A Dozen Talking Points
1. Review law changes for 2016 tax returns. Some provisions from 2015 legislation take effect in 2016. 2015 laws with 2016 tax provisions included:
• Trade Bill
• Highway Bill
• Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
• FAST Act
• PATH Act (extender legislation)
2. Review “What’s New for 2016″ section of Forms 1040, 1065, 1120 and 1120S instructions.
3. Review “What’s New for 2016″ section of tax software manual and discuss problem input forms from the prior year.
4. Review required elections and locate software input sheet for each. Important elections include, but are not limited to: (1) grouping election for real estate professionals and business activities, (2) $2,500 de minimis election for business and rental property expenditures, (3) small taxpayer, small building 2% election, (4) NOL carryforward election, (5) and more.
5. Review foreign asset reporting requirements for FBAR (Treasury Form FinCEN 114) and FATCA (IRS Form 8938). Review instructions for completing Schedule B for clients with a foreign bank or brokerage account. Note change to due date for 2016 FinCEN to April 15, 2017.
6. Review ACA provisions, including (1) premium tax credit and Forms 8962 and 1095-A, (2) exemptions from penalty and Form 8965, and (3) Forms 1095-B and 1095-C. Because Forms 1095-B and 1095-C due dates have been postponed from Jan. 31, 2017, to Mar. 2, 2017, clients will receive late forms and wonder what to do with them. Establish an office narrative for explaining the delay and what the client needs to do with the late forms.
7. Review the Form 8867 due diligence form and its instructions. Remind staff that due diligence requirements have expanded to include the child tax credit and the American Opportunity credit, as well as the earned income tax credit.
8. Establish and update office rules for seeing documentation on contributions, mortgage interest, mileage and entertainment records, etc.
9. Review changes to the due dates of 2016 Forms 1065 and 1120 and what work load adjustments will be required for timely completing individual returns.
10. Review 2016-2017 engagement letter and update and review record retention policy for the office and for the client.
11. Review your notes on important items from the Western CPE tax update class you attended and invite staff to share notes on the tax update classes they took.
12. Discuss talking points on President Elect Trump’s proposals regarding individual tax reform, corporate tax reform (and its application to other businesses), and the repeal of Obamacare. Clients will ask and the staff meeting can be a time to anticipate client questions.