Each year, the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy and the Internal Revenue Service formulate a Priority Guidance Plan that focuses resources on issues that are most important to taxpayers and tax administration.
One of the main goals of the guidance plan is to increase voluntary taxpayer compliance by helping to clarify ambiguous areas of the tax law. So working off the annual guidance plan, the IRS issues regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices, and other published administrative guidance.
The 2021-2022 Priority Guidance Plan, released on Sept. 9, contains 193 guidance projects. The list is sets priorities for allocating Treasury Department and Service resources during the 12-month period of the plan year, which runs from July 1 to the next June 30.
The 193 items on the list also represent this weekend's By the Numbers figure.
No completion deadlines: While Treasury and the IRS have their to-do list, they don't have deadlines for completing the projects.
In fact, sometimes the IRS doesn't get to the items on the list. Some that were in the 2020-21 plan, for example, have been dropped.
The reason? The IRS says these projects are no longer considered priorities for purposes of allocating resources during the 2021- 2022 plan year. But some of them may be considered for inclusion on a future priority guidance plan.
So basically, what's important to the IRS comes and goes and comes around again. Sort of like non-tax life.
Also like life, tax and otherwise, the Treasury's Office of Tax Policy says it intends to update the current priority guidance plan during the plan year "to reflect additional items that have become priorities, guidance that we have published during the plan year, and projects that may result from legislative developments."
Current 2021-2022 plan: For now, though, the categories under which the IRS and Treasury say are priorities when it comes to needed guidance are:
- consolidated returns (various parts of §1502);
- corporations and their shareholders;
- employee benefits (e.g., retirement, health care, student loans, executive compensation);
- excise tax;
- exempt organizations;
- financial institutions and products;
- gifts, estates, and trusts;
- insurance companies and products;
- international tax matters (e.g., deemed inclusions from foreign entities, inbound transactions, outbound transactions, transfer pricing, foreign tax credits);
- S corporations;
- tax accounting;
- tax administration;
- tax-exempt bonds; and, of course,
- the great catchall of general tax issues.
Then there's the appendix. It lists the IRS' more routine regularly scheduled guidance generally issued during the guidance plan year.
Keep those comments coming: So check out the plan. And, as Treasury and the IRS ask, if you see something missing, let them know. Any time. There's no comment period cut-off date.
Year-round input from taxpayers and tax practitioners, note the department and agency, provide them flexibility to add projects and to respond to tax developments arising during the plan year.
"The published guidance process can be fully successful only if we have the benefit of the insight and experience of taxpayers and practitioners who must apply the rules," notes the plan's opening statement.
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