Daily Tax Update - December 23, 2008

THE DAILY TAX UPDATE WILL BE PUBLISHED ON A PERIODIC BASIS UNTIL CONGRESS RETURNS JANUARY 6, 2009.

BIDEN PLEDGES NO EARMARKS IN STIMULUS BILL:  Today, Vice President-elect Joe Biden said that the new stimulus bill would not contain any special-interest spending or pet projects. Biden said, “It's important for the American taxpayer to know that this is not going to be politics as usual and we will not tolerate business as usual in Washington...I know it's Christmas, and I know it's the Christmas season, but President-elect Obama and I are absolutely, absolutely determined that this economic recovery plan will not become a Christmas tree."  Biden added that “there will be no earmarks" in the proposal. The new stimulus proposal is expected to be in the $650 to $850 billion range. When asked about the exact amount of the stimulus package and how it would be spent, Biden said, “There is overall agreement on both right now, that we're getting down to a specific number and the nature of the investments we're going to be making.” Biden continued, “As our economy worsens, the need for a bold economic recovery grows every day.”

PRESIDENT SIGNS PENSION BILL INTO LAW:  Today, President Bush signed H.R. 7327, the "Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008," which delays required minimum distributions from certain retirement accounts for one year; makes changes to funding requirements for certain pension plans; and makes other miscellaneous changes to tax and pension laws.

IRS ANNOUNCES TOPICS FOR FUTURE “TAX TALK TODAY” PROGRAMS:  On January 13, the IRS will offer its next installment of the “Tax Talk Today” program titled, “Getting Ready for Filing Season 2009-Individual and Business.” The program will discuss updates to tax forms, the latest tax law changes and IRS processing issues to assist tax preparers.  Panelists will offer tips on how to avoid common errors that can cost preparers and their clients time and money. Two continuing education credits will be offered for January’s program. To access the webcast at no charge, viewers can register online at taxtalktoday.com.

  • The next Tax Talk Today program, “Surviving the IRS Audit,” is scheduled for Tuesday, March 10.

IRS OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE TAX GUIDE: The IRS has placed its comprehensive tax guide for individuals on IRS.gov, updating it for tax year 2008. The updated on-line version of IRS Publication 17, “Your Federal Income Tax,” contains more than 900 interactive links. Publication 17 has been updated with important changes for 2008, including information on the new recovery rebate credit, new first-time-homebuyer credit, and an additional standard deduction for real estate taxes.

  • Additional information can be accessed here.

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE - CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE:
As provided for in Treasury regulations, advice (if any) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication (including attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any plan or arrangement addressed herein.

STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP - TAX PRACTICE
Steptoe & Johnson LLP has one of the largest and most diverse law firm tax practices in the country. The practice covers the entire spectrum of federal taxation, including representation of businesses before the Congress, Treasury and the national office of the IRS; transactional planning for domestic and multinational corporations; complex audit and controversy work for corporations and other business interests contesting IRS adjustments; litigation before the Tax Court, Court of Federal Claims, district courts, courts of appeals and the Supreme Court. The firm's tax practice also encompasses all aspects of employee benefits (ERISA), executive compensation, tax-exempt organizations and charitable giving. Steptoe has an extensive state and local tax practice, representing an array of business clients on complex sales and use tax, corporate income tax and property tax matters, both advising those clients and handling audits, administrative appeals, and litigation for them. Read more information on Steptoe's tax practice.