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

Mold and maggots

  • Mauled Again: Any entry containing “Otto von Bismarck” always gets our attention (in this case, the John Godfrey Saxe quote often misattributed to the famous German leader and battleship: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.”). Of course this kind of follow-up sentence is also a grabber: “Then understanding how tax law is made resembles learning how much mold, maggots and rodent filth enters into the nation’s food supply.”
  • Procedurally Taxing: Guest blogger Rachel Partain looks at how the IRS may soon curtail informal refund claims for LB&I taxpayers who are under exam, as noted in IRS Draft Pub. 5125.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: You can lose e-mails and delay seasons galore and still the taxpaying public will begrudge you slightly higher marks in a recent Gallup poll.

On the case

  • TaxProf Blog: Can the big boss ax a tax court judge? Blogger Paul Caron examines how the taxpayers in Kuretski v. Commissioner recently filed in the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that the president’s authority (under 26 U.S.C. §  7443(f)) to remove Tax Court judges violates the Constitution’s separation of powers.
  • Rubin on Tax: A recent case that tried to unravel the puzzle of whether the value of a 100% interest in a disregarded entity equals the net value of the assets of the disregarded entity for charitable deduction purposes.
  • Tax Litigation Survey: Long v. Commissioner, and the 11th Circuit’s critical distinction in the application of the substitute for ordinary income doctrine.
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “FBAR Reporting and Accounting Malpractice”; “Will The Cayman Islands Honor FATCA?”; “Private Security Companies and Whistleblowers”; “Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere”; “Big Whistleblower Award in Celeb Doctor Case”; “Deported Pakistani Linked to Medicaid Fraud”; “Corporate Shame – Bylaws Seek to Silence Whistleblowers”; and “‘Helping Homeowners?’ NO!”

Best-laid plans

  • Musings of a Burbank CPA: “3 Smart Year-End Moves for Retirement Savers of All Ages,” via the recent article in Money and with the caveat that most of these moves are sensible in any year.
  • Philadelphia Estate and Tax Attorney blog: More year-end tax-planning tips, including COLA amounts and expired breaks.
  • Roth & Co.: “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.” From Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech – and these days a dandy philosophy for year-end tax planning. Pretty good advice from a prez who never even got one income tax refund.
  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: New series on the blog addresses a tax question a month. First up: differences between standard and itemized deductions. Likely not a subject where you need review, but a glimpse at what many of your clients might see as the distinction.

Start your engines

  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: Busy season used to be sacrosanct in terms of CPAs jumping ship from an accounting firm. “Those days are gone,” notes blogger Rita Keller. “People now move on when the opportunity presents itself or when they are simply fed up with their current firm’s leadership.” How to see that empty desk coming and maybe even keep it filled.
  • Thegleimblog: This week’s new blogger, Katherine K., gives a candidate’s-eye view of the middle of studying for the EA exam.

Extended discussion

  • Tax Vox: Where she stops, nobody knows. How everything about tax reform and extenders seems at once old and new. Also, “Are U.S. corporations really overtaxed?” and “Cheap oil could come at a high price for some states.”
  • The Wandering Tax Pro: How “the idiots in Congress” keep extending any conclusion on extenders. “The result will be a delay in ability of the IRS to process 2014 tax returns – which, thanks to Congress, has now become the norm and not the exception.”

Hard times

  • Tax Girl: How former rocker Scott Stapp of Creed claims – in a 15-minute Facebook video, no less – that an IRS goof put him on the street. Ya got mud on ya face, ya big disgrace.
  • Tax Policy: A look at a recent Wall Street Journal piece that expressed puzzlement at the cold-molasses pace of U.S. productivity in the last three years – and the obvious, even glaring, reasons for all who care to look.
  • The Tax Times: This follow-up to a recent entry on escalating U.S. expatriation looks at what happens to Social Security benefits for those who take up housekeeping overseas.
  • Taxing Subjects: The worst kind of shutdown: “Due to sequestration, refund payments issued to certain small tax-exempt employers claiming the refundable portion of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit under Internal Revenue Code Section 45R, are subject to sequestration.” Suppose our grandchildren will also have to know how to spell this long new word beginning with an S?

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