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

Thorny questions

  • Rubin on Tax: Stop us if you’ve heard this one: “A cash-basis taxpayer owes interest and principal to a lender on a home mortgage loan. The taxpayer goes to another lender, borrows additional money against the residence and uses the loan proceeds to pay off the accrued interest on the first loan.” Such an interest payment should be deductible. But what if such accrued interest is eliminated via an increased principal loan balance?
  • The Tax Times: A look at the recent handshake between U.S. Department of Justice and the Swiss Federal Department of Finance “that essentially ends Swiss bank secrecy and the renown of Switzerland as a tax haven.” Nothing good lasts forever.
  • Tax Policy: Many numbers we all grew up on seem set these days by what anyone would need generosity to call “imagination.” People's Exhibits A and B? The inflation rate (our personal opinion as we pay at the grocery store) and employment figures. “I find myself increasingly puzzled by the monthly ritual of wall-to-wall reporting on jobs day,” writes blogger Alan Cole, referring to the first Friday of every month when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a report on the American employment situation. Monthly updates as “a needless distraction from the big picture.”

Nervous in the service

  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: Taxpayer service from the service may soon go the way of dodo bird. A look at just how the system is starting to crack.
  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: In honor of the day honoring those who served, “Tax Breaks for Our Military,” from expenses to lenient filing deadlines.

Not always such good guys

  • Procedurally Taxing: Guest blogger Robert Everett Johnson looks at “the chilling results” when the feds seize individuals’ property based on the anti-structuring laws, which make it a crime to deposit less than $10,000 cash in the bank in order to evade bank reporting requirements.
  • Tax, Society & Culture: They went after terrorists, money-launderers and tax evaders and wound up nailing “more millions of innocent bystanders who are collateral damage in the ongoing battle against financial crime.” If they keep it up, some wiseguy may soon make sure that “FBAR” stands for something other than Foreign Bank Account Report.
  • Tax Vox: First line of the week, “Together again: The U.S. Supreme Court, the IRS and the Affordable Care Act.” The high court casts an eye toward the service possibly overstepping its authority with premium tax credits to enrollees in federally established health insurance exchanges. Trigger was a Republican-backed appeal out of Virginia.

Perfect practice

  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: Lot More A Than M Dept.: How often is a merger a true merger?
  • Income Tax School: Ping It and They Will Come Dept.: Using the e-newsletter drip-drop method of communicating useful info to clients – and staying top of their mind when there’s billable tax work to be done.
  • Thegleimblog: First-hand accounts of tackling the CPA Exam in this new-look blog. May take you back or forward, but no story entertains like one from the trenches.

Just keep talking

  • Musings of a Burbank CPA: Who doesn’t love lending the government money? Who doesn’t have at least one deadbeat relative? The chestnut taxpayers never seem to learn: Refunds are interest-free loans to Uncle Sam.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro: Explaining mortgage interest and investment interest to a client.
  • Mauled Again: How the recent case Singhal v. Comr. “presents an important lesson for taxpayers” in preparation, self-preparation, reading your mail and the ease of neglecting to cross a critical T.
  • TaxMama: Mama posts an open letter to all those who wonder why on earth they’d pay to have taxes done.

Crime after crime

  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “Pizza with a Slice of Tax Evasion”; “If the Day Ends in ‘Y,’ It’s a Bad Day for OCWEN”; “Whistleblower Awards Go International”; “Newest Stockbroker Fraud Tactic – Happiness Letters”; “Lifestyles of the Rich and Arrogant”; “U.S. Supreme Court Considers Key Whistleblower Case”; and “Cash In Garbage?”
  • Tax Girl: Latest efforts in some people’s view of progress: ever-evolving ID theft phone scams.
  • Bond Beebe’s It’s Taxing: And your chestnut reminders to clients regarding the above, from the IRS.
  • Roth & Co.: How an Iowa pharmacist pleaded guilty to felony counts on pushing painkillers and dodging taxes – and how the two counts seem unrelated. 

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