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In the Blogs: The Tax Goes On

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Highlights from some of our favorite tax bloggers this week.

Where the deduction is

  • IRS Problem Solver Blog: The red-flag dangers of the home-office deduction, with a warning to “fill up” the 8829 but, further, some stats on how many Americans work for a small or virtual business and hence may fall in this grey but thorny area of deductions.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro: Similarly, a report on the lead article of the April issue of the NATP’s Tax Pro Monthly that discusses details of the new “safe harbor” home-office deduction, including for example how this new option allows taxpayers with a qualified home office to deduct $5 per square foot up to a maximum of $1,500, among other factors.
  • H&R Block blog: Post-Earth Day musings on exactly what deductions a client can actual realize when it comes to energy efficiency, including home improvements, appliances and vehicles.

 

And there’s a flag on the play…

  • Fast Forward Academy blog: “How conclusions rendered by an audit can vary considerably from the view presented by company management,” specifically the professional ethics regarding disclosure in the recently leaked financial statements of the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers and how they differed from the team owner’s decrying a “bleak financial situation for NFL teams.” Fifteen yards and loss of transparency!
  • Taxable Talk: “Uli Hoeness is the president of Bayern Munich. Who?” Well, a pro soccer team in a part of the world where they put the city second in the name of the team and where “football” means something round and black and white. This, however, is not a case of penalty kicks but of tax evasion, as “Mr. Hoeness apparently has an issue with a Swiss bank account.” The discussion here is proof that be it Germany or Main Street, USA, the feds go easier on cheaters who come forward voluntarily.
  • Taxing Subjects: The IRS has rejected a reward claim made by whistleblower and former banker Joseph Insinga, who a few years back spilled the beans about several companies and dodged taxes. “But the IRS says the information did not result in collection of any additional taxes,” Insinga sued the IRS last year, and “other whistleblowers and lawyers had hoped the Insinga case would bring more clarity to how the IRS handles whistleblower claims.” Big question: Is the service continuing to crawl regarding its whistleblower program?
  • Our Taxing Times: “Do Overs!” or what kids in the backyard who’ve grown into taxpayers in April (and their preparers) should remember about 1040X, used to file an amended return. Suggestions and reminders on how to handle this sometimes-tricky form.
  • Roth & Co.: How even lawyers must sometimes “resort to the lamest lame tax-fraud scheme out there,” the one involving the “1099-OID.”

 

Youth movement

  • Liberty Tax Blogs: Your Gen Y or X or whatever clients may be your best, it turns out. People younger than you are may have no idea what respect is when it comes to elders, but apparently, according to a new study, they’re sharper at taxes and making good tax decisions than their parents. (Key question is, of course, how old were the people who did the survey, huh??)

 

Now that you have time to actually think

  • TaxMama: A podcast look at interest on refunds, especially when the IRS takes months to render a decision on an amount worthy of interest.
  • EA John R. Dundon II blog: Got That Right Dept.: “It has been quite a tax season!” with a review of such IRS activity as scooping in almost $2.5 trillion in federal revenue and processing 237 million returns, with most individual returns e-filed. “More than 120 million individual income tax return filers received a tax refund, which totaled almost $322.7 billion.” Also, what the IRS spent -- the lowest cost in half a decade -- to collect each $100 in tax revenue during the fiscal year, plus examination rates.
  • The Tax Professional: Has direct deposit of refunds become a problem this year? “Over the years,” blogs Robert D Flach, “I have never heard from a client of any problems with a direct deposit, other than taking longer than expected for the refund to be deposited -- until now…”
  • Backtaxeshelp: “Five Smart Strategies for Spending Your Tax Refund.” Word to the tax-wise: This kind of advice to clients right about now might be a great way to get them back in your door next tax season.
  • Tax Blawg: The future tax plusses to a client incorporating their business this year. Again, timely advice from a preparer that might solidify a relationship with a once and future client.
  • The RTRP blog: Hit the hot tub after this season with reading recommended here: “The History of Enrolled Agents” and “Three reasons why the IRS will persist in its mission to regulate tax return preparers.” Don’t forget to order a drink with an umbrella in it.
  • Clientwhys: Half a dozen good ways to run your practice in time-crunched times. Never too early to start planning for how to make Tax Season 2014 just a wee bit easier.

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