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

Patriots, Mavericks and movie stars

  • Backtaxeshelp: They may have pitched the king’s tea into Boston Harbor and stood like a rock on Lexington Green, but two and a half centuries later, Tax Freedom Day still arrives three days later this year, according to the Tax Foundation. Estimates have Americans paying a total of $3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state taxes, this year – almost a third of the average yearly income through the first 111 days of 2014.
  • Taxable Talk: As the World Series of Poker kicks off in Las Vegas, would-be card champs often turn to backers to fund (or stake) series entry fees that can hit seven figures. Before players begin daydreaming of drawing that straight flush to the queen, they must remember staking comes with tax rules that vary even depending on the casino hotel hosting a given round of the event. A look at what stakers (surely a unique brand of venture capitalist) have to file with the IRS.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: Tax issues looming for the headline wedding of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin. Get your invite yet? Like some refunds, it’s probably in the mail.

 
Simple deduction

  • Tax Policy: A look at the recent TIGTA report detailing discrepancies between alimony deductions taken and alimony income received. Remember that “Odd Couple” where Felix is responsible for Oscar getting audited? Same thing here, except with 567,887 returns in 2010 claiming alimony totaling more than $10 billion. Also, “IRS Considering Change in Tax Treatment of Travel Loyalty Points.”
  • Mauled Again: Amazing How They Keep Trying Dept.: How taxpayers continue to wear out the “long-established principle of federal income tax law” that if the employer foots the bill, the cost is no deduction to the taxpayer. Notes the blogger: “It’s usually not the legal principle that stumps the taxpayer. It’s the application of the principle to the facts.” A case in point.
  • Taxes at About.com: Another glance at the new, supposedly simpler home-office deduction, plus a reminder of the ever-changing array of small-business deductions available. 
  • John R. Dundon II EA: Ins and outs of buying or selling business assets, including Form 8594 to “avoid future headaches.” Among conditions necessitating an 8594: goodwill or going concern values, value of assets and amending – even to the point of making filling out the 8594 an actual part of the sale transaction.
  • TaxMama: Mama lends her ear to Hammed from the TaxQuips Forum, who asks, “What is the income limit for married filing jointly to pay ZERO capital gains tax in 2014? Does the income include the Social Security benefits?” Answer includes a link to the IRS tax rates for 2014 and a foray into the wrangle that is the taxable slice of Social Security.

 
Notes from all over

  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “Attorney Suspended for Role in Ponzi Scheme”; “BC Capital Group Liquidators Run Short of Funds”; “Chabad Leader Eliyahu Weinstein Sentenced to 22 Years Prison for Fraud”; and “Tax Havens Told to Improve Transparency of Nominee Accounts.”
  • Procedurally Taxing: A roundup of summary opinions: A federal case in Louisiana holding that the IRS abused its discretion by not following a TAM it issued to the taxpayer; how in a gas excise tax case the court held that a taxpayer could not rely on a car dealer or an accountant to show reasonable cause for penalty relief from the taxes relating to the purchase of a gas guzzler; and IRS Chief Counsel Notice 2014-002, which directs the service to take the position in CDP cases that the existence of the amount of underlying tax is not in question under certain circumstances, thereby requiring abuse of discretion review and not de novo review.
  • Tax Girl: Shore thing: a dozen tax tips for clients before they plunk down for a seaside or vacation property this summer. Also, “Revenge Tax Is a Kind of Wild Justice” looks at a client turning themselves in for tax crimes to get back at their spouse. (We suppose if the client beat themselves to death with a hammer the spouse would really get nailed.) Plus, “Congress, Ignoring History, Considers Turning Over Tax Debts to Private Collection Agencies” and what to tell clients who still have eyes peeled for their refund.

 
For your thoughts

  • H&R Block blog: Thin, copper, not worth the money it takes to mint one and the quick way in the world to see how fast an unaccepted coin slides through a candy machine or a parking meter. The lowly penny: Two-thirds of people believe the one-cent piece, minted for more than 200 years, doesn’t deserve to be thrown away. (Unless “thrown away” means stepped over on the sidewalk; our minimum to bend over is a nickel.)
  • The Income Tax School: RTRP may be RIP, but there are still ways – and a need – to gain credentials as a preparer.