The Taxpayer First Act of 2019 was signed into law on July 1, 2019. The Act contains numerous provisions largely dealing with customer service to taxpayers and IRS organization. As such, there is little for professionals to digest in terms of substantive planning or practice. Two points, though, are noteworthy.

The Act established the IRS Independent Office of Appeals. New rules require that the administrative case file referred to Independent Appeals be available to individuals with AGI of $400,000 or below and entities with gross receipts of $5M or below.

Secondly, in a very taxpayer friendly move, the Act eases the burden on taxpayers regarding innocent spouse relief. For any petition filed or pending on or after July 1, 2019, the Tax Court must review any innocent spouse relief de novo. In essence, de novo review means the Tax Court is unable to take previous decisions into its consideration. It must take a new look at the facts and circumstances. Newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence is now fair game. For those of you who have wrestled with innocent spouse cases, you know the issues often eclipse a “honey – just sign this return here” fact pattern. For taxpayers having exhausted the IRS processes and finding themselves in Tax Court, the Act enables a fresh, new analysis of the situation.

Additional guidance from the IRS on emerging practice issues regarding tax reform is a focus here at Surgent. Subscribe to our blog Tangible Gains or follow us on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook to receive the latest in tax, accounting, and finance advice.

Nick Spoltore is VP of Tax & Advisory Content for Surgent CPE. Mr. Spoltore is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and of Delaware Law School. Before joining Surgent, he practiced tax and business law at the firm of Heaney, Kilcoyne in Pennsylvania and also in Delaware



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