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Voices

In the blogs: The winners are...

The year’s worst ideas; cyber-currency phrase book; the shutdown and taxes; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.

The winners are…

  • Tax Vox (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox): The top Lump of Coal Awards for the Worst Tax Idea of 2018, including New Hampshire’s fighting collecting sales taxes; Seattle’s “head tax” on large employers and Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Stop-BEZOS Act; Trump’s tariff talk; and suing over the SALT cap.
  • AG Tax (http://agtax.ca/tax-tips-and-articles): “2019 Tax Season Tax Tips for Business Owners” touches on the limitation on carried interest, the deduction for pass-through entities and entertainment expenses, among others.
  • The Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): “Top Cryptocurrency Terms Every Tax Professional Should Know,” starting with altcoins and anti-money laundering.

Ready for departure

  • Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): California There They Go Dept.: Turns out taxes (“tops in the country”) are no longer the top reason businesses are leaving the state. The new culprit: laws and the regulatory climate.
  • Dinesen Tax Times (http://dinesentax.com/blog): Favorite opening of the week: “Just because money is going out the door, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad thing.” An examination of good expenses versus bad.
  • Procedurally Taxing (http://procedurallytaxing.com): Guest blogger Carl Smith discusses a case in which the Tax Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School has filed an amicus brief. (Note: “Like the vast majority of innocent spouse cases, these facts describe the sad circumstances that led her to request relief.”) This case should not only make us think about the jurisdictional issues raised by the innocent spouse provisions but also about how the application of the Flora rule prevents taxpayers without the wherewithal to fully pay in a short span of time to obtain the return of all of the money paid to the IRS for taxes that they don’t owe.
  • Houston Tax Attorney (http://www.irstaxtrouble.com/category/tax-blog/): While taxpayers are often aware that innocent spouse relief can eliminate their liability for tax on items of income earned by their spouse (or ex-spouse), fewer taxpayers realize that innocent spouse relief can also help with tax on income they earned themselves. Heydon-Grauss v. Commissioner provides an opportunity to consider this situation.

Changes

  • Intuit Proconnect (http://taxprocenter.proconnect.intuit.com/): How withholding under tax reform has sure become more than just a number.
  • Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): To say the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed a variety of tax law sections is like saying the settling of the American West didn’t do the buffalo any favors. A look at the flow-through impact on the tax provision in financial statements.
  • Liberty Tax (http://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge): The password these days is all “government shutdown,” but tell your clients to fear not: “Many federal agencies, including the IRS, remain in operation. And yes, you still have to pay your taxes.” What to tell them about returns, refunds, audits and the like.
  • Bloomberg BNA (https://www.bna.com/news/#!topic=tax&type=blogpost&page=1): This year, the U.S. EPA eliminated a record number of hazardous “Superfund” sites from its list of most toxic locations in the nation. Removal from this list certifies completion of EPA-prescribed remedial measures designed to eliminate harmful substances, pollutants or contaminants that pose a threat to public health and/or the environment. Less often discussed is the risk that hazardous waste sites pose to the value of real property.
  • Taxbuzz (https://www.taxbuzz.com/blog): Your wealthy clients may well be considering making significant gifts to minimize the tax on their estate after death — especially given, among other changes, tax reform’s recent expansion of inflation-adjusted annual gifts excluded from taxes. Your clients might also well be wondering what will happen after the 2025 sunset.
  • Turbotax (https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com): It may seem deceptively easy to open and run an online boutique shop these days: set up a website, acquire products, install an online shopping cart, and send out the merchandise as the orders roll in. What to remind your clients about state and local governments being their silent (and sometimes not-so-silent) partners.
  • Avalara (https://www.avalara.com/us/en/blog.html): And what to tell your clients to do before they start trying to collect sales tax.