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

Safe grounds

  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “Sacred Heart Revisited – Ed Novak Heads to Prison”; “Brokerage Firms and Elder Abuse Prevention”; “Medicare Fraud Doc Gets 6 Years”; “More News on Andrews Kurth”; and “Scottrade Fined $2.6 Million.”
  • Tax Girl: How one Oregon couple, not content with simply believing that the government is illegal, translated that belief into a tax evasion of some $1.2 million. The man involved, a pastor in the Hope Covenant Reformed Church, reportedly said that he is sure that his stance is on “biblical safe ground.”
  • Liberty Tax Blog: What your clients need to consider when buying their first home.

Fair and accurate

  • Taxlaw: 170,000 and counting: the growing number of banks in more than 200 countries that are reporting U.S. taxpayers’ foreign accounts in the wake of the IRS upgrading the FATCA online registration system
  • Tax, Society & Culture: A recent interview with Bob Goulder of Tax Analysts about FATCA, citizenship-based taxation, renunciation and taxpayer rights.

‘Twill be the season

  • H&R Block blog: As the holidays loom and some hearts open, reminding your clients just how much they can and can’t get on their returns for cash donations.
  • Taxjar: Before you walk in a winter wonderland, you usually have to plow or shovel the white stuff. So, whether you’re a consumer who plans to pay for it, or a service that plans to charge for it, is snow removal taxable? Applicable states – and yes, Arizona is mentioned.
  • TurboTax Blog: You’re not the only one who needs to prepare for the coming onslaught. What to remind clients to do to ready for next April.
  • Backtaxeshelp: “Most people don’t look forward to tax season, but for some taxpayers, it can be a great time of year.” Well, we wouldn’t put it up there with the pure joy of finally getting the kids out of the house and back to school, but here’s what to pump up to clients.
  • Rubin on Tax: “Is the Charitable Deduction for Trusts Limited to Adjusted Basis?” No, says a U.S district court.

Watching the ball

  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders: Smartphones and social media have done more than their share to corrode undivided attention. In that vein, “Keep Your Eye on the Ball” examines the temptations that steal your focus from the doings of your firm and practice.
  • BNA Software Discussions and Perspectives: “Preparer” may mean volumes to you, but carry a too-simple (and, for you, money-losing) definition for your client. How and why to broaden your scope to become a “tax strategist.”
  • Tax Vox: In This Corner Dept.: “The likely Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, would aggressively use the Tax Code to achieve social and economic goals, cut taxes on many middle-income people, and raise taxes on high-income households. Every Republican presidential hopeful would eliminate most existing tax subsidies, lower rates, and give big tax cuts to those with high-incomes.” A new proposed break from Clinton.

First impressions

  • Taxing Subjects: Just about every function in your firm has become automated, from sending out organizers to making the morning coffee. How you can improve your bottom line by automating the last, sometimes painfully manual process of intake, that first client meeting to gather detailed tax information.
  • The Income Tax School: “It takes a lot of time and money to hire a new employee.” No kidding there for sure, but eventual retention of your best people starts on the day they set up their cubicle.

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