In the blogs: Storm’s end

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Simplicity of tax penalties; refund request after five years; amnesty national; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Storm’s end

  • Wolters Kluwer (http://news.cchgroup.com): As you weave and wave helplessly through the last snowdrifts and driving winds of the season, how can electronic signatures save time during the final days?
  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): We all know connections are key. But what power is in the hands of those who do the connecting?
  • Bloomberg BNA (https://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=tax&type=blogpost&page=1): A look at a recent Grant Thornton report that claimed that almost seven out of 10 execs plan to increase their investment in digital transformation over the coming year.
  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): “Can [your client] avoid the headaches, costs and resources needed to comply with the European GDPR regulation?” Aiming to territorially expand the protection of the data rights and privacy of people living in a European Union country, the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR” or “the Regulation”) is one of the first global privacy laws affecting organizations all over the world.

Penalty boxed

  • John R. Dundon II EA (https://www.johnrdundon.com): IRS penalties are many things — let’s start with “terrifying” — but they’re not necessarily complicated. How to pilot your client through these shoals.
  • TaxMama (http://taxmama.com): Mama helps a taxpayer who filled out a 2013 return with all good intentions then forgot to mail it. “Is there any way to mail off this 2013 tax return and get my refund? If not, will I owe the IRS money?”
  • Houston Tax Blog (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): Does a taxpayer commit a felony offense if they pay a babysitter without withholding taxes, fail to keep receipts for charitable donations or neglect to provide every record to an accountant? Strict reading of the law suggests these are felony actions, and the SCOTUS recently addressed this in Marinello v. United States,
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com): What to remind them about RMDs and Uncle Sam.
  • Smith & Gesteland (https://sgcpa.com/resources/focus-blog/): Got Bitcoin? Don’t get bit on taxes. How virtual currency complicates tax reporting.
  • Turbotax (https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com): What to tell them about how buying a first home changes taxes.

Bankrupt debate

  • TaxProf Blog (http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/): A look at a recent presentation on fiscal policy in an age of inequality. Note: “The debate surrounding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act demonstrated the intellectual bankruptcy of U.S. fiscal policy debate.”
  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): For all the dropping balloons about more take-home pay, new corporate investment and bonuses in the wake of the TCJA, “what can we really say about how the landmark tax bill is affecting the U.S. economy?” Results so far lean toward “a modest positive.”
  • Tax Girl (http://blogs.forbes.com/kellyphillipserb): What’s in and out regarding the $1.3 trillion spending bill. Two things apparently in, at least: a rush to signing and bipartisan pulling of the sculls.

Coast to cost

  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): Why is taxation almost always the solution of first resort? New York Gov. Cuomo wants to tax prescription medicines that contain opioids and also some medicines used in treating opioid addiction. He says the revenue would offset some of the cost of treating opioid addiction. Manufacturers would pay the tax — but the cost would flow through to those who use opioids, potentially upping health insurance premiums and health insurance costs in New York.
  • TaxBuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): The home state of temp working and contractor-rich Silicon Valley has for decades been a far friendlier place for labor and employees than many other parts of the country; California has spent the last 20 years leaning closer to greater employee protections. Laws passed in Sacramento last year — involving decisions based on past salary history or past criminal history, protection of federal immigration agents and agencies, increased liability for subcontractors, new parental leave protections, employee retaliation protections and required sexual harassment training — continue this trend in a big way.
  • Taxjar (https://blog.taxjar.com): “Notice and report” laws for use taxes have been in the news quite a bit. Here’s a look at what they are, why online sellers should get educated about them and which states have currently enacted them.
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/blog/): Fifteen states are known to be offering sales tax holidays in 2018, and Florida, Massachusetts and Wisconsin are moving closing to joining them.
  • National Taxpayer Advocate (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): The second of three parts analyzing tax settlement programs as amnesties. When should the government offer them and how should they be structured?
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