Voices

In the blogs: The rights stuff

Social Security bump; what accountants do; no IRS taxpayer rights training; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Silver linings

  • Taxbuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): Seven of the most straightforward benefits provided by reform, from new child and family credits to deferred savings.
  • Tax Girl (http://blogs.forbes.com/kellyphillipserb): Rising interest rates may be wreaking havoc on the markets and nobody likes the specter of rising inflation, but they mean good news for those relying on Social Security: More than 63 million will see an increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2019.
  • SageNext (https://www.thesagenext.com/blog): What to remind them about what you can really do for their business beyond crunching columns (though that’s a helpful function, too). Good opening question: Why hire an accountant in the first place?
  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): The once-in-a-generation (we hope) tornado of tax change that was the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act can easily put a firm behind on all the changes. A four-step approach to education that both keep you abreast of the changes and communicate those changes to clients.

The rights stuff

  • National Taxpayer Advocate (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): Believe or not, the IRS refuses to provide mandatory employee training on taxpayer rights.
  • H&R Block (https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/): Fun fact: “Every year, millions of Americans get mail from the IRS that they did not expect.” Been there, paid that. Five actions your more tax prep clients can take to avoid the notices altogether.
  • Houston Tax Attorney (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): Buy God Dept.: The distinction between taxable compensation and non-taxable gifts comes up in a number of contexts and has led to a number of tax disputes — over severance payments to workers, for instance. The recent Felton v. Commissioner addressed this in the context of segregated donations made by a congregation to a church pastor.
  • TaxProf (http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/): While a growing literature argues that third-party reporting of tax liabilities is a key mechanism for ensuring compliance and a reason why tax capacity grows along the development path, the literature has ignored that third-party reporting is often associated with tax withholding.

Statements

  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): Details of economic nexus in West Virginia.
  • Rubin on Tax (http://rubinontax.floridatax.com): Florida imposes documentary stamp taxes on transfers of Florida real property, based on the consideration paid for the property. Generally, if real property that is transferred is encumbered by a mortgage and the purchase price is less than the mortgage amount (or there is nothing otherwise paid), the mortgage amount is treated as consideration for purposes of calculating the tax. This tax arises on transfers of encumbered real property, even if the transferor and transferee are married to each other. Under a new provision of law that came into effect in July, spouses can now transfer encumbered homestead property between themselves without incurring documentary stamp taxes, if no other consideration is paid. However, this new provision applies only to transfers within one year of marriage.