Starting a practice; recruiting only gets tougher; deducting vacation; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Debt and taxes

  • Backtaxeshelp (http://www.backtaxeshelp.com/tax-blog/): What Are the Odds? Dept.: “This spring, the IRS started working with some private debt collection companies. The program is in its early stages, but there are already reports of problems.” If your clients owe and get a call, here’s how to tell the real from the scammers. If you owe money and you’ve received a call, here’s what you need to know, among other good things to know.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): A look at the latest IRS phone scam: fed impersonators who rattle off the usual threats. We like to think the number of folks who have heard of this rip-off and so are on guard keeps steadily rising. We also pity any IRS agent who tries to make a legitimate threatening call.
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): Can tax pros advise clients as to their audit profile — their risk of audit? (“There has been some confusion among practitioners about that issue because of the prohibition on considering risk of audit in assessing the merits of a tax return position.”) A recent article addresses this question.

Wild blue yonders

  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): Every little bird wants to take wing. But starting your own tax practice can be a lot tougher than flying. “Should You Stay or Should You Go?” examines opening your own practice.
  • ClientWhys (http://www.clientwhys.com/blog.iml): “Whether you are spinning off from another firm, purchasing a practice or starting from scratch, there is a great deal of excitement during the launch.” No argument, and here’s how to get your tax and accounting brand into the race.
  • Sageworks (https://www.sageworks.com/blog/default.aspx): The work can’t get done without hands to move the switches, and a recent report shows that professional staff turnover rates exceed 20 percent in one of every five accounting firms generating more than $75 million in annual revenue. No surprise, then, that recruiting and staffing are major issues for firms trying to sell their advisory services.
  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): Boosting your SEO with online directories.

General principles

  • Dinesen Tax (http://dinesentax.com/blog): What to tell your biz clients about needing a separate bank account for that business — mainly yes! for cleaner bookkeeping, among other solid reasons.
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): What your affected clients need to know about the Amazon FBA Sales Tax Amnesty.
  • Liberty Tax Blog (https://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge/): Helping your client recognize the top common tax mistakes, from camouflaging income to plain old math blunders.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://www.procedurallytaxing.com/): Regarding holding open the statute of limitations based on financial disability, in Estate of Kirsch v. United States the taxpayer’s estate loses. That’s the norm for these cases, but here the facts are slightly unusual.
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): It may be “a general principle of tax law that a taxpayer is not permitted to claim depreciation or expensing deductions on property owned and leased by someone else,” but it took the Tax Court decision in Drah v. Comr. to get this point across to an independent contractor who provided services to FedEx.
  • H&R Block (http://blogs.hrblock.com/): The blurring of the work/life lines inspired by technology, economic pressures and the great unspoken need on occasion to just get away from the family for a moment does create the question: How much of a working vacation can you deduct?
  • TurboTax (http://Blog.turbotax.intuit.com): Even the self-employed need a break now and then. Here’s how – including a tip on keeping a notebook just in case a good biz idea hits you in the hammock.

Prizes

  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): True, Quill Corp v. North Dakota did state that states can only require an out-of-state business to collect sales tax if that business has a physical presence within the state. That hasn’t deterred up to 10 states directly challenging this standard — and passing laws that require out-of-state vendors to collect sales tax without physical presence.
  • Tax Vox (http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org): Eyes on the Prize Dept.: “While policy-makers and news headlines focus on debates about health care and tax policy, the U.S. fiscal outlook remains troubling and is a constraint against which new proposals should be judged.” One note: The nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio is already high relative to historical norms.
  • Tax Policy (http://taxfoundation.org/blog): Facts and figures — including potentially cash raised by the government — involved in lowering the cap on the home mortgage interest deduction.
  • Bloomberg BNA (http://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=istax&type=isblogpost): Recent court decisions in California and Indiana illustrate the challenges that corporate taxpayers face in determining whether gain from the sale of subsidiary stock is apportionable business income or nonbusiness income.

New to us

  • CCH Tax and Accounting (http://news.cchgroup.com/): When we found it, the software giant’s blog had an excellent roundup of state news, from Rhode Island on remote retailers and Oregon on apportioned income to Maine on “marijuana product.” Welcome aboard!
Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

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