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

Little extras

  • Due Diligence: In this week’s collection: “Illinois Sends Couple to Prison in Public Corruption Case”; “Key Shale Bond Indicator Hits Record – Bad for Investors”; “Attn. Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage Insiders!”; “Nikolai Battoo Told to Pay $490 Million, No One Cheering”; and “Good News for FCPA Whistleblowers – DOJ Bulks Up in 2016.”
  • Taxable Talk: Giving “extra” services is a noble idea – until the authorities get involved, in some cases. A look at a recent case involving “tips,” extra business income and a Denver chain of massage parlors.
  • H&R Block: What to remind them – and yourself – about the risks of ID theft. Start with a short yay-or-nay self-assessment (example: “If I got an e-mail from the IRS requesting information, I would respond” or “If someone who said they were an IRS agent called, I’d give them my SSN … ”).
  • Tax, Society & Culture: Mac Whack Dept.: Apple may owe $8 billion in back taxes after European Commission ruling regarding a “sweetheart deal” in Ireland. The amounts at stake could be significant, “even if not by Apple's standards.”

We still have dreams

  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: In honor of our most recent holiday, a look at the value of volunteering in terms of billions of dollars a year.
  • TaxProf: And Tea Party scandals are nothing new. MLK was also often subjected to IRS audits early in his leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference – through three administrations.

Politics are usual?

  • BNA blogs: Accounting rule-makers continue to cry that politicians stay out of standards-setting, most recently in the form of FASB Chair Russell Golden, who reminded us all in this election year that “FASB in its 42 years has had its independence challenged on a number of occasions.” Regarding whether politicos should stay out of accounting rules, we ask: Why should accountant standards be different from anything else?
  • Procedurally Taxing: This year’s State of the Union actually touched on tax procedure and administration when President Obama implicated both when he spoke about offshore evasion and expanding tax benefits for childless workers. Connect some dots here to see how both offshore evasion and compliance issues relate to lower-income taxpayers.
  • Roth & Co.: Turns out the general public is pretty dim about tax laws. And of course, those running for president and those who work for said candidates are also members of the general public.

Matters of reason

  • Tax Policy: It Rolls Downhill Dept.: A new National Bureau of Economic Research paper examines how corporations respond to tax increases by investing in fewer risky projects. “Interestingly, they did not find that tax cuts incentivized corporations to increase their appetite for risk.”
  • Rubin on Tax: What is “reasonable” compensation for a trustee?
  • Bloomberg BNA Software: Discussions and Perspectives: Among this year’s likely top (predicted) trends for the industry: cloud adoption, movement away from spreadsheets and increased need for data-driven decisions. Just when you got good at Excel, too.
  • Mauled Again: Why tax laws seem to care how many candles are on the cake.

Long hauls

  • Tax Analysts: How the current VAT experience in India might provide valuable lessons if this country ever adopts a federal consumption tax, specifically the “unnecessarily drawn-out” process that has inspired jokes in Delhi regarding which one can build quicker: the Taj Mahal or GST enactment.
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: Another reminder: “The people filling the ‘manager’ role inside your firm have enormous power. People will stay or leave because of them.” When it comes to retention, yet again look beyond the want ads and the talent pool.

Cash

  • The Wandering Tax Pro: Deal of the week: “Come in to the Office and Walk Out with Cash!” casts a jaundiced preparer’s eye on the shovel-the-money (see “RAL-like”) deals of some of the giant prep chains (actually one in particular, and you’re at liberty to guess which). But really, how many times of the year do you see storefront windows “plastered with pictures of $50 bills?”
  • TurboTax: What to remind clients about concerning those “exciting, emotional, confusing, hopeful and often expensive” life transitions and the taxes involved therein.
  • Taxjar: This year’s schedule of states’ sales tax holidays. Will be updated as needed.
  • Taxes at About.com: Some general tripwires that trigger the need for a tax attorney, from estates to startups to suing the IRS.
  • Backtaxeshelp: A client checklist for this spanking year, including to file early and the “exciting” things one can do with a refund. “So what about you? Are you ready for the tax season?” Well, whoever is, really?
  • ClientWhys: You know referrals are the key to your practice’s profits. This time of year is one of the best to know how to score a good word from a satisfied client, from assessing your professionalism and work to honing your request to spread your word.

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