In the Blogs: These Kids Today …

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

Fun and games

  • CPA Tax Musings: Paying for warm-weather fun sometimes means more than sunburn. Tax tinkering in the dog days that can pay off big for clients next April, including updating income tax payments to federal and state governments.
  • Tax Girl: The NFL’s recent clipping of Baltimore Raven Ray Rice may hit in a place no whirlpool can make feel better – the wallet – but is the fine and suspension deductible? Also, a fond glance back at “Batman's Tax Villain” (we’ll save you Googling it: Egghead) and which court came closest to the truth in its recent ruling on Obamacare (even Googling it won’t help).

These kids today

  • Mauled Again: Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Why don’t kids pay taxes? Good news: They can and sometimes do. A look at how the federal income tax contains any blanket exemptions based on age, physical condition or occupation. Keep your fingers crossed.
  • Liberty Tax blog: From crayons to protractors to uniforms and tuition, the deductibility of back-to-school supplies. One note: “According to the National Retail Federation … families are expected to spend over $26 billion on school supplies and that’s just for K-12.” Also, a listing of the 16 states set to suspend their regular sales tax on certain items.
  • Backtaxeshelp: After all the gas clients burned toting the little ones to Little League or Brownies, now many face the question of tapping an IRA to pay college expenses. The pros and cons, from the necessity of a degree to the cost to a parent client’s own future.
  • Taxes at Another look at coming sales-tax holidays in 2014, which can also involve purchases of energy-efficient devices or emergency-preparedness gear.
  • H&R Block blog: Ditto the above, plus a nod to the states without a sales tax period (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon).

Around the office

  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: The Nose That Is Brown Dept.: “At Some Point, We’ve All Known A Suck-Up” looks at the fine – and constantly erased – line between being chummy with the boss and outright groveling. “Sucking-down,” on the other hand, “means reaching out and grasping an understanding of how to do good things for the people below you in rank, authority, years of experience, etc.” (Most of our career, we’ve been the etc.)
  • The Income Tax School: About the time you’re scrambling to figure who in your office should be ordering coffee-machine refills (or perhaps more moneymaking matters), you may want to consult this entry on how “Tax Offices Shouldn’t Operate Without Operations Manuals.”
  • The Missouri Tax Guy: Finagraph, the magic tool to help business owners “figure out what all those numbers mean.” And like a fool you got an accounting degree … .
  • The Wandering Tax Pro: Muddy wording regarding how and when and with whom to touch base with the IRS about a return if you’re an unenrolled preparer and who can be (from word on high) named a third-party designee.
  • Diane Gilabert: Tax Maven: One more lifted glass to the memory of “the annoying Circular 230 disclaimer” on e-mails’ tails.

Bumpy roads

  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: Patch of dry ahead for the Highway Trust Fund on the eve of a Senate vote to fiscally renew the nation's highway and mass-transit projects. Not only potholes are at stake: The White House claims that failure to refill the tank might cost 700,000 jobs and slow to a crawl 100,000 projects already underway.
  • Tax Policy: Old habits: A look at when each state first adopted its cigarette tax. “Although the federal government had been taxing tobacco since the 18th century and cigarettes specifically since 1862, states did not begin doing so until the early 20th century – when manufactured cigarettes surpassed plug tobacco as the highest-grossing tobacco product in the country.”
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “Receiver Recovers 110% For Victims (a fraud recovery post)”; Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0 (a fraud recovery post)”; “Tax Whistleblower Suit Against Vanguard Unsealed”; “Trouble for Strategic Realty Trust Investors (Non-traded REITs)”; “Will Your Offshore Bank Pay Your Legal Fees and FBAR Penalties?”; “New Legal and Accounting Malpractice Legal Website”; “Small-Business Captive Insurance Company, Life Insurance and the IRS”; “New Opportunities for Mortgage Company Whistleblowers”; and “HSBC India Client Sent to Prison for Unfiled FBAR.”
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