Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2019 Financial Services Bill: Today the House Appropriations Committee released its fiscal year 2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill totals $23.4 billion, which is equal to the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. Among other things, the bill provides $11.6 billion for the IRS – an increase of $186 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. Of the funds, $77 million are targeted to help the IRS with implementing the new tax code adopted in Pub. L. No. 115-97 (known generally as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017”). In total, the bill provides Taxpayer Services an additional $31 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level to support IRS’s customer service – such as phone call and correspondence response times – and funding for fraud prevention, and cybersecurity.

Notice on Charitable Contributions for State/Local Tax Credits Issued: Today Notice 2018-54 was issued, informing taxpayers that Treasury and the IRS intend to propose regulations addressing the federal income tax treatment of certain payments made by taxpayers for which taxpayers receive a credit against their state and local taxes. The proposed regulations will address the federal income tax treatment of transfers to funds controlled by state and local governments (or other state-specified transferees) that the transferor can treat in whole or in part as satisfying state and local tax obligations. The notice indicates that the proposed regulations will clarify the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, informed by substance-over-form principles, governing the federal income tax treatment of such transfers and assist taxpayers in understanding the relationship between the federal charitable contribution deduction and the new statutory limitation on the deduction for state and local tax payments imposed by Pub. L. No. 115-97.

IRS Releases Five-Year Strategic Plan: The IRS released a new five-year strategic plan outlining goals to improve taxpayer service and tax administration. The strategic plan focuses on six goals that will help improve customer service:

  • Empower and enable all taxpayers to meet their tax obligations
  • Protect the integrity of the tax system by encouraging compliance through administering and enforcing the tax code
  • Collaborate with external partners proactively to improve tax administration
  • Cultivate a well-equipped, diverse, flexible and engaged workforce
  • Advance data access, usability and analytics to inform decision-making and improve operational outcomes

Drive increased agility, efficiency, effectiveness and security in IRS operations