Blaming Woodrow Wilson; why to benchmark; the advocate speaks; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Off and running

  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects after-tax income of households directly through the individual income tax and indirectly through changes in provisions such as the corporate income tax. Which is going to be felt first and strongest — and how?
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): In United States v. Martin, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s order enforcing an IRS administrative summons issued to a lawyer in a collection action to discover his income and assets.
  • Houston Tax Blog (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): A look at Transupport Inc. v. Commissioner, which involved evidence that was not sufficient to support imposing a penalty but was sufficient to hold the taxpayer liable for the tax. The case provides an opportunity to consider how courts evaluate evidence in tax cases.
  • Tax Foundation (http://taxfoundation.org/blog): A Mississippi representative has proposed a bill that would eliminate an income tax bracket while increasing the tax rate on fuel. The swap would allow Mississippi to transition from taxes on income to taxes on consumption and final users, reducing burdens on investment and aligning the government services taxpayers benefit from with the taxes used for their expensing. Will it work?
  • Bloomberg BNA (http://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=istax&type=isblogpost): In a case involving a taxpayer’s claims for refunds stemming from a proposed change in sourcing methods, the New York City Tax Appeals Tribunal took the surprising step of substituting its own sourcing method. At the heart of the dispute is the question of how to calculate the percentage of services that are performed in NYC.
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): A fond remembrance of Leonard L. Silverstein, an important name in the tax world.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): In honor of the holiday just passed, a look at presidents and taxes, including Lincoln’s vision to foresee that taxes were needed to fuel the Civil War, Wilson’s signing of the Revenue Act of 1913 (“the president to thank or blame”) and the 1986 bipartisan reform under Reagan.

The real world

  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): One preparer’s annual look at the annual craziness is off and running.
  • TaxMama (http://taxmama.com): A few things your client needs to remember before switching from employee status to independent contractor. Assuming they have any choice…
  • TaxBuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): Certain aspects of reform have accounted for a ton of ink, others not so much. Among the latter: the change to the rules about converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, especially regarding recharacterizing.
  • Turbotax (http://Blog.turbotax.intuit.com): What to tell them about how to find out where the heck their federal refund is.
  • Smith & Gesteland (https://sgcpa.com/resources/focus-blog/): As reform sweeps away everyman’s tax breaks like floodwaters do log cabins, families with college students should remember they may save on their 2017 returns with one of these deductions. (Then it’s time to enter the real world.)

Cryptomania

  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): True, preparers are in a business where everyone is a potential client (barring tax cheats). But casting so general a net for clients is nowhere near as effective as narrowing the list down a bit. Here’s what to look for.
  • Sageworks (https://www.sageworks.com/blog/default.aspx): This year may bring a barrage of questions and comments from clients about cryptocurrency — it’s up, it’s down, it’s over the moon gold, it’s crap — and here’s another primer on what to know. Not to mention more business owners are exploring accepting cryptocurrency from clients.
  • Wolters Kluwer (http://news.cchgroup.com/): Auditing used to be a lengthy pen-and-paper process; firms created huge binders and work programs designed specifically for each unique client. CPA firms have seen a lot of changes in the best practices and technology involved in auditing engagements, and a recent webinar examines why it may be time to evaluate your engagement workflow.
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): A guest post from MyCorporation examines how the new pass-through income deduction rules might land on ecommerce companies.
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/blog/): The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services has informed approximately 3,000 taxpayers that they owe the state use tax. How does the DRS know this? Records from non-collecting out-of-state sellers — another round in the nexus bout.
  • Boyum & Barenscheer (http://www.boybarcpa.com/blog): How benchmarking can keep your firm and practice ahead of the other guy, pinpointing weaknesses in your business processes, setting goals to correct these problems and keeping an eye on how your company is doing.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://procedurallytaxing.com): A few items of interest from the recent Tax Section mid-year meeting, especially about the Tax Court, the DOJ Tax Division, the revocation of passports and the National Taxpayer Advocate’s annual report.

New to us

  • NTA blog (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): Speaking of such, these articles by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson give the NTA’s perspective on current issues in tax administration and taxpayer service. Among recent topics: “Nonresident Aliens’ Ability to Receive Credit for Certain Taxes Withheld at Source Continues to Be Jeopardized”; “Taxpayer Assistance Center Service Continues to Decline, Impairing Taxpayers’ Ability to Receive In-Person Assistance”; and “Caring about ‘Sharing’ – The IRS Should Do More for Participants in the Gig Economy.” Outstanding topics, and we welcome this important blog!
Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

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