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

Why all the confusion?

  • Tax Policy: There’s learning and then there’s life’s real lessons: “A group of professors recently released a study that finds insufficient discussion of the total cost of taxes in public finance textbooks.” We’re pretty sure we studied those books.
  • Taxable Talk: Dog ate my homework, I had a flat tire and “I’ve tried to tell you the truth every time I’ve been here.” A tongue-stapled-in-cheek look at IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s frequent plea during recent testimony on Capitol Hill. One simple question in response: “Why doesn’t that quote read, ‘I’ve told you the truth every time I’ve been here’?” Also, a look at the recent Nevada Supreme Court decision in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, “a win” for the FTB.

Teachin’ them right

  • Tax, Society & Culture: Do those not yet smart enough to be your clients actually forego tax savings out of fear that tax prep costs too much? A look at the recent article “How Taxing is Tax Filing? Leaving Money on the Table Because of Compliance Costs” that argues that many taxpayers leave hundreds on the table simply to dodge the headache of itemizing. Prep pros might find this conclusion hard to believe – but consider how scary most people find filling out even a basic 1040 on their own.
  • Taxes at About.com: Plain-language entries to teach your clients about state refunds taxed on federal return, as well as reporting and taxing of interest and dividends.
  • Mauled Again: You can lead a taxpayer to water but you can’t make him understand why he doesn’t qualify for the EITC: “An Epidemic of Tax Ignorance” looks at “that horrific phrase, ‘IRS Code.’ ”
  • Rubin on Tax: Applicable federal rates for October. Also, upgrades and cheap fares make you feel like soaring, but are frequent flier miles taxable?

The road ahead

  • Backtaxeshelp: It Always Rolls Downhill Dept.: How the recent $16.5 billion Bank of America settlement could wind up producing a bigger tax bill for homeowners even as BofA agrees to pony up $7 billion to help relief for homeowners hammered by the housing crisis as a result of the bank’s actions.
  • Taxing Subjects: IRS RPO director Carol Campbell has hit Facebook to promote the upcoming Annual Filing Season Program, pinpointing why preparers should participate, requirements for the AFSP and other details. “The IRS forges ahead with the voluntary program, in the midst of increasing scrutiny and two lawsuits.” Lawsuits, schmawsuits.
  • Income tax school: ACA are the three biggest letters to hit tax planning since IRS. A look at Obamacare updates preparers should know.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: Headline of the week: “Getting old sucks.” How to prepare for the wrinkly times physically, emotionally and especially financially. As this blogger says, “I am a firm believer in the cliché adage truth that you’re as young as you feel.”

Bottoms up

  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: While you can still see straight take a look at the “How Your Favorite Drink Is Taxed” infographic. Also, “5 Tax Deductions and Credits for Working Moms” and great tips for your clients on boosting finances in the suddenly closing months of 2014.
  • Procedurally Taxing: How the Ninth Circuit Court recently parted ways with the other circuits – correctly, claims this blogger – regarding what constitutes attempts to dodge taxes for purposes of Section 523(a)(1)(C) of the Bankruptcy Code.
  • Tax Vox: As Sheriff Margie said in Fargo, “It’d be quite a coincidence if they weren’t all, you know, connected.” A look at how tax changes affect economic growth as tax reform debate heats up.

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