In the blogs: Roadblocks and monstrosities

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Bitcoin’s gains and competition; deducting your holiday party; taxing research; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Roadblocks and monstrosities

  • Boyum & Barenscheer (http://www.boybarcpa.com/blog): Going to the videotape and recapping the proposals with an eye to what could affect businesses in 2018 and beyond.
  • TaxBuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): Amid this synopsis of some of the provisions included in the House and the Senate’s versions of the bill (not including conference amendments made after Dec. 2) is the point that yawning gaps between these bills must be closed before anything goes to the president.
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): George Will recently scrambled to the defense of “the badly drafted, error-riddled, unwise, and catastrophic monstrosity of a tax bill being railroaded through the Congress.” In this blogger’s opinion, Will, usually a source of wisdom and common sense, “seems to be swept up in the false euphoria of getting something done for the sake of getting something done.”
  • Tax Musings of a Burbank CPA (http://briantstonercpa.com/blog/#sthash.OkfGp9NM.dpbs): We’ve heard plenty of how the top 1 percent of the tax population, the lower class and the middle class will or won’t fare. How about people in the entertainment field and sales people on payroll with their companies?
  • Tax Policy (http://taxfoundation.org/blog): True to Form Dept.: Likely to get lost in last-minute horse trading between House and Senate conferees will be the primary objective of tax reform. Namely, economic growth.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://www.procedurallytaxing.com/): A recent report describes various “games, roadblocks and glitches” in the current tax legislation. “The complex rules proposed in the House and Senate bills will allow new tax games and planning opportunities for well-advised taxpayers, which will result in unanticipated consequences and costs. These costs may not currently be fully reflected in official estimates already showing the bills adding over $1 trillion to the deficit in the coming decade.”
  • Tax Vox (http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org): In fact, the Senate version of the TCJA would increase GDP modestly until 2025, and by less after many of its tax cuts expire in that year, according to a new report by the Tax Policy Center. Not to mention what conventional scoring reveals for estimates of what the Senate bill would do to deficits over the next decade.

Tales from the Crypto

  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): Bitcoin holders may dream of the far-away day when their coins each top billions in value, but the IRS will not consider BTC for long-term gains. Short-term no matter how long held.
  • Manhany Law (http://www.mahanyertl.com/mahanyertl/): Bitcoin isn’t alone: some 1,000 other cryptocurrencies flood the market. A look at the origin of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, past market bubbles, recent enforcement actions and —
    as with all human innovations soon after creation — fraud and crime.

True values

  • Sageworks (https://www.sageworks.com/blog/): Firms of all sizes are making advisory services an important revenue stream. If you’re thinking of joining this profitable stream, familiarity with SSARS No. 21: Clarification and Recodification is your best first tool — especially Sec. 70 of SSARS 21, the latest standard for engagements to prepare financial statements.
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): Can’t put it much clearer than this: “Instead of having 20 valuable employees spend an hour in a meeting that’s only vaguely related to their productive output, why not have them spend one hour reading?”
  • Wolters Kluwer (http://news.cchgroup.com/): What is the value gap? Picture a funnel. At the top is what your firm thinks is important and at the bottom is what Millennials think is important. What can you do with the in-between space to make money?
  • Liberty Tax (https://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge/): Is your office holiday party tax deductible? What about embarrassing behavior in front of co-workers?

Golden rule

  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): Is pay-by-refund (a.k.a. “refund transfer”) good advice not just for clients who live paycheck to paycheck but for others in tough financial times?
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/blog/): How an out-of-state diamond and gold wholesaler was recently found to have nexus with Washington State, and the tax and nexus implications.
  • Houston Tax Blog (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): Are research awards taxable in the U.S. for those here on student visas? The answer depends in large part on the terms of the applicable tax treaty and whether the awards are compensation for services or pure grants. Dovzhenok v. Commissioner addresses these rules in the context of the U.S.-Russia Tax Treaty.
  • Bloomberg BNA (http://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=istax&type=isblogpost): The Michigan Department of Treasury recently reminded corporate taxpayers of the Dec. 31 deadline to file amended group returns or original separate returns in compliance with the LaBelle Management decision issued by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
  • TaxMama (http://taxmama.com): Mama helps a landlord who, to rent an “unfurnished” apartment, had to move furniture into a storage facility. Can the expense of this storage be taken against the rental income?
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): A look at Nineveh Investments Ltd. v. United States and a lawsuit that arose out of levies by the feds on the claimed assets of a terminated third-party defendant to satisfy outstanding tax obligations.
  • Dinesen Tax Times (http://dinesentax.com/blog): The origins of the marriage penalty (at least, the one related to taxes).
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