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

Got our attention

  • Procedurally Taxing: Our favorite opening of the week: “Like a virus jumping from one species” begins blogger Keith Fogg’s look at another recent 10th Circuit decision regarding whether discharge of late-filed returns from a state is a federal issue.
  • H&R Block blog: Our second-favorite opening of the week: “If you are sick of hearing about the Affordable Care Act, if you are pretty sure you’re covered when it comes to health insurance but you still aren’t quite certain what qualified health care coverage is …” A quiz to see if you know what clients don’t know.

Your next contestants

  • Tax Break: The TurboTax blog: Memories may last forever, but right now is last year’s wedding, birth or new home deductible? Also, your clients’ ACA checklist before the big February deadline.
  • John R. Dundon II blog: Can a sole proprietor find retirement happiness with a SEP IRA? Like so many pairings off the top of the head, is it even legal?
  • Tax Girl: Ins and outs of reporting health insurance on a return these days. And in the days ahead that probably loom much on your mind. And hey, this non-holiday season “Don’t Forget Bitcoin.”
  • Bond Beebe’s It’s Taxing: A look at IRS Notice 2015-2, which provides employers guidance on how to deal with the retroactive increase in the maximum monthly exclusion afforded employees, from $130 to $250 for 2014.
  • Liberty Tax blog: If one of your clients just opened the mail and discovered they did a little too much ho-ho-ho’ing when holiday shopping, a look at how the Association of Independent Consumer Counseling Agencies might help, plus some commonsense spending and budgeting tips.

Stating the case

  • Tax Vox: Blogger Renu Zaretsky’s “Mixed, Murky and Sometimes Mercurial” examines a series of tax plans across the states, including big cuts for Maine with an eye to eventually ending the income tax; Iowa’s struggle for cuts; and how Washington State’s sales tax collection rules are hazy for medical marijuana dispensaries.
  • Mauled Again: Would tax breaks for capital spending, R&D and other business goodies improve Pennsylvania’s job woes?
  • Roth & Co.: What Did We Expect? Dept.: “Same governor. Same split-party control in the legislature.” A look loggerheads in Iowa regarding big tax cuts, increases or reforms. “When you mix the same ingredients and put them in the same oven, expect the same thing to come out of the oven.” Pricey biscuits, no doubt. Also, that state’s Department of Transportation slowly runs out of fuel as the gas tax isn’t inflation-adjusted.

Over there

  • Rubin on Tax: Keep It Close to Home Dept.: “IRS Hammers Offshore Lending and Underwriting Structure” looks at a recent service determination that an offshore partnership with a U.S. manager that was engaged in the finance transactions was determined to be engaged in a U.S. trade or business.
  • Tax, Society & Culture: How The New York Times recently “mangled” a story about China embracing U.S.-style citizenship-based taxation.
  • The Tax Times: A look at the new IRS International Data-Exchange Service, via which “financial institutions and host country tax authorities will use IDES to securely send their information reports on financial accounts held by U.S. persons to the IRS under the FATCA or pursuant to the terms of an inter-governmental agreement.”

Letter rip: TIGTA, FACTA, FBAR

  • Tax Maven: Make double sure your clients are or are not required to withhold under FATCA. A nod to the scary penalties for screwing up compliance, among other details.
  • Due Diligence: In this week’s roundup: “Court Sanctions Two Whistleblowers $1.6 Million”; “Haitian Relief Efforts Mean Whistleblower Opportunities”; “Swiss Banker Fugitive in FBAR Flap”; “More Info About Sovereign Management”; “UBS Accused of Trust Fraud”; “John Doe Summons Issued Regarding Sovereign Management”; “Oh the Arrogance!”; and “Investment Fraud and Powers of Attorney” (“…not a very sexy title …”).
  • Tax Policy: The TIGTA’s recent claims that Earned Income Tax Credit compliance “still faces a higher error rate.” We write the preparer crime blotter for this site, and can attest that many preparers seem to know exactly how they want to use the EITC.

How you work

  • Don’t Mess With Taxes: Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the 1040s: How a Senate Finance Democratic “duo” introduced a bill to give IRS regulatory authority over paid tax preparers. A fresh list of the unfresh idea’s supporters.
  • Thegleimblog: Another entry from “chronic test-taker” Jonathan, who one recent wee hour took a minute from his quest to tackle the CPA Exam to note, “I can imagine myself standing up and saying that at some meeting for Examinees Anonymous.” Set your study schedule according to when your cognitive functions are at their best, he adds.
  • Taxing Subjects: How many Tweets could an accounting firm Tweet if it Tweeted at all? A local at a recent study on how the industry uses the Likes (ha ha) of Twitter and Facebook. “Results were consistent with other, similar studies showing that few accounting firms are using social media well.” Maybe some have a hard time saying goodbye to MySpace.

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