In the Blogs: Back to the Grind

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

Back to the grind

  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: In With the New Dept.: A look at the always sobering subject of firm succession.
  • The Income Tax School: As soon as your breath returns just before Memorial Day, you face the same question for the rest of the calendar year: How do I make money through the whole 12 months? Look at the bright side: amended returns, missed deadlines, quarterly taxes and, best of all, audits. Not to mention another dozen you haven’t thought of. Now cheer up.


Private matters

  • Procedurally Taxing: Favorite opening of the week: “Like springtime weeds in the garden, the idea of collecting federal tax debts through private collectors pops up with regularity.” So which do you reach for: the fertilizer or the weed whacker? A look at the newest version of this hardy and recurring notion, along with the blogger’s explanation of “why it needs to go away” and the sense of funding “real tax collectors working at the IRS” to replace it.
  • Mauled Again: How potholes can have a lot to do with “the privatization ploy” of anti-tax policies – that is, cash from the private sector to smooth the way and safeguard lives and limbs and cut down on the need for front-end alignments.

Capitol improvement

  • Tax Vox: Washington’s partisan pingpong condemns more than one worthy idea to legislative limbo. Not so bridge spending for highways: The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a six-year transportation bill on a bipartisan vote. The bill keeps federal spending level but does not address the looming shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund, which is financed by the federal gasoline tax.
  • Rubin on Tax: “IRS Regulation of Tax Return Preparers Is Dead (For Now)” gives a timeline of the saga, a look at the service’s declining (for now) intent to pursue appeals of the now three-year-old idea. We can’t help thinking this was a noble idea too bluntly launched.

State levels

  • It’s Taxing: A look at the soon-to-increase Maryland estate tax exemption (to eventually match the federal exemption). Also answers to top questions about reporting foreign assets.
  • Roth & Co.: Iowa’s Republicans want “flat” state income tax if they capture majorities Des Moines this fall. The proposal allows Iowans to continue filing their income taxes under the current system or choose the alternative of a 4.5 percent flat rate on their income with no deductions (this bloggers calls this an “alternative maximum tax” because taxpayers compute the tax both ways and pay the smaller number – unlike with the AMT, where taxpayers still wear out their pencils and then pay the higher amount).
  • The Missouri Tax Guy: The season seems to get longer every year: You can’t tell clients too often that the IRS will not – that’s not, as in will not, did not, could not – contact taxpayers by phone. Give out nothing.

Plan ahead

  • Liberty Tax: The tortoise would’ve made a great tax clients (at least until mid-March). A reminder that slow ‘n’ steady wins the race to file – and pay – taxes. More tax planning over the whole year, not to mention checking filings for errors and topping off savings by knowing the latest tax and deduction regs, makes for better and happier clients.
  • Tax Policy: Economic growth, investment and the impact of tax policy and how the three intertwine to create, for investors, an atmosphere of both opportunity and punishment.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro: How the Tax Code harpoons investors in tax-exempt bonds in calculation of the taxable portion of Social Security and railroad retirement benefits. Turns out “tax-exempt” muni-bond income can actually be whacked at 12.75% or 21.25%. “Exempt” is one word…

War and remembrance

  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: A salute to our dedicated military members for Armed Forces Day, including tips to help service folks save more. We talk a lot about the glory of military pensions, the free and room and medical care and joining the military and seeing the world, but active duty is tough on a wallet, especially since many in the military are just starting out in adult life and may have a dependent family back here in the states. Lend an extra hand for these clients.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.