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

CTRL+ALT+REFUND

  • Don’t Mess with Taxes: A look at H&R Block’s recent move to create virtual tax preparation (Accounting Today). “While the graphics were rudimentary … they conveyed a sense of 360-degree space.” Puts them ahead of some preparers we’ve used. We’re guessing, to paraphrase Lincoln, that this will interest clients who are interested in it.

That’s progress

  • Tax Vox: Blogger Renu Zaretsky looks at legislative wrangles in Kansas to fill the state’s $400 million budget hole with tax increases and other measures. Also, pressure mounts on presidential candidates to release their returns and “the progressivity of the federal income tax and the regressivity of the Fair Tax.”
  • Mauled Again: Is the federal income tax truly progressive? This oft-thorny question runs a lot deeper than simplistic tags like 1 percent.

Ain’t that a kick in the head

  • Taxable Talk: Barcelona may have recently taken the international Champions League Final in soccer in Berlin, but winning star Neymar Jr., from Brazil, is under investigation for tax evasion.
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “When Bad Stockbrokers Become Insurance Agents”; “Are Banks Liable to the Victims of Ponzi Schemes?”; “School Food Vendor Pays $19.4 in Whistleblower Suit”; “First Tennessee Bank Settles False Claims Act Suit – $212 Million!”; “The IRS Goes Down Under”; and “NY State Becomes Defendant in False Claims Act Case.”
  • Tax Policy: Cameron Williamson examines the Connecticut Legislature’s recent adoption of a $40.3 billion biennial budget that includes significant changes to the state’s tax structure – including some $2 billion in new tax revenues, nearly a quarter of which comes from upped income taxes.

Feeling anti-social?

  • The Income Tax School: “Did you know that 70% of Facebook users check the site daily? … [the] same survey found that 52% of Internet users use more than one of the social media sites.” Even if you still don’t know the difference between a Like and LinkedIn profile, your prospects and clients probably do. How to avoid being anti-social.
  • Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders: Life is good, but do remember that (courtesy of AICPA/AAA/AAM conference keynote speaker and LIG T shirt king Bert Jacobs): The older you get, the tougher it is to be optimistic; we are overwhelmed by negative media; and time is the most important currency, among other wisdom we too often forget.

For the record

  • Roth & Co.: Huzzahs to blogger Joe Kristan and the (TaxProf’s) Paul Caron, interviewed for a recent New York Times article on the tax implications of former House Speaker Hastert’s hush money scandal. Notes Kristan, “For the record, I have no personal experience in deducting extortion and hush money payments.”
  • Taxing Subjects: How to analyze cash-based businesses, from the cutting edge of cellphone transfers, EFTs, PayPal and WebMoney to the timeless owners’ scheme of not reporting income.

Vanishing act

  • Musings of a Burbank CPA: Loopholes are like puddles in August: “The new fad in IRA contributions is for taxpayers who have too much income to make a Roth IRA contribution to make a non-deductible contribution to a traditional IRA, then convert this to a Roth IRA. A loophole in the Tax Code (for now) allows this conversion to a Roth without income tax consequences.” Use care, with a look at a recent MarketWatch story on the subject.
  • TurboTax Blog: In honor of National Best Friends Day (which we never celebrate), how to hang out with BFFs on the cheap.
  • H&R Block: I Do and I Deduct Dept.: How the additional deduction for MFJ over Single can actually cover the cost, these days, of a pretty good nuptial shindig.

New to us

  • Federal Tax Crimes: Blogger Jack Townsend offers these entries for tax pros and students. “DOJ Tax Comments at NYU Tax Controversy Forum” summarizes officials’ comments, including details of the DOJ Program for Swiss Banks. A quality newcomer for our list.

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