Voices

In the blogs: New tariff in town

Revamped child credit benefits; docs and tax help; Social Security scams; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

New tariff in town

  • Houston Tax Attorney (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): Yaryan v. Commissioner provides an opportunity to consider one aspect of the new Sec. 199A deduction: regulations that adopt a “trade or business” standard that can limit the deduction for those whose activities are found to be mere investments. “This issue will be critical for real estate investors and less active business owners…”
  • Tax Foundation (https://taxfoundation.org/blog): Some claim the latest data on stock buybacks is evidence that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s corporate tax rate cut isn’t working as intended: Instead of increasing business investment and boosting wages, they argue, the law has only helped the wealthy via an increase in stock buybacks in recent quarters. But “it’s worth remembering that the increase in stock buybacks isn’t surprising nor a sign that the TCJA won’t increase domestic investment...”
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): A look at how our newest tariffs differ from some of the old — and may have new and unintended economic consequences good and bad.
  • TaxProf Blog (http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/): A look at the recent paper, “Optimal Taxation With Optimal Tax Complexity: The Case of the Estate Tax,” which constructs a model by which taxpayers can minimize their effective tax rates by engaging in complex tax avoidance activities, which require costly resources.
  • Taxbuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): Tax pros weigh in on common missed deductions and planning missteps that are now magnified by reform.
  • AG Tax (http://agtax.ca/tax-tips-and-articles): A look at President Trump’s changes and added benefits of the Child Tax Credit.
  • Rubin on Tax (http://rubinontax.floridatax.com): The IRS has issued final regulations under the new centralized partnership audit regime, providing for a partnership to appoint a “partnership representative” to participate in the audit process. The final regulations generally adopt previously temporary and proposed regulations, but here’s a look at some key changes made in the final regulations from the temporary and proposed. Also, August’s AFRs.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://procedurallytaxing.com): In Charleston Area Medical Center Inc., et al v. United States, the Court of Federal Claims held that the interest rate applicable to corporations applies to tax-exempt corporations just as it does for “regular” corporations.

Golden rules

  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): Many parts of the world have businesses that bundle many diverse services under one roof. What if you could get tax help at the same time you were taking your kids for a check-up at their pediatrician’s office? How two Boston pediatricians founded a program that helped 1,700 households claim $3.3 million in refundable credits through the 2016-18 seasons.
  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): Favorite opening of the week: “Rumpelstiltskin could spin straw into gold. Rumpelstiltskin Inc. thought it could do the same for garbage, spinning it into tax credits. The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service disagreed. So did the Tax Court. So do we.”
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/us/en/blog.html): The American Beverage Association has taken California to the mat and won a temporary moratorium on new local taxes on sweetened beverages.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): Californians love Proposition 13, “the grandfather of tax-limiting ballot initiatives” that for four decades has kept a tight cap on property tax increases. But expansion of the original Prop 13, enacted eight years later, and its unforeseen consequences have cost Golden State school districts, cities and counties billions of dollars in revenue, according to a new investigation.
  • Mahaney Law (http://www.mahanyertl.com/mahanyertl/): On the wages and overtime front, an interesting look at a recent lawsuit by timeshare workers regarding pay for extra hours. In this case, a loan verification officer and later sales rep claimed she worked 50 hours per week but never received overtime.

Taking risks

  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): Several Swiss bank staff advocacy groups have reportedly launched a hardship fund to help employees finding themselves in dire financial straits. The fund will exist until all Swiss banks still on the hook with U.S. prosecutors have settled their respective criminal investigations. Notes the blogger: “I don’t know whether the fund accepts donations from U.S. taxpayers who feel empathy for the Swiss bankers. I doubt, though, that a U.S. income tax deduction will be available for contributions.”
  • Tax Girl (http://blogs.forbes.com/kellyphillipserb): Figuring out Social Security and Medicare taxes and benefits can be confusing, and increasingly taxpayers turn online and to professionals for help. What to warn them about in that scam-filled cyber-Wild West.
  • SageNext (https://www.thesagenext.com/blog): Artificial intelligence offers a bold new frontier of data — and equally bold risks. What’s security’s role?

Office spaces

  • Bloomberg BNA (https://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=tax&type=blogpost&page=1): The Maryland Court of Appeals recently affirmed the state’s multi-million-dollar assessment against Staples based on the state’s determination that the out-of-state retailer had nexus as a result of “enterprise dependency” with in-state affiliates.
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): Examination of economic nexus in various states continues with Colorado.
  • Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): Love it or sick of it, “adulting” might benefit millennial staffers in your firm and practice (if the older ones haven’t had enough of the term already…).
  • Boyum Barenscheer (https://myboyum.com/blog/): Most employers reimburse employee business expenses, but the structure of the reimbursement arrangement can have huge tax consequences.