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

Identity crisis

  • IRS Problem Solver Blog: Agency, Heal Thyself: “While the IRS is out to nab people and corporations who fail to pay taxes, there seems to be a little personal housecleaning that would be in order.” How a TIGTA audit revealed the IRS failed to stop felons from preparing returns: Compliance checks failed to revoke felon preparer IDs when it was found they violated the law – to the considerable tune of some 19,500 preparers.
  • Procedurally Taxing: Closing the Stall Door Dept.: IRS finally lifts the wrap on procedures for ID-theft victims to request copies of fraudulently filed returns, “a much-needed change that has been a long time coming.” What happens when crooks start stealing identities by filing not returns, but such requests? Did they ever think of that, huh?
  • Taxing Subjects: Among your many security concerns in the coming season: theft of client info via your Wi-Fi, which “remains relatively easy to hack using simple tools available on the Internet.” Oh goodie. How to protect yourself.

Must be some misunderstandings

  • Tax Policy: The Tax Foundation held a reception last month honoring Estonia “for having the most competitive tax system among the 34 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.” Attendees included none other than Estonian Ambassador Eerik Marmei. Also, blogger Frank Yan looks at how America “stands still” even as Irish corporate tax revenues surge.
  • Federal Tax Crimes: A look at the recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on pending amendments to several tax treaties and protocols, including one for the Switzerland-U.S. tax treaty, and an analysis of witnesses’ key statements.
  • Taxlaw: How “a number of misunderstandings” contributes to many foreigners who own property or assets in the U.S. violating 706-NA filing requirements. One constant among these and other non-taxpayers: “Many people think of numerous reasons not to file.”
  • Mauled Again: Follow the Money Dept.: Not all criticisms of myRA are on the money – specifically when it comes to why workers really don’t have any money to, in the parlance of planners, sock away.

Let’s review

  • Taxjar: For you author/preparers, guest blogger Jeff Cohen of at Seller Labs looks at the importance of feedback on Amazon and gives four tips to help increase your seller feedback.
  • ClientWhys: Just when you thought it might be safe to coast with a client or two … . Like the phenomenon or not, online reviews can be key to the success of your practice. “Reviews on niche sites like TaxBuzz and generalized sites like Facebook and Google are a way that consumers communicate with one another about the services they use every day. They can be a bit intimidating to people not used to this sort of openness.” Good thing you don’t know any of those.

Here comes the son

  • Taxable Talk: Apple and the tree? A look at Chaka Fattah Jr., son of Rep. Chaka Fattah Sr., D-Pa. – who incidentally was himself indicted last summer over corruption charges – has been found guilty of 22 of 23 tax and fraud charges.
  • Tax Girl: You may dance with the stars, but you may not get paid for it.
  • Rubin on Tax: “Congress Tinkers with Family Partnership Rules” examines how the recently enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 “moves around” the family partnership rules to clarify application.

Stated plainly

  • BNA blogs: Is life really the way it should be in Maine? The Pine Tree State plans to “trade tax breaks for clean elections.” We’re from Maine, and can attest that even if an election is clean there, people still remain healthfully skeptical of politicians.
  • Tax Vox: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi want to nix the 40 percent tax on high-cost health insurance plans. Plus some interesting tax-reform answers (“My wife, the former banker, does our taxes”) from new Ways & Means chair Kevin Brady, Alaska’s Gov. Bill Walker tries to get the state’s fiscal house in order, and did New Mexico’s Department of Taxation and Revenue perform retaliatory audits?

Catching them up

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