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In the blogs: Daring adventures

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Deferring payroll taxes; another way to track EIPs; managing needy clients; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Daring adventures

  • TaxMama (http://taxmama.com): The IRS is still putting out Tax Tips daily. Only problem is, they seem to be recycling old news and not updating it for COVID practices. Here’s some great news, though: The IRS has agreed to turn off the computer process that’s automatically sending out balance-due notices until the agency finishes opening its mail.
  • Wolters Kluwer (http://news.cchgroup.com/): A look at a recent webinar on key issues for CPAs and businesses to consider with regard to PPP and loan forgiveness. One point: It’s important for many loan recipients, especially those with loans of $150,000 or less, to wait for the next round of legislation or further SBA and Treasury guidance before applying for forgiveness.
  • AICPA (https://blog.aicpa.org/): Clearest opening of the week: “These perilous economic times are nothing short of a daring adventure.” As part of its ongoing guidance, the institute offers a look at the nuts and bolts of payroll tax deferment.
  • Sikich (https://www.sikich.com/insights/): More instruction, and a note on how the IRS has answered several questions in the deferral order “but was silent on others.”
  • Allison Christians (https://www.allisonchristians.com/blog): A look at the rise of cooperative surplus taxation.
  • Tax Foundation (https://taxfoundation.org/blog): Supporters and critics of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tax plan have made a variety of claims about the size of the tax proposals, ranging from “not big enough” to the “biggest tax increase in history.” Comparing his proposals to historical tax changes is helpful for analyzing these claims.
  • National Association of Tax Professionals (https://blog.natptax.com/): Happy Foreign Tax Day! That’s Sept. 10 to most of us — or Shiver Down the Spine Day for many practitioners, as foreign taxes come in different varieties and each type brings a myriad of often vague and unclear instruction.

Old timing

  • IRS Mind (http://www.irsmind.com/blog/): Using “Get My Payment” to check the amount and the date of an Economic Impact Payment has often been “stimulating” itself, and not always in a good way. Yet in the coming tax year, many will need to know the amount of their payment when filing their 2020 return. Turns out they can use their IRS account transcript.
  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): Two items crossed the blogger’s inbox within a few minutes of each other recently: a request from the National Taxpayer Advocate that Congress give multi-year funding for modernizing IRS computer systems, and a TIGTA report noting the IRS couldn’t find about 5 percent of returns requested.
  • National Taxpayer Advocate (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): Further, the IRS is responsible for collecting approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes each year, some 95 percent of federal revenue. Yet the agency “is overwhelmingly reliant on ‘legacy’ information technology...defined as systems that are at least 25 years old, use obsolete programming languages or lack vendor support, training, or resources to maintain.”
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): Businesses are almost always required to collect sales tax when selling something you can see and touch, like a piece of furniture or jewelry. But things get trickier when the product your client is selling is non-tangible technology. And it gets even trickier when they’re selling something that state tax laws haven’t quite caught up with yet, like a SaaS product.

Good intentions

  • Tax Vox (https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): Favorite headline of the week: “The Road to Abusive Tax Shelters Is Paved with Good Intentions.” You might imagine a rancher using a conservation easement to preserve wild and scenic land, somewhere critical to protecting endangered plants and animals. But in recent years, the deduction has been used by owners of less deserving land.
  • Mahany Law (https://www.mahanyertl.com/blog/): America has a bunch of new millionaires and even a few billionaires — early investors in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. And their meteoric rise in wealth hasn’t escaped the eye of the IRS.
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): So is an indicted Las Vegas man a preparer who’s into real estate or a realtor who does returns? Either way, it does seem the IRS and the Department of Justice are turning up the heat on preparers.
  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): At the beginning of the pandemic, almost every aspect of life was switched to online platforms including all things finance, accounting and taxes. Six months later, cybersecurity especially is a bigger worry than ever. A look at recent IRS tips for keeping financial data safe for clients and financial businesses.
  • Canopy (https://www.canopytax.com/blog): Top Hat, Whip and Chair Dept.: “8 Simple Ways to Manage Clients Efficiently” include preferred communication methods, practice management software and, as always, the right expectations.
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