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

‘I don’t believe you.’

  • Taxable Talk: “There is not much to add to what Congressman [Paul] Ryan said today.” Indeed. The Republican wunderkind let fly at a defiant IRS Commissioner Koskinen during last week’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing over, to quote Fox News, “e-mails between ex-IRS official Lois Lerner and other government officials – including some at the White House – be turned over to determine whether there was a coordinated effort to stymie conservative groups prior to the 2012 elections.” A look at the latest in the brewing, potentially Watergate-like scandal and what happens when both sides of the political aisle increasingly believe they hold the key to the only truth.

 
Tread on us

  • Tax Girl: The question hung over the Internet since the minute the first Web site went up: Will the government eventually find a way to tax Internet access? Also, how the Clinton’s are just like most of us in terms of tax planning, a dozen tactics to avoid the new NIIT, and where in the world do taxes fit into the World Cup?
  • Rubin on Tax: No Good Deed Dept.: How employers who reimburse employees on a pre-tax basis for premiums the employees pay on their own individual health insurance policies can risk a $100 per day per employee excise tax. Plus, AFRs for July.

 
Wonderful world

  • Roth & Co.: A look at updated IRS procedures for filing overdue FBAR disclosures. Until now only non-U.S. residents could use the procedure, which has also cut the (according to this blogger) “inane” $1,500 cap on unreported taxes from foreign accounts.
  • Fromm on Taxes: “U.S. Citizens Living Outside America: Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure Offers Tax and Compliance Relief” came to the mind of the blogger a couple of weeks ago, when “I had someone come in my office who has lived abroad since he was seven years old. He is a citizen of the United States and Netherlands. He has never filed United States income tax returns.” A good preparer can take it from there.

 
Advice corner

  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: Now that the tassels and gowns have gone to the back of the closet, here come “Four Health Insurance Options for College Students and Recent Grads.” Aside from their tuition debt, today’s newbies probably face few challenges as great as making sure the bill gets paid if they bust their ankle at age 27.
  • Taxes at About.com: A look at backup withholding, the child and dependent care credit and the magic of MAGI.
  • H&R Block blog: Next in the series on the ACA’s impact on clients, including the advance tax credit for helping pay for premiums on health insurance purchased through the ACA marketplace.
  • John R. Dundon II EA: Clients planning their estates with a jaundiced toward to the Tax Code should remember “IRC 1014 and the Significance of Stepped Up Basis.” The latter (“a wonderful thing”) defined, plus a how-and-why on calculating assets’ value, using a charitable remainder trust and constantly reviewing returns for estate-planning opportunities before the taxman comes knocking.
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “Foreign Reporting – Got a Letter From Your Bank? What Next?”; “OVDP Program Changes Help Taxpayers With Unreported Offshore Accounts”; and “The Arrogance of Wall Street – Plenty of Whistleblower Opportunities.”

 
Looking back

  • Tax Vox: Color film (for those of us who remember camera film) and interstate highways aren’t the only changes since 1929: “U.S. taxes today bear little resemblance to the taxes collected before World War II,” notes blogger Roberton Williams. Tariffs and federal excise taxes have made way for such other toys as income and payroll taxes – “and while the feds collected just one-third of all revenue before the war, they now claim two-thirds.” Thanks, Axis Powers.
  • It’s Taxing: Little one, it’s time for you to join me in the family business. I’ve watched you grow from that little baby to a fine and responsible young adult. It’ll make me proud to labor shoulder-to-shoulder with you day after day, building our fortunes and future together. Plus I can get a tax break.

 
You will believe

  • Taxing Subjects: A reminder that IRS tax forums kick off soon in Chicago, San Diego, New Orleans, Washington and Orlando, Fla. Main draw, the blogger notes, is CE. Though IRS Commissioner Koskinen is scheduled to give the keynote in Chicago. Worth your time in the Windy City, especially if Paul Ryan shows up.