In the blogs: Reform vs. deform

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Why to file early; suing robocallers; taxing stolen money; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Important letters

  • Tax Vox (http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org): Favorite opening of the week: “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has turned us into a nation of tax shelter hunters. The bill, which backers like to promote as tax reform, has in fact set off a frenzy of loophole-seeking.” Symptoms, this blogger notes, not of tax reform but of tax deform. How seemingly everyone is looking for ways to game the new system.
  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): Has the TCJA made NOLs go MIA? How the act alters the fundamental assumptions underlying how NOLs may be used and how much can be used at a time.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): Six reasons why early tax filing is a good idea, with the first being a sign of our technological times: “Beat tax ID thieves to the punch.”
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): Reform supporters bubble over with Apple’s announcement that its planned activities over the next five years will “contribute” more than $250 billion to the U.S. economy. Too bad, says this blogger, that “there is nothing in the announcement that justifies attributing that claim to the recent tax legislation, and most of what Apple describes as its future plans are activities in which it had already planned to engage.”
  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): The “Kiddie Tax” is no longer calculated based on the parent’s income, and the income of siblings is also no longer a part of the calculation. A look at some of the key changes under reform.
  • Bloomberg BNA (http://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=istax&type=isblogpost): In the wake of reform’s ballyhoo, some states have already changed their corporate income, franchise and other tax rates effective for the 2018 tax year.


  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/blog/): A look at New York’s proposed requirement that online marketplace providers collect tax when they facilitate third-party sales to the state’s residents even when the seller lacks a physical presence in New York (it would also impose reporting requirements on non-collecting sellers). The proposal mirrors Washington State’s 2017 marketplace fairness law — but key differences exist between the two states’ proposals.
  • H&R Block (http://blogs.hrblock.com/): Ten ways getting married affects a client’s taxes this year.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://procedurallytaxing.com): The recent opinion in Bishop v. Commissioner might comfort ex-spouses claiming to lack actual knowledge, here in a 6015(c) case.
  • Dinesen Tax Times (http://dinesentax.com/blog): Not all marriage penalties show up in nagging and tax brackets. A look at “hidden” marriage penalties in student loan interest, kids and similar intertwined concerns.
  • Manhany Law (http://www.mahanyertl.com/mahanyertl/): The Iraqi Oil Ministry recently announced that 26 companies have been approved to bid for Iraq oil and gas leases in the border provinces. The big question: Does the line for bribes form to the right or the left? Also, not to call robots life forms or anything, but can you sue a telemarketer for robocalls?
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): The advantages of hiring retirees. Funny how generation after generation, this idea continues to be little but timeless.

Fantasy and reality

  • Houston Tax Blog (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): Why is it that everyone from Al Capone to the latest businesspeople spotlighted in this publication’s weekly crime blotter seem to forget that stolen money is still taxable? But what about money transferred between friends with the agreement that one of them will invest the funds, but he instead uses the funds personally and in doing so did not violate a criminal statute? Are the converted funds taxable?
  • Boyum & Barenscheer (http://www.boybarcpa.com/blog): “A subject which many people have some awareness around, but perhaps don’t fully understand all the nuance …” For most clients, that’s just about any aspect of taxes. Why should 529 plans be any different? A “deeper dive” into this topic, especially considering recent big changes.
  • TaxBuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): In what now seems eons ago in tax years (December of 2015), the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act would someday require the IRS to tip off the State Department regarding any taxpayer who has been certified as being deeply in arrears with their tax payments. Taxpayers owing more than $51,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest would be subject to denial of applications for new or renewed passports. Well, remind any deep-debted clients that someday is now.
  • Sageworks (https://www.sageworks.com/blog/): Few gaps can yawn as wide as the fanciful versus the actual value of a business that’s for sale (often to the detriment of the advisor helping facilitate the deal). This infographic examines the importance of a defensible business value when closing.
  • John R. Dundon II EA (http://johnrdundon.com/): Sometimes water does wear down the rock: After years and years of fighting for elderly taxpayers who happened to miss a deadline, this blogger (and presumably many other preparers and planners) can huzzah that the IRS now might acknowledge special circumstances challenging the ability to complete a retirement plan rollover.
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