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In the blogs: The season looms

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Whether to still itemize; defining ‘middle class’; spotting bogus IRS emails; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

The season looms

  • The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): Returns may be postcard-simpler and deductions more standard, but here’s good advice for clients from the National Association of Tax Professionals: Work with a tax pro especially in light of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Boyum & Barenscheer (https://myboyum.com/blog/): Those who run family-owned businesses often underestimate the need for a succession plan — which of course can ignite colorful fights but does little to further a clan’s finances. The importance of a formal succession plan.
  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): Your office is probably geared up and ready for tax season. (Probably.) How can you get your clients in similar shape?
  • Mauled Again (http://mauledagain.blogspot.com/): A probe beyond a lot of the huge recent generalities over whether to itemize. Rule No.1: Do the math.
  • Bloomberg BNA (https://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=tax&type=blogpost&page=1): One of Amazon’s recent mega-moves inspired this discussion of appreciated stock in search of beneficial tax treatment. One answer: Donate it for a nice charitable deduction.
  • Dinesen Tax Times (http://dinesentax.com/blog): For all the talk of clouds and AI and other assorted wizardry, why it’s still a good idea to remind clients to check online for their 1099s.
  • SageNext (https://www.thesagenext.com/blog): Most entrepreneurs claim that they expect their accountants to be tech-savvy and guide them with their business-related decisions; preparing the taxes alone no longer defines what preparers and accountants are expected to do for some of their clients. So, should accountants be reactive or proactive?

False positives

  • National Taxpayer Advocate (https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/nta-blog): IRS processes for identifying and stopping refund fraud affects many taxpayer returns and refunds. A look at the NTA’s long-standing concern that the refund fraud false positive rate is too high and that the IRS takes far too long to process legitimate taxpayers’ returns once it’s determined that they have been inaccurately selected.
  • Rubin on Tax (http://rubinontax.floridatax.com): Applicable federal rates through December.
  • Taxbuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): A handy infographic covers essential deadlines for filing 1099s in 2019.

Picking up the bill

  • Tax Foundation (https://taxfoundation.org/blog): An overview of the year-end tax bill, in case it goes anywhere and because 2018 hasn’t been eventful enough.
  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): We yack about them all the time — and sometimes even elect presidents based on their alleged wants and needs — but “Who Is Middle Class Anyway?” (“As the lawyers like to say, let me stipulate that while middle class may be a useful description of social and political status, it is pretty much meaningless to economists...”)
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/us/en/blog.html): Tax compliance is no simple matter for fuel suppliers. With independent filing processes in place for excise tax as well as sales and use taxes, it’s only being made more complex — especially since they’re often interrelated in more ways than one. Instead of independently filing each tax type, companies should consider implementing an integrated filing process to help increase efficiency and reduce risk.
  • AG Tax (http://agtax.ca/tax-tips-and-articles): A Canadian look at various IRS penalties.
  • Tax Girl (http://blogs.forbes.com/kellyphillipserb): How to spot one of those bogus IRS emails and what to do if one arrives.
  • Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): In United States v. Shinday, a FBAR collection suit, the defendants (husband and wife) had foreign accounts at UBS and at State Bank of India. The government assessed multi-year willful penalties against the husband and five single-year $10,000 non-willful penalties against the wife, suing to obtain judgment on the assessments. The defendants moved to dismiss, the government opposed and the court denied the motion.
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