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

Power trips

  • Tax, Society & Culture: The power to tax probably started when the first three humans decided to form a group. How deep does this ruling urge run? A look at the question via the book Taxation: A Fieldwork Research Handbook and its chapter entitled “Tea Parties, Tax, and Power.”
  • Roth & Co.: “For an agency that insists it has nothing to hide, the IRS sure acts like it is hiding something.” The over-riding question now that the service claims to have lost more employees’ e-mail: “Can dogs eat e-mails?” Also, how Democratic senators released a report insisting the IRS picked on left-side outfits just as much as right-side ones – and how the numbers don’t support the claim.
  • Procedurally Taxing: A look at recent changes to the Appeals Judicial Approach and Culture Project (AJAC), along with background on these four big new letters.
  • Tax Policy: The recent Congressional Budget Office cost estimate for H.R 647, “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014.” This Capitol Hill sheet would “allow for the creation of a new type of tax-favored account – an ABLE account for individuals with disabilities.” Whatever the price, we still consider the real value. 

Call the bluff

  • Taxable Talk: Blogger Russ Fox admits (as a poker player, anyway) that he knows there’s a time to lie and “as a tax professional, I know that time is not while preparing your tax return or advising others on taxes.” A rundown of others who learned that lesson the hard way.
  • John Dundon II EA blog: When to hold ’em and when to fold ’em regarding tax implications of U.S. expatriation.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: More than pigskins were kicked off last Sunday. A look at the new season for taxable betting on pro football games – and a nod to the Dallas Cowboys, who “apparently have lots of supporters in much of Nevada.” Reminder to clients: Winnings on fantasy football leagues incur taxes, too.

Foreign affairs

  • The Tax Times: How the Tax Court recently ruled that a Chinese citizen who lived in the U.S. and filed a 2005 return as a resident alien and then filed an amended 2005 return (and then, in 2009, received a 2005 refund and interest on that refund) was neither a Chinese resident nor a non-resident alien in 2009 and therefore was subject to tax on the interest income at regular U.S. graduated rates. 

What’s in a blame?

  • Rubin on Tax: When a bank receives an IRS notice of levy against the assets of a depositor, how fast can said financial institution make it to a phone booth (not that they exist anymore but stay with us) to change into its Superman costume and freeze the account? “Really really fast,” notes this entry, relating the recent court tale of JPMorgan Chase. The depositor here emptied their account in two hours – and the IRS stuck up the bank for the $40,000 in question.
  • Mauled Again: A look at a recent letter in The Philadelphia Inquirer from Michael Colgan, CEO of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs, claiming that President Obama “missed the mark” (blogger’s quotes) by placing “blame for corporate inversions on ‘accountants going to some big corporations . . . and saying we found a great loophole.’ … The real blame lies at the feet of the president and Congress for not tackling the long-overdue rewrite of the U.S. Tax Code.” This blogger’s take on who missed the mark.

List opportunities

  • Tax Girl: In the wake of the massive last goodbye to comic genius Joan Rivers, a look at the deductibility of funerals. Also, the IRS recent toying with taxing employee meals (Accounting Today) and “The Real Reason Some Schools Start After Labor Day.”
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “Tax Evasion and Shell Companies”; “Darwinism & Tax Evasion – How to Go to Jail in a Few Easy Steps”; “Loan Officer Gets 10 Years for Tax Evasion and Embezzlement Scheme”; “‘Roll Your Own’ Scheme Leads to Cigarette Tax Evasion Charges”; “Tax Evasion Charge Raises $13K Tax Bill to $119K”; and “Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Opportunity?”
  • Backtaxeshelp: Wacky is as wacky does: “7 of the World’s Weirdest Tax Laws.” Lack of sales tax on fruit and vegetables in California (versus the extra 1.5 cents a pound you pay in Maine) pales in comparison to the taxes people face in other countries. France taxes use of Google, for instance. Sweden taxes baby names. Aren’t you dying to know what cows must do in Ireland and Denmark to get their owners slapped with levies?

Gentle reminders

  • Takes at About.com: Car and truck expense and home-office deductions; “Federal Tax Brackets for 2013 (and Tax Rate Changes Worth Knowing)”; easy calculation of estimated taxes; and adjusting withholding in the middle of the year.
  • H&R Block blog: How much of Social Security benefits are taxable?
  • Philadelphia Estate and Tax Attorney blog: Funding college and still staying tax-efficient, especially when it comes to special gift-tax breaks.
  • Taxing Subjects: Bet You Didn’t Realize Dept.: “Accounting and Tax Prep Among the 15 Most Profitable Industries” examines how well off you preparers really are, along with lawyers, dentists, lessors of equipment and, big surprise, oil and gas extraction companies. And you thought you went into this field just to help people.
  • Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders: Does your passion for the tax prep profession (see previous entry) spill over to your staff? Five reasons passion dies.

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