Spending refunds; states are scrambling; avoiding regulations; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Time off and other foreign concepts

  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): Blogger Robert Flach just survived his 47th tax season. How he did it and how it went — look for the similarities and for the differences.
  • The Income Tax School (https://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): Talk about right on time! “3 Easy Ways to Destress After Tax Season” range from the “foreign concept” of taking time off to finally getting a moment to fine-tune your styles of life and work.
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): Even though through last April 13 the IRS had received 118.6 million tax returns and issued more than 86 million refunds totaling almost $243.6 billion (refund numbers “fractionally smaller” than in 2017), the key and timeless question remained: How did Americans plan to spend their tax windfalls?
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): Once a common word in a church-fearing world, “tithing” involves routinely donating 10 percent of one’s income. Taxpayers who tithe around refund time “encounter the same question that greets students in basic income tax courses: What is income?”
  • TaxBuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): Reform sure did away with business as usual, and some taxpayers are in for a rude awakening come tax time next year. A look at how to plan — and what to plan with — for this year and beyond.

Bottle stations

  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): When Congress greenlighted reform, states were forced to face major tax policies of their own — and in a hurry. “The somewhat predictable result has been a mix of confusion, uncertainty and questionable choices,” especially considering conformity and federal calendar-year changes often only partially overlap a given state’s fiscal year.
  • Tax Foundation (https://taxfoundation.org/blog): In recent months lawmakers in both Maine and Michigan have introduced new taxes on spring water bottlers. Impetus for both proposals was “largely political, but this legislative activity opens a new frontier in state tax policy, as no states currently have extraction taxes on water bottlers. Do these types of taxes make sense?
  • Houston Tax Blog (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): Putting It Mildly Dept.: “There are a number of difficult questions that come up when one spouse owes the IRS and also owns property jointly with their spouse.” Can one spouse transfer the property to the non-liable spouse? Maybe, and the court recently addressed this in U.S. v. Gerard.
  • Bloomberg BNA (https://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=tax&type=blogpost&page=1): Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s opening question during the recent South Dakota v. Wayfair oral argument suggested that the true problem plaguing states was not Quill’s physical-presence standard but the lack of a “mechanism to collect from consumers.” If enforcement of use tax becomes the court’s prescription for states, recent efforts to pursue collection of the tax directly from consumers might be worth a new look.
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): A look at the recent conviction of lawyer Michael Little for participating in an 11-year fraud in which he advised and helped an American family to hide some $14 million in overseas Swiss bank accounts. Oh yeah, and he failed to file his own personal returns.

Listful thinking

  • Wolters Kluwer (http://news.cchgroup.com/): Good luck arguing against this: If there were a contest for the most-heard phrase in the workplace, “Change is necessary” would rank right up there. Saying you’re ready for change and actually following through are, of course, two of the most divergent points in all business, but here are four tips to start.
  • Avalara (https://www1.avalara.com/us/en/blog.html): Busy, busy: Spanking new New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wants to increase the state sales tax rate; tax electronic cigarettes, rideshare and home-share services; and legalize and tax marijuana.
  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): As enterprises continue to expand operations across borders, base erosion and profit shifting has become a prioritized issue in international taxation. (BEPS refers to the tax planning strategies of multinational entities designed to exploit differences in tax rules among mixed tax jurisdictions.) An overview of the three-tiered BEPS action plan requirements.
  • Dinesen Tax Times (http://dinesentax.com/blog): Owners often ask how their small business can avoid the crush of taxes and regulations while still staying within the confines of the law. Here are three suggestions you can make without having to end with, “but you didn’t hear it from me…”
  • Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): Grow by acquiring other firms or surrender to the luxury of being acquired and passing management responsibility on to someone else? If you’re on this fence, know that taking too long to decide — either way — can squander opportunities.
Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

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