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Today, December 5, 2019, the IRS released the finalized version of the Form W-4 for 2020. The new form incorporates changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which are designed to make withholding estimates easier. It also features minor edits, and revised language in "Your Privacy." Other changes since the draft release are more visual. They include: the Form W-4 is now a full page there are no withholding allowances (which is why the title of the form changed to “Employee’s Withholding Certificate”) steps 1 through 5 to guide employees through the form instructions, worksheets, and tables follow the first page Tax preparers, accountants, ...
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My house has a roof, windows, doors, locks, security system, insulation and a lot of other items that make my home safe.  Cyber security is no different from the safeguards I have in my home. I want up-to-date anti-virus software, firewalls, drive encryption, strong passwords, etc. to help maintain a well-protected house of data.  As accountants and tax professionals, we have been entrusted with data that needs to be protected from cybercriminals and we must take measures to secure this information. (If you have renewed your PTIN for this year, you may have noticed the data security responsibilities statement on the renewal process.)    This was a friendly ...
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NSA’s partner, Dashlane , shared this article with us about password safety in the aftermath of a data breach. Unfortunately, cyber security events of this kind are happening with increasing frequency. Just this month, shortly after launching, Disney+ was hacked, exposing the data of subscribers to cybercriminals. In fact, that information is already on sale on the dark web. Pay special attention to Eléonore’s simple password tips. They are easy, actionable, and can keep you safer. -Editor Eléonore Le Bihan Every week or so, news of yet another company’s data breach breaks. Often, the news stories will include a list of what data was or wasn’t ...
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The Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners opened this year’s National Tax Security Awareness Week with a warning for holiday shoppers on Cyber Monday to secure their computers and mobile phones to reduce the threat of identity theft. During the holiday season, criminals take advantage of large numbers of people shopping online to steal identities and money – as well as sensitive tax and financial data that can be used to file fraudulent tax returns when the filing season opens in early 2020. “The holidays may mean the shopping season to consumers, but it’s the hunting season for online thieves,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Identity ...
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TAX PROFESSIONAL PROTECTING YOURSELVES & YOUR CLIENTS Data security in your office to protect your data and the data of all your clients has never been more important. Every tax professional is a potential target of cybercriminals whose goal is to file fraudulent tax returns and create chaos for these individuals. The Federal Trade Commission regulations require professional tax return preparers to create and enact security plans to protect your client’s data. I suggest all tax preparers review IRS Publications 4557 and 5293 to understand your responsibilities and put in place security software on your computers. National Tax Security Awareness ...
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On November 27, 2019 the Internal Revenue Service today issued updated guidance for business travelers, including changes resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  Revenue Procedure 2019-48  updates the rules for using per diem rates to substantiate the amount of ordinary and necessary business expenses paid, or incurred, while traveling away from home.  Taxpayers are not required to use one of the methods described in this revenue procedure but may substantiate actual allowable expenses provided they maintain adequate records. The TCJA suspended the miscellaneous itemized deduction that employees could take for non-reimbursed business expenses. ...
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IRS Notice 2019-59, published today, announced changes to dollar limitations applicable to qualified retirement plans as adjusted for cost-of-living adjustments for 2020. Now, employees enrolled in 401(k), 403(b), and the majority of 457 plans may contribute up to $19,500 towards their retirement. Details of the retirement savings changes can be found here . Download the IRS press release here
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Time to Renew PTINs

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The IRS would like to remind tax return preparers to renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) before they expire on December 31, 2019. “Last year we issued more than 813,000 PTIN’s and are asking tax preparers to renew now to avoid a last-minute rush,” said IRS Return Preparer Office Director Carol Campbell. “Having this essential element done now will make the transition to tax season much easier.” Tax preparers with who have a PTIN issued or renewed in 2019 should use online renewal to speed up the process, which can take four to six weeks to turn around if submitted by mail. To renew your PTIN online: Go to IRS.gov/tax-professionals ...
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The Gear Up Room Block Closes October 14! Timing is running out to book your room for NSA’s Gear Up 1040!  Book your room by October 14 th , 2019 and take advantage of the group rate of $124/night!   NSA’s Gear Up 1040 is in Hartford, CT on November 14-15, 2019 at the DoubleTree Bradley Airport this year. Book your room NOW! Reserve online today or call 860-627-5171 and tell them you're with NSA's Gear Up event. Gear UP 1040 is a comprehensive course taught by qualified, experienced instructors that covers major tax issues like preparing complicated individual returns. Participants can expect to learn about the changes to the QBI deductions, ...
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On October 7, 2019, the IRS announced that victims of Tropical Storm Imelda in parts of Texas (including the Houston area) have until January 31, 2020 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) as qualifying for individual assistance. At present, this includes Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery and Orange counties in Texas. Taxpayers in localities added to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The current list of eligible localities is available on the disaster relief ...
