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Voices

In the blogs: Hard lessons

Scholarships and taxes; delay in ASU 842; landmark documentaries; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

Hard lessons

  • Turbotax (https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/): If you have a client who’s a college student and not lucky enough to attend a commencement speech given by a generous billionaire, said client probably relies on scholarships and grants to whittle down the price tag of higher education. A look at what those scholarships and grants do to tax situations.
  • TaxMama (http://taxmama.com): What to tell them about using the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant for tax answers year-round.
  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): Many first-time home-buyers take a distribution from their 401(k) plan to help fund the down payment for the purchase of the home — “and, unfortunately, they tell their tax professional about it after it has been done.” Why the distribution is a bad idea, and some possible workarounds.
  • Taxbuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): What to remind them about the expiration of ITINs.
  • Intuit Proconnect (https://proconnect.intuit.com): The ABCs of QBI.

Influencers

  • TaxProf (https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/): A look at the Up-C, an increasingly popular form of IPO that generates significant tax benefits as compared with a traditional IPO. These benefits, the driving force behind the Up-C, have generally gone uncontested and are achieved by taking a form-over-substance approach to the Up-C for tax purposes. Governmental officials had never directly addressed the Up-C until recently….
  • Procedurally Taxing (https://procedurallytaxing.com): Guest blogger Margaret Zehren Moores, deputy director of advocacy and programs at Legal Services of Greater Miami, continues the series of reflections on the impact of Nina Olson.
  • Tax, Society & Culture (http://taxpol.blogspot.com/): Spurred by a recent Twitter thread, the blogger has unveiled a list of tax documentaries (the movies are readily available online).
  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): The Financial Accounting Standards Board has proposed a one-year delay in the effective date of ASU 842, “Leases for non-public business entities.” The latest look at 842, the proposed delay and what both might mean for your clients.
  • Tax Girl (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/): National Ice Cream Day, as well as National Ice Cream Month (the blogger isn’t kidding), are official holidays designated by then-President Reagan following a joint resolution from Congress. The resolution, S.J.Res.298, was signed into law on July 2, 1984. Plus here’s a sprinkle of tax facts.

Information please

  • Tax Foundation (https://taxfoundation.org/blog): A preliminary look at 2018 tax data highlights, the first numbers on the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, provides aggregate information by income group on a range of topics — and, overall, the data seems to match expectations about the changes.
  • Taxjar (http://blog.taxjar.com/): This month marks a little over a year since the landmark Wayfair decision — and July’s been a busy time for the recent uptick in states removing transactional thresholds and increasing the revenue amount necessary to trigger nexus.
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/us/en/blog): Ohio joins the nexus party. Florida, Kansas and Missouri will soon be the only three states that have a general sales tax and don’t have economic nexus — and Kansas is on track to enforce economic nexus starting in October.
  • Sagenext (https://www.thesagenext.com/blog): The rich become richer and the poor poorer. The demographic proudly in agreement with the claim can neither be classified as rich nor poor. It usually comes down to the middle-class.

Crime and crime again

  • Boyum & Barenscheer (https://myboyum.com/blog/): According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, organizations victimized by fraud lose a median $130,000. But construction companies, in particular, are even harder hit. What can you do to protect your construction clients?
  • IRS Mind (https://www.irsmind.com/): Dum De Dum Dum Dept: “We have information that you have or had one or more accounts containing virtual currency….” New Notice 6174-A and how the IRS sees noncompliance on virtual currency transactions as a threat to the tax system.
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): In United States v. Rankin, the defendant was charged with multiple (to say the least) violations including tax perjury and obstruction, convicted on all counts and sentenced to five years. A look at the issue of the lesser included offense.
  • Don’t Mess with Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): The $700 million deal reached by Equifax and federal and state agencies has brought ID theft back into the public consciousness. Except it never left: “Every day, we’re bombarded by warnings about how crooks are constantly trying to steal our personal information so they can use it to take our money and take over our lives. That's a message the Internal Revenue Service is still working to get out to taxpayers and tax professionals alike. Its latest effort is a six-point tax security checklist.”
  • Tax Vox (https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): The most recent IRS estimate of the gross annual tax gap is $458 billion. Another $52 billion gets paid late, either voluntarily or through IRS Collections; some $406 billion never shows. Thus, the IRS is under pressure from Congress to close the tax gap. The IRS can do a better job, but only if Congress gives it the resources it needs.