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

When a stranger calls

  • Liberty Tax: “The call comes to your home. Caller ID suggests it’s the IRS. You answer.” Oh what a tangled web for your clients they weave, these scammers who never seem to take a frigging day off. Reminder, reminder, reminder: With good news or bad, the IRS first contacts taxpayers by mail.
  • Taxable Talk: Best scam-beware headline of the week: “Do Call Us, We Won’t Call You.”

The good ol’ days

  • Tax Vox: In This Corner Dept.: A look at budget projections beside the Potomac, especially how, sans serious changes soon, health care, Social Security and interest on the federal debt stand to gobble 85% of all new national government spending over the next 10 years. Many other items – income security for poor households, national defense, transportation, health and safety, education and the like – might well shrink to the lowest levels (as a share of the economy) since before World War II.
  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: How you can help clients save and spend wisely (same thing) on health care in this age of the ACA – when some might not realize that conventional avenues for insurance might work just as well.

Dollars to donate

  • Musings of a Burbank CPA: How charitable gift trusts and donor-advised gift funds offer a great current deduction while postponing what charity the gift goes to, allowing the cash to grow tax-free until the donation.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: Speaking of shivering with good feeling about giving to charity, a look at how the ALS Association's Ice Bucket Challenge netted more than $100 million as of the end of August – in just that month a 38-fold month increase over August 2013. We still say the truly kind-hearted will take the Challenge in Minnesota four months from now… Bucket on! Let’s hope more causes find such success.

Invert we trust

  • Tax Policy: A “Simple Solution to Corporate Inversions” looks at how multiple companies snap eyes this way and that for legal alleyways away from the U.S. corporate tax system – most recently Burger King. One point: The U.S. corporate tax system badly needs freshening.
  • John Dundon II EA blog: “New Information on U.S.-Canada Income Tax Treaty.” Crack a Moosehead and try to relax even as many dual citizens get “stung by the reasonably new U.S. FBAR tax laws.”

Looming matters

  • The Income Tax School: It’s not that time of year already yet, but you know that in your life the only sure things are death and tax season. A marketing plan checklist to prepare.
  • Procedurally Taxing: Great pointer on how to help those clients who might be best off with a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the LITC, about 140 of which exist today with at least one in almost every state.
  • It’s Taxing: Just draw a big bull’s eye on inherited IRAs when federal bankruptcy laws take aim.

Wrong and right

  • Taxing Subjects: Ethics abound on the reality tube these days, “but if the ethical challenges on the television show are hypothetical, the ones that can affect tax and accounting professionals are very real. The penalties for unethical conduct are likewise very real – ranging from loss of reputation and formal censure to fines and prison terms.” Indeed. Why are ethics sometimes so darned slippery? Also, a first look at tax prep’s “big data.”
  • Rubin on Tax: Among the many challenges facing higher education today: Does an online sorority qualify as a 501(c) exempt social club? The IRS was recently asked to grant exemption by an online for-profit university.
  • Mauled Again: How a recent Tax Court decision, Oxford v. Comr., T. C. Summ. Op. 2014-80, dissects the First-Time Homebuyer Credit and the meaning of principal residence.