Highlights of some of our favorite tax-related blogs from the past week.

Mad, mad, mad, mad world

  • Tax Girl: The oversight of European tax authorities broadens to include Amazon, and biggies such as Google, Microsoft and McDonalds may soon join the online-shopping giant – joining global luminaries Apple, Starbucks and Fiat. Also, a look at recent contraception decisions from the Supreme Court and was the Ghana soccer team dodging taxes at the World Cup?
  • Tax, Society & Culture: Who’d’ve thunk it? “IRS Claims Statutory Authority for FATCA Agreements Where No Such Authority Exists” looks at a recent federal tax crimes blog that posted a letter from the IRS to Congressman Bill Posey, R-Fla., in response to an inquiry the congressman apparently made about inter-governmental agreements to implement FATCA by overseas authorities. Turns out “domestic legal effect” may be mostly dishwater in this matter.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: G’day! Turns out “one person's tax hell is another person's tax haven.” Turns out the Land of the Free is also the Land of the Tax Haven for Australians. What are the business deductions for dingo breeders, anyway?
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s round up: “Whistleblowers – America’s True Patriots”; “LNR Partners, CWCapital – New Concerns in the CMBS Servicing Arena”; “Should Whistleblower Awards Extend to State Taxes?”; “2014 OVDP – Many Changes, Many Questions & Few Answers”; “73-Year-Old Manhattan Man Faces 5 Years’ Prison for Unreported FBAR”; and “Do Whistleblowers Pay A Price? Unfortunately, Many Do.”

IRS all the time

  • The Income Tax School: Incentives to gaining your IRS Annual Filing Season Certificate, courtesy of Shirley Callahan, an EA of National Tax Practice Institute. Get listed on the database, earn the right (starting with 2015 returns) to represent clients if you’re an unenrolled preparer and get to add “as seen on IRS.gov” to your Web sites, business cards and e-mail signatures, among others. As Ms. Callahan notes, “Cool, huh?”
  • Tax Policy: A swelling budget is no substitute for true reform for the IRS. Plus, "What Are Tax Expenditures?", “What Is Capital?” (“I’ll take tax topics for $500 please, Alex…”) and a look at a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research that assesses several state business climate indexes’ relationship to economic growth – and inequality.

Business as unusual

  • Taxing Subjects: A rundown of the AICPA’s top issues for small firms, from sole practitioners on up.
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: A look at a recent Forbes piece on signs that a company has a culture problem. Boxes in an office’s aisles; too many late workers; a zombie den of the bored and stressed. We had no idea these indicated a culture problem so much as just a business that would hire us.
  • ClientsWhys: Does anyone anywhere at any time of any day or night actually look at your practice’s Web site? Even if thousands of insomniac clients do click on, you can always use more readers. How to attract (and quantify) traffic and tap that technique of communicating online before selling.

Of forms and fallacies

  • John R. Dundon II EA: How does the Tax Code spell “confusion?” Answer: “K-1.”
  • Mauled Again: Deep in the fog-shrouded highlands of the dark mind of taxpayers lives a myth: Reportable income appears only on W-2s or 1099s. “Many taxpayers take a leap, and conclude that if the IRS doesn’t know about it, there’s no need to report it.” Talk about being in a fog. Also, Myth 2: “I’m Getting a Refund and Not Paying Tax.”
  • Liberty Tax blog: Remind, remind and remind them again: “5 Steps to Take When the Tax Man Cometh” looks at what Mr. and Mrs. America need to do when the IRS sounds for them. Not a bad handout for clients who’ve nibbled and who you’d like to land…

Client questions

  • TaxMama: Mama helps Sheronda, who read on an online forum, “Single-member Delaware LLCs are ‘disregarded entities’ according to IRS regulations, which means they have no U.S. income tax and no reporting due” and who now asks, “Does this mean, that if I am a single-member LLC in the State of DE, that I do not have to file taxes for my LLC?”
  • Backtaxeshelp: Ray of Sunshine Dept.: “Paying for college can be a parent’s worst financial nightmare …” A look at tax breaks for those covering some or all of a child’s (if only they were still children) education expenses even as student debt looms as our nation’s next collective fiscal bad dream.

New to us (again)

  • CPA Tax Musings: For months it seems we’ve been clicking Brian Stoner’s old (though still quite valuable) blog and only in the last week did we find his new (to us) blog. Recent entries cover what to tell clients who get “the dreaded envelope” from the IRS – along with another trenchant reminder the IRS does not do phone or e-mail with delinquent taxpaxers (“don’t panic and don’t ignore it…”) – and when and where you might owe sales tax.

For the red, white and blue

  • The Wandering Tax Pro: Equal Schmequal Dept.: In honor of the Fourth, blogger Robert Flach holds these truths about mandatory licensing of preparers to be self-evident: It will not reduce tax fraud nor substantially reduce return errors; it will (in the form of a voluntary universally-accepted industry-based designation or credential) help the taxpayer public to pinpoint preparers who have proven competence and currency in 1040 preparation; and a CPA, by mere certification, has not proven competence and currency in 1040 preparation.
  • Roth & Co.: Why blogger Joe Kristan’s dear dad had trouble with every July 5 starting in 1944. A touching and compelling reminder of just why we light those fireworks.