Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Commissioner Rettig Wants IRS Audits To 'Touch Every Neighborhood'

According to Law360, The Internal Revenue Service should “touch every neighborhood” in choosing which taxpayers to audit, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said Monday in Philadelphia.

The agency should be able to target different ZIP codes and types of cases in order to increase the rate of voluntary compliance, Rettig said during the 30th Annual Philadelphia Tax Conference.

"When I Refer To Neighborhoods, I May Be Referring To Geographic, I May Be Referring To ZIP Codes, If You Will,

I May Be Referring To Types of Issues, Civil or Criminal," Rettig Said. "I Might Be Referring To Type Of Taxpayer.
Image result for reach out and touch someone
We Want To Touch Everyone." 
The agency will continue to focus on its enforcement of cryptocurrency transactions, Rettig said. “You now deal in cryptocurrency, again thinking this will make you anonymous,” he said, quoting Don Fort, chief of the agency's Criminal Investigation Division. “But our agents have once again proved that there is nowhere you can hide.”

IRS Chief Counsel Michael Desmond said this month that the agency is working to release additional guidance on cryptocurrencies to address questions about compliance, including the calculation of basis, valuation and information reporting.

In a 2014 notice, the agency established the principle that cryptocurrencies should be treated as property for tax purposes. Last week, the agency released additional guidance in the form of a revenue ruling and frequently asked questions that said the splitting of a cryptocurrency blockchain under a so-called hard fork does not create taxable income if no new cryptocurrency is received, but taxable income is generated by so-called airdrops that deliver new cryptocurrency.

Rettig also said that the agency welcomes the changes Congress instituted by passing the Taxpayer First Act , which was enacted this year. “A lot of our people worked long and hard hours for many years to try and bring that statute home,” he said.

Still, the agency welcomes the comments of practitioners as it begins to adjust to the legislation, he said. “We want to engage with you,” he said. “We want to hear your viewpoint.”

The TFA includes provisions to strengthen taxpayer identity theft protection, create online taxpayer accounts, accept credit and debit card payments and modernize IRS information technology systems.

The legislation also requires the U.S. treasury secretary to submit two reports to Congress, one detailing a comprehensive IRS customer service strategy and the other recommending how to reorganize the agency.

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