In the blogs: April love

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Paycheck checkups; give and take; how dumb they can be; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

April love

  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com): Favorite opening of the week: “Welcome April, the Internal Revenue Service favorite month.” Your clients who owe still have tax tasks to complete. Here’s a checklist.
  • Avalara (https://www1.avalara.com/us/en/blog.html): April kicks off a new quarter “with a hat tip to fools and a host of sales and use tax rate changes.” A look at states that have announced local sales and use tax rate changes.
  • Smith & Gesteland (https://sgcpa.com/resources/focus-blog/): The 2018 Q2 tax calendar of key deadlines for businesses and other employers.
  • Dinesen Tax Times (http://dinesentax.com/blog): Mysterious credit or money back for a client having too much withheld? A look at excess Social Security refunds.
  • Intuit ProConnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): What to tell them about amending returns.
  • Houston Tax Blog (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): Yes, contributions to IRAs are deductible. If not, the taxpayer has basis in his IRA so that this amount is not taxable when taken out of the IRA. So how does a taxpayer establish the amount that was put into the IRA when contributions may have been made one or more decades in the past? The court recently addressed this in Shank v. Commissioner.
  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): The IRS has been pushing taxpayers to perform a paycheck checkup to ensure the correct amount of tax is taken out. Post-reform this can turn into a major headache a little further down the calendar. Though you’re likely nuts over the next weeks, block some time out for this later in the year. Your clients will eventually thank you, even if they don’t at first.

To the bone

  • Bloomberg BNA (https://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=tax&type=blogpost&page=1): For more than three years, New York has permitted commonly owned groups of corporations to elect to file a combined report even when it’s not required under law. Seems, however, that for tax years 2015 and 2016, some groups had a case of mistaken identity and failed to include the required related corporations in their combined return. Until June 1 the New York Department of Taxation and Finance is providing taxpayers that meet three requirements with the chance to withdraw their commonly owned group election.
  • Tax Foundation (https://taxfoundation.org/blog): With one of the worst-funded pension systems in the nation (not to mention other fiscal woes), Kentucky has the state’s lawmakers searching for revenue. The latest proposal raises an additional $487 million over the next biennium but “does so in the context of fundamental tax reform, trading additional revenue for measures which simplify the state’s tax code and improve its overall competitiveness.”
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): Maryland is floating a program to offer a $7,500 deduction to donors of “bone marrow, or all or part of a liver, kidney, intestine, pancreas, or lung.” This blogger finds “multiple problems with this approach to encouraging organ donation, which, by the way, I fully support.” For one thing, the legislation ignores other organs and tissues. For another, in our opinion, there’s a sacrifice here on many levels that’s worth reward — but there’s just something dystopian about this concept.
  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): The IRS audit rate is plummeting. Does it matter? (First and most obviously, we guess, it depends if your client is on the receiving end.) But the key question: Will people and firms be more likely to cheat on their income taxes if they are less likely to get caught?
  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): The site’s annual rundown of Bozo Tax Tips again this year includes clients (a.k.a. “otherwise intelligent individuals”) who persist in emailing tax documents. “Use common sense! Would you post your Social Security number on a billboard?”
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): The shell game of companies and “Lawyers as Enablers in Money Laundering.”

Worthy goals

  • TaxBuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): A tax guide for teachers who choose to teach outside of the U.S.
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): Many people picture accountants “as nerds wearing green eyeshades hunched over a desk living a life of little excitement.” Oh yeah? Check out the accountant by day who saved the game as goalie recently for none other than the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Boyum Barenscheer (https://myboyum.com/blog/): Should you hold a company retreat in the home office or as far away as possible?
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