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

Your pile of 1040s

  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: Business deductions are the juiciest write-offs for some clients, and certainly personal technology opens an ever-widening door of possibilities for hitting the subtract button. A realistic look at the rules of writing off business use of a cell phone (“The easiest way to pass IRS deduction muster is to use your cell phone exclusively for business. Yeah, that’s not happening ... ”).
  • The Wandering Tax Pro: In the Same Boat Dept.: More on Mr. Flach’s progress of the season (“It has not gotten that bad yet … ”). Only a dozen or so clients outstanding here, though “forget the corn -- the pile of 1040s to do is as high as an elephant's eye.” !
  • Taxes at About.com: A chart detailing total refundable credits from 1990 to 2011. Taxpayers claimed $99.1 billion in these credits in 2011; the refundable credits paid out by the IRS also fluctuated over the years – like much having to do with the service.
  • TaxMama: Mama tackles whether the unemployed and partially employed can get a waiver on the penalty for withdrawing from an IRA if the jobless in question isn’t yet 59½.
  • Backtaxeshelp: Gentle reminder of a half a dozen credits and deductions clients can’t overlook. Nor can you, if you favor repeat business in this age when everyone with a home computer has a hotline into tax developments…

 
All business

  • Rubin on Tax: A look at consolidated returns and their automated election. Corporations owned 80 percent or more by a common parent corp may recognize many benefits from a consolidated return: offsets of income and losses from the various subsidiaries, elimination of immediate tax consequences for transactions between members, distributions without adverse tax consequences within the group. What to do and not do regarding these filings.
  • John R. Dundon II EA blog: Nice rundown of the top free U.S. tax research sites, along with Dundon’s reasoning for each. Plus, a look at Form 7004 to extend filing of certain business income tax.

 
All politics

  • Tax Policy: A nod to Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., for his “excellent piece” in a recent National Review on tax reform. Toomey “recognizes that tax reform is an outstanding opportunity for lawmakers to make a real difference in the economy,” but, somewhat like war in Europe 100 years ago, it’s too important to be left solely to lawmakers.
  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: What Will Everyone Blame on April 1? Dept.: A reminder that the deadline for signing up for Obamacare expires on March 31. Also, your clients’ new wedding bliss comes with a host of financial considerations. An audit makes a lousy wedding gift.
  • Tax Vox: Like him or not, Dave Camp’s most valuable contribution to tax reform may not eventually be cutting the top individual rate, axing the AMT or reducing the corporate rate, but toughening the process of promising trillions in tax cuts with no understandable blueprint. Even now, however, some in Washington still don’t get it.
  • Mauled Again: New Jersey’s proposal to tax e-cigarettes, which are already banned in that state in public places. Also, a look at whether e-cigarettes curb or eventually encourage smoking.

 
God’s team

  • TaxProf blog: The kind of hot holy water churches get into when they buy a pastor’s books with the contents of the collection plate. Let us read from the Book of Inurement.
  • Taxable Talk: The tax dangers of getting wrapped up in online sports betting, specifically if you take your gambling Web site public and try some tricky backfield shifts to gain tax advantages. The IRS, just like the referee, catches most infractions eventually.

 
New to us

  • Procedurally Taxing: A look at the recent decision in United States v. Steward, a case demonstrating misunderstanding between levy and lien. Nice detail here in plain talk, and we look forward to spotlighting more entries from this blog.