Voices

In the blogs: Spelling ‘QBI’

A 199A formula; changes in gifting; scams and scandals; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Corporate blackmail

  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): “Tax Breaks and Corporate Blackmail” examines the current meme that asks, “As Jeff Bezos Earns $191K Per Minute, Why Are NY & VA Giving Amazon $3 Billion in Corporate Welfare?” The blogger’s standard response: Corporate blackmail. It’s what happens when corporations are larger than governments and the free market is in fact anything but.
  • Tax Foundation (https://taxfoundation.org/blog): Just three months after targeting Amazon with the Stop BEZOS Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders has turned his attention to another large employer. The “Stop Walmart Act” would penalize large corporations for buying back their stock unless all employees are paid $15 an hour and receive seven days of sick leave. It would also cap CEO compensation at 150 times of the pay of the median employee. Companies that buy back stock without meeting the legislation’s requirements would be subject to a fee equal to the amount spent on the buybacks. The blogger contends the act is based on a misunderstanding of business decisions and the factors behind wage growth.
  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): Now that Amazon has finally chosen Long Island City, N.Y., and Arlington, Va., as co-winners in its second headquarters sweepstakes, it’s time to think about who the real winners and losers are. And what lessons did we learn from the year-long saga? Lesson 1: Amazon may have chosen its locations largely based on the supply of skilled workers and the overall tech environment, so billions in cash and tax subsidies may end up being a financial windfall for the firm and a poor use of funds by the bidding communities.

Spelling ‘QBI’

  • Dinesen Tax Times (http://dinesentax.com/blog): Can’t Know Everything Dept.: What tax deductions can a college professor take post-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): A formula for a timely (see “199A” and “QBI”) question this looming season: “How Do You Optimize Wages to Maximize the 20% Deduction?”
  • Turbotax (https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com): What to remind your first-time investors about tax-wise.
  • Taxbuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): As 2018’s curtain draws closer, we’re approaching the point where the rubber of year’s end truly meets the road of the TCJA. Key factors to remind them about, starting with overpayment versus underpayment, the Alternative Minimum Tax and gifting.
  • Liberty Tax (http://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge): Giving Tuesday has, year by year, maneuvered its way alongside Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and of course for businesses and individuals alike, charitable giving is tax deductible. But here’s a reminder to the kind-hearted about this year’s rules changes.
  • John R. Dundon II EA (https://www.johnrdundon.com) Tax planning time for small-business owners is upon us. Amid the looming holidays and the near-chaos of reform, a handful of biz tips includes consider changing accounting methods to cash if possible and to buy that new tool or machine before the end of the year. Also, what individuals can look forward to among the changes.
  • SageNext (https://www.thesagenext.com/blog): Is technology all that accountants need to keep going? As usually happens when questions such as that are asked in advisory blogs, the answer is “Certainly not.” The importance of plain ol’ connections in taking accounting to the next level.

Stated cases

  • Wolters Kluwer (http://news.cchgroup.com/): This roundup looks at the New Jersey’s tax amnesty program through January, Iowa’s guidance regarding remote sellers and marketplace facilities and Georgia’s extending the suspension of sales and use tax on jet fuel.
  • Bloomberg BNA (https://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=tax&type=blogpost&page=1): As states continue to test economic nexus, tax collection on remote sellers has raised a familiar specter on such scenarios: compliance with the new rules. A glance at states’ different takes so far.
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): Colorado is changing the way they want remote sellers to collect tax. It means that out of state retailers may need to close down their Retailer’s Use Tax permits and instead, register for a sales tax license from the state of Colorado. Oh, and before Dec. 1.
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/us/en/blog.html): Although Alaska has no statewide sales tax, more than 100 local governments levy local sales and use taxes. Currently, out-of-state sellers with no physical presence in Alaska aren’t required to collect and remit these local sales taxes. That may change in 2019.

Transcript trickery

  • Tax Girl (http://blogs.forbes.com/kellyphillipserb): The IRS is warning about a new “tax transcript” scam in which taxpayers are tricked into opening emails that look like they are from the IRS but potentially carry malware. Here’s what you need to know.
  • National Taxpayer Advocate (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): Veterans’ very long-standing challenges in claiming refunds for taxes improperly withheld from disability severance pay.
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): A continuing look at a multi-country initiative with other countries to target enablers of tax evasion: the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement.
  • Rubin on Tax (http://rubinontax.blogspot.com/): Submitted for your approval: A taxpayer went to law school in Spain and practiced law there for several years as an international attorney. He then moved to New York and enrolled in an LLM program at NYU. He paid tuition expenses of $27,435. After obtaining his degree, he obtained a visiting attorney position in the U.S. at an international law firm, doing similar work to what he did in Spain. He then took and passed the New York State bar exam. At issue: Whether he could deduct his tuition expenses?