The blockchain gang; buying vs. leasing biz cars; real estate defined for Sec. 199A; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Rough road for gas taxes

  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com): With highways, bridges and tunnels in serious need of repair and expansion necessary in areas stifled by congestion, what brilliant idea do the supporters of no gas-tax hike offer?
  • Tax, Society & Culture (http://taxpol.blogspot.com/): A look at an article concerning a long-simmering problem that now seems to be on full boil: “Politicians using public policies, from renaming a city to offering billions of dollars in grants, infrastructure improvements and tax abatements, to take credit for companies’ location decisions.”
  • Bloomberg BNA (https://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=tax&type=blogpost&page=1): Social media companies are facing increased scrutiny over their sales of digital advertising following last month’s federal indictment detailing the volume and character of controversial ads displayed during and after the 2016 election. Enter the Honest Ads Act, a bill designed to tighten oversight on web-based political ads.
  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): If soda won’t attract kids, what will? Philadelphia’s tax on drinks with a sugar-based sweetener or artificial sugar substitute is not bringing in as much revenue as projected, so the city will enroll fewer children in its pre-K and community schools programs. Why is soda tax revenue dictating school enrollment? “That’s a good question.”
  • Dinesen Tax Times (http://dinesentax.com/blog): Cornhuskers like to work alone, apparently: How Iowa taxes put a special spin on MFS.
  • Tax Foundation (http://taxfoundation.org/blog): Nominations are now wanted for state legislators, executives and others for this year’s Outstanding Achievement in State Tax Reform award. Nominees’ accomplishments must include an achievement (not merely a proposal) during 2017, and advancement of a tax system with an eye to simplicity, neutrality, transparency and promoting growth.

Tech talk

  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): “Blockchain and Accounting” notes that the tech has the potential to change the accounting industry. Also, the transactional technology is touted as being “un-hackable.” Of course they also claimed Pearl Harbor was too shallow to drop torpedoes.
  • TaxBuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): Fun Things to See and Do Dept.: “Experts Share How Small Businesses Are Using Modern Technology to Get Paid Faster” touches on the plusses of electronic billing and, if you need the reminder, what you really lose out on every day you don’t get paid.
  • Avalara (https://www1.avalara.com/us/en/blog.html): Same Old Villain Dept.: “A new product launch is on the horizon, and everyone is getting excited. Then the tax department gets involved…” And it starts to become clear that from a tax perspective the business is no longer just a tech company but possibly a telecommunications company, too. A look at the special complications therein.
  • Boyum Barenscheer (https://myboyum.com/blog/): Seven ways to prepare if your biz client — or you — are leaning toward a business sale. Hint: Don’t forget the technology.

Setting yourself apart

  • H&R Block (https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/): What to tell them about how long it takes to get an IRS penalty abatement.
  • Turbotax (https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com): Tax considerations of buying or leasing a new business vehicle include the number of miles driven, how long to keep the car and how big or small one wants monthly payments. Other good considerations included if you or a client have mulled this would-be purchase.
  • Smith & Gesteland (https://sgcpa.com/resources/focus-blog/): What to remind them about the many factors influencing charitable deductions, starting with the type of gift.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com): Part 2 of the IRS 2018 list of the worst tax scams at filing time. Because you can’t get enough and neither can the crooks …
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): Looking for a slogan to convince potential clients you offer solutions? The various CPA firm taglines the blogger encountered over the years include “Our Strength Is in our Numbers,” “Working Together Sets Us Apart” and “Make Progress Here.”
  • Intuit ProConnect (https://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com): This infographic looks at reform especially in terms of millennials — who may work more in the gig economy than other generations of clients — and includes a glimpse at the impact for a typical single filer before and after the tax changes are applied.

‘Incomplete information’

  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): United States v. Jansen looks at the back and forth of a guilty plea to wire fraud and tax evasion. Based on “ineffective assistance of counsel.” Most arresting line: “In a criminal case, it is not uncommon for attorneys to advise clients to take certain action based on incomplete information …”
  • Houston Tax Blog (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): It’s an understatement of the tax year to say there are a lot of questions about the new Sec. 199A pass-through deduction. This entry tries to answer at least one follow-up question: Whether real estate will qualify as a trade or business? A look at Levitz v. Commissioner.
Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

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