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

If you’ve told them once

  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: One of your favorite topic these days: ACA exemptions.
  • Burbank CPA Tax Musings: A reminder of the size, scope and sophistications of IRS-impersonation phone scams. Remind your clients again that “the IRS doesn’t call [and definitely doesn’t email] you for anything except to confirm a tax audit date or to return a call by you to a particular revenue agent on a case in process.” Also, who exactly needs to file a 2014 return?
  • Our Taxing Times: Have a Seat Dept.: How patience is a virtue as a client gathers cobwebs waiting on W-2s, 1099s, or just about any other tax information form.
  • H&R Block blog: Ah, the beaches, the warm sun, the smooth rum cocktails in Old San Juan and the potential tax liability: Who living in Puerto Rico needs to file a return?
  • Tax Maven: If your clients include family-owned businesses, “you probably groan too when one of them tells you they are considering granting equity to one or more non-family member employees.” If only they did mention it ahead of time.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro: An “interesting, and unintended, way New Jersey screws retired residents.” Details of this landmine involving gross income and exclusions for reported pensions, annuities and IRA income.

Big questions

  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: A post for accounting majors and interns: “Your professors and maybe even your parents are pushing you to take the job that pays the most money. They want you to work for a firm with great name recognition that will eventually look good on your resume down the road. Is that how you want to begin your career? Will that make you happy?” Fine questions for any age, come to think of it.
  • TheGleimBlog: “Chronic test-taker” Jonathan tells how he decided to put off the BEC portion of the CPA Exam “because I do not feel ready for it.”

Old and new

  • The Income Tax School: Remember when tax prep “software” meant No. 1 lead in your pencil? A dwindling number of preparers do, which is “why learning to prepare tax returns by hand is crucial.” Think crawl before you walk.
  • ClientWhys: How much should you be on Facebook?

Inside the Tax Court

  • Taxable Talk: You never know what a Tax Court case will turn up. Perez v. Commissioner, for instance, examines whether a woman who had eggs retrieved from her body after undergoing fertility treatments in exchange for compensation could exclude the compensation because of the pain and suffering she went through in the procedure.” Interesting case about an event that might be more common than most people realize.
  • Procedurally Taxing: A review of the court’s little publicized bench opinions.
  • Mauled Again: Milbourn v. Comr. “teaches an important lesson to spouses working their way through divorce proceedings.” If you can keep a clear head amid such an emotional mess, remember that payments intended to be alimony that are made when there is no divorce or separation agreement in place requiring those payments are not deductible as alimony, nor are they includible in the recipient’s gross income.” Doesn’t help, of course, in deciding how to divide the vacation home.

Pro rated

Word from the top

  • Tax Policy: Sound Mind Dept.: Details of the president’s proposed ending of the “step up” in tax basis for inherited assets and a requirement for payment of capital gains at the time of death rather than when an heir later sells the assets.
  • Tax Vox: Amid the now-ignited debate, how “Obama Would Improve Tax Subsidies for Higher Education” examines how many of the president’s ideas “are controversial. And some don’t go far enough. But they’d do a better job helping households who most need education assistance than the current complex array of programs.”

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