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IRS 2021 Nationwide Tax Forum: Highlights Focus On Cyber Threats And Virtual Currencies

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that the annual IRS Nationwide Tax Forum will be held virtually this year, beginning July 20, 2021. Traditionally, the Forum is hosted in multiple U.S. cities during the summer months. However, to protect participant and presenter health and safety, this year’s event will be broken into a series of live-streamed webinars airing every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday over the course of five weeks.

For over 30 years, the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum has provided tax professionals from across the country with the opportunity to learn from IRS experts and affiliates about recent trends and enforcement efforts. The 2021 Forum will feature a keynote address from IRS Commissioner Chuck Retting on current issues affecting tax administration, IRS programs and services, and future agency initiatives.

Highlights of the Forum include an advanced program on cyber threats facing small and medium-sized business in the tax industry, focusing on recognizing signs of phishing, spear-phishing, ransomware, and email compromise, and the best ways to avoid these threats.  Relatedly, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) will present a “Deeper Dive into Emerging Cyber Crimes and Crypto Tax Compliance,” discussing, inter alia, identifying the Dark Web and its use for cybercrime and identity theft, and understanding CI’s efforts to combat cyber criminals.  Another program will discuss virtual currency in general, and a separate program will focus on virtual currency and tax reporting in the cannabis industry. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) will explore the latest IRS impersonation schemes and cyber targeting of tax professionals.

Small, virtual focus groups will allow qualified attendees to participate in discussions with IRS representatives about specific issues facing taxpayers and tax professionals and exchange ideas for improving existing IRS policies and practices.  One focus group, presented by IRS Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE), entitled “Passport Program & Virtual Currency Tax Compliance,” will discuss the IRS Passport program that began in 2018 as a partnership between the IRS and the Department of State (DOS) where an individual’s “seriously delinquent tax debt” may implicate the individual’s passport use, issuance, and renewal, and seek information about virtual currency trends practitioners have noticed.

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