Bramwell's Lunch Beat: E-Filers Get Pat on the Back

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Electronic filing by taxpayers hits new high: IRS

Congratulations are in order for the IRS and those taxpayers who use electronic filing to submit their tax returns. The agency announced on December 4 that a record-high 122.5 million returns were e-filed this year (accounting for almost 83 percent of total returns filed), up from 119.6 million last year, according to an article by Reuters.

However, for the year through November 22, the number of individual tax filings was 147.7 million, down 0.1 percent from the previous year. Also, the number of tax refunds distributed to individuals this year is down 0.9 percent from last year.


Report: IRS ready on ACA tax credits but not for fraud

Earlier this week, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report that concluded the IRS has successfully finished testing systems to accurately calculate tax credits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but needs to improve its controls to avoid problems with fraud before the credits are doled out next year.

Politicoreported IRS software has a system that verifies tax credit calculations before it issues them to health insurers, but TIGTA noted in the report the IRS may not yet have a system in place to stop tax cheats seeking to underestimate their incomes and fraudulently cash in on health subsidies.

The IRS stated it was addressing the issues identified in the TIGTA audit. Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said the agency was prepared to administer the credits, according to the article.


The Cold War is over, but no one told the IRS

An interesting article from Forbes contributor Joseph Thorndike who wrote that since the early 1990s, Congress has repealed several laws that were once intended to thwart global communism. But two provisions in the tax law have been forgotten about by lawmakers.

Internal Revenue Code Section 170(k) specifically disallows "deductions for contributions to or for the use of communist controlled organizations."

"The code itself does not explain how to identify those organizations, instead relying on a cross-reference to the Internal Security Act of 1950. But the relevant section of that law has long since been repealed, leaving the tax provision in a sort of legal limbo", Thorndike wrote. "Yet the provision lives on, both within the code an in various IRS publications designed to explain the code's notoriously confusing statutory language."

The other tax law provision lawmakers forgot to repeal exempts employees of Communist organizations from having to pay Social Security taxes on their wages.


Save the date: AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments

My colleague Adrienne Gonzalez at our sister site Going Concern posted an article on December 5 about the upcoming AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments in Washington, DC.

The event, which will be held from December 9 to 11, will be simulcast in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, or you can attend online from the comfort of your office.

"If all of that is too much of a pain, I'll be tweeting as much of it as I can stand before my thumbs go numb", Adrienne wrote.

You can follow Going Concern on Twitter here. And you can follow me on Twitter here, although I'm not all that interesting.


Princeton club accountant accused of embezzlement

Thomas Muza, a former part-time accountant for the Triangle Club, was charged with embezzlement earlier this week after he allegedly stole more than $100,000 from the well-known Princeton University musical-comedy group, the Associated Press reported.

"Authorities say Muza wrote checks to himself from the Triangle Club and in one case, used a troupe check to pay $30,000 in credit card debt", the article stated. "The [New Jersey] attorney general's office said it believes he began stealing from the club's coffers before 2010 and is still investigating when the alleged crimes began."

Muza, who had been the group's accountant for twenty years before being fired in November, surrendered to detectives last week and was released on his own recognizance.



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