Return changes in FAFSA; Trump and the AMT; charitable donation overstatements; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Finishing the season strong

  • Sageworks (https://www.sageworks.com/blog/default.aspx): If technology is helping you work faster and so actually cutting your billable hours, you’re probably on the lookout for value-added services. How and why to try cash flow analysis.
  • H&R Block (http://blogs.hrblock.com/): They will learn something new every day: A warning to students of upcoming FAFSA tax return changes, starting with timing and due dates.
  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): Eight tips to help preparers “finish tax season strong,” from exercise, food and memento tools to sleep, clothes and sunshine. (Remind that one?)
  • Liberty Tax (https://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge/): When there is no f, u or n in “refund”: What to remind them about glitches that can hang up their cash coming back.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): As the heatwaves, blizzards, tornados and lovely sunny afternoons combine to tell us spring is here, a look at energy-related tax credits.
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): You have to nag regular clients to send tax info, right? Once is never enough in the world of messages. Using e-mail and text to keep yourself front-of-mind with clients.

Broadly speaking

  • Tax Analysts (http://www.taxanalysts.org/tax-analysts-blog): One significant point to the ballyhoo of President Trump’s leaked return is the spotlight on why we need an AMT. When the eruption of his (finally) revealed return turned into a fizzle, the question did remain of how he paid $5.3 million in income taxes and $33 million in AMT on about $150 million in income, a total tax rate around 25 percent.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://www.procedurallytaxing.com/): Tax agencies the world over face trouble administering tax systems, but our IRS seems to head the planet in administering social programs embedded in the tax laws – specifically the “array of exclusions, deductions, preferential rates, and credits that reduce revenues for any given level of tax rates in the individual, payroll, and corporate income tax systems.”
  • M&A (http://taxaid.com/blog/): A look at the IRS recently obtaining a John Doe summons against the director of a Panamanian company that allegedly helped American taxpayers to set up anonymous offshore accounts.
  • Tax, Society & Culture (http://taxpol.blogspot.com/): The strange tax situation of Volkswagen in the Spanish provinces of Navarre and Catalonia.
  • Tax Vox (http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org ): ID theft, fraud, reducing the deficit: The IRS to-do list just keeps getting longer. And in the coming year, the agency’s budget will be some $240 million less than this year’s $11.2 billion. Amid all the stumping, what is a realistic outlook?
  • Tax Policy (http://taxfoundation.org/blog): What’s a well-meaning, wheat-filled state to do to close a revenue gap? In the case of Kansas, broaden the sales tax base to include some personal services and shoot for raising $51 million in 2018.
  • Bloomberg BNA (http://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=istax&type=isblogpost): Our favorite opening detail of the week: “North Dakota produces almost 14 times as many sunflowers as the Sunflower State.” (That would be Kansas, BTW.) If fields of nodding gold don’t inspire you to move your business to the Peace Garden State (that’s North Dakota), maybe the New or Expanding Business Income Tax Exemption will lure you. Four things to know about North Dakota’s exemption.

    ComMA, man!

  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): Tried but true: “One aspect of interpreting a statute, tax or otherwise, is punctuation.” Just look at O’Connor et al v. Oakhurst Dairy et al, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals decided that the absence of an Oxford comma in a statute was the critical element of its decision. That was one expensive dot with a tail.
  • Dinesen Tax (http://dinesentax.com/blog): How profanity can produce a reduction in a service area – a.k.a. “Addition by Subtraction.”
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): April sales tax due dates, state by state.
  • Roth & Co. (http://rothcpa.com/blog-index/): Give ‘Til It Hurts the Tax Man Dept.: How one Colorado couple claimed a charitable donation of $18,000 for a donation of used clothing to a church, but were pretty skimpy on label details. The Tax Court chose to take in the donation estimate quite a bit.
Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

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