Hot off the Press: IRS User-Friendly Guides Explain TCJA Basics

Tax simplification was an enunciated goal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted in December 2017… but it was certainly a goal that remains unmet.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) itself has estimated that due to TCJA it needs to create or revise more than 400 taxpayer forms, instructions and publications for the filing season that just started in 2019.  This is more than double the number of forms it would have to create or revise in a typical year.  Add to that burden, the government shutdowns, depleted IRS staff and complexity of the new tax rules and you have a recipe for disaster.

The IRS has tried to soften the blow by issuing Publication 5307, Tax Reform – Basics for Individuals and Families. It’s a useful overview to help professionals and their clients understand the new tax law and comply with filing requirements.

IRS has also issued Publication 5318 Tax Reform – What’s New for Your Business. This publication covers many of the TCJA provisions relevant to small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. I noticed however that there is no coverage of the foreign/international provisions. Maybe a separate publication is on the way (?), or perhaps the IRS is still too confused over these new rules.

You may find these publications useful in preparing or understanding those 2018 tax returns!  Good luck, everybody. You certainly will need it!

Posted February 23, 2019

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