Tax breaks for the profitable; how long to keep tax documents; unenrolled preparers; analytical procedures for auditors; other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

VATs all, folks!

  • Tax Analysts (http://www.taxanalysts.org/tax-analysts-blog): It’s far from a shock that a federal VAT is among choices to potentially replace the corporate tax in any major tax reform. Is any part of that idea workable? As with so many things, it depends on whether you ask Europeans, Republicans or Democrats.
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): What? A private sector business asks for special tax breaks and taxpayer funding for an enterprise that already is extremely profitable and that will continue to be profitable? If you’re one of the few people in all human history who’ve never heard of such a thing (or of professional sports), here’s a tale from Cincinnati about fueling a proposed upgrade to U.S. Bank Arena.
  • Roth & Co. (http://rothcpa.com/blog-index/): Can you think of one place where tax reform isn’t at the front of the legislative line? Try Iowa.
  • Bloomberg BNA (http://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=istax&type=isblogpost): Domestic manufacturing has undoubtedly moved to the forefront of national politics – and of competition among states to lure jobs. A look at Mississippi’s general approach of offering varied tax credits and exemptions for manufacturers. Note: “Mississippi’s corporate income tax has some unique approaches to multistate taxation that can trip up unaware taxpayers.”
  • Tax Policy (http://taxfoundation.org/blog): Why Louisiana’s proposed tax plan – an attempt to replace the recent “clean penny” sales tax increase with a gross receipts tax – is a bad deal.

Late to the party

  • Turbotax (http://Blog.turbotax.intuit.com): LOL caution to happy clients in the wake of the season: “Before you throw all of your tax documents up in the air to celebrate the occasion, we need to discuss just how long you should keep that info in a safe and secure place.” Seems like ever since a skeptical Paul Ryan lit into Commissioner Koskinen in 2014, the subject of how long to keep what kind of tax documents has been a little fuzzy. Here’s some new focus, including disposal procedures.
  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): Eight observations from the first part of the 2017 season: IRS phone time good and bad, the essential ineffectiveness of the new mandate for interviews with taxpayers who claim the EITC, the Child Tax Credit and the AOC, mushrooming extensions, and benefits of the new FBAR deadline, among others.
  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): “What to Tell Your Clients Who Are Late to the Filing Party,” starting with those supposedly lucky ones who get automatic extensions.
  • AG Tax (http://agtax.ca/tax-tips-and-articles): Tips for Canadians trying to estimate estimated U.S. tax – and so avoid both penalties and the huge lump-sum bites of Uncle Sam.
  • H&R Block (http://blogs.hrblock.com/): Probably any of your clients hit with an audit are in too much of a panic to remember they have rights. Here are 10 core concepts of the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights, for whatever calming effect they may have.
  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): A short video, first in a series, straight from the horse’s mouth: Tax pros reveal their biggest time-saving tip for other accountants.

Strong of will

  • Procedurally Taxing (http://www.procedurallytaxing.com/): What is the role of unenrolled preparers in Tax Court cases? IRS Counsel has just clarified issues relating to a taxpayer’s representative who is an “Unenrolled Return Preparer” and the doors opened to such a professional by the voluntary Annual Filing Season Program.
  • Rubin on Tax (http://rubinontax.floridatax.com): When someone dies, an estate tax lien attaches automatically to all of the property included in the gross estate. It arises prior to tax assessment, and is not recorded. Heirs or purchasers of property are interested in having the lien released, and the IRS has some new guidance for them.
  • IRS Tax Trouble (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): How Bedrosian v. United States examines the definition of reckless conduct when justifying the FBAR civil tax penalty. Turns out there’s quite a difference in the penalty for non-willful versus willful violations.

Give it up

  • Tax Vox (http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org): Public and private sector initiatives for strengthening charities can include improved tax policies as well as steps charities could take independently of any legislation. The goal? Increasing charitable giving of income, wealth and time. A closer look at the organizing principles and further suggestions on this worthy matter.
  • Dinesen Tax (http://dinesentax.com/blog): What to say when they ask if they need a receipt for a charitable contribution of less than $250.

Concerning issues

  • Bloomberg BNA Software: Discussions and Perspectives (http://bnas.wpengine.com/): The new compliance foci of the IRS Large Business and International Division has many companies concerned: “Rather than auditing the returns of large corporate taxpayers to uncover issues, the IRS plans to pool audit resources and audit around 13 specific ‘issues of concern’ ...” Boy, if that isn’t a minefield phrase.
  • Tax, Society & Culture (http://taxpol.blogspot.com/): The lowest-cost program per country for all countries that offer either residence or citizenship by investment. And that is one cool graphic!
  • Sageworks (https://www.sageworks.com/blog/default.aspx): Question Needs Analysis Dept.: “What Are Analytical Procedures and Their Benefits?” looks at how analytical procedures are beginning to become more prevalent in the audit world. How does that help auditors?
Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

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