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IMRS Monthly Overview – July 2013

The IMRS Monthly Overview provides synopses of some of the issues received and/or closed by the Issue Management Resolution System staff during the past month. The Monthly Overview informs the public about the work of IMRS and highlights issues that we think would be of most interest to external stakeholders. When the Monthly Overview is posted to IRS.gov, a tweet goes out to Twitter followers of @IRStaxpros. Please sign up if you would like to be notified.


NEW IMRS ISSUES

Policy, Practice, Procedures

IMRS Issue 13-0001829 - Form 2848 executed for one spouse on a joint return
Issue
:  A tax practitioner requested clarification concerning Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, as it relates to married filing joint returns. The matter concerns whether or not IRS can provide tax information to a representative when only one spouse has signed the Form 2848.

RECENTLY CLOSED ISSUES

Communication and Outreach 

IMRS Issue 13-0001758 – Mandatory electronic filing of the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)
Issue:
Tax practitioners expressed concerns about the lack of publicity and clarity with regard to the FBAR e-file mandate.

Response: The FBAR page on IRS.gov has been updated to more prominently note the mandatory e-filing requirement for FBARs, effective July 1, 2013. On June 29, 2011, FinCEN announced that all FinCEN forms must be filed electronically with certain exceptions. The FBAR was granted a general exemption from mandatory electronic filing through June 30, 2013. E-filing is a quick and secure way for individuals to file FBARs. Filers receive an acknowledgement of each submission. For more information about FBAR e-filing, read the FinCEN news release. Additional information is located on the FinCEN Web page.

Policy, Practice, Procedures

IMRS Issue 13-0001781 – Social Security Number Elimination and Reduction Program
Issue: To prevent possible disclosures,
a stakeholder asked if taxpayer identifying numbers can be printed as Xs or asterisks on IRS notices so only the last four digits show.

Response: In May 2007, the Office of Management and Budget issued Memorandum M-07-16 (PDF), Safeguarding Against and Responding to the Breach of Personally Identifiable Information, requiring all federal agencies to take steps to eliminate or reduce the use of social security numbers to protect taxpayers from identity theft. In response to the requirement, the IRS has made significant strides in eliminating or reducing the use of SSNs within its systems, forms, notices and letters through its Social Security Number Elimination and Reduction Program. The use of SSNs has been reduced or eliminated on approximately 20.4 million notices. Notices requesting payment present unique challenges due to the need to accurately post funds to a specific account. The SSN remains the primary identifier for posting funds; however, plans are in place to mask the SSN as soon as alternatives for accurately posting payments are deployed. For more information, refer to the What are we doing to protect taxpayer privacy? page on IRS.gov.

NOTE: Current and previous reports are also available on this site. The monthly overviews are posted for this year through the current month. You can also access reports for issues closed in prior years on the same page. We invite you to raise your issues/concerns with your local stakeholder liaison.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 08-Jul-2014