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24th November 2021
IRS pressed by NSA for faster refunds and responses
The National Society of Accountants (NSA) has written to IRS commissioner Charles Rettig and leaders of Congress’s main tax committees asking the agency to speed up the refunds for 2019 and 2020 tax returns and communicate better. A recent op-ed by Rettig in the Washington Post was cited by the group in which he pleaded for more funding from Congress. But the NSA also asked for the IRS to do more with the funds it’s been receiving. NSA president Marchelle Foshee and managing director of public policy Jessica Jeane wrote: "NSA strongly agrees with the commissioner that there is, indeed, a crisis occurring involving the IRS, taxpayers and practitioners, much of which can be attributed to insufficient funding. Therefore, we strongly encourage Congress to fund the IRS more adequately and consistently. The steady increase of responsibility that Congress continues to legislatively place upon the IRS year-after-year greatly exceeds the declining and often stagnant appropriations for the agency. That said, however, the IRS must also do its part to rectify the situation. To that end, it is equally vital for the IRS to recognize its own shortcomings in communication during this ongoing crisis. Taxpayers and practitioners need the IRS to be more transparent and forthright about the status of its operations. Reporting out that the agency is ‘caught up on mail,’ for example, does not equate to such correspondence being processed and resolved. And while providing general backlog estimates may help paint a picture of the problem, it shines little to no light on taxpayers’ specific concerns.”
IRS planning to release request for quotation for applications development contract
The IRS is planning to release the request for quotation for its $2.6bn applications development contract in June 2022 and award the contract in the first quarter of fiscal 2023. The Enterprise Development, Operations Services (EDOS) contract will bring all 400-plus systems in the IRS’s applications development (AD) portfolio under one vehicle while enhancing development, modernization and enhancement (DME) services and reducing operations and maintenance (O&M). According to a slide deck from the agency’s industry day, EDOS came out of the expectation that “massive” legislation will require the IRS to modernize assembly language code-based systems dating back to the 1960s, while delivering new web services and cloud-based solutions. “Scope enhancements will be defined to modernize applications in parallel with executing annual legislative demands and supporting [tax] filing season,” reads the Professional Services Council event description. “The level of effort for this agreement is anticipated to have a total contract ceiling of ($2.6bn) over a seven-year period of performance.”
Revised CPA Evolution Model Curriculum published
A revised CPA Evolution Model Curriculum has been published by the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) in response to feedback from users of the resource and other interested parties. Members of the profession told the AICPA and NASBA that the curriculum resource could be enhanced through a deeper dive in certain areas. Suggestions were also received on how to improve the clarity of certain topics and learning objectives.
Libor legislation held up in House
Lawmakers and congressional aides have warned that U.S. legislation designed to protect trillions of dollars of assets from chaos when global regulators phase out the interest-rate benchmark Libor is being held up in the House. Democratic Representative Brad Sherman, who is sponsoring the legislation, said lawmakers are divided about whether to include language aimed at preventing the IRS from recalculating firms’ tax liability at the moment that contracts transition — a move that could in theory eat into profits for financial institutions. The Structured Finance Association (SFA) is lobbying for legislation to prevent $16trn of deals — including mortgages and business loans — from entering a legal quagmire after pivotal Libor tenors expire in mid-2023. Without a solution, the transition could trigger a barrage of lawsuits over interest payments and “pose a serious risk to the financial system,” the SFA warned senators earlier this month.
Home sales rose in October
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has revealed that U.S. home sales rose in October as buyers continued to compete for a limited number of homes for sale. Existing-home sales increased 0.8% in October from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.34m, the highest pace since January. October sales fell 5.8% from a year earlier. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said existing-home price rose 13.1% in October from a year earlier to $353,900.
Dr. claims billionaire in tax fraud case has dementia
James Pool, a clinical pharmacologist at the Baylor College of Medicine, has testified that Texas software mogul Robert Brockman is moderately demented and getting worse, as a U.S. judge weighs whether he is fit to stand trial on charges of evading taxes on $2bn in income. “In terms of day-to-day functionality, I would describe him as moderately demented,” Dr. Pool, who has been Brockman’s treating physician for three years, said. U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. is trying to determine if the billionaire is competent. Prosecutors, who say Brockman is faking, presented medical experts and other witnesses last week to make the case that he’s exaggerating his symptoms to avoid trial. 

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