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Voices

In the blogs: Unreasonable positions

Preparer penalties; busted Congress; new NTA on passport certification; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Unreasonable positions

  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): In United States v. Severino, the 11th Circuit affirmed a tax preparer’s convictions and 65-month sentence for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. On appeal, he argued that the court failed to give a proper willfulness instruction that he had requested for the aiding and assisting counts. A look at this argument.
  • Canopy (https://www.canopytax.com/blog): Ten preparer penalties to avoid, from underpayment and recklessness to unreasonable positions.
  • Boyum & Barenscheer (https://myboyum.com/blog/): Some triangles have done little good in human history: the Golden Triangle, the Bermuda Triangle. Now comes the “fraud triangle” (actually evolving into something more like a diamond) that shows the likelihood that an employee will commit fraud.

Tiny bubbles

  • Don’t Mess With Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): Amid retirement ideas, tax revamps and the partisan muddied waters, we can’t put it clearer than this: “Congress is back. But will representatives and senators get any more done these last few months of 2019 than they did earlier? Probably not. While this 116th Congress hasn’t been a total bust — 56 bills have passed this year — it’s not been a particularly productive one. None of these bills was major legislation.”
  • Tax Foundation (https://taxfoundation.org/blog): Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, has proposed a plan that would tax the capital gains of the highest-earning taxpayers annually, at ordinary income tax rates. Known as “mark-to-market” taxation, this would eliminate the “lock in effect” by eliminating deferral but also stands to hike the tax burden on saving and make the Tax Code more complex.
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): The blogger has been writing about the flaws of the soda tax for more than a decade (for one, it’s premised on the claim that it’s designed to improve people’s health, yet applies to no unhealthy food or beverage other than sugar). Now comes a study that suggests a better way to combat obesity and its attendant health problems is to put a tax on “high-sugar snacks.”
  • Bloomberg Tax (https://pro.bloombergtax.com/news-insights/): A global plan to rewrite how the digital economy is taxed could create new conflicts between countries hoping for a bigger bite of multinationals’ profits.
  • National Taxpayer Advocate (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): New Acting NTA Bridget Roberts kicks off her entries with a look at passport certification, and “good news to report” that the IRS recently agreed to temporarily exclude taxpayers with open TAS cases from passport certification and to reverse certifications for TAS taxpayers who were certified before coming to TAS.

Letters safe than sorry

  • Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): A couple of basics that your staff desires are inclusion and transparency. They want to know about and be included in what is discussed behind-closed-doors in the partner meetings. A look at Accounting Today’s own recent checklist of questions on that very topic.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): Just four little letters to remind clients of when the latter are choosing a business entity: FICA.
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/us/en/blog): Some things are certain in life, and some aren’t. Why one can no longer largely control where one has sales-tax nexus.
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): What accountants should consider when evaluating sales tax software.
  • Liberty Tax (http://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge): Federal taxes on clients’ net investment income need no more introduction than a dark cloud of locusts, but you can help them through the investment tax and interest deduction worksheet.
  • Sikich (https://www.sikich.com/insights/): Valuing farm businesses.
  • Turbotax (https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/): What to remind them of concerning quarterly self-employment taxes.
  • Tax Vox (https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): Despite the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, itemizing remains to most taxpayers what picking up a bedroom is to most teenagers: Anybody can itemize their deductions, but most don’t want to.