge of executive sentiment within the AICPA survey— fell four points in the first quarter to 74, the first time it’s dropped since the fourth quarter of 2012. The index is a composite of nine, equally weighted survey measures set on a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 considered neutral and greater numbers signifying positive sentiment.

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Essential Business Insurance for Tax Preparation Firms

One of the most critical errors in managing a tax preparation firm is failure to properly insure the business against losses and lawsuits.  

There are a number of reasons why tax preparers might under-insure their businesses.  They may believe that having policies for general liability and errors & omissions is all they require.  They may work out of a home office and believe that their homeowner’s policy covers them.  Or they may simply believe that their company is too small for anyone to bother suing it. 

All of these and many other insurance myths may be the fastest path to financial ruin. 

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Frank Degen, EA, Not Ready for Retirement

Three words define Enrolled Agent Frank Degen: professional, involved, and happy.

Frank Degen, EA, is a solo practitioner in Setauket, New York

Frank Degen, EA, is a solo practitioner in Setauket, New York

Degen earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Iona College, and a Masters in that discipline from Johns Hopkins University.  He was teaching high school math when a neighbor, a successful tax preparer with a large practice, encouraged him to get into the business.  This was the beginning of his thriving tax preparation business and involvement with industry organizations.

By 1984 he earned the enrolled agent designation and became active in the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA).  He was president of NAEA twice, in 2005-2006 and 2012-2013, where, among other duties, he represented enrolled agents in many venues, including both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Oversight Committee, the IRS Oversight Board, and the media.

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The Premium Tax Credit: Do You Qualify?

April 15 is just around the corner, but there is still time to make sure clients have submitted the proper forms to secure the credits they are due. The IRS recently published a tax tip checklist to help taxpayers determine if they are eligible to receive the Premium Tax Credit (PTC). If a client – or one of their family members – purchased health insurance from a Marketplace, they need to file a Form 8962 to see if they qualify.

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