Voices

In the blogs: COVID operations

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Next round of relief — and infighting; challenges and pitfalls at the IRS; Biden’s ideas; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

COVID operations

  • Sikich (https://www.sikich.com/insights/): Reporting CARES funds.
  • Wolters Kluwer (http://news.cchgroup.com/): The 11th blog in this ongoing series looks at the pandemic’s effect on non-retail businesses that now face sharper sales and use tax registration and exemption certificate management requirements.
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/us/en/blog.html: Nevada is facing a revenue shortfall of approximately $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2020-21 because of the coronavirus, and the governor is proposing a one-time tax amnesty program, agency budget cuts, a hiring freeze for state employees and more.
  • Tax Vox (https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): Not to mention that COVID-19 has walloped state sales tax receipts nationwide by nearly $6 billion, or 21 percent compared with May 2019, including deep drops in Connecticut, New York and North “Remember Quill?” Dakota. (Our opinion: Look for states to audit sales tax-wise way more aggressively in the coming months….)
  • Bloomberg Tax (https://pro.bloombergtax.com/news-insights/): Senate Republicans will finish their own plan for a new round of pandemic relief soon, and “only then will open negotiations with Democrats as the last stimulus begins running dry and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases threatens a deeper recession.” Get your tickets now!

A question of Service

  • Taxbuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): The challenge for the reopened IRS is twofold: Not only do they need to process tax returns and issue refunds, but they are also responsible for implementing the relief measures instituted by Congress in response to the virus. Tack on widespread work-from-home and you’re looking at potentially a very rocky future for the agency.
  • National Taxpayer Advocate (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): This sounds like fun: “In the course of preparing your federal income tax return, you are wondering whether a particular expense is deductible. You go to the IRS website and find a frequently asked question that’s directly on point. Good news: The IRS says the expense is deductible. So you deduct it. The next year, the IRS audits your return. The examining agent informs you the IRS changed its position after you filed your return.” The minefield that can be service FAQs.
  • IRS Mind (http://www.irsmind.com/blog/): Most taxpayers who are assessed an IRS penalty don’t request relief or are denied relief because they fail to follow basic dos and don’ts. For two of the most common IRS penalties, relief is available by following some simple rules.
  • Tax Girl (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/): Didn’t See That Coming Dept.: IRS Criminal Investigation chief Don Fort will retire this fall.
  • Taxing Subjects (https://www.drakesoftware.com/blog): Some good news for a change: The Income Verification Express Services has started accepting new submissions, which means tax pros who need to submit a stack of 4506-Ts don’t have much longer to wait.

Data central

  • TaxProf Blog (http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/): A look at the recently released IRS 2019 Data Book and its statistical tables summarizing tax filings, revenue collections, taxpayer services, enforcement activities and agency operations. Among the stats, the IRS processed more than 253 million individual and business tax returns and forms, with nearly 73 percent of them e-filed, and set up more than 2.8 million new payment or installment agreements.
  • Procedurally Taxing (https://procedurallytaxing.com): For those interested in the IRS audit coverage pre-COVID-19, here are graphs from the Databook depicting just how low the audit coverage was before the IRS shut down for months.
  • EideBailly (https://www.eidebailly.com/taxblog): A look at the 110 pages of legislative and regulatory recommendations from the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, including proposals for tax legislation should Biden be elected. Among the few specific proposals: Make investors pay the same tax rates as workers; bring an end to expensive and unproductive tax loopholes; and, because it’s been almost 20 minutes, reform the Tax Code.

Add-ons

  • Boyum & Barenscheer (https://myboyum.com/blog/): Your not-for-profit client has a board of directors, so why would it need an additional advisory board?
  • Sagenext (https://www.thesagenext.com/blog): In the arena of the vastly popular and widely used hosted QuickBooks and/or its online version, CPAs still prefer the QuickBooks with hosting facility rather than opting for the online version.
  • Mahany Law (https://www.mahanyertl.com/blog/): A look at Guam’s and Wyoming’s federal False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law that pays cash rewards to whistleblowers reporting fraud involving government programs or funds. Also, “The End of Hidden Offshore Bank Accounts?”
  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): Reporting FBAR — often a Bozo Tax Tip.
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): In United States v. Scali, the Second Circuit affirmed the conviction of a prior lawyer for 10 criminal offenses, including mail fraud, structuring cash deposits, tax violations, obstruction of justice and perjury. Most interesting part of the decision, the blogger maintains, is the discussion of jury instructions.
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