AICPA offers recommendations on 2019-2020 IRS guidance priority list

June 26, 2019

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has submitted more than 140 recommendations to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in reference to the agency’s 2019-2020 Guidance Priority List.

In the letter, the AICPA identifies and prioritizes guidance projects it believes the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS should address through various means, including regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices and other published administrative guidance.

High priority recommendations relate to projects following the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Recommendations address tax issues affecting individuals, businesses and exempt organizations, including projects related to domestic and international businesses and business partnerships; crowdfunding (such as GoFundMe, KickStarter) and the shared economy (such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb); virtual currency (such as cryptocurrency, bitcoin); nonprofit donations; and distribution of 529 plans.

Recognizing the complexities and competing interests when drafting guidance, the AICPA urged the IRS to consider the following guidelines as part of the process:

  • Use the simplest approach to accomplish a policy goal;
  • Provide safe harbor alternatives;
  • Offer clear and consistent definitions;
  • Use horizontal drafting (a rule placed in one Internal Revenue Code section should apply in all other Code sections) to the greatest extent possible;
  • Build on existing business and industry-standard record-keeping practices;
  • Provide a balance between simple, general rules and more complex, detailed rules; and
  • Match a rule’s complexity to the sophistication of the targeted taxpayers.

Suggestions are listed under the AICPA working group that developed them and recommendations are listed in priority order within category.