The Arizona Forum for Improvement of Taxation is now accepting registrations for its Winter Tax Seminar, which will be held on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at the Black Canyon Conference Center.   Registrations will be accepted through Thursday, January 12 at 11:00 PM.  Register online now at   There you will find the link to the AFIT seminar registration. Registration information will be processed through Eventzilla.  

The Black Canyon Conference Center is located at 9440 North 25th  Ave in Phoenix.  This is a state-of-the-art conference venue, convenient to I-17 at Peoria Ave exit.  Parking is free.  The seminar will begin at 9:00 AM and will conclude at about 4:45 PM.  Registration check-in will begin at 8:30 AM.  The seminar cost is $140, but take advantage of early registration by January 5th for $125.  That fee includes a buffet lunch, a wide selection of beverages and tasty snacks for breaks.

Registrants will receive an e-ticket by email, which they must present at the event.  Printed materials will be available for downloading about a week prior to the event.

We expect 7 hours of CPE, pending IRS approval.

In addition to offering a variety of insightful seminar topics, AFIT is pleased to announce that the Phoenix Taxpayer Advocate and members of her staff will be available at the conference throughout the day to meet one-on-one with tax professionals who are experiencing unusual problems with IRS cases.  Attendees who wish to meet with the Taxpayer Advocate during the seminar should bring a valid Form 2848 signed by their client, a copy of any recent IRS correspondence related to the problem and perhaps a brief, typed narrative description of the problem and the issues involved, and what the representative hopes for as an outcome.

Seminar topics:

There will be three PLENARY sessions, which all registrants will attend.  Those sessions include:

9:10 – 10:00 AMUpdate from Arizona Department of Revenue.   Tom Johnson, who is the Assistant Director for Education and Compliance, will review recent changes at DOR, discuss issues for the filing season and provide a status update on the TPT Simplification process.

Noon:       IRS Update from the perspective of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, and filing season tips from the Stakeholder Liaison.  Local Taxpayer Advocate Stephanie Valencia  will discuss what IRS programs have been working well, and which areas need attention.  These updates from TAS are always of particular interest to tax practitioners who attend AFIT seminars. Lisa Novack, the Stakeholder Liaison, will provide timely information on changes for the filing season.

3:25 – 4:15 PM:   Elders @ Risk: Practitioner Responsibilities and Limitations.  Attorney Tom Murphy will discuss the role of the accountant or tax practitioner who suspects abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult.  Tax preparers usually see clients at least once a year, and can sometimes notice significant changes in a person’s appearance or behavior.  Review of a client’s tax or financial records may reveal transactions that might be deemed exploitative.  Arizona Revised Statute 46-454 requires accountants and tax return preparers to report suspected exploitation or abuse.  Does this present a problem with the confidentiality and unauthorized disclosure provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and guidelines for professional standards? This session is designed to qualify for one hour of ETHICS CPE.

In addition to the three plenary sessions, attendees will have their choice from six other break-out sessions:

10:20 AM – Noon:  The choices for this two-hour time slot include a review of  Publicly Traded Partnerships, presented by George Harris, Enrolled Agent.  Internal Revenue Code Section 7704 generally taxes PTPs as corporations.  There is an exception when more than 90% of the gross income consists of “qualifying income”.  Since oil, gas and petroleum income is part of the qualifying income, it is not unusual to notice that many oil and gas investments are treated as PTPs.  PTPs are subject to special tax basis rules and passive loss rules.  Some investors hold PTPs inside of IRAs, which is considered an inadvisable decision.  Let George help you understand better the unusual aspects of Publicly Traded Partnerships.

The alternate choice for the 10:20 AM – Noon time slot is Decedents, Trusts and Estates, presented by Attorneys Allen Butler and Travis Campbell.  Tax professionals invariably encounter situations in which a taxpayer has died.  Perhaps it is a long-time client who has died, and the executor or personal representative wants the tax professional to assist with preparation of the decedent’s final income tax return and possibly the trust returns.  It could also be a situation in which the decedent was not a prior client, but the executor needs help in preparing returns.  In a perfect world, everything will be in order, and the assistance you provide will be problem-free.  But who lives in a perfect world?  What if there are unfiled returns for prior periods, or unpaid prior tax liabilities?  How do you deal with squabbling beneficiaries?  Is the IRS limited in its collection rights?  Mr. Butler and Mr. Campbell will help tax practitioners better understand the dynamics of death AND taxes.

1:20 – 2:10 PM:  The choices for this one-hour time slot include a discussion of FBAR and other Foreign Disclosure Requirements, presented by Attorney Jason Silver, or a review of a frequently challenging topic, Net Operating Losses, presented by Ed Zollars, Certified Public Accountant.   Most tax professionals are probably not overly involved with foreign financial account issues.  However, you may have some clients who have funds in foreign bank accounts, or who are signatories on such accounts owned by others.  While most tax professionals are familiar with the FBAR provisions, many may be less knowledgeable about the broader Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) rules.  Let Jason Silver provide you with an overview of these increasingly important areas of tax compliance, and IRS initiatives in these areas.   

Similarly, you probably don’t have a large number of clients who have Net Operating Losses.   But sometimes someone will contact you seeking help with a large business loss or a large loss from disposition of property.   Ed Zollars will provide an overview of key issues in identifying and calculating Net Operating Losses.  He will review the provisions for NOL carrybacks and carryforwards, and when one approach might be more valuable than the other. In his typical style, Ed will likely focus on aspects of NOL reporting that are not usually covered in other courses.  Pay attention.


The last break-out sessions are in the 2:15 – 3:05 PM time slot.  Some registrants  will opt to attend The Cohan Rule: Does it Still Apply?, presented by Nedda Lemman, Enrolled Agent.   Alternatively, others may want to hear Attorney Gregory Robinson discuss Walking Away from a Failed Business: Tax and Practical Ramifications.  Although IRS audit levels have declined somewhat from historic highs, a significant number of taxpayers do get that dreaded examination notice.  In many cases, the taxpayers are able to verify all of the items under examination.  In some instances, however, records may no longer be available to satisfy the auditor.  The Cohan rule arose in a court case in 1930, and the court allowed the taxpayer to deduct some expense, even though records were lacking.  Is this “rule” still applicable?  For what types of expenses may it be claimed?   Let Ms. Lemman guide you through this important area.

Some taxpayers have business set-backs from which they cannot recover.  The only apparent option is to walk away from the problem and close the business.  Although this happens frequently in the business community, there may be some debts that will still follow the business owner.  Many of these debts will be in the form of unpaid tax liabilities of the business.  When a business closes, the individual owner may also have tax issues on his or her Form 1040 related to the closed business.  In addition to tax problems, there may be practical concerns as well.  Let Greg Robinson draw on his years of experience to highlight the issues that should be of concern to owners of struggling businesses. 

All these break-out groups make it difficult for a person decide which ones to attend, and which ones to skip.  In order to make sure that seminar registrants feel that they are NOT going to miss out on something important, AFIT will provide electronic downloads of the written course materials for ALL of the presenters.  What you don’t attend in person, you will be able to review in the downloaded course materials.


In addition to presenting outstanding education, AFIT seminars provide an excellent venue for networking with other tax professionals.

Please join us at the AFIT Winter Tax Seminar on January 19, 2017.  It promises to be another very worthwhile seminar.

Register online TODAY at   Space is limited!


Jack Wood, EA

President, AFIT