Highlights of some of our favorite tax-related blogs from the past week.
Flies in the figgy pudding
- Roth & Co.: Vroom vroom: A look at an Iowa news report on how owners of a new local speedway lube public officials to get special loopholes reacted. “Meanwhile the guy running the pizza joint (or) the real estate office … gets a horribly complicated Iowa tax system with high rates to pay for lots of loopholes for other people … The legislature is just too darn busy to find a way to enact a simple tax system … but they have plenty of time to go to a press conference to sell a special tax break for a single wealthy out-of-state family.”
- Due Diligence: In this week’s round-up: “New Details on Brian Borakowski and George Kardaras Fraud”; “Navy Worker Gets 10 Years For Kickback Scheme”; “Restaurant Owners Beware -- IRS Audits Can Lead To Immigration Charges”; and “How to Respond When Your Foreign Bank Asks About Your IRS Compliance.”
- Taxable Talk: Even as a former California city administrator pleads guilty to counts of conspiracy and filing a false income tax return, he may instead just face the music concurrently after fessing no contest to 69 state counts of corruption. You say state prison and I say federal prison. Let’s call the whole thing off, except for the guilty’s restitution to the IRS.
- Tax Girl: Karen Carpenter sang about it being “Yesterday Once More,” and again the House has greenlighted a federal budget deal that may or may not pass the Senate -- leaving us in the kind of a shutdown limbo that’s beginning to feel a lot like every other month. Also, “State Takes Measures to Combat ‘Obama Phone’ Abuse as FCC Ramps Up Fines” and yet another reminder of the dwindling days to squeeze in remaining deductions for 2013.
Ring in the new
- Tax Break: The TurboTax Blog: An infographic on end-of-year tax tips, maybe one of the best gifts anyone can give a client.
- Block Talk: “Are you thinking about scheduling an elective surgery or purchasing an expensive medical device before the end of the year?” Your client can live -- probably -- with some illness, but can they live with themselves if goofing on a proper tax calculation? What a client can and can’t itemize.
- Taxes at About.com: Donating an IRA as a year-end tax strategy under the special Qualified Charitable Distribution that fades away come Dec. 31.
- Backtaxeshelp: Tips for giving wisely to charity, including choosing the right charity: a worthy cause, a needy need, a noble mission and a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
- Tax Vox: A “reasonable projection” of where tax rates are headed (more or less up) over the next 10 years.
- Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: How leaders of tax firms and elsewhere must make time to recognize their top performers, all-stars, top talent and super stars -- including how feelings of other employees can’t be coddled at the expense of someone doing a stand-out job.
Don’t call us …
- The Wandering Tax Pro: “You really can’t reach me by telephone during the year,” this blogger begins, from there relating what seems reasonable steps of reserving his cell only for emergencies and unplugging his land line except during tax season. So why or why then do clients e-mail him with, “I have a tax question. Please call me at 123-456-7890.” Make that “800/NOCHANCE,” and this blogger/preparer spells out why this is a poor way to communicate with a tax preparer.
- TaxFactor Blog: Part 2 of a new baby, an old diaper, a pre-dawn Monday and how clients and preparers sometimes look differently at the same “emergency.”
It’s an education
- John R. Dundon II, EA: How the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service staggers under its workload to the point where this blogger, attempting to open a case, “was basically told that unless you are unemployed and destined for homelessness as a result you will essentially not meet the standards for opening a case file.” The real takeaway? “You need to be educated about your tax obligations … ”
- Tax, Society & Culture: Questions and answers about FATCA, from the basics up. A work in progress.
- TaxProf Blog: When a rich Texas 16-year-old swipes beer from a Walmart, gets behind the wheel and kills or injures half a dozen people on the side of the road it is: a) a crime; b) a shame; c) what we’ve come to expect; or d) a natural and legally pardonable result of the type of parenting the drunk driver endured growing up? See here “The Tax and Estate Planning Origins of ‘Affluenza.’”