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

Most wonderful time of the year

  • Block Talk: More resources to help clients deal with the late-winter blizzard of tax documentation (“You wouldn’t start a race without mentally and physically preparing yourself to finish. It’s the same with taxes.”). Solid advice for clients: Make a list, check it twice, put it somewhere super special safe and then see what you did on last year’s return…
  • Liberty Tax blog: Deductions your clients shouldn’t overlook -- a handy reminder for you during the busiest time of the year. This wide net covers everything from fees paid to a preparer or a divorce attorney to, possibly, breast pumps. Help your client leave no cash on the table.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: If It Wasn’t Screwed On Dept.: Amazin’ what people forget, including SSNs, last year’s returns, and a host of others. Consider handing clients this tax-filing checklist for 2014.
  • Backtaxeshelp: Tips for newbie filers, and a good checklist to run down with your newest clients. Make take time and patience, but remember that today’s acorn is tomorrow’s complex, money-making, consulting engagement.
  • Taxes at About.com: A trove for the new season: What to tell clients about the EITC; resources to pass on regarding clients getting organized for tax time; and for you a biggie -- where and how to get listed in preparers’ directories. Can’t give them tips if they can’t find your door.
  • The Income Tax School blog: So answer honestly: “Is Your Tax Office Stuck in the Wrong Decade?” No one’s saying you have to run your whole practice off what Ricky Gervais predicted would soon be “the floating dot” of technology, but are you still using DOS (even though it worked best)? Still haven’t unpacked the fax machine? Does “Matrix” describe your printer as much as it does a successful movie franchise? Can’t bring yourself to junk that dusty Selectric? Clients notice, and though some may be charmed (we would be), others may wonder about other areas where you don’t keep up.
  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: Infographic on the typical life changes of a year. Clients cram so much into 12 months that they’re likely to forget the details themselves. How you can help them remember in time to tell the tax man.

New from the Service

  • John R. Dundon II EA blog: A look at the IRS rollout of an application that allows any individual taxpayer to view, print or download their own transcripts online using a computer or smartphone, “a giant leap forward for those of us working with the IRS.” Users create a profile with an SSN and DOB and answer standard security questions. The blogger also tried this himself.
  • Taxable Talk: Say it ain’t so: new procedures after the sunset of the IRS Practitioner Priority Service, “a wonderful tool for tax professionals … to obtain information on clients, set up installment agreements and  … deal with the IRS.” This blogger learns that now tax pros must send a power of attorney (IRS Form 2848), wait a week, then download the transcript from IRS eServices. Supposedly the breakdown is on the IRS Web site. Supposedly.
  • Our Taxing Times: It wasn’t just the federal tax landscape that suffered an earthquake this season. I think we’re still in Kansas, Toto, where most tax changes made in 2012 went into effect in 2013 and where the groundswell ranges from personal income tax to rates and statuses to the Food Sales Tax Refund.

Allons-y l’audit!

  • Tax Girl: Headline of the week: “Do You Want Fries With That Audit?” We would’ve added monsieur, but the fact remains that McDonald's faces tax-evasion allegations in France. How come allegations is spelled almost the same in French? Beyond that, Ronald the clown now joins Gerard Depardieu and Apple “on French President Hollande’s tax hit list.” Also, a series of tax haikus for 2014 and 11 questions you can expect from smart clients looking to hire a preparer.
  • Fast Forward Academy blog: How overseas subjects and concerns influence the education and practice of today’s young accountants -- sometimes in a very formal way.

Funny business

  • Tax Vox: Well, does it make sense to fund much-needed roads, bridges and mass transit with a big tax cut for multinational corporations? A growing number of Democrats and Republicans seem to think so. Blogger Howard Gleckman has his doubts, as do we when confronted by a now-you-see-it financial blueprint to make up for Highway Trust Fund under-funding.
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s round up: “What’s Your REIT Worth? Nothing If You Can’t Sell It”; “The Canadians Strike Back”; “‘Banks Face Increased Whistleblower Risk’ -- Ya Think?”; and “CBC Distorts ‘FATCA Facts.’”
  • Roth & Co.: How lawmakers propose to exempt employer stock gains from employee Iowa income tax, “an astonishingly broad exclusion.”