Holiday lessons; getting and keeping female staff; how hackers come after firms; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Sweet and SALT-y

  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): Just in time for Halloween, the Tennessee Department of Revenue declared that sales and use taxes apply to sales of candy because state law “does not define candy as food or food ingredients.”
  • Bloomberg BNA (http://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=istax&type=isblogpost): A look at the path to reform, this week’s chapter.
  • TaxProf (http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/): Favorite headline of the week: “Easy on the SALT: A Qualified Defense of the Deduction for State and Local Taxes,” a critical examination of major arguments for repealing the SALT deduction.
  • Tax Vox (http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org): How the proposed major change in the rules for defined-contribution retirement plans, “wrapped in the guise of fiscal responsibility,” is a gigantic budget gimmick of borrowing in disguise, “and on unfavorable terms to the government at that.”
  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): The gravest charges (“and the ones most likely to be overlooked by the political chattering class”) in the Manafort and Gates indictment stem from FBAR.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): “If you want to talk about tax loopholes that disproportionately benefit the ‘wealthy,’ let’s take a look at the deduction for depreciation of real property,” an often phantom expense for those in higher brackets.
  • Tax Policy (http://taxfoundation.org/blog): The U.S. has the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, 35 percent (39.1 percent when including the average state corporate tax rate). Research shows, though, that every buck in corporate investment actually gets smacked at a much higher rate.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://www.procedurallytaxing.com/): In Zazzali v. United States, the 9th Circuit affirmed a lower court decision allowing the trustee in a bankruptcy of company that ran a Ponzi scheme to require the IRS to pay the money paid to it for taxes back to the bankruptcy estate for distribution to other creditors of the estate.

’Tis almost the season

  • TurboTax (http://Blog.turbotax.intuit.com): What to tell clients about saving money before the spending spree of the holidays.
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): November sales tax due dates, by state.
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/blog/): Growing software companies find themselves in tricky sales tax territory. One big finding from Avalara’s recent survey of 50 software companies: The risk partially a byproduct of the industry’s agility and speed.
  • TaxBuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): Your entrepreneurial clients probably scamper with delight and optimism over almost any new biz concept. Here’s what you have to tell them before they scamper too far.
  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): Why would a small business overlook free money? We’re not sure, either, but here are “3 Reasons That Small Businesses Overlook the R&D Tax Credit.”
  • Boyum & Barenscheer (http://www.boybarcpa.com/blog): Many business owners think succession plans and regular business valuations go together like peanut butter and jelly. But lurking beneath this tasty combination are hard-to-see issues, starting with estate tax liability.
  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): What the mayor of Compton, Calif., can teach the accounting profession about practical applications.
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): What a holiday catalog can tell your firm about customer satisfaction via “The Vermont Country Store Customer Bill of Rights.”

We all have problems

  • Sageworks (https://www.sageworks.com/blog/): Finding and retaining good staff still tops the nag list at accounting firms. Given that women make up 60 percent of all accounting graduates and 52 percent of all new hires into public accounting, “This issue of retaining females in public accounting is right up there at the top of all the issues firms face,” says Solutions blogger and practice management guru Rita Keller.
  • Liberty Tax (http://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge): Ever have a potential client ask why they can’t just do their taxes themselves? Here’s a few ways to start convincing them/telling them off.
  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): Your menu of hackers’ tactics against accounting firms, from complex scams worthy of “The Sting” and phishing requests containing many correctly spelled words to almost meltingly dishonest requests for just one little bit of personal info.
  • Wolters Kluwer (http://news.cchgroup.com/): Most firms don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their document management systems after the initial implementation. Just like changing the oil, however, firms often benefit from tweaking DM periodically, from reviewing your recycle bin to re-evaluating your classification system.
Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

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