In the Blogs: Easy as ACA

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

Easy as ACA

  • Tax Vox: The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight holds a hearing this week to review the government’s ability to verify income and insurance information when it comes to the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits and subsidies. The eyebrow-raiser: About 2 million people who purchased health care through the ACA exchange provided information inconsistent with federal records, about half for reported income and half for citizenship or residency status. The exchange is only the latest twig of the sprawling federal government that don’t like that a bit. Also, “Mind the gap, state governments. The wealth gap, that is.”
  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: The ACA enrollment period is closed, but special circumstances may still qualify some clients for sign-up. A look at those circumstances, including disasters and illnesses and specific changes in family status or citizenship.


A man’s home is his tax burden

  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: Think you and your corner lot have it rough with the taxman? The highest property tax bill in the country rings the bell at $1.275 million; this blogger joins his Austin, Texas, neighbors in complaining about the jump in property tax bills. “True, Texas’s limit on how much appraised value can increase each year. But when the housing market is hot, and it's smoking here, then there's not much a homeowner can do.” Join the home-owning club.
  • Mauled Again: Again, home is where the taxman is, after a homeowner in Indiana computed the property tax on the home by subtracting a homestead exemption from the value before multiplying by the applicable rate. The problem: The homestead exemption applies only if the homeowner is living in the house, which of course in this instance the homeowner wasn’t.
  • Taxes at Another look at this year’s supposedly simpler home-office deduction. Also, the merry mix-ups involved in filing late returns.

In a world…

  • Rubin on Tax: Does the Constitution actually greenlight the 50 percent-per-year FBAR penalty for willful violations? How a recent case may or may not answer the question.
  • Tax, Society & Culture: A look at recent remarks by IRS Commission Koskinen, which the blogger notes are in “marked contrast”’ when one stacks the service’s divergent approaches to “cracking down” on individual taxpayers versus a different approach toward U.S. multinational companies. A nod as well toward perpetually unanswered questions “about who owes what to whom” across borders.

Do overs

  • The Income Tax School: “Seasoned” tax professionals (at age 52 we’re coming to hate the word “seasoned”) weigh in via LinkedIn on what they would’ve done different professionally and personally if they had the whole rigmarole to begin over again.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro: Examination of our recent story on whether the RTRP was worth the wrangling now that the designation seems headed for a rocking chair on the porch. Blogger Robert Flach maintains that licensing preparers will not stop tax fraud and a simple competency test will not weed out incompetent preparers.

‘Trivial and weird’

  • Tax Policy: Our favorite title of the week: “Why the Word ‘Hoensbroek’ Is in IRS Instruction Booklets” looks at the “large omnibus tax bill called the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (TIPRA),” which, like most similarly sized tax documents had some actually important provisions such as a two-year extension of President Bush’s reduced rate on capital gains. Like most similarly sized tax documents it also toted along “some trivial and weird provisions, as well.” Also, how the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s editorial board mocks an idea to link sin tax with the performance of the main beneficiaries – namely the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers. Nothing’s been the same since LeBron went to South Beach … .
  • It’s Taxing: A look at the new Web-based IRS Direct Pay, which allows taxpayers filing 1040s to pay any balance due on their returns or make estimated payments without incurring any additional fees or having to pre-register. Now parting with your money is easier than ever!!
  • Procedurally Taxing: There’s death and taxes – but are the two intertwined? A look at US v. Molen et al., wherein the Eastern District of California considered a summary judgment motion the feds filed attempting to reduce tax assessments to judgments and to foreclose on real property after two married owners of a florist shop argued “that the compensation they pay employees did not constitute wages and that the federal courts cannot enforce federal tax laws outside of the District of Columbia,” among other creative tax moves. Death seems the only logical next step.
  • TaxMama: Mama helps a taxpayer who paid off student loans using a home equity line of credit and now wonders if the interest remains deductible.
  • Liberty Tax blog: How investors can cut taxes, starting with simply “just knowing what will and won’t trigger higher tax rates,” from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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