Highlights of some of our favorite tax-related blogs from the past week.
- Mauled Again: Worth a thousand words? An architect recently took selfie pix to prove that he is not in New York for more than 182 days a year and, according to news outlets’ headlines, “Avoid Extra Tax from IRS.” Too bad, notes this blogger, Mr. Selfie didn’t also consider resident taxes levied by less-famous governments. “It’s simply a matter of knowing that taxes are imposed not only by the federal government, but also by state and local governments. This outcome of insufficient education also manifests itself when people complain about the government,’ as though there is one monolithic government.” That would make a picture.
- TaxProf blog: A peek at the 2013 IRS Data Book, a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year. As noted here, the report describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013, and includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance and the IRS budget and workforce, among other topics. “During fiscal year 2013, the IRS collected almost $2.9 trillion in federal revenue and processed 240 million returns, of which 151 million were filed electronically.” See? It only feels like you do all the returns out there. Also, more selfie analysis.
Just plain sense
- Block Talk: Terrific how-to on a topic we rarely see covered: getting teenage new workers to take a hard look at the fine print on those first paychecks.
- Tax, Society & Culture: Congressman Mike Quigley, D-Ill., likely isn’t too popular in the lawmakers’ restroom these days after introducing the Transparency in Government Act of 2014, a bill “to amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, the Rules of the House of Representatives, the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, and the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 to improve access to information in the legislative and executive branches of the Government, and for other purposes.” We join the blogger in worrying “about those other purposes, because funny things tend to get slipped into law this way.”
- Liberty Tax: Where O Where Dept.: Client still looking for their refund? From 2010? A reminder that the three-year window to claim cash from that tax year is about to slam shut.
- Bond Beebe’s It’s Taxing: How the IRS has changed rules for FSAs under cafeteria plans, specifically the much-booed “Use-it-or-Lose-it” provision. If you’re like us, you’ve pondered where the cash exactly “goes” (see “stolen”?) when we “lose” (see “surrender”?) it.
- Taxes at About.com: The government takes a little pity on getting that cap n’ gown: a look at tax breaks for college, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit and the Tuition and Fees Deduction. Also, roundups of sales tax rates by state (huzzah for Delaware, New Hampshire and Oregon) and tax rates from the Reform Act of 2014.
- TaxMama: Mama listens to a parent whose daughter plays piano for the school choir in exchange (unasked) for a bouquet and check for a few hundred dollars. “Is that taxable income?” That ain’t “Chopsticks.”
Hooray for Hollywood
- Tax Policy: Movie star Kevin Spacey (the blogger’s favorite actor) lobbying for tax subsidies from Maryland taxpayers to shoot House of Cards, the production company for which has already pocketed $26 million in state subsidies and threatened to move if Annapolis shuts off the tap. “This puts to rest the myth that these subsidies just need to lure companies and other factors will keep them and build a permanent industry: The reality is that as soon as the subsidies end, they leave.” The second-greatest trick the devil ever played.
- Backtaxeshelp: The IRS updates of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2014. “For the third year in a row, identity theft leading to tax fraud tops the list.” Makes you long for the days when Dirty Dozen just meant Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson and no Internet.
- Tax Girl: When a stranger calls The IRS continues to red-flag one of the largest and most persistent phone-scam campaigns in recent memory. Also, the K, J and I entries for taxes A to Z, and “10 Tips for Making the Most of March Madness” (and we don’t mean your work day).
Do in court
- Due Diligence: In this week’s round up: “FBARs and Offshore Reporting: a Vague or Highly Debatable Tax Law’?”; “Attorney Turns on Clients” (and they don’t mean in a good way); “Two Congressmen Say IRS Not Aggressive Enough”; and “FATCA and Non-Resident Indians.”
- Procedurally Taxing: A look at the scope of a tax lien discharge versus the remaining tax lien, specifically a recent case that provides “insight into the interplay between the discharge of a federal tax lien and the scope of the remaining federal tax lien.”
Looking ahead, somehow
- The Income Tax School: When you finally do come up for air from the season, you’ll want to start building your practice again and recall that referrals lead the way. Check out “7 Ways to Create Word-of-Mouth Business.”
- ClientWhys: Where’d you get those peepers? “What makes some accountant Web sites attract more leads than others?” A look at the swift-flowing tech that is criteria for local online searches. Also, and we ask this nicely, “Are You a Complacent Tax Professional?” Not lately.