In the Blogs: With Great Abandon

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

Seasons’ greeting

  • ClientWhys: Giving during these holidays can warm your cockles (no offense) now – and pay off with new clients when we face the next, much more important, Season.
  • Rubin on Tax: “Of Course You Should Trust the IRS With Your Financial Information.” Is it April 1 already? Seriously, you have to wonder how safe our info is in light of the recent TIGTA finding that the IRS “did not ensure that encryption requirements are being enforced and ensure that non-secure protocols are not being used in order to fully protect information during transmission.”
  • The Income Tax School: Terming reliance on prep software “a slippery slope,” this entry looks at a half-dozen reasons deep knowledge of tax law is essential. One key point: “Some forms need to be done by hand.”

With great abandon

  • Summing It Up: Some clients R and D a lot more than they realize. A look at best practices to see if they qualify for a tax break for research and development.
  • BNA blogs: A look at the world of unclaimed property, starring first the Social Security Death Master File that one expert says audit firms have used for years as “a diagnostic tool.”
  • Dinesen Tax Times: True or false: You don’t have to file a tax return after age 72. Fifty-fifty shot and you’d be stunned how many clients still get this rumor-rich answer wrong.
  • Taxjar: The Hip Bone’s Connected to the State Rate Dept.: The “Anatomy of a Sales Tax Rate.”
  • IRS Problem Solver Blog: Canadian snowbird tax tips: Intriguing shift of perspective on an ever-popular topic (on both sides of a border). For example, “white lies to Canadian Border Services” have become no-nos, how long a “vacation” can last and the pitfalls of a Canadian leasing a U.S. getaway home.

Draining the swamp

  • Procedurally Taxing: Stuck in the Middleman Dept.: How in Greenberg v. Commissioner a missing middleman causes a loss in the pursuit of attorney’s fees when the Tax Court finds that the attorney who represented the taxpayer in the underlying case couldn’t bring action for attorney’s fees himself.
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s collection: “Oppenheimer & Co. Hit with $3.4 Million Penalty”; “Dr. Death Declares His Innocence … From Prison!”; “Lincoln Financial Unit Fined for Cybersecurity Breach”; “Draining the Swamp – Big Biz and Lobbyists”; and  “Lawyer, Flop House Operators Charged with Medicaid Fraud.”
  • IRS Tax Trouble: We all know that certain tax laws give more breaks to banks than the world’s most generous free checking account. Trouble is, as was seen in the recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals case Monegram International, Inc. v. Commissioner, the definition of bank is about as clear as auto-loan fine print.
  • Federal Tax Crimes: In United States v. Spear, the district court convicted the defendant in a bench trial for “a false claim in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287 and knowingly committed theft of government funds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641.”

Changes upon changes

  • Roth & Co.: Does the last March loom for 1095s? As the IRS has delayed reporting deadlines for employers to comply with rules under the ACA and given the likely repeal/reconstruction of Obamacare under a different name that will probably begin with T, “this may be the last roundup for these rules.”
  • Tax Analysts: VP-elect Pence has promised tax reform will be one of the first moves of the new administration, and Republicans have been laying the groundwork for reform since retaking the House in 2010.
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