Highlights from some of our favorite tax bloggers this week.
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Savings and losses
- Rubin on Tax: A look at how 529s may not always be the best option for college saving, “not always a no-brainer, especially when compared to other vehicles, such as irrevocable gift trusts.” 529s offer “limited investment choices,” with some withdrawn earnings being subject to income tax and a 10 percent penalty tax, and other things. You learn something every day.
- Fast Forward Academy blog: Bet You Didn’t Know Dept: “Ponzi” was named for a Boston investment scam artist from a century ago. Time ticked on, and today “individuals scramble incessantly to EAs with inquiries about the deductible amounts for all manner of cash outlays.” Including, it seems, hundred-year-old scam ideas.
- Tax Blawg: Underwater does not always mean drowning: “The Tax Court recently issued a Summary Opinion … involving an individual who was underwater on her mortgage, and who abandoned the property, subsequent to which the mortgage loan was foreclosed.” The ins and outs of what happened in this stunningly common occurrence these days, and how the court ruled.
- Mauled Again: Examination of a recent case that “demonstrates yet again” the criticality of putting stuff in writing and in time. Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but it seems a taxpayer who was an ordained minister entered into an employment agreement with a church in… You can imagine the punchline.
- Drake Software blog: A frank warning about a phishing e-mail disguised as “an official e-mail from Drake” received by clients. Pay attention if you use Drake.
File it under…
- The Tax Professional: A look at the New Jersey “Electronic Filing Mandate” mandating that preparers who “reasonably expect to prepare 11 or more individual gross income tax resident returns (including those filed for trusts and estates) during the tax year must use electronic methods to file those returns for which an electronic filing option is available.” The blogger retorts that he does “not use flawed and expensive tax preparation software to prepare my federal and state 1040s -- and at this point in my career I never will.” A matter of time versus technology.
Going to market
- ClientWhys: A look at beefing up Facebook posts with video. “ClientWhys began experimenting with adding video to our CPA and tax professionals’ blog articles and Facebook posts. The results so far have been spectacular, with many more shares and views of articles compared to those with text-only formats.” Ah, the mere written word. Ah, humanity. Still, get on board this easily accessible train.
- Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders: Rita Keller turns her sights on how a firm’s Web site can attract top talent.
Naughty naughty -- yet again
- Due Diligence: In this week’s round-up: “Whistleblowers to Receive $361,000 in Land Mine Detector Case” (BOOM!!); “IRS Seeks To Tax ‘Stateless Income’”; and “Cabot Tenants in Common Fraud Case Ends with Default.”
- Tax, Society & Culture: “A fascinating account from the Sunlight Foundation of the gutting of a regulatory initiative by the kind of methodical persistence that can only be sustained by special interest groups with much to be gained from weak regulation.” If that doesn’t get your morning off to a good start, we can’t help you.
- TaxFactor Blog: We can’t stop reading a post that opens, “If you are easily offended, then here is your chance to stop reading this post.” (We are easily offended, yet that’s stopped not a soul from continuing to talk…) “Confessions of a Mad Tax Accountant” promises to be politically incorrect and “about what most tax accountants will be too scared to say or write.” The topic: EITCs. You take it from there.
- Liberty Tax blogs: What’s deductible in a job search. Sadly, “if you are looking for your first job, your job search expenses are not deductible.” Other conditions include restrictions to a client’s search regarding deductions; looking for work through an employment agency; travel and transportation costs for trips taken for finding a job; costs of envelopes, resume paper, and postage; being proactive in looking for a job after the end of your last job. On it goes, ending in this entry with “good luck.”
- Brian’s Financial and Tax Musings: Captain’s Auto Log, Stardate Your Last Big Business Roadtrip... No, we don’t think that opening line works, either, but just remember your auto mileage log or you may regret it later if you’re “self-employed or if you have a job where you drive a lot and don’t get reimbursed for mileage.” Acknowledged. Kirk out.
The reality of reform
- Don’t Mess with Taxes: “In seeking specifics from their Senate colleagues on ways to reform the tax code, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont, and the committee’s Ranking minority party member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, promised confidentiality.” How’d that go?
- The Wandering Tax Pro: Indefatigable blogger Robert Flach recounts his recent letter to the editor of no less than USA TODAY, on tax reform: “I provided my email address with the submission, but have not heard anything...”