MICPA Update: ESA FAQs, Proposal Seeks Consistency in CPE Credit Increments, Foreign Tax Credit and more

by MICPA | Feb 02, 2016   ()

Michigan Treasury Warns Taxpayers of Telephone Phishing Scam
With the beginning of tax season, the Michigan Department of Treasury is warning taxpayers of fraudulent phone calls being made from a “spoofing” phone number that has the appearance of being from the Department of Treasury. Taxpayers are being told that they have committed tax fraud and if they don’t pay an amount immediately they could be arrested. Treasury says it’s a phishing scam. They always send a letter, and they don’t use threats or demand immediate payment by pre-paid debit card. For more information about fraud and tax scams or how to report suspicious calls please read this notice.  Visit the IRS website for additional information about identity theft.

Live Tonight: MICPA Members Answer Tax Questions on WZZM 13 Grand Rapids
MICPA members including Sharon Allen, Vander Ploeg, Bergakker & Associates; Lori Baker, Baker Holtz; David Echelbarger, EHTC and Laura Steenwyk, Rehmann will answer tax questions live on WZZM 13 in Grand Rapids tonight, February 2 at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Weigh in on the conversation on Twitter or Facebook with #MICPAtaxhelp. Live stream the airings on WZZM, click the “Watch Live” button. 

Treasury Posts Essential Services Assessment FAQs
The Michigan Department of Treasury issued a new Essential Services Assessment (ESA) Frequently Asked Questions with information on eligibility, filing requirements, special acts, statement certification and ESA payments, calculation of the tax, rescission and appeal rights. For more information, visit

Proposal Seeks Consistency in CPE Credit Increments
The AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy issued an amended proposal to create consistency in the increments of continuing professional education credits that would be allowed through various methods of instruction. Comment on the exposure draft by April 30. Interested parties are encouraged to review the press release, CPE Standards Exposure Draft, Executive Summary and Fields of Study Description or visit the AICPA website to learn more.

Which Foreign Taxes Qualify for the Foreign Tax Credit?
The IRS recently updated the information on to explain the rules for individuals in determining which foreign taxes qualify for the foreign tax credit, including additional examples of legal and actual foreign tax liability.

Get the ABCs of Higher Education Credits
Your clients may qualify for either of two education tax credits if they paid for higher education for themselves or immediate family members. Both the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit may reduce the amount of taxes they owe, but only the American Opportunity Credit is partially refundable. Colleges should provide your client Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, showing expenses paid for the year. The amounts shown on the form may be different than the amount your client actually paid. When figuring the credit, be sure to verify whether the client paid any additional qualified education expenses not shown on the form. Form 1098-T contains information needed to complete Form 8863. Learn more by visiting the IRS education benefits and EITC Refundable Credits Web pages or reading Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

FASB Issues Proposed Improvements to Financial Reporting of Pension and Other Post-Retirement Benefit Plans
Last week, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued two proposed Accounting Standards Updates (ASUs) intended to improve financial reporting by employers related to defined benefit pension and other post-retirement benefit plans. Comments are due by April 25, 2016. Read more in this high-level FASB in Focus overview. The proposed ASUs are available on

5 Techniques for Eliminating Procrastination
Behavioral science says we can shape our own reality if we understand the shortcuts that our brains take, which is necessary to overcoming procrastination. Author Caroline Webb outlines five techniques we can all employ to stop putting off tasks we dread in this CGMA Magazine article.

Source: MICPA
Source: MICPA

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