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Silent Returns Will Be Processed February 20, 2017

As a result of the President’s executive order on January 20, 2017, the IRS recently confirmed here that “silent” returns will be processed, both electronically and on paper. A silent return is the term the IRS is using to refer to individual returns where:

  1. The box on Form 1040, Line 61 indicating full year coverage is not checked, and
  2. There is no Form 8965 attached claiming exemption(s) to health coverage, and
  3. No shared responsibility payment has been computed.

The IRS announcement also seems to indicate refunds will not be withheld in these cases. This really gives the IRS two alternatives:

  1. Use Exam or CP 2000 Letters to address these returns down the road, or
  2. Simply ignore the issue.

At this point, it doesn’t appear that the IRS knows what approach they will be taking, as the announcement said, “The IRS is currently reviewing the Jan. 20, 2017, executive order to determine the implications.”

Meanwhile, return software companies seem to be split on the issue. Some are saying they will change their software to allow silent returns, and others are saying they have no plans to change their software, as the law has not changed.

Vern Hoven, CPA, MT, is one of America’s premier tax presenters and speaks to over 100 groups a year on a variety of tax topics. He teaches at Western CPE Federal Tax Update seminars and conferences and produces self-study and webcasts courses as well. Vern consistently receives outstanding evaluations and has won numerous teaching awards, including the prestigious AICPA 2014 Sidney Kess Award for Excellence in Continuing Education.
Vern is the author of the best-selling Real Estate Investor’s Tax Guide and a favorite interviewee on radio, television, and in newspapers. His presentation skills have earned him the coveted Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association, which has granted only 400 CSPs out of 3,600 NSA members as of 2006.
Vern practiced in the public, governmental, and corporate accounting fields before starting his own public accounting practice in 1973, a firm that grew to one of the largest in western Montana. In 1985, he started his present tax consulting practice. CPA Magazine recognized Vern as one of the top 50 IRS representation practitioners in 2008.

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