In the blogs: Red flags

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Telework eligibility; ineffectual and evil; unpredictable refunds; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Red flags

  • National Taxpayer Advocate (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): IRS filters to detect and prevent tax refund fraud actually flag hundreds of thousands of returns each year that turn out to be legitimate, helping to produce a five-fold jump in three years in the number of taxpayers seeking Taxpayer Advocate Service assistance.
  • Rubin on Tax (http://rubinontax.floridatax.com/): In a recent Tax Court Memorandum decision, the taxpayer undertook two inter vivos gifting transactions, one to a GRAT and one to an irrevocable trust (the latter part sale/part-gift transaction). The transferred items were LLCs holding securities, limited partnership interests and promissory notes. The taxpayer’s transferred interests were 99.8-percent nonvoting class B member interests, with 0.2 percent of the member interests being voting class A interests retained by a management entity owned and controlled by the taxpayer’s daughter. How the IRS countered.
  • TaxProf Blog (http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/): Tax progressivity is central to both the detailed analytics of tax policy and the rhetorical arguments of public discourse. Yet there are surprisingly inconsistent and inaccurate uses of this seemingly objective term. A look at “a novel taxonomy” of how progressivity is assessed and why contradictory assessments are common.
  • Don’t Mess with Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): Cheaper assets, cheaper gas. Life is full of trade-offs.

Little words

  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): Quickly write down two words that describe your firm or tax practice at a given moment. Some actual examples: “organized” and “chaos,” “forward” and “backward,” “need” and “help” and, from a sole proprietor, “for” and “sale.”
  • Bloomberg Tax (https://pro.bloombergtax.com/news-insights/): A long-running battle between the Trump administration and federal unions over telework eligibility and recent efforts to scale back telework at several agencies could be hurting the government’s ability to gear up for coronavirus. (The big question of course: What about the IRS?)
  • National Association of Tax Professionals (https://blog.natptax.com/): The IRS is sending letters to preparers who completed six or more 2019 paper returns claiming refundable tax credits without attaching an 8867. What to remember about due diligence as the season sluice run begins.

Medieval thoughts

  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/us/en/index.html): To help small businesses compete with their larger counterparts during the holidays, New Mexico offered a one-day sales tax holiday for small businesses in 2018 and 2019. What the future holds for this Small-Business Saturday.
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): Unlike the pull-tab can, the soda tax will probably never go away. Yet a recent study indicates that the amount of soda and other sugary drinks downed by Philadelphia residents only declined by a statistically insignificant amount since enactment of a soda tax; the decline was essentially the same as in places without a soda tax. Why then does this tax continue?
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): Michigan now requires marketplaces to collect sales tax on behalf of sellers on online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay.
  • Tax Vox (https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): An Idaho lawmaker has labeled the property tax an “inherently evil” holdover from the Middle Ages (yes, those Middle Ages) and suggested the state repeal and replace it with a higher sales tax. Actually, the blogger reports, the property tax dates to 6,000 B.C., and through those many moons performed well on criteria of sound taxation.

What’s in a number?

  • Turbotax (https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/): What to tell them about needing (or not needing) a Social Security number to file a return.
  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): Acquisitions are often priced based on earnings, which are directly impacted by revenues. How and why this area merits special scrutiny during financial due diligence for a potential acquisition.
  • Tax Warrior Chronicles (https://www.taxwarriors.com/blog): What to remind them about not putting off getting your documents.
  • Boyum & Barenscheer (https://myboyum.com/blog/): A majority of large U.S. companies offer matching gift programs to boost the impact of their employees’ charitable gifts. What your not-for-profit clients can do to claim their share of this pool of corporate gifts.
  • IRS Mind (https://www.irsmind.com/): Almost three out of four of the 155.8 million individual filers received a refund in 2019 (average refund: $2,869). Most taxpayers can predict within a few days when their full refund will arrive. What about those who can’t?
  • Procedurally Taxing (https://procedurallytaxing.com): i3Assembly LLC v. United States presents “a sad outcome” for a company taking over a government contract from a delinquent taxpayer, and raises issues of jurisdiction as the IRS took money that should have been paid to i3Assembly and used it to satisfy the outstanding tax liability of the company that had the government contract before i3Assembly took it over.
  • Taxbuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): According to one recent study, Airbnb alone averages about 500,000 stays per night around the world. Best tax practices for clients who might want to join the providers’ side of the short-term rental universe.
  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): Fraudsters, phishing scams, ID theft: Also coming to this party is malware, designed to gain access to computer systems. How to stay protected.
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