The ACA vs. indoor tanning; bitcoin on the radar; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Deducting Fido

  • Dinesen Tax (http://dinesentax.com/blog): Tax Break Theorem of the Day: Time is money. Money is deductible when given to a charity. Professional time given to a charity sure isn’t.
  • Liberty Tax Blog (https://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge/): Class is in session for “Smart Tax Credits, Financial Aid, and Tax Deductions for Students.” What you can tell your bright-eyed young adult clients about standard deductions, parental breaks, the AOTC and more.
  • TurboTax (http://Blog.turbotax.intuit.com): Unconditional love, sleeping with you on the couch, and fetching your slippers are all well and good, but do any actual deductions come with owning a pet?
  • Tax Policy (http://taxfoundation.org/blog): Infographic on which areas of the country benefit most from the home mortgage interest deduction.
  • Sageworks (https://www.sageworks.com/blog/default.aspx): An even handier infographic: “How will your firm grow?” The big challenges (according to recent webinar attendees) and the best combination of service offerings.
  • Tax Vox (http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org): You know all those online relationships that claim “It’s complicated.” Well, they’ve got nothing on the possible connection between an ACA tax and the decline in demand for indoor tanning.

Hammers and knuckles

  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): A timely topic indeed, given a recent IRS warning and hundreds of thousands of computers pillaged in Europe this year alone: “How Ransomware May Affect Your Tax Practice.”
  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): And as if these headlines were enough, here are a batch of reasons why every single company needs a vulnerability assessment and, if you have a blog, a double-check for good movie metaphors (“When it comes to finding and eradicating weaknesses in your information technology systems, it’s all about John Wayne – there’s no room for Hugh Grant…”)
  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): Now that the IRS has inked a contract to help them identify bitcoin transactions, the virtual currency may be out to discover that the only thing worse than not being taken seriously is being taken seriously by government agencies.
  • H&R Block (http://blogs.hrblock.com/): Our favorite opening of the week: “Nobody likes a snitch. Well, nobody that is, except the IRS …” A layman’s look at the IRS Whistleblower Program. “While the IRS may not send an agent out with a hammer or brass knuckles to ring a tax cheat’s doorbell at 3 a.m. …,” the IRS program did award 418 whistleblowers more than $61 million in fiscal 2016. The IRS also rejected 12,395 claims from whistleblowers because the allegations were considered “Not Specific, Credible, or are Speculative in Nature.”
  • Bloomberg BNA (http://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=istax&type=isblogpost): “EPIC is only one of many organizations hoping to catch a glimpse of President Trump’s tax returns. But no matter the public interest, even the president’s return information is protected.” Which sets up our favorite headline of the week: “EPIC Fail…”
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): Special tax breaks and laws to benefit a particular kind of recipient, “almost always in exchange for promises from the recipients that they will do something wonderful for society,” seldom seem to pan out. And in January 2016 in Erie County, N.Y., where a tax break was given to a Gordon Restaurant Market that promised to be wholesale, the pattern repeated yet again.

A Firm Hand

  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): Readers of blogger Robert Flach, meet LOIS (Lots of Interesting Stuff), the new bi-monthly -newsletter that promises “a multitude of topics” that kind of read like the song list of a hit debut album: Bobservations, If You Ask Me, Surfin’ USA, Taxing Talk and Things No One Ever Told You, among others.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://www.procedurallytaxing.com/): Frequent guest blogger Carl Smith follows up on his post from June about what must be said in a Tax Court pleading to get into the door of the Court.
  • CCH Tax and Accounting (http://news.cchgroup.com/): Common FAQs about firm-management software.
  • Musings of a Burbank CPA (http://briantstonercpa.com/blog/#sthash.OkfGp9NM.dpbs): As the “celebrity spokesperson” gives way in jargon to “influencer marketing,” a look at the good and the bad points of pros in thought-leadership positions spreading words they may or may not believe.

New to us

  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/blog/): A fine collection of educational pieces related to sales tax for accounting pros and business owners. Among recent entries: “Excise Tax 101: Need-to-Know Basics for Energy Traders” and “South Carolina Goes After Amazon Marketplace Sales Tax Revenue.” Welcome.
Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson is a veteran freelance journalist who previously served as editor of The Practical Accountant.