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In 2014, the IRS shortened the timeframe in which customer service representatives would answer basic domestic tax law questions to between January and April. This decision was based upon limited resources and declining demand for this type of information, except in the case of employment taxes, heavy highway vehicle use tax, the Affordable Care Act and injured spouse.  The National Public Liaison's analysis produced data showing that more than 90% of taxpayers were using online and/or software services to file their tax returns and, during the filing season most taxpayers only needed answers to basic tax law questions like filing status, dependents, exemptions, ...
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IRS Offers Settlement

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On September 16, 2019 the Internal Revenue Service announced the mailing of a limited time settlement offer for certain taxpayers who participated in abusive micro-captive insurance transactions and are being audited.  Following recent U.S. Tax Court cases, the IRS has opted to offer settlements to taxpayers currently under exam. The IRS has begun sending notices to as many as 200 taxpayers. Taxpayers who are offered this private resolution and decline to participate will not be eligible for any potential future settlement initiatives. Those who are eligible for this offer will be notified by letter with the applicable terms. Those who do not receive such ...
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Should you be free to express your individuality at work and, if so, how and to what extent? For example, should you be able to wear anything you want and say whatever you please regardless of what others think? Some people believe you have to be yourself at work and if that means others will think poorly of you or will be offended, that's their problem, not yours. They feel that expecting someone to be anything other than their true self amounts to nothing less than censorship. You're Wearing That?! Let's say one of the ways you express yourself is through your physical style. You like to dress in a way that some people might consider inappropriate for the ...
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NSA has partnered with Dashlane to offer members a significant discount on their monthly Premium service. Dashlane is a simple-to-use password management system that protects you and your passwords when you’re browsing the web. Their product is state-of-the art digital protection that syncs across all your devices so that every password you use is available to you everywhere. It can auto-fill your passwords on sites you frequent, and generate complex passwords that you won’t even need to remember (because Dashlane does it for you). The Premium package includes tools like two factor authentication, secure file storage, virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt ...
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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems help companies streamline their accounting needs through integration of data. It provides you with a better view of all areas of the business, and this enables you to make faster and more accurate decisions that affect the operations of your company. Insight into financial data promotes cost efficiency and improves the financial productivity of the organization. This post will share with you some of the benefits you will have for using an ERP system for your accounting department. Managing accounting needs The accounting department of any organization is essential. There are many areas you can manage ...
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Evolving technology has had a number of different implications to all professions the world over, and accounting is one of them. With the rise of new technologies such as deep learning, the foundational aspect of machine learning, more professionals fear that disruption is inevitable. The constant signaling that automation will change the industry and put accountants out of the job is everywhere. However, it's closer to the reality that these new technologies serve to enable accounting, streamline the practice and evolve the job into something more concrete. This will require the new age accountant to be equipped with ever more relevant skills in what's ...
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The National Society of Accountants (NSA) is offering a Live Enrolled Agent (EA) Exam Review Course in Charlotte, North Carolina, August 19-21, 2019. The August EA Exam Review Course covers material pertinent to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and will prepare students for the SEE exam updates to be published July 1, 2019. The review course will be led by Bill Duncan and John Everett. Students are provided with updated class materials and customized study guides, as well as access to an online discussion community. Registrants will be able to choose from individual sections of the exam preparation — parts 1, 2, or 3 — or the entire 3-part, 3-day review ...
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The National Society of Accountants (NSA) is pleased to announce that registration for the 74 th Annual Meeting — to be held August 21 st -24 th , 2019 in Charlotte, NC — is now open. The NSA Annual Meeting programming incorporates peer-to-peer networking, free time, a night out at BB&T Ballpark for a Charlotte Knights game, and other social activities. Attendees are also invited to take part in NSA’s Annual Awards and Installation Luncheon on Saturday the 24 th , and the Governor’s Gala that night. NSA’s 2019 Annual Meeting also offers CPE sessions that will allow attendees to gain up to 18 hours of credits towards their annual requirements. The sessions ...
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Tax season can bring a lot of stress to many people. The thought of how much money you may owe the Government can be stressing enough. If you own a business or two, it can be even more stressful as you work with your CPA to figure out where you stand for the year. Once you get your taxes submitted, it's time to relax. Here are some great ways to kick up your feet and enjoy relaxing your stress away.   Journaling Journaling   can be a great way to help you unwind. This activity assists in allowing a free flow of creativity between the mind and the soul. You'll be able to discover more about yourself, solve problems that have been troubling you, and see ...
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On April 18, 2019, the IRS released IR-2019-77, announcing a multi-year plan to modernize and update the entity’s IT systems. According to the IRS statement, the drivers for these changes are grounded in customer service for both the consumer and the tax and accounting professional. National Society of Accountants (NSA) CEO John Rice responded to the news. “The NSA agrees with the philosophy of the modernization initiative. Our organization has been a vocal advocate for customer service since its inception seventy-four years ago.” When asked for further comments, Rice cited recent data breaches at Facebook and Microsoft Outlook as prime examples of the ...
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